Just over a year ago, Berthold City released its debut EP, Moment of Truth. With its fast-paced, breakdown-heavy stylings, the record helped establish the Los Angeles-based straight edge combo as one of the best rising hardcore bands around today. "Since that was released we have just tried to stay as active as possible," Berthold City vocalist Andrew Kline told me over email. "We did a short West Coast run with Terror and Regulate in the beginning of last year, and then we did an East Coast run with Kill Your Idols and FireBurn that coincided with United Blood right when the EP was released."
Not a bad first year for any group, but knowing Andrew outside of his musical endeavors (he's also in Strife and World Be Free, plus the founder of WAR Records), I know that he and his Berthold City band mates aren't going to lose that momentum any time soon. "We all get along really well, so we have fun wherever we go and try to make the best out of bad situations. We got stuck in traffic on the way to Philly from Richmond, so we shot some scenes in the van for our video. Our van broke down two hours outside of Reno on the first day of our tour with Terror, and we left it at a mechanic, rented a van, played the rest of the tour dates and then drove back up after the tour to pick up our van. You have to love doing this to just not throw up your arms and give up when something like that happens!"
Andrew wanted me to include the following message of gratitude: "I want to personally give a shout out the Bay Area hardcore scene as every show that we have played there has been really fun! The Bay is definitely our second home, and I love that!"
You know that whole momentum thing I mentioned above? Well, Berthold City is returning with a new EP in the form of What Time Takes. Andrew gave me the skinny on the new collection: "Like our last EP, What Time Takes was recorded by our good friend Aaron Jamili at Wormhole Studio. He did an amazing job, and I really can’t recommend him enough for any band looking to get a great recording. My good friend Arthur Rizk (Candy, Trapped Under Ice) handled the mastering for the record. He also does amazing work, and he has mixed and mastered a few projects on my label for me as well." In this No Echo exclusive, Andrew and company hooked me up with "Beware the Snakes," a track from the forthcoming EP:
I asked Andrew for some insight on the track above: "Lyrically, 'Beware the Snakes' is like a modern version of 'Don’t Tread on Me.' I think we have all had a person in our lives that mistakes your kindness for weakness and tries to take advantage of you because you are always there when they need something from you. This song is about identifying all of the two-faced snakes and cutting them out of your life. Bite back!"
Seen below in all its vivid glory, the cover art for What Time Takes is as striking as the music it's representing. "The art was handled by Jeremy Dean. Aside from doing our last EP, Jeremy has done layouts for a ton of Jade Tree bands like Kid Dynamite and Turning Point. He recently did the layout for the booklet that comes with the Super 7 Gorilla Biscuits toy, and he is more famously known for his WOBF clothing line. He is a great graphic artist, and I more or less send him the songs and let him work his magic. We have a bunch of cool t-shirts, limited silk-screened record covers and other stuff dropping for the pre-order that was all designed by Jeremy."
Since Andrew also plays and tours with Strife, a long established band, I was curious to get his thoughts on Berthold City and starting again from scratch. "I am always writing songs, and not everything I write works for Strife or World Be Free. I’m always up for a challenge, and I thought it would be fun to start something from scratch that didn’t rely upon our past to get kids to listen. When we first released the demo, close friends of mine didn't eve realize that I was singing!
"People have really short attention spans these days, and I think it’s definitely harder for bands to cut through and really get someone’s attention. In the end, the music will speak for itself and the cream will always rise to the top."
Speaking of Strife and World Be Free, both bands will be heading to Europe this year. So, what does Berthold City have planned in terms of touring? "Our next show is at Programme in Orange County, CA on May 31 with Soul Power, Rejection Pact, Frontside, and XReignX. We are in the process of booking some more shows to support the record as well, so hopefully we will be playing a city near you sometime this year! Obviously, we would love to go to Europe and we welcome the opportunity. I think this new EP will help open doors for us, and give us a solid catalog to tour behind."
Berthold City's What Time Takes will be out June 14 via WAR Records and can be pre-ordered now.