xTRUE PROMISESx – Valencian hardcore scene report

I’ve been waitinga long time to finally publish this interview. Izumi from xTRUE PROMISESx straight edge hardcore collective spent hours answering my questions and telling me everything about their...

I’ve been waitinga long time to finally publish this interview. Izumi from xTRUE PROMISESx straight edge hardcore collective spent hours answering my questions and telling me everything about their local scene, activism and work based on anti-fascist, anti-racist and anti-sexist values. There’s a pretty serious flow of words below, so I’ll pass on introducing our lenghty chat (starting with Izumi’s message). But I’ll tell you this: if you’re into hardcore because of the positive message, you support  friendship, honesty, kindness, and DIY approach, then you’ll absolutely love this interview.

It’s amazing to see that there are honest and passionate people believing  in mutual support and solidarity between bands and activist collectives. Hardcore punk is more than music! “Hardcore is about commitment, about being involved and working actively to build a better world, about changing ourselves to change what we don’t like around us”, they state…  and I believe they’re on the right path.

Our inconspicuous chat turned out to be a huge source of  information about Valencia’s, Spanish and European punk scene. I hope you dig it, and you keep your ears and eyes open and experience this for yourself. Let’s go!

Hey Karol, how are you?

I have been a huge fan of My Turn since last spring, and I am organizing their Spanish mini-tour, but somehow I had totally missed your interview with them. I have just read it for the first time! Thanks for the great work!! As always, you have asked some very good and interesting questions. Some of them were the same questions I was thinking of asking them Haha I’ll try to think of other interesting ideas then :) I am part of a small collective and we are planning a zine for the summer, I have done two single issue zines in the past and I’ve always been very passionate about zines and about good interview-making.

I guess part of the trick is choosing the right people to interview, too :)

I noticed you put “let’s laugh to death” in the interview page, or maybe it was just random, anyway that’s my favorite song from their album.

By the way, are you going to Fluff this year too? it would be awesome to meet you, or to stay in touch anyway.

Take good care, a big hug from Valencia, Spain :)

Wow, thank you sooo much for the kind words, I’m really flattered. I have a surprise for you! I’ve just interviewed the legendary HITMAN and the new Rajko’s band called THE BRIDGE. They will be releasing a split with MY TURN, but it’s a beta project now. Stay tuned!

I’m aiming at Fluff this year, sure, but I’m not sure if I manage. We’ll see.

Tell me more about your collective. Maybe WE should do a chat about your local scene, huh? Shall we continue this conversation and make it an interview? :)

I’ve been in touch with Rajko in the last weeks because I help out with Goodwill Records so I’m involved in the split with MY TURN, very exciting! And it’s really nice to hear that you’ll be publishing an interview with him, I’m definitely looking forward to reading that.

Really LOTS of interesting contents in your website, I don’t follow many webzines but yours is surely among the best ones I’ve seen lately!!

Well, us, basically we are a really small collective of three people being sxe and vegetarians, and wanting to organize some shows, with an antifascist antisexist perspective,… it started out like a clothes distro sort of, but then we started setting up some shows and now we have this zine project  that I’m very excited about.

And there is a wider punk/hardcore family here in Valencia that we are part of, and helps us out, even though we are almost the only sxe people around :)

The local scene is more of a crusty punk scene, musically speaking, but there are new bands coming out who are more hardcore/post-harcore oriented, so it’s interesting to see where it will go,… and politically it’s an anarchist scene, with quite a focus on the political aspect.

I don’t know so much about the history of the scene here, as I’ve been living in Valencia just two and a half years (I’m Italian), but I’m enjoying being part of it a lot… If you are curious and wanna know more about it, I’ll investigate or put you in touch with local scenesters of course :)

Whoohoo, let’s take it one at a time :)

What made you want to be straight edge? What does being one mean to you?

Whoa, awesome question! I have always been straight edge, though for the first 18 years of so of my life I didn’t know it had a name. I just felt that smoking and drinking (and later on, doing drugs) was something of an imposition on all of us, something we had to do because it was the obvious or conventional thing to do, and I hated that. I couldn’t see any point in it, I have tasted alcohol and never understood why someone would actually choose to drink it! Like I said, for many maybe it’s not an actual choice. So, back then, I guess it just meant feeling different from the majority and wanting to take a stand. When I discovered sxe, it was awesome to realize there were other people who felt something similar.

Today, to me, being straight edge means being part of a collective struggle to reject consumption-based consumeristic society, to deconstruct a capitalistic model where we are all encouraged to enrich corporations by buying their useless and damaging products; a struggle against psychological/physical addiction which is a social weapon exploiting our vulnerabilities and making us pacified slaves; against the idea that we need external help in order to interact with one another and have fun, and that fun interaction can’t be earnest and meaningful; a cooperative effort to care about ourselves and each other and to take ourselves and each other seriously; to express solidarity with those suffering from the consequences of substance abuse and the domestic and gender violence that is often connected with it. Someone stop me before this gets ten pages long!

I watched “If A Tree Falls – a story of the Earth Liberation Front” the other day, not only it’s super interesting, but also a shocking example of how substance (ab)use is definitely an enemy of radical fight and resistance. The zapatistas communities, an example of successful resistance and horizontality if ever there was one, have put this concept in practice for years. In order to fight this fucked up world, we need to be clear minded, healthy, and happy. Angry, but with an inner quiet to give us the strength we need.

And we need to be in this together.

How do you feel about the hard line sXe movements?

Well, of course my motto is “if you’re smoking in here, you better be on fire!”

Haha No, just kidding. First of all I have to say something: We think of hardcore as a counterculture, but if we enter it bringing with us all our baggage of conventions from the outside world, without challenging our internalization of them, it ends up being just a reproduction of society in smaller scale. Is this what we want?

I don’t have much personal experience with hardline sxe, but from what I know about the phenomenon, I think it is just a reproduction of conservative authoritarian mentality. The self-righteousness, prevarication, gratuitous violence, cult-like mentality, the macho sexism, the anti-abortionist stances, I mean what the hell? what are they if not fascist/authoritarian positions?

Like a friend of mine once said, a drunk friend is still a friend, and a sober jerk is still a jerk!

Also, and I think it is connected to this, I feel that for some guys hardcore is really nothing more than a glorification of their heteronormative maleness, something that allows them to retain a sense of youthful rebellion while actually perfectly fitting in society’s stereotyped norms about what a “real man” should be: aggressive, self-important, tough, selfish, and all that crap they feed us.  And sometimes for girls hardcore seems to be simply another environment in which we are reduced to playing the part assigned to us by patriarchy.  I don’t mean this in a haughty judgmental way, I think all of us regardless of our gender are affected by it on some level.

Not to mention all those whose gender identity doesn’t fit in with neither of the above-mentioned strict categories and who often feel that hardcore doesn’t envision their presence. This sucks.

Hardcore and sxe are about taking a stand against, and truly challenging the norms of established society.  So I think that both hardline sxe and tough guy attitude (and any kind of sexism and fascism, even when it’s not so obvious) have no sense at all and no place inside the hardcore scene. They are just society metastasizing into hardcore (and sometimes into our minds) like a cancer in a body.  It’s not enough to just be unaffected, or to think ourselves unaffected, on a personal level. I think we all have the responsibility to actively fight it and push it back where it belongs.

Sorry if I kinda went off the rails with this one!

 

Not at all. What about the vege part of your awareness? Have you thought about becoming vegan?

I can only speak for myself here. Yes, I have thought about it many times, especially lately. I have an inner conflict going on. It is clearly the best choice and it would be a logic step to take in order to be more consistent with my beliefs and to have less of a negative impact on this earth.

The fact that I haven’t done it, and that it still feels like a difficult and complicated change to make, means that probably, on a visceral level, I’m not passionate enough about it and not willing to let my comfortable habits go. It’s like a sort of panic taking hold of me, I start thinking, but I’m such a bad cook! I would spend my days figuring out recipes! It would be so hard to eat out! And I love cheese! What about my favorite cookies and sweets?… and I am aware that this is my mind finding easy ways out. I used to love eating meat, but when I went vegetarian overnight, it wasn’t hard at all to leave meat behind, it just felt right.

So on one hand, I think that if something is right, we should try to do it no matter what, and on the other hand, I am afraid that if my heart is not in it, I’d start resenting it and become bitter or drop it – that would be sad.

I’ve been trying to cut down on my animal products consumption and to try out more vegan recipes lately, but I don’t see myself taking the leap just now, and I am not sure about the future.

There are really no excuses though, that’s for sure.

Being part of a community, having people around us giving the example and friends we can turn to for advice and recipes is definitely an important aspect. That I went vegetarian was due to the example of a good friend who really changed my life in many ways. So to everyone who lives their veganism in a positive proactive way, I wanna say thanks for being an inspiration.

And can anyone recommend a recipe for making vegan Nutella, by the way?

Sure. Here you go :)

What’s your opinion on the extreme vegan diet based on vitamin drips and drinking mixed grass cocktails? How does it stand against children and young people’s organisms being damaged from extreme vegan and macrobiotic dieting?

:D Awesome, thanks! It seems to be easy enough that I could make it. (But isn’t using google a bit like…cheating??) :)

Well, I wish I had an opinion on this because it’s really interesting. But I am not familiar with that kind of extreme diet (you don’t mean to say they don’t eat anything else?!) nor with instances of children being harmed by a vegan/macrobiotic diet.  Clearly, anything can be done well or badly: eating, cooking, raising children,.. it all depends on how much brain you put into it more than on the kind of diet you choose.

All the vegans I know seem to be really good cooks and to make tasty food, to be into healthy living and to have healthy and energetic kids, in the case of those who are parents.

Generally speaking, it’s really obvious that when it comes to eating, any restriction that leaves out essential nutrients can be harmful, but a good vegan diet is healthy and doesn’t leave out essential nutrients. And besides, for those of us in the world who are privileged enough to have an abundance of choice at our disposal, food can really be one of the pleasures of life, and eating nice and yummy veggie/vegan food can make the difference between feeling crappy and feeling contented. But if people use drips and grass cocktails, I’m sure they have their own reasons…maybe they are yummy too?! We should ask them!

Sure, Ross Robinson is one of those people :)

Let’s move on. You stated that it started out like a clothing distro and then you decided to put some gigs together. How did it all started? What was your first show? How frequently do you organize?

I’d been in Valencia for some months and didn’t know any sxe people, when I saw two X’d up kids playing a show and went up to talk to them afterwards. In time we became friends and started doing things together. The first show in which I was involved was the Apoya Tu Escena Fest (Support Your Scene Fest) last may, at a squat in front of the beach, bands bathing before playing, it was a blast! We repeated it this year and hope to do it again next year. (And we’ve done some other things since, starting another band is one of them Haha!)

But we don’t set up shows on a regular basis, we don’t have a place of ours, we collaborate with different squats and venues.. in the last months we’ve had SECTARIAN VIOLENCE from Swe/UK/USA, a Spanish mini-tour for Greek hardworking band MY TURN + our friends FUKUSHIMA from Valencia,…  We’re excited about bringing some sxe kids to play here, something that’s not so common. And EXPECTATIONS from Bulgaria will play here in a couple of weeks with a cool band from Zaragoza, INTERLUDE… and we hope to go on setting up shows!

We love getting in touch with new people, that’s part of why we do this – although every now and then we get a weird email from some band we don’t know, saying simply “Hey, we are Someones from Someplace, can you set us up?”. Nothing else.They might be really cool people, but that sort of email makes us wonder if all they care about is playing somewhere, without anything more. That’s not really what we’re hoping to accomplish you know? we’re not looking to just set up shows, we love music but we prefer working with bands that we have more in common with than just music – beliefs, attitudes, a shared view of what hardcore is. People that we are friends with or would like to become friends with!

Great! Do a lot of kids come to these shows? How would you describe a typical local crowd in your neighborhood?

It depends on the place and the day, there are various different squats and venues (though it always feel like not enough) who set up shows. That squat on the beach that I mentioned earlier, Proyecto Mayhem, is always full on Saturday evenings, more than 150 people probably, especially when well known local bands are playing, and you will see anything from people dressed in 80s punk styles (girls with mohawks!) to SHARP skins, from punk bands to post-hardcore bands, from hip hop kids to ska bands to flamenco guitar players…the last show I went to, there was a new r’n’r band, PELANDO COBRE, playing handmade instruments.
All part of the same anarchist crust punk scene, feels a bit like family, everyone dancing to all styles of music. That’s pretty cool, it’s nice to see the mix of genres and that people are so attached to their local bands.  The benefits of the shows are generally for a political cause or the anticommercial funding of the organizing collectives.

There’s another place, La Residencia, a cool little house out there in the fields, which is more involved with setting up shows with touring bands, and it’s awesome that it exists because without them it would be quite hard to see foreign bands in Valencia, they really work hard on this and set up a quantity of shows. These people have been around for a long time, they also play in awesome bands, and some of them are quite historical (DISPARO, TEMPESTA, DERROTA, ZANUSSI…). Check this song out,  it is a local hit! :)

The two places kinda have different vibes and also different crowds, this last thing is not so cool in my opinion – I would like to see people of all sorts getting involved in shows of all genres, I guess habits are hard to shake. Not so many people turn up for “unknown” foreign bands, I’d definitely like this to change!

Then in my neighborhood there’s a tiny squat called El Nido where sometimes you can go to shows on Saturday mornings, people bring their kids and you’ll see these small children dancing to punk bands’ music, it’s awesome. They call this “mañaneo krust”, something like “crust brunch” Haha, there’s vegan food and these are the only occasions which are expressly alcohol-free, tobacco-free and drug-free. The people who organize it are not sxe, they just feel like it’s nice to have such sober events, friendlier to children and more favorable to lucid interaction.

There are several other awesome places I could tell you about, like La Fusteria, a small squat in the old fishermen’s neighborhood which was an old carpentry and does workshops and paella lunches (typical valencian dish made of rice, vegetables and meat/fish, but in a vegan version Haha); or L’Horta, an old farmhouse where kids set up political talks and activities and huge vegetable gardens with  massive participation of people of all ages; or La Dahlia, with lots of cultural activities…. sometimes these places set up shows too.

I love living in Valencia and being able to be part of this scene, there are lots of things to do, lots of other collectives doing cultural and political activities, there’s a free radio, feminist groups (next week some of them organize a “Take Back the Night” event), a vegan collective, people shooting a DIY zombie webseries,…

And some friends of mine shooting videos of shows and putting them online – you can actually check out the Valencia scene thanks to their blog Hardcore en Vena (HC in the veins)!

…and LOTS more that I’m leaving out for reasons of space. It’s not all music-related, but somehow it’s all connected through the people who participate in these activities. This is my personal view of course, of a foreigner living here only since 2010, I’m sure local kids could tell you lots more things and have different perspectives. Come visit us and see it yourself! :) And I wish there was a sxe scene, too…. We’re working on it! Haha

Someday I will!
What about your local straight edge scene, is it that bad?  Perhaps there’s way too much sangria :D

Yes, that, and something called calimocho (red wine and cola)! Haha

Also, historically there have been big quantities of drugs in Valencia, I don’t know the socioeconomic and political context well enough to explain why… but the result is that doing drugs and drinking hard seems to be very connected to partying, around here.

So straight edge is not a very well-known concept here, I am offered beer all the time despite wearing Xs Haha

I don’t mean this in a  judgmental way, because I have very good friends who are consumers and I know that if a war broke out today, we would fight in the same trenches, while some so-called “straight edge” people (a minority of all straight edgers though!!) would probably find themselves on the other side, like I said earlier.

And what about printed zines ?

There are quite a lot of zines around here, most of them photocopied in A5 format – some people actually call it “zine format” Haha – and most of them are political zines about anarchism, jails, feminism, veganism….some of them are reprints of texts by anarchist or otherwise interesting authors like Guy Debord or Miguel Amorós. It’s good and inspiring.

But strangely enough, the classic punk/hardcore fanzine centered on music is almost nonexistent here, and we long for that, and we would like to change that. After all, for me at least, hardcore and the things I read in hc zines were among the reasons why I got into politics (and by this I mean caring about what happens in the world) in the first place.

Any names you’d like to shout out to?

If you’re curious about music from this nook of the world, then definitely FALSOS POSITIVOS (DIY, antifascist band influenced by 90s hc…their song “Valencia Hardcore” has entire crowds shouting along!), FUKUSHIMA (our local dramacore heroes, so daring as to even play acoustic sets!), the new band MOLESTA, and the bands I mentioned in one of the previous answers.
From Castellón:
RAW – unbelievably beautiful experimental instrumental post-rock
INJUSTICE SYSTEM – energetic HC punk and nice people

From Torelló (near Barcelona):
SYSLACK – demonstrating that the ’90s never end!
I’M – amazing punk rock / streetpunk that will have you dancing in no time

From Barcelona:
APPRAISE – youth crew hc punk with ex members of Cinder and Power
CONSTRICT – 90s style sxe hc

I also wanna share my love for SPIKNYKTER, smart and compassionate political straight edge band from Göteborg, one of the few bands I know to have a song against gender violence (their debut EP is coming out soon on Commitment Records, Refuse Records and Ugly & Proud Records)…and for MY TURN, awesome band from Athens with a powerful sound, melodic streak and killer tunes! These passionate people are more than bands, they have tons of hardcore related projects (for example Bamboo Vegan shop in Athens, LOSE THE LIFE, ALECTÓ), and some not-hardcore-related (like activism in Palestine for some SPIKNYKTER members) and they work hard for their local and international hardcore scene. Check them out now or regret it later!!

All of the above are first and foremost nice people. Being genuinely nice and true to each other (not in a hypocritical kind of way) and being good persons might be the most important thing to do with our lives after all… what do you think?

Fabulous zines that are making my heart beat lately: Doris (hits you in the face like an unexpected punch!!),  I knew a motherfucker like you and she said…  and pretty much anything else written by girls. On sxe/veg awareness: The Wonder Years, Tigersuit and its web companion DIY Conspiracy, Take Your Shot, It’s just a phase!/Back on the bins, Law and Order, Totentanz

Awesome books I’m reading nowadays: Days of War Nights of Love by Crimethinc collective, Yes Means Yes! (Visions of female sexual power and a world without rape), Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, Sober Living for the Revolution: Hardcore Punk, Straight Edge, and Radical Politics, Straight Edge: Clean-Living Youth, Hardcore Punk, And Social Change.

Wow, that’s a huge list, Izumi! Thanks! You also mentioned that there are new bands coming out, who are more post-hardcore oriented and it make you curious where it will go. Can you drop me a line about that?

I’ve consulted my friends over this, and in the post-hardcore field we actually couldn’t come up with much apart from the already mentioned FUKUSHIMA and a band called BEGINEND (melodic post hc influenced by bands as varied as PROPAGANDHI, SATANIC SURFERS, FUGAZI, AT THE DRIVE INnew album just out) So at this moment it’s hard to say where it will go. In Valencia there have been lots of bands of different styles over the years, but right now certain styles, like screamo, sludge, Californian melodic hc, and others,  seem to be missing – or maybe simply hidden in a rehearsal room and not very visible..

I have trust in the new generations though! I’ve recently met two young sxe kids who want to start a modern style posthc band, or maybe a sxe crew like Minority Unit if they can find enough sxe kids around Haha, and a 17 year old kid who despite his young age is the biggest expert on earth on screamo music, knows tons of amazing bands and would like to start a screamo band, “french style”… :)  So we’ll see. We’ll keep you updated! Haha

Alright, Izumi. You mentioned that politically your local scene is an anarchist one, with quite a focus on the political aspect. How come? Is there a wider background to why people want to change things in their neighborhood? How does it manifest?

There is an old tradition of anarchism in this area of the Spanish state. I am unfortunately not knowledgeable enough about the historic aspect as to be able to delve into it much. But to give you an example, during the Civil War a famous anarchist militia column called Columna de Hierro (Iron Column), and consisting of several thousands people, was formed in this area and went to fight at the Teruel front, one of the hottest spots of the conflict. And there is a tradition of anarchosindicalism here, though nowadays there’s a considerable lack of faith in, and disillusion towards, Workers’ Unions.

I guess the connection with the punk scene happens in the squats, in which people get to know punk/hc and politics at the same time.

In the work of the groups of people that we mentioned earlier (and others), the anarchist background manifests itself in a thousand little things. When they sell something, there is often no fixed price, or if there is, it’s noticeably low. Friends greet each other with a peck on the lips regardless of their sex, something I haven’t seen anywhere else. There is less sexism than in other environments. Girls are not socially pressured into shaving or dressing in a “pretty feminine” way, and seem to be more comfortable with their appearance than many girls in mainstream society.

Something that I find quite interesting is that all the collectives who share this common background contribute to something translatable as “the Resistance Fund”, which then pays for fines or legal costs that people might incur in the course of their activism. This kind of collaboration between different collectives seems to be harder to see in other political environments, though I might be wrong.

There is also an anarchist library/videolibrary in town with lots of resources, and there’s a yearly Anarchist Book Fair… Oh, there’s a naturist beach too. Not all of this is connected to punk of course, anarchism is just something that seems to very present in the self-organized part of the political life of the city.

There is also a considerable communist current, but it is connected with independentist movements and thus to a different kind of musical “scene”, centered around popular traditional music played with traditional local instruments. The two “movements” are quite separated.

It’s necessary to note that on a bigger scale, this is actually a right-wing city, the mayor has been the same right-wing woman for the last 20 years, and there are fascists. LOTS of corruption in the local administration and in the management of public money. So the people here have a lot to fight against and many reasons to want to change things in their neighborhoods. There is a lot of activism going on at neighborhood level, for example for the defense of the Cabanyal, one of the oldest and most beautiful parts of the city, protected by the UNESCO but threatened by local government’s plans.

Is producing shirts with certain messages one of the ways to “scream” and manifest your views? Or is it pure advertising for collective? Pure fashion perhaps? Tell me about your clothing project.

Awesome question, thank you! You point out a very important thing, sometimes the line between doing something for passion or for making money / making a name for oneself can become blurred, and we need to stay vigilant.

As many HC kids, we like to wear clothes that allow us to recognize each other as thus, that reflect our hardcore identity. It can be a way to reinforce our sense of community and belonging, and of supporting certain beliefs and ideas inside the scene. So this is the idea behind the clothing distro.

We might joke about making cool clothes in order to look good, but at the end of the day we need to remember that hardcore should never become about fashion or “looking cool”, we should try to avoid the trap of pure fetishism regarding clothes.

HC (the way I see it) is about rejecting the idea of “appearing” and concentrating instead on the idea of actually “being” and “doing”. About focusing on what’s really important in life, nurturing what is true and substantial inside ourselves, rather than our outside appearance.

So I guess what I mean is that it’s ok to wear “our hearts on our sleeves” (or on our shirts) as long as we try to be honest and consistent. There is absolutely no point in wearing a shirt screaming about unity, friendship and trust and then behaving selfishly or not supporting local bands/efforts or not applying the same principles in every aspect of our lives.

So for example we have been debating inside the collective about the kind of shirt that we use – should we get organic cotton and certified sweatshop free shirts even if they are more expensive? Are we not being inconsistent if we avoid the consciousness that the production of material goods, like shirts, has an impact on the environment and on the people involved in their production? Or for example is it ok to sell things at a fixed price? There are interesting and inspiring experiments of “set your price” in the hc scene nowadays and I think we cannot pass by these inputs without giving them serious thought.

We also have the project of endorsing our friends MY TURN with our shirts, but not as a business partnership, we don’t expect money or fame to come out of this! It’s just a way of supporting each other’s work, we love their music and respect them as people, we admire their attitude and share the same beliefs about hardcore.

Like you say, making these shirts can also be a way of letting people know about our collective and connecting with them – but what is the goal? We have never tried or wanted to make money for ourselves out of this, and never will – we don’t have sickening goals of expanding or making this a business. Whatever we raise in terms of money will be used to make our activities possible, like bringing touring bands to Valencia and giving them gas money, or saving money for printing a zine. But right now we are still losing more money than we make Haha

Tough life :) Do you get any help with your projects? What kind of support and solidarity do you get from bands and activist collectives. Who do you cooperate with?

Yes! We wouldn’t be able to do anything without the help and support of our friends and other collectives. The saying is very true: nobody is an island! :) Our brothers and sisters from My Lost Soul collective, Hardcore En Vena and Orxata Negra have been helping us out with organizing shows and with all the practical problems connected to it, and of course so have been the people at the various squats/venues where we have planned them: Proyecto Mayhem, La Residencia, L’Horta, Darkness Pub

To all these people we owe a lot – and to anyone who helped out with the tour, like our friends in Barcelona, Torelló, Castellón, Tárrega, Madrid …to anyone who has shared our news on the net, like our friend Mario from Ruido….to anyone who has agreed to be interviewed (like you!) or to contribute articles for our zine,…. and to anyone who has helped us in any way. They are so many.. we feel lucky and blessed to be part of such a community. 

Alright. We need to finally touch the bands subject. Have you played in bands before starting this collective or was it your first musical venture?

My friends Mari and Toni have another band, FALSOS POSITIVOS, and they had a couple more bands before it so they’ve been playing for many years. Our other band members Juanito and Alex have also been playing in other bands for a long time (GRUPO DE RIESGO, FUKUSHIMA, REKOLEKTA PA UNA BIRRA and several more). For me it is the first time so I’m still a little bit nervous about it, but very excited at the same time – I am enjoying it a lot, I especially enjoy writing lyrics.

I never thought I’d be in a band actually! But they wanted to start a band with English lyrics and they recruited me, even if they had no idea whether I could sing! Haha But that’s the beauty of hardcore, anyone can do it. All you need is passion and the willingness to learn and to put in the effort. 

So what are your plans regarding writing and recording? Can we expect some new stuff anytime soon?

Well, we are a ghost band, it seems that we only play during the summer! We rehearsed for two months last year and recorded a three-demo song, then we went on a looong winter sleep and we are not sure whether we’ll be able to get together again, as we all have so many projects going on. But we’d love to, as we loved the time we spent together making music and having fun!

“Hardcore is about commitment, about being involved and working actively to build a better world, about changing ourselves to change what we don’t like around us.”  Yet a lot of people take it in a fashionable way and a perfect soundtrack to one big party etc.  Is it acceptable? :)

The way I see it, it is not acceptable. Besides, it doesn’t make any sense. Hardcore is about rejecting everything that is commercial and fake about music (and life). So why do certain people take this music and this whole concept and try to shove it into fashionable clothes, hairstyles, vans shoes and all the rest? Beats me.

I guess some people are just looking for an excuse to feel cool for a couple of years, without making any actual effort to change themselves or their surroundings. 

Alright, before we finish, pelase tell me about your thoughts on Spanish economy? How do you feel it affects you? How does Spain cope?

Well, Spanish economy is really fucked up right now. There was a big boom in construction some years ago, and now the country is full of new buildings who are empty because nobody could afford to buy flats, or who are only half-built because public money went down the drain of corruption and was over before the actual work was done…. Like it happened for the new stadium in Valencia.

An incredibly high amount of people have been losing their houses because they lost their jobs and suddenly found themselves unable to keep paying the mortgage. I have seen videos of crying people being dragged from their homes by police in full riot attire. I have read news of people committing suicide by throwing themselves from the window or roof when they heard the police were going to evict them. One employee of the place where I do my internship committed suicide over financial problems, she was a really sweet lady who always smiled at me and helped me with anything. I could not believe that suddenly she was gone. All this makes me feel sad and angry.

Personally I am glad that I am still a student, and I don’t know where my future will take me, whether I will stay here or move somewhere else, and whether it will be by choice or necessity. I am quite terrified of what would be of me if I should have to look for a job today. Youth unemployment has reached 60%. Almost all my friends are unemployed or struggling to find / keep whatever job they have found (almost never the one they were qualified for).

How does the country cope? I wonder so myself, I have no idea. I guess like they do in any other European country… Some of them watch stupid programs on TV and hope politicians will solve the situation. Other people get together and fight back, like the people from the Platform Against Evictions, and the ones in the innumerable collectives who exist around the country and who try tro create an alternative from the bottom (for example occupying parcels of land and starting to grow their own vegetables). Sometimes you can’t change the bigger picture on your own, but you can join up with other people – and you can always change your own life.

Izumi, I believe we’ll talk soon and catch on this and few different subjects we discussed here. Then we’ll find out who you are and what do you stand for. My general advice is: do not change too much ;)

It was a great pleasure to meet you and learn your point of view on things.

Feel free to add anything you want! Thank you so much for your time and involvement!

Karol, I hope so too, it would be awesome to talk about all this in person.

And likewise: a great pleasure to talk to you (and to learn about your ideas on things through the other interview we’re doing!).

Thanks for your time and for challenging me, I’ve really enjoyed talking with you about these things and it has given me a new opportunity to reflect on some of them.  It is an honor to be able to express my point of view, and to tell other people about a city that I love, on IDIOTEQ.

And thanks for your commitment to the scene and the amazing work you do, and best of luck with this new phase of your project!  Keep up the good work and never lose the faith in hardcore. Count on us for any help we might be able to give from here and do come and visit us. It’s always sunny in Valencia!

To you and everyone who might be reading this, if you’ve been brave and patient enough to get so far (are you seriously still with me??) I will now disclose a secret tip that I think truly has the potential to change our lives. And that is: guys, I know you all go through a moustache phase, but for earth’s sake, shave it and your beards off if you want people to kiss you! Haha  No, just kidding, here comes:

Let’s rid our scene and our minds of every last trace of sexist patriarchal thinking, only then we’ll really have a shot at revolution. Let’s be true, honest, kind and caring with each other. Let’s fall in love, let’s live exstatic lives, not intoxicated ones. And let’s be more daring. Like my wise friend Jens from SPIKNYKTER once told me, when I was afraid of doing something I longed for: you have nothing to lose except the opportunity to start an adventure!

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Ever wondered how Valencia looks like? Check out these cool shots taken by Izumi:

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via www.idioteq.com@gmail.com

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