GASMASK TERRÖR are from Bordeaux in France and play classic Scandi D-Takt/Käng punk. Formed in 2003 the band have since gone on to release a demo, three 7"EP's and two 12" LP's. They recently toured Japan earlier this year and the USA back in 2008. The following interview was conducted with Luc, Fabro and Olivier via email in 2006 was originally published in Agitate #7.
Can you give us some history to GASMASK TERRÖR? When did the band start? Who plays what?
Luc: GASMASK TERRÖR is Shiran (guitar), Fabro (bass), Olivier (vocals) and I (drums). The band started in the fall of 2003, and we played our first gig in January 2004. We released a rough demo, a 7" EP, and played about 40 shows so far.
Why the name GASMASK TERRÖR?
Luc: There is absolutely no meaning behind the name. We were fooling around with cliche "crust" words and "Gasmask" and "Terror" seemed to match well, and sounded great. Stupid name, but is it really much stupider than EXCREMENT OF WAR or SHITLICKERS for example? Ha!
When you started did you have a set idea of what the band should sound like? Did you form GASMASK TERRÖR specifically to play D-Takt punk?
Luc: We were all in different bands before, and Fabro and I had been talking about starting a DISCHARGE/Scandi-inspired band for a while. So yes, the intent was definitely to play this very style of hardcore punk.
Can you tell us about your debut 7" EP? How did you get involved with Plague Bearer? How many copies has it sold?
Luc: I'd been in touch with Jacob of Plague Bearer for a while. He liked our demo and offered to release a 7". There were two pressings of 500 each, and Jacob has been really cool and supportive so we can't thank him enough for all he's done for us. I'm not happy at all with the way the recording turned out, but I have better hopes for the upcoming recording.
Who writes the lyrics? Why don't you sing and write lyrics in French?
Olivier: Hi, I write the lyrics. I play in a few other bands where the French language is used in the lyrics, so I don't feel the need to write French lyrics in GASMASK TERRÖR. I prefer the English language which is more direct and violent. More appropriate for short sentences.
Can you tell us what the songs "Hand Made Disaster" and "Face The Enemy" are about?
Olivier: "Hand Made Disaster" is just a stupid song with classic lines about war and nuclear destruction. There's no importance to explain them. "Face The Enemy" deals with the concept of the "enemy". Who is my enemy and am I not the enemy of my enemy? In this case, who is right and who is wrong? Because me and my enemy both consider our ideas to be the right ones to stand up for. Nothing is certain.
What about the song "Aker Vi Ditt"? Can you go into more detail about that song and why you decided to write it in Swedish?Olivier: I decided to write it in Swedish because it's funny to sing in a foreign language other than English. It deals with homophobia within the anarchist movement and within the punk scene. Two movements that take a stand all the time against homophobia but where we can encounter "real men" attitudes through the glorification of violence and the construction of heroes, or through pogo dancing, or through the near dedication of the band MOTORHEAD that - as good musically as it is - is still a band that conveys fucked up rock'n'roll ideas of women being sexual objects to fuck, or men being real men with big powerful dicks riding their bikes. This is ridiculous.
Do you get to play many gigs? Have you played much outside France? Any chance of a GASMASK TERRÖR UK tour?
Luc: We did a small tour in Spain & Portugal with BALLAST ( Canada), played one show in Denmark... but we play mostly in France. I don't know about a UK tour... Ireland seems more likely!
Fabro: A friend from Nottingham (Hi Jeremie) said he could book some shows in this area for a small tour, so why not? But in the near future there's other countries we want to tour first.
If you could tour with any band past or present who would it be?
Luc: I want to tour with bands whose members I get along with. Sure, having your ass rocked every night by a band whose music you love is great, but if you gotta deal with the same bunch of people every day, and be crammed altogether in a van all the time, it better be people you like! If I had a time machine, I'd go back to 1986 and would offer to roadie for HERESY 'cause that's a band I've always dreamt of seeing live. But I digress...
Fabro: I agree with Luc, touring with friends/people you like is the best. So I would say DECROMBRES (fast crust from Paris), EASPA MEASA, or BALLAST to name a few.
Apart from GASMASK TERRÖR do any of the band play in any additional bands? What about other projects like zines, labels etc?
Luc: The local scene is really small and all GASMASK TERRÖR members play in 3 or more bands. Some of our other bands include MONARCH (slowest doom/sludge band around), PROCESSION FUNEBRE (black metal), HOLY FUCKIN' SHIT! (CRUDOS-like HC), FACE UP TO IT! (old-school hardcore), POLICE CHARGED (sloppy crasher crust), LOS COJONUDOS (Spanish punk rock), etc. Olivier and I make occsional zines, I run a small record label (Ratbone Records), and we sometimes help put up shows etc.
Can you talk about the riots in France? Were the riots a direct result of people rebelling because of mass unemployment, poverty, discrimination etc?
Luc: Most of the rioting took place in ghetto suburbs where poverty and unemployment are way too common. It all started when a young black kid got killed as he was chased by the cops... Angry people from his local community started rioting, and it spread to the rest of the country pretty quickly. Those suburbs have been ghettoized for far too long, and young people are sick of poverty, racism and discrimination, so that was their answer. To which the government responded in the worst possible way by sending more cops and voting more fucked up laws that won't help straighten the situation.
Fabro: It's obviously discrimination that brought riots. When you treat people like shit you can't expect them to smile and stay peaceful. White French people always reproach immigrants for not respecting the country/flag/law, or for withdrawing into communities. That's crazy because immigrants live with the constant feeling that they don't belong in this country (even if they were born or have been working here for years), due to the white majority. It's logical that in a country where you're constantly insulted, beaten/arrested by the cops because of the color of your skin or your religion, you may want to live in an area where you feel a bit at home. The craziest thing about the riots is the way the media behaved... their aim was only to scare people and to set them against immigrants. I've never heard so many racist comments on the TV or radio than during those events. And I think that's the main difference after the riots: racist people are even more openly racist now. Riots are a good excuse to openly spread right wing ideas like "hey, they're just savage people who want to steal everything who have and take advantage of our welfare system. We have to get them out!" Recently, a member of the French parliament declared that polygamy was the cause of riots! It's so fuckin' ridiculous! Always the same comments about muslims and immigrants being nothing more than savages... It seems people don't learn from their mistakes. So I think riots may happen again one day or another.
What's next for GASMASK TERRÖR? Are you working on any new material? Any new releases planned?
Luc: We're about to record a dozen songs for a tentative full-length LP. We don't have a label yet so if someone reading this is interested in releasing it, feel free to get in touch.
What's on your turntable at the moment? What bands are you currently listenning to?
Luc: A lot of the same stuff I was listenning to 10 or 15 years ago (DISCHARGE, ANTI SYSTEM, all the usual Scandinavian suspects, BLACK SABBATH, CELTIC FROST...) but lately I've also been playing a lot of CRISIS, WARSAW/JOY DIVISION, WIPERS, DARKTHRONE, HELLSHOCK, PUKE, UPRIGHT CITIZENS, FRAMTID, a lot of traditional Japanese hardcore (old and new), THE BRAT, THE AVENGERS, ESKORBUTO, DISCLOSE, MEANWHILE, NOTA, and many, many more. I listen to music all the time.
Fabro: LEBENDEN TOTEN, TOTALITAR, MARTYRDOD, POISON IDEA, GLOOM, DISCLOSE, HAMMER, JUDAS PRIEST, SUNN O))), TOADLIQUOR, SED NON SATIATA, SACRILEGE, CHAINSAW... the list could be endless. I listen to alot of Japanese pop/rock too like SHIINA RINGO, AIKP or GO!GO!7188.
Favourite TOTALILTAR record?
Luc: Most TOTALITAR post-1995 is flawless if you ask me (earlier records are great too, don't get me wrong, but they just don't compare) so it's impossible to pick one. Lately I've been playing the "Vansinnets Historia" EP quite a bit, but all the LP's and split LP's are amazing, and so are the most recent Really Fast/Dod & Uppsvalld EP's.Looking forward to their next LP on Prank!
Fabro: According to me, the best TOTALITAR record is the "Spella Bort Allt Du Har" EP. The first LP "Sin Egen Motstandare" and the split LP with DISMACHINE are masterpieces too!
Any last comments? Anything else you want to say?
Luc: Thanks for the interview... I've been an avid reader of your previous zines for many years (Noise Fest, Aversion...) and it's an honour to get coverage in Agitate. Radical old punx never die! "Cheers mate"!
Fabro: Thanks for evrything and I wish you the best for your zine...