Chuck Schuldiner Project

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Interview with Daniel Albaugh of Die Young!

So at the legendary This Is Hardcore festival I got to have an extremely interesting and educational interview with Daniel Albaugh from Die Young. In the interview we talk about how he balances his home life with his passion for hardcore, his activism, and ultimately why he loves this music. Die Young are one of my favorite hardcore bands out there today, and if you don't know them already be sure to check them out the next time you have a hankering for hardcore destruction.

Find them on Facebook!

So how have you been? How's life?
Life's alright. (Laughs) What do you want to know?

From what I've heard from a lot of other guys at this festival, you've all come to a sort of balance... 
Die Young in previous years was very obsession driven. There wasn't a lot of regard for home life, it was very much "Let's get out and see the world." I'm 31 now and I'm going to get married next year, I work with my family, I have a very stable home life now that I'm responsible too. I can't be touring all the time but I look around at the things going on in the world and I think this is a healthy outlet for talking about that stuff. For me this is a healthy way to connect with people, have fun and express ourselves. We're definitely more balanced though, our new guitarist Chris is a father and a husband. We all have legitimate responsibilities with houses, bills and crazy shit like that we never thought we would have.

Do you feel weird at times to have this sort of balance?
It's a weird thing I think. The great thing is that I never get tired of that energy and being able to have that experience. Through the four years that Die Young was not together and I focused on work and building a relationship and things like that I eventually came to really miss these experiences. We just burned ourselves out back in the day. Now we can be a little more selective and take care of ourselves better at least to the extent where if we lose out financially doing this fun hobby-thing we don't have to sweat it as much. I think it's a good foundation and it allows us to have a more mature perspective in our lyrics and our approach on stage. We're just more realistic now.

Do you want to tell me about this case with the minks?
A friend of mine named Tyler Lang, who is a former coworker of mine and used to play guitar on tour with the Die Young side project Band of Mercy which is an all vegan D-beat style punk/hardcore band. I'm not at liberty to say much about it other than that he was arrested and given charges of breaking into a fur farm and letting out 2000 mink with his friend Kevin. They both have claimed to be innocent but both have been persecuted by the FBI in the past for their style of activism. Tyler is very involved in the Bunny Alliance which protests airlines like AirFrance and Delta that ship primates to vivisection labs. He's drawn some attention from the federal government unfortunately. He's a great guy, I worked with him for over a year when I was at PETA, he's just the nicest kid. He had a hard life growing up and did a lot of his education himself and he's become one of the brightest people I know. I'm really proud of him just as a friend.

Whether those guys did it or not, they said they didn't so I think that hopefully the public can support them and acknowledge that if you're not committing a violent crime against someone and harming their body it can't be called terrorism. If you're literally just opening a cage and letting an animal go live its life, how can it be called terrorism? I want people to know that message. This is how our government frames people who they don't like. If it's non-violent, how can it be called a terrorist action?

What about cases like the ferrets which were released by Greenpeace in Canada. That ended up being a catastrophe with all the ferrets dying because they didn't know how to forage for themselves. Couldn't these actions have triggered something like that?
One thing that I know from reading about cases that are similar to this one show that mink are not domesticated. They do very well in the wild. There have been a lot of reports, especially those cited in the book Operation Bite Back that shows that mink don't overly affect the ecosystem. They do well hunting for themselves.

How did you get into the animal rights activism thing?
My mom has been a vegetarian for my whole life. I would go to protests as a kid not knowing what was going on. I was just there thinking "Oh these people are yelling stuff and wearing costumes and this is interesting and funny." I was probably four or five years old then.I always kind of shunned my mother for not eating meat, I thought she was weird. She didn't enforce that upon me as a kid. My dad would even encourage me to eat all the meat that I possibly could get my hands on. When I was 15 I got into Earth Crisis and all that stuff and I thought "I hear what these guys are saying and it makes sense. Maybe my mom was right."

It was really nice because as a 15-16 year old kid when I decided to not eat meat anymore I had a mother who already made vegetarian meals and I know a lot of people don't have that kind of comfort in their home when they make a decision like that. I was very lucky. Over the years with Die Young we came to know people who were politically and socially active. That's eventually how I got involved with PETA. They were like "Oh we know about your band, do you want to do some stuff on the road for us?" And I said "Cool, I'll do that." It just kind of all fell into place. Initially it was just something I was comfortable doing, because it wasn't a real job. It was like touring and I got to meet people who cared about animal rights every day. I was very proud of that. Once I phased out of working for them I still continued doing volunteer stuff with different groups locally. My fiancee worked with the Humane League for a while, which is a Philly based organization.

I'm angry about a lot of injustice that happens in the world, and I'm a very privileged person. A lot of these injustices don't happen to me because I'm a straight white male in America. I have it really well. That has given me the comfort though to find out about other people and other creatures experiences and to have some empathy. I don't want people or animals to be mistreated. I don't think anybody really wants that. People don't like what I'm talking about a lot of the time, but we have to have a community discussion about it.

What do you love so much about this music?
It's just what comes natural to me. If I could actually sing I would consider being a career musician, but what comes natural to me is just fucking raging about things I've learnt. I can't really explain what I love so much about it or why I keep loving these kind of records. I love that it's very direct. You don't have to be the best musician, you just need to have some passion, and it works.

Any final comments or words of wisdom?
When I was 19 and started this band I thought I knew everything and no one could tell me shit otherwise. Now I'm 31 and have bills to pay and I'm a lot more open to what the world can teach me. It's important to remain open to discussions about things and retain things from it.

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