Rites comes from Netherlands and play a style which is between hardcore and punkrock and it´s one of Netherlands best bands right now. Here´s an interview with them done in march 2024.

 

Please tell me a little about the story of Rites?

Rick: Do you have a minute? We can hardly believe it ourselves, but we’ve been together for over ten years now. In that time we’ve released four records, played over 120 shows in various countries and became close friends. We continue to broaden our horizon, for our most recent release ‘No Change Without Me’ (may 2023) we collaborated with Shield Recordings (NL), Engineer records (UK) and Sell The Heart Records (USA). Exciting stuff!

Nous: We all hail from the same area in Zeeland, where we knew each other from concerts until we decided it was a good idea to start a band together. We all like quite different styles of music, but a bad sense of humor and love for 80's nostalgia has helped us stick together.

 

Please tell me a little about every member, age, work, previous bands etc? Is it a good thing to be older in this style?

Louisa: Rites consists of Rick (drums), myself (vocals), Nous (bass), Chris (guitar), Ronald (guitar) and our bonus member Frank (bass/guitar/sick dance moves/whatever we ask him to do). Ronald is the silent force of the band, working as a manager for whoever can pay him and always ready to shake things up with a new guitar sound. Chris is an editor/communications officer and avid Star Wars collector. He passed his love for punk on to his daughter Brecht, who attends every Rites show she can get to. I do marketing for a big venue and attend as many concerts as I can, so I guess I made my hobby part of my daily life.

Rick: I work as a teacher, teached a subject called Maatschappijleer that has a lot to do with politics, cultures and finding you place in the world/society. Before Rites I played in a bunch of bands. Mostly hardcore or punk but I also used to play in a post rock-band called I Could Float Here Forever.

Nous: Before starting up my own band I've alway been quite active photographing shows of bands. Over the years it has made for a lot of nice contacts all over the world and seeing your photos pop up in flyers, t-shirts, record sleeve and such which is really cool.

Louisa: About the age thing, I think each period in your life has its influence. When we started Rites we were in our early twenties to late thirties and we’ve grown together even with quite the age gap between members. So define ‘older’, I don’t believe you're ever too young or too old to play hardcorepunk or any type of music for that matter.

 

The name Rites, where did it come from it sounds a little like a medicine or something like that? I mean it´s a short name so it would be possible that some ne have taken it before

Louisa: Finding a band name proved to be more challenging than writing the actual songs. So sorry, this is not a story about creative masterminds coming up with something wildly symbolic. It’s more of a ‘let’s each write down five words we like and vote for the best one’ kinda story. And Rites was the best one haha.

Rick: Louisa actually added Rites to the list of names, officially it means something like ‘rituals’, but we mostly liked that it was short, strong and no other band in the area that we knew of had a similar name. I believe we found some bands online with a similar name, but they weren’t very active or played a different genre of music . I wonder if they’re still around after covid.

 

You come from Holland, how is it to live there nowadays, racists and politics overall?

Rick: The scene is doing well! Lots of new bands are doing cool things over here like Swell, Dogma, Tigerknife and Curselifter. And there are still a lot of bands that have been together way longer and are still around like No Turning Back, Antillectual and All For Nothing. Politics in the Netherlands are pretty fucked right now. During the last election a far right-wing racist party turned out the be the biggest. Fuck PVV. At least we have a lot to be angry about so hopefully a lot of kids will start bands because of it. Nous: I do feel politically we are in a large downward spiral and it frightens me. I hope that - like Rick says - it's a catalyst for younger people to become more active, both politically and creatively. I feel it's a boost our local scene could use.

 

When you do your lyrics, what are they about, anytime political or is politics nothing to have in music? Is it worth doing music without being political?

Louisa: Each artist brings their own story to the table. I'm a pretty positive minded person but Rites gives me the space to share my frustrations about the current state of the world. Our lyrics can be personal, but also capture a broader story. Lyrically, we’re often a socially critical band. However I do feel that it’s always worth doing music, whether it be political or not. We like to get a message across, but that message can also be about expressing yourself.

Rick: I often help Louisa with lyrics if she needs some ideas or inspiration. In the past I wrote a lot of lyrics for my previous bands and I also wrote the lyrics for Echo on our latest release. It’s quite personal, about getting through a rough period in my life where I struggled with my feelings after my wife had a miscarriage.

 

How would you describe your own music in three words for those who haven't heard you?

Rick: Melodic hardcore punk

 

Are there any groups you have been compared to? Is it bad or good to be compared?

Rick: I love that we once were described as the hardcore Paramore. Besides that people hear a lot of things in our music. A friend of mine once said that we remind him of Tsunami Bomb. I thought that was funny because Andy (of Tsunami Bomb) released our record in the US on his label Sell The Heart Record. I think it’s a good thing people compare us to other bands. It means people are interested in your band and they are searching for references.

 

Have you listened a lot to old Dutch punk/hardcoregroups and do you have any favorites from the past?

Rick: There are a bunch of cool old Dutch bands that I still listen to. Bands like Seein Red, Mainstrike and Reaching Forward. There are also newer bands (but oldies to some of the new kids) that I still love to listen to like Justice (from Belgium but they had some Dutch members), Omission, A Step Apart and Razor Crusade

 

Which is the best format to put out records on? R

ick: Vinyl. Not the most practical but man… I love vinyl.

Nous: What he says! Big beautiful sleeves to look at the artwork.

Louisa: Vinyl all the way, although I also love that we have some on tape.

 

Can you feel that you have done a record if you would release it only digitally?

Rick: Sure but it doesn’t feel like you have finished it. All our releases eventually ended up on vinyl and tape. NCWM will be out on tape in a few weeks.

Louisa: Releasing music digitally is the best way to reach a broader audience, so never underestimate the importance of that. However, there’s nothing like holding something you created in your own hands.

 

When you listen to music, what is your favorite way to listen to music, Spotify, vinyl, CD or what do you prefer?

Rick: At home I prefer vinyl. On the road it’s Spotify.

Louisa: I love listening to music when I’m on the road, so Spotify it is. But at home I always try to spin vinyl as it’s a more authentic experience.

 

Do you buy much records yourself?

Rick: Yes. According to my partner, more than is acceptable.

Louisa: Me, Nous, Rick and Chris have quite the vinyl-collection between ourselves.

 

Is there any good record shops left in your hometown?

Rick: There are a bunch of record shops in our area. None of them are really into punk/hardcore but we have a nice bunch of shops that sell second hand and new vinyl.

Louisa: The Dvrukkery in Middelburg carries our vinyl, so definitely go check them out. 😉

 

Any good bands from your town and in Holland overall?

Rick: Middelburg has a few active punkbands next to Rites like the Scallywags featuring our very own Chris. Tarzan and the Beachwaiters and Bierwolf. Zeeland (the area that Middelburg is part of) also has a new skatepunkband called Hexndheving. The Netherlands has a lot of cool bands. I already mentioned a bunch of them. Dogma, Swell, Antillectual, No Turning Back, Lone Wolf, The Real Danger, Tusky, Pressure Pact, Video Store, Tigerknife, Angstgegner, …

 

What does punk mean to you, is it only a musicstyle, a word or is it a style of living?

Rick: Next to music for me it’s a part of mindset and thinking. The DIY-mentality and being critical, self aware and social is a big part of it. In my opinion right-wing has nothing to do with punk besides something that we have to fight against.

 

Tell me a little about the following song and what they´re about? Who did them and tell me a little about the story?

No change without me

Louisa: The title track of our record is about the human tendency to turn a blind eye to the current state of the world. It’s easy to wait for others to initiate change, but every person can make a difference. There’s no change without you taking that first step.

b/ Low love

Louisa: These lyrics were written based on a feeling, roughly they’re about the sense of freedom you get when making choices that resonate with you. It can be scary following your own path, but exciting at the same time.

      c/Echo

Rick: I wrote the lyrics to this one. It has to do with the periode after my wife had a miscarriage. It was a rough period and the miscarriage was very heavy. We almost needed to go to the hospital. My mind was full of emotions. I was mourning and trying to find a way to be strong for my wife. It was very therapeutic to write all those feelings down. I’m glad Louisa wanted to use and sing those lyrics on a Rites-tune. The song ends with the heartbeat of my daughter who’s two years old right now. That heartbeat is recorded with the fist Echo we had. It’s the perfect sound that signifies the end of a very dark period.

 

Are you selling any merch on your gigs, do people buy it? What sells best?

Rick: We do sell merch and people that are excited about our music buy it. It’s nice to see people like what we’re doing and supporting our band. Vinyl and t-shirts sell the best. Right now we also have some fannypacks, longsleeves and cd’s with us.

Nous: And it seems we have a good taste in design, quite often we run into people wearing our t-shirts when we go to shows.

 

Which is your own favorite song among your own songs? And which song is the people choice?

Rick: I love to play all the songs from our No Change Without Me EP and one new (unreleased) song that’s part of our live-set. Mostly because those songs feel the strongest and more diverse compared to our previous stuff. And I love the drumparts of those. We wrote those songs partly in the pandemic so I had more than enough time to try out different approaches with the drums.

Louisa: Not specifically my favourite-ever Rites song, but I love the energy we get when we close our setlist off with ‘Overdose’.

 

When you do songs, is it one in the group who does them or how do you compose a song?

Rick: Mostly one of us (Ronald or Chris) comes up with a guitar-part or parts. We start jamming a bit and when we have a solid base we make a rough demo out of that one and send it to Louisa. If she likes it she will start exploring some vocal-ideas and when that feels done we make a proper demo out of it. We started working this way during the pandemic. Before the pandemic we worked out all the parts together in the rehearsal-space.

 

Please rank your five favorite records? Five best concerts you have been to? And the five most important things in life?

Rick: Wow. That’s a tough question. Here we go. Best five record (in no specific order):

Hot Water Music - Caution Quicksand - Slip The Get Up Kids - Something To Write Home About Deftones - White Pony Wu Tang Clan - 36 chambers

Best concerts: Modern Life Is War - Reflections fest, Hengelo 2006 Mewithoutyou - ‘t Beest, Goes 2001? Maybe 2002 The last Lintfabriek-show, Kontich 2007 Quicksand - Dessertfest, Antwerp 2023

Most important things in life My daughter My wife Friends and family Music Louisa: I’m happy Rick answered this one because I’m having a tough time picking. To name something: everything Drug Church puts out is solid, Thrice is always a classic but there’s too many concerts to mention haha.

 

Do you care about reviews? Which is the most peculiar you ever had, with this band or any other band you have been to?

Rick: Yeah, reviews are always subjective but I love to read what people think about our music.

Louisa: I love it when people take the time and effort to listen to our music or attend a show and write about it. As a woman in hardcorepunk, I’m often described as ‘cute until she starts singing’ which I’m getting a bit tired of. Other than that we’re always very appreciative.

 

If you could choose five bands from the past and the history and nowadays and both dead and living bands to have a concert together with your band. Which five have you been chosen?

Rick: Taylor Swift, Wu Tang Clan (with all the members from the 36 chambers record), Minor Threat, Inside Out and The Get Up Kids.

 

Is music a good way to get out frustration and become a nicer person outside the music?

Rick: It works. Sometimes a bit of therapy helps as well.

 

You have never had any thoughts in singing in dutch?

Louisa: Not with Rites haha, who knows what the future might bring.

 

Any good Swedish bands you like?

Rick: Yeah! I love Satanic Surfers, Anchor (mostly Norway but some of their members were Swedish), Hårda Tider and Balance. I wanted to add Damage Control and Death Is Not Glamorous but they are from Norway. Close enough?

Nous: I'll have to add Venerea and No Fun At All and Rick's probably forgotten Refused

 

Is it boring with interviews? Is it much interviews? What do you prefer Telephoneinterviews, face to face or as this one via e-mail?

Rick: We don’t do much interviews but I don’t mind doing them. I love to do them mostly face to face (or by skype and stuff) but e-mail is okay as well.

Louisa: I really appreciate it when someone takes the time to get to know more about us, so ask away.

 

Futureplans for the band?

Rick: We have some plans to do some short tours. We are the weekend warrior-band. Most of us have a nice jobs and family so we try to be responsible on that part. We also started working on a bunch of new songs for a new release but that will take some time.

Louisa: Write more music, play cool shows, have a good time.

 

Futureplans for yourself?

Rick: Try to be a good father and husband and person in general.

Louisa: Rick is such a wholesome man. I guess seeing a bit more of the world, improve my guitar-playing skills, be a good person and create good memories.

 

Wisdomword?

Rick: Be responsible to your environment and the people around you. Fuck racism!

 

Something more to add?

Rick: Thank you for your effort and attention to our band. Please check out all the bands we mentioned, everything Shield recordings, Sell The Heart records and Engineer Records does!

Louisa: Thanks for the questions and feel free to hook us up with a show in Sweden, we’ll gladly come over. 🙂

Last 2 photos:Isabell Allaert