Create to Destroy! Billy Bombs

16 04 2014

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This is being posted just in time for the New York’s Alright Fest. In anticipation of the fest and to let everyone know some happenings there over this next weekend, I thought I’d interview my old friend and fellow New Yorker Billy Bombs for Create to Destroy. I met Billy on St. Mark’s back when it was a sea of liberty spikes and before Coney Island High closed. We have both lived full lives over the past decade-plus, but we’re both still involved in punk when a lot of the cats we ran with are dead, in jail, or just went square. Here’s two New York locals catching up…

Shit man, it’s been almost a decade.  You were one of the first punks I started hanging out with on St. Mark’s back in the day…do you still have your GOOD AS DEAD recordings? 
Yeah its been forever, I still got all the GOOD AS DEAD stuff and my ZOMBIE VANDALS/GOOD AS DEAD split we put out back in 2002. It’s been forever since I met you at St. Marks!

billytony

Billy (left) and friends

What have you been doing for the past decade?
I tried the straight and narrow life, get a job, get a house, try to get married and children repeat. I realized how much I hated it when I realized I hated everyone around me who were just sports junkies with no basic interests other than television.

Well it’s cool you’re back in punk and actively involved. What is Atomic Punx magazine?
Atomic Punx is my comic/zine that I been planning to put out for a while. With upcoming artists and stories by myself and hopefully soon a few other writers/collaborators that want us to publish their work in our ongoing series. We started out in NYC, and we have new people working with us who have moved to NYC from Miami, Boston, Richmond and so on. We do a lot of demo reviews and show highlights and unfortunately we seem to have started doing some memorials for our friends who are no longer with us.

Why’d you start a zine?
I was going to shows and realized I’d like to contribute to the scene around me in some way and I didn’t wanna do a band again but I wanted to be part of this growing Nuke York Punk scene that was happening. It’s also a format for me to be able to write stories that popped in my head, we’ve put a few comics in there like Anarchy Mikkey and Rufio’s ongoing series Life Is Posers, hich people always write to us about on Facebook and Tumblr. I also had a few conversations with people over documenting the scene today and I’ve heard to many people say enough people are doing shows/zines/records. These people are completely wrong, its never enough. The scene is big and vast and now international so its ok to tell different aspects of one big story. It’s our lives. These pages, videos, and recordings will outlive us all in one way or another.

sarja

Who contributes?
Our first cover art work has been done by Eugene, who’s in CRAZY SPIRIT and DAWN OF HUMANS.  He supplies a lot of album and t-shirt artwork for his other bands as well as his own. He’s insane. Our second issue is where we brought in more people to it as Kirsten Flaherty did our cover, Peter Skullkid supplied our creature features and Y at El Boa did a splash page of art that were currently trying to get done as a black light poster. Our upcoming issues have artwork from Collin Claire from HEATHEN, which is a sick band, a creature feature by J.C. of Gelahmt zine which is sick and you guys gotta check out.

How many issues have you done?
We have done two issues so far with issues 3 and 4 ready to go. In between we wanted to start our documentary series of work starting with Sarja Ann’s photo zine.

Are you going to distribute at New York’s Alright Fest?
Yeah, we’ll be all over New York’s Alright Fest, plus we got a store right now in Bushwick, Brooklyn, called 2nd Time Around at 300 Knickerbocker. I’ll be there every day before the shows and we’ll have a table with local Nuke York Zines at NY Alright’s first Marketplace to bring a ton of distros to everyone coming to NYC for the fest.

Tell us about Sarja’s camera, the Atomic Punx photo zine and the fundraiser to help her…
Sarja Ann is pretty well known as the short punk girl that takes pictures and gets run over by big fat guys like myself at shows while trying to get great shots. I nearly crippled her at a HANK WOOD & THE HAMMERHEADS show which I still laugh about. I’m pretty pissed off that her camera got stolen at a show. That was a pretty big shock to us all and to be honest she’s my good friend and her losing this shit at the same time as the zine came out just meant one thing and that was to be honest with ourselves and be completely punk-over-profit and get her a new camera. We started an online donation that raised roughly a third of the money, and we plan on selling a third of the books to cover the costs of replacing her camera. She’s running around with a borrowed camera from this great punk chick Andrea who’s sticking up for a friend’s way of life.  We’re hoping for next year to release a second issue of Sarja’s work. She’s the only one doing it for a while. I hope new kids who pick it up get to check out bands they haven’t seen before ‘cause punk rock is a Pandora’s box — you gotta have the right key in.

Crazy Spirit (photo by Sarja Ann)

Crazy Spirit (photo by Sarja Ann)

How do you feel about the scene in NYC right now?
I’m like 13 again and I’m almost 30. I love this scene right now. It’s evolved so much from NY street punk which kinda dominated the scene around me, I’m not a colorful clothes guy and I’m not too into songs of love. What really brought me back to going to shows was Chi from ANASAZI who I love dearly and he never gave up on the scene ever even when it was a horrible splinted thing back in probably 2004 or 2005 when it was everyone just worshiping and talking about the bands from the 80s and not really doing anything special for themselves. I think the biggest point of the scene today is the bands and people making it their own, its hardcore but it’s not just NYHC, its post punk, or its political, or its straight up American Hardcore at its finest, its dudes (and ladies too) in their basements printing posters and album covers, its people doing their own businesses in their living room printing t-shirts, printing zines, pressing buttons getting horrible carpel tunnel syndrome. It’s awesome. The one group that has done the most first and foremost is Toxic State Records cause in my mind theirs a void between the last good street punk record i got and the first Toxic State record that was put out and everything branches off from there. I know that shows have been playing all along but I don’t think a blasting cap on this scene would have blown up this big if not for them.  It’s so good it’s got its own name for this generation. It’s Nuke York Punk.

What about zine culture?
Zine culture is amazing right now, freedom of speech and the art thats going out in all these new zines is incredible. Im a huge MRR fan and a Guillotine magazine fan from the ’90s into 2000-whatever last issue went out. I think the more writers out there putting shit out the better. It’s your voice and your opinion in the zines. It’s what defines you. There are people who talk and say they do things and then there are the ones who go out and bang out a new issue, bang out a new song, new artwork. Zine culture is interwoven with the music and it’s supposed to be like that. I plan on putting out more stuff with art by new people ‘cause I want punks to see what other punks are doing and let them be inspired by what you can do with a zine.

Limp Wrist (photo by Sarja Ann)

Limp Wrist (photo by Sarja Ann)

I think freedom of speech is crucial and censorship and fear kill punk. Are you reading any other zines right now?
Of course I’m addicted to finding new zones. Nuke York has a great array of people putting out awesome issues like Gelahmt, which is a sick art zine with stuff that you’d want tattooed on your body and on shirts. NUTS, which is done by this complete nut named Ben, has been around a while now putting out awesome issue after issue with posters and intriguing art that only someone on Adderall would understand how it’s done. Others I’m checking out are Radical Domesticity from NYC, and a great one from a native NYC punk who’s now up in Baltimore is SanPaKu. I just started hitting up a few distros from out in Portland, OR, and one in Austin, TX (Ryyvolt zine is amazing). I hope to get a few zines from them that will be awesome as well. A zine that’s awesome is the ANASAZI/SURVIVAL tour zine, which is filled with awesome stories and beautiful art.

Where do you print your zines? 
We do it all over. We started off with using a Risograph printing machine from Jess Pop who does some amazing art prints with it (she’s also singer of SURVIVAL — get their flexi at NY’s Alright Fest). Now we got the store and the guys we work with do some photograph stuff for issue 2, but we’re hoping we can do a mix up in issue 3 and bring back the awesome Riso prints for my zine.

How much does one cost to make?
It runs me a few hundred bucks for 500 of them and I do it for punk not profit ’cause I don’t make shit and I’m happy with that. I pay all the cover artists a fair price for it cause every single one of them breaks their ass to give me quality work on a short time frame.

How much do you sell it for?
Issue 1 & 2 are 3 bucks each, but for the Sarja Ann photozine we’re going to charge $5 ’cause now it’s double the size, so printing and paper is costing us more. But we plan on giving better and better quality as posters to rip out and little games we come up with.

Why do it?
Why not? I’m happy with being able to voice my opinion to my fellow punks and hardcore kids (which is the same thing). I love the feedback, I love people who shit on my narration in my stories in issue 1 and come back after reading #2 and say I get it now. One guy told me he could do better and I’m happy to say I asked him to write for us, but let’s see if he gets a deadline.

Are you doing trades with other punks?
I love trades, we also do Beserker Badges, our punk buttons, and we don’t charge shit we just make some for the bands and some for us. We know it’s hard times and everyone is trying to save dough. I love trading a bunch of zines so we can spread the word of all our zines.

Do you talk to international punks?
Of course. We just sent out a bunch of zines to Australia for this distro from Lewis of the VAGINORS and RULES OF THIRDS called No Patience Records. If your on that side of the world, find him, grab up some sick records/zines/cassettes, and if you’re here, pay the postage, whatever it may be, ’cause those bands are putting out some amazing tunes and time flies and you’ll miss it.

Lewis has always done right by me, too. How can we stay up to date?
We have a Facebook page — facebook.com/Atomicpunx — with events and shows and whatever else we put in our store, atomicpunx.tumblr.com, Big Cartel to order all our stuff, and a physical store called 2nd Time Around at 300 Knickerbocker Ave in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It’s between Hart and Suydam—look for the store blasting punk all day, and probably me yelling for stapling my hand…again.

Any last words, punk?
Yeah, all you punks out there hanging out with your friends thinking of leaving your hometown ’cause the scene ain’t so great or just dull. Why don’t you go and do something with it? Go start a band or start a record store or a label, get a zine going. Make your voice heard. It’s easy to go check out new places and stay there and just be the kid in the crowd but it’s one thing to make your city your own, make your scene something bigger than what it was. Giving up sucks, giving up on your friends sucks more. I’ve been friends with the same guys for half my life—15 years or more. I love seeing other scenes, but my hometown and my friends and my beginnings will match up with my ending as well. Peace or Annihilation.

There my friends, is the mission statement of Create to Destroy. ANOK4U2

April 16th, 2014 by Amelia


Create to Destroy! Acid Sweat Lodge

9 04 2014

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I’ve been following this website for years due to the aesthetic that its curators capture and their love of Lemmy, punk, motorcycles, beer, babes (all genders), long hair, the road, hooligans, metal, and debauchery. Being a long haired, motorcycle riding punk myself who hates cops and loves a good time, the Acid Sweat Lodge just really struck a cord, ya dig? A photo archive for all those that came post the MC5 and stagnated after the first few waves of punk and metal…keeping it old school in a strange world, here is the Acid Sweat Lodge…

acidsweatlodge-03

What is the Acid Sweat Lodge?
The Acid Sweat Lodge is a lifestyle philosophy. An outsider research organization with a mandate to preserve and disseminate knowledge and culture. A.S.L. produces a wide range of public projects, including exhibits, speaker series, films, concerts and gatherings.

Where are its root’s located?
In drunken conversations, late night parties, trips to the woods, high times, and long trips down the highway.

How does “punk” fit into the aesthetic trip of the A.S.L. mission?
Fuck everyone else. Do it yourself. The mottos of the punk and scumbag generations, and the continuing focus of the Acid Sweat Lodge.

ACID_SWEAT_LODGE_LOGO copy

Where does A.S.L. find its images?
Darkened basements, old garages, dumpsters, derelict buildings, wilderness cabins, ditches beside the train tracks, your old man’s stash.

Who contribute’s to A.S.L.?
Contributions to A.S.L. are carefully considered by the committee for research and exploration. In addition to the official committee and full patch members, A.S.L. maintains a global network of associates consisting of various experts, artists, dope heads, teachers, healers, journeymen, creeps, weirdos, and free thinkers.

Why start a website?
There are many effective ways to transmit knowledge. The web is a convenient vehicle to convey messages to the masses. Merge with technology, remember the past, and embrace the future.

Tell us about your propaganda mailings.
The Acid Sweat Lodge works with academic, artistic and experimental experts to develop and present research into a wide range of topics. The journals pertaining to our research and findings are published and distributed worldwide for peer review and analysis multiple times throughout the year.

acidsweatlodge_reports_image

How can we best stay up to date with A.S.L.?
The Acid Sweat Lodge updates it research and communicates regularly through its various channels, websites and publications. Tune in and drop out.

How can we reach out and touch A.S.L.?
The Acid Sweat Lodge is always open to collaborations, new projects, and free exchange of ideas. Interested parties, and lifestyle dropouts are always encouraged to contact A.S.L. by any means necessary.

Is the answer in the question?
Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies.

Any last words?
The life we live. The life we love. Live the dream.

acidsweatlodge.com
theacidsweatlodge.blogspot.com
twitter.com/The_ASL
Acid Sweat Lodge Facebook page

April 9th, 2014 by Amelia


Create to Destroy! The Acheron

2 04 2014

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Bill is one of the owners (there are several) of the Acheron and the Anchored Inn. I know him from booking his former bands ABSURD SYSTEM (RIP Nick Poot) and ATAKKE and working with him as a fellow booker in NYC. At the time, there were basically three of us, but this was years ago, thankfully there are more cooks in the kitchen now and an ever growing, diversifying scene in NYC with solid DIY venues like the Acheron to support it. Here is Bill…

Acheron_Billdozer

What is the Acheron?
The Acheron, along with the Anchored Inn, is a club, bar, and restaurant in Brooklyn, NY. We started as an underground DIY space just about four years ago, and over those years have upgraded and expanded to more of a complex. Now we are a fully legal space, hosting about 20 shows a month. Primarily punk, hardcore, metal, garage, psych, industrial/noise and so forth. You know, anything that’s loud, abrasive, and at its roots, rock ‘n’ roll.

Who owns it?
The owners of the complex are me, my wife Carmen, and our other partners Addie, Dan O and Eric. It’s been a kind of nebulous affair that has only recently merged into a totally cohesive unit. We started building out the Inn first, but were held up for over a year with bureaucratic bullshit, so we were all still stuck at our crap jobs. I was working in advertising for fuck’s sake. Anyways, the guy who had been renting out the space next door to the bar, and had been doing the occasional ska show (yeesh) came over one day and told us he was fucking done with it. He said if we were interested in taking over his lease we could have the spot to do whatever we wanted. I had been booking shows for a few years in New York wherever I could get space, and for more than a decade before that in Portland and in DC, so the idea of having my own space was pretty exciting. Carmen suggested I call my friend Eric the Red to help me out. He owns a couple of bars in the area, and has been a friend for many years. He got on board and we opened up less than a month later for less than ten grand. It was bare bones to say the least. Once the bar opened up, the two spaces were doing a pretty good job of bringing out crowds to our little block in Bushwick, and eventually we decided it was in both our interests—and really only made sense—to combine the two sides into one. So we got a liquor license for the bar, upgraded the AC/heating and the sound system, and put a door between the two rooms. Voila. Now we have more of a team of owners, but it really works for the best, as we each have serious strengths and weaknesses.

Who is in charge of what?
Carmen runs the day-to-day operations. She does inventory, writes the schedule, and handles staff issues and concerns. When it comes down to it, she’s the boss. Addie handles administrative and office things. Making sure that the man doesn’t come in and shut us down. The payroll, the bills, the taxes. All the fun stuff. Dan is the General Manager and does the booking along with me. I handle booking, promotion, the sound system, and advertising. Guess I haven’t really gone that far have I? Eric owns two other bars and a restaurant, so he’s mostly busy running his empire. His first bar, the Second Chance Saloon, has been an anchor of the Brooklyn punk scene for a long time.

Acheron_Brunch_people

Is this what you do for a living? How long did it take to start turning a profit?
Profit? Pfffffffttttt. We have been in debt for a long time, but it’s been a learning experience to me about how ventures like this run. If you’re doing good business and keeping people fed, drunk and happy, you don’t have to be “turning a profit” so to speak to be successful. We all work hard and get paid well for it, and we’re all doing exactly what it is we want to be doing. Eventually we will have our debts paid off and we can see a profit. That’ll be nice. I’d like to reach a point in my life when I don’t have to work. I just can’t expect that to happen very soon. For now and the foreseeable future, this is what I do for a living, and what I do for life.

Has the block changed since you first moved in? How have you seen Brooklyn change in general?
The block, the neighborhood, and the whole city has changed dramatically since we opened. Williamsburg is more expensive than many parts of Manhattan, Bushwick has exploded in just the last year or two. when we opened in 2010 there we very few other music venues on this side of the river. There was Trash Bar, Europa, North 6 (which turned into Music Hall of Williamsburg), and a few bars that let you play on the floor. Now I lose track of how many music venues there are. I think six have opened up in the last year! Fortunately for us, we carved out a niche early and have a really loyal crowd. I couldn’t be more grateful for that. I mean, and the explosion of douchey lounges and cocktail bars and places that shout about how “punk” or how “metal” they are only helps us out. We don’t have to tell people we are a punk and metal bar. They already know we are.

Hard Skin (photo by Fred Pessaro)

Hard Skin (photo by Fred Pessaro)

Do you feel the music scene has become more organized since you moved to NYC?
New York punk and metal has gone insane in the last five years. There is such an eye on who’s doing what here that it can make your head spin just trying to keep track. Competition for booking shows has gone bananas, and venues are offering bigger and bigger guarantees just to make sure they get the shows they want. I’m definitely happy for bands that do well because of this. Bands and performers deserve to get treated well. But the flipside to that is that with the higher guarantees coms higher ticket prices and higher risk. If I play that game, I risk losing my ass over a show that I’m not convinced is worth it. It’s really nice to see the New York punk get its act more together. New York’s Alright fest is in its second year, there are some really solid and stalwart younger bands like NOMAD and SAD BOYS, whom we just brought down to Mexico. LA MISMA is doing really cool stuff as well. Honestly my favorite current punk/metal/rock ‘n’ roll band right now is SYPHILITIC LUST, with guys from SHOXX and HARVEY MILK. But there are also bands doing really new stuff that’s perhaps not in a lot of people’s purview as far as punk goes, but are killing it. FOSTER CARE, PAMPERS, MARVIN BERRY & THE NEW SOUND are all more garage, but they also play harder than many of the bands that come through on tour. As far as heavy stuff goes, we don’t really have too much in the crust scene, besides my band TRENCHGRINDER, but we’ve got incredible grindcore and doom, like SKULLSHITTER, BELUS, GERYON, BLACKOUT, MUTANT SUPREMACY.

One of the cool thing about New York being so big is that there’s a scene for everybody, and although a lot of people get really cliquey, there are those who are really crossing over into new stuff. SURVIVAL and STATIQBLOOM are pushing hard into electronic, post-punk and industrial, and even further out there is THEOLOGIAN and COMPACTOR, who are DIY juggernauts in the noise/experimental/power electronix scene. And I really love the current crop of heavy psych bands like ANCIENT SKY, IT’S NOT NIGHT; IT’S SPACE, NAAM and HASJ.

I feel like New York is in a good place right now. We have a lot of really excited people, and a good balance of new faces and experienced folks to keep it reasonably stable. I’m happy here.

SURVIVAL and STAIQBLOOM fucking rule as does ROSA APÁTRIDA speaking of pushing hard into the electronic realm. How has it been dealing with NY State codes and regulations? Any problems with the NYPD?
The man is always trying to bring you down. We get raided every once in a while, but that’s just to be expected. We try to communicate with the police, let them know that we’re in the location that we are so that we don’t cause a disturbance. The other side of that is convincing the crowd that this isn’t the Wild West, and you can’t just drink outside or piss on whatever you want to. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel to the cops. But it’s the price of doing business.

The Acheron (photo by Dylan Johnson)

The Acheron (photo by Dylan Johnson)

Is your venue all ages?
It was when we first opened and for the first two years, but once we got a liquor license we had to cut that out as something we do regularly. It’s just too much risk, and it keeps the cops eyes on you all the more. We do the occasional special all-ages show when it seems really important to do it. But at the end of the day, we’re a bar, and the kids should be making their own spaces. That’s what I did when I wasn’t old enough to go see bar shows in DC. We did shows in our house, or at our college, or at a youth center or rental hall.

How do you feel you contribute to the underground NY music scene?
We try to be a home base for any up-and-coming band that have their heads in the right place. And that place is putting the music first and the music industry second. It’s really easy in New York to fall into various traps. One of those is falling too deep into myopic arty weirdo stuff just to make yourself seem “challenging,” but on the other hand, it’s just as easy to fall into the trap of doing it as a business, to stop caring so much about who you’re supporting or what, and just try to get warm bodies in the door. With so much competition in the city right now, you find yourself scrambling a lot just to get any show or event on a certain night, because you can’t afford to not be open. We try very hard to avoid those pitfalls. Everybody who works at the Acheron has been in bands, both local and touring. We know what it’s like to be on tour or be the local on a show for a bigger band on tour. We want to have the kind of place that we would want to play.

What have been the biggest challenges of having your own venue?
The toughest thing is the nonstop nature. We’ve got to have something every day. It really is what I do for a living. What I do every day. Every day. It’s fun to set up shows, it’s the best job I can think of. But it’s also stressful, and very tiring. Fortunately I’m surrounded by some really positive people, and I’m continually impressed by what people are doing in the various scenes that I’m lucky enough to witness.

Any upcoming plans or expansions?
Nothing exciting. We’ve done most of the major expansions we can do up to now. We need another Walk in fridge. Rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, huh?!

Any upcoming big shows or fests?
We just finished up with our first stab at ACHERON D-FEST in Mexico City. It was an amazing time, and we were lucky enough to have incredible bands like TOXIC HOLOCAUST, BLACK TUSK, LECHEROUS GAZE, NECROT, SAD BOYS, NOMAD, APOCALIPISIS, CONSTRUCTORES DEL ODIO, DISTERROR, and a ton more play. It went well enough that we’ve already started planning next year. Look for that next February. We also just had SYSTEM FUCKER the other day, and that really felt like an affirmation of why we do this. Tons of kids were there having an incredible time with no fights and no bullshit. It made me feel really good about what we do. We have a couple other big things in the work that will probably be announced by the time this is published, but for now I gotta keep my big mouth shut.

Acheron_collage

What can people in NYC do to support your venue and other DIY all ages spaces?
There are still a few all ages DIY spots around Brooklyn and Manhattan, but I would ask people to try and find spaces. They can open up their house to do shows, find a practice space or a workshop and do it there. I really wish we could do all ages shows all the time, but the city puts extreme restrictions on a business like ours. It’s dead serious that they really just don’t want all ages shows to happen. I’d say, just like I think everybody should go out and start their own band, they should also be an active participant in their scene. that’s the only way it’s gonna get better. We started with an opportunity and a few bucks. I don’t think that’s too much for a small group of kids.

Any advice to someone thinking about opening their own venue or bar?
Do a DIY space. Don’t open a bar. At least not in New York. Do it somewhere else where they need a rallying point. There are tons of smaller cities that need a place to have shows and encourage bands to come through. I really believe that the conversations that happen when touring bands and local bands play together expand people’s horizons and push the whole form ahead. It’s necessary for music to evolve and grow. So if you have a dream about opening a venue, do it somewhere that needs it. That will make it the most rewarding.

Any last words? How can we best stay up to date on the Acheron and get in touch?
Thanks a lot for the interview. I really appreciate you taking the time. Our website is theacheronbk.blogspot.com and we can also be found easily on Facebook, twitter (@theacheronbk), blah blah blah. If you buy tickets to any of our shows or fill out the simple field on our website, you can be on our mailing list. We try to keep people informed but not annoyed. We are really privileged to be part of the amazing underground scene in New York right now, and I just want to thank all the promoters, bands, and kids that make it happen.

Thanks Bill!

Thank YOU.

April 2nd, 2014 by Amelia


Create to Destroy! SPHC Records

26 03 2014

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Dan and I crossed paths due to me booking shows in New York City for years. I know I booked his band LOTUS FUCKER at least once or twice and the WANKYS at ABC No Rio, a dream which he helped come true. Dan releases a slew of records under the guise of SPHC which stands for Severna Park Hardcore. He does a lot in punk and I thought I’d see if I could figure out how he does it all and still manages a semblance of sanity…

Nekromantiker

Nekromantiker

How was Asia? Where did you go?
Yeah, I just toured southeast Asia with Scottish fastcore band XSAXONX, for whom I play drums. It was an amazing experience, we did two weeks of gigs in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. The scene in this part of the world is so energetic, friendly, alive in a way that I don’t think America’s is. I highly encourage all good bands to tour this part of the world, you won’t regret it, you will learn a lot about punk, about life, about the world. But please don’t be a vacationer, make some real friendships and treat the scene with respect. And in that sense, shout outs to Talib, Syahir, Matt Norr, Dolly, Hafiz, Zhafran, Kimi, Zach, Ci Chaan, Sham, all the people that make southeast Asia such an amazing scene and helped us funky XSAXONX guys out along the way. I highly recommend people check out PAZAHORA, VAARALLINEN, ABRASION from Singapore, SCUMRAID from South Korea, APPARATUS, SHITNOISE BASTARDS, CRIME SCENE from Malaysia, KONTRASOCIAL from Indonesia.

What records did you buy in Japan? Did you go to any gigs?
Yeah, before the tour I popped over to Tokyo for a few days to visit friends. A previously-publicized mishap on the SEE YOU IN HELL/LOTUS FUCKER West Coast tour left me without any money so I didn’t really buy any records, unfortunately, but I did spot an OG BAD BRAINS Pay to Cum EP for $3,000 and I think that’s the most expensive record I’ve ever seen in person. SUN CHILDREN SUN hosted a nice little welcoming party for me, they played along with JACK THE UNITY and 人工楽園. SUN CHILDREN SUN registers as one of the best live bands I’ve seen in recent years, absolutely one of the best punk bands in the world right now. I’m excitedly anticipating their eventual American tour!

Sun Children Sun

Sun Children Sun

I know you released what…13 records last year? What’s currently in the works now?
Yeah, too many, LOL! I often wonder if I’m part of the problem, if I’m contributing to the ever-increasing glut of crappy records the DIY scene produces. But I would go to bat for each of my releases, that they are all high-quality and meaningful works. This year is going to be equally hectic. A lot of what I’m working on is still in various stages of recording/mixing/mastering, but I’ve currently got new records by BRODY’S MILITIA and SETE STAR SEPT at the plant, and new records by CABBAGEHEADS, LOTUS FUCKER, and COLUMN OF HEAVEN not too far behind. I’m also helping some friends from South America press records here in the USA. In that context I’ve got new shit from TERCER MUNDO, MERDA, and MUKEKA DI RATO also at the plant.

What was the first record you ever released and why?
First record was KAMIKAZE NOISE 7” in 2007, 300 copies, sold out in a month. It was basically the pre-LOTUS FUCKER band, we had been a band for a few years and were touring pretty regularly so I thought it was time to go from tape releases to vinyl. It’s fucking horrible, but no regrets — it was a positive learning experience and everybody has to start somewhere. I can safely say I’ve grown a lot since then, as an artist and as a label boss.

Terveet Kädet and Lotus Fucker

Terveet Kädet and Lotus Fucker

Was it easier or harder than you thought it would be to release a record?
Easier, way easier. I thought it was some mystical process but it’s not, it’s just a lot of fucking chaos and manufacturing. I’ve become really fascinated and enamored with the process of producing records and I give a lot of time and thought to even nitty gritty stuff like paper stocks and record mastering. I’ve toured some pressing plants and print shops before, I love learning about the process, the business of it. I eat up this kind of information. It’s also really distressing because I think the more you learn about it, the easier it is to see that vinyl is going to be a dead format soon enough, probably not in our lifetimes but relatively soon. I plan on enjoying it while I can.

How has it changed from your first release til now?
Unfortunately, my classically horrible sense of visual layout and style has not improved very much, but I think the basic changes have been that I am more aware of all the parts and factors of a record, from song sequencing to record label insignia, and I am more refined in my opinions of how all these things come together to holistically make a “good record.” I think, as a label, the purpose is to help my friends achieve their vision and create the best records they can manage, but a lot of times my friends have different opinions than me, and as long as a band can prove to me that they put some thought and effort into their release, I will basically let the bands I work with do anything, even stuff I’m not totally sold on.

What records are you seeking to release?
Well, I am actually releasing almost all the records I am seeking to — there’s not really anything I’d like to add. I’m only interested in working with my friends. I see SPHC as a relatively loose family of bands in a way, my hardcore family (hahaha), and I just want to keep helping my crew release good records, tour, and keep moving forward towards their visions. That being said, I regret that TEARGAS wasn’t able to do the 7” on SPHC that we shook hands on, and I am label jealous over that SETE STAR SEPT/NUT SCREAMER split 7” that No Fucking Labels released, that is a dream record for me. The biggest dream-come-true releases for me have been the records for TERVEET KÄDET and BOOM BOOM KID, two of my all-time favorite bands that I’ve been listening to since I was basically a child, two bands that have such a huge impact on my life…I’m really glad to count these guys as my friends.

Sete Star Sept and Penis Geyser

Sete Star Sept and Penis Geyser

Do you have bands approach you?
I do from time to time, but unfortunately it’s rare that I’m able to expand my scope and increase my workload. I’m already releasing like a dozen records a year from all the bands I work with; I can barely handle that!

You seem to release internationally. How do you have such a wide network?
Haha, well, punk is an international network of friends and I really believe you get out of it what you put into it. I spend a lot of time organizing gigs, organizing tours, helping people out. It’s lead me to a lot of meaningful friendships and experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Especially with the power of the internet, it’s easy to keep in touch over the years and stay friends. Anybody can do it — I dunno, it’s nothing special, in my opinion. Just be a good friend! Show some respect, some interest, some care, be polite, it’s just like making friends anywhere else only it’s way cooler because punk is way cooler.

You live in DC, right? How’s the current scene there?
Well, I lived in DC for about eight years but moved an hour north to Baltimore, MD, in 2012, as I just found it too difficult to keep being punk in DC, in the way that I envision “being punk.” Even while I was living in DC, Baltimore felt like my home, and since I moved I’ve been a lot happier. The scene here is, in my opinion, one of the best in America. Barclay House has been holding it down as the #1 best venue on the East Coast for the last ten years. I think the scene here is warmer, friendlier, more sincere than just about anywhere else, and that’s enough for me. The gigs are well-attended and high energy, tons of fun with a super welcoming and accepting atmosphere. That being said, drugs/alcohol are a major problem here, and most of our other problems tend to be rooted in that. That could be the story of any poor city though. The best local bands of recent memory were SCUM AGAIN, who play top-tier pop-punk in the vein of SNUGGLE, and MIND AS PRISON, fucking great grind core.

Wankys and Lotus Fucker

Wankys and Lotus Fucker

How can we best stay up to date on what your label is doing?
Just keep checking back at the little SPHC Big Cartel website thing. It’ll be updated as new releases get dropped and tour dates get settled.

How can we best contact you?
WhyDoTheyLive {at} yahoo(.)com, I try to respond to everything but it might take me awhile so please be patient.

Any last words?
Destroy all music now, and reclaim music from musicians. If you have something to say, don’t even hesitate, start a band and express yourself, doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, everybody sucks when they start, just do it. Not every band should be releasing records and touring, but everybody that wants to participate should give it their all. Thanks for interviewing me.

March 26th, 2014 by Amelia


Create to Destroy! Alex Ratcharge

19 03 2014

CreateToDestroyLogo

Alex Ratcharge first got on my radar due to his columns in MRR that reeked of too many cigarettes and a version of reality I could get behehind. He’s done a slew of art for MRR, his comics are on the money with their punk commentary, and a bunch of rad zines including a split zine with Accept the Darkness. He additionally has a veneration for great zines like Game of the Arseholes and is very humble about the fact that he did not emerge from a punk vacuum but is open about his influences and gives appropriate nods where due. I give you Alex Ratcharge.

Ratcharge_CtoD_2002

2002



What do you do with your art, other than zines and contributing to MRR so we can have cool shirts and buttons…
Well I ain’t one of these art students type who’s always working on some sketches and tryin’ to “improve his craft” or whatever these people call it, I ain’t tryin’ to find any gig either, I only draw when people ask me to, which means I don’t draw much, just a few posters for local punk gigs here and there, some fliers for a place called La Luttine (basically four walls of an ex-squatted building where local scumbags booze it up and talk shit every Saturday), then the MRR stuff once in a blue moon… I don’t even draw much for my own zine ’cause I’d rather feature better artists in there… Like Nagawika or Abraham Díaz or Ben Lyon… The most recent shirt I’ve done was for a new band from Finland called KYTÄNSOITTAJAT, same design as their 7″ cover. Next I’ve been asked to draw a tote bag for Ediciones ¡Joc Doc!, a small comics publisher based in Mexico City. If you want to look cool, you know what? Just send me a blank shirt and $20 and I’ll draw a one of a kind piece of clothing for ya, give me a list of a few bands you like and I’ll pick one and do it. But not just you, Amelia: anyone reading this. With that said I’m always dumbfounded when people seem to take me kinda “seriously” as a “cartoonist,” I don’t do any efforts to get better and I can’t draw anything but retarded boogerface characters… My thing is writing, which feels much harder hence much more exciting to me. Anyway, not to say I don’t enjoy drawing but to me it’s more of a “whatever” kinda deal. In the past I’ve done art for LEXOMYL, WHITE LOAD, WHITE COP, TÉLÉCOMMANDE, BURNING ITCH, ROGERNOMIX, Izu Giroa (fanzine), Negative Guest List (cult Aussie rag) and a few more I’m forgetting.

How did you start doing Ratcharge?
Back in 2004 I was young and bored, living with some Argentinian expatriate in a room the size of your toilets in the center of Paris. During the day she’d go to work her ass off to pay the rent and bills, and while I was waiting for her, useless and unemployed, I decided to start a new zine since there was nothing else to do, no TV channels/no computer/no turntable/etc. First issue was all hand-written and featured articles about such things as Spanish disco band DESTRUCCIÓN and the mighty Dennis Hopper (RIP).

Ratcharge_CtoD_KYTANSOITTAJAT-ep

Did you do other zines before Ratcharge?
Yeah, I did a zine about video games called Mad Pad when I was thirteen, then in high school I put out two issues of a comic zine called Phoque Land, then fourteen issues of a hardcore punk zine called Black Lung between 2000 and 2004. For the latter I interviewed bands like TEAR IT UP, YOUNG WASTENERS, NO HOPE FOR THE KIDS, LEBENDEN TOTEN, GASMASK TERRÖR, and people like Eric from Social Napalm records or Chris from Slug & Lettuce zine. Content was mostly centered around US and French punk, and terrible writing about my life and my problems.

Did you model your zine off of any other zines?
Around the start of Ratcharge I was really into Game of the Arseholes, Destroy What Bores You, How Much Art Can You Take?, Voices Wake Us, Kängnäve, etc., all the great music-centered punk zines of the early 00′s. But Ratcharge has always been a mix of tons of influences (too many to list, old and new, some about music, some not), hopefully with my own twist.

What zines did you grow up reading?
I’m tempted to say “all of them” and leave it at that, since that would be close to the truth—I read every single punk zine I could get my hands on as a teen and young adult, mailordered ‘em frantically, traded ‘em like crazy, for about ten years I was receiving at least one or two new zines a week, so I’ll let you do the math. Didn’t care about quality or subject (music, politics, comics, personal zines), they all seemed amazing—tons of French ones (there’s always been a vibrant zine culture here), and lots of US ones, too, which I tended to glorify a bit too much for some dumb reason (in short: collateral damage of cultural imperialism). After a decade or so I overdosed, so to speak, but today I still respect the medium—free speech for the dumb, I believe in this, and I also believe in zines as a valid way to get into the habit of writing, which is one of the most beautiful/important things in the world. With that said I recently gave 90% of my zine collection to a friend, with no regret.

Ratcharge_CtoD_2006

2006

What are you reading now?
Mostly novels, fiction and creative non-fiction, current favorites include Roberto Bolaño, Steve Tesich, Milan Kundera, Emmanuel Carrère, Frederic Exley, Lionel Tran, Paul Auster, endless list. The only zine I’m still reading cover to cover is Distort, but I still follow what’s going on, for instance if postage from the US wasn’t such a pain I’d get my hands on a copy of Cretins of Distortion from the Midwest, which sounds promising. Nuts from Olympia/NYC is really good too.

What are your upcoming projects?
For the past four years I’ve been learning to write fiction, this is the main thing I’m working on, and hopefully it will keep me busy for the next decade(s). In a couple weeks I’ll put out the new issue of Ratcharge, which will be a collection of drawings and comics by Abraham Díaz (Ratcharge is more of a “publisher” than a “zine” these days, since whole issues are the work of people other than me). Also working on an exhibition in Lyon for the same dude. After that, probably a collection of short stories or a new episode of the adventures of a character called Pierre-Henry Tonon. I put out a literary mag with my mate Julien last month, maybe we’ll work on a second issue… Seems that I’ll do the cover for the second 7″ by KYTÄNSOITTAJAT as well… What else…. I’m booking a gig for THE LOVE TRIANGLE and THE SPLITS here in July… I’ll keep running the Punk Drawings blog, which is about soccer and cheesecakes obviously… Oh and I’m trying to start some kind of booze-friendly chess club in my neighborhood, because chess and alcohol are the answers to most of the world’s problems, as you probably know.

Are you in a band at the moment? 
Until recently I was drumming for a band called FRUSTROS, but we called it quits. It’s the first time in years I’m not in any band, but I feel like I might be over it—tours are a pain in the ass, gear is expensive, dealing with people’s differing ideas of music is exhausting.

What’s going on in France now, punk and politically?
Punk: The best band in France right now, in my opinion, is GUILLOTINE, a dark/violent hardcore band with no recording yet but one of the most intense live sets I’ve seen last year. Also check out PERVERS ET TRUANDS from Saint Etienne, they’ve got a killer demo and are about to release a 12″ of slow perverted Flipper/Brainbombs influenced jams. In Lyon tons of bands have broken up in the past year but DÉFAITE rules (get their tape and 7″), so does ÉTAT LIMITE (great punk band with a level of energy bordering on hardcore, no recording yet) and I’ve got high hopes for a band called ZONE INFINIE, featuring members of TOUJOURS RIEN (the CAMERA SILENS of the 21st Century). There are probably a few other good bands in this country (PEUR PANIQUE and KRIEGSKADE in Paris, SYNDROME 81 in Brest, TÉLÉDETENTE 666 and SIDA in Strasbourg/Lyon, ANXIETY ATTACK in Lille) but for the most part everybody’s playing new wave these days (or clean-cut “cold wave,” which is basically the same), and I can’t wait for that trend to be over.

Politically: Our “socialist” president is a sad joke, unemployment is higher than ever, the far right seems to be getting stronger and is getting tons of media coverage, the “crisis” is still being talked about on a daily basis, our neighbors Italy and Spain and Portugal are going down, prices are rising, and maybe worst, in the past year we’ve seen the birth of a new “movement” of right-wing people demonstrating against such things as gay marriage, abortion, etc… In my lifetime it’s the first time I’ve seen so many right-wing demonstrations in the streets of France, which can’t be anything but bad news. Also, in Lyon there’s been a rise of Nazi skinheads in the past years, Blood & Honor militant types, and in Paris a teenager was killed by some of them last year. Fun times overall.

Ratcharge_CtoD_2003

2003

If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?
It’s the same shit everywhere, I’m afraid. Maybe in a cabin in Siberia or in the South Island of New Zealand…

What’s on your turn table right now?
First album by Finish rockers RÄJÄYTTÄJÄT, BUTTHOLE SURFERS reissues, THE GODZ first album, AC/DC CDs I got for Christmas, some GRAZHDANSKAYA OBORONA CD. Then tons of shit in the mp3 player… BIG ZIT demo, LIFE STINKS album, ALBERT AYLER in Greenwich Village… Not buying many proper records these days, too expensive and I can’t be fucked getting up to put on those fucking B-sides.

Any advice to younger kids who want to start a zine, such as becoming best friends with the guy at the local copy shop or that Carbona works best?

  1. Work in a copy shop (or screw the copy shop dude/girl).
  2. If you pay for printing, don’t expect to get your money back, at least not the first few years. Maybe you will, but don’t think about it.
  3. Don’t interview bands, just write about them, or at least answer the questions for them. You know better than them. If you do interview bands: don’t be nice.
  4. Don’t be afraid of what people will think or say, people are full of shit, just write what you wanna write. Only way to go.
  5. Find a cool name (not like Ratcharge).
  6. Work with deadlines.
  7. Work hard.
  8. Write every day.
  9. Don’t believe the old crowd: reviewing mp3s is ok.
  10. Do as I say, not as I do.

How can we stay up to date on your doings, besides your MRR column? Speaking of which, can you elaborate? I thought you left in support of Mykel Board…
There’s a site at ratcharge.blogspot.com, lots of which is in French, but I also post some of my past MRR columns, pictures, drawings, etc. About the column—yeah, I wanted to quit and did for a few months when they fired Mykel Board, which I still think was a terrible decision, as Mykel was a good writer, a real troublemaker and a breath of fresh air in the pages of MRR, especially nowadays, as some would argue he and Georges Tabb were the only punk writers (as opposed to “people writing about punk”) left in the mag, or at least the only visible link between MRR‘s past and present. I don’t want to go on for too long because I already talked about this with one of the coordinators and we agreed to disagree, but the point is after a few months I started to miss doing the column and I wondered, what good is it gonna do if I quit? It ain’t gonna undo what’s done, I thought, so I came back.

How can we best get in touch with you?
ratcharge {at} gmail(.)com

Any last words, punk?
Don’t call me punk.

March 19th, 2014 by Amelia