Antisect is one of the best anarchobands around from the 80´s I think and they have released new material now and I really wanted an interview with them so here it is. February 2017. It´s Pete who is answering the questions
How many of the old members are still left in the group? Please tell me a little about every member of the group today?
-Well, I'm pretty sure that most people who have followed us know by now that Antisect has always had something of a fluid membership. Our current lineup consists of Joe Burwood on drums, who's been with us for the past 6 years, John Bryson on bass, who was originally in the band in the mid 80's and played and sang on one side of the "Out From the Void" EP, and myself.
Have you been playing all the time or have it been a long break?
-The last lineup split in 1987 as most of us began to go our seperate ways. We reformed in 2011.
Your new song Black seems to be a lot heavier than it was before? How come?
-Maybe for those who's experience of us ends in 1984 it does, but after the first LP we became heavier as time went on and it seems that's just now what naturally comes out. We didn't "decide" to be heavier. We just progressed that way. I doubt that most people who have seen or heard us since 2011 would have been too surprised at how "Black" sounds. Of course there are always going to be the ones who think we should stay sounding like we did 30 odd years ago, but that just seems ridiculous to us. We move on, and it's right that our output reflects that rather than trying to be something we're not.
Are you still think you´re a punk band? Because you were involved in the anarchopunk "movement" before?
-The thing here is that really I prefer not to get too associated with any kind of label, whether that's "punk", "anarcho", "metal" or whatever. The problem I have with it is that it brings along too many preconceptions of whatever that thing might be. I.e. If you're a "punk" band you must do this, if you're an"anarcho" band you must be like this, etc. etc. I've said it before, but at the end of the day it's just fucking noise isn't it. You either like it or you don't. Basically, we are a rock band aren't we? Albeit a rock band with a political stance and roots in what we call the "punk" movement.
Are you playing a lot live now? Where is best and where is worst?
-We don't play too often. Mainly because of the outside commitments we all have. Consequently a lot of our shows have been restricted to festivals and one-off events. Best and worse? It doesn't really come into it for us. We've had positive experiences everywhere we've been.
Have you been much abroad and played through the times?
-Not really sure what you mean here, but we've all travelled. Particularly in relation to the band. Personally, I fucking love to travel. I love experiencing new things and meeting and communicating with new people. Being in different places around the world has taught me a lot. Not that you have to be somewhere to understand what it's like there, but it definitely helps.
What does punk mean to you, is it only a word or is it a lifestyle?
-It's a word. It's just a fucking word. And let's be honest, none of us invented it, so why should we feel so strongly about claiming it? I get that it has a meaning for a lot of people, and that meaning became a kind of lifestyle, but too often it seems like we are expected to then live our lives governed by the parameters we see as being "punk". I don't go along with that. I choose what I want to do based on my own thoughts and feelings at the time, not any self imposed lifestyle label that may look like it fits the bill. I'm guilty of occasionally using the term "punk" to describe some things in their broadest sense but really my understanding of it is that it's a term we shouldn't get too one dimensional or precious about. There are more important things that could occupy our minds.
I read today about some punk people who have been millionaires on their music, how about that, is it right or wrong to earn so much music on punk?
-Well, I suppose I have to point you to the answer above. What is "punk" and who are "punk people"? Why might they consider themselves as being "punk" and what is it that motivates them? And also the question would then have to be asked that does this mean that people who think of themselves as "punk" should not become millionaires? If so, then what is the "punk" rule here? And how much should "punk people" be allowed to earn before they are considered to have broken it? And over what period of time? Do they consider themselves "punk people"? If not, who decides whether they are "punk" or not? Is there a commitee somewhere? And would it be ok for them to be millionaires on the back of their music if they weren't "punk"? The whole scenario has so many flaws and contradictions it's kind of worthless trying to examine it like that. What I would say, and this doesn't really apply to the millionaires amongst us, is that I don't believe it's wrong for someone to attempt to make as much money back from their music as what they have laid out in the first place. The buying of instruments, amps, the cost of rehearsing their shit, the cost of recording stuff, of getting to and from their gigs, the amount of strings and sticks they will have bought through the years. Very few bands, "punk" or otherwise will ever make that money back. And I speak from first hand experience of both running an independent music studio in London for the past 20 years and being in this band myself.
So, I guess the short answer to your question might be - Is it right or wrong for anyone to become millionaires on the strength of what they do? And, if we should decide to judge them, do we not need the knowledge of what it's cost them to get there in order to accurately do the sums?
What's the biggest difference of playing today if you compare with the 80's?
-In all honesty there doesn't seem to be an awful lot of difference in a lot of the shows themselves. We have found ourselves playing at one or two different types of events from those we did before though, which has been an interesting way of presenting the politics of the band to a different audience. Probably the biggest difference overall has been the desire to make sure we get a decent bed for the night these days. Our days of being able to wake up refreshed after a night on a couple of mattresses on a squat floor are well and truly behind us.
When you play out, how does the audience look like, ages?, punks? metalheads?
-It's still predominantly a "punk" type audience, though as fashions and trends have changed through the years it's perhaps not so easy to figure out what people are into purely by the way they look these days. Age wise it seems like a pretty wide cross section of people. I've spoken to more than a few who weren't born when we were on the scene the first time round, which is a bit of a head fuck, for both of us.
Your lyrics today, is it any other things you write about today if you compare when you started to play?
-The things I write about are the things that most strongly occupy my mind. It's always been that way. There is of course a personal side apart from the more political nature of most of it, and some of this has found its way into the writing on the new LP. If there is a difference between what I write now and what I wrote then, it's probably that these days I'm much more aware of the need to relate my arguments in a less confrontational way. Sure, I get just as angry and fucked off as I used to, but now the value of searching for ways to communicate with people who view things differently is much more to the forefront of what I do.
How is it to live in England today? What's the best and what's the worst of living there?
-Well, as we all know, England is part of a small island on the edge of Europe. And in many ways its population reflects its geographical location. We've seen recently the extent of feeling that a whole bunch of its people have for the political direction a lot of the rest of Europe has been taking. And the ugly side of that has been the unveiling of an undercurrent of racial intolerance. There also seems to be the feeling, particularly amongst the older generation, that the country has been losing its identity and sense of self governance. For me, the influence of the right wing side of the media is a concern because its dominance appears to direct the mindset of such an increasingly large bunch of people.
It also rains too fucking much.
What do you think about Trump as the president? Does it says everything about USA or what do you say?
-I think he's a lying, racist, misogynist, arsehole. What Trump has done is said the right things and pressed the right buttons for a whole bunch of the american population that have felt increasingly fucked over by the workings of mainstream politics. The thing is, it's the attitudes and actions of people like Trump who have fucked them over in the first place. I've spent a fair amount of time in the USA and been lucky enough to meet some truly great people there so I'm not sure the election of Trump says anything different about those who live there than those who live in other parts of the world. I wouldn't exactly describe the policies of the UK government for example as being particularly beneficial to creating a better world for everyone. It's the same crock of shit the world over. People vote for the lesser of the perceived evils that are offered to them. For all his bluster and big talk, if he's not already, Trump will sooner rather than later become just another puppet of the people who really call the shots.
Politics and music, does it goes hand in hand?
-It can do. I don't see anything wrong with simply making music either though. Not everything has to be political. There are plenty of times when I just want to be transported away by something I just love the sound of. And that doesn't always, in fact it rarely, has an overt political meaning. There's also an argument that says all music or art is political in some sense. Not sure we need to get into that one here though...
Best political band?
-Hmm! I dunno. Again, I suppose it depends what you're calling "political". And it also depends what you mean by "best". After all, it's not really a competition, is it? For me, and as far as outright political bands go and although I rarely listen to them nowadays, Crass undoubtably had the biggest influence. I know they've had their disagreements since they split, but while they were together the sense of "fuck yeah, we can do it" they offered me has not been matched by anyone since.
Which is your most frequent asked song to play live from the audience?
-With the way we play our set I'm not sure we really give the audience a chance to ask for any songs in particular. Once we start it's pretty full on. We don't tend to stop until we've finished.
Which is your personal favorite to play?
-I go through phases with stuff. Usually, the newer stuff tends to be the most exciting to play, but there's also something about the brutal simplicity of a track like "Tortured and Abused" that I really like.
Do you do any covers live? Why or why not?
We rehearsed a couple a while back but to be honest what we do doesn't really accommodate that kind of thing. Never say never though...
What do you know about Sweden? What is typical swedish?
-Well, we've played in Sweden twice now, plus the aborted time at Hygget where I ended up in hospital. I kinda like it, and have met some very cool people there but it's very difficult to get any real feel for a country as a whole when you're only there for a few days at a time. Typical Swedish? I dunno. Absolut Vodka? The Swedish Chef from the Muppets?
Have you heard any good swedish bands?
You say that you will release the new album only on You Tube, am I right? Why not physical?
-No. We haven't said that. It will be available on vinyl and cd.
Many bands feel that they haven't done a record for real if they don't give it out physcially, you don't feel so?
-I guess that matters for some people then. Though I'd have to ask what's a "real" record and what is the reason for recording something in the first place? If a band wants to get its music out there then it seems to me that an online release is the easiest way to do it. Aside from the recording costs, there need be little or no other expenditure involved in doing it that way. I guess that some people might feel that having a physical release in some way validates their band but to me all that says is that they, or someone, has invested the resources to do it that way. Of course people like to have something physical in their hands and not everyone has access to the internet, so I do understand there are other reasons for a physical release, but I don't believe it's essential and I don't believe that an online release is in any way less "real". What's real is the music, not the medium used to convey it.
Future plans for the band?
-Well, the immediate thing is to get this LP finished and out there. It's taken a long time, we know, and there have been lots of different circumstances around why, but it's nearing completion now and it'll be nice to finally get there with it. As for anything else, as we said when we first reformed, the outside responsibilities that we have nowadays sometimes determine what we can and can't do, so we kinda take it bit by bit and figure things out as we go.
To find the time to finally get around to rewiring my motorbike.
-More of a phrase than a word, but "Believe in ourselves and each other".
Something to add?
-Anything is possible
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