"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)