maanantai 15. syyskuuta 2008
Daymares is a quite new band from Poland, featuring some members of a great band called Sunrise, that broke up some time ago. I talked to the vocalist Patrick on may 2007, just before there tour and shows in Finland. Man, those days bring up good memories!
First; how did Daymares start? Some of you have also played in a band called Sunrise, was the Daymares a logical continuation of that band?
Three of us played in Sunrise, but Daymares is a new band, not a sequel for Sunrise. Daymares started when Sunrise was breaking up. We needed something fresh. We knew really well what kind of music we wanted to play and everything went really smoothly. We started to jam and we found an awesome bassist, that is actually the twinbrother of our guitarist. After that everything has gone faster than we expected; we did a demo, found a record label and started to play shows.
In Sunrise, the themes of Vegan Straight Edge and strong political and social-critical message played a big part, does Daymares continue along these traditions?
Everyone in our band is vegan or a vegetarian, none of us drink, smoke tobacco or use any drugs, but we don´t want to be labelled as this or that. Nevertheless, we still have a lot to say. There are two reasons for the existence of this band: To have fun and have our say. Both are equally important to us. There are enough reasons to be angry and scream for change.
Where does the influences for Daymares come from, musically and lyrically?
Musically there are many genres. Bands like Tragedy, Entombed, Genocide Superstars, Disfear, Damnation A.D., Neurosis, Cro-Mags, From Ashes Rise, Integrity, Cursed have all influenced our sound. Aggressive, wild and dirty stuff. Heavy hardcore punk and death n´roll. That kind of stuff we are pretty much into and that reflects to Daymares more or less. There are also a lot of bands that don’t inspire us that much musically, but more so how they operate as bands or what their message is. Fugazi is one of them.
Poland is known in the field of hardcore/punk from it´s many crust-bands and also as the homeland of the legendary hardcore-band Dezerter. How did you feel you fitted in back in the day with Sunrise, being more “American” and “clean” look (clothing, lifestyle ect)? Daymares is more punk-orientated so this must be easier?
Mad props for mentioning Dezerter. We all love that band. Personally I can say that Dezerter changed my life when I was young. That was the first band whose lyrics I knew from heart. Every word.
Daymares is open to all kinds of audience and we hope to see a mixed crowd in our shows.Everyone who wants to have fun with us, is welcome (excluding the idiots, of course). We don’t want to fit into any image or direct ourselves to a certain group. We do what we do…well, we shall see what the result will be.
Pat, when and why did you become vegan and Straight Edge? Did these things come hand in hand or were they two different things to you? How do you feel about the distinction of those things now?
These two things came into my life pretty simultaneously. I got Straight Edge when I was about 17 years old and became a vegetarian about six months after that. After year and a half from that I became vegan.
I chose Straight Edge because the destructive nature of drinking alcohol. Other intoxicants or casual sex didn’t interest me anyway. I became vegetarian because of ethical reasons.
Choosing veganism and Straight Edge as my values in life are the best choices I have ever made. These two things are very connected in my own life. I have also learned that both of these things keep me healthier and help me to enjoy life as it should be.
In your lyrics, there is a lot of references to making positive changes in individual life and in actions towards the world around us. In your opinion, can one person change the world? What can one individual do for a better future?
People have always changed the world, with their courage and ways of working the way they see best. First of all, you cannot please everyone. Some people are already offended if the lifestyle you have chosen is contradicting the way they were brought up to believe. Whatever you do, youre going to face criticism, but fuck that. That’s how it always goes. Some people talk bravely of things that bring death to them the next day. Either you follow whats in your heart and what is the truth or you seek for acceptance. Very few people in this world are truly brave and willing to give up their lives for what they believe. Those people are usually the ones who haven’t got anything to lose and I respect those individuals and their kind. However, every single one of us can act even a little bit better than we are expected in this world. Be brave, don’t follow the paths that have already been laid, but do what you feel that should be done. Go and do stuff. Personally, I get a lot of inspiration from my friends, who have grown as a people, are active and are improving themselves and their way of acting and are brave individuals. The time spent with them motivates me to go a head and work for things despite the obstacles.
I believe that the best I can do for a better tomorrow is to keep good care of my loved ones, spend time with them, take care of friendships and act against loneliness. This is the real strength. People collapse because they are weak and this happens because they haven’t got no-one to turn to. Especially nowadays we are apart a lot as persons and we drowned in the material world. We think that material things can replace the real friendships and the real excitement in life. Never.
Lets get down to sematics and personal feelings; what does hardcore mean to you?
It is an independent community where people that go to shows, play at them and organize them are more or less the same crew. It’s a place where the freedom of expression and creativity are accepted. It is an environment that is real, not artificial, like all the other shit around us. A place where you can turn negative emotions into something positive.
You have just released a full-length album with Daymares. What is to be expected?
Coming up we have got raw material all the way through, spiced with rocking groove. Some faster songs and some slower ones.
The future must hold a lot of touring and rock n´ roll-lifestyle, right?
We try to play as many shows as possible and we are probably going to do tours as well.
We are coming to Finland on may and I hope to see all of you there!
Last question; what does the vocalist-dude Patrick dream for his life? Some wish?
I wish I could never grow tired of doing the things that are part of me. I would like to get more stronger, healthier and smarter when time goes by and I hope to be present in the lives of the people I love. And well, a new season of Twin Peaks wouldn´t hurt either.
This interview was originally done for the Chambers Magazine. The finnish version of this interview can be seen in their website.
Daymares @ Myspace
torstai 11. syyskuuta 2008
Kylmä Sota is a finnish band that plays punishing and distorted d-beat.
This interview was done before their show at TVO june 2006.
Here we have Kylmä Sota with us, please introduce youselves?
Reagan – Vocals
Breznev – Drums
Thatcher – Bass
Ok...where did the idea for forming the band came from?
Breznev: My guess is that it happened in some bar.
Thatcher: As I recall, we were at Klubi with JFK and these people here and we talked about having rehearsals together.
Breznev: The person missing from this interview is JFK, who plays guitar. Right now he is playing Kicker over there.
Reagan: I think we had talked with JFK that we should start a band that would play good music, because all the stuff out nowadays is just utter crap. And the only way to make good music is to imitate Disclose and put some finnish and Scandinavian influences in the mix as well.
Breznev: And as far as how we have been playing, I would say around two or three years.
Thatcher: Two and a half.
How did you came up with the name Kylmä Sota (=Cold War)?
Breznev: Well, we sat to my place drinking with Reagan and had this grand idea; Kylmä Sota! That was the thing.
Has it got any bigger symbolism?
Breznev: I don’t know, I mean, we did want to play this kinda Cold War-era hardcore punk, 80´s style, so that’s about it.
Reagan: We are Kylmä Sota because we are not the current day!
What are the most important musical influences, there was some talk about bands beginning with the letter D…?
Reagan: Disclose, Broken Bones, Discharge, GBH, Shitlickers.
Thatcher: I guess everyone in the band has their own preferences, but that is probably the musical direction we have.
Breznev: Old finnish 82-hardcore and so one...Mellakka and the others, Rattus...
Reagan: Personally I dig Varaus, Vendetta and Damage!
With all of youguys living around the city of Turku, what do you think about this town? It must be a wonderful place, right?
Breznev: Awesome place, sometimes straight from the arse.
Reagan: Even too fine around the summer.
Thatcher: I have moved to Turku in 2001 and I have no complaints. I like this town.
Reagan: Summer is very bad.
Breznev: The bad thing here is that people don’t bother to come to the shows. I am also guilty of that myself.
Thatcher: Yeah, everyone does it...
Reagan: I am guilty of it because crap is crap and there aren’t very good bands in our town.
Turku is being planned as a cultural capital, what do you think of that? Why should it get this title?
Reagan: Well, I don´t know why it should, I think they could sell the whole idea to Helsinki, because the want it so much...
Thatcher: It probably doesn’t effect my life in any way, because its most likely about finer arts and that kinda stuff...
Breznev: Yeah, I can´t see Kylmä Sota getting any cultural grants....
Reagan: Yeah, I doubt that too. So if that cultural town-thing happens here, then…
Thatcher: …It probably consists of hippie nonsense, fiddling and such...
Veikki/Dissect: They don´t support underground culture here at all, they have even prohibited the glueing of posters.
Thatcher: Yeah, think about that.
Reagan: But this place is still better than Tampere! In that town, there is only one place where you can put posters and anywhere else it is strictly prohibited. Have cops ever stopped you while you have been gluing posters here in Turku? I don’t think so.
What is the message of your band?
Breznev: Life sucks, working sucks and everything is wrong. This is pretty along the lines of typical finnish ´82-punk lyrics.
Reagan: Really? I think there are some hints to finnish social democratic party there somewhere…semi-red kinda messages...I would like it to be “either or”...
Breznev: So this is what we have to say about our lyrics.
Thatcher: I think our lyrics have to be in unison with the views of the persons in the band.
Reagan: Meaning that when I sing “Runkkari, vitun runkkari” (= Wanker, bloody wanker), the audience also thinks that “right; we are wankers.”.
Reagan already mentioned something about finnish hardcore. What is the state of finnish hardcore nowadays, please analyze?
Reagan: Pretty stable. People should really filter their stuff more. Good bands are maybe Selfish, Kyklooppien Sukupuutto...
About your releases...you have at least one demo out, what else is coming up?
Breznev: We recorded new demo in easter and I really hope it stays as a demo, because it really sucks. The first one is better.
Thatcher: I think its ok...
Breznev: The sound is crappy and the playing is bad. But that might also be a good thing in part.
Reagan: There is probably an EP coming out and the leftover songs are going to some split release.
Thatcher: We are also going to appear in one compilation.
Any last words?
Reagan: Everything is shit, if it doesn´t change into something else!
This interview originally appeared in Chambers Magazine and was conducted in finnish.
keskiviikko 3. syyskuuta 2008
This interview was done with the drummer Mariano Safe sometime around summer 2006.
First we could have something about the history of the band. What, when where, with whom and why?
-Nueva Etica was started around 1997-78 by a group of good friends. We wanted to play hardcore in the style of Path of Resistance and spread very direct Vegan Straight Edge-message. At that time, Sxe had a really bad reputation in Buenos Aires and we wanted to change those negative conceptions. We have been in the scene for long and have been involved in the bands like Autocontrol, Vieja Escuela and Eternity. After all too many changes our line-up got steady. Now the band consiust of Punga, Beto and Alvarez on vocals, Iisandro and Jave on guitar, Tuku on bass and I, Mariano play drums. We have released one demotape, one cd called “La venganza de los justos” and our latest album “Inguebrantable”. Our latest release contains our feelings about Straight Edge and many other things that we have experienced during all these years.
Was your choice to sing in your native tongue a conscious one?
-To sing in Spanish is a conscious choice for us. We do respect the bands who choose to sing in English, but when it comes to Nueva Etica, we feel that its more natural for us to express ourselves with our native language. We feel it reflects best how we talk day to day and it also expresses more clearly what we say. The intensity of the lyrics is also better because of this. I am also not very good in English and I write all the lyrics, haha.
Is veganism and/or Straight Edge a big thing in your country?
-No. Argentina is well know for its wine- and meat-production and it is very had to be a vegan here. There are not too many alternatives, but you can still act according to conscience and discipline and say no to the use of alcohol and animal products!
It seems there are a lot of Vegan Straight Edge-bands coming form Southern America. Do you think there is any particular reason for that?
-In Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Colombia and other places the people that are interested in hardcore are very active and new things reach them pretty quickly. The spreading of information between the scenes has been really active even before the time of internet. Our bands played also those kinda places where there was no scene and we strived to start activity through those concerts. Today, internet has made many things easier.
How does the hardcore/punk scene look like in Argentina and what kind of role do you think your band plays in that?
-Hardcore punk scene in Argentina is pretty ancient. It has gone though both good and bad times, depending on social climate, I think. Right now the scene is growing and there are many bands.
Our role in the scene is in my opinion to continue with the spirit of our old scene, trying to continue the legacy of bands like Autocontrol and Vieja Escuela. We have been Straight Edge for about 12-13 years and we are the foundation of this scene. Our band is old and we are among the oldest SxE people around here. We and our friends organize shows of our own, festivals and so on.
Some Vegan SxE bands like Point of No Return seem to add politics to their message as well, what is your take as a band to political issues?
-As a band, we don’t have a political view, but because we come from a country that is filled with political conflicts, we want to reflect the social problems that we have, for example in your hometown or in Latin America in general. Imperialism doesn’t give much room for better living conditions or even the basic wellbeing when it comes to third world nations. Corrupted politicians work as slaves for the imperialism, defending the rich while denying education from poor people.
Globalized politics result to a very hard reality and the onlyu weapon we have left is our knowledge of what goes on in our country and the ideas that we can use to effect the reality around us. Our lyrics reflect how we live, so some of that social environment can be found in our songs.
Do you discuss other topics in your lyrics besides veganism and Straight Edge?
-Yes. Like I said earlier, we tell about things that could happen to anybody. That’s why we talk about politics, personal things, friendship and betrayal. These all issues are dealt through our viewpoint and how they relate to our values in Vegan Straight Edge, of course.
What are your influences musically and lyrically?
-Musically HC- and metal-bands, mainly Earth Crisis, Path of Resistance, Cro-Mags and Madball among many others.
I gotta ask this; does your name come from the Earth Crisis song called ”New Ethic”?
-Yes, parly. We chose the name because in our hometown Buenos Aires, people who have chosen the Straight Edge-lifestyle are often labelled as Nazis and we wanted to put back some of that ethic of honour and respect, that these accusations had hurt. That is what we wanted to do by simply representing non-prejudicial Vegan Straight Edge-views. SxE is not fascism!
How does the future for look for Nueva Etica? I know you have got a long tour (over two months) a head of you in Europe, any expectations?
-I don’t know. I hope the tour is going to be as good or better than the last one we did in 2003. We had no expectations for that tour and the reaction was unbelievable, people were very kind and many of my pre-assumptions were proven wrong and that was really positive.
We hope that the future tour goes well. We go to represent our latest record and we are very enthusiastic to play both our new and old songs and we want to make each show a very good party.
Time for the last question; what are the main goals you would like to achieve as a band and what goals have you already reached?
-One of the main goals that we have achieved is to stay friends and so we have did for almost 15 years. As a band we feel that we are slowly starting to achieve some things that used to feel very distant. For example, we would have never dreamt of getting to go to play to Europe so soon and that wish came true. We are very grateful and lucky to have been able to see these things that are happening to us as a band. One big achievement was our last album. We recorded it at the studio of the drummer from the band A.N.I.M.A.L., Martin Carrizo and it was mixed by Tue Madsen. These are all very unbelievable things. European tour is a culmination point of a very arduerous time of work for our band and we are very satisfied, but we are also always waiting for the new opportunities.
This interview was originally done for Chambers Magazine (http://www.lammaszine.fi) and is awailable in finnish on their website.
Nueva Etica @ Myspace.
Order their cd.
keskiviikko 27. elokuuta 2008
This is an old one from fall 2006. Never got published, better late than never, I guess.
What's up in the life of Metal Mark currently and how are you doing?
I recently played a couple of Devo tribute sets with my once-a-year band. We all live hundreds of miles apart, so we practice 30 or so songs on our own and then practice once together as a band just before we perform. It can be a little unnerving, but we do pretty well in light of the obvious limitations. Our website is http://www.spudboys.net and we have a MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/spudboys . This may not sound very "metal," but you'd be surprised how many lovers of extreme music also appreciate Devo (Devo was a HUGE influence on Siege--they will tell you that themselves!!); besides, I discovered Devo before I discovered heavier forms of music.
Why did Proclamation broke up and what has happened in your life musicwise after that?
Over a series of events in a short period of time, it became evident that Proclamation had run its course. We hadn't written any new tunes in a year and a half. Lee (one of the guitarists) told me he wanted to write songs where we would "have chicks in the front screaming along like they do for Bane," and I began looking quietly for a replacement for him. That's not to slight Bane, but it was so far away from what we were, musically, and the type of lyrics I write. In fact, lyrically, I really wanted to get out of scene politics and into larger issues--there was nothing further I wanted to say about being straight edge and how the scene should be. On top of this, we were all becoming pretty jaded about the hardcore scene in general. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one that has anything to do with hardcore at all anymore, and it's certainly a more peripheral passion of mine these days. Some of the guys were really discouraged about how little headway we made...not getting onto any shows where there was any turnout, not drawing any crowd ourselves after 4 years, and the general indifference that our CD received in the Boston area despite overwhelmingly positive reviews from all over the place. After one particularly sparsely-attended gig, Lee announced he was going to quit--this at the time where our other guitarist Matt was going off to school out of state and we were going to continue as a 4-piece during his absence (at least until I could find someone to replace Lee)--and then a couple of days later Nate (our drummer) announced he was also going to leave after completing our scheduled gigs (he also cited frustration over our lack of headway). It seemed logical to end it at that point, so to coincide with Matt's winter break, we scheduled our last show that December with a bunch of bands we liked: A.C., PTL Klub, Last In Line, Down But Not Out, Days Ahead, The A-Team, Final Awakening, and a couple of others, including Think I Care. In my mind, it was an amazing show and a good way to close the book. The only thing that would've been better about it would be if I hadn't been the one who booked it--I was busy stressing about details for much of the 9-hour show.
The following spring and summer I was busy hammering out details to remix our Bridge 9 releases and compile a discography release for Life Sentence Records; once that was out of the way, I formed a band with Seth from A.C. called You're Fired ( http://www.myspace.com/yourefiredboston ). We'd talked about it for over a year beforehand, but our schedules finally lined up to do it. It's really fast hardcore and very political, mostly concentrating on the corrupt nature of the shadow government and championing the rights of individuals. The lyrics of one of our songs have been misconstrued as racist; however, anyone willing to examine the facts of my life and politics on a rational level would know better. I wrote and recorded "My Foreign Policy" before I got more information on the bigger picture; these lyrics have since been re-written.
In the spring of 2003 or 2004 I had the opportunity to jam with Kurt and Rob from Siege for an afternoon, which was awesome. I wish I'd recorded it. Siege is the best Boston hardcore band ever, period, so playing their songs with them was mind-blowing. This was going to be a step toward a Siege reunion, but it never materialized.
In October of 2004 Seth was found unconscious. He was comatose for a month and suffered a lot of nerve damage. His road to recovery was going to be long, so You're Fired was put on hiatus. It is in large part due to Seth's recovery time that we only have one 7" released to date (he's the guitarist); but in September we played our first show in over 2 years and we're hopeful to write and release more material.
In November 2004 I joined some friends to form a death metal band called Soon To Be Dead ( http://www.myspace.com/soontobedeaddeathmetal ). The music was very much in the vein of Dismember with some Autopsy thrown in for good measure. I don't write gory lyrics, so the lyrics were a lot more shadow government themes veiled in a more poetic style. This band ended abruptly upon our guitarist joining the U.S. Army in June 2005. I'm not sure what he was thinking...
In June of 2005 and July of 2006 I helped my friend Billy Fraser lay down some early-Revelation-catalog-worship down in Texas, where he lives. These tunes also have some almost crusty overtones in some of the chord progressions. The lyrics openly reflect our love and praise for Jesus Christ. The project is currently called Perseverance; I hope to find a label to release these 10 songs, but Billy and I need to put our heads together on that.
Proclamation was once called “Boston's Most hated.” Why?
It was because of our open disdain for scenesterism. We didn't play the stupid fashion games; we offended some scene "important" people, and things got derailed for us shortly thereafter. We took the title for ourselves; it seemed appropriate, and it was a nod to Cleveland's Confront (Matt and I liked them), who claimed a similar distinction in their own scene.
What were your influences for Proclamation? Musicwise and lyrically?
I would say that musically, One Life Crew and Infest were big influences from 1998 to the end. Lyrically, I admired the militant nature of A Chorus Of Disapproval and Earth Crisis, although I didn't borrow from either band. Earth Crisis' lyrics became more and more intense as time went on. "Slither" tackled some DEEP things...way beyond what everyone else was doing, and I maintain that album is by far their best...but I digress! Performance-wise, I was really hoping to deliver a bit more like Kevin Mahoney of Siege (Siege's "Drop Dead" was the last song we ever recorded), but we never got to the next batch of songs to try that out.
What do you think about the Boston hardcore scene, past and present?
I'm proud of Boston's legacy of so many great hardcore bands. Siege, PTL Klub, Jerry's Kids, Last Rites/Negative FX, early DYS and SSD, Psycho, Slapshot, Sam Black Church, Wrecking Crew...many of Proclamation's contemporaries such as Ten Yard Fight and In My Eyes, The A-Team, Close Call, Down But Not Out--all of them, just excellent. This doesn't even speak to the more metallic bands like Converge and early Cave In. And although I'm not really in touch with much that's going on presently, Mind Eraser is a mind-blowing band. Just devastating. Bones Brigade is another great band--skate-obsessed straight edge kids playing furious music--but they recently broke up!
Any opinions on Boston Beatdown?
The filmmakers can document whatever they want. Regarding FSU, I never understood how "talking shit" warrants physical assault. Some of my friends have been beaten by FSU members for this offense. People should have freedom to speak their peace without fear of reprisal. Given FSU's visual identity and methodology, I'm not sure how they differ from any other street gang except that they're hardcore kids. The perception of violence seems to have followed FSU from its early days to the present--read up on all sides and decide for yourself if you think this is coincidence. I might add that no FSU member has ever been confrontational or otherwise rude to me. I'm not opposed to BB in principle; I just hope that curious parties don't mistake these videos as representative of all facets of the Boston underground--there are several scenes existing simultaneously.
Do you feel that coming from Boston has any particular affect on individual when it comes to playing in a hardcore band?
Hmm. I don't know. A lot of Boston bands have members originally from other cities or states. For every outstanding band here there are plenty of mediocre ones. Maybe the local musical heritage and common respect for some of the classic Boston bands helps to shape the sounds from here.
What is hardcore to you?
Speaking idealistically, it's a platform to speak my mind, and--hopefully--a community of open-minded people willing to facilitate change in a world that has plenty that needs fixing.
You are still Straightedge. What did it what it mean to you in the beginning and what does it mean to you now?
For me, it's always been a healthy lifestyle (bodily and spiritually) that fosters productivity and alertness. Early on, I strove to bring everyone around to it. At some point I realized that there are bigger issues that are of more immediate importance, like the shadowy plot for a one world government slave state. At its best, sXe is a form of positive peer pressure around which kids can rally and find others like themselves who aren't interested in following hedonism and self-destructive habits in general. At its worst, sXe is a judgemental, elitist mentality--almost a legalistic, religious zealotry, and totally divisive, which runs contrary to my convictions. I try to follow Jesus; therefore, the idea of "rulekeeping" for its own sake is repugnant to me. Even in Minor Threat's "Out Of Step," Ian said it's not a set of rules...so, other than for the sake of drawing battle lines, what's the point of making absolute rules out of what's otherwise just a good idea?! Over time, many formerly-simple things have become more complex in nature. Over the course of 25 years, Ian's idea of straight edge has become unnecessarily complex.
Current favourite bands?
Napalm Death, Suffocation, Seemless, and of course Devo. Celtic Frost's new "Monotheist" album is probably going to be my favorite of 2006.
Any famous last words?
Question authority. Seek truth. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thank you Kimmo for your support of my old band!
Proclamation at Myspace.
RISEN is a political vegan straight edge-band from Indiana, USA. The band is quite new, but the vocalist Kurt has had experience from one legendary VSXE-band, Birthright. Besides the band, Kurt also runs his own record company, Catalyst Records.
First off, describe in your own words your band to someone who hasnt heard you guys before?
RISEN is first and foremost a DIY hardcore band, to us that means we are trying to capture a certain anger, energy and intensity to convey to our audience. We do this (hopefully) both through our music and through our message. Our message concentrates heavily on issues of social justice and new ways of thinking about how we as humans live in the world around us.
As a band, stand for animal rights and for straightedge. Why these issues?
These are both very important issues to us personally as individuals and as a band, but we do not exclusively concentrate on them. But I think these are both issues that are fairly clear cut, and can begin a process of questioning that will lead into other areas as well. For example, I believe that straight edge is a great way to begin a process of maintaining mental clarity, and can be a great first step in rejecting many of the things that out culture has taught us that we take for granted - like consuming alcohol. Similarly, veganism is a great way to begin the process of thinking about how we as humans in this culture interact with nature, and the injustice of our current system of living.
With that said, I think it is also very important to continue these lines of reasoning forward into other areas beyond veganism and abstaining from intoxicants.
Kurt, you have been standing for Animal Rights and advocating veganism some time now.
What made you become vegan in the first place?
I was strongly influenced by the hardcore scene for the most part. I had always considered myself an "animal lover" when I was younger, but didn't realize the hypocrisy of loving certain animals and promoting the completely unnecessary torture and killing of others that our society has determined are more valuable as clothing or food. Reading information I gained through listening to bands like Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Insted, Outspoken, and Vegan Reich helped me realize that I needed to change my own actions to remove this form of cruelty and injustice from my own life.
The lyrics of RISEN also deal with political issues. Do you see that these things are
connected to cruelty towards the animals, like for example the fact that there are so much
money involved in animal-related “industries”?
I definitely think that the capitalist system encourages us to view everything as commodities for our consumption, especially animals of course, but also other humans and the world in general. It is a system where the number one goal is profit for the few with no regard for the rights, or the best interests of the many. This is not to say that capitalism is the cause of cruelty towards animals, because that exists in other contexts as well, just that capitalism really pushes the idea of turning living things into inanimate objects, or products, to an extreme.
What is the situation of a grassroots activist for AR in USA today? The SHAC-campaign
seems to be causing a lot of stir and activists are labels as “a #1 terrorist threat inside
the nation”, I hear.
Currently the USA is in the grip of a very repressive system that is very serious about discouraging dissent in any form. There is a real fear being (falsely) instilled in the general population here, and for the most part the laws are being bought in this case by organizations that profit from the abuse of animals. It seems that things have been a little quieter recently, but the danger is always there, even for those like the SHAC 7, who's only crime was to post information that anyone could have found themselves with a little of their own research. It is a serious problem in a "democracy" when ideas and voices of dissent are silenced in this manner.
I find it especially ironic when the USA was partially based in direct actions on the part of revolutionaries, wich are glorified in our history, yet condemned when people fight against injustice now.
Are the members of RISEN active in local animal rights groups? What kinda stuff you guys have been doing?
It really depends on the time period, members have definitely been active to some extent in local AR groups, and even with organizations like Food Not Bombs at times. Personally I was more involved in the past where there was a more solid AR movement in Indianapolis which is unfortunately pretty lacking now, and in the Midwest area in general.
When talking about vegan straightedge, one cannot really pass the subject of the
HARDLINE-ideology. How do you feel about the subject and have your opinions changed over the years?
No one in RISEN ever considered themselves Hardline. Though I do agree with the Hardline philosophy in many areas, I also completely disagree in some areas as well, such as their stances on abortion, homosexuality, religion, and even how to define what is "natural." I think I have probably become more distanced from Hardline as the years have passed and I have become more anarchist in my beliefs because much of the ideology comes across to me as very conservative, or about purity, which I think misses the point.
In the nineties, there was a big boom for bands promoting veganism. Nowadays it doesn’t
seem so “cool” anymore, in public opinion at least. What do you think about these kinda “fashions”?
Everything goes in cycles I think, but I doubt that the fashion trend of veganism will return as it was in the 1990's.
I really think that in hindsight it was pretty superficial at that time, hopefully those who are picking up veganism now are doing it for better reasons now that it isn't as hyped, or a huge trend. I would much rather see people adopt a vegan lifestyle out of sincere belief and then stick with it as a rational ideology.
Kurt, in your personal opinion, can there ever be a political system in this world that
could really work for all of our benefit (Humyn, animals and the planet)?
Well, I think there has been in the past. We often forget that humans have not always lived the way we do now, and that in reality the majority of humanity probably lived within a system of communal anarchy for most of human history. I think it is really important to keep in mind that our current way of living is less than 5% of human history,and is probably the exception, not the rule. So in many ways I think a return to our more natural system of communal anarchism could work for the benefit of all, providing that the extreme human over-population is brought into check.
Do you see animal welfarism as a part of reducing animal suffering or do you feel that its about making too many compromises, compared to animal rights movement..s more “demanding” claims?
Is there room for both?
I definitely think there is room for both, I am not a big fan of creating extreme "us against them" dichotomies. Though I feel like those working for welfare (in contrast to liberation) are a bit hypocritical and misguided, we have to realize that even these measures can make the terrible lives of many animals at least a little better. Its ridiculous to deny this and to only concentrate on the ultimate goal which is so far off as to be fairly unreachable at this point. I feel that the goal should be to do the greatest good for the most beings possible. To pretend that "animal liberation" is some attainable goal within our lifetime (or 100 years) is both self-defeating and counter-productive, we have to be realists as well as idealists.
If you could influence the animal rights movement with something new, what could that be? In other words, is there something you would like to change or make people more aware about in this field?
I really feel that many people, even vegans and those claiming to fight for animal liberation, still make great artificial distinctions between humans and non-human animals. Even within the vegan community I see many people who still carry
the cultural message that animals are food or clothing in their hearts. I really think it is necessary to completely reject the idea that non-human animals are anything but independent living beings with desires and interests of their own.
I feel that too many people fail to adopt this perspective and truly act on it - still wearing second hand leather for instance.
I think it is really necessary to see leather as something other than an inanimate object (created from the suffering of a once-living being) and instead as something we would not consider any more acceptable as clothing than the skin of oppressed and tortured humans.
The last one is open words; what would you like to say to our finnish readers? Do you want to say something I may have not asked?
First, thank you for the interview, its great to be able to reach as many different people with ideas as possible. Beyond that I just think its important to always question everything, both what we have been taught in our culture, and our own motives. Learning and personal growth is a life-long process, and those who do not grow are dead, in spirit, if not in physical form. All struggles are one. xvx
The finnish language version of this interview can be found in the legendary punk/hardcore-zine "Toinen vaihtoehto". I highly recommend ordering it.