Madball’s Freddie Cricien: ‘We Brought Back the Essence With ‘Empire”
If one hardcore band truly defines New York hardcore in the modern era, it’s Madball. The band will release its new album, ‘Empire,’ on Oct. 12 through the newly formed Good Fight Music. The band just finished tracking with Erik Rutan in Florida and were mixing and mastering the record at press time.
For ‘Empire,’ singer Freddie Cricien said that while he wrote a song related to the BP oil crisis, he didn’t get overtly political on the record. “I touch on that stuff, but we are not overly political as a band, even though we are socially aware and we are always more about our immediate surroundings than the global level, but we do travel and tour and see the effects around the world and as we tour, as we’ve gotten older, we touch on topics that are more grown up,” Cricien, the younger brother of Agnostic Front’s Roger Miret, told Noisecreep. “At the same time, the essence of Madball is there: it’s in your face and still have to have the street commentary. It’s not that we have to, but we want to. That is the vibe of the music. We brought back the essence. I talk about like family, the state of underground music, things we are surrounded by.”
Cricien admitted that ‘Empire’ is a “pissed off record, the music is pissed off and the lyrics complement that. It’s definitely aggressive.” While Madball are like Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, since they are always in an ‘Empire state of mind,’ Cricien reflected on why the city factors so heavily into the band’s music, saying, “It’s where we became men and where we got our start, but it’s like we have our own little empire with what we started! It’s the Madball empire, with things we’ve accomplished, but it’s not a cocky thing. It is what it is.”
Since Madball are so entrenched in the NYHC scene, we had to poll Cricien on a few key things.
Number one hardcore show of all time: “Man, that’s a question and a half there. I can’t even … I remember, I saw numerous Agnostic Front shows, that’s how I got into hardcore. I have seen some of the best ever, and have seen them at CBGB, where no more people can fit inside, at CBGB, in 1989 or something like that. That ranks up there.”
Favorite N.Y.C. venue: “I like Irving Plaza. I know people don’t want to hear that, since CBs was a classic punk venue. W also recently played Webster Hall, which is the old Ritz, and that was cool playing there because it has history with hardcore and heavy music, so that was fun. We had never played the Ritz as a band. We used to play Wetlands, which was always a fun time. There was a period where there was some crazy shows. We had some of our craziest shows there in the 1990s.”
Favorite hardcore band of all time: “I have to say AF. I am obligated, nepotism, but I am not lying. It is family and I am biased, obviously, but if you consider their track record, the length of time they have been together and their influence on the whole scene? They may not be #1 for everyone but they are for me.”
The NYHC stalwarts will blast through Canada and the U,S. through September, with Comeback Kid in tow, with additional dates to be announced shortly.