One Step At A Time are this really cool hardcore band out of Belgium who sent in their CD “Our Search” to us in late 2017. They got this powerful and emotional old-school style to them that I caught on with pretty much right away. They aren’t that well known right now and In Effect has always been about helping out bands exactly like this who need or deserve more attention. Even if just a handful of people who read this interview check out what they have to say and then listen to the music, and become fans.... I will be completely satisfied. The band was interviewed back in March. Give ‘em a shot!
IE: What's up guys? First off can you introduce the members of the band and give us a list of bands that everyone in One Step can agree on has been an influence on your sound?
Jeroen D: Gill- vocals (36), Jeroen H- Guitar (36), Jeroen D– Bass (35), Stijn- Guitar (35), Jelle– Drums (29). We all love Youth Of Today, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Cro-Mags, but
the bands that really shaped our sound were bands like Ensign, Vision, Kill Your Idols, Warzone, and Nerve Agents.
Gill: We always had the drive to bring back that old school hardcore with a positive touch. Nowadays these kind of bands are rare. I grew up mostly listening to straight edge bands from the late 80’s early 90’s. That youth crew spirit can definitely be found in our music. Lyric wise there was a lot of inspiration from that era.
IE: There are a bunch of old school bands listed there. Are there any newer bands that you get into?
Jeroen D: There are definitely newer bands around who still get us excited, like Fireburn, Turnstile, Trapped Under Ice, Bent Life... we played a show with P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S. a couple months ago and they were awesome... but we mostly listen to bands from the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. There also are a lot of great new(ish) Belgian bands like Diss Guy, CeaseFire, Reproach, Quickshifter, Sunpower, Priceduifkes, …that are worth mentioning!
IE: You guys have the new release that came out last October as well as a demo that was put on to 7" in 2015. What's not as well known is the fact that this band actually started back in 1998 as a 4 piece, played 5 shows in about a 2 year span and never released anything. Can you briefly tell us why things ended on the first attempt and who was the person who sparked things getting back together? When did "the comeback start"?
Jeroen D: Stefan, our guitar player at that time (Stijn played drums back then) was in a metal band which was his main thing. They were starting to get some success so he wanted to focus on that and he decided to leave 1STEP. At the time we couldn’t find a suitable replacement. Then Gill moved to the city (Ghent) and Stijn and me were playing in The Goodfellas, so it just faded. In the following years, we got back together twice for doing some special “going away shows” for some good friends with Teun filling in on drums and Stijn back at guitar. Since we were all still involved in other bands we couldn’t seem to find the right focus to keep it going. A couple of years down the road, Gill got back in touch with Stijn and me to reform the band, around September of 2013. We got in touch with Jelle to play drums, and Jeroen H, who played with Stijn and me in Mad Mechanics, would show up at rehearsals and started to play along since he had nothing better to do, haha.
Gill: At first we only played the songs from back in the day. As Jeroen H joined in on second guitar, things started off a little more serious and new songs started to take shape. So 2 years after getting back together and finally becoming a steady band, we decided to record a demo 7” with 2 songs originally from 1998 and 4 brand new songs on it.
Jeroen D: After that demo 7” in 2015 we’ve kept on writing new songs at a steady pace, which resulted in our new record “Our Search”. We think that “Our Search” defines the sound of 1STEP and there will be more to come. We’re not finished yet!
IE: What bands were you guys a part of before One Step and is anyone currently still in any other bands?
Jeroen D: We’ve all been in other bands, currently Jelle is still in The Fleshlights and Stijn and me are also in Beenbreker. Other bands we’ve been in are The Goodfellas, Drunk,
Rawberries, Mad Mechanics, Chosen Few, NSD, Battering Ram, Highway Kings, Epilogue, 2 Fatties And The Bloody Beerbois, Shit Outta Luck, Beer For Breakfast, 5 Past 12.
IE: Was “Our Search” done totally DIY style? I dont see a record label name anywhere. If so how much of your own money was spent on recording and the making of CD's? Was it all worth it in the end?
Gill: Yes, we did this without any label and financed everything ourselves. We contacted a lot of labels. They all liked our record but there wasn’t enough confidence to put it out. One label (not going to name it) told us that this kind of hardcore doesn’t sell anymore. So yeah, that sucked. That’s why we decided to put it out ourselves.
Stijn: As to how much we spent, without going into any details, let’s just say we spent more then we’’ll probably ever make from our music, but that’s what jobs are for I guess, to pay for the things you’re really passionate about doing. And if we can’t find a label by the time we want to release the next album, we’ll probably end up doing it again.
IE: Where does the spoken word intro to “Skate Surf And Shred” come from? It seems like the bands passion for skating goes beyond just a song title. Can you talk a little more about that as well?
Jeroen D: You could say the foundation of the band was laid at the local skatepark... that’s where I met Stijn and Gill and where we became friends... where the first idea of starting a band took shape,… Stijn and Gill were already into punk and hardcore, but I had never heard of it. I was still listening to the music my two older brothers were into, which mainly was hip hop and rock. I liked that music too, but then Stijn lent me his copy of Agnostic Front’s “Raw/Unleashed” and I was instantly hooked! I kept skating almost daily ‘till I was about 23, then it gradually declined with growing older. Breaking my knee at 29 didn’t help either, and while I’m doing this interview I’m in the hospital recovering from a broken ankle resulting from a snowboard trip. In my mind I’m still 16 and wanting to get on a board and just enjoy, but it seems my body is starting to disagree! And I’m pretty sure that when I’m fully healed (or as good as it gets) I’ll be stepping on some sort of board again!
Gill: While I was in Indonesia I met a surf instructor who I befriended and he used the song for one of his surf video’s on YouTube. I’m also a big supporter of POW (Protect Our Winters), a movement to bring awareness about and fight climate change. The spoken word piece is Tony Alva speaking on Jay Adams Memorial Skate Session. We accidentally stumbled upon It, and it was perfect for the song. If you happen to read this Mr. Alva, hope you don’t mind!
IE: You guys have a video for the song “Cant Relate”. In it are video images of things that you "cant relate to" that go beyond politics and jump into things like pop culture and greed. Can you talk a little more about the message here and maybe give us some examples of things that you like and get behind in the year 2018?
Gill: As many hardcore bands, we also discuss the problems that we all deal with (personally and globally). We live in an age where a lot of people can’t relate to what goes on in the world. We still believe that hardcore is a medium to spread a message, that’s what makes hardcore more than just music. The stage is a place for the free thinkers, rebelliousness, speaking out and art. We believe in an open-minded scene, where everyone can join and truly escape from the expectations or pressures that society has on people today. It should be everyone’s comfort zone. So yeah, in that context I wrote those lyrics. It’s a strong statement against things that really make us angry and frustrated. For 2018 we hope for more kindness. Watch the video for "Can't Relate" by clicking HERE.
Jeroen D: And world peace. Even if it can’t be done, haha… But seriously, it’s all about respect for one another, and not being a greedy son of a bitch. Unfortunately, to
the people in power, making profit is number one, all else seems to be secondary…
IE: From looking up where you guys are from you don’t appear to be from big cities. What was it like growing up being where you are from?
Jelle: Except for Jeroen H, who is actually Dutch, we all grew up in small towns between Brussels and Antwerp, which have a suburban environment. There wasn’t much of a hardcore scene, there were only a handful of people who listened to hardcore or punk and we all knew each other.
Gill: When we’d go to shows it was mostly at the Lintfabriek (RIP) in Kontich near Antwerp, which was a famous venue in the 90’s and early 2000’s for alternative music. Sadly
enough that place doesn’t exist anymore, but we are proud to be a part of the heyday of that venue where we saw a lot of great bands. It was the CBGB’s of Belgium!
IE: What was your personal introduction to punk and hardcore music like? How did it come into your lives?
Gill: Back in 1994, to1996 we started listening to punk and hardcore. We met up with people (in school, and at the local skatepark) who also had an interest in the same music. Bonds of friendship were born and some of them are still strong today.There were a few “older” kids in the skatepark back then, who we looked up to. Because they already had seen many great hardcore punk bands live and who had a huge music collection. They were really feeding us the music we hold dear and which is still present in our lives today.
Jeroen D: Growing up here wasn’t that hard, and I don’t think any of us got looked down upon for the music we listened to. In all honesty, we could sometimes be little pricks ourselves when we were younger and we probably dealt out more shit then we got.
IE: These days it seems that there are more hardcore bands than ever before. Social media and Bandcamp pages instantaneously bring new bands right into your home within a second. I have featured many bands over the years on this site who I feel should have more exposure and in turn more popularity but in the end its not me who decides what bands get more fans and which ones do not. For someone reading about 1 Step for the first time here why should people check you guys out beyond just reading this interview? Thanks for your time as well!
Jeroen D: It’s definitely true that there are a lot of hardcore bands nowadays, and it can be hard to see the forest through the trees. It’s not easy to get yourself noticed, so thank you for giving us a platform!
Gill: The reason why people should check out One Step is very cliché: We do this with a lot of fun and passion. We just want to put our music out there. We don’t follow a trend, we do what we love and we still make music as it was in 1998, back when we started. Like mentioned above we play a kind of hardcore which is rare nowadays. We don’t fake it, we still have that spirit of youth inside! Thank you for doing this interview with us and for helping us spread the fire, 1 Step At A Time!