Systems Fail have been on a tour in Mexico and thatīs was why it took a
while to get their answers. But they have arrived now and itīs the 5 th of
august 2007 now.
When and why did you start to play?
-Travis - We started playing around five years ago. Originally the band was
just Dave, Rich, and I. We contacted Jorge after we had a few songs ready
because I knew that Jorge had been wanting to be in a band for a number of
years. Keisuke came into the picture after a little bit more than a year
because we decided that we wanted another guitarist. Julie has filled our
second guitar when Dave canít go on tour, which usually is the case.
Jorge - I guess we started the band because we all needed to be busy
I always wanted to be in a band but I didn't know I was going to be the
singer, I love playing the bass, Rich/Travis and Dave already played in
bands so I guess they needed to feel alive again.
Please tell me a little about every member in the band, age, family,
interests, work and something bad about every one?
-Jorge - vocals, 33, married, attends the birthday parties of his numerous
nephews and nieces, lab technician, tree trimmer and wood worker sometimes,
has poor english skills
Rich - drums, 40, getting married, races bicycles, photo lab guy, and looks
at the rest of the band as a bunch of silly kids, when in fact he is the
silliest of the us all
Dave - guitar, 34, married, collects music, delivers medical supplies, and
must eat regular meals or he gets grumpy
Travis - bass, 36, married, likes to garden and dig holes, bookseller, and
is generally considered the asshole of the band.
Keisuke - guitar, 30, married, Keisuke Sasaki, from Japan, I am Japanese.
I work for a restaurant as Sushi chef. I used to play for a pop band called
THE WILLKILLS in SLC, after that I joined to ASF because I am good friend of
Dave and we used play together for a Death Metal Band, I like old heavy
metal, punk/hardcore, old funk, Japanese pop, or rock, or whatever sounds
good. I don't like emo.
Julie - guitar, 35, married, loafer and artist, doesnít consider herself as
part of the band
a punk country, how is that?
-Travis - I know that Rancid is really big here. It is such a large country
that it is hard to talk about it as one country. Some areas are very active
and others are not. Our particular town is not very active though there are
some really great people here.
Keisuke - Travis and Rich know more about this. Punk fashion is big though,
like other countries
Jorge - I come from Mexico and I really think the scene in the USA is a
little more commercial, since there is more money there is better equipment
and better recording studios and I guess that is why you have to sound good
otherwise people won't care about you, the scene is clearly divided,
anarchopunks street punkers and hard core kids we all live on a dived scene,
the biggest cities like Chicago/Los Angeles/New
York/Portland/Minneapolis/Denver etc have best chances to organize as a punk
community they have more options to find autonomous spaces
like workshops, concert venues, infoshop art space etc. there is a great DIY
punk community but not in our town, our town is very small and just a few
kids are doing something good to keep the punk spirit going. On the other
side USA has too many commercial bands that I really don't want to name
here, they are a disgrace for the DIY punk community because a lot of them
call themselves DIY bands but they are not.
What does punk mean to you, is it only a music style or is it a lifestyle?
-Keisuke - Punk means to me is an attitude. Not depending on people, not
blaming people, not expecting someone is giving you something, not against
anything, appreciate all livings. I am trying to be like that but it is
Travis - I think that Keisuke has it down pretty good. Sometimes I think we
are Zen anarchists, maybe a little too philosophical. To me, it is more a
philosophy or lifestyle, a lens to view things through.
Jorge - when punk comes thru your life as a young person it is always
something new and exciting, in my case it was a escape from my reality
living on misery, being hungry and broke all the time, having to work
several hours a day for a little money trying to survive, punk is the
friends, the music, the records and tapes, the old boom box and the alcohol,
the fights on the street and all the family problems, but as soon as you
start getting older it becomes a lifestyle, a different way to see things
from the rest of the people, you learn to live in harmony or at list try to
be in peace punk becomes part of your live and you always take the positive
energy of it and transform it in to your every day chores. I'm not as broke
as I used to be now and punk still an important part on my life.
How is Salt Lake City as a music city nowadays? Is it many religious
people who donít like you?
-Salt Lake City is a fairly religious city but it is much more liberal than
the surrounding cities and towns. I donít think that most people in this
city know about us or care about us. We donít have any problems here that
any other people might.
Jorge - not many religious people know who we are, I had a couple of
discussions with a few people I met before and it never went in a good
direction it always ends with 2 different ideas.
Is there any good bands around... and in other cities than Salt Lake
-This town always has had a pretty diverse music scene. Sometimes it feels
like there are more people who play in bands than there are people who come
out to shows. Some of the current crop of bands that we enjoy playing shows
with are, Negative Charge, Bombs and Beating Hearts, Trebuchet, Azon, Youth
Descent, Bullshit Authority, and Pass A Fist.
Jorge - I enjoy playing with No More Existence but they are from a city 3
hours away (Pocatello Idaho) also our friends from Deviancy (Ogden) or Los
Sobrios Emputados from Wyoming and Colorado but they live far away like 6 to
8 hrs driving.
What do you know about Sweden?
-We donít really know a lot about Sweden. I think most people from the
states view Sweden, Norway, and Finland as one country called Scandinavia.
We are not much better but we at least know that they are separate
countries. Sweden is viewed as a very liberal country, almost a model of a
progressive responsible government. Plus it was home of some of the Vikings.
Jorge - Sweden for me is a country like Indonesia, Japan, Chile, etc, a
place I would love to visit, a lot of the music I listen to came out of
Sweden, I know a lot of the swedish government, cities and buildings, but in
general I'm not very educated about Sweden as a country but I'll learn more
for sure(thanks to the interview)
Have you heard any good swedish bands?
-Keisuke - I was a big fan of Entombed
Travis - I grew up listening to bands like Disarm, Skitsystem, Anti Cimex,
and Tervet Kadet. I know that not all of those bands are from Sweden but I
guess that proves I donít know the difference between the Scandinavian
Jorge - MOB 47 is my favorite band but I'm sure there are a lot of great
bands that I don't know about and are not as popular as MOB 47, Skitlickers
Whatís the best and whatís the worst of being in a punk rock band?
-Keisuke - The best: people I have met in the punk scenes are very
thoughtful, kind, and there is positive energy. the worst: usually shows are
not very entertaining.
Travis - The best: the people we get to meet. The worst: the occasional
idiot and sometimes the overuse of alcohol and/or drugs. 90% of my friends
that have died have been drug related. Itís kinda depressing.
Jorge - The best, to be grateful for all the people that helps you out, to
be able to meet them and to thank them for all they do, all the people that
sets the shows up the ones that let you sleep at their house and share their
food with you, meet their families and friends, all the positive energy on
the crows. The worst, sexist-racist-trouble makers and injured people on the
shows, and having the venue owner shot the power down before
How would you describe your music in three words?
-Keisuke - filthy, unsophisticated, punk
Travis - generic 80ís anarcho punk
Jorge - muy chido punk
Which type of people comes to your concerts?
Travis:punks and drunks
Jorge - Our wives, our brothers in law sometimes my nephews and a few punks
, people from other bands, not many people locally, but if we play outside
Salt Lake City our shows can be pretty crazy and all kind of people will
come over, punks/metals darks/skins/xedgesx/hard core kids, its actually
nice to see all kind of people when we play out of town.
Which type of people do you miss on your concerts?
-Keisuke -hot females, rich old men
Travis - wow, after Keisukeís answer, I donít know what to say. It is true,
not a lot of rich old men come to our shows
Jorge - my mother for sure, old friends that used to come to our shows and a
couple of friends that are not longer with us, they are in a better place I
When you do a song, which is most important, is it to have a good
lyrics, a good melody or to have a refrain that people remembers?
-Travis - We write the music first, so if we donít end up liking the song,
usually doesnít get lyrics and dies a quick death. We have never tried to
make our songs catchy or make our lyrics memorable. Itís more like trying to
make the song as a whole convey a passion and emotion.
Jorge - I love the music, the melody I really don't care I'm a pretty rough
singer and I don't have a nice voice, the songs are great but for me lyrics
are important more than the music.
Politics and music, does it go hand in hand?
-Travis - To us? Yes. To the rest of the world? No, not at all
Best political band/artist?
-Keisuke - Behind Enemy Lines
Travis - Too many to list really and I hate to play favourites.
Jorge - Same as Travis but I love Aus-rotten, Desobediencia civil and Fallas
del sistema from Mexico, Apatia NO (Venezuela) etc.
Please rank your five favourite records , five favourite concerts and five
most important things in life?
-Travis - favourite records. Dead Silence - any, CCM - Into the Void,
Anti-Cimex - Victim of a Bomb Raid, Rhythm Pigs - American Activity,
Crucifix - Dehumanization Favorite
Concerts - Dead Silence in Rapid City, Los Crudos / Huasipungo show, any
show in Provo with the Provo hardcore kids!, Play Fast or Donít Fest in
Czech Republic, Behind Enemy Lines and P4 in Dijon France
important things in life - friends/family, life and respect for all living
Jorge - records, it really is hard to say Peggio Punx 7" La mia vita
Desobediencia civil LP/cd All systems fail LP s/t (I love that record)
Mob 47 first 7" and maybe the new band Asesinators (Denmark) 7"
Concerts: Mano negra in Mexico city, Pekatralatak last show dyon, Los crudos
in Chicago, Apatia no Mexico city and the Provo show last year.
Important thing in life: my wife (she is the best) my family (cats included)
my friends our music and being healthy (I'm getting fat and I need to loose
First, last and most expensive record ever bought?
-Keisuke - First: "Moral" by BOOWY, Last: "Give it up or turn it loose" by
JAMES BROWN Most expensive record: Metallica's box set
Travis - First: ďThis Side UpĒ by SCREAM, Last: MYTH OF PROGRESS 12Ē, Most
Expensive: ďGetting Shit for Growing UpĒ 7Ē ($20)
Jorge - first Mexicopilacion (a compilation with Mexican bands but it was a
tape) Last not sure because we just tour and brought a few records back, and
most expensive from Ashes Rise firts 7" $40 dls I bought it for a good
friend that gave us food and a place to sleep. I guess it was too much and I
kind of feel embarrassed about telling it.
Most embarrassing record in your collection?
-Keisuke - Boston's First Album. Though Boston is a good band
Travis - Billy Idolís White Wedding 12Ē
Jorge - Lupita Dalesio (pop Mexican 80s singer) record is good thought
The record you bought for the cover and become so dissatisfied with?
-Travis - Iím pretty sure I did this as a kid but I canít remember any of
How is it to live in USA otherwise, I mean politically?
-Keisuke - I am not very political person. America is generous, strong,
sloppy, mean, friendly, lovely, hateful, big, fat, entertaining, stupid,
open minded, etc, and people like guns. Foods are not very good. People are
very generous. I like some Americans, hate some Americans. I can't explain
well why I live in this country, but I used to dislike U.S., and I like
U.S., now. Not politically thought. I hate guns. But I don't think
America is gonna solve the problems with guns. There are so many "The
Best", and "The Worst" in this country. There is very short history of
America so I think that people are open minded for other cultures. It is
very good point. "Bigger is Better" is right in so many situation. Well, I
cannot explain this country. I am sorry. Anyway, I love living in America,
and this is my second home. I appreciate America from my heart for what
America has given to me. Thank you America.
Travis - Considering that I was born and raised in the US. The political
situation here is normal to me. I find it completely odd that the US is so
conservative and religious in itís politics considering that I donít really
know any like that personally. Most western European countries seem like
liberal utopians in comparison.
Jorge - Same fucking bullshit, I moved here from Mexico because I just
couldn't deal with the crisis, corruption, authority, violence, ignorance,
repression, poverty, xenophobia, racism, and the fucking government that
keeps Mexicans oppressed and trouble minded, now leaving in the USA makes me
deal with racism xenophobia, ignorance,corruption WAR WAR WAR fucking
president genocide, terrorism from the US to other countries. I'm an
immigrant and most of my family are illegal aliens and the discrimination
against us for being latino affects me directly, so many laws they pass
every day to keep the immigrants scare living on the shadows, the way how
government deals with this problems makes me very angry, they think they
know what is best for the USA but the real answer is that if they don't find
a solution soon they will face a bigger problem in the
future, all this bullshit, affects me but as I said before, punk has help me
to survive, to see things different to be able to escape from all the
reality but not ignoring it, keeping my eyes open and my back covered,
screaming my inconformity.
What do you think about the government?
-Travis - I donít think much about it. I like to keep myself informed and
keep politics in the forefront in my life and how I live it but I also
prefer to live my life as if there was no government. Do as much for myself
as I can
Jorge - bad bad bad, government is supposed to do best for the people,
instead, it just kills, censures, oppress, and destroys all human rights.
Before many american punk band sounded hardcore as you, but nowadays USA
have got a load of good pop punk bands, how come? And what do you like the
new pop punk bands?
-Travis - most of us grew up in the time that US punk bands were very
hardcore and political. Pop Punk got bought up in the 90ís and I think a lot
of the bands from the US that get heard in Europe are those bigger pop punk
bands with big labels behind them. There are still more hardcore bands but
they just donít get out to the rest of the world.
I understand that you being compared to other bands , which are those
-Travis - Well... most of the comparisons are fairly obvious but some of
them donít make that much sense. We get compared to Aus Rotten but
personally I donít see it. Sure, Rich used to play with them back in the day
but his drumming has changed enough that even that shouldnít make us sound
like them. Most of the bands that we get compared to only fit us generally.
We play a very specific style of punk and any band that has played or does
play in the same style probably sounds like us.
Do you care about reviews? Which do you trust the most, the good or the
-Keisuke - I don't care.
Travis - I prefer a review that is not all good or all bad. Criticism is
good and is needed. If a review is too glowing or is just trash talk, then
it is useless to the band or to someone who is trying to figure out what the
band is about or sounds like.
Which are the most peculiar you have got?
-Travis - Well... All Systems Fail hasnít received any really bad ones or
weird ones. I know Dr. Strange had one that was pretty bad but I donít have
the actually review but they just trashed the whole style of music that we
play but not us in particular. An old band that I used to play with had a 7Ē
review that talked about how their kid liked to eat peanut butter sandwiches
and it was in Profane Existence!
Which is the biggest band you have been a support act to and which is
the biggest one you have had as a support act?
-Travis - Well, weíve played with a lot of the bigger old UK bands like
Subhumans, Conflict, Blitz but in the end, I donít think we really care
about this sort of thing.
Jorge - Biggest? I say Behind Enemy lines, Subhumans,Tragedy? but I don't
know if I should say Conflict, I really think Conflict are very important
for the punk scene.
Biggest audience, in Mexico city with Apatia NO something between 600 to 900
people and the play fast or don't fest in Czech rep, more that a thousand
for sure, crazy show.
Future plans for the band?
-Travis - Some more tours, some more records, meet more interesting people,
stir up some shit, the usual
For yourself as a human being?
-Travis - Not have to work so much, have more time being creative, try to
travel and go camping more, and continue trying to improve myself and live
my ideals more completely.
Keisuke - My goal is to do something beneficial for all livings before I
Jorge - Get a different job, lab technician can be dirty, is not my dream
job. Be happy with my wife, family and friends, also a kid will be nice.
loose weight and bee healthy.
-Keisuke - Shogyo Mujo (Everything is impermanent). A Japanese old
precept?Travis - Mine is very much like Keisukeís, ďNot even the Mountains
Something to add?
-Keisuke - I am not a person of anti-anything. I believe that anti-something
cause a conflict. I sometimes feel that some punks are looking for something
to attack or against something. I don't say it is good or bad,
but I am not one of them.
Travis - One of my major issues right now is that a lot of the politics of
punk are based from living a comfortable life. As a long time vegetarian, it
is easy for me to talk down on people who eat meat but what about the poor
family in a poor country that is happy to eat anything? Am I to tell them
that what they are doing is wrong? A lot of our political stances are too
easy because our lives are filled with comfort and luxury at least compared
to the vast majority of the world. This has been really getting to me lately
though I havenít been able to work through it and come up with any answers.