Category Archives: Interviews

(interview) Love Equals Death are back!

Love Equals Death from California are back with interesting releases and plans, so it was about time for me to talk with Chon Travis about various topics for my webzine.

HI GUYS, NICE TO FEATURE YOU IN MY ZINE. WHATS UP? CAN YOU TELL THE READERS SOMETHING ABOUT THE HISTORY OF LOVE EQUALS DEATH FOR THE READERS WHO DID NOT HEAR OF YOU? THE NAME OF THE BAND IS VERY INTERESTING.

Thank you for the interview, we are very grateful that you chose us. Love Equals Death is a band that started in early 2000’s in Northern California and split up around 2010 and reformed in 2019. The name means different things to different members of the band. To me(Chon), Love Equals the Death of fear, hate, and validation. To others it means that if you love something too much, you can kill it. Like a cat for instance. If you squeeze your cat too hard, because you love it so much, you are likely to kill it by suffocation.

TALK OF THE DAY IS YOUR NEW RELEASE. WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE SPLIT WITH THE STATIC AGE AND ALSO YOUR NEW SINGLE? HOW WAS THE WRITING AND RECORDING PROCESS? YOU GUYS HAVE SUCH NICE MELODIES AND HARMONIES IN VOCAL AND MUSIC LINES, SO WHAT COMES FIRST, LYRICS OR RIFFS AND MUSIC? WHERE CAN WE GET/BUY YOUR NEW RECORD? HOW DID YOU GET IN TOUCH WITH SBAM RECORDS?

I would first like to give enormous praise to Felix, Stefan, Adam, Tim, and The Static Age. What an amazing group of people. I have never been so happy to work with this group. The Split is a great appetizer. I think it helped get us in the writing mode for what’s to come and we also got to enjoy a band we never heard before in The Static Age. When writing songs, it varies. Sometimes a melody will come first, sometmes a lyric will appear to one of us, and sometimes you’ll hear a riff in your head that you can’t stop thinking about and if either one of those thrives with the whole group, then you usually get a song out of it. If you’re lucky. Thank you about the melodies and harmonies. The new record will be out on SBAM and will be available through them and various music outlets. We were introduced to SBAM by Mr. Felix Willinkonsky of Flix Agency. One of the coolest humans alive.

YOU DELIVER PERSONAL THEMES IN YOUR LYRICS TO THE SONGS, DO YOU THINK THAT THERE ARE TOO LITTLE POLITICAL PUNK BANDS LEFT IN THE SCENE AND THAT PUNK SCENE LOST ITS TOUCH WITH BEING PROVOCATIVE, ANGRY AND REBELlOUS?

You’re absolutely correct. I tend to write from a personal perspective, because it’s easier for me to write about real things that I have experienced rather than things that I’ve only heard about from someone else. I agree also that punk rock has gotten sod in it’s political stance across the board as well as that aggression that drew us all to it in the first place. I like the balance of both personal and political. I also think that the Casualties really deliver the anger, the politics, and the presence of trad punk rock all the way around.

DID YOU GUYS TOUR A LOT? DID YOU DO A EUROPEAN TOUR? WHAT ARE THE MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EUROPEAN SCENE AND CROWD AND BACK IN USA? ANY FUNNY TOUR STORIES?

We toured often. We were always on the road and yes, we did tour Europe. There’s not much difference in the two. We have a good time wherever we go. We’re just grateful to meet new people and see old friends. Oh, and there’s always something funny going on…trust me!

WILL THE NEW RECORD BE IN PHYSICAL FORM(CD) OR ONLY DIGITAL? DO YOU BELIEVE THAT BANDS CAN STILL SELL ENOUGH HARD COPIES OF THEIR RECORDS NOWADAYS OR IS DIGITAL THE RELEASE FORM OF THE FUTURE?

From what I understand, the new record will be available in hard copy form, digital, and vinyl. I think that digital might be the way to go now, but there’s plenty enough people who prefer hard copies for them to be successful as well in this day and age.

WHAT WERE YOUR MUSICAL INFLUENCES GROWING UP AND WRITING AS A BAND? TO REPHRASE THE QUESTION, CAN YOU STILL REMEMBER THE FIRST PUNKROCK/HARDCORE SHOW YOU WENT TO?

Aha!? My influences growing up were Bad Religion, GBH, Social Distortion, NOFX, Jawbreaker and mostly The Misfits and Generation X. My first punk rock show was GBH, The Cro-Mags, and Death Angel. It was hard fucking core.

WHAT IS YOUR STANCE ON THIS COVID VIRUS AND ALL THE PROPAGANDA? HOAX? CONSPIRACY THEORISTS HEAVEN OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I feel that people are going to believe whatever they want no matter the truth or lies. Some of us can feel that there’s something wrong with the information and there’s a lot of us who will believe whatever new information is being fed is the gospel, even if it’s contradictory. It’s sad to watch people divided in any case.

WHAT CAN YOU SAY WERE YOUR PEAKS AS A BAND AND YOUR LOWEST POINTS ALSO? WERE YOU DISAPPOINTED A LOT OF TIMES?

The peaks of the band had to be the signing with Fat Wreck Chords, reforming the band in 2019, and signing with SBAM. The lows were splitting up, but because the band started up again, I can erase it. As far as disappointment goes, never.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO PAY BILLS AND SURVIVE BESIDES PLAYING IN THE BAND? HOW IS LIFE IN AMERICA GENERALLY?

To pay bills, I buy and sell abandoned property through lien sales and auctions. It’s super fun going to auctions and bidding. Life in America is difficult for a lot of people right now. We are going through an identity crisis it seems. We are at a crossroads with racism and I think that we will see a big change very soon where it’s concerned and I believe the outcome will shock everyone in a good way. I’m always hopeful.

THIS IS IT FOR THE FIRST TIME. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS ONE. ANY WISE WORDS FOR THE END?

Thank you so much for the interview and my last words of wisdom would be, “If your heart is not in it, you need to also remove yourself”. -Chon Travis (Love Equals Death).

(interview) Bull Brigade: History tends to repeat itself and the signs are clear out there.

There are lot of things going on for Italian streetpunks Bull Brigade because they will release new record with Demons Run Amok Entertainment and also they are celebrating 15 years, so it was time for me to talk with them a bit for my zine.

I BELIEVE THIS IS NOT YOUR FIRST INTERVIEW FOR SOME CROATIAN MEDIA, BUT STILL, CAN YOU PRESENT BULL BRIGADE IN A COUPLE OF WORDS TO THE READERS OF THIS ZINE WHO DIDN´T HEAR YOUR MUSIC YET?

Bull Brigade started in 2006 in Turin, we’ve recorded two full length albums and a bunch of singles so far. We play street punk but in the last few years our sound evolved a lot towards more melodic punk rock. In the last 15 years we played all around Europe and South America. We’ve been lucky to play the Balkans three times so far, twice in Zagreb and once in Novi Sad.

THE TALK IS YOU GUYS ARE RECORDING NEW ALBUM AND IT WILL BE OUT, IF I AM NOT MISTAKEN WITH DEMONS RUN AMOK ENTERTAINMENT, SO CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE WRITING PROCESS, WHAT WILL THE SONGS BE LIKE? WHAT CAN WE EXPECT? MAYBE SOME SURPRISES CONCERNING GUEST PERFORMANCES?

We started writing new songs during the Vita libertà tour cycle, right after that we decided to take a break and that was followed by the COVID-19 pandemic. That meant we had several months to polish our material, spend more time on lyrics and melodies and eventually creating an album we’re really proud of. The record will be out on Demons Run Amok, a German label we started collaborating with a few months ago. We’re very happy with the relationship we’ve established with them and we’re hoping to meet expectations because this is a very critical moment in our career as a band. We have several guests on this album but we prefer not to disclose any spoiler yet.

WHAT COMES FIRST IN WRITING SONGS, MUSIC OR LYRICS?

We have songs that were written after the lyrics and others that were written instrumentally, we don’t really have a set of rules… we tend to go with the flow.

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WHAT ARE THEMES FOR LYRICS ON THE NEW RECORD? IS IT EASIER FOR YOU TO SING IN ENGLISH OR ITALIAN?

This album “IL FUOCO NON SI E’ SPENTO” is very introspective and personal, I used it as an outlet to write about what happened in my life in the last few years… having two kids, getting married, losing my dad, loving my football team. But I also wrote about the struggle of the working-class suburban kids in general.

IS THE NEW RECORD GOING TO BE PHYSICAL RELEASE(VINYL, CD, CASSETTE) OR ONLY DIGITAL FOR STARTERS AND THEN LATER ON PHYSICAL?

The new album will have both a physical (vinyl, cd) and digital release.

HOW MUCH IS DIY PUNK ETHICS IMPORTANT FOR YOU AS A BAND AND AS INDIVIDUALS?

Undoubtedly the DIY attitude had a major impact on us as a growing band and as individuals. We spent most of our youth in a very DIY scene and now approaching our fourties we can proudly say we have no regrets.

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ALSO, IN MARCH YOU GUYS CELEBRATE YOUR FIFTEENTH ANNIVERSARY. THIS IS ALREADY RESPECTABLE NUMBER OF YEARS, HOW DO YOU GUYS PLAN TO CELEBRATE IT? ANY PLANS YET OR ARE YOU WAITING FOR COVID SHIT TO SLOW DOWN AT LAST?

For sure the 15 years anniversary is a major landmark in a career full of beautiful memories. We are really gutted we can’t celebrate it on stage but we will definitely come back stronger than ever after the pandemic ends.

IN THESE FIFTEEN YEARS, WHAT ARE TOP THREE BEST MEMORIES AND TOP THREE WORST MEMORIES?

Best memories:

1) playing South America for the first time

2) playing the St Pauli skinhead anniversary

3) playing with Cock Sparrer in Venice

Worst memories:

1) destroying my knee on stage in France

2) driving from Portugal back to Turin after all flights were cancelled

3) the day our first drummer Stevie Cemento left the band

HOW IS LIFE IN ITALY IN GENERAL? WHAT DO YOU GUYS DO FOR A LIVING? HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH COVID NO GIGS DEPRESSION?

The situation in Italy is pretty depressing, the pandemic exposed how unsustainable our economic system is. A large portion of our society has been essentially abandoned with no income. Thankfully we never supported our families with music, we all have full time jobs still.

I RECENTLY WATCHED A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT WITCHES AND ALL HYSTERIA BLAMING SOMEONE FOR POVERTY AND MISERY AND MANIPULATING PEOPLE WHO ARE MISERABLE TOWARDS SOMEONE WHO IS SUPPOSEDLY TO BLAME FOR THEIR MISERY. DO YOU GUYS THINK THAT EUROPE IS A BIT SIMILAR AND DANGEROUS BECOMING SIMILAR TO LATE THIRTIES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY AND RISE OF FASCISM AND HATRED CAN BE STOPPED?

History tends to repeat itself and the signs are clear out there. The anti-fascist message we always spread now resonates more than ever.

THIS IS ALL FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY WEBZINE. THANK YOU SO MUCH. FOR END, TYPICAL ZINE QUESTION, ANY LAST WORDS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAY AND I DIDN´T ASK YOU?

Thank you for giving us this great opportunity and congratulations on your remarkable work for the scene. We hope to catch up with you soon in the Balkans, a part of the world we’re very fond of. See you on the road!

(interview) Stepped Out: The message will stay the same!

Stepped Out from Split, Croatia are one of those bands that keep the flame and hardcore scene alive here in Croatia, also they have been around in the scene for a long time now, it was about time that I talked to their singer Bila about various topics.

HEY, I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR TAKING TIME FOR MY ZINE. FIRST, CAN YOU PLEASE PRESENT STEPPED OUT TO THE READERS OF THIS ZINE WHO DIDN´T HEAR YOUR MUSIC YET?

First of all, thank you for the opportunity for having us in your zine. Stepped Out are five hardcore punk kids trapped in the bodies of adults. We were established in 2010 in our hometown Split, Croatia. The music we play can be described as mixture of 90s hardcore, melodic hardcore, punk rock and NYHC . We are proud to say that we grew up on bands like WARZONE, GORILLA BISCUITS, IGNITE, SNAPCASE, SHAI HULUD, SICK OF IT ALL, NO WARNING, REFUSED, SHIELD, STRIFE, RAISED FIST, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, LEEWAY, ABHINANDA, 7 SECONDS, CRO-MAGS, DAG NASTY, EARTH CRISIS, whole Youth Crew, Umea and European hardcore scene etc.

IF I AM NOT MISTAKEN THERE´S BEEN ALMOST THREE YEARS SINCE YOUR LAST RELEASE? WHAT IS NEW, ANY NEW SONGS? I HEARD THAT YOU ARE PREPARING NEW RELEASE, HOW WAS THE WRITING PROCESS? WHAT COMES FIRST, LYRICS OR MUSIC? I SEE YOU PREFER ENGLISH TO CROATIAN LYRICS, IS IT SOMEHOW A PREROGATIVE IF THE BAND WANTS TO SPREAD ITS MESSAGE OUT OF LOCAL SCENE?

Yeah, I mean, we are working on the new album. It will be released this year, called ENVY & ALIENATION. Envy is some local heritage. Alienation is a global state of mind. It will be 5 or 6 songs, maybe more. We all work in companies, some of us are into sports also (Crossfit, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu), so we are pretty busy, but new songs are something special for us and we are so excited, can’t wait to release this stuff. I am vocalist and write lyrics and the writing process is the easiest part. I write when I have inspiration and words then come out on their own. It depends, sometimes lyrics first, but last few times, music came first. As you saw, yeah, we write all in English because English is international language, most talked language on Earth, hardcore punk is international global music and movement and we want to spread our music world wide. We are not afraid of being underrated band cause we don’t sing in Croatian. People in Croatia mostly learn English early on in their lives and most of the people here speak English very good.

WHEN I READ LYRICS OF VOICES OF THE UPRISING BESIDES LISTENING TO THE MUSIC, I SEE THAT THEY ARE POLITICAL, BUT SOMEHOW FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF LITTLE, ORDINARY HUMAN, WAS THAT ON PURPOSE? DO YOU PREFER PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW THAT ANYONE CAN RELATE TO COMPARED TO SHOUTING THOUSAND TIMES HEARD SLOGANS FROM HARDCORE UTOPIA, WE ALL KNOW THOSE SLOGANS.

Stepped Out always write about what we see, what we live and what we feel. We write about things that surround us in our city, our region and our country. We also write about global problems… Our lyrics are not directly political but if you scratch the surface they are. We are not a political band that stands besides some political parties or politicians, but we separate good and bad things in politics and life of course. The biggest problems of today´s world are pollution and devastation of Earth, growing racism, repression and capitalism in its worst mutation. If you add to that list alienation of people, consumerism and conformism you have complete picture. We love hardcore singalong slogans and unity stuff. It keeps the scene alive and there is nothing bad in these ideas, the problem are the people in the scene who live totally different and opposite these things. There is greed, ego, narcissistic stuff, big and small bands, elitism etc.

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HAVE YOU GUYS TOURED? WHAT ARE THE TOP THREE BEST EXPERIENCES AS A BAND AND TOP THREE WORST EXPERIENCES?

We just play some weekend tours or some festivals, we played just in Slovenia and Austria outside of Croatia, but we never played 7 or more days tour cause we are all working class guys and we don’t have label, tour managers, promotors or anything similar. We are on our own, totally DIY. But we would like to make 7 day tour and we would like to play interesting festivals. Top three best experiences are definitely SAWA fest (check out these guys and festival), PUNK ROCK HOLIDAY festival in Tolmin, Slovenia, and HARD CORE FOR THE LOSERS mini fest in Vienna. Also the biggest thing for the band was the opening for godfathers of hardcore Agnostic Front at VIVA LA POLA fest in Pula, Croatia. We don’t remember bad things.

HOW IS THE SCENE IN DALMATIA? ANY HARDCORE PUNK BANDS YOU CAN RECOMMEND AND ARE YOU GUYS SUPPORTIVE TO YOUNG NEW KIDS IN THE SCENE?

Yeah, we are very supportive for young bands since day one. There are not so many hardcore punk bands in our area (Dalmatia) but you should definitely check out bands like CRASSO DE ODIO (Zadar), E.N.D. (Zadar), ESSENCE (Split), Šibenik has punk bands like PONTE DE CARLA, RASPAD, and legendary band called NULA. Also in our hometown there is punk rock band called ŠPURIJUS.

THE NEXT THEME IS KINDA SCENE ELITISM. I KNOW THAT BILA HAS BEEN AROUND FOR AGES, JUST LIKE ME AND I WILL DESCRIBE A SITUATION. I AM OUTSIDE IN FRONT OF A GIG PLACE HERE IN MY HOMETOWN. THERE COMES A GUY WHO I PLAYED WITH IN THE NINETIES, A BIT DRUNK, HE WAS NOT IN THE SCENE AND GIGS LIKE FOR TWENTY YEARS NOW, LIKE HE OUTGREW HARDCORE AND STUFF, YOU KNOW. THEN, WE TALK AND THE GUY STARTS TALKING HOW TODAY´S KIDS SUCK, THERE IS NO SCENE, IN OUR TIME EVEN SHIT WAS GOLDEN HAHA, THEN I TELL HIM, NO DUDE, THERE IS A SCENE, STRONGER THAN EVER. FULL OF GREAT BANDS, FULL OF GREAT PROMOTERS, ZINES, BUT THERE IS NO YOU. HE WALKS AWAY. HAVE YOU HAD SUCH EXPERIENCES? HOW ARE YOUR FEELINGS TOWARDS OLD KNOWN HARDCORE BANDS REUNIONS? I THINK IT IS BITTERSWEET. MIXED FEELINGS KINDA.

This is not elitism this is stupidity. If you say that you outgrew hardcore punk you were never into it for real. It was just a trend or just a phase in your life. Even if you were out for some years for different reasons like job, family issues, addiction, health issues, moving to other city, other country, and other things happened in your life, you will come back someday if you have been into it for real in the past. For sure. It happened to me. As you said the scene is bigger than ever. Thousands of new bands, lots of good vibe and some new fusions and (sub)genres. I’m pretty thrilled with bands like TURNSTILE, ANGEL DU$T, HIGHER POWER, MALEVOLENCE, FURY, ONE STEP CLOSER, BROKEN TEETH… Croatian new bands like SHIN, JADED and PONOR. Check out these bands.

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HOW MUCH IS HARDCORE CAUSE AND MESSAGE IMPORTANT NOWADAYS? DOES THE SITUATION IN EUROPE LOOK PRETTY SIMILAR TO 1930S TO YOU? IT DOES TO ME.

Hardcore punk message is always important. We are all now in the middle of global crisis with this pandemia and the whole world is changing. Bad times and bad situations like crisis always brings out the worst people on the surface. But we must surround ourselves with positive minded people changing our micro sphere by moving step by step. The message will stay the same. If we live like we preach it will end in good. Unity, solidarity, friendship, compassion, empathy and mind power will lead us to better days. For example, if you read and live hardcore punk lyrics and then come into so called real world with this statements and commitments you can implement these things into an already existing system that is mostly bad and thus easily change the world for the better. I recommend organizations like Hardcore Help Foundation, check out their work.

WHEN I WAS LIKE 18 YEARS OLD, I READ IN MEDIAS RES(OLD CROATIAN FANZINE DONE BY MARKO STRPIC). THERE WAS A COLUMN BY MARKO BIJESNI IN THERE IN WHICH HE STATED THAT HE FEELS AWKWARD BEING THE OLDEST KID AT THE GIG BEING ONLY 25 YEARS OLD THEN. WOW! I THOUGHT THEN, WHAT WOULD I BE LIKE WHEN I WAS 25 OR 30, WOULD I STILL BE IN THE SCENE AND STRUGGLE TO KEEP IT ON THE MAP? NOW, I AM 43 AND STILL GO. DO YOU THINK THAT AT SOME POINT IN LIFE, HARDCORE JUST GETS AND ASSIMILATES IN YOUR BLOOD AND CELLS AND ATOMS OF YOUR BODY AND BECOMES ONE WITH YOU?

The scene is changing and goes through different circles and eras. If you love the music, the message and believe and live by these things you will always be the same. It’s not so hard to understand but society and environment are pretty important for our survival. For example, if you live in fucked up environment you have pretty good chances to fall. So, life is hard, what can I say. We must learn and read. We must teach each other. Education, knowledge is power.

OKAY, CLASSIC ZINE QUESTION FOR THE END. WHAT ARE IMMEDIATE NEAR FUTURE PLANS FOR STEPPED OUT? ANY CLOSING WORDS AND MESSAGES OR SHOUT OUTS? THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING TIME TO BE IN MY ZINE. IT IS AN HONOR.

Envy and Alienation (new album) is the only plan for now. We are in process of making songs, then we will record a demo and then we go to the studio. Of course playing gigs and festivals also. I would like to make some videos and CD, TAPE, LP for our fans and record collectors . We would like to play tour one day, make some new friends around the world. Shout out to all Split Hardcore Punx, shout out to my Friends, Family Forever fest crew, shout out to Zadar Nigdjezemska crew, Zagreb and Zabok hardcore crew, Pula punk and hardcore kids, and all our fans worldwide. Thank you for having me (us) in your zine it was my (our) pleasure.

Keep it in touch! Punk’s not dead, Hardcore lives!

Bila, Stepped family

https://steppedout.bandcamp.com/