I had the chance to send some questions over and speak with Zach Dear, guitarist of “Expire” and front man of “Stone”. Check out the interview below!
So with Expire coming up on the verge of their final tour is it bittersweet going into it knowing what the outcome will be or are you looking at it as going out on a high note? What do you believe you’ll miss about having Expire as an active band?
Zach : I think the band is going out on a high note. We wrote a final record that we truly think is the best thing we’ve ever put out, did all the tours we wanted to and didn’t kill each other doing it. We all wanted to burn out rather than fade out and I think that’s what we’ve done. I feel good about ending the band right now.
I can’t think of much I’ll miss but that’s not in a bad way. We accomplished basically everything we wanted to and did it our way. I don’t have many regrets about it so I think that leaves me feeling good about letting it die.
Do you see Expire coming back at any time down the line or once the books are closed on this chapter you are done for good with it?
Zach : I can never say never when it comes to that type of shit but I can say in my current mindset, after March 11, Expire will not play another show.
With Expire no longer being around can we expect more side projects to come up? Possibly Stone becoming more of a full time effort?
Zach : Yup. Stone is finishing up writing our first LP now and hopefully will have it released before the end of the year. We start touring the day after the last Expire show.
Having been given the chance to travel the world performing what were some places you visited that you never expected to be able to see? On top of that what were some places that truly shocked you with a great reaction or a strong hardcore scene that you otherwise didn’t expect? Lastly were there any places you wished you were able to visit to play that unfortunately never happened?
Zach : Honestly, anywhere outside of the states was crazy to me. I never thought we’d leave the US. I mean, I’m answering these questions in the van in Japan. That’s still wild to me. Hardcore is such a cool thing and the love the band has gotten all over the world has been so cool. South East Asia was for sure one of my favorite places. Those kids live for this shit. They go to every show like it might be their last and there’s nothing more humbling than being able to go play there.
Definitely wish we’d gotten to Russia. For some reason that’s a spot that has stuck out with me because we had the chance to do it a few times but schedules just didn’t line up.
Before doing your final tour you last did a small run of house shows in the US. What was the reason for that and how do you feel like they were?
Zach : The house show run was my passion project to put it bluntly. I’ve had the idea to do it for a couple years but timing wasn’t right. Once we decided to end the band, I knew I had to make it happen. The shows were insane. House shows are so important to the Midwest and how I grew up and came into hardcore. I wanted to relive that and share it with the next generation who had maybe only seen Expire on big stages with lame barricades and security. It went off flawlessly.
Bringing out bands such as Bent Life, Cross Me, Bib, Homewrecker, and No Victory for your final tour what helped influence the band on who to bring out for this?
Zach : I wanted the last tour to shine a light on some of the coolest Midwest bands doing it right now. Pretty much all the bands are close friends of ours so it only felt natural.
With the final show taking place in Milwaukee and bringing the likes of Knocked Loose, Bitter End, Bent Life, and Delinquents with it can fans expect anything special or insane in store for your final show?
Zach : It’s gonna be a hardcore show. No over the top production. No bullshit. It’s a small stage and a PA in a basketball gym. Very bare bones. Same feel as when I started booking shows when I was 14/15 years old.
Any great stories you’d love to share from years of touring the world and being on tour?
Zach : This is always my least favorite question because my memory is so shot. It takes friends reminding me of things that happen to trigger my brain to remembering full stories. Wish I had some but my mind is mush haha.
Being a big part of the hardcore scene and even more the Midwest hardcore scene what are your feelings on the current hardcore scene not only in the Midwest but in the US right now? How would you compare the US scene to the international scene as well?
Zach : I think hardcore is in a really strange place. Kinda super spread out and with the internet giving every person a soapbox for their opinion to be heard, it created this call-out culture inside of hardcore. In some ways it’s stronger than ever, but in the same note very divided. I could go on for hours and talk in circles about it but I sill love it so that’s all that matters to me.
Hardcore is different all over the place. I definitely think the US gets spoiled sometimes with the sheer amount of bands and festivals but there are still people that truly love it and fight for it.
In relations to the last question what was your reaction to being on tour with bands like Four Year Strong (just as an example) where even if they are hardcore fans themselves and have roots in it, Expire was the heavy or oddball band of the night? Did you feel you often ended up gaining more fans then expected and was met with a more welcoming audience then many would think?
Zach : You’re referring to mixed bill tours and that’s my shit. I love it. I love seeing 4 bands on a tour and none of them sound the same. Gives each band their own light which I think hardcore needs more of. Some hardcore kids definitely fell off the Expire train when we started doing tours like that but for every one that bounced, we got two into it. It did nothing but benefit the band and it was great. FYS are the best too.
With “With Regret” being released as your final album to high praise is it good knowing you went on a high note? What inspirations and influences went into this album and did you try to make it different enough from the previous two albums?
Zach : I obviously wanted people to like our last record but it was the most I think we’ve ever been concerned about us liking it more. Marcus and I wrote and rewrote for weeks so that WE were in love with it. The fact that people fucked with it once it was released was just icing on the cake.
Influence wise, we wrote an Expire record. Not trying to rewrite history. Just wanted a cool hardcore record that could stand on its own and leave us pumped.
I know you recently opened up a venue in Milwaukee, care talking about that and anything you have planned with it?
Zach : Yea that was me and a close friend of mine. It’s called Triple Zero and we started working on it after the other DIY spot in town got shut down. It’s been almost a year in the making but we had the grand opening shows the other day and they went great. Stoked to see how it evolves over the next couple years.
To close this out is there anything you’d like to throw out there and say to the fans?
Zach : Come out to the last tour and check out all my friends bands. They’ll be around when we’re gone.
Just like to thank you Zach for taking the time to do this interview. Having been a fan of the band for a long time this is an honor and I’m looking forward to checking the final two shows in Milwaukee and Chicago. Thanks!
Zach : No doubt dude! Thanks for the cool interview