Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Ivona and me, we go way back. And accordingly, Ivona has been making me do an interview for c.o.w. for ages and I would always procrastinate it, that is until I met Rita a year ago on her visit to Zagreb, Croatia. Originally from Porto, Portugal, but she used to study in Ljubljana, Slovenia and that’s how we got to hang out. Once I got to meet her, there were exactly 5 things that made me knew we’d stay in touch and probably do something together. The 5 things included the following, in no particular order: Gorilla Biscuits t-shirt, Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, Lifetime and Descendents. Rita is, among many other things, a punk rock kid, fanzine writer, music lover, illustrator and graphic designer and her art represents everything I love: do it yourself, counterculture, punk-rock, making mistakes and passion. She held an exhibition of her work recently, titled “I heard she’s a little hardcore” in Portugal so I figured it was about time to engage into a conversation with her. I decided to keep it simple and up to the point because her illustrations speak more than words could ever do her justice.

Hi Rita, could you please introduce yourself and tell me more about things you’re passionate about.

Howdy! I am a 23 years old kid living in black hole called Águas Santas (holy waters, in english), a small town ten minutes from Oporto’s downtown, in Portugal. I love to draw, sun, toasting on the beach, traveling, positivity, punk-rock, I have an inherent talent to irritate people and I love it. That's pretty much it.

You have recently held an exhibition…how did it go? Tell me more about the whole concept and why it was different from the usual exhibitions.

I got this opportunity through a competition promoted by colher.net and even thought I cannot say it was what I was expecting, it was a great. I had a few problems with the guys who were running the gallery and (de)organizing the show, but in the end it all came together. Due to being my first solo exhibition there was no concept, it was all about a recently graduated art student, showing what she likes to do. Kind of like when you enter college and you have to do these works introducing yourself to a new class, I wanted to introduce myself to the ‘grown ups’ art world. It was good experience to understand that even in design, illustration (or whatever your field is) there is a scene, and, basically, if you don’t belong you might get yourself into some trouble. So, to all the kids with anti-social behaviors: make sure you show all your teeth next time you hit the streets.Anyway, I like to keep my work fun and pleasant. And I’m pretty surehe worry-free attitude I adopt in my creative process makes people love me or hate me, with no middle term. This was really clear in my exhibition, I saw people having fun and analysing my works for hours, and people that didn’t even pass through the door. And I love both reactions, since both show my work is authentic.

The connection and importance of hardcore and punk rock and counterculture to your art.

We are closely connected in a three-way relationship. When I was 13/14 years old I started listening to Bikini Kill, Dominatrix and other Riot Grrrl bands thanks to my older sister. Then I really got into all the culture and philosophy beyond punk, hardcore, riot grrrl, etc. From that to having my own DIY label, putting on small concerts and making fanzines was a small step. I was always making flyers, t-shirts, basically, anything people would ask me to. I’ve learned a lot with all this and my work came as a natural result of all these influences. An unpleasantly pleasant mixture between Punk, love for chaos, being politically incorrect, refusing traditional canons, sarcasm, D.I.Y ethics, spontaneity, and a positive mental attitude.

  1. Where do you get ideas from? How does this process go? How did you start in the first place?
  2. It depends, I have most of my ideas when I’m walking or jogging alone with my headphones on. This might sound cheesy, but it’s true. There’s

nothing better than going for a walk listening to music you love.
Normally, design students try to find inspiration in design related blogs, but that's totally bullshit. I used to do that, and I realized it was not working for me when I noticed I was killing all my creativity.Nowadays, I have more ideas than time to achieve all of them, and, sometimes, I don't even understand where I get them from, they just pop in my head. I fall in love with quotes, images, situations and music really easily, and that makes the process easier, I guess.

Would you ever be interested in doing art not connected to the punk and hardcore background?

Yes, of course. I have to if I want to make some money. I can count on the fingers of one hand the times I was paid from a punk or hardcore related project. For example, during the last two months of 2010 I worked in a campaign for Delta (portuguese coffee brand), customizing coffee machines. I had to draw everything I hate to. From landscapes of Oporto’s famous bridges to classic portraits and football teams’ logos, I had to draw what costumers asked me to. I was always cranky when drawing those sad, grey landscapes, but now that I think about it, it was kind of funny and, in the end, I learned a lot. It’s important to embrace every challenge particularly if you have to step out of your comfort zone.

Current playlist, favourite shows in 2010, favourite records, favourite bands…anything you like to list basically…. lists are awesome.

I've been listening to Heathers, Title Fight, The Roman Line, Spraynard,Osker, Scala And Kolacny Brothers, The Ataris and Lifetime (getting in the summer mood), some American War and, last but not least, RVIVR because it's the best thing that happened to this world in the last few years. Oh, and Red City Radio’s amazing new album. Right now, I’m listening to The 255s.Favourite shows in 2010 were: Joey Cape + Tony Sly + Jon Snodgrass at Orto Bar, Ljubljana (I don’t even appreciate Lagwagon or No Fun At All that much, but this was my first show in Slovenia and I remember spending 20% of the time smiling and the other 80 % of it singing along while smiling. Plus, Jon Snodgrass brings high awesomeness factor to everything he is in.); The Get Up Kids at Sala Live, Madrid; Celeste at Tovarna Rog, Ljubljana; Nothington at AKC Medika, Zagreb; Bridge And Tunnel + Young Livers at Tovarna Rog, Ljubljana; Wolf Parade at Menza pri koritu, Ljubljana; uh, not to talk about Angry Samoans and Boom Boom Kid, two bands I had never expect to see live.

Bouncing Souls are definitely one of the most inspiring bands. As well as Kid Dynamite, Descendents, Lifetime, Bikini Kill, Paint It Black, Frank Turner, The Loved Ones, Antillectual, The Ergs!, 7 Seconds, Lemuria, Black Flag, I could go on forever… as I said before, I fall in love for music / bands really easily. Some of my favorite album s (besides almost everything from the bands I’ve mentioned above) are: We Don’t Stand a Chance (AM Taxi), Buried In Pockets (The Riot Before), Don’t Get Bore (Smiley Kids), So Jelous (Tegan & Sara), Zootic/Sannyasin split CD, Outlaw Anthem (Blood For Blood), The Rebel Sound Of Shit And Failure (Born Against), Your Favorite Weapon (Brand New), Se Julgar Incapaz Foi o Maior Erro Que Cometeu (Bulimia), Failures S/T ep, and, once again, I could go on for hours. There’s too many shit to mention and I feel bad because I’m sure I’m forgetting about some of my most beloved bands.

Are there any contemporary or classic artists you like? Anyone that inspires you or anyone you look up to for a certain reason?

I do appreciate Egon Schiele, Gustav Klint, (some) Pablo Picasso’s paintings, Edvard Munch, Albrecht Dürer, Francisco Goya, you know, all the great painters you have to study when you’re in Art History classes, although these are not really examples of Classic Art. I remember falling in love with Dadaism and Situationism at first sight, and also with Jean-Michel Basquiat, of course.

I like people who are not afraid to question or break with tradition. Stefan Sagmeister, Kerri Smith, Guerrilla Girls, Barbara Kruger, Harmony Korine, Banksy, Mike Mills, David Shringley, Raymond Pettibon are some of my most obvious references. But I normally look up more to people from other fields, for example, Henry Rollins, Frank Turner and José Mourinho (ahah). There’s an inspiring person and attitude in every corner.

What does being a punk rock kid mean to you? What does it represent to you?

It’s not visual or superficial, it’s something I grew up with and, most important, it has nothing to do with my ‘’anti-everything’’ attitude, that’s a completely different story. It’s about being authentic, learning and dreaming everyday, being passionate and positive, listening to DING and to Paint It Black when things are getting rough, giving my better self to the ones who deserve it, singing along with your favorite bands, doing things yourself, believing that nothing is impossible and having that extra fire and passion in your heart that keeps you alive and well. Knowing that happiness is yours to find and it doesn’t even matter if you find it, as long as you had fun on the process. There’s a world to explore, and, to me, punk is all about that. Searching and exploring. It is about you and your attitude towards life, it’s about empowering yourself and it is only dead if you are.

You’re doing a fanzine as well. How does it look, what is the story behind it and what is it about?

I did a fanzine called “1 - Fix It”, one year ago, after being let down by someone I used to trust with all my heart, mind and soul. It’s about fixing yourself up. I based all the process in a quote a wise man once said: “Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.” It’s a mix of positive and negative feelings, a happy compilation of draws, photos and things that made my life special and unique, even when living in complete illusion. Right now, I’m working on a second (and much better) one, since ‘’1 - Fix it’’ doesn’t make any sense to me anymore.

What are your plans for this year?

Many! The biggest one is getting out of Portugal. Besides that, I have new ideas everyday. I’m planning new fanzines and t-shirts, I want to exhibit my work outside of Portugal (I’m planning something in Paris, already, but I want more!), I’m working on some artworks for Grave Skateboards, I want to start spreading my art to the streets, I want to go to Finland to visit the girl I miss the most in this life, I want to hang out with all the Slovenian and Croatian people I met last year, plus, I am always fantasizing about doing a European tour with other artists. I think about this consistently, one of these days I’ll stop thinking and start planning/doing it. I also want to throw a huge punk-rock party featuring good music, sun, veggie food, art and workshops. Let’s see!

Any interesting bands, fanzines, art you want to share with us?

You should listen to Antillectual, feel Tadej’s radness, get a tattoo with the Bad Ink guys, read Andrea’s blog religiously, check my sister’s blog if you’re into fashion, watch Happythankyoumoreplease and keep in mind that I’m a genius.

Rita, thank you for your time and if you guys are interested in checking out more, here it goes:


Saturday, 22 May 2010


Bryony is the lead singer of The Sceptres and full force behind the London´s most fun DIY shows known as "Big Takeover". Check out how she takes over this interview.

I just checked your myspace profile, it says you won’t be playing shows until July, that’s a bummer for all The Sceptres fans ;). What you guys up to then

Haha thanks, I don't know how many fans we have really! We're stopping for a bit because I am going to San Francisco for six weeks to be a 'shitworker' at Maximumrocknroll, which is super exciting so I'm not too bummed and hopefully the rest of the band will have magicked some songs for when I get back. We have a tape out soon on Suplex Cassettes too.

I assume that you write lyrics, what are the issues you deal with? And what make you want to be in the band in a first place?

Yeah I write em all apart from two of the songs that Ralph and Louis did. I guess I started off being fairly blunt with the subject matter, I had a whole bunch of grudges to express when we first started and it totally shows in the first batch of songs we wrote a few of which we scrapped, which I'm glad about. I think it's more interesting if you can fit a feeling or concept into a wider story or narrative in a song than just be like 'Oh this is my experience, I'm singing about it' which is way too subjective and limiting.

As I have zero musical ability I like to think I put a little bit of extra time and effort into the lyrics, I'm not really into throwaway lyrics. I'm pretty much obsessed with puns and unnecessary wordplay in conversation and literature so I guess that probably shows!

Well I have written all the lyrics aside from two songs. They are about various different things, I try to make it clear in the lyrics sheet but some examples I guess;

Childsplay: Is about Abu Ghraib. I know that's probably a bit cliché but I still remember being totally mindblown about what had actually happened when it first came out, I suppose its more about the media reaction and the 'pack mentality' that it was claimed in many of the defense cases.

Flatline Generation: Is about the pandemic of dependency upon anti-depressants that I suddenly noticed in a social group I was moving in and the worrying effects they seemed to be having, also looking back to my grandmother's epic mental health issues that really affected me when I was a kid and what a wide spectrum of definition there is for the word 'depression' when so many doctors will prescribe SSRI drugs to young people without due care as to their effects. It's way more of a thing in the USA but you can see it here too. I guess its about wanting to help people you care about and the drugs actually making people worse.

210 (aka Spies): Is about the Alexandr Litivenko case of radioactive poisoning, written from the point of view of his wife Marina and son Anatoly. The article I took most of the facts from is here.

I really like that you actually sing rather than scream in punk rock. Did you find your voice easily? Did you have any inhibitions?
Thankyou! That's very kind. Yeah I was classically trained until I was 14 believe it or not, I didn't really push it but I guess I got big lungs or something. I am fully into the idea that you can get across radical ideas or interesting stories AND have people be able to sing along or at least understand you. I love hardcore but its not exactly instantaneous in terms of the impact in that that effect.

I had inhibitions in bucketloads. The only band I had done before was when I lived in brighton, a four-gig intentionallly shortlived all girl powerviolence band called Back Stabbath, with members of Leopard Leg. It was literally the thing that turned me from thinking I could only be an observer to actually doing stuff, a total seachange and really changed my outlook on punk. We got quite a hostile reaction in some ways, I think the UK prefers its girl bands to sound cutesy, experimental or poppy, the more straight up 'mosh' hardcore scene is prone to exhibiting some fairly hostile attitudes in that respect, or they were to us at least when we played with 108 (!!) I was screaming in Back Stabbath, which felt quite unnatural to me but made me realise I could actually DO it. Http://www.myspace.com/backstabbathwillfightyou We can all impact our environment and stop being bystanders. Everyone has an opinion (just look at any messageboard) so why not put it to good effect, right?

What’s the Big Takeover? How did you come up with the idea? Can you tell us a (his) story behind it? What were your aims?
Yeah! I had been putting on shows in brighton fairly regularly with my friend Ralph and on my own, mainly at the Cowley Club the social centre there. We did a fest called Between the Lines that was all UK bands and teamed the best bands with workshops and practical sessions with the aim of linking up a de-politicised/complacent punk music scene with the vibrant activist community there which seems to only be into world-Beat and Dubstep haha ;) It was really fun. I left it a year or so after moving up to London before I realised that every bloody gig I was going to was at a hipster bar or an old man pub, and I saw people around me replicate the classic modes of interaction prevalent in these spaces – the fact that these might be punk bands playing seemed to have no significance.
The first Big Takeover was a ridiculous disaster and an amazing success at the same time. The main mistake I made was not really realising how popular it would be. 200+ people showed up to a Railway arch in London Bridge (sadly run by a crazy christian creep who ripped me off for £500) And the second mistake was thinking that giving the guy £500 deposit wasn't totally mental! I was just desperate to see it happen. A friend (it would have been easier if he'd been someone I didnt know really) got really wasted and for some crazy threw a drum stand into the crowd, it hit a French guy whos first show in the UK it was in the head, blood spraying everywhere, the guy was almost unconscious, i'm locked in a toilet with him and my friend jen and I can actually see his skull ugggh flashbacks! Anyway, I called the ambulance as you would, and the venue guy had a MASSIVE go at me shouting saying I was putting the venue in trouble (it turned out he didnt have alive music license and obviously thought he could make a quick buck) and that I shouldnt have called an ambulance, should have left the guy presumably to bleed to death or something! Crazy! Anyway, I kind of put the idea to bed after that, felt like I failed, but then went to the US straight after that, on tour with Shitty Limits and logic Problem from North Carolina, and got to see how many amazing cool spaces that are independent and not shitty rock venues they use, how that is like the dominant paradigm in the USA where there is generally more room, and a culture of garage and house shows. It will never be like that here, and we shouldnt' try to copy but find our own sustainable alternative to just being some niche annex parasiting the 'entertainment' industry -I want to see more imagination happening with punk gigs in the UK. Why shouldn't we have generator gigs in skateparks too, you know!?

You like to choose untraditional venues (no bars, or venues) for your shows preferably squats and social centres. Unfortunately the situation with social centres is heartbreaking, many are getting evicted. Do you find it hard to find a place for the shows?

Its always intensely challenging, much moreso than in other countries I think, to find interesting autonomous spaces for gigs. I had to use a bar for the last one or the show wouldnt have happened, with a bouncer who was funny about letting people in with tracksuits on, so awful. They were really nice in a way and did let me have the place for free but its not what I want this to be about, and did prove my hypothesis that people have less fun in traditional spaces, it was everything that I hate, reminded me why I wanna keep doing this even if its a struggle.

The second BTO was a lucky chance to use the Rampart just before they got evicted, I feel privileged and I only wish Id known about it sooner really. The gig went off without hitch and I was able to make it a benefit for Rape Crisis. I think its really important to reestablish the link between social justice projects and DIY or independent music, and these shows are one way of doing that. I guess it seems kind of obvious as a concept (mixed bill benefit gig) to a lot of people who are already involved in squatting or social centres but these gigs are also a really good way of exposing kids that go to shows that theres this whole other world of possibility where you call the shots, in the widest sense possible.
What if I want to get involved, like do the sound at the show etc?
Just drop me an email, anyone can and should get involved! As I'm aaway in San francisco this month, the next Big Takeover is gonna be organised on the night by a group of friends and I am hoping to expand it into more of a collective thing, I hope we can do more that way! I wanna get as many people who are committed on board as possible – especially women!

What are the plans for the Big Takeover?

Like I said further up top, more fun benefit shows in cool spaces - There is PUNCH (http://www.myspace.com/punchcrew) and Comadre touring in July on the 12th, dont' have a venue for that yet so anyone with any ideas get in touch! I would like to start having a bi-monthly meeting where people who wanna help can discuss ideas for this so that the pressure is off me a bit too!

Any cool art, bands, zines that you can turn us into?

BAND - I'm about to go to Chaos in Tejas festival and the band i'm most excited to see is Arctic Flowers from Portland, Oregon – amazing Anarcho-sounding 'peace' punk with female vocals - http://www.myspace.com/arcticflowerspdx

ART – My friend Emma is currently working on a festival that aims to chronicle the idea of 'camp' as a strategy for representation and visibility. It's entitled Tender Parodies and will be happening in Berlin, I think they are working on funding right now, I'm definitely going! http://pulled-up.com/projects/tender-parodies/

ZINE – Perhaps obvious, but still the best. I have the dubious privilege of handling the UK distribution for subscribers of the best hardcore zine in the world, it is called Distort. Here's a link to some information about it http://www.culthardcore.org/distort/

Thanks very much, Pettybone must play a BTO over the summer! Bryony x

Sunday, 9 August 2009


Sometimes when you're looking for something, it lies just outside of your door so when I was looking for someone to interview, I call the coolest girl in town and the rest is in the following interview.

Where you from and what are brings you to London? How do you like it?

Hi, I’m Amy and I am from Germany and have been living in London for 10 years now. Coming from a small town in Germany, I always wanted to live in a big city like London. Having visited the UK several times before I made the decision to come and I have stayed ever since. I like the fact that London has people from different cultures, countries and different ways of life.

Could you introduce your band Hello Bastards, how did you end up singing? What are you trying to express with your band? Have you been in a band before?

Hello Bastards are a multinational thrash/powerviolence band from London. Although we are based in London, we come from Brazil, Argentina, Poland, Germany and Israel. I was friends with Max (the other singer) and Jef (guitarist) before I joined the band and they told me that their previous second singer Gabriel had to move back to Brazil because of personal issues and asked if I wanted to join in his place.
We are all very close friends and share more or less the same views about things. It was clear to me from the beginning that Hello Bastards was going to be an overtly political band as there were so many issues that we felt needed to be addressed. I have never been in a band before Hello Bastards, although I currently sing in a vegan hip-hop project called Kurohata www.myspace.com/xkurohatax

Hello Bastards is a political band, I was wondering what formed your political awareness when you were growing up? Are you politically active in any other way, are you involved in any other activism?

I was brought up in a politically leftist family; we would have regular discussions about politics and social issues as I was growing up, and this, I guess, was my main introduction into politics. Then, when I was 15 I came across hardcore and punk and soon became vegan straight edge, which I still follow to this day. I try to stay active in any way I can such as going to demonstrations, organising benefit gigs and whatnot.

Hello Bastards is one of a few bands that had an opportunity to tour Israel, could you tell me more about your experience? How's the scene over there?

Our bassist Santiago is from Israel and had to go back there due to visa issues, so we decided to show support to Santiago by going over to Israel and playing some shows. The hardcore/ punk scene, although quite small is amazing and it was a great experience to play shows there. We played with some amazing bands such as Mondo Gecko, Mi’tan and Mess. We got the sense that the scene there is a real community, something, which I feel is missing from many of the punk scenes in Europe. Moreover, many of the kids we met were active in the Palestinian struggle which I found very inspiring.
We used the opportunity while we were there to visit Palestine and to see with our own eyes how the conflict impacts on both the Israelis and the Palestinians. We had the pleasure of staying with people from Anarchists Against the Wall (AATW) who were essentially our guides as well as educating us about the conflict from their anarchist perspective. I guess our main experiences came from visiting the villages of Umm al-Fahm and Nil’in in the Occupied Territories where AATW would join Palestinians in their weekly demonstrations against the building of the separation wall and illegal settlements. I can honestly say that we were definitely unprepared for what we witnessed; some of these experiences were very profound. The daily oppression, humiliation and hatred that the Palestinian people face from the Israeli army and settlers were shocking. I will not go into too much detail here as I could seriously write a book on this subject, but i would urge anybody who is even slightly interested in this issue to go out there and show solidarity and support to the Palestinian people. They truly appreciate the fact that Westerners show an interest in their struggle. If you would like to read further about our experiences there is a pretty in-depth report on our myspace profile and of course please support AATW and check their website for regular updates http://www.awalls.org/.

The people (except maybe the rich minority) and the planet are oppressed by the capitalist system. I was wondering how this oppression manifests in your day to day life and if you have found a way to escape it?

I wish I knew the answer. Unfortunately, I feel it is almost impossible to completely avoid capitalism and the horrors which I feel civilisation brings to the planet. Capitalism is all encompassing and pretty much covers the whole globe. All i can do is try to avoid as much as possible in the partaking of violence on the planet, the people and the animals. However, I am not naive enough to think that I am some sort of saint and that my lifestyle of being anti-capitalist and vegan is violence free, it isn’t. My daily actions have a deep and damaging affect on the earth, but I feel that change essentially starts from within, and it is from this perspective that I find strength and a hope that maybe I am doing the right thing.

My friend asserts that: "Feminism is Anarchism in practice". Do you agree? What's your experience on that?
This is a very difficult question to answer as it really depends on what your definition of feminism is and what your definition of anarchism is? For me, I agree with this statement as I feel that to be anarchist you should also be feminist and to be truly feminist you have to be anarchist. If not, there will be discrepancies in your views as issues of class and race are not necessarily covered just with feminist thought.

I like the song “Straight edge is dead, you're next". As a straight edge band what made you write a song like that?

The song deals with apathy within the hardcore / punk scene. The straight edge scene has become really lazy when it comes to speaking about politics and activism. Growing up and being involved in the scene for many years made me realise that people that label themselves straight edge don’t really have much in common with the things we believe in. We wanted to remind people that being straight edge is more than just abstaining from drugs and alcohol; it’s a lifestyle that should go way beyond the walls of the hardcore /punk scene.

What are your plans with the band and where can we get your record from?
We are currently in the process of setting up a European tour for the end of August until mid September, then we are planning to record for a new 7’ hopefully at the end of this year. You can get our first 7” directly from us via xhellobastardsx@hotmail.com.

you can have a last few lines if you want, you can mention whatever you want like what pisses you off or your fave movies, books, records or bands people should know about or demos/direct actions whatever you think is important.

I don’t really know what to say but thanks for this interview and I love your website. If anyone wants to check us out, then here is our myspace address myspace.com/hellobastardsxxx

Sunday, 10 May 2009


Tobi Vail has been a prominent figure in the Olympia music scene for over a decade. Although she' s been involved with many bands and musical projects, she's best known as a drummer of Bikini Kill. She's also a D.I.Y. zinister, writer, feminist and activist. Her actions inspired and influenced punk girrrls all over the world, myself included and I'm stoked to do an interview with her!

What have you been working on recently? Could you introduce me your band Spider and the Webs?

Spider and the Webs was a group I started about 5 years ago. We toured the west coast, put out two 7"s, two self-released demos, toured Europe and the UK as well as the west coast. It was more active in '04-'06. Then I played drums in a group called the Old Haunts for about a year, recording an album with them and doing three tours. After that ended, I booked a few shows with Spider and the Webs, but there are no plans to tour or record. I also play with Joey Casio, we're working on some new songs and I'm looking for another group to play drums in.

You've been active for more than a decade now. Is there any difference between the state of the matters then and now? Do you think anything has been changed? Do you feel any step forward at all after all those years?

I've been going to shows since 1983, playing in bands since 1985--so it's actually more than 25 years that I've been doing stuff. A lot of things have changed. I guess I'd need a more specific question here!

I read that Bikini Kill shows used to be very violent, do you think that the female musicians/performers are treated with more respect nowadays?

I think that women who really are a threat to male-domination will often face violent consequences, but that it is worth it. Women who just want a career in music, or who shy away from making a political statement via their band will always gain more approval and have an easier time than we did in Bikini Kill.

Eventhough it seems that Riot Girrrl movement left a great legacy for women to follow I hardly see some kind of community and activity from the female part. How to make more women realize that it's important to participate, create our own space and network, communicate, raise issues that are important to us...etc in our scene/community?

Well, Ladyfest has continued on with this and there are things like Homo A GoGo that still happen. Locally there is a fashion show that many feminists and queers see as political, but it doesn't speak to my vision of things so much. These are good questions you ask, I don't know the answers.Who/ What was the biggest influence in relation to feminism during your adolescence?People who just did stuff. Girls in bands, girls who made zines, girls who spoke their minds, girls who liked to skateboard, etc.

In your manifesto you stated that to be able to define ourselves and change our lives and therefore the world, first we need to analyze what role does capitalism play in our day to day existence. Do you have to make a lot of compromises to live your life as creatively and alternatively as you wish? http://jigsawunderground.blogspot.com/2009/01/underground-ideas-2009.html

which manifesto? I feel that I don't compromise in my creative work at all. As a part of my job I sell records, which is a part of capitalism, but the larger goals is to be able to pay working class musicians a living wage, so I don't personally feel compromised by that, no.

The american economy is crumbling. Do you perceive any changes in your (or your friends) life? How do you see the situation in America and the world in the future?

well this is a big question. next year the college here will increase tuition by 14% and the following year they will increase tuition another 14%. pell grants (tuition wavers to low income students) are also being cut. so this means more students will go into debt for longer. in addition to this, they will be admitting fewer students. so there might be less people going to school. the library here has cut staff and cut their hours. the state subsidized health care plan we have where I live is cutting their budget by 40%, which is huge, and means a lot of low income people who play in bands will not have access to affordable health care. non-profits arts organizations are losing their funding and cutting their programs. people are getting laid off and people who own houses are facing foreclosure. older folks have lost their retirement money and are having to work longer. people are a little worried about the future. i have stopped going out to eat and am trying to save money. it's too soon to say how this will all play out....but it seems that it will impact poor and low income people the hardest.

Tell me more about your political activism? Did you manage to achieve what you wanted with the Bands against Bush?Are you involved in any other project now?

well Bush was reelected and the organization fell apart. I'm not doing much at the moment. I've been in school off and on since 2004. I went back to school after the war started in order to study American History. I took a year long course on Feminism that framed my politics in a more current global, economic framework. Now I'm learning to speak Spanish and see solidarity work as being important. I feel I can have the greatest impact through music and my writing, so I'm trying to focus on that as well.

You work for one of my favorite labels- Kill Rock Stars. tell me more about your work, any bands we should check out, any new releases?

Explode Into Colors is a great new band that we will be working with. The New Bloods is my favorite record we ever put out and that was last year. Mika Miko is another great punk group, but sadly we didn't put out their new record, I hope we get to work with them again in the future.

You remain independent of corporate ownership, why is it important to you?

Corporations put profit first over people and the environment. Now more than ever we need to put the environment first and work to end imperialism. Part of this is creating alternatives to corporate globalization.


Tuesday, 20 January 2009


Camilla is a guitarist of the italian hardcore band To Kill. I met her while touring with my old band and she struck me as a great guitar player and performer and a lovely person in general. Currently she's writing a new album with To Kill and finishing her studies at University. She was so nice and made time to give in to this cowspiracy.

So how was the year 2008 for To Kill?

During 2008 we played a lot of unbelievable shows with great bands such as Bury Your Dead, Verse, Parkway Drive but on the other hand we had to face some problems with our van and with Tommi, the bass player, who left the band in October.Actually we are without either a van or a bass player but the most important thing for us is to play as much as possible even if
sometimes bad luck waits for you around the corner!

I know that you guys had a problems with your van on the last tour. Sometimes being in the band can be such a struggle. How do you manage to support yourself to keep the band going and the wheels rolling?

The van burnt down while we were on tour with Recon and LifeRuiner so we had to come back home 1 week before the end of the tour. It was really sad because in November we would just finish paying the bills for that van...It's really nasty when this kind of things happen to you because it wasn't only about the money we lost. We were really down because we started to think about all the effort we always put on this band and all the sacrifices we made during these years to promote it. In one night everything changed and we had to face several money problems. I would like to thank everyone who helped us during those bad weeks!
The hc scene is a good place also because it's like a second family, you feel at home even if you're far away from it.

How did you end up playing in the band? Have you had an experience playing in the band before?

I joined the band in 2007. While I wasn't a member yet, I used to replace Ugo; sometimes he couldn't go on tour because of his job. Before ToKill I used to play in a little band in Rome called
Haine, but I was 17 and this happened so many years ago...

To Kill is one of the few political hardcore bands with the strong Animal Liberation message. Why is this important to you? Are you personally involved in any other activism?

I really like bands when they have something to scream/sing about. During our live sets or reading our lyrics you can easily understand what our point is. Everyone of us is at least vegetarian, in some cases vegan and this is one of the most important thing in ToKill. I became a vegetarian when I was 17-18 and now in 2009 I strongly think we can live without meat, it's only about spend 5 minutes thiking if we could be able to do something really important for mother earth.
Few years ago I used to have a table at shows with some Peta stuff but today I'm not involved in any other activism. Some of us strongly support Sea Shepherd Conservation Society; check it out: http://www.seashepherd.com/

How's your life influences ( or the environment you grew up in) the music you play? and other way around how's the music/scene influences your life?

The Roman hc scene influenced me while I was a teenager. I owe everything to all the amazing bands who changed my life in the end of '90. I would never been playing music around Europe without them and without some people who gave me the opportunity to join that beautiful moments!

What's the italien hardcore scene like? Are they many girls/women involved in the scene. Any good bands/zines/artists we should check out?

Some years ago the roman scene was the best scene in Italy. There were so many hc bands well known outside the country too. Every weekend there was a show and everyone of us where involved supporting it. Today the roman hc scene doesn't exist anymore. I think this is a normal decay because in some way music changed and the money started to be a really important thing for the bands. Some years ago you would have never think about making money with your band. You played only because it was the funniest part of your life. Today in Rome there're really good screamo/metal/emo/blablabla bands but as I said before, everything now is about be the coolest, having the right endorsement and the right t-shirt. Another important difference is that during the "golden age" there were few girls but everyone of them was an important part of the scene; today there are so many girls but they have a marginal role because they're only the audience. Please, if you have the time check this band: www.myspace.com/deathmarket we deeply love these guys!

Do you have to deal with the sexism on tour/at the shows? What was your worst experience so far (if any)?

Personally I really can't stand some kind of men! Being drunk and howl to the stage only because there's a girl playing there it's something really degradating. I've never had a such experience on tour; plus I have 4 boys in the band who are ready to protect me from everyone! - even if sometimes I feel myself more man than them :) - So think twice before do/say
> anything! :)

Do you think that is harder for the female musician to find her own identity and be accepted in the scene?

I don't think today is really hard for girls be accepted in the scene. I know many bands with a female member and I'm very happy when ToKill play with these bands. As I said before, sometimes we have to face with stupid people too but fortunately they're a minority!

Do you have any favourite female artist/musician who influenced your playing or performance?

No, there isn't a female artist who influenced my playing but I can tell you some female musicians I really admire. When the first Alanis Morissette cd "Jagged Little Pill" came out I was really into it; I corrode that cd! It always was on my player. I really like Kaki King who is an american guitar player; her songs impressed me from the beginning and when I listen to them they always touch me.

What are your plans for the 2009? Did you make any New Year's resolutions?

I would like to finish my university studies in the end of 2009 and play as much as possible with ToKill. I hope Berlusconi will be intern in a psychiatric clinic as soon as possible and the clinic owner would loose the key of his room...It would be a perfect 2009!!!
For now I' struggling between having a piece of chocolate and reminding myself I should follow a diet...

Thanks Camilla!

Monday, 13 October 2008


Tamar (Tumor) is a frontwoman of the isralien trash/punk band Mr. Error Sound System (M.E.S.S.). She's a smart young lady with a lot to say and powerful voice that makes your ears bleed! She's gonna mess with you in this interview.

How did you get into the hardcore/punk/metal/whatever scene?

When I was 12 my family and I moved from northern Israel to Cupertino, CA – round the valley where I was first exposed to suburbia in its purest form. Being an angsty kid with internet access I quickly got drawn into the metal and nu metal scene where I discovered some of my favorite bands to this day.
At 14 I had a friend who was really into HxC punk who dragged me to a Casualties/Agnostic Front show which made a turning point in my musical preference at the time.
From there on I started exploring around the local scene, networking with some kids and getting to know the local San Jose punx.
I moved back to Israel when I was 16 and when I finished high school up north I moved back to Tel-Aviv city, where I was born.
I got into the band through bartending at a local bar in central Tel-Aviv.
The place’s shtick is a free show every night, so I was exposed to a ton of alternative bands and music.
Rafi, M.E.S.S’s guitar player played a show at the bar with one of his former nonsense bands. At some point of the show I grabbed a microphone and started screaming back up vocals. It was the first time I ever did anything like this – but the vibe was right for it, and the band gladly accepted my spontaneous participation.
After that show Rafi walkd up to me and offered me to lead an old dying band of his – that band was M.E.S.S..
Slowly yet surely, after joining the band I started discovering the local punk and metal scene outside of my work – mainly through collaborations with other bands.

Can you give me a little biography about your band?

Mr. Error Sound System started out in 2002 by Rafi (the guitar player) and his brother Rotem, their sound was more lenient towards alternative rock back than. In time, the lineup totally changed.
I joined in the band about 2 years ago and quickly after, our drummer Gutzi joined in. After various bass player changes due to Rotem’s leave, Lior joined in. by the time Lior joined in our sound was pretty much set on a much faster and heavier scale, rewriting the songs to fit our liking. Lior’s coming to the band brought in the last piece of the puzzle, helping push the band in an even heavier direction and a long due name change.
After writing for a few months we recorded last April – and now on November 29th were releasing our first album, The Weekend Ritual Massacre.

Your album is coming out soon. What can we look forward to? What are the plans for the band?

This album sums up all the hard work we all put into the band during the past year, the surviving old M.E.S.S material got a total makeover along with some new tracks all wrapped up in a chaotic and loud ass heavy sound. After we recorded, we contacted Dan Swano who agreed to take on the mix and master.
Dan did an amazing job, emphasizing exactly what we wanted and by that making the album sound straight up like a punch in the face.
Its not exactly the type of album you could defiantly put your finger onto what kind of genre to associate it to – we each have out own influences which we bring onto the writing sessions, from grind core and death metal to hxc and punk rock, this album pretty much has everything, and that’s just what were all about.
Once the album is out were planning on distributing it worldwide, we started networking with various independent distributions in Europe and Asia.
Were also planning on touring this next spring – hopefully in the States.
Since we finished recording our first album we kept working on new material, so you should defiantly expect a second album sometime this year.

What are your lyrics dealing with?

Well it depends. Allot of the old lyrics discuss anything from parodying punk rock to psychedelics-infused political protest. When I joined into the band I brought in allot of personal politics into the lyrics, from songs of feminist protest to songs discussing the shit I've gone through in the past from my own experience and perspective.

Your band is going to appear on a split album with the bands with only female singers, can you tell me more about the project?

I don’t know too much about the project really, we were approached by the label in request of a few songs for an all female-fronted compilation, a dream come true for me, really. We were stoked about this since its released and distributed in the Philippines & Japan as well, and one of our dreams is to go to Japan.
The biggest and most wonderful surprise in this project was the fact that we got to appear on the same compilation as Lycanthropy, an amazing Czech grind band that’s fronted by one of the best female vocalists in grind to my opinion.

What is the best/worst part being in the band?

That’s a tough one. We’ve all gone through the process of figuring out what we want to become and create and the hard work its going to take, So I guess the worst part is dealing with your own weaknesses and insecurities on a daily basis with the group, weather its by crawling out of your shell to approach people and doing simple PR or by finishing a horrible show with 3 people in the audience (one of em being your mother) and still getting up the next morning for band practice.
The best part about being in a band is the commune-based mentality this band has, were pretty socialist and that’s really important to me when it comes to the way we work, create, and run the grownup shit – making decisions weather their about PR, band politics or finance. Were there for each other and that’s part of being in this band for all of us.

Your band played an animal rights benefit show, is it important for you to support these activities and why? Is your band politically conscious?

Well, both Gutzi and I are vegetarians – allot of the kids here are, so it’s only natural of us to gladly take part of these types of activities. Were not terribly politically involved but we are conscious people – our lyrics and lifestyle reflect that.
Most of us are the kind of people who’d go around with a screwdriver looking for shit to fix.

Israel's punk/hc scene seems to be exotic for many kids. What is the israeli scene like? Are there many girls/women actively involved in the scene? I remember this all girl band called Vaadut Kishut, are they still active? Any bands/labels/zines we should definately
check out?
Nowadays it’s a definite struggle to maintain any sort of constant activity – there are very few venues that allow punk/hxc/metal shows which keeps the scene small. Also, setting up diy shows is practically impossible due to the strict law enforcement around here.
Even the animal benefit show you mentioned was terminated halfway by law enforcement – and it was set up in the middle of an old industrial site, far from civilization - so you can imagine how far they had to go to close us up.
Everything is also really frat-based here, there are about 3-4 major Metal and Punk bands here who tend to play shows only with the other majors, so this closes up allot of opportunities for minor bands of the counterculture. There are some exceptions, but this is pretty much the way it is.
I think one of the perks of being part of a small scene is the easy networking, everyone helps everyone and there are constant collaborations between the small bands.
Wonderfully enough, there are allot of females in the scene here - making their mark by writing music, setting up shows and zines and just refusing nonchalance.
For example, Mitaan is a band lead by two amazing female singers who’s lyrics are political and sharp – Make it Rain is another all-girl band that makes great hxc punk music, their demo is coming out soon so you should definately check them out. Hashlooliot (The Puddles) is an Indie-pop group who’s lyrics are both in English and Hebrew and are the only all-girl Indie group around here that’s doing something different, their definately worth listening to – their EP is coming out soon as well..
All of these bands have a MySpace so check them out..
By the time that I was back from the States Vaadat Kishut were unfortunately, old news –Personally, there are some elements in the bands lyrics I tend to disagree with, just like with riot girl music in general – but they made their mark for sure by opening up doors for upcoming females in the punk scene.

Israel is the country with the violent history and political instability. How does this affect people (eventually scene?)

Back in the 90’the political-punk scene flourished with left-wing groups promoting peace and tolerance. There were bands like Hapussy Shell Lucy and Nechey Naatza who became legendary with their left wing agenda and constant activity in one of the most dangerous times to even think about leaving the house (during the 90’, suicide bombings in Tel-Aviv were very common, killing hundreds). Even when their lead singer was tragically killed in a suicide bombing – the band kept going while pushing their peaceful political agenda, informing the public about who’s really to blame for all the chaos.
After the Rabin Assassination, a wave of general pessimism pushed the Israeli youth into carelessness.
Since the 90’s there were a few political bands which died off fairly quick or preferred staying active in more liberal areas like Eastern Europe and the Netherlands.
Nowadays there’s a mish-mash of everything, there are a lot of activists who protest through their band’s music alongside with extreme action, both in the city as well as in the territories, but the change in the youths approach to politics is almost obsolete.

What is the most fucked up and best thing about Israel?

The most fucked up thing about this country is its policy of education, militant mentality, and the socio-economic gaps induced by the governments egotistic and greedy choice of budget division. But I guess that’s old news for any country.
Politicians are as corrupt here as they are anywhere, and the media pulls circus tricks learned from the populist world press which provides the just the right ‘Big Brother’ mentality that pushed Israeli society to a state of nonchalance and search for mind numbing escapism.
As a member of a band that’s part of a pretty unpopular genre in the eyes of the Israeli media, Id also say that one of the worst things here are the way the Israeli media tries to sweep the Israeli counterculture under the rug by refusing to help out in pushing it foreword before its absolutely sure it can make money off of the coverage.
For example, a very popular pop-punk band called Useless Id was publicly slaughtered by the press when they were signed to host a teen-focused music show on Israeli TV.
The subject for the article was the bands left-wing political agenda and the member’s refusal for serving in the army for political reasons. The article presented the band as the political antichrist and by that a horrible example for the Israeli youth.
It resulted in the bands dismissal from the show.
The best thing?
I don’t know, probably the food.

Margaret Cho said that the sexism is big like the sky. Do you agree with that? How do you deal with the omnipresent sexism, is that anything that bothers you at all or is that makes you wanna scream your guts out (as you do)?

sexism IS as big as the sky.
I was raised by two fairly liberal parents, my father pushed me to explore music created by both men and women, and when I got into Riot Girrl music back in the day, he was the first one to hand me a Nina Hagen album.
My mother is also totally girl power crazed woman – so you could only imagine what a shock society’s world of gender politics was for me when I left home.
I won’t lie when I say most of my lyrics deal with the emotions revolving around the struggle of feeling alone and crazy in a sea of under and over toned sexism.
Even in Tel-Aviv, Israel’s most liberal city, you have to put up with shit everyday.
When I started writing for the band I was working at a tattoo studio as an apprentice, constantly being exposed to the local, more privileged scene – which consisted of allot of vanity and hyper sexuality amongst the girls who’d get inked. Some of them were Suicide Girls. I was familiar with the site back than, but only when I got to know these girls better I started to lose it. I've always been pretty anti-porn so when I found out about this site I felt like I've been hit pretty close to home when even countercultures weren’t safe from female objectification. Being a tattooed music junky, I took the site pretty personally.
Feminazi, for example, is a track of ours that I wrote lyrics to after a violent argument with a friend over the responsibility a Suicide Girl has when taking the leap onto objectifying herself, and thus not only changing her life for the worst, but taking part in the sites influence on societies views on alt girls, and worst off – they choose to set a negative example to teens all around the country.
The argument ended up with my friend spewing the term feminazi at me – which is where the name is from.

What is your normal day looks like?

well right now things are pretty hectic, I work at my generic day job 3-4 mornings a week and during the rest of my time I take care of the album, the guys and I work around the clock towards the release party, so when im not drowning in phone calls, im running around to meet up with venue owners, bands and merch manufactures.
My nights are either dedicated to band practices, playing shows or playing 90’s quests while digging up new bands to listen to on the web to ease my mind from all the chaos. Im also illustrating album covers and flyers in my spare time, some of my work is on our myspace, everything youll see on our albums cover and booklet is also my work - infused by Gutzies rad graphic skills.

Ok, your 5 all time favourite bands/albums. go!

1.Crass – Penis Envy.
2.Marilyn Manson – Portrait of an American Family.
3.Nina Hagen Band – self titled.
4.Slipknot – Slipknot.
5.Hank Williams III – Straight to hell