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

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

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

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

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?

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:

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: 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!