HC: First, please introduce yourself...
A: Hi. My name is Andreas. I am 28 years old and I live in Berlin. Actually I am writing my final work for university about ďRacism in CubaĒ. I ve been studying politics for almost 8 years now. In the end I got a bit tired of the whole knowledge producing machine called university and decided to try to finish as soon as I can. But it isnít that easy if you are completely unmotivated and involved into to many other things. Iím also quiet active in hardcore/punk scene. I guess thatís why Nenad decided to interview me. Beside running a small d.i.y. label, doing a fanzine, booking shows and sometimes even tours Iím very involved into anti-prison- and anti-repression-projects. I really like to travel, what I do quiet often, to read, to cook, to watch football games, to meet peopleÖ
HC: When did you enter in whole that world called hardcore punk?
A: Puuuh, some years ago. I mean I donít remember very well when exactly. I am from a small town near Berlin and after the breakdown of the wall in 1989 there was a huge squatting scene in Berlin. And even in my small shitty town which is full with military complexes since the was the ministry of defence of the GDR we had a squat called Villa Eckertstein, where I started to go to punk shows of bad german punk bands. The same time neonazi-activism grew up rapidly everywhere in East Germany but also West Germany, there were a lot of fights between antifascists and nazis; fascists attacking squats or alternative places; police eviciting Mainzer Str. and other squats in BerlinÖ I mean in this environment I got politicised and started to go to punk shows. Then in Secondary School I had the usual metal phase of my life before going back to punk/hardcore, hehe. But during this years I ve been always involved into antifascist groups. So entering hc/punk world was closely connected with politicising myself and being involved into those political groups, even almost all my friends has been more into hiphop and other crappy stuff. Really actively involved into hc/punk (I mean doing shows, doing the zine etc.) I got after being in Cuba and moving to Berlin in 1998Ö
HC: Your main occupation is Thrash it Away zine. When did you started and why doing that zine?
A: I wouldnít call it my main occupation. Probably it was for some time, but actually my studies and the label are taking much more time than the zine.
I started Thrash It Away after coming back from Mexico in 2003 where Iíve been living and working for almost one year. Before I had written articles or columns from time to time for different zines or I did interviews with bands I liked, but the idea to do my own zine I had after being involved in so many different projects during my time in Mexico and helping my good friend Valmiki with his Decision Personal Zine. I mean I always liked to write, even as a small boy I had started to write novels and short stories. Nothing serious or good stuff, but I always like to create my own world while writing. So coming back from Mexico in 2003 I decided to start my own zine which should include interviews with bands I adore, political articles and personal stuff. Even the zine isnít really personal Ė I donít like to talk about my deepest feelings or fears in public space Ė it is in a way like a diary of a bunch of things which happened to me during a certain period of my life: music I listened too, travel- or tour-reports, etc. And thatís what the zine in the end is about. First issue came out in april 2004. I was so proud and happy to hold in my hands after almost one year writing and working on it. And then I got almost just positive reactions and the negative ones were in most cases contructive critics and I knew so many nice people during trading or other stuff related to this whole zine-culture. I mean just for this it was worth to do it. Some of those people are now really good friends. Thatís awesome.
And in my delight about the reactions on first issue I decided to put out the zine twice a year which means every six months. But after short time I realized that it turned into being stress and that I would loose the fun on doing the zine. So in the end it took more than one year to publish second issue in june 2005. And again I had really good reactions. And Iím even a bit more proud about second issue, cause there were so many different people from different countries participating, some cause they got inspired after reading number one and wanted to write something, others were really good friends of mine and decided to send me columns or other stuff. And I was layouting the whole zine by myself, after issue #1 was layouted by my flatmate. But he had to much stress at school at this time so I had to learn how to work with quarkxpress by doing. And Iím really happy with the result.
Next issue is already in progress and will be a splitzine with MassenmŲrder ZŁchten Blumen Zine of my good friend Gerki, one of the guys I knew after releasing first issue. I talke about it before. It will be a special issue about homocore, queer punk and gender issues and hopefully out in January 2006. So keep an eye open for itÖ
By the way: of issues #1 and #2 I did 300 copies each. Both issues are mostly in german, just some interviews and columns are in english.
HC: Why zine and not a band? And what do you think what is more important for scene and spreading a message, zine or band?
A: Hehe, I would love to play in a band! So nothing to do with this. Iím just to untalented. I never learned an instrument so the only way would be to sing or better to scream in a band. I was supposed to do so in a band of friends of mine. but in the end I decided better not to do, cause Iím already involved into too much things and I donít wanna loose the fun about doing all this hc/punk-related stuff. On the other hand for the other guys who were supposed to be in the band took it much more serious than me and I wanted to avoid to get into troubles with them cause of not taking it that serious as well. I mean Iím at least four months a year away Ė travelling or touring Ė and rest of the time busy with other stuff. Thatís why I decided not to enter the band. Probalby in the future there will be another occasion. I would love to have band. Ahhh, that was another point: these guys where more into mosh-core and I would prefer to have a fastcore- or thrash-bandÖ I think I will some time, but not yet.
So for itís not the question zine or band. I think both is important for the ďsceneĒ. I wouldnít rank it. Both, band or zine, you can use to spread a message or you can leave it. I also like bands or zines who are just fun and supporting the zine this way. I mean hc/punk should be also having fun and having a good time together with people you like. Itís not just about serious things. For me itís not that important if a band or a zine is political, for me itís more important that the people behind the band or the zine are political. Itís so easy so have a political behaviour or lyrics or to follow the scene- and speech-codes but it doesnít mean that you are concsious about it or acting in a political wayÖ But this is another discussion.
HC: In "Try to wake up..." zine I've read that you plan to do copies of your zine in spanish language too. Why you decided that? Have you done it yet maybe?
A: Mmmhhh, yeah I really wanted to release my zine in spanish too, since I have al ot of spanish speaking friends who asked me to do the zine in spanish and also a lot of the interviews or columns were originally in spanishÖ But in the end It would be to stressful to do a complete issue in spanish since I already have problems to put out the german issue on a regular basis. And I mean I donít wanna care about distribute my ďspanishĒ zine in latinamerica and spain. I donít have the ressources to do so (postage etc.). So I guess it would be a nice idea, but I suspect that I wonít realize itÖ
HC: I know that you are big fan of spanish spoken language scene ( Spain and South American). Why is that so?
A: I donít know. I think there are different reasons. Iíve been living almost one year in Cuba back in 1998/99 and visiting the country about seven times since then. And even there doesnít exist any hc/punk-scene like we know from europe (with all this sxe and non-sxe arguments, hehe), just some crapy 77-punk bands and a lot of metalheadz, I knew so many great people over there and got really inspired about the impact of music, mainly metal, toward their lifes. And then I went to Mexico for one year in 2003/03 where a big hc/punk-scene is exisiting and where I got involved (helping with a zine, touring, doing shows, participating in animal rights nad other political issues). And with the time I learned the language, saw so many angry and furious bands doing fast and pissed hc/punk about the misery and poverty. I donít know, I guess it was a mixture of all of this Ė nice people, active political scenes, great bands Ė which catched me and never released me again, hehe. Think in bands like Atoxxxico, Los Crudos, Lifeís Halt, Vieja Escuela and you know what I meanÖ
HC: You publish you zine in german. Why not english? If I can say your zine is pretty good and it's a pitty that only german spoken people can enjoy your pages. With english you could spread your massage to much wider audience. Do you plan maybe to do it in english? Iím sure tht you thought about it.
A: Yeah I was quiet often thinking about doing the zine in english. And a lot of people asked me to do so. Same with spanish. I donít know. Probalby in the future. I donít feel very comfortable with speaking english. For example spanish I speak much better than english. So in english it would be hard to express myself or to write complex political articles how they are included in my zine. And I mean I like to play with words, with the language. In german I can do so. But in english? I donít know. At the moment there is no english issue planned. Iím even thinking about to do a break with the zine after realesinf issue #3. We will seeÖ
HC: In January new issue #3 wil be out. What we will read in it?
A: As I told you above it will be a splitzine and a kinda special issue about homocore, queer punk and gender issues. There will be interviews with Rafael from Buenos Aires who is doing Homoxidal 500 zine, with Hannah from Hamburg who is doing Her Jazz zine, with Alejandra from Monterry, Mexico who has been involved into organization of first mexican Ladyfest and a lesbian collective from Gotheburg, Sweden (all four are great I guess), articles about gender relations in indonesian hc/punk scene, about antisemitism and gender, columns, reviews etc. No band interviews, but I think it will be a great issue anyway.
HC: Last time we wrote you were on tour with Dick Cheney. How was it like being on tour with them? Give us some funny imberacing stories :)...
A: Huuuuh, tour with Dick Cheney was great. They are lovely guys and we had a great time together. We saw so many interesting places, met so many nice and inspiring people and had some really good shows. For them it was the first time playing outside of Sweden and I think they really enjoyed it. At least I did. Weíve been in Sweden, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. I mean we have crossed Europe from north to south in almost four weeks, thatís crazy. Now the guys are writing me mails like: uuuhhh here in Umea itís so cold and we miss the tour, hehehe. But in April they gonna go to Spain again, cause this time we had to cancel the last three shows after Erik, the singer, got his eye smashed at the show in Santander. So he had to spend one week in hospital but fortunatly he is well now and his eye is completely recuperated. Thatís the most important. But we had to cancel the three shows everybody was really looking forward to: with Discarga in Zaragoza and Cinder in Barcelona. Thatís why they really wanted to go to Spain again in April. Next summer they probably go to tour Germany, Holland, Belgium, Poland, Baltic States, Belarus and Russia. Would be awesome. But isnít sure yetÖ
I mean funny stories there were a lot. But often itís just funny if youíre directly involved. You know this kinda internal jokes, hehe.
Evo intervjua sa jednim sjajnim momkom koji je dosta proputovao i bio deo scene mnogih zemalja. Deluje preko svog fanzina Thrash it Away a od skora i preko svoje etikete. Intervju je stigao u poslednjem trenutku te ja nisam imao vremena da ga prevodim na zalost no naravno, skontacete o cemu se tu radi. Nenad
HC: You sure travel a lot. I know that you were in Spain, South America, North Europe, Croatia. What are the impressions, meeting new far distance cultures, people living different kind of life and so?
A: Yeah thatís true. I love to travel and to meet new people and old friends and to be at different places. I could spend my whole life travelling and touring. I mean it gives you the chance to reflect about your own life, to compare it with other peoples lifesÖ to relax. Cause sometimes itís also an escape from every day life stress. But most important is to meet people.
I donít know, many people Ė friends of mine Ė are always wondering that Iím travelling so much. But for me itís kinda normal. I mean some people are visiting friends in Hamburg and donít consider it as travelling, Iím visiting friends in La Habana. But you should also reflect criticly your way of travelling and your postions in visited societies. Backpacking isnít necessarily better than package tourism.
HC: Why is traveling so important to you, and when can we expect you in Serbia?
A: I think first part of the question is already answered. I would love to come to Serbia as soon as possible. Itís strange but since about two or three years Iím really into going to Belgrade. I donít know probalby itís kinda stupid, but in Germany the image of serbia is quiet negative which has to to with Kosovo war and Milosevic and propaganda in german media. I guess itís the same almost everywhere in Western Europe. So a lot of people have a really distorted view on Serbia. They are going to have vacations in Croatia or Slovenia but not that many people are going to Serbia. There is kinda lack of knowledge about how things are in Serbia. And would like to get my own view on it. Thatís one point. On the other hand Iíve been always more interested in Eastern or South Eastern than Western Europe. I like those countries in transition. And I had a great time hitchhiking through Baltic States in 2002, on a youth exchange in Russia in 1999 or on any of my visits in Poland, Czech Republic or Hungary. This year Iíve been hitchhiking to Croatia. And it was great too. Unfortunatly I didnít had the time to come to Serbia as well, but I met so many Croatians who really recommended me to go to Belgrade. And also Marko of Vitamin X told me so much good things and even gave me some contactsÖ And I love the band Letís GrowÖ So many reasons to go soon.
HC: When we talk about Serbia what do you know about our country? Any bands maybe?
A: Most what I know about Serbia I have from different mass and independent media ressources. Most things are related with war in Bosnia or Kosovo and Milosevic. Itís pretty one-sided. And about the hc/punk scene I donít know that much as well. Just the stuff from the scene report you send me once Nenad. The only band I own records from is Letís Grow. And I really like them. So feel free to get in touch. I would love to know and communicate with more people from Serbia!
HC: Let's get back to you and your work. Before TIA, were you a part of some bands or zines?
A: As I told you before I wrote some articles or columns for several zines but I never played in any band. I just performed the 7 Seconds song ďYoung Until I DieĒ twice in Cuba in front of more than 500 people with a friends band. Has been awesome.
HC: Beside zine, new thing is your label "Thrash it Away". So far you have released let' say,... 5-6 cd's right? What is the politics of label. What kind of bands are you interested in to release them?
A: The label is called Thrashbastard Records. And Iím releasing first of all 7Ē-vinyls, cause I love vinyl and beside tapes itís the cheapest way to consume music. On the other hand itís kinda ridiculous since a lot of people especially in eastern Europe, Asia or Latin America don#t have the capacities to listen to vinyls. But here in western Europe most people into hc/punk are still very much into vinyls. The idea behind the label is first of all to support bands from non-Western european or U.S.-hc/punk-scenes, cause smaller bands or people from these ďfar awayĒ areas of the world have so much to offer. They donít have $20 multicoloured shirts or the 10 pages long discographies, but they strive to get their message across. Also an important fact to me is to release the records together with other labels from all over the world is. It connects people with such different backgrounds and possibilities but sharing same dreams and vision. And thatís what d.i.y. is about. A part of every of my releases goes to groups who are supporting political prisoners worldwide to benefit their projects. Cause Thrashbastard should not be just a music label as well as hc/punk is more than music. I understand it as part of a wider political project.
So far I released one latin american straight edge-compilation on cd #0 V/A ďel cambio empieza en miĒ with 15 bands from all over latin america, each with two songsÖ It includes great bands like Colligere ( Brazil), Nueva Etica (Argentine), Asunto ( Chile), Sangre Joven ( Guatemala), Invictus Maneo ( Mexico), Fuerza De Voluntad ( Chile), Decisiůn Final ( Peru), Entrefuego ( Chile) and many more. With record all started almost one year ago. Two friends of mine from Mexico asked me to participate with some money and I agreed and after cthis release things started to roll and keep rolling. My other releases so far are: #1 Axt/What If Gods Lie Split e.p.-7Ē (mixture of pissed hardcore, thrash and grind from neubrandenburg, germany, meets fast d-beat crust from mexico city), which is already sold out; #2 Dick Cheney/The Tangled Lines Split e.p.-7Ē (fastínífurious 80ís hardcore from umea, sweden vs. great german thrashy old school with female vocals), first press on orange vinyl is already sold out, but we did second press on black vinyl recently; #3 Spandau Bullet bullet #1-7Ē (furious d-beat crust from basque country. in the vein of from ashes rise, tragedy, ekkaiaÖ) and #4 Dick Cheney/B.U.S.H. Split e.p.-7Ē (early 80ís hardcore from umea, sweden meets political 80ís hardcore in the vein of black flag from brazil with members of I shot cyrus, point of no return and discarga).
Iím interested in bands who play fast or thrashy hardcore punk and who fit into my label politics I spoke about above. But in the end I prefer to release bands who I consider in a way as friends of mine. So it has a lot to do with the people behind the bands. Cause the worst case would be to release a record of a band who you like probably musically a lot and then after meeting the guys you find out that they are a bunch of assholesÖ I also would like to release more stuff with womyn included. So demos of new bands are always very welcomeÖ
HC: Also you organize some shows sometimes right?
A: Yeah, thatís right. I also do shows here in Berlin and try to help the bands on my label booking tours. This year I did for example shows for bands like vitamin x, short fuse, mŲnster, insuiciety, chainbreaker, pollution, new winds, strength approach, the tangled lines, axt, shut the fuck up, discarga, I shot cyrus, bora and many, many moreÖ Itís working pretty well.
I decided to stop doing shows while writing my final work for university to be able to concentrate on my studies, but for next six weeks I already agreed to do five (!!!) shows. In some occasions you canít refuse, hehe.
HC: And in the end you have enough time to finish your studies. How do you do ALL that? Good organization, good will and enthusiasm?
A: Exactly! But Iím still looking for the enthusiasm, hehe.
HC: Any plans for the zine, label, travel,...
A: A lot. I think we gonna release the issue #3 of Thrash It Away in january. At the moment Iím doing the layout. And then Iíll do a break at least till next autumn to have more time for other stuff.
With the label Iíve planned already some new releases for 2006: Pollution/Fuerza De Voluntad Split-7Ē (positive youth crew from tenerife meets classical old school from chile); Rabid Grannies-7Ē (great thrashcore from umea, sweden. In the vein of tear it up!); new Dick Cheney-7Ē and I guess there will be more stuff. Future will show.
After finishing my studies I think Iíll go to Mexico and Cuba in february/march. Then I would like to join Dick Cheney Tour in Spain in April. I also wanna visit London and Croatia/Serbia next year. In summer probalby Iíll join the above mentioned Dick Cheney tour or B.U.S.H. European Tour and for next winter I have planned to go to Argentine and Brazil for some months since Juninho, Nino and Daniel from Discarga told me so many good stuff about their country, hehe. But main goal is to spend the winter in warmer regions, hehe.
But plans are plans. I hope I can realize at least a part of them.
HC: Well, we are at the end of this conversation. I think that we told enough for the first time. What is the message to our readers for the end? I hope we'll see you soon.
A: Thank you very much for the interview Nenad. I hope my english is understandable. I donít have a certain message for your readers. Just have fun and donít forget the struggle! If you want, get in touch with me via mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or myspace: www.myspace.com/thrashbastard_. Would be nice!
And I would like to add a comment of a romanian activist he did in an interview with Swing Kid zine from Berlin, which a friend of mine is releasing. Here we go: ĄYou shouldnít be disappointed that you canít change the world, because you can. Maybe you wonít see it but you can! Working in small groups in our communities we can make a difference. First step is to kill the apathy in you. Then you should see some things that really bother you and then take initiative and act. I guess, a lot of punk kids, and not only, are very apathetic and cinical and prefer to just yell Ďno futureí but there is more to do than sitting in a couch, drinking beer and complaining about how fucked things are. Put a poster, make a graffiti, gather some wasted food and make a meal for people who need it, start an organic garden, go to a demo and smash a bank, talk at school about the danger of fascism, confront fascism on the streets, donít support corporations, make your own clothes, stop eating meat, read a good book, tie yourself to a tree thatís about to be cut, check out an anarchist site on the net, bring a positive message with your band, write a letter to a political prisoner, make a benefit record for your label, ride a bike, make a street party, occupy an empty building, make a sticker, throw a mollie, bring your message to the world Ė there are so many ways to do it Ė maybe itís harder or easier than you thought, but you will realize that conftontation is always better than apathy. And you can do all of this only with your friends you donít need fuckiní NGOís, communist parties, boring hippies, stupid meetings with stupid rulesÖ I think punk is a music for the revolution, but it stops being so, when punks stop acting like revolutionaries and start acting like boring capitalist kids, who can buy their revolution on every Saturday at the club.ď