(interview) KRANG: Punkrock is family. Closer or more distant family, but it´s family!

Krang from Czech Republic are fantastic melodic hardcore/skatepunk band with a lot to say. It was time for me to talk with Stanislav and Tom at Punk Rock Holiday. This interview is one of my favorite all time interviews I did.

YOU RECENTLY TOURED WITH USELESS ID. HOW WAS THE TOUR? WAS THAT YOUR FIRST TOUR WITH, CONDITIONALLY SPEAKING, LARGER BAND?

Stanislav: It was actually the first tour we ever been with another band. We usually tour alone.

Tom: Sometimes we do it in our country with another band, but we never did it like that before. It was awesome because I have been listening to Useless ID since I was 15 years old.

SO IT WAS LIKE A DREAM COME TRUE FOR YOU.

Tom: Yeah, exactly!

Stanislav:There is not many bands for which we all can agree on. The few that we can are Descendents and Useless ID, so Descendents didn´t ask us for a tour yet, but we did it with Useless ID and we were really happy to do that.

IF I UNDERSTOOD WELL, YOU ALSO HAVE A NEW LABEL, SOUND SPEED RECORDS, KRIS IS IN MY OPINION A REALLY GREAT GUY, SO HOW COME YOU AGREED WITH HIM FOR A COOPERATION? PHYSICAL RELEASES OR ONLY DIGITAL?

Stanislav: When we got robbed by Bird Attack, the new record was just out on a physical copy, but we just found out that he(Garret Wadford-Bird Attack owner) stole all our money from us and from the other bands, so we asked if there is a label who would want to put it out and couple of labels reached out to us and Sound Speed guy was really interested, like Kris was really interested in releasing, so the vinyls were already done with Bird Attack logo on the back of each record, so what  we had to do, we made like 500 stickers and stick all the vinyls with the Sound Speed stickers, totally diy(hahah).

I LOVE YOUR MUSIC BECAUSE IT IS LIKE A PERFECT MIX BETWEEN OLD SCHOOL SKATEPUNK, LIKE MELODIC CALIFORNIA STUFF AND MORE TECHNICAL STUFF, YOU GUYS CAN REALLY HANDLE YOUR INSTRUMENTS WELL HAHA, ARE YOU CONSIDERING YOURSELVES AS NEXT GENERATION OF BANDS OR STILL PART OF THE 90-IES WAVE OF SKATEPUNK?

Stanislav: I am the oldest in our band, I´m like 35 and the singer is ten year younger, so he is from the different generation.

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YOU ARE THE SAME LINE-UP FROM THE BEGINNING?

Stanislav: Yeah, we are, but we started as a fun project, because Tomas here and other Tomas, we have two Tomases in the band, one on guitar and one on drums, they also play in one of the oldest Czech pop punk bands called Criminal Collection…

I KNOW KRITICKA SITUACE HEHE!

Stanislav: Yeah, that´s really old, that is the oldest hardcore Czech band.

WE USED TO LISTEN TO THEM A LOT IN THE 90-IES IN OUR COUNTRY.

Stanislav: Yeah, they were also big in Czech Republic, but when we were young they already stopped playing.

I ALSO LIKE THAT GRIND CRUST BAND MALIGNANT TUMOUR.

Stanislav: Oh, yeah, they are from Ostrava.

IT IS YOUR HOMETOWN?

Stanislav: It´s not our hometown but it is the closest biggest town from us, they are still around playing. They work hard, they are old guys, but are still playing, they are like big small band, probably they are more famous abroad then in Czech Republic. When we created this band, we were just talking to do like fun project, so I talked to Tomas and other guys and we decided to do something on which we like grew up, you know like Pennywise, Bad Religion, like old stuff, because no bands play this style in Czech Republic and the guys listen to newer music so they put more melody into the songs.

IN THE EARLY DAYS, DID YOU SING OR CONSIDERING SINGING IN YOUR NATIVE LANGUAGE OR WAS IT ENGLISH FROM THE START? I THINK ENGLISH IS THE PERFECT WAY TO REACH MORE PEOPLE.

Tom: We were planning to play more abroad in foreign countries, so it was English from the start.

Stanislav: Singing in Czech is only good if you are planning to stay big only in Czech Republic.

Tom: Our scene back home is pretty small and if we sang in Czech, we could play it only like for few people, but this way we can play for more people around the world.

YOU ALSO HAVE DAILY JOBS? NO ONE LIVES OFF THE BAND REALLY, IS IT?

Stanislav: Tomas here is freelancer, so he arranges his own business hours.

Tom: Yeah, sometimes it´s hard, because the guys have to take day off from work which is sometimes hard, but we manage somehow.

Stanislav: Daniel the singer used to be, not anymore because he changed job recently, but he is a tennis coach and player, he also plays tennis league, so one German club hired him and he played for them and also won a championship in duels, like a year ago in Czech Republic and second Tomas, the guitar player, he is only one with really like proper job, like from 8 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon.

YOUR SHOW HERE AT PRH IS THE FIRST TIME YOU PLAY HERE OR HAVE YOU PLAYED HERE BEFORE? WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS? ARE YOU EXCITED?

Stanislav: Yeah of course, I mean Punk Rock Holiday is like a shopping mall for punkrock. It is really great from the promoters here they let small bands show off and it is great that the two stages don´t cover each other, so it is always just one stage playing and if people want to listen to music they go there, so lot of people will discover new music, there is a lot of really great bands out there at the Beach stage.

IT IS REALLY FASCINATING HOW NOT ON TOUR PROGRESSED FROM LITTLER STAGE TO MAIN IN FRONT OF SO MANY PEOPLE IN JUST TWO YEARS.

Stanislav: Not On Tour are fucking great, Mute also played first at the Beach stage and Counterpunch, you know bands which play clubs now play festivals.

I JUST THOUGHT ABOUT THAT, PUNK ROCK HOLIDAY IS LIKE MERCATO IN FOOTBALL?

Stanislav: Yes, yes, totally!(laughs). People come and see bands and usually discover new favorite. Sooner or later if the band is good, people will discover it. Punk Rock Holiday is a good way to start, you show yourself at the small stage, if you did well and push hard, probably in few years  you will play on the bigger stage. It doesn´t matter, even if you play again on the Beach stage, it´s really like dream come true, playing for people who care about your music.

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THIS FESTIVAL IS REALLY NICE, BECAUSE IT IS FROM THE FANS FOR THE FANS.

Stanislav: Oh yeah, that´s it! Iti s not corporate big festival, okay, you got few sponsors but you need it. If you promote a show like this with this line-up, for this price, you can´t probably cover your expenses only from the tickets and keep it small like this. I mean, there are like 40 or 50 000 people in Groezrock in Belgium which has similar line-up but tickets are three times more expensive and only two days, here you have five days.

FESTIVAL LIKE THIS COULD NEVER HAPPEN IN OUR COUNTRY, BECAUSE THERE IS STILL TOO MUCH NAGGING ASSHOLES, VIOLENCE, PRIMITIVISM WHO SPOIL EVERYTHING FOR OTHERS. THREE OR FIVE ASSHOLES NOT DANCING, BUT FIGHTING KUNG FU IN FRONT OF THE STAGE AND SPOILING EVERYTHING TO OTHER PEOPLE WHO CAME TO SEE THE SHOW. I MEAN, I AM NOT AGAINST DANCING AND SLAMMING AT THE HARDCORE SHOWS, YOU ARE NOT AT POETRY EVENING, BUT HARDCORE SHOW, YET IF YOU ARE RUINING FOR EVERYONE ELSE AND PUSHING PEOPLE IN THE PIT WHO DON´T WANT TO DANCE, POGO OR SLAM, YOU ARE A DORK.

Stanislav: Of course, we have a song against this. The real story happened in Mexico with one of the Mexican kings of the dancefloor. There was a one guy.

THERE IS ALWAYS THAT ONE GUY!

Stanislav: Yeah, there was that one guy, punching girls around and everyone else, so we stopped playing and told him to get the fuck out of there. I mean it was a punkrock show, really small place, almost like a living rooms show, it was packed, everybody was enjoying except this guy. He tried to explain us that he just had fun, but he was like two meters tall, and there was this small girl dancing, enjoying, you could see how happy she was and then he just like punched her. I was like, what the fuck is going on here?

DO YOU CONSIDER KRANG A POLITICAL BAND? I MEAN POLITICS IS EVERYTHING TODAY, EVEN WHEN YOU GO OUT TO THE STORE TO BUY BREAD AND MILK, IT IT ALSO TIED TO POLITICS.

Stanislav: We try to mix it. I mean, we are trying to make a little bit of fun from serious things, we are not political band per se, but something similar.

I DIDN´T THINK LIKE PREACHY BAND, IT IS A WASTE OF ENERGY TO PREACH TO THE CONVERTED. YOU HAVE THAT FINE DISTINCTION BETWEEN PERSONAL LYRICS AND BETWEEN THE LINES THERE IS A SUBTLE SOCIAL MESSAGE.

Tom: I like when the band is political and when they sing and have lyrics in a different way, not only fuck this and fuck that you know? Because it is so clichee now. So, I like when they make it in a different way, when is more interesting to hear the song.

Stanislav: Kinda like Propagandhi does it, I am not the biggest fan of Propagandhi, but they do it in a good way, they are making good lyrics and deep, still funny on one side, but touching hard issues around the world.

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ARE THERE A LOT OF NEO NAZIS IN CZECH REPUBLIC? IN OUR EASTER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES THERE IS A LOT OF RIGHT WING NATIONALISM ON THE RISE RIGHT NOW. I COULD NEVER UNDERSTAND HOW SOMEONE COULD BE A NAZI AND A SLAV AT THE SAME TIME, CONSIDERING WHAT NAZIS DID TO SLAVS IN WWII.

Tom: I mean, those Slavic nazis don´t call themselves nazis. There are a few people who are nazis, but most of the people who are nazis, don´t consider themselves being nazis.

Stanislav: Just plain racists.

I HAVE READ THAT A LOT OF NAZI SKINS NOW GO TO BLACK METAL GIGS.

Stanislav: Yeah, black metal stuff is really connected to the racist scene, you know, they don´t wear svastikas and stuff, but they are just hard racists.

YEAH, THEY CONSIDER SLAVIC RACE TO BE SUPREME RACE, NOT ARYAN BUT SLAVIC, HOW ABOUT THAT?

Stanislav: Wow, they probably don´t read much, I am not even sure they can read. There are not much Nazis in the Czech Republic, there are a lots of stupid people, al ot of hooligans, and with the refugees, lot of people get on that wave , like political parties who just build they career around that.

A LOT OF PEOPLE TRY TO FIND BLAME, EXCUSE FOR THEIR POVERTY ON SOMEONE.

Stanislav: Yeah, so those kind of nazis and racists, not like in 90-ies when it was like really hard fight every day and it was really tough. I guess in the 90-ies was like now it is in Russia. This cycle never ends, it is always like your grandfather did this to mine, so I have to do this and similar. It never ends, it is like Israel and Palestine. Everyone goes back like ten thousand years when someone did something to someone.

Tom: If people don´t start to educate themselves properly, it´s gonna be neverending circle. Even then it is going to be hard, but education is basic thing, lack of education creates fear, that is like the first step to anger and anger is connected to racism, so education is basic point, good education, open mind you can´t control people if they are educated well.

ARE YOU GUYS LISTENING TO IGNITE? I AM REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THEIR SHOW TONIGHT, IT IS MY FOURTH IGNITE SHOW IN FOUR YEARS, BUT I WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT ZOLI,  HE ALSO HAS SOME CONTROVERSY…

Stanislav: Oh yes, we love Ignite. I know Zoli is kinda patriot Hungarian. He is also like hard Christian.

I DIDN´T MEAN TO GOSSIP ABOUT ZOLI, YOU KNOW…

Stanislav: He is also like strong anti communist because he is from Hungary and they got that awful Soviet regime there, we had similar but a bit softer one in Czech Republic. It is good he sings about it, all those songs, about the Hungarian revolution in 1956. Nobody´s perfect!

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AND HE HAS THAT FANTASTIC VOICE!

Stanislav: He is a fantastic singer, of course. Until he is not a racist or something I have no problem. I mean, being proud of your country is not a bad thing, being proud in a good way, not to put it above all other countries and slander others. Every country has its own good and bad sides.

THIS IS GOING TO BE MY LAST QUESTION AND A HALF. DO YOU THINK YOU WILL EVER GET SOME MONEY BACK FROM GARRETT WADFORD?

Stanislav: That is probably a question for me. He stole money from really lots of bands. Us, Straightline, Hit The Switch, Authority Zero and probably all the bands on the Bird Attack. He also stole a lot of money from the vinyl pressing factory and now he also commited tax frauds in the States, he is moving from state to state, so the whole system of lies is so complicated so we will never get all the money back.

IT IS REALLY FUCKED UP THING TO STEAL FROM YOUR BRETHREN, FROM YOUR COMRADES IN ARMS.

Stanislav: That´s the worst thing. If we got robbed by some label corporate asshole or something it would be fucked up, but hey, that was expected from that corporate fucks. But, someone who pretends to be your friend, a family, because all of us in the punkrock scene are family. Closer, or more distant, but family. And you never want to steal from your family. And I understand that people make mistakes, that is life, that is normal. You can also do some shitty things, but there comes a time when you step up and say hey, I fucked it up. I will probably not give you your money back in next five years or so, but I just fucked up and I am sorry.

YEAH, AND HE WROTE REALLY NASTY THINGS ABOUT YOU ONLINE, THEN HE LIKE PUT ONLINE THAT LETTER OF APOLOGY WHICH HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING.

Stanislav: So I think if that guy never even apologized to anyone of the bands or the people he stole from, then we can safely say we will never get our money back.

I MEAN IF HE DID THAT TO ME OR MY BAND, I WOULD PROBABLY KICK HIS ASS, I AM NOT A VIOLENT MAN, BUT IN AFFECT WHO KNOWS?

Tom: Yeah, but you would have to fly to the United Stated and find him.

THEN HE WOULD PROBABLY SUE MY ASS AND GET THE MONEY FROM ME FOR BODILY DAMAGE HEHE.

Stanislav: Yes, he is the exactly type of person, haha, he fucks you up, robbed you and still he goes to court and claims you owe him for kicking his ass.

LAST HALF QUESTION, HAPPY QUESTION. IMMEDIATE FUTURE PLANS FOR KRANG?

Stanislav: Yeah, we are thinking about two tours next year. The problem is we have like lots of opportunities for touring, but problem is to get vacation from our work. We have like four weeks for whole year and then we have to split it between our families, girlfriends, friends and band. But, we want to record a new album after the new year in the winter probably if we manage to do all the material, we already talked with Useless ID guys, they are gonna produce the stuff, the record, so we will see if it´s gonna be better, worse, we never did it with a producer, we always did all by ourselves so we hope it will be good.

 

 

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