Coalesce | Interview with Jens Steineger

Once described by Alternative Press as one of the ugliest creative nadirs heavy music has fostered, Kansas based-quartet Coalesce always defied easy categorisation, showing a total disregard for conventional musical standards and a reluctance to avoid honest and confrontational matters in their lyrics. I mean, what other collective had done an EP featuring only Led Zeppelin cover songs, had the guts to sing the chorus of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and named their songs ‘Maybe Selling Out is Waking Up’?
Their latest work ‘OX’ certainly doesn’t lack this unique sense of song writing and boldness, and just recently I’ve traded e-mails with guitarist Jens Steineger to find out more about the successor of ‘012: Revolution In Just Listening’. Initially planned to be published on Scratch the Surface, the outcome of our conversation can now be read on Sonic Dice site. Read the entire story here.


Following 10 long years from their benchmark work 012: Revolution In Just Listening, multiple breakups and line-up changes, and talk of resurfacing under a new banner, Kansas’ ugliest and most idiosyncratic hardcore act Coalesce has recently returned with a new full-length record called Ox. The story behind the band’s latest comeback in 2005 is well-documented, the principal motif being the invitation to play at Hellfest festival alongside other resuscitated bands like Youth of Today, Bold and Public Enemy. What was initially designed to be a farewell show has evolved into a handful of gigs and eventually ignited a creative spark to do another full-length record. Do you care to elaborate more on that need and desire to write new songs for Coalesce?

“There isn’t much to elaborate on, actually. We have a good time hanging out when we’re together. We like making music together as a way of making sure we make time to hang out. There’s something exciting about laying demo tracks for new music and thinking about how it might go over in a live environment when we can really cut loose and experience the song in its deeper moments. I tend to romanticize a lot about the relationships and live experiences in Coalesce; but as ideal as I make them in my head, I still somehow get something out of it all. In other words, the event called Coalesce still delivers for me. I’m positive that it does for the other guys too."

Did you feel it was a good time to get back together, especially with hardcore and metal on the upswing again and the whole nu-metal and grunge generations dead and buried?

“We certainly have no idea which scenes and genres are on ‘the upswing’ these days. It’s nice that some people are still willing to care a bit about Coalesce and what we make, but OX would have come about regardless of any outside opinions or support. I can say the same about any future records we decide to make. If Coalesce somehow contributes to the death of nu-metal, however, I can say I will die happy; but I don’t think Coalesce is the type of entity that could ever affect something as big as the death of nu-metal. The grunge generation never died in my mind. I still think Louder Than Love is one of the best albums ever written. If I could go back and re-do Nothing New Under the Sun, I’d probably choose to do Louder Than Love in its entirety. Who knows? Maybe some day after Coalesce, I can start a new band that tries to rip off these Soundgarden songs…haha.”