Tuesday, March 9, 2010


"Society is over saturated with information and the seemingly meaningless exchange of that information. I think that telling people that everyone is a special individual and we should all be given equal attention is as damaging as constantly telling people that they’ll never amount to anything."

Ritual Assembly zine now available, it has interviews with Jon Chang and me and of far more importance on a larger scale there are articles on Hans Bellmer and Henry Darger.

"Punk rock is art first and foremost. The lyrical component should be to display both a personal side of the performers that the music is unable to convey and a hook to draw others in who feel similarly so they share a deeper connection with the artists in question. Anything else is pure fallacy. I think some people get confused and believe that the politics are the art themselves. Bullshit. This is usually the point where we get bogged down by passionless rhetoric and vibrant ideas and concepts are reduced to the functionality of a shopping list. At best it’s contrived and at worst it cheapens real concerns in the world outside of the confines of the punk scene."

Freak Power zine and comp 12" is also out now, a long interview with Blockade, Apartment 213 (Steve seriously needs his own stand up show) Sete Star Sept (featuring the legendary Kiyasu, formerly of Blockade).

The accompanying comp LP has a bunch of bands on, including Hatred Surge, Apt 213, Potop, Sete Star Sept and Brain Dead (hopefully the great and largely unknown UK Brain Dead)

As ever i sound 35% more irritated in both interviews than i actully am in real life.

Paper zines are for all intents and purpose dead from underground culture, no one needs me to point this out to them. Our scene is no longer about the objects and their implications; it's more about the explicit content. Online zines are accessible to anyone, mp3s are downloadable meaning you no longer have to hide cash in an envelope and mail it off to some label you found in a six month old issue of MRR in the vain hope of getting your record. Any moron can have a blog, this moron has one after all.

This is democracy in action, this is information available to anyone who wants it, this is focusing on the music and little else.

But we also lose the cultural importance, something being easy does not necessarily equate with being good.

I frequently talk about about elitism and exclusion in interviews, songs and this blog. Almost everytime i do there is the electronic crying of people who take issue with the fact that i would dare to publically state that i want to live in a better world, one where i don't have to interact with people i don't like.

I feel many things about modern living are too easily obtained and consequently too easily dismissed. There is nothing personal (or nothing that has the veneer of being personal i should say) about the ability for every single person, regardless of intent or capacity to understand to have access to the same information at the same level. The path to enlightenment isn't to demand a Sadhu explains everything to you in a nutshell. Likewise you can't learn to do long division then decide that Fourier Analysis is a bunch of stupid bullshit because you aren't able to instantly get to grips with it.

When i talk about elitism i'm talking about expecting people to invest more in their chosen culture. I'm asking that people have an understanding of why they do what they do and to what end.

A common defence is that with the ease of access there are more participants and it creates a stronger scene. People will accuse others of wilful obscurism (not necessarily untrue) and often state that without modern in-roads the scene would die. And i call total and utter bullshit on that.

My own access points to hardcore punk were similar to many people of my own age, listening to John Peel on Radio One, hearing Napalm Death and Heresy an going from there. Yes, John Peel was a a hugely popular DJ on a national radio station but this was not being spoonfed all the information i'll ever need in one afternoon. From there i bought records by Doom, Septic Death, Repulsion, Minor Threat an tons more on the basis of thanks lists, t shirts worn in photos, fanzine interviews and by virtue of being on record labels that had an associated image. I read Class War because i was angry, hated cops and wanted to know more about the philosphy of some of the bands.

It was a lot of work, but i loved it and perservered. I figured out what i liked and what i didn't like and in periods where i was less enamoured with what was going on (1997-2000 and 2008-present) i still maintained a degree of interest because i'd worked hard at getting here.

In short i feel invested in hardcore and i feel a degree of personal attachment that goes far beyond "Ceremony and Trash Talk ROFL"

Lately there has been a small resurgence in demo tapes and fanzines, particularly here in Toronto (where we're lucky to have a strong, active and fairly knowledgable scene). It could be mere fetishisation of a time passed, another cynical way for people to 'prove' that they're more down with the real roots of hardcore and punk. But i'd like to think on the whole it's a realisation that the current "you like this" and "recommend me power violence" is both unsustainable and largely meaningless.

And if you have a paper zine with a Blockade interview in it and you haven't sent it to us please do (i like to keep them)


gaz said...

andy, it is the uk braindead that are on this comp. do you know where copies are available from?

Mutus Liber said...

Just thanks.

Jamie said...

Holy shit reading your words was very refreshing. I keep up with your blog a good bit and at times questioned your advocacy for elitism. Reading your explanation not only clarifies the way I've been feeling about the music and community but brings a lot of things into perspective.

11 years of being into this (not long at all really) and already I'm feeling jaded. Why play music? Why book shows? Why give a fuck at all? It seems like I got more in common with people in their 30's who have record collections instead of some hipster fuck that downloaded their identity in one night.

My passion has always been my drive, but when some hype band of the week rolls through who pressed a 7" within their first week of practice and books a tour the second week and brings out masses of kids to a show while I can hardly break even to feed a touring band and at least give them gas to their next destination leaves me frustrated.

Forgive the long rant, but thank you for your words. In an odd way I found them to be inspiring and to keep me going. Cheers!

jay holden said...

You seem like someone who hates excuses, but I have to say if it weren't for the internet, I'd be a devout Southern baptist. I don't wanna force my life story down on you, for I'm sure you have plenty more time. But I discovered anti-religious and many other ideals through the music I've discovered online and otherwise.

I used to have to travel hours away to towns with music stores, and one time I just so happened to buy a hardcore comp CD by chance, that turned me on to a vast array of great music. Of course as I got older, I became lazy in the discovery you can just download everything.

I'm only 17, so I guess I'm still a stupid kid in most's eyes. But I feel I could have helped change at least my small town, distributing some type of literature or challenging others, but no I keep quiet because I don't want to lose friends, i.e. I'm a fuck. Guess I should man up and do my part instead of run off to a city with a scene and shit.

Like you replied to me last time "music is more enjoyable when you live in buttfuck nowhere".

Survivalist said...

Like you i come from a staunchly religious background and spent most of my formative years in places where you would get the ever living shit kicked out of you for having funny hair, tattoos or just a weird looking shirt.

You pick your fights as best you can; often it's easier and much safer just to watch from the sidelines.

The struggle of daily life is what will either give you cause to reconsider your involvement and move on to other things that work better for you overall or it will keep you invested because you get to a point where it's too hard to give up on.

I daresay that even without the internet you would have eventually arrived at where you're at now, it would have just taken a different route.

Halifax Collect said...

Good read right here. The topic/issue of elitism has always fascinated me even though I have never actively sought to reach a conclusion on the matter.

But as with anything else, elitism has various shapes and forms and as such, it sometimes pisses me off to no end, leaves me discouraged, resentful but on rare occasion it entertains me, opens up new doors for me and so on. Either via myself (sadly I've found myself to be a somewhat elitist on occasion through the years) or by being on the sidelines observing elitists pulverizing everything in their way, leave bitter taste in everybody's mouth but every now and then, the left overs are too good and intriguing to resist and are sometimes satisfying.
I'm rambling and aimlessly heading for a ditch here.

The only thing I really believe is unquestionable these days though is the fact that things are too easy, thin and almost too current if that makes any sense. It's getting harder to find deep passion, association and inspiration. Things are moving too fast. They are too close.

Survivalist said...

Well, there's elitism as a facet of your nature; a demand for a better experience of life, a utopian drive. And then there's elitism as some bullshit point prover, done more to display how 'different' and better you are than everyone else, usually when all signs point to the contrary.

black metals ongoing cultural shaping has brought the idea of elitism/ a harsher set of criteria to judge an experiences worth and validity to the fore.

But like black metals commitment to left hand path ideals it's frequently (with some notable exceptions) juvenile and worthless in its ability to form a legitimate framework to actually live your life by.