Wednesday 30 November 2011

LEBENDEN TOTEN - Interview 2006

LEBENDEN TOTEN are from Portland, USA and play distorted to fuck noisecore punk heavily influenced by bands like CONFUSE, GAI and DISORDER. Formed in 2001 by ex-members of ATROCIOUS MADNESS the band have since gone on to release numerous 7"s and 12"s. The following interview was conducted with Frank by letter in 2006 and was originally published in Agitate #7. 
Can you give us some band history? How did LEBENDEN TOTEN come about? Who plays what?
Frank: LEBENDEN TOTEN started sometime in 2001 while Chanel and I were still in ATROCIOUS MADNESS. We wanted to have a band that was more DISORDER/CONFUSE than what we were doing. Randy had a drum set and Brie had a bass, so that's how it started. Chanel switched to vocals and me to guitar.
What's the story behind the name? What does it mean?
Frank: All it means is "living dead". It's from the German poster for "Night Of The Living Dead". I thought it sounded good and I love zombie movies. It could mean something more profound, but really that's all it is. It's grammatically incorrect in the German language though. Oh well.
How would you describe LEBENDEN TOTEN's sound? When you started did you have a set idea on what you wanted the band to sound like? What bands would you list as influences?
Frank: Oh yeah, we knew exactly what we wanted to sound like. As I said above, DISORDER and CONFUSE were and are main influences, but all the bands that could be called "noisecore" can be included. Mainly Japanese ones like GAI, DISLIKE, STATE CHILDREN, EXPOSE, DUST NOISE, SCUM etc... but also CHAOS UK. When people ask what we sound like I usually say it's faster noisier DISORDER, which is a bit accurate. I like the term "noisecore" but sometimes it sounds like you are an experimental noise band with computers or something.
What other bands have you all played in? Are any of you currently playing in additional bands now?
Frank: Chanel - ATROCIOUS MADNESS. Randy - BACTERIA. Brie - MIDNIGHT. Frank - ATROCIOUS MADNESS, FUNERAL. None of us are doing anything else right now.
Can you tell us about your latest EP "Dead Noise"? What kind of response have you been getting?
Frank: I guess we got a good reponse since it sold out. The two pressings were actually done at the same time, but one version (green vinyl with lyric translation sheet) was only available in Japan through Overthrow Records. That was 400 copies, but only 350 were for sale. I heard they sold out in two weeks, which sounds pretty quick. The other version was black vinyl and there are 600 copies. We are basically sold out of those as well. Some people said it was better than the first one, but others say the demo is the only good thing we did. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Really there is only a small amount of punks that would probably like it. I don't think we have a universally appealing sound, and some people just think we suck.
What are the lyrics to the song "Dead Noise" about?
Frank: Chanel wrote those and she is unavailable for comment, so I'll take my best shot at it. It's actually about a couple of things, which is surprising since there are only five lines in the song. The most obvious is the use of subliminal messages in the media. But not only the use of hidden sounds or images that are buried underneath what's put forward. It also means the use of symbolism and trigger words that activate a comprehension of what you are seeing or hearing that is on a different level than what your processing. I don't exactly mean subconsciously though. It's more of a different mindset that has been "programmed" to respond when activated. A very simple example is that when you become aware of "product placement" in films, you notice much more and break it down as such. That is on a very base level, and part of what "Dead Noise" is about is something much more subtle. Go see Videodrome for an understanding of how we are processed, "Time to change the program". But the song is also about a continous agenda from the past that is based on mass control. With the changing of leaders the agenda from the past that is based on mass control. With the changing of leaders the agenda stays the same, even if their public faces and pet causes differ, they are still playing out roles and goals set down by men long dead. 
What about the song "Vacant Stare"? Can you go into more detail about that song?
Frank: Again, this is Chanel's song, but here goes. It's talking about how we are living in a reality defined by external influence. People living a zombified life who's basis of thought is made solid by what they are exposed to daily. The theme of which is that we are kept in a state of mind that is designed to keep us docile and moving like worker ants. Also, that world events can be the product of fabrications and disinformation, but are made reality by the majority of people believing the story. This effects everyone, even those not plugged in to the consensus reality. Even if you don't believe that men walked on the moon or the official story of Sept 11th, that is the world you live in. "Vacant Stare" is also about how people react to living in this falsified reality. That we are kept in a state of panic and fear and that people who live this way are acting it out on others. We are Orwells "Big Brother".
Do you get to play many gigs? What bands have you played with? Any plans for a European tour?
Frank: We play pretty often, mostly with other local bands. It seemed we played at least once a month, but that increases and decreases as well. We've played twice in California and couple of times in Seattle, but mostly just local shows. REALITY CRISIS, DISCLOSE, GORILLA ANGREB, DSB, FORWARD, RIISTETYT, DESOLATION... are some of the out of town bands we've played with. No plans for a European tour, but it would probably happen sooner than a US one.
Can you give us a brief Portland-City scene report? Any cool bands, zines etc we should know about?
Frank: As brief as possible. There are lots of cool bands, and minimal scene divisions. Of course if you talked to someone else they would say something completely different. DEATHCHARGE, HELLSHOCK, DOG SOLDIER, ASSASSINATE, DEADLY ULTRA SOUND (ex BOMB HEAVEN), ROTTEN CADAVER (ex RELIGIOUS WAR / BLOOD RUNS RED), THE CHAOTIC, WAR CRY, TRAGEDY... those are the bands that are more "hardcore" or "crust" or "anarcho" or whatever. But there are bands like THE CLOROX GIRLS, OBSERVERS, FLIP TOPS, TRIGGERS, ANTI-WORLD, DISGRUNTLED, TWENTY TO ONE, REJECTED DEAD and probably thirty more I can't think of. Most bands play shows together and there are a lot of younger punks coming to underground / DIY shows now. Of course there are still the older bands like POISON IDEA, SADO NATION, DEAD MOON...
What is it like living in Portland as far as the scene is concerned? What do you like and dislike about the Portland-City punk scene?
Frank: The things I don't like are the same things that every scene has a problem with: lack of all ages spaces, idiots ruining the few we do get, crappy people... that kind of thing. For the most part I really like the bands and the scene as a whole. A lot of punks have moved here in the last few years, which has been good and bad, but in the end it doesn't really matter. All my favourite US bands are here and it's an easy city to live in with lots of forest around it, good record and book stores, and great vegan food. I wouldn't live anywhere else in the US.
What fucks you off the most about the current political climate in the US? What do you see happening next in Bush's "War Against Terrorism"?
Frank: Well, what pisses me of the most is that people see Bush as an actual decision maker, and leader. He is neither, merely a puppet with very long strings. The longer people see this country and this world led by these faces the more fucked we become. I hate Bush too, and he's easy to make fun of and a perfect stand in for criticism of the disease of politics. But we also need to start recognizing the fundamental corruption of the system, democracy included. It doesn't matter what party or person is in control, because they are just forwarding an agenda and furthering the idea that we need someone in CONTROL. The sad fact is is that too many people do need to be controlled, even crave it and beg for it. So few people are willing to be responsible in their lives and slip into the reality of debt, work, and living without being alive. As for the war on terror... I see it continuing in a stream of tricks, lies, and set ups, followed by the sowing of fear and distrust, and then solutions benefiting law makers, corporations, and war profiteers that are friendly to world government. Expect more "liberties" and "rights" to be completely destroyed and more engineered disasters to decimate the population and leave us begging for help.
What's next for LEBENDEN TOTEN? Any new releases planned? What about a full length album?
Frank: Our 12" just came out on Wicked Witch from Holland. There is also a 4 way split 12" of Portland bands DOG SOLDIER, LEBENDEN TOTEN, ASSASSINATE and HELLSHOCK that is available from Hardcore Holocaust. Somewhere down the line is "Portland vs Tampere Part 2" with us, DOG SOLDIER, DEADLY ULTRA SOUND and more.
What's on your turntable at the moment? What bands are you currently listenning to?
Frank: Right now is the RUTHLESS "Metal Without Mercy" 12", a classic. The stack of records next to the turntable consists of SISTERS OF MERCY, RAINBOW, IRON MAIDEN, DISORDER, VELOCET, 1919, DEATH IN JUNE and AGENT STEEL. Oh wait! I mean DISCHARGE and CONFUSE...
Frank: Ha! Uh...
Anything else you want to say or feel needs to be addressed?
Frank: Despite rumours, we have not broken up! But we can't really do anything while our singer is in Russia and our bassist is in New York. More to come in 2006, if there is a 2006. Distort Truth Distort Minds!
LEBENDEN TOTEN c/o PO Box 40113, Portland-City OR, 97240-0113, USA.

Thursday 24 November 2011

CONTORT - Endless Myopic Bastards Tape

CONTORT – Endless Myopic Bastards Tape After been blown away by their performance at this years Means To An End festival I was really looking forward to hearing this second tape release from Dublin’s finest crasher noise fuckers CONTORT. Much like their debut release “An Island Of Noise In An Island Of Silence” this is an overwhelming assault of ear molesting raw noise punk. The Japanese influence of bands like GAI and CONFUSE is very much apparent in CONTORT’s sound. Totally fuzzed out guitar distortion with rumbling bass and hammered to fuck drums. The reverbed vocals sound fucking great reminding me of “Perdition” era DISORDER but at the same time having a very dark and at times atmospheric feel to them. Nine songs in just under seventeen minutes with the songs “Death Dealing Breath Of The Gods” and “Black Dog” been my personal favourites from this awesome tape. I fucking love CONTORT.  “Distorted For Life – Contorted Til Death”. Limited to only 300 copies on green cassette and comes packaged in a great looking plastic box with a double sided fold out lyric insert and secured with a screen printed wrap around. (Distro-Y Records c/o or Headwrecker Records c/o

Tuesday 15 November 2011

VARAUS SS - 2003-2007 (RIP) 10"

VARAUS SS – 2003-2007 (RIP) 10” I couldn’t wait to get my fucking hands on this 10” from Japan’s Finnish punk fanatics VARAUS SS. This is totally raw and stripped down Scandinavian inspired Japanese hardcore punk that pays some major fucking homage to Finnish legends like RIISTETYT, KAAOS, BASTARDS and of course the obvious VARAUS. Out an out Finnish raw punk worship going on here in that obsessive Japanese tradition of bands like POIKKEUS and LAUKAUS. VARAUS SS existed from 2003 to 2007 and only released three demos with this 10” compiling songs from the bands first two demos and their entire unreleased third demo which includes a cover of the SHITLICKERS classic “Warsystem”. Songs like “Vapas” and “Vakivaltaa” from their third demo are fucking full blown eighties Scandi raw shit that wouldn’t sound out of place on say the “Russia Bombs Finland” and “Propaganda” compilations.  There’s also some unreleased live takes at the end of each side which capture the band in all there drunken and chaotic raw punk splendour. VARAUS SS were fucking raw as hell perfectly encapsulating both the classic early eighties Scandi punk sound with the intensity and ferocity of Japanese hardcore. Fucking amazing stuff. This is a split label release between Konton Crasher in the US and Narm Discos from Japan. Only 600 copies were pressed, 200 with black covers, 200 with pink covers and 200 with red covers. Comes also with stickers and two badges. Not surprisingly this is now sold out from the labels but limited copies are still available from some DIY distros. (Konton Crasher c/o or Narm Discos c/o  

Wednesday 26 October 2011

ENDLESS GRINNING SKULLS - 1in12 Club, Bradford (Means To An End) 14/10/11


FEAR OF EXTINCTION - S/T EP After a demo release in 2010 Prague's d-beat raw punks FEAR OF EXTINCTION return with a full length debut 7". Six songs of dirty as fuck raw d-beat crust that's both heavily inspired by early DISCHARGE and the classic Scandi d-beat sound of bands like MEANWHILE, DISFEAR and AVSKUM while still having that raw energy of early Swedish punk bands like CRUDE SS and ANTI CIMEX. This sounds fucking amazing, really filthy and raw sounding dis-crust with raging distorted guitar riffage, heavy pounding drums and pissed off angry vocals from Phobia Records frontman Mirek. Minimalist black and white sleeve artwork and songs about war and genocide only add to the whole bleakness and desperation of FEAR OF EXTINCTION. I fucking love this band and I'm so impressed with this debut 7". Can't wait to hear what this band does next, I can only hope for a full length album. Released as a one time press of only 500 copies by Phobia Records, ABC Distro and Riotstarter Records. (Phobia Records c/o / Riotstarter Records c/o / FEAR OF EXTINCTION c/o or ).  

Thursday 22 September 2011

Means To An End...

Means To An End 7 DIY Hardcore Punk Festival 14th-15th October 2011 at the 1in12 Club... Full weekend line-up below...
Sunday hangover gig at Wharf Chambers, Leeds (new/old name for the Commonplace) with THE WANKYS, INSERVIBLES, NEKROMANTIKER, LIFE DESTRUCTION and VINEGAR STROKES...

Saturday 17 September 2011

Playlist 17/09/11

VARAUS S.S. - 2003-2007 (R.I.P) 10" (Konton Crasher)
MOB 47 - Hardcore Attack EP (Hardcore Survives)
KRÖMOSOM / ISTERISMO - Split EP (Hardcore Survives)
V.A. - Propaganda Hardcore '83 LP (Hohnie Records)
V.A. - Russia Bombs Finland LP (Hohnie Records)

Thursday 1 September 2011

GASMASK TERRÖR - Interview 2006

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.
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...

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Playlist 24/08/11

AVSKUM - Crucified By The System EP (Prank Records)
CRUDE SS - Who'll Survive EP (Voltage Records)
D-CLONE / SYSTEM FUCKER - Split EP (Black Konflik)
DISARM - Discography 1982-1987 LP (D-takt & Rapunk Records)
VISIONS OF WAR - Shit Parade LP (Symphony Of Destruction)

Tuesday 23 August 2011

VISIONS OF WAR - Interview 2009

Hellgium's crust boozers VISIONS OF WAR need no introduction. After fifteen years of "Booze Noise and Misery" with numerous split releases with OKOTTA, OLHIO DE GATO, MASS GENOCIDE PROCESS and COP ON FIRE plus a new album called "Shit Parade" Belgium's finest crust band show no signs of sobering up. I'd been wanting to interview VISIONS OF WAR for sometime and it wasn't until I met Stiv when they played the 1in12 Club in 2009 that an interview was finally put into action. The following interview was conducted with Stiv (vocals), Lola (vocals), Stef (guitar), Boris (bass) and Bis (guitar) via email in 2009 and was originally published in Agitate #11.
Can you introduce yourselves? What you do in the band? Ages? Favourite drink?
Bis, Bo, Stef: ...Boris who plays bass since 2001... Stef who is fonder member on lead guitar... Bis last new comer on guitar Dec 2007... Yvan also new comer on drums since March/April 2008. Our favourite drinks?! Jupiler (our local beer master) Jack Daniel, Jagermeister and Cokkka Cola for hangover... and whiskey...
Lola: Singer - 41 - morning piss.
Stiv: ...Well I'm Stiv. I joined in before the first gig of VOW years ago. I already knew Stef for a while from his former band CORPUS CHRISTI and love drove him to my hometown, so I was there when VOW all started in a lil apartment with just one guitar and about 40 riffs, but I was in 3 other bands at that time so it was a bit weird to get into another one, (cannot remember exactly cause of too much black outs at that time). I'm one of the shouters, drinks can vary from coffee (all time favourite) Jupiler, stronger beers like Westmalle, Grimbergen, Leffe, Lachouffe, Gulden Draak and lately (cheers Stef) whiskey and coke (the drink) and of course water with bubbles for the morning afters...
Why do you think VISIONS OF WAR have lasted so long? After nearly thiteen years of "Booze, Noise and Misery" what is it that keeps you playing in VISIONS OF WAR?
Bis, Bo, Steff: Free booze... the misery and the load noise...
Lola: Because we're sexy as hell, friendly as fuck and probably dumb 'til death.
Stiv: ...Hm don't really know what the trigger is to keep it going. I guess similiar respect for each other, the noise, the friendship we all made with people on the road during all these years... the lack of inspiration to do something else :-)
What bands inspired you to start VISIONS OF WAR? What were some of your influences at that time and are your influences still the same now?
Bis, Bo, Stef: Some bands had influences our music like DISCHARGE (early stuff) DOOM, EXCREMENT OF WAR, E.N.T., HIATUS and early Swedish HC... and don't change so far...
Lola: I'm still into D-beat bands, self managed places where we've the chance to play sometimes. Many bands inspired us at the beginning I guess, and I'm personally still playing the same bands when I'm home. A list would be boring.
Stiv: ...Well I guess the above and some Japanese noise core off course!!!!
How long has the current line up been together and how does it compare with previous line ups?
Bis, Bo, Stef: So as we did already said... this new line up is about 1 and half year more or less... not easy to compare with the previous line ups... it changed already a couple of times... but we are happy with this new one...
Stiv: ...Well we hope this one will stand longer then the previous ones, but in the end I beleive it will still renovate itself, should one or more decide to quit VOW.
What does each member bring to VISIONS OF WAR? Do you all share the same expectations and aspirations of what you want the band to be?
Lola: Some of us bring lazyness, some of us fresh booze. I don't think we always share the same aspirations, but I guess it's the way for community, no? I would maybe like playing less at "big" venues, doing more benefit gigs, hell I can't really explain!
Stiv: ...Ha tough one, hm I guess we'll stay DIY til we die, we did a few bigger gigs lately but hell after 13 years it's not always fun to play before 5-10 people :-) As for aspirations we'll I'm pretty sure we want to do as much gigs, but Belgium is a small country and if you play 4 gigs in a few months everybody saw you and then there's not to much interest in yer band for a while, although the last few years we play again more gigs in Belgium, it used to be totally different years ago, like it seemed there was an unwritten boycott over us, anyway this ain't true but it felt like that, now with all these amazin' new bands who are our friends now we play more in Belgium (check out these nutters, SILENCE MEANS DEATH, LINK, LAST LEGION ALIVE, NATURE'S FAILURE and long standing Swedish HC rockers NAHENDE VERNICHTUNG).
What about the politics of the band? Do you all see VISIONS OF WAR as a political punk band and do you all have similar political beliefs?
Lola: I don't think we've similar political views (if we have some!!). It's useless for me to consider its own band like political or not, some political bands have some members who have nothing to do with politics, some less political bands have really political members, a band is a combination of individuals, let's keeping it like this. I just mean a band is like a family, you can't say "all this family is like this or that", people are different even if the same blood pour in their vein, it's mostly the same for a band: we've not like twins even if we're from the same scene, we've different sensibilities. I regret sometimes when people talk about a band they never include the people who are doing the band, we've sometimes "summaried" as "members from", nothing else.
Stiv: ...Hell yeah we all come out of the DIY squatter scene, not all of us squatted, at the moment just Yvan, and in big lines we still do have our beliefs who really tightly fit in with the DIY scene, but I must admit the older you get some crumble or you don't get that militant anymore and as for some the ideals are almost totally gone :-). I guess you get a lot more repectful in ways cause you see good folks droppin' out but hey I don't think in boxes so I still got a lot of friends who don't share my convictions all the way but there's still that punk attitude in them :-) since it's not always easy to be an older punk especially with kids :-)
What aspects of playing in VISIONS OF WAR do you prefer the most? Recording and releasing records or touring and playing live?
Bis, Bo, Stef: Recording is quite boring job to do, but at the end you have a product in your hands, touring can be boring spending hours in the van to get to the venues... but at least you can get instant satisfaction so definitely it's the best part of being in a band.
Lola: There's time for touring, there's time for recording. I personally don't like recording but I know it's necessary for the whole of us, and when it's done, I'm generally glad about the result (and feel liberated of a strong weight!). Touring is getting more and more exhausting for me. I guess because of the age, it's more and more difficult for me to recover after a hard party on tour, so I'm fine with the fact we never tour more than a week.
Stiv: ...Well personally I hate recordin' I guess I always want to achieve something that I cannot do voice wise, so I'd rather rehearse or play live, yip nothing beats live I guess, the reactions good or bad get you further in the end, it's not because we're a bit older we don't wanna listen to constructive reactions, for those who cannot explain their criticism... piss off :-) As for the touring part yip that's bleedin' great meetin' up with new friends and old friends, it's nice to see not a lot of people dropped out in the end, but yip these days smaller tours are the best for us considerin' the step over to the real world ain't that hard as after 2 weeks of not gettin' enough sleep and molestin' yer brain and intestines :-)
How much of an influence does alcohol play in the band? Do you all drink? What about the criticism of there's too much glorification of alcohol in punk?
Lola: Alcohol has been to present in my life in general for years, so I think at a period it was also a big part of my position in the band. today I can do a gig without boozing (it would have been impossible before). Yeah for sure there's too much glorification of alcohol in punk, like competitions, stories about being drunk as fuck, but I have also my small part of responsability, I used to talk so much about alcohol when I was an alcoholics myself, so it would be pretentious of me to deny people who do the same today.
Stiv: musically it's not really an influence, but yip in Belgium we just have a drinkin' tradition, basically everywhere we go :-) Hm, it's not like glorification, cause I believe it's a drug and the most dangerous one since you get it everywhere and it's socially approved, and yip unfortunately for some a must, and yes we all like a drink especially on tour just to kill long hours in the van or loosen up and don't fall in the trap of gettin' frustrated for one or other small detail, cause sittin' in a small fishtank on wheels for hours with 7 people is ideal to get frustrated and disappointed :-) But lately I cannot take it very well anymore it's like bein' a part time addict on tour and a normal one at home. I feel at the end I missed out on funny, cool things and also the fact I don't always recongnise people when I see them the next time, but for me it's hard to slow down, I guess I have to leave it for a while, hm, the spirit of all or nothing is quite in grown in my families dna :-)
Can you tell us about your forthcoming split EP with WARVICTIMS? What are the songs about? Will you be doing the sleeve art Stiv?
Lola: Is it going to be done?
Stiv: ...Well this one takes like years to come out, first we had some bad luck, with recording our 9 new songs with a really interesting, honest guy Mr Patrick senior, but in the end we couldn't get the sound we liked, so then we went on to record in a professional studio near Liege (Jackstudio) and I personally think Ben knew what we wanted as a sound, then Lolo got hospitalized and we had to prospone the vokills session, now it's hard to reach all the labels cause there's so much interest in helpin' out, but honestly hell I'm to busy with fartwork, my family and other stuff I feel like totally stressed out to get in touch with all the labels and do the financial side of things... AAAArgghh. As for the cover nope it's Mikkhel (singer from LAZARUS BLACKSTAR ex AFTER THE MASSACRE) who took the honours for the cover together with Dunja (R.A.F.I.), who did the layout for us and the cover. For those who don't know Mikkel's work it's totally brilliant and I personally luv his beerbottle embryo's :-)
I also heard about a forthcoming split EP with CONSTANT STATE OF TERROR and a four way split LP with NUCLEAR DEATH TERROR, GUIDED CRADLE and INSTANT OF SURVIVAL? Can you tell us more about these?
Bis, Bo, Stef: Yip, we'll do one with our mates from C.S.O.T. but that will take a bit of time they still have to record after puttin' out there own 3rd 7" (it's a rager :-)), about the 4 way split, well N.D.T. pulled out of the project together with the most important labels who were involved. I totally understand it's been going on and on and almost no-one cared in the end, to bad, but we're lookin' to get something done instead, we'll see in the future about that.
Lola: Are they going to be done?
So far your releases have all been split releases with other bands. What made you decide to release your songs as split releases as opposed to releasing your own full length EP, LP? What do you look for in a band when it comes to sharing a split record?
Lola: As I always say, it would be a violent pain to ear a complete record of VISION OF WAR, and we've a particular notion of friendship. We share the troubles so we share the records...
Stiv: ...Well most of the time we know the people or know what they stand for, also it helps if we really like the music of course, sometimes we ask a band or we're gettin' asked, so far we've been really lucky to get it together with good bands, so people buy it for the other band and get us on it too ;-)
Stiv, tell us about your artwork? Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from? What bands have you worked with and do bands approach you for your art or do you approach them?
Stiv: ...Well I started doodlin' and drawing on a young age, I was the lil' silent kid in the corner drawin' away, and since a few years I do some artwork for friends and bands I like, the inspiration goes from classic paintings, sculptures, even pictures, but I don't photoshop my drawings, it's all been done by hand, something I'm quite proud of, but frustrates a lot since when I fuck up or the band wants in the end something else it's back to the drawing board however lately I have a close friend Arne Killbo who helps me with puttin' my drawings into one big drawing photoshop wise, but this is mearly lay-out wise. Well I started out with local bands demo covers and logo's, later on for the releases of bands I was in and still am and thanx to the OLHO DE GATO/VISIONS OF WAR split LP it all started, especially with Dan P.E. giving me the opportunity in P.E. mag nr.48 it helped a lot too, more international, and from there I did stuff for INSTINCT OF SURVIVAL, GUIDED CRADLE, WOLFBRIGADE, SKITSYSTEM, KATASTROPHOBIA, BOYCOTT, MASS GENOCIDE PROCESS, WARVICTIMS, RAKKAUS, RIISTETYT, PROJECT HOPELESS, NUCLEAR DEATH TERROR, KONTATTO hm and a lot more I cannot really recall right now :-) Well I guess I'm doing not top bad since a few bands always come back for more so I'm honoured that I can do more releases then one, it creates a bond and you know where they wanna go for the next layout or drawing, cheers you guys.
You played some dates in Italy earlier this year? How did that go? What were some of your highlights of the "Shitaly Tour 09"?
Bis, Bo, Stef: Italy was great time... nice places, nice people, of course nice food and wine... and it was also cool to play this tour with Stick (DOOM) 'cos our drummer wasn't able to go with us anymore... and for sure we should thanx again Koppa (ABUSO SONORO/Agipunk/KONTATTO) for booking, driving us and taking care of everything for us.. Mila (Agipunk/GUIDA) for booking help... and the D-beat queen Marziona (KONTATTO) for her simpathy and Stick for his presents on drums!
Lola: For me it was awesome, I was suffering as hell in a French hospital. So I haven't seen Italy. But I heard it was a massacre, haha!!
Stiv: ...Hell yeah Pengiuno dio!! It was amazing too bad Lolo couldn't make it cause of his operation, and it came to me then that if Lolo would quit it won't be the same power then we have now. But Italy was really nice, although next time I won't be on stage anymore at La Scintilla, it's a bit high to fall off every now and then, for the rest cheers to all the squats and places and the good care of  the Agipunk team and of course our not so secret anymore 7th member, Mr Sticky Chap for helpin' us out the 23rd time on tour back then :-)
You also recently toured the UK with CONSTANT STATE OF TERROR and returned again for Scumfest. How many times have you played the UK now? What do you like most about touring and playing in the UK?
Bis, Bo, Stef: We already went to the UK 5 times... but it's the first time with this new line up... it was nice to tour again UK and especially with our mates C.S.O.T. and for sure we are glad to be part of Scumfest 09 but the fact that most of the time bands get no free booze disappoint us...
Lola: If my memory still works. I think we made 2 dates 2 times, then a 4 dates tour, then the 5 dates tour with CONSTANT STATE OF TERROR, and we come back that 6 June of 09 for the 5th time to play the 14th date on this island. Is it enough precise??
Stiv: ...Well I really want to thank everyone who put us up, fed us and let us pay for booze :-) Nope it was a bit of a downer since everywhere we played before in the UK we got at least some drinkin' tickets or whatever and now that wasn't everywhere the case, but I understand if you just have 10 payin' people or less there's no way you can pay that out of yer pocket, anyway I hope in the future we can come back and personally I'd luv to go to Scotland and Ireland on the next one :-) Who knows hopefully back with our mates CONSTANT STATE OF TERROR??
Any last comments? Anything else you want to discuss?
Bis, Bo, Stef: Thanks for interest in our band.. and see you in the pit mate...!!!
Lola: I would have liked to discuss about Columbo but you feel very tired... thanx for your interest.
Stiv: ...Chris mate thanx for askin' us to participate on this one, I've been a huge fan of Aversion (cheers Stef for introducin' me to that one years ago :-)) before and it's pretty damn cool you still do a zine, RESPECT mate and keep it up and next time buy us a cider please :-)