Interview: Hansl, Companion


Our intrepid contributor from the pits of all things hardcore, Mark  Jenkins had a chat with Hansl, bassist with Austrian 5 piece outfit, Companion.

MJ: Greetings hardcore brothers, how are you all going when the impending drop of your incredible album “Unbroken” is very close by?

Hansl: Hey Mark! We are extremely excited as we have put a lot of work and effort in our new record. We can’t wait to receive feedback from all over the world. Its been a long way to finish “UNBROKEN” and we are more than satisfied with what we have created and the first wave of feedback by family and friends is just incredible.

MJ: “For The Underdogs” was an excellent, unrelenting debut but “Unbroken” seems to be next level; the pounding heaviness as well as more groove and excellent punchy production seems to make this a hardcore classic. And straight up- I’ll put it out there, hardcore album of the year I predict? Your thoughts?

Hansl: Ha ha, maybe! It ain’t our goal to become hardcore album of the year, but if it is, we really appreciate that people enjoy what we do. Our main focus while writing “UNBROKEN” was to follow the footsteps of “FOR THE UNDERDOGS”. We have experimented a little bit and advanced our sound. The output  positively surprised ourselves. We were able to keep the style of our past songs plus adding something new.

MJ: What impact did growing up in Vienna have on your music taste and your initial interest in the Hardcore genre?

Hansl: Its not really growing up in Vienna that got us into hardcore. Its more the hardcore community which is quite strong in Vienna and of course all around the globe.  Being part of the “Vienna Style Hardcore Family” we have met tons of people, made new friendships and shared unforgettable moments. That’s what we enjoy and why we have started to play Hardcore. Not to forget the musical aspect, modern heavy hardcore as we enjoy, is the perfect mixture of punk and metal music.

MJ: What are your favorite hardcore, punk and metal bands and why?

Hansl: Can we just skip this question? Favourite bands is like a never rending story. We all have our different favourites. Its either due to the message in the lyrics, or its the music itself and the way the songs are sung. We love heavy and catchy guitar riffs, groovy bass lines, precise drums and charismatic vocals.

MJ: Name two records that changed your life and why?

Hansl: That’s a question each one of us would have to answer separately, but for each of us it were the albums that got us into heavy music. It’s records like Sepultura – Roots,  Biohazard – Urban Discipline, Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power and many more.

MJ: Your music videos and lyrics are very powerful and aggressive as well as inspiring….what drives and motivates you personally and what is the key message Companion brings to the table?

Hansl: Our motivation comes mostly through the positive feedback we are constantly getting. And “motivation” is also one of our key messages in our songs. There are always good times and bad times in everyone’s life, but the most important is not to give up on yourself. Besides there are personal thoughts we are trying put in our songs.

MJ: Back to this incredible album, how was the writing process for this release and how is it different to the debut?

Hansl: The writing process wasn’t much different than the last time. Shortly after the VSHC Brotherhood Tour together with Only Attitude Counts and Spidercrew in fall 2015, Marco and Daniel sat together and started to write first riffs. They actually spend lots of time in a small flat in Vienna. After the instrumentals were written, we all sat together to write the lyrics. Some of the instrumentals also got displaces after a view rehearsals. In the end we recorded the songs as you can hear them on the record. We are proud of having Marco who recorded, mixed and mastered our masterpiece. He really did a great a job on “UNBROKEN”. Speaking of great job, also Daniel deserves recognition for the insane work on our videos.

MJ: What are your upcoming tour plans and most importantly when are you touring Australia?

Hansl:  There are no plans for a tour yet. We will play a couple of shows after the release but that’s it for what we know by now. Australia is definitely worth a visit, and I guess we will talk to Peter and Chris of 10-54 records very soon on the possibilities.

MJ: Your videos suggest a strong connection between hardcore and working out etc, personally it’s the perfect bond heavy music and hitting the gym or boxing, you agree?

Hansl: The only one in the band who is working out is Domi, and “Unbroken” is also the first video where we added pictures like that. But as mentioned before hardcore for us is not just about complaining on whats going wrong in this world and what we can do to change it. For us hardcore is also very motivating. Some are stuck in private stories who get motivated by music not to give up and others just use hardcore to motivate themselves while working out, basically as a kick in the ass.

MJ:  What is it about Hardcore and punk that makes people all over the world get do inspired and influenced by it?

Hansl: Energy – there is no other genre/community that got more energy than hardcore. And for us personally its also the positivity that we have experienced all along the way so far.

MJ: How did you hook up with 1054 records? and do you know many Australian hardcore bands?

Hansl:  Long story short, on tour in Denmark we hooked Gitte (SupportOurScene) up with a couple of copies of “For The Underdogs” for Peter and 10-54 Records.  Peter liked the sound and instantly asked us to cooperate with him on our next release. So there we go, Hardcore Worldwide,  best community ever. Thanks to Peter and Chris of 10-54 for the trust they put in us. They didn’t even know what we were working on until we send them the more or less finished mixes. OZ has lots of great hardcore bands, way too less bands are touring Europe. By the way, check out our label mates at 10-54 if you don’t know them by now.

MJ: Thanks for the interview guys, any last thoughts or words of wisdom?

Hansl: Thanks Mark! If we gonna make it to Australia come out and have a beer or more with us. Until then, share our music if you like what you hear.

Unbroken is slated for release 2nd June 2017 on 1054 records. Hit up 1054 records for the pre-order, buy it, enjoy it and wait for the next enthralling installment of the Companion hardcore machine.

Check out the full album review

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