Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Protestant interview with Guitarist/Vocalist: Cory Von Bohlen. May 7, 2010.

Vista: Just the basic stuff. Who's in the band & who does what?

Cory: Brian plays drums, and sings a bit. Chris plays guitar and sings a bit. Jesse plays bass and sings a bit. I play guitar and sing a lot.

Vista: Can you give us a brief history of the band. Year started, ex-members & what has been released so far?


Cory: We started in 2005 out of the ashes of a band 3 of us played in for some years. Added a new bass player, Erik and released a 4 song CDR. recorded and replaced Erik (now in Northless and Half Gorilla) with Jesse (formerly of Up In Arms and many more) in 2006 and released a split 7" w/Rhino Charge (California) on Go! Records and an LP "make peace with the rope you hang from" on Fuck Life Records. toured Cali and Arizona for a week in Aug 2006. Recorded more stuff (our first w/Jesse) and released the self titled 7" in February of 2007, as well as a Cd of all previous stuff, called "as dead as we look", both of which i released on my label. Toured the east coast. in June of 2007 Barbarian Records released a split 7" with our friends in Get Rad. We did a live spot on the radio in fall of 2007 and recorded a few covers (infest/negative approach) for a (ltd to 50) CDR we took to ThisIsForYouFest2007 in Daytona beach, fl. We recorded again and released 'the hate. the hollow.' LP/CD on HaloOfFlies, Rimbaud (Ireland) and Rust and Machine in April of 2008. toured the east coast. did a small Midwest tour in fall 08 and recorded the 'antagonist' 7" [on halo of flies and blindead(sweden)] and the split w/Northless (inkblot records) both of which were released in time for our east coast tour w/Fall of Efrafa (uk). that should cover it, eh?

Vista; Have any if you guys been in any other bands?


Cory: Yes.We have all been playing in bands since the late 80's(me)/mid 90's. Most of which we'd rather not mention.

Vista: What the  Hardcore scene like in Milwaukee, Wisconsin like these days? Also, any other bands we should be on the lookout for? Any one doing any fanzines or are fanzines a dead format!? Ha! Where are shows being held in your area, clubs, legion halls, living rooms?

Cory: Milwaukee has always been small yet healthy. always a few new faces, new bands, etc.
its kinda split up into sub genres/sub-scenes a bit, but the more DIY (re; less bridge9) hardcore/punk stuff sticks together for the most part and is very supportive. bands? yeah! GET RAD, NORTHLESS, ENABLER, HALF GORILLA, HOLY SHIT!, ARMADA, PARTY BY THE SLICE, DEAD ISSUE, the list really goes on and on....zines? Not really, tho we just sent a track to someone here is who is including a Cdr w/a zine they are starting. zines were huge here in the early 90's (when i did one), but not so much these days. Print is somewhat dead it seems and a lot of kids here are no longer kids if you know what i mean. Kudos to you for keeping it alive. Most of the shows here take place in one of two all ages venues that double as art spaces. A few houses do shows as well. used to have more basements, and there is still the occasional hall show, but most have grown tired of hardcore kids antics as we have grown tired of paying far too high rental fees. hc/punk cant exist with any real overhead. not here.

Vista: How far are you to 924 N. 24th Street, Milwaukee Wisconsin? You have gotta know where this is!?


Cory: Not terribly far. It's near a club where a ton of terrible rock/metal shows happen. ex: Earth Crisis played there two days ago.ouch! Dahmer was big news back when and spawned a few great t- shirts and slogans. people outside Milwaukee definitely are more interested in it than i am. People do fucked up shit.

Vista: Where did you get the name, Protestant from? Also, does this have any meaning to your band?


Cory: We needed a simple name. It has (negative) religious connotations in respect to our foundations as a country. It's a pretty awesome Rorschach record as well.

Vista: What are some influences to the band, over-all? As for the other guys in the band, as well?


Cory: We listen to nearly everything. Our drummer delights us with ultra obscure talk of prog rock and I counter with my love of cheesy MTV pop. We meet in the middle with the band. We mostly understand each other well enough to make it work.

Vista: You sing & play guitar....Is that is complete pain in the ass!? Also, who are your influences, guitar-wise? How old were you when you first started?


Cory: Yes, it is. But much easier after all these years, as I've done it a bit before Protestant. Influences? ha! I barely play guitar these days besides the band. i like tons of guitar players, mostly from the 80s and none of them punk/hc. I started playing in 1990, I think mostly because my little brother put it down for a few months.

Vista: Speaking of playing guitar, what was the first song that you ever learned on guitar?


Cory: I used to play along to SUFFOCATION and MALEVOLENT CREATION records every day. I dont think i ever learned a whole song that wasnt one from a band I was in, besides a few covers Protestant has played. I can't retain them. And I was never taught a thing really.

Vista: I know you do a record label. Tell us some details about that? Year started, releases, etc.?


Cory: It was started towards the end of 2006. Mostly to put out records of ours. I have released or helped release (as of may7th 2010) 25 records, tapes and CD's. I can list a discography later if you like..

Vista: What are the types of bands that you sign & deal with? What do you look for?

Cory: I don't sign anyone. I deal with bands I know, bands I like, and bands that excite me in some way. Granted I like a lot I cant release, as I know too well that people come to me for certain things genre wise. So I work with who i know and who wants to work with me. If I did a record for every person/band I like, I'd be releasing something every week. I can only imagine how many if i did something for every person i don't know who asks.

Vista: How are you able to split your time between the band & the record label...As well as deal with "life" outside the band & record label? How many hours of sleep per night do you get?! Haha.

Cory: The band is much less a time killer than the label. maybe 4-6hrs a week. I work about 35hrs/week at a cafe, and work on the label and related stuff about 40hrs/week. I get about 6 hrs a night. Thanks for your concern. The label / band is my main way of communicating with people, socializing, etc.. It keeps me going. for a while i had little else going on aside from the band, the label and my job. I like it that way to some degree, but life is something too.

Vista: Has the entire world downloading music 24/7 affected how you do your record label? What are your thoughts on people just downloading music...Good, bad, whatever?


Cory: Not really. They will do whatever they like. People still buy records. CD's not so much. I like downloading for what its worth. But its taken down the wall of mystery about bands and records. the internet as a whole is the bigger issue and downloading a natural extension of it. I think bands (in general) should be rewarded for their efforts. The major label model of royalties and such crap has changed, but they have and will always find new income streams.

Vista: What has been your most successful release, to date? I'm sure they all mean a lot to you but what release has done the best? Any gold record "units" sold!? Haha. Also, are there any bands that you passed on working with that now make you want to hang yourself?


Cory: FALL OF EFRAFA inle DLP. based purely on initial sales/orders. But i like all of them. Its been a pleasure to work with some of my favorite bands, and the best people I know in punk/hc.
hmm...I don't think so. I do what I can when i can. cant win em all.

Vista: What are some bands that you're really into lately? Maybe not bands on your label or whatever...Just some bands that you are into at the moment?


Cory: So many. JUNIUS, KLIMT1918, JENIFEREVER, CELESTE, ENABLER, THOU, THE ASSASSINATORS, DISCO VOLANTE, DOMINIC, HAMMERS, GRIDE, the list could go on forever... I saw PARAMORE last night. They are amazing. Seriously.

Vista: Getting back to the band, I know you guys did a U.S. tour with Fall Of Efrafa. How many shows was that & where did you guys hit during this tour? What memories stick out the most during that tour?


Cory: Yes we did. It was 12 shows through the Midwest and East Coast. It was amazing. We saw so many kids that were so excited to see Fall of Efrafa. they went absolutely nuts in almost every town. It was our best tour for sure. The shows were (in general) the biggest we've ever played. Surprisingly the first show on the tour (here in Milwaukee) was nearly the biggest crowd. I was very proud of my town that night. I've known those FoE folks, especially the singer Alex, for a bit, so it was nice to hang out with them after countless emails, etc. hmm....Memories...Cramming 15 people into a small veggie/chinese restaurant in new york and absolutely destroying piles of vegan eats, staying in an apartment overlooking central park, nonstop body passing in a 100 degree packed to the gills record store in asheville, getting crushed in the front of the last show in Chicago and singing backups for FoE, listening to brits using our accents and just the absolute juggernaut that the tour felt like considering we had 9 people in a van with tons of gear (8 guitars?!?), and piles of merch/records/distro/detritus/debris/etc..Overall, we were blown away at nearly every show by how well we were all treated.

Vista: Speaking of Fall Of Efrafa...When the hell is that DVD coming out!? I pre-ordered that damn thing! Haha. Your record label is putting out that DVD. What stuff is gonna be on it? I heard that it is gonna be shorter in length or something? Details man, details!?


Cory: I don't know at press time. And  I know! Thanks! Last show, U.S. tour and last tour highlights. pictures, other random stuff. More live stuff than documentary parts I think is the only change. I didn't hear shorter as much as stronger.

Vista: You seem to really embrace the D.I.Y. ethic, which is awesome. I'm wondering, what are your thoughts on working with bands that have some bullshit, rock-star attitude? Do you just tell the to shove it? Also, pertaining to your record label...What's the biggest misconception a band that you are interested in & working with, "thinks" are owed to them?

Cory: I do. Thanks. I don't work with them. period. And have had little or no problems thus far. I've honestly never had any problem with any band I've worked with. Sometimes bands want things to look a certain way or have specific needs packaging-wise, but that's to be expected. It's an artist vs benefactor argument. re: how much can i afford to pay vs what the band wants. But everyone has been very gracious thus far.

Vista: You've obviously had success not only doing a band, but also with your record label. What would be some advice to someone....1. Starting a record label? 2. Doing a band that records, tours, writes music, etc.? Would you just advise them to save their time AND money!? Ha!


Cory: Success? Haha. Its pretty relative. 1) Watch what others do and consider what you think they do right and what they do wrong, and then start asking people for advice. Honestly this thing will consume you if you want it to be fairly active. You cant sit at home and wait for paypal monies to roll in. so be prepared. but go for it. have fun. music is shit business. avoid the bullshit at all costs. 2)Ditto. And yes, don't bother. Its a huge worry and pain in the ass. But I'd be dead without it.

Vista: What was your first introduction to punk/hardcore? What year was that & what bands did you initially get into?

Cory: Wow. That was a long time ago! Probably seeing kids at my middle school writing band names on folders and seeing some skater kids reading Thrasher, circa 1985/86. A bit later my friend at church (ha!) lent me a BLACK FLAG record and it was all over from there. I caught a few radio shows from local college stations and managed to find a couple record stores that sold punk/hc records. When I bought two issues of MAXIMUM ROCK N ROLL in fall of 1988, I was thrown headlong into a world i never knew existed. I was really into Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, MDC, Circle Jerks and the like early on. I liked early sXe bands a lot as well. Last night on a trip to Rockford, IL i mentioned seeing Underdog, Gorilla Biscuits, Insted and Up Front there back in 1990 (I think). How time flies, huh? I really got into UK hardcore/grind/crust back in the late 80's as well. It's funny, my fave records from punk/hc are the ones i heard in 87-91. Napalm Death, Gorilla Biscuits, Heresy, Black Flag, Adolescents, Die Kruezen, Born Against, et al.on Halloween 2008 we even did a set as Black Flag. It's one of the best nights of my punk rock life.

Vista: What can we expect from Protestant in the near future {summer/fall 2010}? Also, what have you got coming out on Halo Of Flies records?

Cory: We are writing a new full length. it will be recorded in July and be released on LP, maybe cassette (the new 7", the new CD?) in September. Then we will tour in Europe in October. We actually have a super limited tape coming out soon with all the 7" stuff on it as well. looking forward to all of it. As for the label, I have FALL OF EFRAFA - The Last Year DVD (May/June), MASAKARI - The Prophet Feeds... LP (June), THOU / MOHORAM ATTA - split LP repress (June), THE MAKAI - tba LP (July), FINISTERRE - Bitter Songs LP (June/July), and  PARTY BY THE SLICE - tba CASS (June), and NORTHLESS Leaving The Wolves CASS (May) as part of my decision to do small runs of tapes instead of more costly 7" or more useless CD releases.

Vista: Cory. Thanks a lot for your time. I really appreciate it. You're one of the realest guy I've met in a long time! Best of luck with the band & label. Is there anything else you'd like to say? What's the best way to get in touch with the band & record label?

Cory: Well thanks! My pleasure. Really, I appreciate that! Not much else to say except thanks again. I suppose as I have said to people before, appreciate this thing we call punk/hc. it might be a similarly inane version of 'normal' life and society, but the good outweighs the bad, and its accepted most of us for who and what we are. more than music as they say. And if you 'used to be punk' then you never were. Contact PROTESTANT:

contact HALO OF FLIES:

PROTESTANT discography:
self-titled cdr ep
(self released - 2005 - 400 copies?)
self-titled cdr ep
(321go! - 2005 -Malaysian release - ?)
split 7" w/RHINO CHARGE
(Go! Records-may 2006-600copies. 100 on white)
"Make Peace With the Rope You Hang From" LP
(Fuck Life! Records - august 2006 - 425copies. all on tri-color vinyl)
self titled 7" (Halo of Flies)
1st Pressing - feb 2007- 500 copies. 437 on black. 63 on white.
2nd Pressing - aug 2007- 500 copies. grey/marble vinyl.
"as dead as we look" CD compiling LP,R/C split,2005 cdr
(Halo of Flies feb 2007 - 1098 copies)
split 7" w/GET RAD - (Barbarian Records june 2007- 1000 copies. 100 on white.)
live/covers cdr (self released - 50 copies) december 2007
V/A - INFEST TRIBUTE CD (Punch an Emo Records)
"The Hate. The Hollow." LP/CD
(Halo of Flies/Rust and Machine/Rimbaud - april 2008 - 1000copies LP. 1000copies CD)
split 7" w/ NORTHLESS
march 2009-500 copies. 400 white. 100 white/purple splatter.)
antagonist 7"(Halo of Flies / Blindead
march 2009 - 1000copies.)

HALO2 - PROTESTANT - as dead as we look CD
HALO5 - HALF GORILLA - graceless beasts 7"
HALO6 - ABADDON - final fucking straw 7"
HALO10LP - PROTESTANT - the hate. the hollow. LP
HALO10CD - PROTESTANT - the hate. the hollow. CD
HALO11 - END OF ALL - the art of decadence LP
HALO14 - KAKISTOCRACY - an apology 7"
HALO15LP - MALACHI - "wither to cover the tread"  LP

HALO15CD - MALACHI - "wither to cover the tread + S/T "  CD HALO16 - MASAKARI - eden compromised 7" HALO17 - PROTESTANT - antagonist 7"
HALO18 - NORTHLESS - no quarter for the damaged LP (w/cd)
HALO19 - END OF ALL - places 7"
HALO21 - MOHORAM ATTA / THOU - degradation of human life SPLIT LP
HALO22 - FALL OF EFRAFA - the burial 12"
HALO23 - D.S.B. / THE ASSASSINATORS - split 7"
HALO25 - FALL OF EFRAFA - the warren of snares 6xLP BOX SET

ENABLER - eden sank to grief CASS (last copies!)
DSB / THE ASSASSINATORS - split 7" (last copies!)
END OF ALL - places 7"
halo24: FALL OF EFRAFA - the last year DVD  (may)
halo26: MASAKARI - the prophet feeds... LP  (june)
halo21: THOU / MOHORAM ATTA - split LP repress (june)
halo28: THE MAKAI - tba LP (june/july)
halo29: FINISTERRE - tba LP (june/july)
halt02: PARTY BY THE SLICE - tba CASS (may)
halo03: NORTHLESS leaving the wolves CASS (may)

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