Walter Schreifels

By paul

Paul: Hi Walter, how are things?
Walter: Good, thanks


Why has it taken so long to do a ‘proper’ solo project?
Walter: It took me a while to feel confident performing solo and under my own name. It’s also been an adjustment not being in a band, having that kind of feedback and comaroderie to fall back on. I’d gotten used to having that. To stay creative I needed to change the format and put the weight of it on my shoulders, which meant finding new ways of achieving the sound in my head. It’s taken longer than I had hoped but I’m really happy with end result.

Paul: Why call the record ‘An Open Letter To The Scene’?
Walter: I think it sounds inviting. People are always looking for a scene, punk, hardcore, college, marriage, parenthood and it’s nice to be invited, it’s “open”. Because it’s me it implies I’m talking about the hardcore scene and I am but not so specifically. I also think the song Open Letter was a strong place to build the foundation for the record.

Paul: What experiences and incidents have inspired your new solo work? Are  
there any artists you draw influence from as part of the writing  
Walter: I’ve definitely done my fair amount of name checking on this album, from Arthur Lee to Evan Biohazard. The people I am close with have all taught me something, made me laugh, made me mad, broke my heart, made my day. I draw from those experiences. I’m a fan and I’ve tried to emulate some of my heroes, I think that’s a nice thing to do when done with stealth and heart.

Paul: What’s the difference between your solo work and Walking Concert?
Walter: I came up in the hardcore scene and have followed on from there, after a while I spun so far from that point I could barely see it anymore until I realized it was just over my shoulder again. With Walking Concert I made a break with the style I had developed through Quicksand and Rival Schools and that felt right. With this album I wanted to break with the idea of being in a band anymore to gain something new.


How did you hook up with Big Scary Monsters?
Walter: I met Kevin through Sam Duckworth, who really introduced me to the entire UK DIY scene as I know it these days. Kevin had asked about putting out my record for years and I told him I’d reach out when I had something. I was living in Berlin then, it took me a while to get it together but I think it’s kind of poetic to be working together.

Paul: Do you find it strange that there’s probably an entire generation of  
kids that have never heard of Quicksand or Gorilla Biscuits? Are there  
any ‘current’ bands you feel are relevant and will have a lasting  
impact in the same way those bands did at the time and still influence  
bands even now?
Walter: I’m sure there are lots of current bands that will have lasting impact and continued influence, though “staying power” has never been at a higher premium. There’s so much to sift through on the internet that people/blogs/whatever go through artists at an alarming speedy rate, there’s more great little bands that get noticed and hyped quickly but disappear before they can really develop.

Paul: A couple of Rival Schools questions if that’s OK.  The second official  
Rival Schools album seems to have been on the horizon for many, many  
years with rumours of albums being finished, re-recorded, scrapped and  
who knows what else. To set the record straight, what happened from  
starting work on it in 2002-ish to actually completing it?
Walter: After touring on United By Fate I think we were pretty burned out. I regret that we didn’t push through that in a way but we’ve done other things that were equally important to us in that time, all the while leaving it open to get back at it. There’s been a few periods of activity over the years but we’ve really focused this past year and got an album finished that I’m very happy with. I think it all could have been a lot easier but knowing that now makes me feel excited to play these new songs and eager to follow up this record a lot sooner.


Were you pissed off that a bunch of songs leaked in about 2003? Were  
they ever meant to see the light of day?
Walter: I’m not pissed. Over the years I’ve learned to accept that nothing is precious in the world of music. Once it’s done, it’s out there. Was I happy about it? No, and that’s mainly because the songs that leaked were not complete in my mind, they were demos but in the end it was something for the fans and that’s good.

After being away from the UK for a few years as a full band, how did  
you find last year’s festival dates? Were you surprised with the  
Walter: It was wonderful. I would have preferred to have the new album out but it was awesome to feel so connected to the audience in a festival setting and the new songs we played were well received.

Paul: When can we expect Rival Schools to return to the UK on tour?
Walter: Yes, definitely


Paul: Do you have any intention to produce anything new in the near future?
Walter: I definitely enjoy producing and I always learn something but in general I prefer to work on my own music. The projects that have come along have all happened very naturally and that’s been great.

If you could work with anyone, who would it be and why?
Walter: That’s an interesting question. There’s lots of people I’d like to work with because I’m a fan of their music but when I’m producing I like to think that I could somehow elevate the process by being there. As a challenge, I’d like to produce a Zack De La Rocha solo album. It seems that that’s what he’s wanted to do for a very long time and has gone through every cool DJ and producer under the sun with little to show for it. I’d like to be the guy to finally get it out of him.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]