Written by Maddy Howell

With their fourth studio album, 'Waiting to Derail', making it's way onto the scene earlier this month, Netherlands' alt-rockers PACESHIFTERS have been patiently awaiting their break onto the European grunge A-list.  As they draw towards the end of their run of shows with Frank Iero and the Patience, we caught up with the Dutch trio to talk about their hectic touring schedule, life on the road with Frank Iero and more. 

Burn After Writing: You recently signed to Hassle Records and released your fourth album through them. As your first release outside of the Netherlands, how does it feel to be working with them?

Paceshifters: Because we played some showcases outside of The Netherlands, we got a lot of label interest for this record outside of the country. We talked to different people but it was hard to find the right match, there was always something that didn't feel right. When we talked to Wez and Mease from Hassle it felt good right from the beginning. Both were really kind and down to earth and that’s important to us, they gave us the feeling that not everything is about money; they have a record label because of their passion for music. We also like the bands that are signed to Hassle and they don’t have too many bands, so we don't feel they sign just anyone, but only bands they love themselves.

BAW: Your style is inspired by the early grunge movement; how do you aim to make this your own and reinvent it to stay relevant in the current music scene?

PS: It’s true, we are inspired by the early grunge movement, because we love a lot of bands from the 90s, but we try not to copy any bands and only let the bands we like inspire us. We like a lot of country and singer-songwriters too, for example, Ryan Adams is a big influence for the three of us. Maybe that influence isn't as clear as the grunge influence, but that probably just has to do with the raw sound we use and love. We don’t think about staying relevant to the current music scene, we just make the music we love. If we want to stay relevant - and what is relevant? Being commercially successful? - then we have to get ourselves a DJ set. I’d rather carry a guitar than a USB stick. To us, staying relevant is to be honest, play music from the heart and say what you mean.

BAW: You’re currently touring Europe with Frank Iero and the Patience. What did you hope to get from touring with someone who has as much experience in the scene as Frank, has he taught you anything on this tour?

PS: You learn a lot from touring. You've got to be thankful to all the people that let you play in their venues. Touring with Frank Iero and the Patience is turning out great for us. Their fans seem to enjoy our set and they buy our record, we’re thankful for that. Frank Iero and the Patience are all super kind and we’re having so much fun on this tour. Dave Hause & the Mermaid and The Homeless Gospel Choir are also super nice, this line up is GREAT! And being taught by Frank? Well, he shows us that it is all about the music and doing what you love. I mean he wouldn't have to do this with a history like My Chemical Romance, so he does this because he loves it and so do we.

BAW: Your latest album, 'Waiting to Derail', wasn't officially released through most of your UK tour, but you gave fans that attended the chance to grab the album early. How has the response been so far? 

PS: When we tell the people that the album is not released yet everyone wants to buy it immediately, so I guess we'll keep saying that our album is not released yet! The first reviews and responses that we are getting are all positive so that’s cool! But this is just the beginning and we plan to come back soon.

BAW: You worked with producer Chris ‘Frenchie’ Smith (AYWKUBTTOTD/Meat Puppets/The Front Bottoms) on this record. What was that experience like and how did he help bring the album to life?

PS: Recording these songs with Chris ‘Frenchie’ Smith was a great experience. Firstly we just played a few songs with him, then made a selection out of some songs we wrote for the record. He mainly just listened and together we mixed up the songs a little bit, but when we actually started recording he would sometimes just say, “stop!”, and ask us, “tell me what this song is about”, and of course most of the time he already knew - but he wanted us to have the same emotion we had when writing the song. Sometimes that was hard, because some songs and their subjects are pretty intense, but that way he was able to push us to play the songs with more emotion.

BAW: Obviously, two of you are brothers. Do you find that to be a good asset to working together, as you know each other so well, or can it be a hindrance?

PS: It is a good asset I guess, we both like the same music and are on exactly the same level with a lot of things. We don’t fight like the Oasis brothers. We do not always agree on things, but we are able to say to each other what we think without it turning into a fight. And if we don't agree about something, Jesper can always tell us who is right!

BAW: Recently you have had a big presence on the European festival circuit. What is it that you enjoy about playing festival sets?

PS: Playing festivals is pretty cool, very often the stages are huge and a lot of people that have never heard of you get the chance to see you. You make a lot of new fans, especially when it’s a country that you’ve never played before, so that’s great. But to be honest we love playing clubs more, you get more of a connection with the audience so that often feels more intense.

BAW: You seem to be on the road a lot and quite prolific with your touring schedule, how do you manage to balance this with your home life and seeing family/friends from back home?

PS: WiFi, FaceTime, Facebook - it’s definitely not the same, but it helps a bit, and when we are at home we always have a few days off. When we have the chance to do the “work” we do it is something you should cherish, and our family and friends are very supportive of this.

BAW: Generally speaking, what is it like for a band from Europe touring in the UK post-Brexit? 

PS: We haven't toured the UK pre-Brexit, so that is difficult to say, but we don't notice a difference (yet).

BAW: What are your plans for the rest of the year? 

PS: After this tour with Frank Iero we have our own headline tour in the Netherlands which contains 16 shows, and we close the year off with a show at Hedon (Zwolle, NL) on the 29th of December, where we’re going to record a live album, we are really excited about that one.

We’re also going to continue practicing and writing new songs, we are always writing new songs. Especially with a tour like this, meeting a lot of new people and playing with different bands that gives us a lot of inspiration. And of course, spend some time with family & friends, really looking forward to that.