Melbourne's REBIRTH are bringing back the sound and ideology of the mid 90s metalcore scene. Mixing brutal riffs with intelligent lyrics, REBIRTH have already sold out of their debut 7" "Instincts Of Suffering" and their demo, proving their is a demand for a return of socially aware hardcore. We caught up with REBIRTH frontman Tyronne Gietzmann for the lowdown.
Photos by Nicole Goodwin and Joe Maviglia
Did Rebirth form while Right Mind was still around and who initiated it all?
Yeah, Rebirth started towards the end of Right Mind. I knew RM was coming to an end and wanted to do a band that had a more direct political focus as Right Mind was more spiritual, as it dealt with themes of Buddhist philosophy and reflections of the self.
To you, what do you think Rebirth sounds like and what's the wildest comparison you've heard?
When I first asked my friend Dave to write for the band, I was said "hey, I wanna do a band that sounds like 90s Metalcore and Trial". Dave wasn't a fan of Trial but dogged a fair amount of classic 90s bands. The band's that we have consistently been influence by are Earth Crisis, Indecision, One King Down and Disembodied.
I think the wildest comparison was having multiple people compare us to Trial. For me this was awesome because it was exactly what I was trying to emulate in the beginning and great to know people were able to pick up on that. Around a month ago Greg the vocalist even messaged the band and bought the EP which was a mind blowing conversation and experience for me personally.
There is a drastic change in sound between Rebirth and Right Mind. What inspired the change to a different sounding style of hardcore band?
I listen to lots of different styles of hardcore and really had a soft spot for 90s Metalcore. I felt that this was a good, strong foundation to have a direct political message upon as most of the bands I listen to in that style were very political in some regard. I grew up in country Victoria and had a metal influence so when I discovered the 90s metalcore style through the Lair twins (Life. Lair. Regret. Records) it was a cool nod back to when I first got into heavier music.
Got a favourite Rebirth track you've penned so far and why that one in particular?
I don't really have a favourite as I enjoy getting in that 'zone' when writing and the feeling when I am able to express an idea or thoughts of an issue in verse. I have written a song that is currently unreleased that relates to my personal feelings on racism and how it is ingrained within myself. I find it really hard to write about things emotionally so it was a great achievement for me to complete those lyrics.
Even in Right Mind you were very outspoken about the rights of those seeking asylum in Australia. The ASRC(Asylum Seeker Resource Centre) is one charity of many that Rebirth has already donated over $1000 to? Why that charity in particular and what drives you to help out imprisoned refugees?
The ASRC is an amazing display of a small idea, initiative growing into a fully functioning organisation. They are a one stop shop for any refugee who is in need of assistance; providing food, clothing, job and education/ training opportunities, legal and housing assistance, the list goes on.
My drive comes from my general feeling of helplessness and wanting to make a positive impact on others.
Personally do you feel like the tide of public hostility to asylum seekers has changed since the initial "boat people" hysteria of the Howard government?
I believe that slowly it is improving but as it is said, slow change is the most permanent change, which I think it's hopeful that the general public's attitudes are changing to a more compassionate one. I feel that it can be hard to see this at times with so many ignorant, racist and bigoted comments online and in the media while fascist groups are preying on everyday people's fears which is at high levels due to our governments (both past and present) xenophobic rhetoric and policies.
With every conversation that challenges oppressive ideas, someone out there may be open to more compassionate reasoning. This is why I am not so quick to condemn people's ignorance, I would rather take it for what it is and try to help educate others. So that they may learn and then pass their new understanding and empathy on to others.
The track “Needles Of Industry” off your 7inch seems to be aimed at sweatshop labour in the clothing manufacturing sector? Was this inspired by the factory collapse in Bangladesh that claimed over 1000 lives?
It was exactly inspired by that tragedy and is actually a rewrite of an old Right Mind song. I focused on the Rana Plaza incident in Bangladesh after watching a documentary on the ABC. I wanted to highlight that when we say sweatshops we often think of China but for awhile most clothes are manufactured in Bangladesh due to their developing economy and lack of safety regulations which enables western companies to exploit this country for it low production cost.
I gather that Rebirth only use ethically sourced t-shirts for merch designs? What brands do you think bands should be sourcing and what brands should they be avoiding?
Rebirth has been using Gildian. They have a accreditation by the Fair Labour Association but have had some issues in the past that have seemed to be rectified. I am still on the look out for a more ethical brand that I can obtain through printers which has been proven to be difficult. My ideal brand would be Etiko which I originally wanted to use.
When I wrote the song Needles Of Industry, I wanted to create awareness of how removed we are from the products we purchase, from the food we eat to the clothes we buy. There has been some criticism about band members wearing brands such as Nike, which is a fair judgment, though most of the older brands have had huge reforms since the 90s due to people's awareness of child/slave labour. For me I leave it up to the individual to make their choices on the products they purchase as I never want to police others, I only wish to make people aware.
You've started up a charity titled Food For Today. What exactly is it all about?
Food of Today is a collective food drive initiative which aims to collect and distribute non-perishable food items and household goods to various food banks Australia wide. Thanks to other punks interstate it now operates in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane.
What inspired you to start Food For Today?
I was inspired by collectives like Bake Down The Walls and Chain of Snacks, seeing how they were able to use the space and energy of a concert and turn it into a charitable action. People that have inspired me through conversation and their own action are; my close friend Jonathan Leschinski who runs Bearbrass Collective and actually made the Rebirth demo explanation zine himself, Daniel Kent, Jelana Goluza (Outright/BDTW), Stevie Fenech, Emelia Garwood and Jordan Nash who run Chain of Snacks.
I've noticed requests for any tin food that isn't baked beans or spaghetti. Are you finding this is the staple offering most people think of when it comes to tin food? What would you prefer be donated?
Haha yeah, I actually picked that up when researching what most food banks/ charities request. Most food banks are looking for items that you can cook meals with rather than giving people people tins of spaghetti so they don't have to make a toaster for the 1000 time. We have a list on our Facebook that has a range of items but the one thing to remember when bringing food for FOT is, " can I cook a proper meal with this food item". For example diced tomatoes, various beans and spices are great.
What food banks do you typically donate food to? Why those in particular?
Melbourne is the ASRC (Asylum Seeker Resource Centre)
Sydney is ASC (Asylum Seeker Centre)
Adelaide is Mercy House of Welcome.
These are all charities either secular or religious who aim to help refugees and asylum seekers.
How can people find out more about Food For Today?
We have a Facebook and Instagram.
You're not afraid to explain a song's meaning on stage. Do you feel like the message can sometimes get misinterpreted or lost in a live performance? Or is it more about addressing a captive audience to raise awareness?
I think it can definitely be lost especially because I am not as charismatic as some and I am a chronic mumbler haha. My intention is always to, which you summed up nicely, “address a captive audience to raise awareness”. I always hope that people can take away something from what I have tried to get across and inspire which is all I ever want to do with Rebirth.
Why do you think a lot of bands in the hardcore scene have nothing more to say then "we have merch up the back" when on stage?
I think that for some, what they want to communicate is already in their songs and for others it is just not there style to get up and publicly speak. As soon as you start making a speech, the performance takes on a very different feeling and is more akin to public speaking which as most know, is one of the most common fears haha. I used to condemn and judge bands for not speaking up but as I have gotten older, I have learned to accept that everyone has a different way they communicate.
Do you think social and political awareness is making a comeback in hardcore?
I feel as though social and political awareness is making a comeback in the wider population which is in turn focusing peoples attention on various issues. In my mind Hardcore itself has always been very political, mainly in themes of straight edge, veganism and anti-establishment ideals. I think that given the current global social climate, more people are speaking of issues generally which is then transferring into lyrics, zines and punk dialogue with a stronger substance than what it has in the past 10 years.
How do you feel about bands being labeled as “too preachy” when you should just “shut up and play”?
I used to find it frustrating because I felt this attitude dumbed down the scene but I do understand not everyone wants a sermon after or before every song when people can read the lyrics at home. So I try to make my speeches more concise so it does not outweigh the songs themselves and keep people engaged in the set as a whole.
In your opinion how is the state of the Melbourne hardcore scene at the moment?
I think it is going through a renewal (if you knew of my love of puns, I found it hard to refrain from using rebirth there haha). There are more fresher faces and social circles are merging and becoming stronger as a whole. We have less issues of violence and there are a small number of regular AA spaces available. Like any community, there are issues and instances that cause divide but things are really positive right now.
What’s the best and worse thing you’ve seen at a show?
The best thing recently was seeing 16-17 year old metal kids observing and then attempting to mosh at a hardcore show, kids learn fast. The worst thing is people being violent and sets having to stop because of too much ego in the room.
What’s coming up next for Rebirth? What does the future hold?
We are playing with Miles Away for our final show of the year. It’s gonna be dope, even if they won’t cover Carry On like I asked hahah. We are currently in the middle of writing for our biggest release yet and will have a release out very soon from a few songs we recorded a few months ago out, expected it either very late this year (Merry Christmas!) or very early next year (Happy New Year!). Nicole at Don’t Need You! Records is releasing a tape comp this month which will have a cover we recorded of Indecision’s Purgatory. I honestly don’t know what the future holds for Rebirth but i’m enjoying every minute of it.
How can people hear or get in touch with the band?