Izegem on a rainy Friday evening in January. It’s the first show of the year I’m attending, and it’s promised to be a good one. On the bill are, among other bands, Hessian. A band I got to see for the second time. It’s an energetic set of head banging on the doomish metal influenced hardcore tunes. It makes me think about Rise & Fall and Black Haven. Some band members are actually from the latter band, which explains the influence probably. Losing Streak is also represented, for all you people who like to reminisce about the old, but still not too old, days. I still feel bad for only seeing them once, and I cannot recall it since it was probably one of my first shows and I didn’t really put much attention to the band names back then.
This being said, I see Tony sitting behind the merch tables talking and joking around with his fellow band members. With me is a friend of mine called Freek, eager to do an interview with one of his favorite bands. I asked him to do an interview with me, since I knew he was truly fond of The Effort. Some questions in this interview came from his brilliant mind so here’s a big shout out to Freek. When asking Tony for the interview, he takes us to a little backroom behind the merch tables. To him it seemed a good spot to talk about him and the band in a quiet and peacefull way.The room is filled with rolling hallstands (I just can’t seem to find the appropriate word for it) and exactly 3 chairs. What a coincidence. In
the gloom of the blue TL lights lighting up the room in a way it makes me think I’m in a brothel or something, we fire the first questions to Tony…
How is the trip to Europe going? “I remember the last time we played Belgium was last year, at Ieperfest. But I mean, overall coming to Europe is a real treat for us because the hardcore scene in general, people appreciate it more. It’s not cut to the point it’s ridiculously oversaturated. People really enjoy when a band comes through and there’s a lot of hospitality in general. Wherever we go we get treated very well which is cool,
I mean, but at the same time, we are horrible punk rock musicians but that doesn’t matter that much if we come over here. We get big headed and when we go home we get grounded right away.” (laughs) It’s an awesome trip I guess. A cheap one too? “Uhm (thinks a while), no, we’re almost there, we got a couple of more shows left and we’re almost just at the point of break-even. And when that happens it’s like “yeah!”. We don’t facture the time lost for stop working so, it’s, all the costs settled by me. Moneywise it’s definitely… We always enjoy better fees in the States so…”
How has the hardcore scene evolved and can you still identify yourself with it? “Uhm, I don’t know, that’s actually what we end up talking about a bit on stage when we play. I don’t know, to me it’s kind of evolving into a weird thing. I don’t understand what’s happening to the internet, like all these social networks and websites. But it’s like everything is fast paced, like, maybe it’s humanity itself that has become more fast pace. It’s evolving so fast, for instance two years ago we were booking shows completely through MySpace and now it’s completely different. It’s like everything is changing so fast and it’s hard to keep up with it. And I think it’s taking its toll on the hardcore scene. Because
kids take it for granted a lot more and it ends up looking more like the same shit you see going on in like high school, like other social gatherings you know. I don’t know, it’s kind of scaring me as it started off as some kind of rebellion. It’s some kind of subgenre where people had, like you had straight-edge, and all of that and know it’s just more and more about NOT about any of that. It just becomes how you can mark yourself as a band. That’s where it all comes down, it’s the same shit you see on MTV. It’s a little sad to see, but it happens. Like we’ve been on tour through Central-America, Canada, United States… We did multiple European tours, and you know, just being able to say that out loud to the people who are , who paid to see you, and telling them how much
you think they are also being involved in stuff like you and the downward spiral we get sometimes. But I think overall we have to be conscious of it, you know. And realize that it’s such a great thing but we keep destroying it ourselves.” So you feel the ‘more than music’-idea behind hardcore seems to be more and more on the background these days? “That’s the evolution we talked about, definitely. It’s happening. We see it when, you know, I personally know some bands that had great messages and they toured their asses off just all DIY from the day they began. And nobody could touch them, because they’ re not marketable. And to a point I understand that, from a financial point of view. But, you know, everything is said over and over again where things are now becoming solely about marketing… and that’s all there is when it comes down to it, you know . .. A band that gets its roots in the hardcore scene but then marketing themselves into a way they forget their message that is the part that really bothers me.” One thing that really bothers me is hardcore divides into different genres, and most of the time it’s about being the toughest and hardest, and the message is on the background. It sucks. “Yeah, it’s bad because, it started off as a reason why we’re being angry, you know. You can’t just manufacture anger, you know, you have to genuinely feel it every day in order to get up on stage and scream at somebody, you know. That’s what we’re doing, you’re getting on stage and totally pour your heart out in absolute anger about something. But the fact that right now in hardcore punk it’s like common for every single band to just yell. But why? Why do you need to yell? Why do people get in the pit and why do they need to throw their fists around? It’s supposed to be for a reason, you know. And now it’s just to look cool or fit in, and that’s exactly what we should be striving for, not fitting in, you know. The point is not to fit in. The interview started off with some hard nuts to crack already. I’m starting to get
some kind of connection with Tony and his opinions, because I kind of feel the same way as he does. But then again, possibly I’m not the right person to judge hardcore today. For that reason we’re changing the conversation to another topic. One of the most interesting things about bands are probably their blogs. In a way it kind of reveals the personality of the band and writers, and in some cases you might stumble on some really interesting things. Tony seems to be really interested in Budhism, Hinduism and Tantra. Of course, hearing one’s thoughts on such a-typical matters is more than fascinating… “I just try to read about other religions. I really like to try to understand other beliefs and I love to read up on it. But overall I think it’s just like, uhm, you know, that’s like the reason why we’re using shakra as an actual logo because, what the actual meaning stands for is, it doesn’t come down to religion itself but it’s about the whole western world who doesn’t even look like paths right in front of their feet… and what humans can perceive through their horribly created eyeballs, you know. And uhm, we’re told we’re living in worlds with parallel shit going on and I just think that the eastern religions are far more open to that concept. That there is more than just the eye sees. So it’s the whole general idea of what The Effort tries to do. There’s more to what goes on in society and what we just see and what we perceive, because that’s exactly what’s been fed to us, what we’re being told, what we see… That’s the general idea.” And are you a religious person? “Not really, no. If I would conform to any kind of religion, it would have to be Buddhism. But I don’t really agree with them, when it comes to the idea of non-violence. I just think that violence is sometimes necessary.” In which cases? “When people are oppressed, to the form you need to stand up for them , but I mean, that’s just a matter about semantics at this point, you know, because, I really … people don’t want to talk to it when it comes to religion. People say I’m
an agnostic person, I doubt that there is some kind of higher order, but I don’t really mind that much.” The Effort released their new record ‘Wartime Citizens’ in 2010, the long awaited successor of the brilliant Iconoclasm of 2008.What else could I do than ask something about this record and, of course, discuss politics and socialism which is strongly represented on this album? In the first song of your new album you sing about ‘virtual masturbation’. It was the first thing that I noticed, so what is it about? “I mean it’s like uhm, I always see like images constantly projected to us, and now it’s more and more being virtually projected to us. It’s the idea of extraction, of something that’s not real, so it’s like, what is it? What really is it?” It’s not about the social media? “Yeah, it is about the social media,…” I think the idea behind ‘virtual masturbation’ is that it’s all on the internet. You know, like we don’t have to go to the library to check things out,… “Yeah, no, it’s a way to appease ourselves and uhm, more and more when on tour members of the band, you know, back home it’s hard getting in touch of people they love. You know, on our previous tour we haven’t had like access to Wi-Fi like and totally out of nowhere, we come back to Europe two years later and there’s Wi-Fi everywhere. So now it’s, everyone checks his updates, you talk to everybody back home and … . It’s not about needing THAT, it’s about , we need to find something in ourselves to make us happy, you know. Sometimes I check to sabotage… pull the plug out of Wi-Fi. But, no, it’s just in general, you know, …” It’s just too important for us and we can’t live without, so…. “Exactly.” In ‘ Dear Sarah’ you criticize former presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Can you clarify your
objections against her? “It’s not really objections, obviously the song is about her more than something against her, but um, more or less, the song is more about politics in general. How fed up I am about it in our country. But it’s now back and forth and in reality there’s no real big difference between what might be left or right… eventually it’s all the same shit. And before I was taking stances where I was hold specifically to the left-handed side.. so hoping my country going further and further to left and… but in reality, it’s just, everyone is just tired of something and you just vote the opposite because you get tired.” You know the situation in Belgium here? We have like more than 200 days of non-government. “Yeah, I did hear about that.” Well, personally, it’s actually a far from my bed show. I don’t care a lot about politics, at least
not what they are doing here in Belgium, but… that’s crazy. “Yeah, you know, overall just coming to Sarah Palin in general… Just how Barack Obama is a figure for left-winged idealists, and, I mean, she’s the exact opposite, she will be… she’s the person who the right see as a person who is still untouched that can be considered holy in their eyes. Who hasn’t dealt with much government and in that way she isn’t tainted but in reality she’d be back office. Everything that she has, everything the people around her have is only because of oil.” Her dad is an oil magnate or something? “Yeah, every single person in her life gets money from oil business. And they’re ruining the beautiful wildlife.” Makes me think about the situation in Sudan, in Africa, where the northern part wants to go independent but they’re 100 %
dependable on oil. So when that’s gone… “Everything is overwhelming in politics. It’s hard for me to get news stories coming in while on tour but uhm, Sarah Palin on her own website has every single person in the US government, all the names of every single representative who voted for the health care bill and, when you scroll over them a crosshair appears. And a congressman got shot in the head. So people are like trying to understand why her poor items used are the cause of that action. It’s just sick, the left and the right really hate each other and that’s really not good.” How do you think about Obama being a president over the last 2 years? Do you think he met the expectations? “I really think there hansn’t been one person in the existence of humanity that could have met all the expectations of
the American people, because the last 8 years were shit. I think it’s physically impossible. He took a complete one-eighty turn for the United States, but, you know, I can’t fully blame the man, I think it’s overwhelmingly people voting a message of change in the country. And you can’t put that much pressure on one person. But overall I think he’s a good president. I think he’s trying to accomplish some real great things. But I think he needs to stop thinking that people call him a socialist to the bad (laughs). I think the socialist programs helped fuck up the country immensely in previous terms. I mean, it’s just, at this point in time, no matter what, uhm, what really goes on in the United States, the only thing that reaches the public here is what the media tells them. I mean, no matter what the guy accomplishes, whatever the media thinks he accomplishes, it’s better than John McCain I think (laughs).” Something totally different. How has being straight-edge influenced your life and to be more specific The Effort? “Uhm, I think that’s a really good question because we always talk about that, uhm, you know, I’m not gonna name bands or anything, because that’s too obvious, but really, it drives me insane that when bands said they’re like straight edge, but then over the years they start refining their message or refining what they wanna talk about, and then they slowly drift away from being edge. Sometimes they’re not even straight edge at all anymore. I think what they don’t realize is that being straight edge overwhelmingly –at least in my personal opinion- help formulate ideas and the way you see society. And I mean, in general, there’s not that distraction anymore. For the past 8 years I haven’t felt the need to put my body to numb. That’s why in a broken society I knew it helps, I think of the thing about the internet. Don’t think I’m saying that straight edge kids can’t use the internet (laughs). It’s just that idea of, honestly I think it’s stupid, overall, to say: these are the straight edge rules, that’s what we divide by. I think it’s mostly a meaning of getting lots and lots more and becoming this robot. More or less I think it’s just the idea of not numbing yourself. Not saying that, uhm, it’s about deciding that you
settle with being ignorant, and I don’t want to be that for an object or any form and way to help … that ignorance. And, overall, that’s why The Effort wants to be that kind of band, because without being straight edge it would never… all the shit we say would be invalidate, because in order to think that way, in order to come across these ideas, I would never thought of any if I was still a drunk punk and not giving a fuck what I did with myself.” So you were a drunk punk once? “Oh yeah, whenever I wanted to get high I just took some marihuana from my dad. And it’s not hard at all for a 14-15 year old to get alcohol or drugs, just ask somebody to buy it and they’ll buy it for you. So, you know, when I was young and really into punk rock and shit that’s when I drank all the time, got high. Just talked about anarchy but acting all day long drunk and fucking break shit. And, you know, I didn’t want that anymore. I wanted to actually HAVE a reason to be angry and the more I distract myself with fucking as many people I could or getting wasted all the time, you know, I didn’t want to do that anymore.” So you’re straight edge for yourself? Because, some kids here in Belgium are edge because of their friends or most of the people they know in their scene are edge. I mean, I’m not edge but I really can live without it so… “Yeah, I’m straight edge for a long time now. I mean… I agree with that definitely, but I think people not always involve constantly . So, sometimes people start off because of their friends,… My personal experience is,uhm,… I used to hang out with a whole group of punk kids, but only one or two were actual real punk kids. They grew up listening to Minor Threat, so that was really cool, they had straight edge ideas. So they introduced me to it, you know, and by that time I didn’t know how I was going to end up. And it clicked, it just worked out and things were starting to get better for me and I kept involving in stuff. So, you could say most are only edge because of their friends, but that’s also a good thing, some will evolve and listen to what you have to say.”
Boston is the hardcore Mecca of America, or isn’t it? How is the Boston scene now, is it still straight edge? Because I heard of Boston Beatdown and all that shit. “There’s not really that big straight edge scene in Boston since the last time I was at a Boston show, I mean, for the most part, there hasn’t been that much of a straight edge scene in Boston for like 5 or 4 years now, you know. But again, like I was saying, I would personally take, you know, a socially awareness over a straight edge scene. If you combine too many straight edge kids together, it just becomes.. a lot of times it becomes really bad, especially with the FSU crew, they just have some jock mentality rather than keeping everything posi and spread a message. But I mean, there are still a lot of great straight edge kids.” About Boston, to us it’s like THE hardcore scene. Have Heart and stuff. It really looks awesome. “Yeah, I know, Boston has a great scene. Have Heart has kinda put Boston on the map when it comes to the worldwide view. Because there’s always ‘Boston.Boston.Boston’ on everything, you know what I mean? Bands like Guns Up are always shoving that Boston thing in your face. So, I mean it’s cool, but, yeah even your shirt has Boston all over.” (laughs)
Isn’t that cool for you? Isn’t that nice to say ‘we’re from Boston’? “Sometimes. Sometimes it’s nice to say. Because, uhm, where we grew up, where the band actually started was a northern city close to the New Hampshire border. And then, when we got more members… right now, this is where The Effort was going down , I didn’t think it was gonna work. The guitar was James, he was up near the New Hampshire border. It’s about an 80 miles drive.” Dude, we live in Belgium and we think going from the countryside to the city is far. “Haha, true. Our other guitar player lives in New Island, and that’s about a 3 hour drive. From Boston like 2 hours. Our bassist lives in Orion. We’re kind of all spread out.” Then, how do you rehearse? “Well, they all live in a couple of hours between each other. I don’t rehearse that much. Every time we fly back and then do a week of shows .” You lived you whole life in New Hampshire. “I lived at the border of New Hampshire actually. We bought a place there and I live in a tattoo shop now. I’m not a tattoo artist, my girlfriend is.” What’s the true meaning of the name ‘The Effort’? “Uhm, well, James and I we started the band after our old band broke up. And actually, Jordan, our bassist was in that band as well with us. … And at the time we were writing lyrics and it was horrible. And the music was terrible too. And the music was like, what I thought the hardcore scene would appreciate, you know. If that seems cool, I’m that kind of band. And, we played some shows for 2 years maximum. And, you know, when the band broke up I was a bit bummed out about it. And I realized how.. overall, it didn’t work out and I figured out we were trying too fucking hard. So me and James started writing music together. I’m horrible at playing an instrument, but I tried playing
a guitar, play some drums,… and after we did a couple of practices we just hung out with each other and we were talking just what we wanted to do with the band. And someone just said, ‘ we just have to put a bit more effort into it’. And that’s how we got the name.” In many bands, the members have some kind of role. Someone is the lazy bastard, someone is the PR- manager, … How about you guys? “It’s only been a year since we’re with this line-up. And we were doing a lot of interviews to get the right guy. But like, before that, I was responsible for like everything. It goes like interview, merch design, anything at all I handled. And it was like, it wasn’t bad for not having a job, because The Effort was my job for like 3 or 4 years straight. My girlfriend hated me for it. (laughs) But The Effort was my job, it was all I did. But now everyone started to take on more responsibility to help me out, because… I want them involved. Because, if I had to keep doing everything, it would never be a band, you know. It would just like be.. Tony. It’s kind of stupid being that way, thinking that way. So now the others do a lot more stuff now. They’ll do interviews sometimes, handle our finances,… And Christian, our new drummer, he’s doing the merch for me and that’s a HUGE relief. And he is really fucking good at it! Like he’s checking every day how much shirts we have in stock, you know, I’m so happy to have him. (laughs) I can count on everyone, but James… James is our original guitar player. He’s not lazy or something, but responsibility and him don’t go hand in hand. We always make sure it’s like ‘James, it’s okay, you just play your guitar’. (laughs) We can’t give him something, he’s James. James just ‘is’, he just lives.” (laughs again) Can’t he drive a van or something? “Oh yes he can. But he’s like a grandma behind the wheel.” (laughs) You’ve toured a lot now. What’s the most unforgettable memory you have, something you’re still laughing about,…
“Hahahah, Moshvalley was cool! The thing that really sucks is like playing a festival the day right after. We had to literally play and then leave. I hate that! We played a show then in Germany. I was really bummed out about that, because, what I knew after that tour I had to move to Saint Louis. And it was actually Have Heart’s last tour. I really wanted to see them but I couldn’t, and we didn’t even actually get to see them at all in Europe. So then when I got back in the States, I moved out to Saint Louis and when I got there I just missed their last show in Saint Louis. And while I was there, they played their last show ever in Boston. So I kind of was bummed out about that.” “But I think like the craziest thing we decided to do is going to Central America and tour.That is actually below Mexico and before South-America. That was just… I don’t know why we decided to do that. It was really fucking cool, like the hardcore scene there is like just starting now. It’s the first time they had shows and it was really weird. Like, we played someone’s backyard, all on these little amplifiers, you know, those small things that sound pretty horrible. And it was really cool, it was like the first tour we’ve done with the band. And it was financially horrible losing like 5 or 6 thousand dollars, you know. We had to take busses to everywhere, that was fucking crazy! But it was cool, it reminded me of being in the 7nd or 6th grade, just started playing music and just starting getting involved with some horrible instruments. And so we were like starting off again, flying down there and playing to a lot of people, but … you know, selling your merchandise below profit and stuff. It was really cool, but man, we’ll never do that again. (laughs) It was really a fucking trip man, we jumped on busses and we had absolutely no idea where we were going. People were like saying, ‘take this bus’, and we were like, ‘okay’. And suddenly we came to the border and the bus stops and people with machine guns telling you to get out and take out your stuff. And the bus keeps going until it drops you off and you stand there waiting, hoping somebody will come. And so finally somebody does come …” Those are the coolest stories! So one more question: what will the future bring for The Effort?
“I really have no idea. So many people ask that and every time it’s ‘we don’t know’. We really don’t know, we’re not planning ahead of anything. It’s basically because, we can’t think of a time where we want the band to end, you know. And I really don’t like having the idea of a last show or a last tour.We will play for a little bit. Overall, we never plan tours until after we completed the tour. Everybody in the band works, except for James. My job is really nice, they let me take off to wherever I want, you know what I’m saying. They’re reasonable, knowing that I have a band. They understand it, so that’s cool. The job I have, I really want to keep it so I can’t make it to take more time off than now, but, if you have a band, you tour. We’re like a family, if somebody wants to take time off, I work my ass off, and they do the same for me.” And with these words this 50 minute conversation ends...
Pictures by Greg aka MonkeyMosher
As we were waiting for the venue to open, a van slowly passes by with a bunch of guys with a very concentrated look. I recognize Staffan and immediately start waving my hands and put my skateboard in the air. Seemingly happy to see a bunch of skate punks who might be their crowd for tonight, they started waving back. We’re in some kind of back neighborhood of Kortrijk. The venue seems to be an old porn movie theatre and previous record store. Thumbs up for that! I see Staffan and Andy, bassist and singer in Stay Hungry, in the back room of the venue loading out their stuff. It’s some kind of big hall with some stairs, a bar and filled with weird stuff like weird looking bikes and stuff. Ferm & Fameus, our local vegan catering is making some food for the bands. We don’t have much time, because I have to catch a train back home, so we decide to do the interview while Staffan and Andy are eating. We look for a comfy sofa and we get this interview going… Enjoy your meals! I’m gonna start off with asking who writes the lyrics. Staffan: “Andy. He writes the lyrics.” Andy: “Yeah I write the lyrics, but in fact we all do. If I write some lyrics, Staffan will correct them, add something, or drop something so it fits the song. Erik also wrote stuff for the LP.The last song of the LP, ‘Loose Ends’, we had different lyrics for it, and then the guy who recorded the LP added these melodic guitars at the end, and we realized the lyrics just didn’t fit so we had to rewrite them in five minutes in the studio out of some lines that Staffan had.The new lyrics have a vibe that fit the song.” And who wrote the lyrics to ‘Another Day’? Staffan: “That will be Andy.” So you’re 31 years old and still on top? Maybe you guys could introduce yourselves by saying how old you are and what you’ve been involved in for all those years in
the hardcore scene?
Staffan: “First of all, he’s 33 now, and he was 32 when he wrote these lyrics, so it’s all a lie!” (laughs)
Andy: “The other members aren’t from Göteborg, so we have to take the bus for four hours every time we rehearse. Ehm, Goran, our drummer is 33 now, Johan is 28 and Erik will turn 31 in December.”
Andy: “Hmm, where should I start… I just turned 33 yesterday.” Happy birthday! Andy: “Haha, thanks! I first got in to hardcore in maybe ’93. I was pretty much alone in my town. A town of 100,000 people maybe. I was pretty much the only guy of my age that listened to hardcore. Of course there were some older dudes that were into hardcore and punk. And then I started to go to shows maybe around ’95 in my town and in Göteborg where I live now. I’m from a town of like maybe 40 minutes by car from Göteborg, but right now I live in Göteborg. I also went to Stockholm for shows but mostly in Göteborg or in the area.Then I started to organize shows in my town with a pretty new hardcore crew. We were almost the same age. I moved to Göteborg in 2000 and I live there with my girlfriend now and that’s pretty much it. I’ve been straight edge since ’93 too. Already 17 years or something…” Staffan: “I’m turning 31 soon. I first heard hardcore when I was 7 or 8 years old, but I wasn’t involved in the scene until ‘94. I claimed straight edge in ’94, and played in some bands but they never really led to anything. I did a zine in Swedish. I had a band called Last Warning in the late nineties. It’s kind of like hardcore, almost grind stuff and we did a couple of split 7 inches. Then I moved to Göteborg in January 2001 to get more involved with organized politics. Doing that took most of my time. Then I was doing nightshifts at the Volvo factory for a bunch of years which made it hard to attend shows. For maybe a handful of years I wasn’t really involved. I didn’t do a fanzine, I didn’t play in a band… And then my political responsibilities ended because I was too old for the youth organization. And a couple of years after that the economical crisis hit Volvo and I got laid off too so I finally got some time to do stuff.We started with the band half a year before I got laid off, and then we started a fanzine. Since then I’ve been working and studying off and
Do you mind if I ask what you mean when you say you’re still on top? Andy: “No not at all. For me it’s just a feeling. I don’t feel that I’m better than anyone else, but I just want to say that I’m still in the scene after so many years doing shit. I’m still going to shows, I organize shows, I sing in a band… And other people just stop going to shows, stop being involved after a couple of years. It’s hardcore for life! I’m still straight edge too after all those years.” Staffan: “It’s also a feeling of being on top of things, you know. Like, we’re in control of what we’re doing. Not being, or not doing what society tells you to do. Just in control of yourself.” Andy: “Yeah, absolutely. Also, we’re doing everything DIY.” Staffan: “31 and still on top is also a reference to Righteous Jams that have a lyric in which they sing “21 and still on top.” The new record ‘Against The Wall’ has been released quite some time now. Are you satisfied with the result? Andy: “Yeah I am! I’m a perfectionist, so I’m never really satisfied with the things I do, but I guess I’m pretty satisfied with the music. Lyric wise, all the lyrics on the record are… okay.” (laughs) Staffan: “I think the new record is better than “No beginning, no end” because it’s more focused. The first record was a bit schizophrenic. Some songs went in this direction, other songs went in that direction… And I think the new record is more focused on just plain hardcore. It’s more clearly a hardcore record, with less metal tendencies. I think it’s cool, I mean, I think we would have been a better band if we all lived in the same city and rehearsed two or three times a week. Now it’s only
one weekend a month we’re rehearsing and it makes it hard to create a new album. When we rehearse for a tour we only need a couple of weekends and it’s no problem, but when we try to create something new it’s a lot harder.” I have read somewhere that on the previous record some chords were ripped from metal bands. Staffan: “Yeah, I’m responsible for that. I took a riff from an American death metal band called Malevolent Creation. It’s a song called “The will to kill.” It’s a really fast song originally and we made a mosh part out of it so nobody will notice. I also took a chord from a song called “Sulphur souls” by Marduk and that ended up in “Bloodsucker.” Both those songs are on “No beginning, no end”. Others have stolen from Marduk too, like Slapshot.” Can you clarify the title ‘Against The Wall’ and what is the record about in general? Staffan: “When we did the record, we
wanted to make it like… we didn’t want to sound negative. But we didn’t want it to be too posi either. More like an aggressive thing to it. We wanted a positive aggression to it. That song ‘Against The Wall’ starts a bit negative but the ending lines are really positive. I’m gonna break free of it! So it ends on a positive note. I don’t know, maybe the title doesn’t fit the lyrics of the record as a whole because it sounds kind of negative.” There’s one song completely in Swedish, ‘Ingen Plikt’. What does that mean and what is the song about? Staffan: “I wrote that one. ‘Ingen plikt’ is Swedish for ‘no responsibilities’, and it is actually the only song on the record that has a clear straight edge theme. It’s about people that… It’s not about people that have actual problems with alcohol and drugs, like alcoholics or junkies that have actual problems. It’s about the party people that glorify drinking and refuse to acknowledge that they are part of a bigger problem as well. If there are a certain
number of people partying, you know that at least one of them will have a problem with alcohol, either now or later on. A real problem. And their kids will have a problem. Amongst that group of people, it’s not just that person that is the problem, but all of them. The song is basically saying you’re part of the problem, and it’s quite in your face… The important thing is that it’s not directed to people that have problems, it’s not meant to kick on those who are down. It’s supposed to be directed to people that are oblivious to the consequences of their behavior, and the fact that what they do and drink have consequences for other people as well. You have these people that think along the lines of that “this is my life, I don’t care about anyone else,” but everything you do affects other people in some way. It’s written in a way that hopefully will make some people react. I know people that aren’t straight edge that like it a lot too, which is cool.” Some of the songs on the new record are about politics. What are they about in particular?
Andy: “I think almost all the lyrics are about politics in one or another way, either straight edge or politics. I don’t do straight edge only for my own sake. Because I see all these problems and straight edge is one thing that I can be to not be a part of it. Straight edge is all about politics for me.” Staffan: “I too think that in a sense all the lyrics are political, but in a sort of vague fashion. Because the five of us in the band don’t have the exact same view on everything. I’m as far on the left as you can possibly go, but I can’t write that kind of lyrics if not everyone agrees with them. I think we have a basic understanding and the same ground values on most things, but you make different political conclusions that might differ from that basis. So, like, ‘Something must be done’ is a political song, but it’s not really saying what has to be done. It’s just saying that things are going in the wrong direction and we need to do something. And I think in the hardcore scene most people aren’t right wing anyway, so they’re not gonna interpret it like they need to do something to promote right wing politics, even if the song isn’t that specific. I think that most people probably… In Sweden now we have a right wing government and a racist party got elected into the parliament. When we play in Sweden, Andy has said we have this party in the parliament now and it’s unacceptable and it’s everyone’s responsibility to do whatever they can to fight them.We have an animal rights song as well, but I don’t remember the name of it right now. Nobody in the band eats meat so that’s something we can agree on.” I’ve noticed this in your lyrics: ‘you forgot what Ian said’ and ‘you forgot what Henry said’. I assume it’s about Ian Mackaye and Henry Rollins and Straight-Edge? Staffan: “There was actually a third verse for it from the beginning. And that third verse was supposed to be ‘you forgot what Jello said’, and the song reference was “Nazi punks fuck off.” But the song was so long we had to cut that verse out of the lyrics.” Andy: “Basically, I think that song deals
with different problems in the punk and hardcore scene. Differences. And different people will have to, like, evaluate how important these problems are and how much they care about it, I don’t know… The first verse is about Ian and the main line is that I’m a person just like you, it’s just that I got better things to do” which is of course a reference to “Straight edge” by Minor Threat.” Staffan: “Yeah, it’s about straight edge and Minor Threat. And that verse is about how certain people look at it, with view that… they think that we consider ourselves better than anyone else. And so we’re saying like, well, we don’t think we’re better than anyone else.We think that drug consumption sucks, basically. And that’s ‘you forgot what Ian said.’ And then the second part is Henry Rollins of Black Flag and the song ‘Rise Above’. ‘Rise Above’ is mentioned as well in that verse. I think that we all agree that hardcore should have some sort of nerve to it. It should not just preserve the status quo, it should be some sort of rebellion to it. And the third verse we did was supposed to mention “Nazi punks fuck off ” by Dead Kennedys.That was supposed to, like, sort of balance the other verses because it was supposed to be like, you shouldn’t be pointing fingers too much either. Because everyone is a human being and you make mistakes and sometimes you need to forgive and move on and not judge people too much. We’ve been judged quite a lot in Sweden as well. People are thinking we are really tough guys and everybody that knows us know that we’re like complete kittens. We wouldn’t hurt a fly. They look at Andy on stage and might think he seems violent, but everyone that knows him knows he’s a little baby. (laughs) So that’s what that lyric is about.” So, and how important is being straight edge for you guys? Andy: “It’s super important. I don’t …” At this moment, it seems Andy is having a bit of trouble with his voice. He pardons himself, as he says singing every night is not that good for his voice. I had noticed already Andy talked really silent and held back a bit and let Staffan do all the talking. But as we were talking, it was getting harder
and harder to understand Staffan too. In the room next to us, Lifeless was playing their set, so our room was very noisy sometimes. After some coughs and a drink, we get ready to do the rest of the interview. Staffan: “I think like, the difference between only being drug free and straight edge is that you’re promoting something. Take it from me, because I know people that have been a drug addicts and alcoholics and see straight edge as a very personal thing.To them it’s very important not to have to have sort of a responsibility towards others. It’s just for themselves, something to help them stay sober. But to me it means that I wear it on my sleeve, I try to show some sort of example to other people. Just because you’re getting a little bit older doesn’t mean you have to sell out on it. And, you know, I just enjoy the culture. There’s something to that subculture that attracts me as well. Sometimes you can’t really explain it. Like, in the new issue of the Law & Order fanzine, I do eight interviews with different straight edge people from Sweden, to sort of show there are differences in backgrounds and perspectives. People have different views, people have different situations in their lives, and not everyone that is straight edge is like completely or exactly the same. And one guy, Marco, is like 35 I think, and has been straight edge quite some time as well. He said, and I’m not going to say he’s completely right but he sort of has a point, that there’s almost something metaphysical about it. You can’t exactly pinpoint what it is. It’s something that you like, that attracts you. Something that gives you energy in your life. So, I don’t like to call it metaphysical, but the rest kind of makes sense to me.” The choice of becoming edge/ vegan/vegetarian can most of the time be traced back to a certain event that happened in their life. Was there a specific event that made you go edge/vegan/vegetarian? Staffan & Andy: “No, I don’t think so.” Staffan: “When my friends started drinking, I had just found out about straight edge, and it just made more sense. I’ve never been intoxicated and I’ve never felt
the pressure to be. I think I’ve seen my dad drunk only once. And I didn’t even understand he was drunk. We were driving home from a party and he was in the shotgun seat puking, while I was calmly sleeping in the back with my brother. I just thought he was sick or something. So as a child, I didn’t have any bad experiences with alcohol or drugs around me. For some reasons, straight edge just made sense anyway.” Andy: “It’s about the same thing for me also. I was really… most of my friends in the hardcore scene didn’t drink, so I didn’t too. I also was pretty young when I found straight edge.” Your previous tour was canceled because Reflections Records unfortunately couldn’t distribute the record. That must have been a bummer? Staffan: “Of course that was a bummer, but although it was a bummer, in such situations you have a choice to make. Either you can be bummed out about it or you think about what kind of opportunities you have. And that’s what we decided to do. Rather than hang our heads and feel sorry for ourselves, we decided to just put it out ourselves and see if some friends would join in. And in fact two friends did join in and it has been a real fun process. It’s hard obviously but really fun as well. And the thing is, Johan (Reflections Records) already helped us, because he did the 12”, and that got our name out. If he hadn’t done that 12”, I don’t know if we would be here. Because, I mean, Goran and Erik, and Johan as well, our new guitar player, were in a band called Lions Den and that was their main focus when we started Stay Hungry. But when Johan released our 12” they basically decided they needed to focus, so they focused on Stay Hungry. Because we were the band that was lucky enough to a break. Lions Den were a great band but didn’t get that break that we got from Reflections. So, yeah, the name was already out there so it was a lot easier for us to do this LP by ourselves. So we all owe very much to Johan. He actually had to pull out of the LP, because he had too many big releases coming up at the same time. He said he could do the LP in maybe March or April, and we needed to get it out a lot sooner.
So we got it out in November by ourselves. Johan had No Turning Back, Deal With It, Ritual and so on coming up and it was basically too much.” Andy: “We were at his house today. He’s really the greatest guy in the world! And his family too, awesome people!” So you released the record under SH Records, and it was pretty hard as you said. Are you planning to do other releases now? Staffan: “I don’t think we’re going to release anybody else. Not that I know of, we don’t really have plans for it. Most of us want to do a 7” next time, and if no other label wants to do it, we’re going to do it ourselves. So, no we don’t have big plans for SH Records in the future. We’re now focusing on the tour, we have no new songs, so when this tour is over we only have one show in Sweden and Fluff Fest. That’s all the shows we have planned. So I think we’re just going to start working on some new material, instead of focusing on releasing a record, booking a tour and so on.” I took some time to read an interview on A Riot Of My Own and one question really stood out for me. It’s about Sweden and the social/political situation there. It basically comes down to this: “Sweden is getting more and more segregated, the welfare state is dismantled, more social unrest is around the corner.” (Staffan) I’m not going to re-ask the question, but since Staffan said not everyone sees it the same way in the band, I have to admit I’m really interested to hear other opinions. Staffan: “I think most of us share a common ground and some common values, but the political conclusions might differ. That’s the reason why I felt it was important in that interview to make sure everyone who read it understood that it was my answers. It’s not the official words of the band. The other members might agree with some of it, but other parts they
might not agree with. It’s quite important. Politics are something quite… emotional. It’s not the right word, but it evokes something within people. So I didn’t want to make it sound like I spoke officially for the whole band.” Andy: “What do I think of the political situation in Sweden? I don’t know. I don’t really pay attention to it. I only read the newspaper or what’s said on the news… I mean, it’s all bullshit. Like, it’s all lies! They write articles in the newspaper and I get really pissed about it sometimes. I’m not like left or right, I am somewhere else saying “fuck off ” to all of them.” Staffan: “I think… I know Andy, and I follow his status updates on Facebook and so on, and Andy has a really profound class hatred. (Andy laughs). He’s always kicking upwards at, like, the rich people, the government and so on.And sometimes that’s the most important thing in life.You don’t have to have a strong ideological basis, but that’s like some sort of ground values he has that I appreciate a lot.” Andy: “Yeah, I’ll read an article in the newspaper and I’ll put a link on Facebook saying ‘Read this!’.” So basically you’re more interested in social problems? Andy: “Yeah! Even though I hate a lot of people.” Law & Order zine is a mind-blowing project you’ve got. I’m not going to discuss DIY in detail because we’re doing that in another interview, but, this must really cost a lot of time and effort? Staffan: “Yeah absolutely. It takes a lot of time, and it’s hard when you’re in a band, go to work or go to school. The thing is, I wasn’t really social during the months it took to do the new issue. As in meeting friends and stuff. So, all the material in the zine is gathered from October to February. During that time I wasn’t social at all. I was kind of a bad friend to everyone, haha. I had a friend that lived at my apartment and some days we hardly met! We said ‘Hi!’ in the morning and that was it… During that time, we didn’t do much with the band either.
And when I was done with the fanzine, we started rehearsing for the tour. That wasn’t a problem at that point. Touring is also crucial for the fanzine. It’s the way we get the fanzine out. Otherwise, it’s too thick so we can’t send it by post. So, yeah it’s a tough project. I don’t know if I would have been able to do it if I had a fulltime job. I worked from October to December, then I started studying. I got most of the work for the fanzine done when I wasn’t working 8 hours a day. I don’t have a girlfriend so that doesn’t take me time. So yeah, basically I was sitting in my room and stayed up until four o’clock in the morning every night. It was hard but it felt great, just writing, writing, writing. It’s kind of boring to say that we’re old, because I don’t feel old, but I also feel like at this point, and I know the other guys doing the fanzine agree too, we said if we make a fanzine, it’s going to be the best we can possibly do. We don’t want to do something we’re going to regret a month later, you know. It has to be the best we could do at that point. So with every issue it’s getting better, and I think we couldn’t have done the first issue better than we
Maybe something cheesy to end this interview with. Tell me more about Sweden hardcore: If I should take a trip to Sweden, what cities, venues and bands should I check out? What record stores should I definitely check out? Where should I eat? How amazed would I be about the Swedish scene?
other. And now they have the same thing in Stockholm, called Stockholm Straight Edge.They’re doing the Terror show which is also Anchor’s release show. And in Malmö they have a very special scene, everyone gets along. The only thing they don’t have there is a strong straight edge scene. It’s not very popular down there. And then we have a city called Linköping which used to have a strong scene but it’s very weak now.That’s where the other guys live. Then we have Örebro and Uppsala which are getting new venues and a lot of shows. And the guy who’s with us on tour is from Norrköping and he’s doing shows there too. Those are probably the main cities at the moment.”
Staffan: “Well, there’s a lot going on in Sweden right now. In Göteborg we have the Göteborg Straight Edge Crew doing shows.We’re like 30 people, maybe more. When we have bigger shows, everyone is helping out with something. Sometimes we have smaller shows, and only five of us are doing something then. The idea is that everyone in that crew that wants to do a show is able to do it, by helping each
“I know we shouldn’t brag too much, but if you consider the amount of people that live in Sweden, when it comes to the quality of the bands I think it’s the highest quality in Europe. I think it hasn’t been like that for a long time. In the nineties, many countries were strong. Belgium was really strong with the H8000 scene and so on, and Sweden was really, really strong as well. And other countries had, like, a
did, same with number two, and the same with this issue. There’s no way we could have done any of them better and that time and place in our lives.” I’m excited!
couple of bands that were great, but they didn’t have that big amount of bands. And in Sweden now, it hasn’t been this good in 15 years or something.” What bands are really good then? I don’t know a lot of them. Staffan: “We have a Swedish hardcore sampler with us, and all the bands on that one are great! Other bands that aren’t on that compilation are Friday The 13th, Lose The Life,Vulture Mob, Slöa Knivar, Beyond Pink, No Omega, Agent Attitude, Growing Pains, Bad Review, Hold Hands, Forever Young, … There’s a new band from Göteborg called Inkvisitionen, which means ‘the inquisition’ in Swedish.
They’re going to do a split 12” in the fall. Angers Curse is not on that CD.Their new CD and LP is “Tighten The Screws,” and they’re going to tour Europe later this year. They’ve been around in the scene for a long time as well. We were at the warehouse of Edward from Goodlife Records earlier, and I picked up a 7” from the nineties, and the guitar player from Angers Curse sang in that band. It was like one euro! I didn’t have that 7”, so that’s pretty cool. I think I’ve mentioned the most important bands.” Do you have record stores in Sweden like Goodlife as you mentioned before?
Staffan: “Monument Records has the biggest distribution, but then there are some more small ones. Green Menace Records is important for the Swedish scene right now, as well as World vs Cometh and a bunch of other labels.” Andy:“There’s a record store in Stockholm called Sound Pollution which is worth a visit if you’re in the city, and in Gothenburg there’s a pretty cool store to run by the guy who used to do Distortion Records.” And how about restaurants? Staffan: “If you’re going to Göteborg, we have a pretty cool vegan/pizza place called ‘Old Corner’. Fredrik who’s doing
the layout for the fanzine, everyday he eats lunch at a place called Satva, which is sort of like a Hare Krishna restaurant but they have their own religious thing going on.They sort of believe the same thing as the Hare Krishnas, but they have their own little congregation. If you go to Malmö, you should visit a place that we visited on the way down called Vegegården which is also run by some kind of religious cult, like, really crazy people. But they have VERY good food. In some European cities their restaurants are called Loving Hut. I think these are the most important ones.” And finally, how is the Swedish scene? Is there a lot of atmos-
phere? Staffan: “It differs a lot. I mean, some Swedish bands get better response than say big American bands. Hårda Tider for example, they’re on the CD. I can’t remember when a Swedish band got so much response from the crowd. It’s crazy! But we get good responses sometimes as well. In some cities they are crazier than others. In Uppsala it’s always mad. And in Malmö, the local bands attract up to 500 people sometimes. There’s a scene that’s really crazy over there. I’m going to the release show for Sista Sekunden’s new 7” in May, I should’ve mentioned them before. I think there will be more than 500 people. That many people is huge in Sweden.”
Seems overall it’s a very good scene with a lot of response. I’ve gotta get my way to Sweden then! Thank you for the interview, and have a good show! And with these words, Staffan and Andy prepare themselves to play. I was able to see ¾ of their set before having to leave and I have to tell you, the set was really intense and there’s a good vibe to the new songs! Fly through some pages and read the review of their latest album, then buy it! It’s really worhtwile! Pictures by Fay De Vlieghere
“The zines, the shows, the distros and labels. The hardcore family - my sisters and bros. The records, the books - our own propaganda.The protests, the workshops, it’s all in the agenda.The sleepovers, the meals and the kid’s affection. This is the background of our type of action. Cooking vegan meals for touring bands, in the DIY spirit it’s all in our hands. No drugs, no alcohol, just kids having fun. Great hangouts, everyone is welcome. Our style, our talks, exchanging information. Proudly losing money for the sake of dedication. Every time I do things by myself I’m proving this world wrong. FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART I DEDICATE MY LIFE TO THIS. D.I.Y. YOU CAN’T BEAT THIS FEELING!” These are the lyrics to a song called ‘Prove This World Wrong’ by Together. I think the song itself really sums up what hardcore is about. What we do every day, checking bands, organizing shows, writing zines, running distro’s,… we do it all by ourselves. And doing it yourself gives a great feeling, the feeling of being part of something bigger, being involved in something you identify yourself with. Something that reflects who you are… This is now the second issue of this zine. I’m working on this for almost 5 months now. Interviewing bands, writing columns, reviewing albums/zines/books, … I already have experienced the feeling of selling that first copy, some kind of ‘yeah, this is it! This is what I’ve been working for.’. And it feels hella good! Selling that first piece of paper on which you worked yourself to the bone for a couple of months. The same goes with organizing shows, something I’m doing for 2 years now. Over and over again, after completing a show and the bands can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to play, to stay the night, the wonderful meals,…, it gives you the most wonderful feeling you can think of. In all this time, only twice I might have had something more than a breakeven. But as is said in the lyrics, I’m proud losing money for the sake of dedication. (although having some benefits after a show or selling your zines is very much appreciated too! ;D ) So when writing this zine, it came to my mind that asking other people how they experience DIY and what they do themselves, could be something interesting to read. It might be even more interesting to ask people from all over the world, as they might experience things in another way. Therefore, I came up with some basic questions that I believe could provide really interesting answers. These questions were send to all kinds of people and places, like the USA, Sweden, Portugal and the Philippines. 1) Can you describe DIY in 3 words other than ‘do it yourself’? 2) How important is it for you / this scene in general? 3) What are your experiences? In what way are you involved? (projects, stuff you did, etc ...) 4) Everything was better in the past... agree or disagree? 5) DIY today ... your thoughts? (could be personal, in your scene/ country, or global) 6) How bright does the future shine? 7) Every upside has its downside. What would it be? Does it weigh against the upsides? 8) Why should people involve in DIY projects as zines, distro’s, blogs, shows, tape trading, etc... ? So maybe to conclude this introduction to this ‘in depth’ topic, I could try to give you an answer to the last question on the list. I’ll keep it simple, yet straight to the point: BECAUSE IT’S THE BEST FUCKING FEELING IN THE WORLD!
Tom Coghe Merelbeke, Belgium 33 years old Reality Records Distro Plays bass in ‘The Company’
DIY in 3 words other than ‘do it yourself ’. “Learning by doing.” Support your scene. “Well I’m not that big politically correct DIY promoter. To me DIY is not doing everything myself and fuck it up. It’s better for everybody if it happens on a more professional level. And throughout the years people within the scene gathered this experience. For me it’s more like keeping your money in the scene. Support your own. Print your merch with somebody in the scene. Rent your sound equipment for a show from someone in the scene etc... For almost every aspect there is someone around who works on a certain professional level. So spend your money on those people instead of some “regular” company. Shit, if I lived close enough I would even get my bread at Josh Congress bakery.”
shows, playing in bands. My biggest involvement is Reality Records and this since 2000. During the years it has grown to a full time job next to my regular job. So last couple of years I barely have the time to do anything else.” A mainstream subculture. “It’s always two sided. It was more sincere, more dedicated, more on the edge of society. We were the outcasts. Nowadays there is a lot more money involved, also a lot more people (check things like Groezrock,With Full Force, Never Say Die tour etc..) and a lot more professionalism. “hardcore” is a mainstream subculture with a lot of airtime on MTV etc.. It’s not at all a bad thing. Bands get the opportunity to play in good and decent clubs as support for these “MTV-bands”. But with the majority of the audience there is no dedication, or effort to do something. They are merely consumers. It’s not better or worse it’s just totally different.”
A full time job.
Spirit and motivation.
“In a short notice I’m active since about 1995 in organizing shows, working at record labels, driving tours, doing merch on tours, hosting bands at my place, setting up
“Like I said I’m not that politically correct person so I’m not focusing on it and judging other people or organizations. But if I look around, I see young kids putting up shows, I see
people doing catering at shows (like Ferm & Fameus,Vegan Fastfood Crew or Theo GSR music) Wherever in Europe I come I see people doing the same things with the same spirit and motivation. And after all these years I have one conclusion. People that jump on things only with the idea of making some quick money don’t last long.” More than hardcore. “There will always be people who do this not only in hardcore. DIY started out of necessity because nobody (professionals) wanted to releases these records or put up these shows. So these situations will always be there be it in hardcore or punk or techno or whatever.” Always positive. “Its a constant struggle, its sometimes frustrating, you make a lot of mistakes that sometimes cost you a lot of money. But if the balance would be negative I wouldn’t keep on doing it.” Why should people involve in DIY projects as zines, distro’s, blogs, shows, tape trading, etc... ? “Because they are crazy, because they have too much time and so on :D If you want to do something descent it takes a lot of time, sometimes it will generate conflicts with your family, friends or partner. But on the other hand through being involved I got to tour Japan. I played Iceland with my band. I got friends all over the world and on my honeymoon to Brazil, next to the joy of being married, I was able to meet up with some friends I hadn’t seen for years and they gave an extra dimension to our honeymoon which would never happened with a regular “touristic” visit.”
Staffan Snitting Göteborg, Sweden 30 years old Editor of Law & Order Zine Plays bass in Stay Hungry
DIY in 3 words other than ‘do it yourself ’. “Passion – because although an important part of any DIY scene is dedication, if it’s not fueled by a great love for what you’re doing, in the end you’re going to hate losing money all the time; you’re going to get tired of cleaning toilets after gigs; you’re going to get overpowered by the disillusion of diminishing amounts of kids at shows when the tide turns and the scene is in decline.” “Creativity – because most of us don’t have massive funds and we need to find solutions to whatever faces us with whatever we have in our hands; because there is so much potential in every human being that is usually lost in a society where the majority are consumers, while a small group of people get to live out their possibilities and talents, and
because this scene should reverse that order.” “Respect – because in order to make a scene such as the hardcore scene function properly, we need to have patience for our differences, faults and limitations, as well as the heart to be happy for those who manage to be in the right place at the right time and truly speak to a lot of kids.” A realized necessity. “I sort of look upon the DIY “ethic” as the end result of a realized necessity, meaning that we have a scene in which people once realized that it’s not only possible, but actually crucial for its survival that they’d take matters into their own hands. For example: nobody else will write down the history of hardcore in a proper fashion than those of us who are an actual part of the scene. I could write a biography on Rosa Luxemburg by taking a bunch of writing courses and then spending time researching her and reading her works. But I do believe that the true story of a subcultural scene such as ours can only be told by those who were there, who shared sweat, got their teeth broken, desperately struggled to make sense of their instruments and enjoyed the best hangouts in the world. The “ethic” part of it stems from knowing that if the control over what happens (and what won’t) in the scene is handed over to forces outside of the scene (say any sort of media hype or business people), we will be screwed once the tide turns and hardcore isn’t cool anymore. Also, and perhaps most importantly, it’s more fun this way.” Zines, bands and politics. “I started doing my first zine when I was about 16 years old (I am turning 31 in a couple of months). We did five issues (as far as I remember) and it taught me a lot about writing and generally dealing with people. I released a split 7” with two great Swedish bands, Last Warning (whom I later joined on drums) and Acursed when I was 18. It sold out quick and there’s been no repress, neither did I release anything else. For a bunch of years after that, I had too many responsibilities in the realm of organized political work to involve myself formally in anything hardcore wise. In recent years, I’ve started doing a zine (Law and Order) together with two great friends, I’ve booked tours for Stay Hungry as well as collectively releasing our LP with the rest of the band members, and I’ve been a part of the Göteborg Straight Edge crew that sets up quite a lot of shows for both local and touring bands. I love it all, though I realize that it the long run, I might have to focus my attention a little bit.” The past was a privelege. “Everything and every time has its pros and cons. I am extremely happy that I had the privilege to experience a
time in hardcore when tape trading was more than a curiosity and you had to actually wait for something to come through your mailbox in order to listen to it. I think it served to provide a much greater appreciation for the effort of others in the scene, because the music was not taken for granted as much as it might be nowadays. Also, it was easier to “separate the untrue, from the true“ in a sense, because back then you had to dedicate yourself a lot more to the whole process in order to make anything happen. Today, with paypal, merchnow, pro-tools, blog downloads etc, it’s a lot easier to fake it and use the established DIY hardcore scene as a stepping stone (though I have no idea how common it is that people actually do so). On the other hand, booking tours and getting your name out is a lot easier these days. This is a great thing for all honest and deserving bands. I have no idea how bands managed to tour properly in the eighties and early nineties, with no cell phones, internet or GPS. I also think it’s the responsibility of every generation of hardcore kids to pass on the tools of the trade for the coming ones.” DIY is surely not dead. “I am happy that there seem to be quite a few new printed zines popping up in Europe. I am also happy about initiatives such as the “This is Belgium” CD by the Perspective crew. But I must tell you what an absolutely stunning experience it was to book the current Stay Hungry tour (I am writing this in the van, four shows into it, on our way from Kortrijk in Belgium to Nantes in France). The response I got from people from all corners of the continent was very humbling. All these different people stepped up and not only agreed, but wanted to help us out. It’s a crazy feeling on the one hand, but on the other I also know that for example I and Andy do the same for loads of bands that need shows in Gothenburg, and that we do it happily. In that sense, it’s a collective effort where all our individual contributions make up the whole.” Enjoy the good times while they last. “If there’s one thing I know, it’s that the future will not always be bright. At the moment, I think Sweden has the best bunch of bands we’ve had since the mid to late nineties. I can’t express with words how grateful I am to be a part of it. But I also know that it will be followed by a decline. And that’s okay, as long as I’ve made sure to enjoy the good times while they lasted. I don’t mean to be a downer, it’s just that if you’ve set your goals on being in this in the long run, you have to be prepared that it’s not all perfection and sunny skies, stage dives and high fives.That being said, the future still shines bright, as I know that there will always be new bands coming up, new kids finding out about straight edge and so on. It’s exciting.” Only upsides. “I don’t really see any downside to the DIY concept for a
scene such as ours. But any concept has to be realized in the real world in order to serve any true purpose, and DIY demands a lot from the people involved. It can easily turn into an empty shell without any real content.” Why should people involve in DIY projects as zines, distro’s, blogs, shows, tape trading, etc... ? “I think you’ll find the answer to that in my thoughts regarding DIY as a “realized necessity.” I would, as a closing comment, just like to add that I consider this a cool project by you, and I hope you’ll get interesting and thought provoking answers from those involved. Thanks for letting me be a part of it.”
Jeremy Gaerlan aka Jep Peligro Biñan City, Philippines 30 years old Editor of Konspira Zine
DIY in 3 words other than ‘do it yourself ’? “FUN, NECESSARY, REWARDING.” DIY is freedom. “DIY will always be the foundation behind the underground scene. It is what keeps the scene alive. Without it, I don’t think any of these so called punk/hardcore/whatever scenes would thrive. It allows everyone the freedom to do things their way, without restrictions, without limits. It is our way of saying “Fuck You” to the mainstream shit that the mass media try to bombard us with.You remain in control of your own artistic freedom whether you are in a band, you make zines, run a label, etc.You don’t become a com-
modity to meet the marketing /sales needs of some shitty corporate institution.” Wrecking venues and making zines. “I never had my own band per se, though in the late 90’s I tried forming a melodic punk band that never got around to playing any real gig, the reason being our female bass player was always getting sick so we couldn’t make it to any shows. We practiced for a whole 2 months and then decided to quit, haha. Nowadays I am busy putting out my fanzine that I started back in ‘98, and I’m loving every issue that I did. All the bands that I touch on really make it interesting.. I’m now working on issue 5, hopefully be out in a month. I love paper zines since I was a kid and there’s nothing more rewarding than being able to put out an issue and having friends, old and new, appreciate and support the effort that you do when it comes to zine making. Another vehicle for expression for me personally as well as a personal tribute to the bands and the scene that I love. Zines are the true documentaries of the scene. In between those, I also put up shows in my area, had been doing this with my sister in Manila since the late 90’s but since moving to the province of Laguna in 2001, I had managed to put up my own shows. My first solo show was the Eskapo (Filipino punks based in the US) tour, followed by a gig I tried putting up for a Malaysian and Indonesian melodic punk bands that failed to make it to the show. Haha, it was held in one of the trendy bars here so it really gave me the kicks watching punk bands tearing shit apart at that stupid club. The third show I did was for Krupskaya (UK) when they toured Philippines, and the last one I did was the reunion show for Binan’s Skrewheds, a band that’s really dear in my heart as I grew up idolizing these nasty fucks. The next one is happening in June in support of Dubai’s punk rock pioneers Grand Hotel Paradox so that should be something to look out for.” Enjoy what was built in the past. “I can’t say that everything was better in the past, though I would like to acknowledge that what we are enjoying now in our scene would never have been possible if not for the actions of the people who came before our time.The Philippine Hardcore Punk underground scene was the first scene to evolve in the whole of the South East Asian regions. We had our own Twisted Red Cross casette tape label way before our neighboring S.E. Asian countries had their own.The only thing is we had the best possible hardcore punk bands since the early 80’s and all those TRC bands are dear to every Pinoy HC/Punk kid’s hearts.We equally have our own share of brilliant bands during the 90’s as well as now in the 2000’s so the only advantage the scene had before was they were born earlier than the kids now so naturally they created the early scene that we enjoy now.” A spark that lit the fire. “The global DIY scene is now enjoying its peak and it’s
running on such unprecedented rate, it has become better actually. You now have more interaction from all kinds of people from different nationalities/different cultures all having easy access to communication everywhere. In the Philippines, the Crossblood distribution crew from Manila and San Pedro, Laguna started the wheels rolling when they invited Californian punks All You Can Eat (which later evolved to What Happens Next and now Conquest for Death) to tour the Philippines back in 1995. A feat unheard of at the time. Where will this group of underground punks have the funding to book their own tour, much less in Southeast Asia, a known third world territory? Yet it happened, the band came and played a couple of shows and toured other neighboring countries as well. The Crossblood crew never had any corporate sponsorship and yet they managed to play host to the band and even took them up to the Mountain Provinces of Baguio City to spend vacation. This was a very good example of how things can be done when you have the initiative and set your mind to it. And clearly, this has influenced the kids who are now running the shows. We now have more than our share of touring bands hitting the country, from the small struggling bands to the more “popular” ones. The scene has become a healthy one. All it took was for one group to do it.” A vicious circle. “I would love to think that the future is bright for the DIY scene. A lot has changed, some for better, some for worse. The DIY global network has grown and evolved and has now made people from across continents connect with each other through the power of the internet. We now have more bands touring every exotic, unknown parts of the world. Even here in the Philippines we now have more touring bands from the capital Metro Manila playing in the provinces, and vice versa. More and more people are getting involved, more zines are being put out, more labels have sprung, etc.etc. We have grown and we will continue to grow as time passes. After we’re gone, the next generation kids will take over and continue what we have done. Which in fact is just a continuum of what the others before us had done as well.” Get involved! “Well the upside is it has become a better scene thanks to everyone’s contribution.The only downside I see is perhaps kids being complacent and losing the drive to do it on their own and just leaving it up to the others. I would love to see more kids get involved and making things happen for themselves.” Why? “As a fan of the music and the movement, getting yourself involved in the DIY scene gives you the freedom to do whatever you please. You dont get restricted to what they want you to believe there is. There’s so much more to it.Sustain the scene by supporting these independent initia-
tives. Be open minded and don’t hinder your growth within the scene. Remember, when you are not content with what there is out there or what they are doing, do it yourself.You only live once. haha Thanks for giving me space on your zine Tjorven, I’m probably not an authority on the whole subject matter itself but I tried my best to share my thoughts with you and hopefully it was interesting for the readers as well. I would also like to have this opportunity to thank my mentors in the scene Reypeace Bravo and Motmot Isvarah, both nice people who baptized me into the world of Hardcore Punk. Shout out goes to all the true blood Laguna hardcore peeps who never lost faith in the scene. Mabuhay. Cheers. Hello’s out to Meng and Steffi, the twin terrors.” for more Pinoy stuff, visit: www.therealstrength.blogspot.com www.youtube.com/user/jepxpeligro
Martijn Van De Walle aka Straightkieken Home is where the heart is, Belgium 35 years old Currently cooking Belgium’s finest vegan meals w/ Ferm & Fameus, organizing Ieperfest and collecting Bionicles
DIY in 3 words other than ‘do it yourself ’? Hardly, but let’s try... hmm, what about: ‘Dig in you’, in the meaning of trying to find what your capable of, to get the best out of YOU and use those qualities for a higher goal or for the things you believe in. ‘Do it yourself ’ explains a lot, but if you go on the adventure within your own possibilities and dig deeper to get the most of the things you do yourself, you’ll be more true to that ‘YOU’. And please, never forget: “How ‘little’ or how ‘stupid’ your actions may (and will) seem to others, if they mean a shitload to you, you should do them. No matter what. Because they are always an example or even a motivation to others too.” Dig it, dig you ...
More quantity, more quality. Only by knowing to be ‘around’ for about 16yrs, I can say that it must mean something. The scene nowadays might be totally not the same as back when I got involved, but that DIY-thought has always been around. But just like the most things, it goes up and down. Although we all know it has become more known -some would say more mainstream-, the small shows, somewhere in a venue that’s really not a venue, are -to me- still the beating heart of this scene. If you don’t agree with how the things go, or you start to realize you complain more about what’s going on, than being a part of it, you’re on the turning point of thinking ‘how should I have it done’ or maybe even better ‘how should I do it in the (near) future’. Nevertheless we live in over spoiled Belgium and have almost every weekend the choice between several shows, it doesn’t mean that that is a good thing. And, I know, by doing things yourself you just add some more choice to the calendar. More quantity but in your eyes also more quality and exactly that is the main goal. If you believe in one or more things and you might feel they are going out of sight, than it is up to you to bring those things back. Plain fucking simple. The scene may never lose its quality and therefore I think it is so important if more people do things themselves. This scene was never meant to be a consumer scene !! 16 years of dedication. Damn, what a question. I rolled into the scene in spring 1995. With some friends we had seen a flyer (don’t know how or where) of a show in ‘De Vort’n Vis’, the pub where no one of your family wants you to go, because it was simply ‘De Vort’n Vis’. Congress & Comrads (It) were on the bill. From the second song of Congress I knew it ... this is where I belong, the pile-ons, the singalongs, the friendly atmosphere, damn. On that show I picked up all the flyers I could find. That year I visited my first Ieperfest, back in the days called HC Vistival -I guess-, with Chokehold as headliner on Sunday. It all blew me away and I found my home. More shows, more friends, more road trips, more of everything came along the following months. And in November we thought of organizing the first H8000-crew New Year’s Eve Party. And everything starts with a thought. So Dec 31th, the guys of Spineless, not on the bill, arrived in Beselare with all their gear and asked if they could play, so they did. Sektor played their first show and fixed a record deal. Blindfold was on tour and their show in Germany got cancelled and they drove back home to spread their tunes at midnight. All hell broke loose. Confetti was still found months and months later. So more shows - under the name SkoeZole - were organized by others and me and I got more and more involved in things. In 1998 I went on tour with Spirit Of Youth and 25 Ta Life. Six weeks in a nightliner, through Europe, for a kid that had never travelled before (my only holidays were youth camps). So you can imagine what that did to me: ready for more.Years of discussions about what we would do & what not, resulted finally in being a member of a band, ZeroXTolerance. In-
experienced kids grabbing mics & guitars ready to conquer the world: Haha, and we did. First show at Flufffest 2002, second at Ieper Prefest, a tour in UK and Iceland is what we did in those 4 years of not being liked by the scene in Belgium because we weren’t serious enough and had the lack on most of the things. With songs as ‘Unity is a Lie’, ‘SxE police’ & ‘Thoughguy Disneyland’ you might have a clue. I still see ZxT not as the band that had something to say, but as the band that said there were still bands that had something to say. ZxT died and reincarnated in LosingXStreak, luckily for them with another singer, so they had more fans. In meantime I also got more involved in the Ieperfest organization. I lived alone at that time, not far from Ieper and had space to give bands a sleeping place. Accidentally almost all South-American bands. Always fun and most of them still good friends.The fest got bigger and I was asked to organize the sleeping spots for all the bands who needed them. The year after I was allowed to join table and meetings with the rest and I found myself a new challenge: the green policy, because I thought they weren’t doing well on that matter.Year by year we all believed that this is one of the things that makes Ieperfest not just another fest. And in 2010 even outsiders can’t deny that: we won the first Groenevent Award, an award for the greenest festival in Flanders (Dutch speaking part of Belgium), just because we start thinking where other (even huge) festivals stop thinking or just think they can’t do more than they already do. WRONG !! You can always do more !! Ieperfest has proved and will hopefully always prove it. So will I, haha, because I didn’t mention FERM&FAMEUS yet, another long story about missing food on shows & more people turning their back to vegetarianism in the scene. Fuck that shit, if others won’t do it, I’ll do it myself. Luckily there were other people who shared the same feelings on this matter and here we are, stronger than ever !! The past was better. Fucking AGREE !! I know everybody says: it was not better, it was different. But just because it was different, it isn’t the same. And if things aren’t the same, they differ and is one better than the other. And in my opinion, the past was & still is way better, just because it was different than nowadays. Plain fucking simple. “ No compromise, no more negotiating !! ” Caught, trapped, no escape! Don’t really know if I’m talking about today, because I think it has always (& everywhere) been like this: you always see the same people popping up, organizing stuff, try things out, name it. Always the same ones who are stubborn enough to try over & over again to make things -or shit- happen, no matter what others think about what you’re planning. A scene lives or dies on the amount of those kind of kids, the do’ers. I don’t blame the others for doing nothing but turning up. Au contraire, they turn up !! And maybe today you can say that’s already quite something. Hilarious & sad at the same time. If you think about
it: ‘ if people don’t turn up, you can’t organize stuff ‘, I rate you a stupid fool. It’s just because others are doing things to keep the scene alive, you’re able to live in it. If you’re one of those couch sitters waiting to see something happen & even then you still hesitate to go or not, so be it, every scene has -and needs- you. But please don’t turn out to be the bitching kind of person. If you don’t walk ‘your’ talk, just skip it. I just can’t stand those big mouth losers. Go do some homework & find the lyrics of Chokehold’s ‘Deaf to reason’, and read my anthem to survive & stay strong in the scene nowadays ... The future for DIY. No idea, all depends on who’s the ‘Y’ in DIY. Personally I think it will fade away, almost die & resurrect like it always did. But the hard part is to tell in which part of the circle we are now ... We’re being overspoiled. Mmm, I guess I kinda told this one already in other questions but… The more people doing things themselves, the more choice we have and the less people will show up because we’re over spoiled like hell. But by doing this we keep the scene in our own hands & don’t let it be taking over by moneymakers or other kind of beasts who see the scene as their prey. Saw so many come, saw so many go ... empty-handed !! Why should people involve in DIY projects as zines, distro’s, blogs, shows, tape trading, etc... ? Just because they have to ... If they want to live in a scene/ world they like, they have to build & rebuild it themselves. “Be the change you want to see.” (Mahat ma Gandhi)
Brian Kanagaki San Francisco, California, USA Plays in Loma Prieta and Punch, runs own webstore/distro, designs artwork and promotes bands
DIY in 3 words other than ‘do it yourself ’? Over-Worked and Under-Appreciated. It’s all about passion. There is no way the the punk/hardcore scene could ever exist without having a strong DIY ethic. There is no money in punk, it’s not glamorous or cool; It’s just about honesty and passion. DIY is 100% driven by passion. People don’t get involved in the punk scene for personal gain, it’s all about helping out and being a part of the community. Living this lifestyle is all that I care about so I am willing to make any sacrifice to support the greater good. It’s some-
thing that I can’t turn my back on.
Money is the biggest downside.
Booking, playing, designing.
It’s hard to stay DIY as you get older. Real life just gets in the way and then you have to pay rent and bills and unfortunately a lot of people fall out because real life takes precedence. One of the defining factors of DIY is that you don’t do it for the money, that is awesome but you have to pay rent somehow. I wish I could be more active and do more than I already do but there are only so many hours in the day. However, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. I would rather be involved in Punk/Hardcore scene and be broke doing what I love than to be rich doing something that I hate. At the end of the day I am doing what I am because it’s what I love and feel passionate about.
I have been involved in the punk scene for 10 years. Over that time I have found out that if you want to do something the best way is to try and ‘do it yourself ’. Whether it be booking shows, designing and printing shirts or zines, saving up money to self release a record or as simple as letting a band stay at your house. I think that I am more supportive of the scene the older that I get because I have toured and I know how much work that it is and I know that just letting a band stay at your house and cooking them a hot meal can make a world of difference when you are out on the road for weeks at a time. As far as current projects that I am involved in or things that I do on a day to day basis go, I am heavily involved in the booking process for both of my bands (Punch and Loma Prieta), I design almost all of the mercy, record art, stickers, I also do art for other bands, I have a webstore/distro and I use that to promote my bands and my friends bands. Unworried youth. I think that looking back on it, everything was easier in the past in the sense that there was very little risk involved in being a part of the DIY movement. If I wanted to spend all my money buying a touring bands merch I could do that because I was living at home and had no bills. As I get older real life problems get in the way, every decision comes down to do I want to support myself or support my friends and their band. It’s not as easy to give them monetary support so I try and help them out in new ways that I can now that I am older and have more experience. Things are better now because I am on the other end, I am seeing all the positive things that other people are doing and it helps me out now that I am in a band that tours. It all comes full circle, you have to pay it forward. Growing stronger. The DIY movement that I am a part of today is great. It is a force to be reckoned with but its only because there are a few other kids working really hard to make it happen. I feel lucky to have grown up in the Bay Area.The San Francisco/Oakland/Berkeley scenes have always been amazing and they are constantly growing and getting stronger. Immortal. DIY is something that will always exist, people will come and go but the ideas will always live on. I don’t see myself taking a step back anytime soon so I feel confident that my future in the DIY scene is going to only get brighter. The support of others obviously makes this very easy and I am glad that I am lucky enough to be in the position that I am.
Support others! Everyone needs to do something because it is extremely fun and rewarding. No one in the punk scene should be a passive observer; everyone needs help and it’s as easy as going to shows and supporting bands that you love by buying their merch. Every little bit helps, the DIY movement is all about exposure so if you can do a record review or an interview with a band and just one more kid finds out about them and supports them that’s all that matters. It’s hard to stay motivated in the punk scene without the support of others.
For this interview, I cheated a bit. I usually do interviews live and personal with the bands. It sort of gives an extra vibe and authenticity to it all, I think. The experience of sitting in front of someone and fire your questions at him, and receiving personal answers is something extraordinary. But this time, I did the interview through mail, and this for a simple reason… Ritual will by this time have released their latest album ‘Paper Skin’. They toured Europe before that somewhere in March 2011, on the Reflections Tour. They passed by in Mol so I thought it was the right time and place to do an interview with them and ask about the new album. I prepared the questions, or at least most of them, but in the final hours it deemed to me I wasn’t going to make it to Mol. So far for the live interview, but then I decided to write a little e-mail to these guys. What follows is their take on the questions I prepared for them.
Today the name RITUAL is more about everyday mistakes, the routines in our lives and the things we do to make us happy. I hope you have a notion of what I mean. A lot of things can be rituals, so RITUAL can mean a lot to different people.” Philipp: “I am pretty sure the name was your idea. Apart from the broad range of meaning that can be found in that one word, I look at it like this: When someone gives a child a name, the meaning of the name becomes one with the person that is called like that. So when I think about the name RITUAL, I can only think about our band. There’s no way we could be called differently now.”
I’m pretty sure everybody knows you, especially in Europe. Can you introduce yourself and the band by telling us something we maybe don’t know? Julian: “I’m Julian, I sing in Ritual and I really do not think everybody knows us. And if you’d like to read some private details here: I like cooking and yesterday my girlfriend and me made vegan sushi for the first time. That was great!” Philipp: “As for me, I like sushi, too.” I’ve always wondered where the name Ritual came from. What’s the story behind it? Julian: “When somebody in the band came up with it about 6 years ago (I can’t remember who it was), it was a tribute to UNBROKEN’s first record in the first place. All of us were 17 or 18 at that time and since then the meaning of our name grew, just like we grew and matured over the years.
I’ve missed your latest show in Belgium, but every other Ritual show I’ve been to is really intense in my opinion. There’s really some kind of vibe to it. Do you experience it too that way, and what do you think is the reason? Julian: “For me, every single show is really intense. I can’t explain it. I just put everything I have into it.” Philipp: “That’s right. During our sets my whole perception is different. Maybe that’s what hard drugs are like. I don’t know. Time and place has no meaning then. This is not meant to sound overly romantic, I just try to describe it.”
You think it’s important to be really close to the crowd? Julian: “Yeah, I do. It’s important for the energy, the intensity. I always want to give something of me to the crowd. I want the people to know and maybe even to feel what I’m singing about or at least to recognize some kind of vibe.” You’ve toured Europe for a couple of times now. Are you now as excited as you were in the beginning? How was it like in the early days compared to now? Julian: “I wouldn’t say it was more exciting back then, but it was something new to us. I remember myself thinking “Oh my god, I’m gonna be away from home to play nine concerts in a row, that’s so crazy...!” Don’t get me wrong: It’s still exciting, but we know how it works and what is expecting us. Punk rock shows are pretty similar to each other in Europe, so I’m always looking forward to the special places we go, like Paris or Budapest. I’m very nervous about our show at Fluff Fest this year... although we’re gonna miss Blue Note, which freaks me out.” Philipp: “I agree. It’s a different kind of excitement today. Our upcoming summer tour is going to last one month. When I think about that, it scares me to death.” You have a new album coming out 3 May 2011 called ‘Paper Skin’. Has it become more difficult to write a new album after 2 previous albums and a 7”? Julian: “Oh yes! We had a hard time writing this one. Especially the first songs. We knew that we wanted to do something different, so it was really hard to find some kind of a basic sound that we can work with and that we can build other songs on.” Philipp: “Even when the first song “The Great Decay” was written, it was difficult to continue, because that song just came out of nowhere and
happened by chance. We continued playing, writing, throwing songs away and then we somehow found what we were looking for and then things took shape more quickly.” ‘Paper Skin’ sums up all that’s happening on the record. What is actually happening so you can explain the title? Philipp: “When I think about the title “Paper Skin”, I mostly think of both grace and fragility. I always find it difficult to explain something that we made up. In the end, you don’t have the right to say you’ve got the only appropriate interpretation of anything. So I would appreciate everyone to look at the album, listen to the album and then try to bring this together with the title. If it makes sense in any way, that’s fine.” Julian: “All I can say is, the lyrics are about relationships and their fragility. One of the main topics on the record is my difficult relationship to my father. There are also lovesongs, there is a song about my grandfather, who deceased about ten years ago... you
see, there are only things that are very close to me. For me “Paper Skin” is the most personal, intimate (somebody said “sensual”) record we did so far.The record itself... what can I say? I think it has a certain atmosphere and melody, but in a rough way. We tried a different approach to the recording process and finally found the time to try something new.” There’s a short story and a drawing included by a friend of yours, Hendrik Otremba. Is it because his work fits with your perceptions of the record and the artwork or is there another reason to it? Julian: “Hendrik has always been an inspiration to us, musically and aesthetically. We always want our friends to participate in our records to keep it as personal as possible. And, like I said, his musical and aesthetic taste meets ours, so it just came natural.” Philipp: “This also has to do with our overall method: I think that in a way “Paper Skin” is a mosaic. Whatever seemed right to us was put into action without ever thinking too con-
ceptional. When we were discussing the artwork Hendrik’s drawing came across our way and we thought that it would fit perfectly. Same thing about the short story, it doesn’t have much to do with our album on the surface, but if you look closely there is a similar feeling expressed in it.” On the cover I see an origami crane. It stands for ‘luck’ if I’m correct? Julian: “A crane stands for peace, loyalty, health and also for luck. My approach to writing the lyrics was a 100 times more positive than on our last record, so it seemed to be a good choice to have something positive and beautiful on the artwork.” You’re using a harmonium in your songs (or at least one of them). Why this particular instrument? Julian: “Because it’s awesome. Philipp thinks it sounds like breathing.” Philipp: “No, that’s what I think about the accordion in the end of “The Cold-
est Shoulder”.The harmonium is used in the very beginning of the album and in the very end.Why this particular instrument? That’s again supporting my assumption of the record being a mosaic.When we went to our studio “Tonmeisterei” in summer 2010 to record our latest single “Kissing Pavement”, we discovered that instrument and we loved it so much that we all agreed to record this when we’d come back to record the album. And that’s what we did.Why? It just felt right.” The use of different instruments and kind of a grungy vibe gives Ritual a new sound. Is this what you wanted from the start? A less brute sound? Julian: “I wouldn’t say the sound is less brute.We added new elements to the songs and we have more atmosphere, but the sound is still direct and aggressive. But indeed, we wanted our band to develop.” I’ve been into grunge myself, and still am, though I was only a child in that period (I’m 22 now). I assume you love it too so what would be your favorite bands and albums? Julian: “I wasn’t into grunge back in the days, but nowadays I take a liking to Sonic Youth and The Smashing Pumpkins. (Is Foo Fighters still grunge? If yes, I love the Foo Fighters).”
Does it still move you the same way it did a long time ago, or has everything changed? What would that be? Julian: “My brother, who is ten years older than me, kind of pushed me into the hardcore and punk direction. I still remember us playing imaginary shows in his room, while we were listening to REFUSED. Nowadays it’s really hard for a new hardcore band to impress me, but the old stuff is in my heart forever.” Philipp: “I only had a vague idea of what hardcore was about when I met Julian and Deni at the age of 14.They helped me explore this new world and it really impressed me deeply. Today I listen to so many different kinds of music, but in a way hardcore has shaped my way of looking at things, so it’s still there, even when I don’t listen to that much hardcore at home. I can definitely say that hardcore shows still move me as much as back then. I have never experienced this much energy anywhere else. I think that’s a very specific thing.” Have you already found an answer to this question : “Can beauty exist on a hardcore record next to the anger and nihilism?” Julian: “For me there never was a question – of course it can. It would be very depressing if the answer was “no”, wouldn’t it?”
Philipp: “Grunge is a difficult term, where does it start, where does it end? Speaking about bands of that era, I like bands such as Mudhoney, Sonic Youth or Sebadoh. I listened to Nirvana, before I got into Hardcore and I still like them, but I even prefer 90ies noise rock bands such as The Jesus Lizard, Shellac etc. The thing is that we didn’t really listen to some Grunge music and then thought that we should put this in a hardcore context.We just wrote songs and thought “Hey, this harmony sounds a little grungy.”, so it was pretty much the other way round.”
Why do you think nihilism is a part of hardcore? Is this based on your own music or hardcore in general?
How did you stumble into hardcore in the first place?
Julian: “Nihilism has always been a part of punk. I guess there’s the magic
Philipp:“When I asked this question in a blog entry, I was referring to beauty in a more traditional way. Of course, even a wall of noise can be beautiful, but that’s probably what you call “the aesthetics of the ugly”. In fact, now I would also say that it is possible. Especially the song “Distant Glance” makes it audible, where there is noise and pop at the same time.”
in it; the illusion of no rules, the destructive behavior, the freedom to do whatever you want. I think nihilism is a way of expression, even apart from hardcore. A lot of artists have a nihilistic approach to their work.” Philipp: “Of course, this only makes sense, if you agree with us that hardcore equals punk and if you agree with the supposedly paradox view that destruction can be constructive. By maintaining the ultimate imperative of “Fuck it all!” you’ve got all the possibilities in the world to start something new. There is such a thing as creative destruction.” Am I right if I say the lyrics are more than on the other records based on love? (What’s the reason to this.. personal experiences?) Julian: “Yes, you’re right. Love is what’s moving me the most. I just can’t help it.” The lyrics always have been a bit cryptic. It gives lyrics another dimension and you have to look further than the obvious. Is this intentionally? Julian: “I like working with metaphors and using them can make the lyrics seem cryptic. It’s just the way I say the things I want to say. I like to keep things open to interpretation, although at certain points I get quite concrete again. In general we are trying to give the whole thing (our records, our merch, our band itself) a specific aesthetic that you can recognize.” Now you have a new album coming out and a summer tour, how do you see the future? Do you have new plans for Ritual or you take it how it comes day by day? Julian: “I’m always the last to find out what’s going on, so I’m gonna take it how it comes, haha.” Philipp: “I am sorry about that, Julian. What else can we do other than playing shows and making records? We’re
gonna do what we do and we’re really excited about our new album and the upcoming shows. Please check if we’re playing somewhere near you, we’d appreciate you coming around.” That’s it. It’s been a long interview, but I’m really stoked for this. Any last words for the readers? Julian: “It’s about 3 in the morning... Thank you very much for your interest and for the interview. Everybody check out our new record and come hang out at our shows with Soul Control in summer. Let’s have a good time together!” Philipp: “Thank you! It was a pleasure.”
Pictures by Nous Davidse
Hessian S/T one-sided 12 inch Out now on Smoke And Dust records For fans of Entombed, Converge, High On Fire… hessian.bandcamp.com
May your day be full of Jasmine. Uprising and revolution in North Africa and the Middle East The world is coming to an end on 12.12, or December 2012, according to the Mayan and Hopi prophecies. I tend to believe it, because the world is turning into a chaotic free for all, shook up by earthquakes, tsunami’s, volcano eruptions but most certainly by mankind. Not a day goes by or some oil leak or nuclear disaster pops up on your television screen. War, rising oil prices, terrorism or revolutions are daily routine on our media. But on the contrary, the revolutions are also the little spark of light in the darkness, the first rays of light at dawn, the single shiny star in the sky on a dark night. People stand up for what they believe, for their rights, and don’t hold back for their absolute rulers. But let’s start from the beginning… In December 2010 a series of demonstrations took place in Tunisia as a result of the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, in protest of confiscation of his wares and a public humiliation by a municipal official and her aides. The civilians of Tunisia used this as a spark to demonstrate in protest of social and political issues in the country. As a result, leading then-president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had to step down, after violence and anger intensified severely.This process of
self-awareness and standing up for oneself as a nation, and mainly the success of these protests, ignited a fire burning within several Eastern countries. Although the issues in Tunisia are far from solved at this moment after the departure of the president, Egypt took a stand against its authoritarian ruler Mubarak. The 2011 Egyptian Revolution began on 25 January 2011 as a reaction to legal and political issues in the country. Egypt was since the commission of Mubarak as president a nation controlled by a state of emergency government. This state of emergency comes down to extended police powers, suspended constitutional rights and legalized censorship. Street demonstrations are forbidden and political prisoners run as high as 30,000. Besides this dictatorial regime, police brutality was a common fact. There were no free elections and no freedom of speech. The country was corrupted, leading to plenty economical issues as high unemployment, food price inflation and low minimum wages. Though street demonstrations were forbidden, the Egyptian people had the guts to come out on a massive campaign of civil resistance, which can only be cheered. The resistance was predominantly
peaceful in nature, featuring demonstrations, marches, civil disobedience and labor strikes. But violent clashes with security forces were inevitable, I think we all do remember the violent images on our television screen. On 11 February 2011, Mubarak resigned from office, after 18 days of enthusiastic and determined protest against the government. Only four days later, a series of protests and confrontations began in Libya. These protests were the direct opposite of the peaceful resistance in Egypt. Muammar Gaddafi has since then responded with only military force to any form of resistance in the country. Gaddafi has been the dictatorial ruler since 1969, spending all the income from the oil revenues (Libya’s main resource) to arms, military, terror and himself, causing a bad economy in the eastern parts of the country. Libya’s corruption rate is far worse than Egypt and Tunisia. On top of that, it appears Libya is the most censored country in the Middle East, with surveillance taking place in government, factories and even in the educational sector. Engaging in political debates is a crime punishable by three years in prison. Go figure… The revolution started with the anti-Gaddafi movement, taking over government housing and setting fire on police and security buildings, after violently breaking up protests on 15 February, resulting in 38 injuries and the arrest of novelists reacting in an interview on Al Jazeera. By now, the revolt has escalated in a downright civil war between the rebels and the military forces of Gaddafi, though many of his soldiers defected to the rebel side. As a reaction, Gaddafi hired mercenaries to reinforce his troops, and kills every person who opposes him such as writers, intellectuals and other prominent opposition sympathizers in cities controlled by Gaddafi. Rebel troops refuse any form of dialogue, and pledge to keep fighting until Gaddafi resigns or is defeated militarily. At the moment of writing, the United Nations created a no-fly zone above Libya, and air forces of different countries (including Belgium) are bombing Gaddafi’s facilities in support of the rebels. At this moment, Gaddafi isn’t even thinking about giving up his presidency and has started a full scale attack to re-conquer the rebel occupied cities.
What I just wrote is a brief history on the past months events for the people who have been living on the moon, got caught up in their busy lives or do(n’t) give a fuck about social and political contemporary issues. I can only applaud, cheer, rejoice and encourage those revolting people for pulling their head out of their ass. It must be a hard decision (or maybe not) to risk your life, the life of your family, everything you’ve built and accomplished on the pursuit of finding freedom and hopefully happiness in a revolution. From our point of view, comfortable in a welfare society where everything is thrown on our laps while we sit in our couch, it seems rather normal to stand up against a dictatorial leader. A person suppressing his people, taking away their freedom and neglecting the economical, social and political issues of the people shouldn’t be in power. Though we don’t know half of how those people live, how they feel about it and what is growing among them. In our society, where everything SEEMS democratic and sociable, we can’t fully understand why such a regime holds a country or a nation in its grasp for decades. But demonstrate and revolt in a nation with no freedom of speech and a prohibition on demonstrating, is probably harder than you think. So in conclusion, we must all have great respect for what these people are doing, for they are giving up everything to fight for what they believe, to fight for their freedom. Should we discuss whether or not violence (as a protestor) is necessary? Perhaps we should. For what it’s worth, I believe every protest should be peaceful. It’s in my nature to find a way to solve something using words, not brute force. To quote a man who was the first person to apply nonviolence during the Indian revolution taken from his autobiography “The Story Of My Experiments With Truth”: “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?” “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”
I’m talking of Gandhi, as you might already have figured out. But not to skip to conclusions right away, I have some thoughts on his approach. I know nonviolence is, in my opinion, only wishful thinking. I believe in some cases violence can and must be used, as a reaction to violence and ONLY as a last resort. The Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions were as much as possible peaceful revolutions, using mass demonstration as a weapon to unarm the government. As a reaction to this, governments, unable to do anything about a national massive strike, fall back on violence to divide the crowd. It’s only then, at that point, violence becomes a refuge, a tool to defend yourself and what you stand for. This is exactly what an eye for an eye means, and thus the complete opposite of Gandhi’s beliefs, but in my humble opinion a necessity.The revolution in Libya is taking massive proportions, resulting in a straight on civil war. The anger must be rooted deep within the nation after previous demonstrations were stopped abruptly, and demonstrators disappeared, never to be seen again. I recently bought a book written by Albert Camus, a French writer/philosopher, called “L’homme révolté” (in English “The revolting man”). It’s an essay in which Camus describes the revolutionary political notions starting with the French Revolution at the end of the eighteenth century to the Sovjet ideology of communism in the middle of the twentieth century. One of the general ideas is about nihilism, not respecting the moral limits when choosing means and methods, as a cause of historical disasters in recent European history. In that way, man sees itself as God, justifying murder on other people. People who stood up and revolted for more freedom and justice, derailed into revolutions leading to mass murder. (NRC) As far as I understand the philosophy behind this book, man justifies killing, in the name of freedom and justice, when suppressed by a dictatorial regime. The line between killing in passion, and killing for the greater good, has become so small revolutions often result in a civil war and mass murder. When reading this book, the Libyan situation immediately came to mind. The
question that pops in my mind and is still unanswered to this day: can I justify the killing in Libya, under the pretence of revolution and freedom, by people like me? Try to find an answer for yourself, considering the fact that people get killed, innocent or guilty, for a greater good. But the enemies (soldiers) still remain people not knowing better, or forced to make a choice between their duty and their family, or are just pro the regime for various reasons… A plain yes or no should be a simple answer, isn’t it? Please don’t think the Libyan revolution is the only thing that’s going on in this world. Check out the oncoming civil war in Ivory Coast, as a result of a corrupt government that refuses to resign, though they lost democratic elections! Some nations haven’t got to the point they had enough, or don’t have the power or will to it. Take a look at the exaggerated censorship in China, where Facebook and Google are banned, movies about time travelling are forbidden, or where writers and directors are put in jail if something is published that directly criticizes the Chinese government… Not to mention the violence in Syria whilst writing this column… Talking about Facebook and social medias, the story behind the title of this columns is also worth to be mentioned. To avoid detection by the Libyan police, who monitor social medias like Facebook and Twitter, members of the anti-Gaddafi movement used some very innovative ways to communicate with each other through the internet. On a site very similar to Match. com, they sought each other as a supposed date, to communicate with each other. They all had to pretend to be a woman, and used poetry laced with revolutionary references to support each other or make initial contact. ‘May your day be full of jasmine’ is a coded reference to the Jasmin revolution. ‘I hope you call me’, for example, meant they were ready to begin. Pretty cool, huh? Written by Tjorven Smalle
Year report Amnesty International 2011. Amnesty International says historic change on knife-edge. This is an extraction of an article that appeared on May 13th on the website of Amnesty International. For the full article, I adivise you to take a look on their website, and if possible to read the full year report on human rights for the past year. Growing demands for freedom and justice across the Middle East and North Africa and the rise of social media offer an unprecedented opportunity for human rights change – but this change stands on a knife-edge, said Amnesty International as it launched its global human rights report on the eve of its 50th anniversary. “People are rejecting fear. Courageous people, led largely by youth, are standing up and speaking out in the face of bullets, beatings, tear gas and tanks. This bravery – combined with new technology that is helping activists to outflank and expose government suppression of free speech and peaceful protest – is sending a signal to repressive governments that their days are numbered. “But there is a serious fight-back from the forces of repression. The international community must seize the opportunity for change and ensure that 2011 is not a false dawn for human rights.” Says Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General. A critical battle is underway for control of access to information, means of communication and networking technology as social media networks fuel a new activism that governments are struggling to control. As seen in Tunisia and Egypt, government attempts to block internet access or cut mobile phone networks can backfire – but governments are scrambling to regain the initiative or to use this technology against activists. The protests that have spread across the Middle East and North Africa as people demand an end to repression and corruption are highlighting their deep desire for freedom from fear and want, and are giving voice to the voiceless. Governments in Libya, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen have shown a willingness to beat, maim or kill peaceful protesters to stay in power. Even where dictators have fallen, the institutions that supported them still need to be dismantled and the work of activists is far from over. Repressive governments such as Azerbaijan, Chi-
na and Iran are trying to pre-empt any similar revolutions in their countries. Amnesty International Report 2011 documents specific restrictions on free speech in at least 89 countries, highlights cases of prisoners of conscience in at least 48 countries, documents torture and other ill-treatment in at least 98 countries, and reports on unfair trials in at least 54 countries. Iconic moments in 2010 included Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s release in Myanmar and the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo despite his government’s attempts to sabotage the ceremony. Away from the international headlines, thousands of human rights defenders were threatened, imprisoned,tortured and killed, including in Afghanistan, Angola, Brazil, China, Mexico, Russia, Myanmar,Turkey,Uzbekistan,Viet Nam and Zimbabwe. These activists were often speaking out on human rights issues including poverty, the marginalization of whole communities, women’s rights, corruption, brutality and oppression. Events in all regions highlighted their crucial role, and the need for global solidarity with them. “Not since the end of the Cold War have so many repressive governments faced such a challenge to their stranglehold on power. The demand for political and economic rights spreading across the Middle East and North Africa is dramatic proof that all rights are equally important and a universal demand,” said Salil Shetty.
This interview is also based on email traffic, and pretty much for the same reason as the Ritual interview was… What can I say? I’m an impatient person and I can’t wait to interview cool bands that I like. The funny thing is, in the period while Kristof, the singer and in this case also the spokesperson for Get Wise, was writing this interview, I attended a show of them and we met for the first time. But since we were already busy doing this over mail, we decided a live interview wasn’t that necessary. We already talked about some subjects in this interview, so I did kind of have had the experience I mentioned earlier. Anyways, time for me to stop blabbering. Enjoy this interview! Get Wise. Introduce yourself by starting with ‘I’m growing older each day’ and ending with ‘We’ve drowned’. “I’m growing older each day and so is Get Wise. The line-up is consisting of Stef on drums, Joris on Bass, Colin on guitar and me, I try to handle the vocals. The basic idea was just to play some old school hardcore since we started at the end of 2009. Somewhere in the middle of 2010 we recorded a 7-song demo which was released by open up records in October of that same year. We’ve been playing as much shows as possible ever since. We’ll keep on going until we’ve drowned!” What does Get Wise stand for? “As for me, I always dreamed of fronting a band. I’m always so jealous if I see people going off at bands and grabbing the microphone, singing along. So, I think my love for hardcore is the first and most important incentive. As for the band, we want to speak up to what bothers us! Way too many bands today seem to only care about their own emotions. Now, don’t get me wrong, hardcore should definitely be about emotions but there has to be some social criticism in it all. So, I guess that is what’s driving us, the love for hardcore and the need so speak up!”
You’re music reminds me a lot of True Colors. Have you heard that before?
What do you mean with “Dehumanising an alienated generation”?
“Yes, quite a lot of people have said my voice reminds them of Packo’s voice. When me and Stef were rehearsing with some other dude and we were still looking for someone to play bass, Colin came to rehearsal to check out what we were up to. We played some songs we had and the first thing Colin said to me was my voice was just like Packo. Actually, when I think about it now, that’s also the first thing Stef said to me. Hehe. But to answer your question: have I heard it before? Yes. Do I agree? To some degree yes but the thing is we’re not sticking to just youth crew, or so I like to think. My thoughts are we’ve got more of a LOC kinda thing going on. More midtempo.”
“The lyrics were actually ‘Dehumanising an already alienated generation” but it didn’t fit the music so I took out “already’. The meaning behind it is that we are making a generation, our generation, which already seems to lack compassion, more and more numb for what’s going on around them. The most important issue for people today is having stuff. And yes, I’m guilty of it too. “
Are Bart Kaël, Oprah, Micheal Jackson and Paris Hilton your all time heroes? “I’d like to think that they are all one and the same person. That way we only have to kill one human being instead of 4 (or well, 3 since MJ is dead and was he even human?). Nah, just kidding of course. But I really can’t stand such people as Paris Hilton! Why the fuck is she famous? She has got no particular talent at all and she’s ugly as fuck! To those people who thinks she’s hot, get a fucking decent taste!” What is it in general you’re singing about? “Nothing really special here. You’ve got your usual hardcore-themes. You know, the daily struggle everyone fights against from time to time and social criticism would be the 2 mainthemes I guess. But like I said before, what I do consider important is the social criticism! Hardcore should be more like your average popmusicsong. I don’t fucking care if your ugly girlfriend broke up the relationship. Everybody goes through that kind of shit. Broaden your sight on the world and see a little further!”
“The non-existing of our government today is a perfect example. In other countries, everybody would go berserk, there would be revolution, fights in the street, people protesting… But no, not here. Why? Well, most of us just don’t have a reason to revolt. We’re doing just fine.We’ve got a roof above our heads with a big-ass tv, 5 computers, an I-phone and a relax seat worth 5000 euros. So, why would I go and protest? And honestly, I’m just the same, I see no reason.There won’t happen anything until it affects the people themselves.” “Take your hands from my throat, make it easier to breathe”. Has it ever been difficult for you to sing, since you’re having astma? “Haha. I was speaking metaphorically in the song but now that you’re pointing it out to me… I don’t have trouble with the singing itself but I do with keeping it up. I just hate it! I’m someone who always wants to give everything and thus I always begin really energetic. Jumping around like crazy and such but those are the moments I kill myself. I want our whole show to be just as energetic as the startingsongs but that’s not going to happen any time soon I guess. I’m just hoping people don’t notice it too much and we, as a band, still show off some energy. By the way, it also sucks because if I haven’t got that much air, I get really hot and I’m sweating my ass off, haha :D.”
You’re interested in modern history politics, both left and right wing. What are your main interests, where does that interest come from and does it affect your life/band/ lyrics? “Well, interested. I’m not really that active. I just have some sort of general interest in it all. I think the reason I’m interested in it is of my ‘musical history’. I grew up with listening to a lot of Nederhop (thanks to my cousin) and later, when I got into punk and sorts, I really was quite an oi!-fan. So, I got infected with the subject of left and right wing through the songs of Osdorp Posse. By the time I was going to lots of oi!-shows riots were pretty common. If there was an oi!gig going on, there would be trouble (by the way, for all you skins, punks, mods… sorry for putting down this stereotype!) Curious as I am, I always wanted to know with what was going on and usually it was the same old reason, rightwingers who got in a fight with some leftwingers. That fed
my interest in the subject. So, my main interests would actually be riots haha. And oh, I’m quite the footballfan and in the ‘fanworld’ there also seems to be a lot going on between those two ideologies.” Malcolm X in fact had a very extreme ideology, but as life moves on he learned all races should be equal. Is this what really appeals to you or is it the extreme vision? “What attracted me obviously were the more extreme visions.That’s what fed my interest. But I ain’t the one to support extremism. There are some good things to both sides but shit is too extreme (pardon my French, watching the biopic Notorious right now so there’s your evil!). Try to figure things out for yourself and think it through!” You write a fanzine called Living in Gommorah. How is that working out?
“Quite well. The second issue is out now so we’re more siked than ever! The zine is done by both Joris (our bassplayer) and me. The first issue was done by Joris but he asked me to step in for the second issue. So I did. I’m handling the interviews and shit while Joris keeps busy with lay out. The second issue has interviews with Bang Bros, KingTerror, Wardogs, Reproach and much more…Check out the facebookpage or send a mail if you want some more information!” Gommorah refers to Sodom and Gomorrah , two biblical places, if I’m correct. Are you the biblical type? “Gonna pass that on to Joris as he’s the one who came up with the name.” Joris:“No not at all, I heard the term to and it occured to me that this society we live in is kind of like the way the kingdom Gomorrah was described. All we see on the tv is vice and sin, we get brainwashed about how we should
live and how we interact with fellow beings.We are told to be passive, and live up to a false image... pretty much gomorrah. I heard it on the Religulous documentary, a great film about religion, funny too so check it out!” You’re into zines and you will release Get Wise demo tapes. Does DIY mean something special to you? “DIY is everything! I simply love it! This is the way you get involved in it all. If it wasn’t for DIY, hardcore wouldn’t exist. Then we’d all have to listen to those faggots of Bring Me The Horizon or something. Fuck that shit! Do It Yourself or simply don’t!” Besides from the band, you and the other members all have other projects going on. (Blade, Pitch & Toss, Open Up Records) How can you combine all of this? “Don’t really know. Some people will say it’s sad but I feel as if hardcore is my life nowadays. I’m always checking out new bands, listening records, browse on messageboards in search of new demos to buy… Like right now, I actually should keep busy with my schoolwork but I’m doing this interview and listening to the records I bought last weekend. So I’m making time for hardcore.” “I think Stef has it a lot harder. He’s running the label and is also drumming in Pitch & Toss while he has a fulltime job which is quite hard work I
guess. But he still finds the time to rehearse with both bands, put up shows and keep busy with the label. Much respect for that! If you don’t love hardcore, that’s just not possible!” “Colin, who sings in powerhouse Blade, is just an active guy! He listens almost exclusively to metal nowadays but he just can’t leave hardcore behind because he still loves the friends, the hangouts, the roadtrips… He’s probably the most positive dude I’ve ever met!” How is the label (Open Up Records) working out? “It’s our drummer who runs the label so we still got control over everything. It’s actually us who are trying to help creating a name for Open Up Records. Definitely check out the rest of the OUR releases and be on the lookout for the full album of Conviction that’s coming up!” You’re also signed to a Malaysian label called Learn To Trust Records? “Yeah, this guy messaged us one day he was interested in releasing us on tape, and I’m a sucker for tapes! He had seen a thread of us at the Six Feet Under-board and I guess he liked what he was hearing. It’s not like we’re getting any money from it or something, I just think it’s awesome that some Asian dudes are actually listening to Get Wise! So if your into tapes, check out the label, he has cool music (on tapes!) to offer!”
Good hardcore bands pop up like weed in your area. We can only be happy for that! What do you think is the reason? “Really? Don’t really know man. It depends what you think of as our area. Most of us or from the Limburg area so there you’ve bands like Blade, Violent City, Pitch and Toss, Conviction (last 2 bands are Kempen but they live at the Limburgborder)…I’d still like to see some more bands kicking it old school though. And I’m not just talking this area but the whole of Belgium.” Band rehearsals can be really unhealthy sometimes: Pizza, junk food, coke, sweat, loud music, being pigs,… Is this also the case for Get Wise? Got some greasy adventures to share? “Naah, not really. I think we’ve got pretty serious rehearsals. Everybody is focused on the music so nothing really special going on here.” What does the future bring for Get Wise? “We’re trying to arrange some gigs in England and we also want to play some more abroad in countries like Germany, Netherlands… We’re also in the process of writing some new songs and I’m hoping to release a 7” somewhere in the near future. At some point, we all want to tour with Get Wise but we’ll see what happens when it happens.”
Pictures by Fay De Vlieghere and some unknown dude/ette
Last Stand is a pretty new and young band from Tielt, Belgium, and the first in ages to bring us superfast and pissed of hardcore music. A subgenre which seems to be highly underrated in these parts of the country, and thus not presented that often. They’ve played four shows this far I guess, one a bit sloppier and filthier than the other, but no one really minds. I had the honor to organize their first show in the biggest shithole of Kortrijk – and far beyond – better known as The Pits. Things got dirty, but the mood was right and the first bar dives of the evening were a fact! The last show was in a small shed you can’t even call a decent place to play a show, filled with 20+ peo-
ple and a shitload of dust. This is exactly the kind of circumstances where Last Stand is at its best. By the way, if you ever get the chance to see them live, stagedives from the drummers back and drumkit are PERMITTED! As for this interview: it’s short but strong. Kinda like the band itself. Enjoy it while it lasts, it’s over before you know it. And no, this time no stoner intermezzo of 7 minutes :D
aside from that I guess this describes our music pretty well. How have the first shows been? Sloppy.Very, very sloppy. Mistakes and chaos everywhere. We enjoyed ourselves though, that’s all that matters. People are really praising about you. That must give a good feeling, does it?
Correct me if I’m wrong: you’re a bunch of punks who play loud and fast music.
It does feel good, I’d be lying if I said otherwise. Thought I really have the feeling that people praise us a little too highly.
You forgot to add: and fail at it. But
Yeah, heard some people say
you’re the last hope for h8000 hardcore. How do you feel about that? I’ve been asked this before, and I’ll say the same thing like I said back then: It feels awesome, but it’s complete bullshit. For fuck’s sake, we are a young band, a VERY young band. In all aspects. The future is known to no one, so stop labeling us the “last hope” or whatever. It’s pretty obvious fast hardcore is a big influence for you. What bands or persons are the biggest influence and why? We kinda pick up things as we roll,
but the influences right now are Iron Lung, Infest and similar bands. Your first ‘very limited demo for friends’ was recorded, burned on cd and ‘designed’ (read: hand cut and pasted) by yourself. Is this the kind of approach that fits for Last Stand? We decided all of that at the moment itself. We enjoyed doing it.We’re lucky that our guitarist does home-recording and that we had enough spare paper and blank CD’s laying around. It’s probably gonna stay with that one time though, since it was something for people we knew. A “look, this is what we might sound like” kind of
thing. Why did you start a band and what do you want to accomplish with this band? We were bored kids with nothing to do, so here we are playing loud music. We don’t have any goal in mind with this band, except for having fun and shredding ‘till our ( read: Marvin’s ) fingers bleed. Lyrics are the most important thing about hardcore. Do you agree? If the jams are great, I can easily forgive some stupid lyrics. Bands have something that appeals to me in their
lyrics have that tad more off course, but if you talk about food or whatever and you have great jams, I’ll still back it.Then again I like food. There’s a lot of anger in your words. What do you sing about and where does it come from? Things that piss me off and that bother me. Things I don’t know anything about and still get pissed off about. Random words that sound angry. What do you mean with “Mistakes will never make us learn”? Fucking up all day, every day. For everything people do that doesn’t end well, they’ll find something to top that. Look around you, enough examples. It’s just a conclusion, really. That, and it’s a catchy one-liner. Do you really think we have a fucked up youth and fucked up parents? (Where do they fuck up?) Parents neglecting, spoiling, or generally fucking up the kids their youth. These kids think they own everything and then tend to get punched in the face by reality later in life. You have many examples really, that was just one of them. I do believe things are going the wrong way, let’s hope I’m wrong. We’re not that old at all, but saying “ it was all better when we were young” sounds like the truth, right? (seems like kids these days lost morals and dignity) I was happy back in the day, running around with Pokémon cards, or when building a fort. I liked watching silly cartoons and playing outside with friends. Today apparently that shit got replaced by chatting with your friend who sits 2 meters from you with your iPod, or watching shitty teenage superstar programs. Then again, I’m sure they are having fun, so did we, who knows they might say the same
in a few years. Last question: When are you buying a new drum set instead of your wreck? Hahaha, who knows man, we like that wreck, it hasnâ€™t turned to dust yet so weâ€™ll stick with it for a little bit longer. Jasper would like to add: SKATE OR DIE. Pics by Andy Vuylsteke
Zine reviews Tight End – Hardcore punk zine - issue 2 This is a zine from the Philippines and written, cut and pasted by a guy called Dan. This zine really reaches back for the good old cut and paste layout, literally… Every piece of text, every picture is pasted and then photocopied. Some parts in the text are adjusted by a blue ballpoint pen after printing, or just pasted over by a small piece of paper during the printing itself. That way it gives this zine some good old retro-vibe. As for the contents, it’s full with the writers remarks, great bands are covered such as Outlast and True Colors and other youth crew bands, and some (self-drawn?) comics are in there too! This is really something cool this Dan is doing, so if you might have the chance to get your hands on this zine, just buy/trade it! Law & Order – issue 3, 2011 This is really the crème de la crème of hardcore zines. Nothing like the cut and paste style of the Tight End zine, but a far more professional take on it all (to make myself clear, both professional as cut & paste are cool!). This zine looks like a book and reads like a book. All the usual stuff is covered, such as band interviews (in a narrative point of view btw) with Bane, Terror, Anchor and Coke Bust. Also a whole lot of album reviews, book reviews, zine reviews such as this one and a project about straight edge! Really cool, and by the way, edited by Staffan from Stay Hungry and 2 more friends of him… I couldn’t think of anything as perfect as this zine. Thumbs up for these guys!
Wretched Souls – issue 1 Steve Urkel on the cover so this HAS to be a good zine! This zine is done by two guys I know from my area. I’ve read this zine literally in one time. There’s a cool layout to the wole zine, with pop and moviestars scattered everywhere, and the interviews itself are really cool to read too. To give you a hint if you haven’t read this one: The Mongoloids, The Carrier, Mother of Mercy, Fire and Ice,… Cool huh? I’ve heard these guys have started working on a second issue, so I’m really stoked about it! Davy, one of the editors, is also doing a hip hop zine now since he’s really into hip hop! KILL PEOPLE, BURN SHIT, FUCK SCHOOL! He’ll know what’s up… probably moshing in his room right now! The Outsiders Zine – issue 1 A tight layout, nice artwork,… Those are the first things that really come to my mind when I saw this half sized zine for the first time. For a first edition this is really some quality release I must say. And an interview with True Colors during their final show last year really gives this zine something extra. Nice columns, etc etc. Keep up the good work guys! Fold It zine – issue 1 This is really something else. This is probably the smallest zine ever made. It’s not bigger than your average cellphone, I can assure you! As the name of the zine might reveal already, this zine is a folded zine. You don’t need a magnifying glass to read the interviews though haha.You have to unfold it and a A3 zine appears. Apart from this extravagant layout, there are five interviews with some standard but interesting questions. Bands covered in this zine are Hessian, Kingdom, Planks, Deafheaven and some designers called Webecameaware. I don’t know if this guy has some zines left, because there were only like 30 printed I guess, but I’m sure as hell proud I have this one in my collection.
Album reviews Together – The Oddysey The cover of the album depicts a vague man, long hair and a long beard. The persona of a wanderer. ‘Where do I go? I don’t know.. Anywhere, but home’. The album is a personal tale, based on the lives of the guys behind Together, about love, heartbreak, and other personal issues. You could see the album as ‘two dimensional’. You can either assume it’s the story about a man, leaving home, wandering of in the world, not knowing where to go. But on the contrary, the story could be playing inside the head, as a journey to yourself. Either way, stuff to think about, showing that there’s more behind the band then just melodic and rather ‘depressive’ hardcore, something some hardcore kids seem to laugh about these days. As for any band, lyrics should be the key to understanding and appreciating the band. So there you go… check them out, because their album is really, really good! Stay Hungry – Against The Wall This band is one of the best bands in Sweden right now! The recipe is quite simple in fact: short songs mostly not longer than 1:30 minutes and one beat drums, seasoned with fast guitar riffs and some slower parts and a pinch of melody. I really liked their first album… in fact it quite blew me away honestly, so my expectations were really high for this album. The first time I heard them, I thought these guys were some big, mean guys. I kind of have that English football hooligan kinda style in my head, hanging in the bar all day, drinking beers (though they are straight edge, I know) and punching people with a broken billiards stick. Guess you can’t judge on people before you see or know them, because in fact these guys look really normal and aren’t that aggressive as far as I know haha. Andy could as well be a teddy bear, as you might have read in their interview. Enough with the stereotypes now and focus on the album! Have they met my high expectations? Yes and no. I kind of expected more of them in a sense. I liked the melodic riffs on their first album, and I’m kinda missing that in this album. The album is pretty fast and straight
forward with one beat songs, so I sometimes get the impression some songs are kinda similar to each other, so that ‘I already heard that song’-feeling is present sometimes. I’m not saying this is a bad record at all!! The tunes are catchy, some songs really stick in your head and they sure have something to say. So overall, this is one great album though! Why should people buy this? Because it’s a fucking good record of course! Against the wall – buy it!
Ritual – Paper skin Ritual released their 7” ‘Kissing Pavement’ last year as the precursor of their new album ‘Paper Skin’, or I thought so. Usually this is the way to do it, but ‘Paper Skin’ has become quite something else. Where ‘Kissing Pavement’ followed the paved path of the harsh and brute first record ‘Wolves’ and their follow up ‘Beneath Aging Flesh and Bones’, ‘Paper Skin’ takes a different route and takes you on an experimental journey to what might be their best record so far. People that liked the first albums probably will need some time to adjust to the new, more melodic style of Ritual, though some songs still remind to ‘Beneath Aging Flesh and Bones’ and ‘Wolves’. If you’ve read the interview, you will have noticed I talked about a grungy kind of style on this album. If I have to give an example, the song ‘Dunkerque’ really did remind me of a nineties band called Stone Temple Pilots. If you might not be a huge grunge-fan like I am, Stone Temple Pilots is called a rip off band of Pearl Jam by some uneducated rants... Anyhow, the grunge feeling is not the only thing present on this album. When I first listened to this album on my stereo, the song Distant Glance reminded me immediately of Deftones, which is pretty much a big compliment in my opinion. As for the rest, some unusual instruments are used too… Perhaps instruments you’ve never heard before on a hardcore album, like a harmonium and an accordion. The experimental stuff reaches its peak on the song ‘This Shell Has Got A Soul’, some sort of jazzy song. I kind of imagine it’s played in a dark and smoky café in a downtown neighborhood in New York in the sixties… My personal opinion is that this song is the least song on the album, unfortunately. Highlights are the triptych ‘White Caskets – Coldest Shoulder – Absolute Devotion’. As a conclusion: this is a must buy. Definitely!
Get Wise – Demo 2010 There must be something in the water in the Eastern part of Belgium. A lot of good to very good bands seem to be sprouting there. And so does Get Wise, a powerful fourpiece collective bringing top of the shelf youth crew. In the midst of all these boring tough guy bands, there still seems to be some people who appreciate good music. These guys really deliver a quality demo, which reminds me a lot of superheroes True Colors.Typical are the fast riffs and drumming parts, but more than once the songs slow down a bit which make a good alternation and foremost, no repetition. I sometimes tend to say I hear songs twice on the same album, but on this demo it’s not the case. Also remarkable is that the bass plays a significant role in every song. And I’m really the bass-loving kinda person, so that’s another plus on their report. (And Kristof scores another point for supporting the best football team in Belgium. :D ) But since I was/am talking about superheroes, I would say the likes of True Colors and Floorpunch are Batman, and Get Wise are Robin: for now a bit in their shadow, but they could easily be as good as one of those are/ were in the very near future. Midnight Souls – Colder EP Who says it’s all quiet on the Belgian front is awfully mistaken. Every now and then good bands and good releases appear, as I said earlier with the other Belgian bands and releases in this zine. Midnight Souls has yet delivered a very interesting 7” on Reflections Records, home of among others Ritual and Stay Hungry. There’s no really appropriate way to best describe the music of Midnight Souls. It’s dark, yes. It’s melodic, yes. Can I say it tries to flirt with the borders of the hardcore box? Yes. Although I’m aware we can’t and shouldn’t put everything in boxes, and especially not hardcore. I must be the kind of categorical type of person. But to best describe their music, I could refer to Modern Life Is War. It has the same kind of vibe to it, the same lyrical and musical emotions. There are only few bands who are able to touch me, but Midnight Souls succeed. But it wouldn’t be fair to say Midnight Souls is just merely a copy band from MLIW. Lyricwise, Midnight Souls really add their personal feelings and life to the whole. ‘Black Lung Disease’ tells
the story of growing up in a Mining town. I can’t seem to notice the songs are about trying to escape from life or the daily routine, but that’s only my take on them. More or less a vent of feelings about our social – economical way of life… Highlights of this album are ‘Rivertown Rains’ and ‘Walkaways’, and I’m really looking forward for future releases of this five-piece from Antwerp, Belgium. There’s a cooperation with Xerxes, due to be released in April this year, so watch out for that too!
Hessian – Hessian Hessian, the barbaric German warlord has returned after many centuries and brings plagues and fear upon us all… I don’t know if that is the true origin of the band’s name but that’s what popped in my mind when listening to the first record of Hessian, a new Belgian band formed with members of Losing Streak, Black Haven and The Black Heart Rebellion. Three bands that definitely didn’t pass by unnoticed for the last couple of years. The best way to describe Hessian’s sound is brute and metallic hardcore in the vein of Rise & Fall and Black Haven. The songs are fast most of the time, broken with out of tune guitar riffs and slower parts. There is just such an enormous vibe coming from the band, both live and on LP. Both lyrics and music have something dark about them, in which Bram’s brutal voice plays a significant role. The riffs are perfectly placed and the drums play a prominent role in the whole experience. This debut LP is really something else, a listening experience from the first until the last song.The sound surrounds you and gets you hooked on your stereo and doesn’t let go until the last powerful breath tells you we’re running in circles… And then I put the needle back on the record, in circles again. The sound quality and production of this record is good to very good, which tells you these guys aren’t doing this for the first time and really wanted to deliver the best they got. This is definitely a band to keep an eye on. I see them in the likes of other Deathwish material, if it ever comes this far.
The Ignored – Act Like You Care
releases. Their latest effort ‘Stronger’ could as well be their best record so far in my opinion.
Bono is sitting on a toilet on top of the world taking a crap on it. The title of this record and the artwork speaks for itself. This is definitely a scoff at all the people that think they care but act like shit. Social criticism was one of the keywords in punk and hardcore. Lately, most of that criticism has disappeared, but it’s The Ignored’s virtue to still stand for what they believe and come out with a message.Their album is thus filled with references and songs about politics, vegan/ vegetarianism, social values, etc… something hard to find in punk and hardcore these days.
I have to admit it though, ‘Take Control’ took me a few times to fully get along with the record. I got the feeling the songs are faster and shorter, in comparison with the other records. ‘Take Control’ lasts only a good 23 minutes, while ‘Stronger’ lasted 32 minutes with only one song more on the album. Maybe it’s because the album is less groovy as before? I don’t know. I guess it was kind of an adapting period I went through, perhaps. I really like the album right now, and comes close – or maybe even surpasses – ‘Stronger’, which is probably why I can’t recall why I had to give it a second chance. Anyways, what’s left to be said about this record? It’s kind of more melodic than previous records. How can I clarify what I mean? The addition of a second melodic guitar riff sums it up I think. To give you an example, songs as ‘Remain’, ‘Not What You See’ or ‘Always Will Be’ really point out what I mean. Apart from that, songs as ‘Take The World’ kinda give me the Trash Talk-feeling, which really points out NTB (intentionally?) took a different approach when writing their music for this record.
Each song is powerful as a herd of elephants on speed. A kind of power which reminds me at small venues filled with smoke, graffiti painted walls and sweat dripping of the ceiling. The kind of venue where you have to take a dump outside or amongst the crowd, and nobody cares. Lyrically, The Ignored tries to make you think about how we live our lives each day. Straight on punk rock music and a wall of thoughts right in the face. For those who did not yet have checked out this punkrock band from Ypres, Belgium, their music reminds me of Rise Against. Melodic punkrock with some hardcore influences, clean vocals and some more hardcore-like grunts mixed in between. You know what I mean! To give an example, the song ‘Utopia brings comfort (to some)’ really points out what I just described here. As for the record itself, it’s good to very good. It’s powerful, it’s fast, it’s punk! Some songs didn’t quite fascinate me as much as the rest, but that’s no reason for not liking this album at all. It’s definitely worth checking out, because to me, this is the best hardcore punk performance in Belgium at the moment!
Lyrically, the songs are pretty straight to the point as we are used too. No fringes, no poetry, but straight from the heart. It’s always nice to hear Martijn speak out about racism and stuff, which is pretty often forgotten by other bands, although this is something which should be rooted deep in every hardcore band and the crowd. As to conclude this review, I’m pretty sure I’m justified to say No Turning Back is one of the best bands in our European hardcore scene as well on record as on stage. They succeeded in finishing a good to very good record which is definitely worth checking out! Buy it at one of their shows (they’re touring Europe constantly these days) or order it online!
No Turning Back – Take Control Being a great No Turning Back fan and the multiple ‘Take Control’ shout outs on the web last year got me super psyched for this new album! So when I first got the ‘Reaching Forward’ 7” in my hands, and later the ‘Take Control’ record, I first wondered if No Turning Back would stick to their typical NYHC based sound. You could call it their trademark, since all their albums have that influence. With some bands sticking to the same old sound could act as something more of the ordinary or – should I dare to say? – boring, NTB has never really disappointed me with their
a hint mixtape to get Check out the e! lik d s soun all these album
Arty Farty In my first zine I thought about having some sort of topic in every zine. At first I thought to do it for the whole zine, but now that seems kind of an utopia. So, a promise is a promise, and some people were really eager to send me some of their work. This kind of proves hardcore punks are not at all the stereotype of lowlifes some people have of us.There’s more to some people than meets the eye, and some people really have that artistique flow in their veins. So I got some pictures by people I do and don’t know personally. The bad thing is I’m not able to copy in color so for the bigger part these masterpieces don’t get the full credit they deserve. Therefore, check out the links I added! Under: Photo taken by Jasper De Deyne also known as Bonzo Biscuits. Yashica MF-2 Kodacolor 400 VR Plus Epson Perfection 4490 Photo Check out his work on flickr.com/photos/bonzobiscuits Top right: Painting done by Fay De Vlieghere. This piece of art has no name. Just look her up on facebook if you got questions. Down right: Painting done by Diego Latruwe. Called ‘Spellcasting Unabled’ Check out this and other work on diegolatruwe.blogspot.com
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Thank you for buying and/or reading this zine! It means the world to me! If you got questions regarding this zine or have an opinion on one of my columns or interviews/reviews, please contact me at tjorven.mindsetzine@ gmail.com. If you want to send me mixtapes, demos or records for reviewing, also use the mailing address above. I personally love LP’s or Tapes for the simple reason I have a notice of how it feels and how the artwork looks like in a whole. I must add this zine is not a means to get free records and never will be. The decision is up to you and you can be assured a review will be written! Also, if you want to trade zines or tapes with me this is highly appreciated! It’s always fun to get to know/read other zines. Again, contact me with the address above and we’ll work something out! Check out Mindset Zine on Facebook! Just type in these words and you’ll find it somehow! Add me, have a chat and tell me what you think about this! x Peace out xx Tjorven.
Oh.. and suppor
t the HHF! Seriously.