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

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


I met May at my very first hardcore show in England. I think she was stage diving and grabbing the mic singing along to one of the Knuckledust's song. I thought she was awesome. Since that I got to share a love for hardcore, dirty dancing and cheesy pop music with her.
I haven't met a band who wouldn't know May or have never heard of May. She's been around and active in the hardcore scene for a while and I was more than happy to do the very first interview with her.

Hey May so how did you get into hardcore? What was the first show you have ever been to?

Everyone I know is so bored of hearing this story but its my favourite.. I always loved music. One of my earliest memories is dancing around my living room with my father to Abba and Boney M (yes I am THAT old haha). I loved Metal and Punk in my teen years, and once I started going to gigs, I realised that there was nowhere in the world I was happier than when I was stood in a crowd of people watching a band play that I loved. I got barred from the Astoria in London in 96 for stage diving, and there was a show happening that night that I really wanted to go to. One of my friends saw how upset I was and suggested that I went to another show happening at the Garage.. A band called Agnostic Front were playing and he thought that I might like them. So being a broke 17 year old kid with NO money, I stroll up to the venue early and approach the first dude with a laminate that I saw (i was a cocky teenager hah).
"Hi are you in Agnostic Front?"
"Heres the deal. I have no money and I want to go to the show tonight. Can you get me in?"
"Yeah. You like AF?"
"You want the honest answer?"
"I have never really heard you guys"
"You into hardcore?"
"I have never really been to a hardcore show. Im more into Punk and metal".
He put his hands on my shoulder and said "this is the first day of the rest of your life".
It was Vinnie Stigma. The line up for that show was incredible It was AF, Maximum Penalty, Vision, and Morning Again. I remember walking out of the show with the stupidest grin on my face, and going home and telling my brother how awesome it was.. The atmosphere was incredible, the people were so welcoming, I mean, i was some loser kid in trousers that were far too big for me.. and I have never looked back.

When did you become active in the hardcore scene and why?

When I was 18, I moved to Southampton to go to University. I guess we are terribly spoilt here in London as not only do we have the local shows going on, put on by people like Rucktion Records, but the majority of touring hardcore bands come through town. We average out at least a show a week here. Being out there, there was nothing at the time. There was an amazing DIY punk scene but I missed hardcore shows.. so when two of the punk girls that I lived with asked if I wanted to help out put on Knuckledust, I jumped at the chance. They ended up pulling out, but Ninebar played and "Shark Attack" which was just Peachy from Six ft Ditch singing covers with the rest of Ninebar.. Once we did that, I got the bug and never wanted to stop. And never really have. That was roughly 10 years ago now.

What was Ninjafest? What are your best and worst memories of the festival?

Ninjafest started out as a fest that Rachel and a guy called Jamie were putting on. We were at Goodlife fest in 2002 sitting outside our tent one morning and Rach suggested I get involved as I could secure a venue which they didnt have and book more bands. The next year, we realised that it wasn't really working with Kemo as he lived too far, so we put on the fest ourselves and it built from that. A couple of years after that, we enlisted Louise to do it with us as well. We have sold the fest out for the past 5 years now. The last one being last year as myself and Rachel always promised each other that once one of us left, the name would go with them. But I am doing a fest the same weekend, at the same venue called Running Riot Fest. I do find myself still referring to it as Ninjafest but I think once this year is done, the name will stick and we can finally put the Ninjafest name to rest.
My favourite memory has to be in 2003. Me and Rach had spent months stressing about the fest, and things were going smoothly. Damage Control from Norway were onstage, and I was stood on the floor to the side with kids kicking off all around me, and I looked up at Rach and mouthed "what the fuck" and she gave me the biggest grin. I think that was the first moment that I knew that the fest was going to be a success.. and the looks on everyones faces at that point made all the stress worth it.
I dont really have any bad memories. I tend to get pretty stressed out and take it out on a few unsuspecting people, and I am now making a public apology to them. You know who you are.

When and where is Running Riot festival taking place? What can we look forward to?

Running Riot is going to be held on the 25th/26th October. The initial line up is on but I still have 7 more bands to announce, plus there are going to be some awesome "surprise" break bands (anyone that was at Ninjafest last year will know exactly what I mean). Its going to be awesome. We have kids from as far as Russia coming out and the line up isn't even complete yet. And its the return of BillyClubSandwich to the UK which is guaranteed be amazing.

What advice would you give to the kids who want to organise a show/ festival? What should they be aware of and take care

FLYERS. Do not only promote your shows with myspace/messageboards/word of mouth. That is never enough.
Do not go beyond your boundries. Dont make promises you can't keep with money.
And don't charge too much for shows. You will have more kids turning up the lower the ticket price.

What do you think about the really young promoters which keep multiplying. Do you think they're doing a good job?

I think a lot of these kids have their hearts in the right place. We have ALL made mistakes putting shows on, and hopefully they will learn from them. My only beef is that here in London we have far too many kids that are willing to put on the Avocado booked tours (some of the bigger american hardcore bands) but when a smaller european band comes through or even a smaller american band, like, say, the Mongoloids, we miss out which is a real shame. Places like Brighton have the right idea and it would be nice for these kids to break out of their shells and do this. We miss out. And it sucks. If I had more disposable cash and not as much debt, I would totally be doing smaller shows again but at the moment this is not an option.

What is London Calling? How long have you been this site running for? Why did you decided to create this site?

London Calling is a site for London Hardcore.
The site started out as a fluke. Me and a lot of kids used to post during working hours on a site called Yo London. One day, creator Tom, decided that he didn't like what the site had become so decided to shut it down, giving us about a days warning. I was working an awful job in Payroll, where we literally were waiting to be given work every day from HR, and the prospect of having nothing to do all day was too daunting.. and I knew that it was one of the main places that I found out about shows..
So on a free messageboard site, i set something up. About a year later, I expanded the site to the blog, the myspace page for shows ( and a list of promoters/ veggie and vegan restaurants amongst other things. I had worked with people that designed sites for Ninjafest and knew that it was a pain to get content uploaded as most were terribly busy, so I figured there were enough resources on the net for me to be able to do it via free sites. So it is how it is today.
The reason I expanded the site was that it was much easier to direct people to one place when they asked about shows and promoters than having to list them every time. It made it easier for everyone, myself included.
I guess I probably have far too much spare time on my hands.

Tell me more about your radio show.

Its called "May and Mates" and is on Saturdays from 12pm-3pm on TotalRock ( There is also a hardcore demo podcast up on the site that features a bunch of UK and some Euro/US hardcore bands that you can stick on your mp3 player.
I love my main show. Its basically not a hardcore show, although the majority of what I play is hardcore.. I get my friends to come in and present it with me whilst I run the desk and it just a lot of fun to do. Its also request show, and also means I can bother people with my terrible secret love of Nu Metal and Pop Punk haha. I wouldn't be able to play hardcore for 3 hours straight anyway, and I find that people are more inclined to listen if its not a specialist show.. they may then like the stuff im playing.. My best radio moment was when a kid emailed in saying that he had never heard of Knuckledust before, and that I had announced they were playing right by him, and he liked what he heard on the show, so he went to check them out, and was sat there emailing me in his Knuckledust shirt. It was so awesome.

What is your background? Have you ever been to your country of origin?

My parents are from Iraq and moved to England the year before I was born.. I went back to Baghdad once when I was 9 and once when I was 10 and haven't been back since due to the situation there. We went just after the Iran/Iraq war ended and just before the first Gulf war began. Despite it being where my parents are from, London is home for me and there is no place I would rather be. I am terribly proud of my heritage though.. I speak fluent arabic.. and have a deep interest in Middle Eastern politics although its not something I discuss with people regularly.

How did the current war affects you and your family (on the personnel level)?

My parents both come from fairly large families. I have many aunts and uncles and LOADS of cousins. When we went back to Iraq, it was awesome as I met loads of relatives that I had never seen before.. they were all in one place.. Now the majority of them are disperesed around the world as they all had to leave because conditions were too bad out there. Some of my older aunts have had to leave the only life they knew to live in a foreign country because they couldn't survive. I have lost family members, luckily none through war, but both my mother and father never had a chance to properly say goodbye to their brother and sister and thats upsetting.
I could go on, but I would rather not, as I will end up ranting.

Do you have any clashes with your parents?(about religion, lifestyle etc.)

Haha I often have to remind my mother that she can't expect me to live like she lived in Iraq 30 years ago. I am pretty lucky though. My parents were smart and realised when they first moved here that I would be part of british culture but they also wanted me to never forget where I came from. They don't have a problem with me going out or anything like that so it's not a big deal.

What should people do to make the world better place?

Show more love to one another. Simple answer but so true.

Thanks for your time May!

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