Dead City Radio comes from Austria and they plays a really good sort of Rancid-influenced punkrock without sounding like them. Understand? Fuck the same…read the interview instead.. july-2015

 

Please tell me a little bit history of the group?

-Dr. Death and me founded our first band in 2006. It was called "Officer Friendly". I had played before in a SKA-Punk band called "Reconfused". OF was then split up due to personal differences, ie. concerning the aims of the band. So we decided that we didnīt want to be detained anymore by our own bandmembers and formed Dead City Radio in 2012.

 

 

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

-Haha, cool - well letīs do this in a chronological and ordered way:

Alex Alert (me, vox., guit.): will be 30 this August, married, work in a boring office at the moment (where I do most of the stuff concerning the band as songwriting and booking etc., haha). Besides music and touring I dedicate my spare-time to Muay Thai and Alcoholism :) - well the last thing might be the bad characteristic about my personality... At least my wife says so, haha
Dr. Death (drums) - age 26, will get married this November, works as an high-voltage-electrician. Has an affectation to cars and loves to tune and stuff. The bad thing about him is that he listens way too much Metal, hehe

Rid-C (bass, backing vox.) - age 29, has a girlfriend. Currently studiyng again, has a technical education. Definitely skateboarding and snowboarding and stuff like that. The only bad thing I can tell about him is that sometimes he is a little... you know... slow in terms of comprehension. I mean very very slow!

Weird-L (guit. backing vox.) - age 22, single (wuhuhuuu), studies sound-engineering. Likes basketball and booze. Complains too much about things...

 

I think I can hear both Rancid and some old  punkrock in your music.. Am I right? Favorites from the past?

-Yeah, Rancid had definitely a huge influence for my personal understanding of punkrock. Even if I see the whole thing more critically now. You know, the last 2 records werenīt that great and live definitely from the name "Rancid" (any other unknown band releasing those albums wouldnīt have made it very far). And currently Iīm not really good with the patriotic stuff they write and say currently. And not to forget Frederiksen with his Old Firm Casuals. They have no problem at all appearing in Germany along with certain Skinheadbands that can be counted to the right-wing. Concerning old punkrock I can say that we love to keep punkrock straight. We reduce it to what it should be. Loud, aggressive, provocative, and to be seen as the discontent voice of the humble people.

A lot of influence comes from US bands of the 90s, especially the uptempo stuff. German punkrock - generally said - never came up with such creativity and quality-music as those bands (of course there are exceptions).

 

Dead City Radio, who came up with the name, are you satisfied with it? You werentīafraid that not any other band who had that name, or something similar?? Which is the best bandname you know?

 

-I think the name was my idea. Well, I donīt know if there is any other band carrying this name, I guess there are several ones, we donīt care. In our case it relates to our town. We are located in St. Pölten, which is a small town, about 60km from Vienna. This is why we share the same fate as any town in the surrounding of a metropolis. Active people leave - what stays is a dead city. We decided to focus our activity here, so we are kind of the remaining sound of the city haha.

Before choosing the bandname "Officer Friendly" we thought about "Alex and the Mass Turbators" ... You understand? Turbo and Masturbation... Haha... not that funny actually, however...

 

Whatīs the best thing with playing live? And whatīs the difference of playing now and when you started to play?

-Well, to me of course the response of the crowd. When you see you got into the right place, where people understand your message and your music and you feel welcome and appreciated - which is not always the case! I love small venues with no, or a small stage. I love the heat, the sweat and the rough contact with the audience. I love being hit the 50th time by the microphone and to have my lips bleeding.

Of course I know all of this goes on cost of the sound-quality. This is why me and Dr. Death argue sometimes, īcause he loves sterile sound, playing in time and is more about perfection - which is cool as well! In the end itīs the mix of those 2 aspects which defines our shows.

Concerning the differences from then and now... Of course we enter the stage more self-confident, do less mistakes and interacting with the crowd is easier... Maybe we do some more headliner shows as we used to, I really donīt know. The good thing is that after all the long time there is still no routine. We love the crowd, the circumstances being unpredictable and acting according to it.

Personally, I can say that nowadays I donīt fall off stage that frequently anymore!

 

And where is best to play? Is there any place you really hate to play?

-One of the best shows up to now was probably our record release show in Gießen (GER) at the AK44. We opened for Obtrusive and Toxoplasma and people went absolutely nuts! When we started to play one girl immediately entered the stage and threw herself into the drumkit and destroyed it all! Which caused that we had to re-soundcheck and everything!

Another killer show was at The Corner House in Cambridge (UK). As I told you I love - there was no stage at all and the location was stuffed! It was our first show ever there, but people welcomed us so hearty! They knew our songs, they knew the words and grabbed the mic from time to time. Circle pits, beer showers... They even built a human pyramid! To me, this show was an absolute highlight!

There were no places we actually hated to play. Of course, at some spots you feel more comfy, in some donīt. But places we hate, we just donīt play, thatīs it. Sometimes - really not often - we reject offers. But that occurs very very few times because usually people who ask us to play know who we are and where we stand, as we have an open and clear position to certain things.

 

How is it to play this sort of music in Austria?

-Well, difficult of course. We are definitely more appreciated abroad. Hardcore punk works in Germany, Italy and almost anywhere in eastern Europe.
But austrian people are not that party boys and girls, especially in Vienna. The scene is very very small and still very apart (you know the entire story about old punx vs. vegan straight-edge kids, hardcore-punx vs. skins, squatters vs. working class heroes and so on...). We are not into this at all, but for promoters and venues this lack of unity and tolerance within the subcultural movements makes it really hard to motivate people to come out to the shows. And when they come, most likely they rather listen to the music than party hard, and afterwards they discuss with you the politically incorrect stuff you said between the songs.

 

How would you describe your music in three words?

-PUNK AS FUCK - what else ;)

 

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

-I think the question of punk being reduced to a lifestyle has resolved itself, as punk isnīt that popular anymore as it was around the late 90s and early 2000, when the funpunks invaded the radio and made all the kids around the globe compete in spiking their hair.

Of course to me it meant way more than that. Punkrock defined my way of thinking and made me develop to a rational, free thinking, fun loving and sane person. But I doubt there are still kids out there pretending to be cooler Punx than others, because it just isnīt cool anymore at all, haha.

 

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

-Ambivalent. As any innovation in the music-market, the first ones to profit are the mainstream artists and labels (even if they donīt want to admit it). But of course there is just no way to regulate all of this, as technology is always faster than the law. Is downloading stealing? Probably... Are major label-deals slavery? Definitely! Should an artist be able to live from what he/she does up to a certain standard without keeping head over water with 2 side-jobs? The answer is yes! But music is as any other industry, and the repartition of fame, success and income is very unequal.

To me personally, all of that means very few. I knew from the start that it is absolutely impossible, coming from Austria and playing political hardcore punk, to make loads of money. We try to keep income and costs equal, which sometimes works, sometimes not.

Hours after our record release of "Anti-Anthems" I found it for illegal download in various websites. I donīt care... My words are free and I appreciate if anyone listens to them. Of course more appreciated is supporting the scene - also financially.

 

How is it to live in Austria now? Politically?

-Very tough, due to a mixture of various circumstances. The general government of Austria always used to be a majority of social-democrats in coalition with a smaller part of christian-conservatives and a smaller opposition from far right to green and far left.

But the government recently failed in various aspects, ignored the peoples voices and let it show more obvious that they are only interested in their government-jobs. There is very few innovation and answers to certain questions, while austria has the highest taxation of work and service in the European Union (up to 43%). Of course people went discontent and voters went generally right wing, which made the easiest promises - you know the classics - no foreigners, no refugees, no taxes, jobs for everyone (only for our people of course), no European Union etc. (although any dickhead knows there is just no way to fulfill them).

A special thing you have to know about Austria is, that the right wing is not an undefined collective of splittered groups and parties, such as in other countries. The whole right wing in Austria (beginning with the moderate conservative right to the dangerous violent national-socialistic wing) is accumulated in only one party, which gains 100% of the right wing-votes.

This, in combination of the recent hype about the whole refugee and migration thing drives people into the arms of these rat-catchers. People donīt seem to care that much about the lack of solution the party can offer them, but during the last 5 years there has been a significant turn towards right, and the party can gain about 30% of the votes. This goes so far, that in certain federal states the social-democrats were prepared to do coalition with them.

Well, after all it is also the fault of the big parties, how have failed their tasks massively and had lacked in resolve social questions. And it is impossible to find a short-term recipe against stupidity.

So it is - once again - the duty of the general public to set initiatives, show solidarity and support and act against ignorance and fear.

 

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

-Of course we have got high quality music and very dedicated people and musicians. By now, I guess the best-known punkrock act from Austria might be ASTPAI. The last 3 or 4 years they were touring their asses off, releasing record after record and playing the whole globe. Zock, the singer, has a small appearance in our album on "Management Youth" - also in the video.

But there are a lot of other bands we love and cooperate a lot with, such as The Zsa Zsa Gabors, which are located in our hometown St. Pölten as well. They are more about 77-PunkīnīRoll, nice and tight. Another great act, both concerning music, personal and politics are Missstand. They play fast and straight-forward german punk.

As I told you before, the scene is not very big and currently there is a lot of in-fighting within the specific groups. We donīt want to be part of this, but we do feel certain rejection for example for being a political band. I personally feel very sad about this because in other towns and countries I saw how cool a movement can develop if the people just stick together and forget about their small differences.

 

What do you know about Sweden?

-Regrettably, I have never been to Sweden, or Scandinavia at all. But I know that when I get there, the most important spot to go is Systembolaget! The only phrase I know in Swedish is "Vi begära alltid öppet Systembolaget"! I hope it is correct this way haha!

I know you guys love to give names to your furniture and to build it together by yourselves and force the whole world to do so as well!

Further, I know that in Sweden, the common family-constellation consists in a very tough and strong girl, a horse and a monkey. Well, and of course I know the common clichés, like the Swedish are perfectionists, the best drivers and sexually very open-minded, hehe! And, Swedish people coming to Austria for holiday are drunk 24-7, which is cool! Seriously talking, Sweden is very high on top of my list of places I still want to visit. Nice landscape, interesting history, good music and nice people (at least the Swedish people I have met so far)!

 

Have you heard any good bands from Sweden?

-The best hardcore punk act from Sweden is a female fronted band called Roxette! Haha!

Of course I know some killer acts from Sweden! Some years ago we did a festival in Vienna with Twopointeight, I think they were from Stockholm. Do they still exist?

Further, I of course I used to listen a lot to Bombshell Rocks, Randy, Millencolin, the Hives aaaand, I almost ejaculated when I read about the Refused-reunion! I know a lot of people (especially Refused themselves) donīt like to hear that, but I never really liked The International Noise Conspiracy. To me, they never came up to the level of Refused! The new album kills it absolutely! In October they come to Vienna, along with Rise Against! Guess who got tickets :) Well, and last but not least, I can say that my all-time-favorite band from Sweden might be Asta Kask. I understand very few what they sing, but I love the melodies, I love the music and the band as a whole! To me, they are one of the few bands I can listen to in any personal situation and never bore myself!

 

Your lyrics, who does them and what influences you?  Both English and German?

-All the lyrics are written by me. So is most of the music. Most of the lyrics are in English, sometimes I write in German or Spanish, that depends on how the music and lyrics fit together. Our main influence are political thinking and social critics. The topics are of course working class struggle, antifascism, religion, human & animal rights, just to mention a few. But we donīt want to be mistaken as serious, fun-rejecting bores. We love fun, we love to party - but we chose punkrock as our way of life. As accepted as punk might be in 2015, to us it still means to put a counterpart to the normative society and to speak about inconvenient things, sometimes in an even more inconvenient way - aggressive and not always politically correct.

 

Is there any subject that you never will write anything about?

-I guess you refer to the solo record I sent you, haha. Yes, I would never write anything about love. In my opinion, lovesongs are the most primitive kind of music. And there are very very few performers that can do lovesongs without making themselves ridiculous and sounding like pathetic fools. 

But donīt get me wrong.. According to me, in a perfect world every song should be a Love Song. But as long as people have to confront (class) war, social injustice, fascist tendencies and racist prejudice, they will have to struggle for way more than conquering their only true love...

Till then, Love Songs and their entirely repetitive canon-phrases are nothing more than instrumentalized hypnotization figured out to focus our pain and suffering, our joy and madness on some artificially created and hyped feeling...

 

Politic and music, does it goes hand in hand?

To me, it absolutely does. A very famous German songwriter, called Rio Reiser, once said that the sung word is a thousand times stronger than the spoken one.

Every movement had its songs and its music style. It has not to be even the music or the lyrics, which has to be political detail. But the persons who play the music, or the style itself to be a company to a certain movement. Such as swing was revolutionary in Germany in the 30s.

And I think artists as a whole have got to give some kind of statement as they have a big platform and  the power to spread their thoughts further than other people, which implies a big responsibility. To be honest, I disrespect these kind of people who are radically unpolitical, as a reactionary response to the people in the movement. I am ok with people who see less social responsibility in their way of life than others - this is personal choice -, but being actively against political thinking is nothing more than being a moron... I mean, if you donīt like the people and their thinking, then get the fuck out of here and go to the disco or anywhere else but hands off our subculture and our music! My opinion...

 

Best political band/artist?

-Uh, there are so many of them. I personally love Bad Religion. They probably wrote the most intelligent lyrics ever, and the way they perform it is just tremendous. Although I understand that this highly philosophical way of writing political songs might not be everyoneīs choice.

Another great act is Propagandhi. Their lyrics go straight to the point, always in an offensive and ironic way, and their style of playing music is so extremely creative and makes them so unique compared to other punkrock, hardcore or metal-acts.

 

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

-Well, I donīt think that anyone in this world changed his or her life after listening to a DCR-record. But speaking in long-term, music is and has always been an excellent way to transport messages, ideas and thoughts to people.

This is exactly the point why I hate lovesongs and mainstream-music. Because as they have absolutely nothing important to say, they take the potential and the power music got, and waste it for irrelevant information or even commercials.

Not every song has to be obligatory a call for revolt and revolution, but this is, in my eyes, abuse of power.

 

First record, last record and the most expensive record ever bought?

-The first record I bought myself when I was 12 or 13 (from my pocket money, haha) was Pennywiseīs Straight Ahead (CD) and from the first beat on I was impressed by those incredibly fast-driven drums and couldnīt believe music could be played in that speed!!!

I think the last record I purchased was the re-release of a german punk classic on transparent vinyl: Knochenfabrikīs Ameisenstaat

The most expensive one might have been an original pressing of Billy Braggīs EP called "life is a riot with spy vs. spy". I bought it for about 30€. On the record itself it says something like "donīt pay more than 3 Ģ"

 

Is it important for you to get out your records physical also? New stuff on itīs way? Label?

-Of course! Most of us in the band love to buy and collect vinyl. Itīs just another feeling to have the disc in your hand, put it on the turntable, open a beer and checking out the artwork and liner-notes while listening! This is why we want our records to be released on vinyl!

And we are glad to have found a label which supports those ideas. Anti-Anthems was released through the German label Maniac-Attack Records - which is driven by people around Pestpocken and dedicates itself mostly to political hardcorepunk -  in cooperation with Riot-Records.

As they themselves are not that fans of CDs, they came up with the idea to add a free-download-card to the record, which i find really cool. But as there are still people that just donīt have any need for vinyl, we extended this idea and released an Anti-Anthems album-shirt. It comes along with a free album-download as well, which means, by buying the shirt, you get the whole album for free... Or the other way round, as you want :)

Currently, we are in a writing-progress. As I had mentioned before, we had a little change in the lead-guitar and it took some time to practise the whole set together. But by now it works out fine and we are working on new stuff, hopefully to be recorded soon!

 

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

-In the last years there was happening so much... Most things are actually more funny seen from now, looking back at them. At the actual point when they were happening it was more fucked up haha. In the UK for example, our van broke down on the motorway at 2 or 3 am! And nobody would help us anyway, so we stayed there beside the motorway until 11 am!!! But in the end it was a funny night. I had 23 beers, we arrived to the place we were supposed to spend the night at 2 pm, slept about 1 or 2 hours and off the journey went again haha!

 

How does your audience look like? Which people do you miss on your concerts?

-The people who visit our concerts are quite different, concerning age, subcultural background and stuff...We have the punx with all the spikes and stuff, squatters, we got hardcore-kids, from time to time some skins, and of course normal-looking people...

I noticed, that, playing in eastern Austria, our audience generally seems to be older than us. Which is cool at one point as they come around because they appreciate the music. On the other hand, of course I miss the young punx, as they are more motivated to mosh around.

 

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

-Uh, thats a really tough question, you know...

Well, some all time favorites might be Rasta Knast - Bandera Pirata, Rejected Youth - Angry Kids, Bad Religion - Everything except Into the Unknown, Leftöver Crack - Fuck World Trade, Sick of it All - Everything

To rank my favorite concerts is absolutely impossible, as I have been to so much shows the last 15 years... There were some highlights like Bad Religion or Rancid open air in Vienna. Rancid was in 2012 and they hadnīt appeared in Austria since 1993! That was their first tour in Europe I think and in Vienna that time they played in a squat in front of 20 people or so!

The hardest-moshing people I ever saw was at Sick of it All in Budapest. There was absolutely no remedy, you had to mosh whether you wanted or not - just for self-defence haha!

A very special and very sympathic show was an Anti-Flag acoustic in 2008. The students had taken the university in Vienna for several weeks because they were discontent with their conditions. Anti Flag had a tourstop in Vienna for a sold out show. But before that, they passed by and did an acoustic set for the squatting students, for free of course. This was a very fine thing to do...

Itīs very hard to mention the most important things in life, as everybody has different aims... To me personally, itīs maybe integrity and credibility. We work hard to keep something like a local punkrock-scene alive, give a lot of personal effort and even money just to get some movement into our town... To me, that means a lot.

 

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

-Of course itīs not boring. I do my best to answer precisely but keep it short anyway... We do interviews when we are asked to. But it doesnīt bore me at all. If it would, I wouldnīt do them. This is not my job and I am glad some people want to know and read about DCR and ask some more specific questions.

 

Please ask the questions you never get but you want to have, ask it and answer it?

-If you could choose a superpower, would you rather take flying or invisibilty? ... Uuuhh, too hard to decide between those 2, really donīt know.

 

Futureplans for the band?

-I guess we will take the classic way... majorlabel-deal - 2 or 3 platina-records - about 10 years sold-out world tours - severe drug-addiction - financial problems - split because we canīt stand each other anymore - more financial problems - reunion after some years and another world tour, but with ticket-prices twice as high because now we are a legendary band... Haha!

 

For yourself?

-Nothing special.. I avoid making plans because I made the experience that I tend to focus so much on achieving something, that I lose the general overview and forget that my actual aim may not be that important anymore...

 

I think your cover on your CDs is really nice, who came up with the idea? Which is you favorite cover for a record, which band and which record?

-Thank you! It was a lot of effort, more than 15 hours work!!!
The artwork was designed by my wifeīs sister, and myself as an assistant. The woman on the cover is my wife. She is Mexican and in Mexico, this is the salute to the flag. School children do it everyday and for example the employees in the public sector as they sing the national anthem. Or the Mexican football team...

The idea behind it is of course, that by the means of mainstreaming and conformation, we hope to reach a certain anonymity. We feel more vulnerable as individuals because our weaknesses become more obvious, so we prefer to change our identity for anonymity, which automatically leads to ideas like nationalism, racism, religion and others...

The coolest cover artworks are probably done by Propagandhi. Supporting Caste for example... Really detailed and widespread. I could spend hours listening and watching it :)

 

Wisdomword?

-After all, I think invisibility is the better choice, because you can get flights for free... :)

 

Something to add?

-Well, thanks to you of course for your effort and your drawing attention to us! It has been a pleasure to know that our music made it to Sweden!

Kids in Sweden: Drugs are your friends, cops are not! And whatever your parents say - itīs not true! ;)

Skål :)