(interview) Useless Id interview at Punk Rock Holiday

Ok guys, you obviously tour a lot around the globe, when you come home back to Israel, do things at home change a lot, I mean the scene, new bands and stuff, do you still love to tour after all these years? How do you coordinate touring with your daily jobs if any?

Ishay:For me, I started to work the job I am working  13 or 14 years ago. When I started to work there, they knew I was playing in a band and they knew that I am touring and I have been going on tours ever since I started working, so it will always be cool with the people where I work for me to go on tour and this is why I also enjoy the work there because it helps me when I need to go touring. It is like a cycle, you know, work, tour, work, tour which I guess is natural for a punkrock band.

Yotam: For me, the past few years being on the road I enjoyed it so much, instead of going to work, I just kept touring and touring and touring, I kinda lost my mind on the road there, so I am at the point where I am trying to balance all these things, like a fresh new start right now.

I read somewhere that you are planning to do a movie about Useless ID. Are you still collecting the material or is it done and ready?

Ishay: Times change and so does it for our band. For example, we wanted to put out the dvd as a band, but when we decided to put out the dvd, people really weren´t buying dvd-s anymore and I think that the media is changing, we may use some stuff for a different and maybe we will do a movie eventually, who knows?

Yotam: Yeah, we´re mostly gathering a lot of stuff right now and we have one very good friend working on it but it´s good to take time with these things, we don´t wanna like make a half ass movie and we will rather take time and release something that is worthwhile.

Ishay: I know a bunch of bands that have been working on a movie for at least ten years., so like a punkrock band, we are not the fulltime operation, you know with an office who works it and operates it, I think it is quite natural to do a movie and kinda do it as you do your band. Maybe one day it comes out. But, sometimes the movie sounds to me like being a closure, like when you are going away. But that is not the case with us, even if we are not right now in a serious songwriting mode, we should save our energy for that. The movie sounds to me almost like an obituary sometime. We like to be spontaneous.


You collaborated and did a split record with TARAKANY!, how come, they are from Russia, you from Israel, are you friends with them? How did it come to that?

Yotam: Yeah, a guy sent us an e-mail a while back if we want to be guests on Tarakany!´s record and normally we say yes to this things, we always like collaborating with people all over the world, so we did this collaboration and like two years later the same guy, Dima came to me after Useless ID show and introduced himself, I was like this guy is very nice and I thought we should do something together again in the future, maybe do like a split, so we came with an idea of them doing Useless ID songs in Russian and we were doing Tarakany! song in English.

Ishay: I just love hearing our song in Russian. I hope it has the same effect on the other band when they hear their song in English..

There was a fascinating change in your material from Symptoms to State is Burning, from emotional almost No Use For A Name-like songwriting to more angrier, more political yet melodic approach on State. Was the change drastic for you or was it more natural, more normal transition?

Ishay: Natural as fuck, man! We can be couple different bands now at the same time. Imagine you take a room, and you put drums in there. Then also guitars and a microphone. You bring Sisters Of Mercy, you gonna get one sound. You bring Angel Dust, you gonna get a different sound. You bring Useless ID and we have a few tricks because we are the hardcore kids, but we are also indie kids and we are also like pop kids and we are bunch of things and whenever we press a button, something different is gonna come out.

Yotam: We love No Use For A Name and we love all those band on Fat Wreck Chords and we started the band and then we didn´t know about lot of those bands. When people say and ask us do we like this or that band, sometimes we never heard of those bands when we started our own and I think we are different because other bands maybe have to go play fast all the time, but we did a full album that does not have a single fast song on it and after that we did all those fast songs and that was not a problem for us. If I can add that for me personally as a writer I was always writing emotional songs, about my feelings the relationships and stuff. When we wrote State Is Burning, even before we wrote the first note for that record, me and Ishay spoke about it one Summer and thought maybe we should write about the place we live in, write about something that many people can relate to and see we give a different take from the place we are coming from. You know, we are a band from Israel and it is such a weird, little spot on this globe and it is okay to sing about feelings and about women and all this, but when you are singing about struggles and what you as a citizen go through, I think it makes people listen to it.

Ishay: Tel Aviv is a very hot, very crowded and very uptight. People honk all the time, people will bump into you, people have a lot of nerves and it is a sweaty place and I think this album, it has that smell, you can smell like getting shoved in the supermarket. Like that song Creation, it is about standing outside of the Israeli musical industry where everybody wants to be a star, but stardom is quite a joke, because it is such a small place and all the efforts towards being a star are futile and we are from outside of that business, we really gave up on that whole concept, to us those guys just look funny, no passion, no imagination, no drive, that music scene is only about likes. Hearing the lyrics of some of Israeli pop stars, you just don´t know what to do with it, even your seven year old daughter can´t listen to that, if you have one.(laughs)

Not yet!

Ishay: Doesn´t matter, even that little girl can write better lyrics than that!(laughs)


Is there such a thing as collective guilt? I am asking this regarding Israeli state and expansion. My friend and his band, who play political antifa hardcore punk played in Germany and they have a lyric translated into flag of occupation meaning Israeli flag and the occupation of Gaza territory and the promoters cancelled their tour in squats and they were never able to play there. Is there a thing like in Germany that is a collective guilt?

Ishay: For me a lot of that stuff is…I really like to feel that doesn´t exist you know? In punkrock we have like a bubble inside bubble, we are outside of the world and I think it´s safe to say that we are kinda all together in one room. There should be no racism, fascism, attitudes like I owe you something because my country did something to your country and similar, like there is no debts and no owes. We come to play a good show and I want to be treated nice. We are very straight up  people and we never get extra attention because we are coming from Israel. For sure we don´t get extra money.(laughs).

The last time you played here at Punk Rock Holiday in 2016.you had a NUFAN/Tony Sly song in your setlist. Did you know Tony, how much his songs affected you as a band?

Yotam: We go a way back. We met hm in 2002.at Warped tour when we were looking for a producer for our record and when we hit up Tony he was so nice and cool about it then he just started inviting us to the No Use tour bus every day. Man, that guy was giving us so much of his time and he really appreciated our willingness to write better music and choosing him. That started our friendship with him. Once we put out that album we just went on tour with No Use for like a whole year all over the place.

Ishay: Canada, Europe, Usa…

Yotam: Pretty much when the band started you can say No Use For A Name was somewhat our influence when we discovered all these bands, kind of like hardcore Fat records, the beginner bands like Lagwagon, Propagandhi Strung Out, we got to know them all like in one shot, so right away we knew we wanted to do that sort of music.

What are your plans for the new record?

Ishay: I think individually we both have a bunch of ideas.

Yotam: I have some music on the side, I have some lyrics like subjects I wanna write about but we still didn´t get to it yet, but I think it is safe to say that the new record is in the talking phase right now.(laughs)


Yotam, you also did a One Week record and go solo touring?

Yotam: Yeah, I did One Week record, but less of the solo touring now. I took a step back cause I don´t think I can be on the road all the time anymore.

Any surprises for tonight´s set, any specialties?

Yotam: Not On Tour will be with us on the side of the stage, so this is special.

I am going to shorthen this one for you. Have you ever wanted to play Croatia, know any bands, we have like a great punk hardcore scene in our country?

Ishay: We know 5 Minutes To Steve, we used to play with them.

Oh yeah, they were great!

Ishay: You know them? One of the guys is also called Davor, like you.

Davor, yes! And Sergej, he was kinda the main man hehe!

Yotam: Yes, Sergej, we know him, he is a cool guy!



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