Be Well Spezial, Tag #3: Im Gespräch mit Oise Ronsberger

Foto: Sven Hoppmann / Melancholie Maritim

Wo bitte wäre The Weight and The Cost besser aufgehoben als bei Equal Vision Records und End Hits Records?! Eben- nirgends! Obwohl überraschenderweise gesagt werden muss, dass End Hits ein wenig später auf den bereits unter Volldampf fahrenden Zug aufsprang, aber dennoch mit offenen Armen empfangen wurde. Wie sagt Oise so schön: This was a END HITS RECORDS release way before i knew it was. Die ganze Geschichte dazu? Gibt es weiter unten zu lesen! Oise Ronsberger. Definitiv ein Mensch auf den sich alle direkt einigen können.

Er ist ein grundsympathisches (bayrisches) Großmaul mit dem Herz am richtigen Fleck. Charismatischer Labelchef & Tourmanager, der stets sämtliche Fäden in den Händen hält und nur selten ins Stolpern kommt. Schlagfertig, humorvoll & Nerven wie Stahlseile. Außerdem ist er auch immer direkt dabei, wenn ich mit der nächsten bescheuerten Idee um die Ecke komme & nimmt sich die Zeit, um Fragen zu beantworten oder passende Songs für einen Tag in Quarantäne rauszusuchen. Oise, vielen vielen Dank, dass du den Kram immer mitmachst. Echt jetzt!

Ich hätte es tatsächlich für unmöglich gehalten, dass er mir NOCH sympathischer werden könnte, aber mit seiner Antwort auf die Frage, ob er selbst mal mit Depressionen und/oder einer Angststörung zu kämpfen hatte, sind die Sympathiepunkte nochmal deutlich gestiegen! Wie sehr wir in dieser Welt mehr Menschen wie ihn brauchen: Menschen, die (zum Glück) noch nie durch eine depressive Phase mussten, sich aber DENNOCH nicht davor scheuen, sich mit diesem schwer verdaulichen Thema auseinanderzusetzen, zu lernen und mehr darüber zu erfahren, um Freunden und Familienmitgliedern eine hilfreiche Stütze in harten Zeiten sein zu können. Keine Vorurteile, kein Wegsehen, sondern einfach für die betroffene Person dasein und eine Depression als das ansehen, was sie ist: eine lebensbedrohliche Krankheit. Jeder, der solch einen Menschen in seinem Leben hat, kann sich verdammt glücklich schätzen.

Aber genug von mir! Überlassen wir Oise an dieser Stelle das Wort: wann und wie ist er eigentlich über Brian McTernan gestolpert? Warum sollten wir uns alle The Weight and The Cost kaufen? Und hatte er selbst mal mit Depressionen oder einer Angststörung zu kämpfen? Das alles und noch mehr jetzt hier für euch!

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How and when did you first stumble upon Brian McTernan & how would you describe him?

Like many people my age i got introduced to Brian through the CDs and picture discs of the german label Lost&Found. Brian was on the cover of both their BATTERY releases and he looked super cool with half long blond hair and had that intense look on his face when singing/screaming.

When i finally got to see BATTERY live i realised that Brian was basically my age and i was very impressed how somebody that young could write such meaningful lyrics and be the singer of one of the biggest bands in hardcore at the time while i was still struggling to play a show 10km from my hometown. He had a very inspiring presence.

Battery vs. Be Well: Where do you see the differences and similarities?

Its interesting because i was about to say that both bands are very different but they are also not that different at all…

I think Brian always wrote very sincere lyrics from the heart and when he was in BATTERY things surrounding the hardcore scene seemed to be a lot on his mind. And i know that Brian nowadays still cares as much if not even more about hardcore punk but is not caught up in the scene drama /politics anymore. And i believe that freed him to write his most open, vulnerable and sincere lyrics ever in his career as a singer.

So to me listening to BATTERY is like watching a very familiar old movie: It’s deeply ingrained in you but it is also a thing of the past. A nostalgic, comfortable, warm feeling of some sort. But also stuck in a specific time.

While BE WELL is obviously something current, inspiring and thought provoking. Its familiar enough to lurk you in but challenging on a lot of levels. Both those things and therefor both bands have a time and a place i think.

What was going through your mind when you first heard about the new project and how did it come about that The Weight and The Cost is released via End Hits Records?

My friend Aaron Dalbec (bass) sent me a link to a video of song snippets if i remember correctly. My first thought was „i love that voice so much“.

Shortly after i heard the snippets i saw that the band signed to the amazing Equal Vision Records to release their debut 7“. When Aaron approached me again about releasing the album in Europe i was a little reluctant:

a) It is usually never great to get involved in the late stages of an album as a label as most creative work is done and there is little room for input.
b) More important: We had planned the release of a very important new record for a band on End Hits and i was worried that we wouldn’t be able to give BE WELL as much attention as they deserved.

Some really good friends of mine play in this band and some people who i really respect play in this band and i couldn’t stand the thought of letting them down. But then Aaron sent me the rough mixes of the album and i KNEW i had to get involved. This was a END HITS RECORDS release way before i knew it was. I am glad Aaron was so persistent, i really am. Also – both Equal Vision and Be Well were so open to our ideas (things like alternative artwork for Europe, Merch designs) even though we joined the party so late.

I wanna thank everybody involved for being so gracious and welcoming.

In what way did the theme in the songs surprise you?

I was glad that Brian not only avoided rehashing old „hardcore“ themes but on top of it dug deep and reached a new level of meaningful communication through music. There are some really dark lyrics on this album but the fact that Brian is alive to sing those words speaks volume about the power of the human spirit, the healing forces of friendship and self expression.

How did you fare when the first edition was sold out shortly afterwards?

It honestly blew my mind. Knowing that a record is great is one thing. Seeing that a broader public agrees with you is another. But i had a feeling that BE WELL would catch on, the record is just too good to be ignored by the European hardcore scene and beyond.

What do you feel when you listen to The Weight and The Cost?

It makes me feel thankful that i can still be involved in something so inspiring at my age and that people care enough in those crazy times to allow us to release a record like this into the Covid19 vacuum. It also makes me really proud to have such talented friends that trust me enough to let me be a part of it.

Is mental illness more talked about/enlightened or is it still a taboo in society? How do you perceive it?

I noticed that our societies willingness to speak about mental illness is slowly increasing. Admitting to have mental health issues and to seek help is way less of a taboo than it was 20 years ago. Especially for males it is way less frowned upon to show vulnerability and that was overdue. Our societies are suffering from our wrong assumptions of what it means to be a „man“ and what „man“ are supposed to do or not.

We still have a very long way to go but we are on a good path i think.

Have you ever had to deal with depression and/or anxiety/panic attacks yourself?

I thankfully never had to endure anxiety / panic attacks or severe depression. I obviously have phases in my life where i do not really feel whole or when i am sad. But out of respect for people really suffering from depression i would never use that word to describe me not feeling so well. I have been surrounded by people having mental health issues all my life though and i try to get better at understanding how i can help and assistant them to help themselves.

Why should we all buy The Weight and The Cost?

Because it will be the catchiest yet most sincere and heavy record you will buy in a long time. Some albums sound great, others have amazing songs, others have great lyrics and others just might look good. This album has it all and more. You won’t regret adding it to your collection.

Anything else you wanna add?

Thank you Jasmin for taking the time to really lay into this record or any other record. Music journalism has either disappeared completely or reached a new level of „shallow“ that is unbearable to me. It warms my heart to know that there are still people out there really caring.