Archive for the Interviews Category

Sounds from Siam [2 of 3]: Yos Fest

Posted in Interviews, Thailand with tags , , , , on September 2, 2013 by Alright Jack

The four issues of the Arise hardcore zine

When I met up with Gap of Holding On Records I asked him what he knew about the history of hardcore-punk in Thailand and whether anyone ever wrote punk zines. As a young guy, he wasn’t around at the time, but he mentioned Arise zine. Afterwards I looked on the internet for Arise zine and found an article on First Blood that was once published in the zine. Playing internet-detective a bit longer led me to find the email address of Chris who started the zine. Sent him an email, hoping he was still using the same one 6 years later, and received the long story of him ending up in Thailand in return. As interesting as that story was (leaving home as a 14 or so year old kid to follow the Grateful Dead touring around the US, seeing bands as Black Flag and the Bad Brains, ending up in Thailand in ’99 looking for a punk scene, giving away cd’s and tapes to interested kids, starting a zine and so on), he suggested me to interview some of the other old guys that were involved in organizing things.

One of them is Yos, a 37 year old Thai guy. He organizes shows and works full-time for Guitar Mag, Thailand’s biggest music magazine, writing columns, doing reviews and selling advertising space. After meeting Chris he got more into hardcore-punk and when Chris decided to write the zine in both Thai and English, Yos helped out with the translation. Furthermore, he also organized Bangkok’s biggest hardcore festival called Yos Fest. Yos Fest #2 was the biggest edition, with over 34 local bands playing and 6 foreign bands in one single day, attended by around 1600 people. After talking to him at the No Turning Back show in Bangkok we decided to meet up for a talk one evening and have some beers at Ratchatewi, Bangkok.

Yos is from a Thai-Chinese family. His father came from China by boat to work in Bangkok about 60 years ago, started out as a waiter in Chinatown, but was selling antique when Yos was born. Yos his Thai mother was his father´s second wife, but when he was young the family broke up because his father was addicted to gambling and was selling everything in the house in order to keep gambling.

Yos

I ask him about how he got into music. He tells me about how his brother, who studied in Macau, brought back a lot of vinyl from there, stuff like The Police, Black Sabbath, Twisted Sister, Micheal Jackson, Jon Bon Jovi. “I remember seeing the Black Sabbath – Paranoid cover album for the first time. I didn’t know it, but then he played. First song, Iron Man, scared the hell out of me. Holy shit, what the fuck. It opened my mind. I loved it. I was 8 years old. And then I listened to Michael Jackson – Beat it with Van Halen playing guitar. I loved the guitar music. And Michael Jackson’s dancing, I still love him. If I didn’t have my brother, maybe I would’ve been listening to K-Pop music now. He opened my mind for rock music.”

As for punk music in Thailand: “In my opinion, punk music and some of the Thai music are very close to each other. You know Caribou right? It’s like real life music, politics, lyrics are close to punk. Melody and sound is different. We grew up with phleng pheua chiwit [music for life], bands like  Caribou and Caravan (see youtube video below). When we were growing up, we have heard of punk band from the US like Bad Religion, Black Flag and a lot of old school punk bands 20 years ago in Thailand. This punk music was never popular here, but it had a small piece of the music scene in Thailand“.

So I ask him if he remembers how he met Chris Arise back in 1999. “I cannot forget that. My friend opened a t-shirt shop at Siam square soi 4 and then one day he called me that he met a farang from New York that was into NYHC. So I met up with my friend and then Chris came. He had a big bag filled with cd’s. I bought some cd’s and he gave me his phone nr and we talked about music. He told me to listen to the lyrics, explained the typical hardcore things; youthcrew, straight edge, vegan etc. He is like my brother also.”

“So basically, first you had your brother with Black Sabbath and Bon Jovi and then you met your second brother who got you into hardcore?”

“Yep”

With regards to Arise Zine, Chris founded it and wanted to do it bilingual, so Yos helped out. The first issue was about explaining and introducing hardcore-punk to Thailand in 2000, with an article that invited people from all over the world involved in hardcore-punk on what it means. They sold them for 20 baht (50 euro cents) and made four different issues. Yos and Chris stopped when Chris went to Surin in Isaan six years ago.

The early Thai hardcore-punk scene revolved bands like License to Kill, System Sucker, Zealot and Superman. With the ‘Russian Roullette 2’ show they started up the Thailand Hardcore (THxHC) group at the end of 2001. Yos tells me about the first shows he organized with Chris Arise and his brother in 2002 with Recover from Singapore. “[It was] in a small room that fit a 100 people, but more than 200 people came. Not everyone could be inside, so we rotated … Chris helped out with contacting the band.”

“You guys were the only ones organizing back then?”

“Everyone helped. A big problem was police. Because eh, they do not know what the fuck this music is. Violent? Cannot play, cannot use the PA system, etc. We had a lot of problems with the police. That’s why my friend burned down a small police check point at a junction in 2003. That’s why License to Kill has a song fuck the police.”

“Did you have to bribe police in the beginning?”

“Yeah, usually 2000 baht. But then we moved to the immortal bar [back then on Khao San Road], where we could organize concerts more easily as the owner was a music lover with his own band, small stage, equipment, sound system. No police showed up there.”

Himsa in Bangkok, many years ago

 The first Yos Fest was in 2006. Of course, the name is a pun on OzzFest. As for the reason of using his own name for the show, it involves a girl:  “I called it Yos Fest in dedication to my ex girlfriend. I had a broken heart when my ex girlfriend left me. She was a punk-rock girl and then she went to university, where things changed. She broke up by phone. The world had turned. I missed her a lot, so I dedicated the festival to her and by calling it Yos Fest I hoped she would come, but she didn´t. She had new friends, got into jazz etcera.” The second Yos Fest was the biggest hardcore show ever in Thailand, but again she didn’t come. “But with Yos Fest #3 in 2009 when I had a new girlfriend, my ex finally showed up haha”.

“So how was that?”

“I told her it was nice to meet you again, there were no hard feelings anymore. I told her afterwards I dedicated the festivals to her.  She said she didn’t have time to come for the previous ones“.

“Are you organizing another?”

“I still set up shows, and help foreign bands when they come over. But I often don’t have enough time. And with a friend I organize concerts for Indie Pop Concerts, Parkway Drive, Black Dahlia Murder etc. Not to make money, just as hobby. Don’t tell my boss, but sometimes I sneak out of the office [and organize shows instead].”

Sounds from Siam [1 of 3]: Holding On

Posted in Interviews, Thailand with tags , , , , , on August 27, 2013 by Alright Jack

Thai hardcore kids with the singer of NTB in the middle

Gap is a 20 year old Thai guy that set up Holding On Records last year. Holding On Records is a small hardcore-punk label in Thailand. The name, interestingly enough, comes from the similarly named album of the Netherland’s No Turning Back (NTB), who have been touring South-East Asia and visited Bangkok for the third year in a row last December. As for the story behind the name Holding On Records, it is indeed connected to NTB. NTB was looking for a label to release their latest album ‘Take Control’ and after talking with Martijn (the singer of NTB) Gap felt inspired enough to do it himself. With NTB as his inspiration he named it after NTB’s Holding On album from 2006. So far they released a record of A Strength Within from Belgium, Minus-3 from Belgium, Homerun from Malaysia. Gap is also running it as a distro and sells some stuff from other foreign labels. They also just released the Pak Kred Hardcore (PKHC) compilation with two songs of all the six PKHC bands on it: Born From Pain, A-Zero, Take it Back, Mosherman Friends, X on the Hand, Skip It. Pak Kred is a district of the the Nonthaburi, right next to Bangkok, where Born From Pain and A-Zero started out. Gap also helps out organizing shows. I met up with him in early October 2011 to talk with him about the Thai hardcore scene.

Gap is also the singer of X on the Hand. The first and only Straight Edge band of Thailand. They started out in 2005, but he is the third singer of the band as the first singer quit as he was too busy and the second singer Jam wanted to put more time in A-zero. Gap started going to hardcore shows 6 years ago as a 14 year old with his older brother. He tells me that the hardcore scene has been growing stronger, with relatively many foreign bands coming over like Terror, Death Before Dishonor, No Turning Back and many others. As for difficulties getting foreign bands over: “Big organizers get many big bands from all genres of music, sometimes also hardcore and metal bands. But it’s only work. For money. But sometimes, if we can get a contact with a band. We do it by ourself and our crew with our money. We do not care if we lose some money sometimes. It’s okay. If we lose money, it’s all our crew money. Not only one.”

“It’s a problem. I’ve been to a few concerts here myself. If you go to a Thai concert, it’s like 100 baht entry or something with only Thai bands. But if Terror comes over it’s going to be like….”

“800 baht?”

“Yes. It’s a lot of money for most Thais.” 

“Yeah. Some bands when they think they are a big band, they need many things. It depends, some big bands don’t need anything. Or they need some money, so they can buy their flight ticket. A little money, some food etc. I think that’s okay. But for some other bands, they need many things. They need food, hotel for staff. Big bands do like this.”

And you don’t want to do that..”

 “No, I don’t need to do that. It is expensive. If you do like this, it´s not hardcore, It’s business. For money only. I don´t like that.”

While I am not exactly the most spiritual person myself, I briefly wanted to talk about Buddhism with Gap as I saw a photo of him as a novice on Facebook. I ask him for how long he did that as it is quite normal for young Thai guys to be in monkhood for a year or so (often to escape poverty), but he tells me he only did for one day: “Because of my uncle passed away. And in Buddhism, it is normal for a nephew or son or anyone close to the man that passed away to do this. So that’s why I did it. And it was the first time my family saw my tattoo..” “Haha. So did they like it?” “No. Haha”

“What did your mom say?”

“My mom said, why did you do like this?

So I was like, it has some meaning, this side is straight edge and the other Pak Kred Hardcore. So this means I don’t drink, I’m not smoking and I’m not fucking around. And my mom said, if you think to do like this, you can do this, but you cannot do the tattoo, that’s not okay. But now it’s okay.” “She has to accept it…” “Yes, because I cannot I erase it. Hahahah”

“So how did the monks react to it in the temple?”

“Oh, they just came to see this new monk with tattoos on his back and arms. Oh, he has a cat on arm. Oh, he has a wolf on arm. But it was okay.”

“Do you think punk or hardcore punk relates in any way to Buddhism for you?”

“Oh, yeah. For me. Some of my lyrics for X on the Hand are based on Buddhism. Sometime I have read a lot about Buddhism in the past, and I just use this for my lyrics. Buddhism teaches everything for a positive mind. And I want to make positive lyrics for X on the Hand too..“

“What are your favourite Thai hc bands?”

“Born From Pain for sure. Then A-zero and Take it Back. Those are three of my favorites. I need to introduce you to Skip it, they are good band too.”

“Are there any Asian bands outside Thailand you like?”

“Yes, many from over South-East Asia are playing very good. I love Homerun from Malaysia. Second Combat, also from Malaysia.”

“Ohh.. I’ve heard of Second Combat. Yeah, yeah, my brother interviewed them for Jagged Visions #2 I think [ed: it was the first issue]. They toured in the Netherlands.”

“Their guitarist just emailed me the other day that they want to come over here.”

“Others?”

“Ohh. Kids on the Move from Malaysia. From Singapore, I love Overthrown. They will play in Bangkok with NTB 17 December. Under 18 from Indonesia. Mouthful of Air from Singapore, they play melodic hardcore. They’re so good. I just saw them play coming together with anticolizali [??], but they only came with 3 persons, but they played in Bangkok. I want to see the full band.”

“What about bands from Cambodia, Laos or Isaan?”

“I’ve not heard of anything from there.”

“And underground music outside Bangkok in Thailand?”

“I have seen some shows being set up in Chonburi, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Lopburi. In many provinces there are some shows. Some bands, but not much. There are some hardcore bands from Chonburi like Take It Over and Can’t Break.”

“Anything else you want to say?”

If you want to follow my label Holding On Records, you can find us on Facebook. I will do my best to make the BKK hardcore scene better than in the past. Cause I want to do everything for hardcore. And now we have a plan to make a Holding On fanzine, with interviews with NTB and A Strength Within. And some other bands from the other side of the world. 

Holding On Records

David Eliade Interview (Part 2)

Posted in Interviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 29, 2012 by Jagged Visions

Here is the second part of the David Eliade interview, the manager of Fucked Up. Click here for the start.

A: What is Wilsim Publogy?

D: Wilsim Publogy was an offshoot of Romanian Manicheanism, and the whole Gnosticism trip. It sees cosmology in the same way as the Gnostics, in that the universe, or the being, or whatever, is split into these two forces, “light” and “dark”, or what have you, but differs in that Publogy doesn’t see the forces as necessarily opposite, but the same. It’s more into dualism, more along the lines of Vedantic Hinduism, who thought in terms of the “non duality of duality”. The whole Kabbalist “two poles” idea where the opposing forces are actually just different expressions of the same thing.  We tried to be influenced by this when we were making “Hidden World”, and it shows up in songs like “Triumph of Life”, and “Two Snakes” and was the inspiration for the cover art. Actually, that’s another way Mircea comes back in, the quote we used from him in the record; “to be no longer conditions by a pair of opposites results in absolute freedom”. Especially in the world now where you’ve got your two political ideas, everyone has these strong feelings of wrong and right – we’re living in an age where the multitude has been slashed into these singular opposites where life is a series of choices between two opposites, and there are really only two ways of existing, you know “right” or “left”. It’s important I think to try and pull the crate back open, try to release these other ways of existing. And to do that we try to just take away the divisions and the opposites and just shine through Wilsim Publogy.

A: Is Wilsim Publogy about knowledge or does it also influence your (moral) behaviour in daily life?

D: It’s the knowledge we use to live. Publogy informs all of my decisions, it is my cosmology. It’s the thing I refer to when I need to make decisions. I see WP in everyone around me, I use it to evaluate other people, situations I find myself in. It is a doctrine for living to me.

A: Does it have any ritual practice?

D: Not ritual per se.

A: In ancient time people had tribal rituals to let go of suppressed emotions to reach a higher state of their inner self. In Indian philosophy there are yoga techniques aimed at escaping the limitation of the body to free the soul (atman) to reach a higher state (moksha or nirvana). Also according to modern psychiatrists like Wilhelm Reich, people will feel freer by getting rid of traumas through a combination of techniques involving feeling, breathing, punching, kicking and yelling. In some way these are all the ingredients, not only of a tribal dance, but also of a good punk show, and in particular a Fucked Up show, with kids moshing and sing-a-long. Do you see a Fucked Up show as a ritual for disillusioned kids in today’s society to let go their frustrations and maybe reach something higher?

D: Not so much. I think if that was the case you would see people getting a lot more emotional and uncontrollable at shows. Plus it isn’t so much disillusioned people at punk shows anymore for the most part, especially our shows.  It is an interesting idea though, and we used to try to unleash some of those feelings with sigils at gigs. People are too uptight, and a concert isn’t something you experience with your heart, now you use your brain.  Especially for young people, there are so many stressful things to worry about – how you look, what other people are thinking of you, fitting in, all those pressures, no one can really let lose.  Not enough drugs involved either! On the next tour we’re gonna bring along an orgasmotron to unleash the orgone energy in the room.

A: Are you into shamanism, magick or any other means of reaching a higher state of consciousness? If so, can you or anyone else in Fucked Up claim to have had any paranormal experiences?

D: The next Fucked Up record is entitled “The Chemistry of Common Life”, which refers to a mushroom textbook from a long time ago.  So check.  I’ve dabbled with magick on and off for several decades. I sometimes like to credit Fucked Up as being my servitor to access the minds of young people.  Not sure about the paranormal experience stuff, you would have to ask them!  I certainly never have seen anything I would call paranormal.

A: In the inlay of the Hidden World booklet is a text about the origin and harmony of the world: “Vibrations and hums the quantum sum where we’re from”. You do not have to explain quantum physics, but can you explain your general idea of balance in the cosmos?

D: Well it’s the Wilsim Publogy trip again – we just feel the constant hum of unification throughout the cosmos. That piece (“Looking for Life”) is about seeing the cosmos as one massive conduit for creating life. One of the quantum realities deals with the idea that maybe when you turn your back there’s nothing behind it, that the physical reality we’re surrounded by is manifested inside our heads, rather than outside it. So if there is no human consciousness that manifests the universe?  It’s this nice one-sided romanticized view we decided to run with – there is a picture by Kubin we used on the Year of the Dog 12″ that shows Satan ejaculating humanity onto earth, and its sort of the same view – the 14 billions years of space was the preparation for the consciousness that would be able to bask in the glory.  That text is trying to follow the evolution of life through time and into the future.  We like to see the balance in the cosmos as just that, a cradle for life. How there is the pattern of self-replication, at every level, that manage this constant recycling of materials to keep pushing life and existence into the future.

A: Are there any final misunderstandings about David Eliade you want to eliminate?

D: That I don’t exist!

Kubin: Satan ejaculating over earth

David Eliade Interview (Part I)

Posted in Interviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2012 by Jagged Visions

At the end  of 2007 my friend Aisling Blissett did an interview with the mysterious manager of the band Fucked Up, David Eliade. David Eliade was  credited on their releases around that time as the mastermind behind the band. Not soon after the interview was published Fucked Up stopped crediting Mr. Eliade on their releases. At the same time Fucked Up dropped their own pseudonyms and shifted in a more direct and open approach to the outside world, which came with increased mainstream penetration and critical acclaim.  It is unknown if David Eliade was still involved in the band, still there were hints with a Christmas single in 2007. And then in 2011 he was back in the spotlights whenFucked Up released David Comes To Life. An epic rock opera of 4 parts which tells the love story of a girl named Veronica with no one else than David Eliade himself.

The interview was pusblished in Jagged Visions zine #1 and part of it also appeared on the Fucked Up blog. Check here the first part.

Aisling Blissett: You are mainly known as the manager of Fucked Up. The band describes you as their main inspiration. How would you describe yourself?

David Eliade: I’m just a normal guy who takes abnormal interests.

A: I would like to get to know David Eliade, the person, a bit better. Can you tell something about your daily routine? Where do you live? What music do you listen to?

D: Well, I have a full time job, and that keeps me quite busy at home. I do that and enjoy it. I won’t say what I do, but I can say that I work in film, under my real name. Besides that I’m also running an international crime brainwashing media collection agency. These days I have a fairly conventional lifestyle.  I enjoy drinking – I collect wines, like drinking chocolate the old way.  I’m one of those old hapless grown up hippies from a bygone age still trying to make the new age happen, but now it’s by inserting things subtly into my work, and trying to control punk bands!  I try to listen to “Ascension” by Coltrane once a week.

A: Do you get a lot of demo’s of bands looking for a manager?

D: Haha no. No one knows how to get in touch with me.  I’m not a manager, I’m an artist.

A: Are you related to the Romanian philosopher and writer Mircea Eliade?

D: Well, the “Eliade” part of my name is a pseudonym, and absolutely it’s taken from Mircea.  The plan with Fucked Up has never been to waste words – we try to pill as many meanings into each word as we can, so that no word on the paper is wasted.  It’s also the rule to use fake names as much as possible, partly for the same reason, but also for anonymity, so we can walk away from it when we are finished without the residue.

A: When was the first time you came in contact with FU and how did the collaboration develop?

D: I don’t have a lot of time to spread myself around, but I have people planted in various places to keep and eye on things for me. Octavio hangs out in the underbelly and caught the band at a show in New York a few years ago breaking up a fight that had started while they were playing. We sat down together that night and things just developed from there, we understood each other and wanted to move towards the same sort of future. They kept calling me Bruce Wayne!

A: I know Bruce Wayne, but who is Octavio? What is his role within Fucked Up?

D: Octavio in the Henchman. If I’m the wise, genteel and sort of sedated over-arching complex, Octavio represents the wild uncontrollable urge within the band. He’s been a friend of mine for a while, I found him at a very bad place and tried to clean him up a little, but not, let’s say to a clinical or sterile extent. The band met him through me, and was interested in him coming on board as my counterpart, because you know how they are interested in duality and symmetry.  You no doubt understand the depths that can be involved in producing a hardcore punk band, and there are levels that need to be dealt with in Fucked Up that not even I was prepared to deal with.  It isn’t a part of the underworld that I had any experience – when I was in those trenches they were coloured in a different way, if you know what I mean. Octavio comes from the future, he is part of the present – he knows how to fight in this world. Whereas I feel like for them I can be the light they turn on in the dark, Octavio is like the black mask we put on when we need to become dark.

A: Most of Fucked Up lyrics are written by Pink Eyes and Marbles. Have you had any input in writing these lyrics and choosing the subjects they deal with?

D: Yes, I show them things; try to explain true ways of presenting information. We sort of conceived the ideas for the first album together and I left them to put it all together as a final piece. There are things I added at the end.

A: Given that the band has a DIY punk background, do you ever have arguments with the band members about the musical and commercial directions the band should take?

D: At first we argued. I tried to explain their greater influence and potential. This I guess is always the way – artists often need to be shown the way and have their art put in a greater context. I try not to interfere too much in the musical aspects of the group, because that isn’t my strong point, but I do show them things there too. I mean I try not to be too heavy handed in any aspect of the group because I want them to be able to stand behind everything they’ve done as their own, but I am a part of the group and do have an influence.

A: You designed the logo of Fucked Up. Where did you get your inspiration for the artwork and what are your favourite logos?

D: I think the most powerful logos are the ones you can’t even tell are logos. Logos can be more than symbols, in that they can be the primary meanings behind those symbols. Money, fame, compassion, greed – these things that drive you are the logos I’m interested in. I mean, you know the game we play – we are into the symbols you can’t see, but that can see you. A logo is like the traffic signal for your brain, it’s the red or green pulse that controls your flow through life.

A: Do you see Fucked Up as a “Gesamtkunstwerk” or just a band? And in what extent do you see them as a contemporary manifestation of Dada or neo-Dada movements?

D: Well we’re starting to work on the David Comes to Life LP, which will try to incorporate more than just music into the presentation. We want to package it as a memory stick so that it can incorporate an album worth of music, the play, the documentary, the musical, the movie, you know the whole deal.  Soon I think media will be presented more along the lines of size rather than style – instead of buying an LP’s worth of music from your favourite band, you’ll buy a gigabyte’s worth, so we’re trying to get with that. It’s the whole indie-vertical-integration American Apparel style that is really taking, now you’ve got record companies that are getting into publishing and management, it’s like this disaster style economics where everyone is sensing this foreboding doom and trying to scoop up as much as they can before the bottom falls out. But ultimately Fucked Up is just a band. We tried to reference surrealism with Baiting the Public, but none of that kind of art really matters anymore, things are too reversed to be able to make any sort of meaningful impact.

A: The theme of the Year of the Pig is exploitation and violence against women, using the murder of 26 prostitutes in Canada by farmer Robert Prickton as its main subject. In an online published statement, you placed the case in a bigger context, and condemned today’s morality on sexism based on guilt and sin, but if you could, how would you explain to the victims why this horrible crime happened to them?

D: You can’t.  You can say, “your’s was a crime of disenfranchisement”, but it’s not even that simple.  Why did it happen to them as individuals?  They were in the wrong place at the wrong time – the wrong place being part of an industry that receives no protection and legislation, the wrong time being while prostitution is still a profession that is looked down upon and cast aside. We took steps to make sure the song wasn’t about targeting Pickton specifically, because there is no lesson there. Sure, there are murderers in society, but what does it mean for that society when one of them is able to systematically pick off dozens of similarly employed disenfranchised women off the streets, for years?  The Pickton case is about so much more than just one fucked up deranged farmer.

Second part coming soon. What happened with the memory stick?

The making of zine Jagged Visions #3

Posted in Interviews, Japan with tags , , , on July 14, 2010 by Jagged Visions

Finally I started with the last part of making my zine about Japanese punk&noize and my favorite thing to do:  the lay out. Of course it took much longer than planned to do everything. I had all the interviews finished a couple of months ago, but then i decided to write some articles myself about Japan and that took much longer than expected.  The problem is that a certain moment you just have to say to yourself to finish it , because you can keep correcting and adding things, but it will never be perfect anyway. So i started the cutting and pasting yesterday for the interview with Emily of koenji calling:

cut and paste

Here is some of my cut out material, including a Japanese news paper Asahi from the 50’s.

Material for the zine

So yeah I hope to finish it within a couple of weeks from now!!!!

I found out that people are still visiting this blog and it is fun to find out what search terms they use.  Here are my favorite ones:

– pregnant killed cut or sliced or ripped

– why is rob not on the fish morning show

– part one help me i am a fish

– people running away from king kong

And my absolute number one:

– what would sakevi do?

Slang Interview

Posted in Interviews, Japan with tags , , , , on May 17, 2010 by Jagged Visions

Slang is a Japanese Hardcore band from Sapporo formed in 1988. Slang, a killer live band, is gearing up for their first US tour. I did an interview with them for my upcoming zine on Japan Hardcore, because the zine will not be finished before their US tour, I decided to post a preview of the interview on my blog.


Most Japanese bands do really short international tours, but Slang will tour the US for 4 weeks. How did you organize the tour and how did you guys get such a long holiday?

KO: The America tour was decided a long time ago so each of our band members were able to adjust the holidays. Our lives are on the edge though.

You will play 4 shows at Chaos in Tejas festival, anything special we can expect for these shows?

KO: We’ll be playing twice for the Fes. If you don’t know when we’re on, the dates are on our MYSPACE page. We’ll be in Texas early for various preparations so we’ll be there before the first day of the Fes.

“Stop Child Abuse” stands on the flyer for the US tour? Why do you want to raise attention for this topic?

KO: In Japan, 1 child dies because of abuse every 5days. Everyday we see a new child being abused on the news and they get forgotten. No one can even keep up with who killed who. So I thought I could be of at least some help being in a place where I can express myself to the public. In addition, I’ve got 2 kids myself too. Even now as I’m talking many children are being abused in the world. If adults don’t start changing the way of thinking, the same thing will go on over and over again. To be honest, I’ve been contemplating for a long time whether or not putting this message out as a band. But I came to the conclusion that I have to. We’re in a situation where we need to have more than one person trying to make a change. Even if it’s one more additional person calling out. We need to do this even if it may not necessarily be a fit image for our band to the public. I’m a member of the ‘Child abuse protection campaign’, so I’m going to keep on calling out.

US tour flyer

What makes bands from Hokkaido different from other Japanese HC bands?

KO: I don’t think there is a major difference but I feel something is different. Probably because Hokkaido is far from the rest of Japan. I think difference in interpretation, experience, and environment makes some things different.

Slang has several songs about the Second World War like “Rain In August”. Today in Japanese politics due to the North Korean threat there is a lot of debate to change article 9 and build up an army. What is your stance on this?

KO: A society where nations have to threaten each other with weapons in order for peace sounds stupid. Especially in this time of day where internet and globalization is making communication much easier. The public’s known that this kind of situation is wrong and stupid already. After losing the Second World War, Japan’s been dependent on the American military. If Japan was to make an army for its own in a situation like this, I don’t think it’ll hold. If  America goes down, Japan will go down with it. North Korea is making nuclear weapons and if something happens they threaten us by shooting missiles at Japan. They receive aid from Japan, and there are unions too. It seems senseless but I guess they have their part of the argument too. I hope we can find a netter way to co-exist. Either way, I think there is a better way to spend money than spending a load of money on the military.

Slang back in the old days

There seems to be a special relation between Slang and NY hardcore. Besides the musical influence you released Vinnie Stigma’s solo cd on your label and I saw picture of Madball and Slang together. Can you explain?


KO: Slang’s played with MADBALL, Agnostic Front, and other NYHC bands who came to Sapporo. When I go to NY, I go to N.Y.H.C. TATOO too (though I can’t speak English), but I don’t think there is too much of a connection except for that. I respect Vinnie Stigma and Roger. I got a lot of influences from Agnostic Front.

Any Chance Slang comes to Europe in the future?

KO: I’ve always been listening to European Hardcore since the 80s. I watched UK/DK so many times my tape got worn off. I had to buy new ones. Twice! I’ve always listened to European/Japanese/ U.S. Hardcore, and Slang’s music
has influences from all.


http://slang1988.com/

Some more words from Slang in the printed zine and interviews with Tone Deaf, Cosmic Neurose and koenjicalling. Also articles on touring in Japan (with Fy Fan, My Minds Mine and Unit 21), G.I.S.M, Hijokaidan and The Stalin. Coming out soon!

Rob Fish interview (Part 2)

Posted in Interviews with tags , , on April 5, 2010 by Jagged Visions

So then you are sixteen years old or eighteen years old and you decided to live in a temple?

Sixteen, yeah…

It never really worked out for me the way most Krishna’s do it. Most people get in to all of it for some time. I was always kind of half out, half in type of thing, because certain things never set well with me.

Was that because there was still some kind of authority to follow?

Absolutely. I’m not a really religious person by nature. I’m not. So my faith was always like… I even don’t know if it is right to call it faith for me. It was much more like an inspiration.

I’ve really thought a lot about that over the last few years. Is it religious? Is it spiritual? Is it faith? Or is it inspiration? And I think it is probably inspiration more than anything else, because if it religious that means you should follow it by the letter of the law. If it faith, then it means that you really believe in it. Do I have faith that reincarnation and karma are absolutely positively true? I don’t really think about it and I don’t know that I can logically convince myself of that, but from an inspirational standpoint, I think it’s a deep meaningful thing. I guess the point I am trying to make is I have never been one to be interested in the truth, in some universal sense. I think truth is relative. I’m the kind of person who wants to feel happy and feel inspired. Whatever that is for me is whatever it is for me, and whatever it is for you, then that’s it for you.

How do you include Hare Krishna practices in your daily life?

I was involved in the social, religious context of Hare Krishna for some years but I just never really fitted in. Probably like, ten years ago I said: “You know what? I don’t want to do this anymore.” So I stopped chanting, I stopped meditating and I just didn’t care about it. Then after about six months I started chanting again but it was on my own terms. I was like O.K., I have got to do it because I feel like doing it and for no other reason. So, if I want to chant, I’m going to chant. Fuck it, I don’t care. This time I was doing it my own way. You know, and I went to India, spent time there and my appreciation for that part of my life really grew. So when I’m not on tour, then I live a pretty disciplined life. I get up early every morning and meditate for a few hours and I have a deity that I take care of.

What is a deity?

A deity is like a form of Krishna that was given to me by a guru. I worship him and take care of him. It is like you do this whole ritual, like bathing and taking care of him and I chant songs. Then I go to have my normal bath.

Do you do yoga as well?

No, not really. It is more like meditation, not like physical yoga. On tour it is all different. I try to chant a lot, but it is hard. At home it is more like a routine.

A couple of years ago in the Hare Krishna world there was a huge scandal. Children were molested and sexually abused by some so-called gurus and devotees on ISKCON schools in America. Did that hit you in the face?

You know. No. I don’t know. Again, I mean, people are fucked up and I wasn’t like the typical Hare Krishna who goes in thinking, he is a devotee so he must be pure. I never had that type of mindset. The fact that I was sexually abused as a kid, I never think I grew up thinking that bad people had horns on their head. I knew this person had probably been abused too and probably was pretty fucked up too. So, I don’t know. I never walked around the Hare Krishna world thinking they are all pure, they are all amazing, they don’t have any issues. It didn’t surprise me at all and actually one of my introductions to ISKCON was a book called “Monkeys on a Stick”, which kind of chronicles all that crazy shit. So it was never like a big shock to me.

You said that you were sexually abused as a kid. How did that affect your own sexuality?

Well, it made it more difficult to find comfort in sexuality and feel good about it. People have a hard enough time with it without being abused, so it certainly was difficult in some respects to understand it as a kid. To realize that sexual abuse and sex are two very very different things.

I reread Vic’s story “I was a teenage Hare Krishna” of some years ago again lately. He is really critical about the Hare Krishna movement. He also speaks about the role of Ray Cappo and the swami, seeing 108 as a tool to convert punk kids to the Hare Krishna religion. So, for a lot of kids the continuation of 108 years later was pretty unexpected. What is your thought on that and to what extent do you guys still carry out the Krishna consciousness?

How other people viewed 108 really has nothing to do with what 108 means or meant to me. I never did it to convert anyone because I wasn’t even converted myself. I did it because we had common spiritual interests and inspirations. It’s as simple as that.

You were in the hardcore scene way back and now you are coming back into it after ten years. Has anything changed?

Actually, I did music between that. I did a band called The Judas Factor. We did some records on Revelation Records. I don’t go to shows that often. If there are a band I quite like or a friend of mine’s band is playing that I want to see,I go to a show. It wasn’t like after 108 I just stopped being involved in music and I just came back.

I always stayed pretty much involved most of my time, not actively touring, but always writing and putting out records. I did some recording and touring, but it was more in the background of my life, just because I was focusing on some other things.

In terms of hardcore music changing, it’s more popular. It’s more like the heavy sound or look is more popular, a more impeditive popular culture. In terms of whether the kids or more or less sincere or whatever you want to call it, I don’t think there is any difference. I’m not one of this people who think the past was so fucking great. I was there, but it wasn’t all that impressive.

What things were young focusing on in the meantime? Do you have a family or do you have a job besides 108?

I have two sons, Ras and Chaitan and also a career which is important, so I can take care of them and give them the things I never had.

Is there any song, a hardcore song which you think of as your song or which is a kind of mantra for you?

One song?

It also can be a 108 song, of course.

Well I did quite few, but in terms what was a turning point for me with 108, a song that is really important to me is “Curse of Instinct” which we recorded right before we broke up the first time. That was the first song I ever wrote for 108 and I think it summarizes everything I was going through emotionally at the time. Obviously, I’m still going through it.

Today, even though it’s a song we never play, a song that I really feel is important to me is “The Sad Truth”. It’s on our new record but it wasn’t really written as a song. I just woke up one morning and kind of wrote up this long, really long ramble and we put it to music. So it is kind of a spoken word track over music. And I think it kind of encapsulates a lot of what I am inspired by.

In terms of general punk rock songs, it changes every day. A couple of days ago, when we where driving from Brighton to Manchester for a show and I really wasn’t feeling very well, I just had my Ipod on shuffle and it put on the song called “Antique” by Texas is the Reason. There was one lyric that said “I want you to smile, because that is what I like best. I need to be this far away from you to know that I can do this”…I just

started crying. I freaked out and there is different song like that every day. It not like “a song”, but I can hear something that all of sudden, fuck!

The last question: What are the future plans for 108?

Playing a lot more shows, writing new music, release a new record, and kind of taking it as it goes, but I’m really interested in the artistic side of it. I think I’m really happy with the record we just wrote. Especially considering that we did it in such a short time period. We all live in different parts of the country. We basically got together three different times and wrote the entire record. I think what we put together for this record is really, really good, but it is still like the tip of the iceberg of what we can do artistically. So I’m really excited about that.

Rob Fish quit 108 and is in a new band Eshas with some dude named Aaron Edge (ex-Himsa) and there is of course still the new 108 coming out end of April.  Just noted Doublecross also posted an interview Rob, so if you still want to read more. Check.

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