Active Minds is one of my favourite anarchopunkbands. It took a while but now the interview is here. It´s the first interview in 2020 and it was done in january-2020

 

Please tell me a little bit history of the group? over 30 years now, did you have any party then?

-We started in January 1986 from the ashes of an old band we were in (S.A.S.), as soon as they finished we decided to keep the practise space for awhile and try it with just the two of us.. see if it would be possible... all these years , recordings, tours later, and we're still here! We're not much of a party band and not big on dates, so "significant"  ones go by with us hardly noticing tho it was very nice to tour Mexico in January 2006, so that was our 20th birthday present!

 

Please tell me a little about every member in the group right now, age, family, work, interests and something bad about everyone? Earlier bands? Other bands on the side?

-Set, drum 51,  makes chocolates for work, chess as hobby as well as the band obviously, Bobs 53, works as accountant, cricket as hobby and the band. Both of us can be stubborn, thats probably pretty annoying, i can be disorganised, he can be too organised... each can be annoying in their own way! Both of us were in S.A.S. to start with as mentioned, I (Set) played in Ebola, Bobs played in Maim That Tune.

 

I can hear much different influences but mostly punk and some anarchopunk etc? Favorites from the past?

-We like pretty much all styles of punk from 77 to now, plus some indie, metal, pop even, some of those influences might shine through .. some more so than others.  Both mad record collectors liking way too many bands to narrow down a favourite list to less than 20 and if you listen to some of our stuff you might be able to guess some of our favourites.

 

Active Minds are you satisfied with the name? How did it came up? You weren’t afraid that some other band would be named like this? Which is the best bandname you know?

-It's okay.. you get used to it.. come up with 30 or so that you disregard at the start before saying , what the hell this one will do its only a name!...I dont think I have any favourite bandnames, but there are a few terrible ones out there (they'll remain nameless .. tho running a distro for year ~ a bad band name doesn't help!)

 

What´s the best thing with playing live?

-Best is traveling to new places getting to know knew people, making friends.. re~visiting old friends/ seeing them when you go out on tour.  Playing itself is fun when you just get the feel for it, especially if there's a crowd thats enthusiastic and enjoying you're stuff ~ whether its a big crowd or small, it´s the enthusiasm and energy from them that makes it.

 

And where is best to play? And the worst place?

-Best is anywhere DIY....might be a squat or an independent venue/ centre, especially if there's things like infoshops, political activities, distros etc there, next best is just good organisers that arrange the gig wherever they can.  Tend to prefer smaller places but there's no need to limit ambitions I'm not one of these punks that think DIY means the space can only hold 50 and if there's a bigger band playing thats fine and not matter if there's lots of people that would want to see it but can't get in.  I'm not elitist...as many people as possible should be able to go to a gig, If its suits 30, 50, then small is best, but if there's likely to be much more, no reason to not use a bigger space.  Have played tons of squats and autonomous spaces over the years, many havent lasted, but a few that have that are great are Kopi (Berlin), Zoro (Leipzig) , Rozbrat (Poznan), 1 in 12 Club (Bradford).  Of course there are some bad places but i wouldn't mention a bad gig/ venue as long as the organizers have tried to make it work ~ hint.. helps if the gigs still not going on at 4 am or the electricity cuts out.

 

How is to play this sort of music in England right now? Which types of bands do you have concerts together with? And which is the most peculiar band you have had a gig with which is really far from your music?

-Varies from gig to gig, usually around 50 people, hopefully enthusiastic!...The best one we had in UK more recently was in York which is very close to us, never had as good reaction there, but unfortunately the organiser is stopping , hopefully someone equally as good and dedicated will pick up the baton. Mainly play with other hardcore bands.. did a lot this last year or so with Anti System as 2 of our best friends from Scarborough joined them, we did a tour of Europe with them too.  In our small town (Scarborough) we've played a lot of gigs over the years with indie, ska, metal and various other bands.  We did play a cancelled/  made on the day new gig with on tour with some guy that just did acoustic songs and said he'd played a gig with Beatles members.. that was very odd to go on after him.. also once did a gig nearby where most of the bands were acoustic, or pop bands (was a John Peel Day gig) and then we played and deafened everyone!  That was quite funy and we had to warn people we were going to be " a bit louder" than the preceding bands!

 

How would you describe your music in three words?

-Hardcore punk, political.

 

What does punk mean to you, is it only a word or is it a lifestyle?

-It's an attitude to carry you through life as well as the music.  Punk is in my heart as much as my ears.

 

How do you see on downloading, mp3 and that stuff?

-I like vinyl... but I know that downloading is the current future (who knows what's next??).  I get that, and see why people do it, so much cheaper, not taking up space and instantly moveable with you.  I think we're all still scratching our heads a bit seeing how to work things out, concentrating on releases like they used to be, but who knows how it will go - bands used to record a full album then tour with that, we're still a bit in that cycle even tho the cycle has been broken a while now.

 

How is it to live in England right now? Politically? Fascists? Brexit?

-A bit depressing ~ new tory government.. nothing done for the last few years as the politicians argued their egos out to a deadlock cos they didnt like what the people had said.. now the left/ greens found out that they miscalculated making Brexit the most important thing and then losing again on it.  So while we have such high levels of inequality, homelessness environmental crisis , we're left with a Tory government to deal with it.  Brexit will be done and we'll all deal with it however it works out, I think for most people it wont make such huge changes, tho who knows if it may lead to Scotland breaking off or something.  We did a song "The left needs new answers" after the last election a couple of years ago and that's even more relevant now.. tho I'm really not expecting the Labour Party to come up with anything good and probably just go off in some dumb tory~lite direction or implode to irrelevance through tearing itself apart.   The lack of a big fascist threat is one of the few highlights in Britain, they are nowhere electorally , none in parliament few if any still on councils.  Of course there's still violent fascists attacks some times and graffiti but i think we have more of a problem with less strong, more casual racism than with out and out fascists.

 

Is there any good bands from England now? Is the punkscene/hardcorescene big? How is it in your hometown?

-Hometown scene is tiny, not really a HC scene at all.  There's still at the moment Satanic Malfunctions tho 2 of them have left the country  so how long they'll continue as a functioning band I dont know (we did just put out there split LP with Cause of Divorce , on vinyl).  Punk scene nationally isn´t so big, varies from town / city to city, and can be strong for 6 months then die down as people and enthusiasm ebb and flow.  a lot of old bands still going or reformed again and going, of the more current bands, Burning Flag and Roughneck Riot stand out off the top of my head that i've seen in last year but there's tons more out there if you search them out.

 

What do you know about Sweden? Have you been here and played?

-Yes we've played there , but a long time since we've been now....at least 15 years I guess maybe much more.  We played some gigs there on each of our first few tours, like in 87, 88, 90 etc  Ultrahuset was a strong memory but we did lots of gigs with some truly great bands back then  (Totalitär, Raped Teenagers, Dom Där, Wounded Knee,Dissacord, Missbrukarna, etc).  I always loved the countryside there, very beautiful, and Stockholm is a nice capital, always had good times and good friends in Sweden.

 

Have you heard any good bands from Sweden?

-Add to the ones I mentioned above.. Asta Kask, De Lyckliga Kompisarna, Mob 47,Avskum, G-anx,  Refused, Wolfbrigade, Randy, can't name so many recent ones as I havent been there for ages  and with the net and bands not putting mail addresses only webpages you dont often know which country a band is from that you're listening to!

 

Your lyrics, who does them and what influences you? Is it easier to do lyrics now or was its easier to do it when you was younger? Do you play any coversong live?

-Bobs writes them, gives them to me to check , sometimes i say some things need to change or be said different and he finalises them around that.  Life influences them, and whats happening around us, the news, people etc I dont know if its easier or harder from him doing them now.  We dont tend to do covers, we did once try "Ringhals brinner" (Asta Kask of course!) for one of the gigs in Sweden, I think maybe we've done a cover song about 5 times in total at a gig over all these years.

 

Is there any subject that you never will write anything about? Have you ever done a song to a football team, some political movement etc?

-Was going to say no reading the first question .. but the 2nd answers it... we will never do a song about a football team... I doubt we'll do one about a netball team or gymnastics for that matter! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Politic and music, does it goes hand in hand? Which is your most political song?

-Yes they do!.. for us anyway!  For anyone that knows our songs will be hard to answer that as they're pretty much all political or socio~political.

 

Best political band/artist?

-Crass for their historical context and impact.  They weren't DIY by post 1984 standards, and there's a lot of that ~basically the non DIY part ~ that I'd disagree with, they were coming from a time when there were still punk rock "stars" and some of that they probably hadn´t shaken off, but the anarcho movement they helped spawn had the most impact on me and changed so many people I know. I'm interested in any political band/ artist that has an impact tho.

 

Do you think that music(lyrics and so on) can change anyones life, I mean people who listens to music?

-They could.. they did.. they did with me, for sure.  Tons of us changed to vegetarians from 80's onwards due to bands and lyrics. Same goes for a generally anarchistic/ left / green leaning mindset.  I'm not sure if it can have the same effect now when I think less people, less young people have music as such an important part of their life now that there's so much more.. computer games.. internet sites etc.. Leaves less time for music less time for the influence.. and if it´s only heard without lyric booklets  etc seeign as most HC bands lyrics are hard to make out I dont know if people will get the message .. or even know there is one!....If you only hear say Sepultura vs a HC band.. you'd not know one had a DIY message.. or some other  metal band to a punk one and you wouldnt know the punk one was political  if you're not already involved I dont know that you would tell the difference on a non musical level.

 

Your cover on your records looks really nice, is it important to have a record cover which shows people which type of music you play? Your favorite recordcover? Who does your covers? And do you have any good recordstores in your hometown?

-It helps I guess... maybe if a cover looks totally "non punk" someone that doesnt know you won't pick it up and think to give it a listen...If the cover is terrible .. same thing.  Bobs does our covers, occassionally someone else has provided some artwork that he's then designed the cover around (more so for a couple of the early releases).  There's a couple of record stores here selling 2nd hand stuff and a few new things, like anywhere but not any kind of "punk stores".... it is a small town.

 

Is it important to get out physical records of your stuff? Why or why not? Vinyl, CD, cassette, what do you prefer if you could choose whatever ?
-I always thought it was.. I think it was.. now getting less so, maybe soon no reason other than band members like to have a physical record (in our case  vinyl).. Much prefer vinyl myself, glad when our stuff is available on cd or cassette to those that want it in that way.  All our newer stuff is available to hear and listen to +/ or download from our bandcamp page

 

Please tell me a funny thing which have happened during your career and under some gig?

-Lots of funny things happen along the way.. most just funny and amusing at the time.  Me walking into a toilet and getting shouted at by police.. not realising the back of the venue was the police station!... An old guy with a walking stick slowly coming to an open air gig , getting up on  the stage and poking his stick at me, clearly thinking we were too loud and wanting us to stop!  Another was an old lady came in "to dance" and after we finished wanted her money back saying "how could I dance to this sort of music??"

 

How does your audience look like? Which people do you miss on your concerts? Which is the biggest band you ever have played together with?

-Varied, mostly our age, looking a bit crustier than us.. some younger ones, thats good.. we need new blood in the scene, always, miss some people that have moved on , more so ones that are no longer with us.  We have played the odd festival thats had a big band playing.. some other small bands we shared the bill with went on to get pretty big (like NoFX)

 

Please rank your five favoriterecords, five favoriteconcerts and five most important things in life?

-Most important things in life: loved ones...... your health and theirs....treating people and the planet fairly and with respect.....  a better way of living / government/ fair distribution of wealth... and for me.. music and enjoyment.  Have too many records to narrow it down to a top 5... some of the best bands I've seen live would be Neurosis (Souls at Zero tour),  Atari Teenage Riot,  Social Unrest, Kitchener (bit obscure that one, but were amazing live, along with Heacache they were too)

 

Which is the most expensive record ever bought?

-I dont actually buy expensive records, I have some that I got at the normal new or 2nd hand price that are now sold for high prices , but I've never bought stuff at high price

 

Is it boring with interviews? Is it much interviews??

-That's a loaded question on question no. 26.. not counting the sub~questions within them!

 

If you could choose five bands from the past and the history and nowadays and both dead and living bands to have a concert together with your band. Which five have you been chosen?
-Never given that thought, really dont know as if I was bringing them back to life to play with us I'd want them to be sound politically and not on any ego trip.. without knowing what band members are like who knows ?  Okay.. lets just resurect 5 bands I'd like to see in their heyday for my own pleasure, NOT for us to play with and not to bring forward some great message......Gastunk, Husker Du, Crass (okay they'll bring the message I know), Neurotic Arseholes, Articles of Faith.. and let's chuck in the Sex Pistols just to see how it all started and what the crowds were like.... I'm resurecting the crowds from that era too okay.. not some reform thing  where they manage to play okay

 

Is music a good way to get out frustration and become a nicer person outside the music?

-Yes.. and maybe...  tho i'm sure lots of people stay arseholes even if they let their aggression out in the music.  I'd never say playing music was a way to be a better person.. tho playing  and touring in a band can change your outlook for the better (some for the worse if they have or grow egos).

 

Have you heard any good cover from some of your songs? And which is the song of your own that people always want to hear?

-A Spanish hip hop group - Perro Lobo who i think became quite known in their area did a cover of one of our early electro songs "Take a straight look at a crooked world".. its not exactly a cover .. they used the into music looped and rapped over it, but that was very interesting to hear!  I always appreciate and enjoy hearing anyone doing a cover of us and seeing how they do it/  how they might make it different.  I dont know what songs people want to hear.. we tend to play mostly stuff from our last 5 or so releases, usually the more melodic ones go down better live as they're a bit easier to jump about to on first listening.

 

Which is the question you want to have but you never get. Please ask it and answer it?

-Can't think of one sorry.

 

Futureplans for the band?

-We've just been in the studio to record 9 new songs... not sure when they'll materialize as we still have to finish off the mix etc.. but they  will come out as a 7" ep and a split LP with The Wilderness (Slovakia), we should be doing a small tour in France and Spain early summer, other stuff will be listed as and when on the fb page for anyone that wants to keep up and see where we're playing / what we're doing next.

 

For yourself?

-For myself .. carry on as ever.. have been pretty much doing same sort of things in my life the last 20+ years and enjoying it.. so just doing that....

 

Wisdomword?

-Hopefully plenty of words of wisdom strewn among our lyrics and articles.. but basically be yourself, enjoy yourself.. dont fuck up others in the process of those 2.. thats a good starting point anyway... everyone has to figure it out from there for themselves!

 

Something to add?

-Thanks for the space in your zine, sorry it took so long!.. All questions answered by Set, January 2020.