Spanish El Punto Devil is an interesting group which have members over the 30´s and then I´m impressed because I´m over 40´s. This interview was done in april 2009.
History about the group, you have been on the road for many years?
-The history of elpuntodevil was born, as almost all the projects in this life, in a bar. “El Señor X” and I (“El Doctor Arritmia”) have played together in a metalcore band in Barcelona called Arritmia. We played together several years and gave many concerts, and from the separation of the group we were clear about we would get back to the stages with something faster and more intense. Some years later, at the ending of 2003, we spoke to Armando, who had played the drums in a punk band called The Kagayons, to play with us. “El Camarada Sergei”, who was a listener of our radio program, joined us to play the bass. And that is how elpuntodevil started. We practised at a squad called Ateneu Popular de Vallcarca and there we started to compose the songs which would form our first record called “Uno Zero Uno”. We record it DIY in our rehearsal place in just a pair of days of the month of June 2006. After that we started to leave Barcelona to give some concerts throughout Spain. Two exact years later we entered in the Thraszone Studios in Barcelona to record our last work called “Aprendiendo A Morir”. We keep playing and presenting this new record throughout all the stages we are allowed to play at.
Please tell me a little about every member, age, family, work, interests and something bad about every one?
-On the guitars there is El Señor X. He takes charge of composing all of the songs. All the music you can listen comes from his hands. He is 35 and manages the concerts and moves our Myspace everywhere. On the bass there is El Camarada Sergei. He is the youngest one in the band, he is 25. On the drums there is Armando. He is 38 and he has got some troubles with justice on his shoulders, and we hope they do not lead him to spend a time in jail. And the screaming come from me, El Doctor Arritmia. I am 37. I am the only one in the band who does not live in Barcelona, because I have exiliated to the Pirineo mountains. I spend my time with the band, I manage a radio program in a free radio station, and I write. Right now I am writing my seventh book, a novel set in the Spanish Civil War in 1936.
Have it been changes in the line up through the years?
-No. We keep the lineup since the first day. For us, the human component is a very important detail in the band running. It is not an easy task to survive as a group, so our friendship is one of the most important foundations in its nature. If some day a member of the band decides to leave, he will be replaced, but we believe that when this happens, the nature of the band will be altered in one way or another. With the entrance of a new member, it is sure it would revitalize and give new nuance to the monster we created. Only time knows…
To play punk in Spain, how is that?
-Hard. Complicated. There is not, nor has ever been, a established scene. Each group works in a independent way. In the 80’s there was much more movement than now. In Euskal Herria arose hundreds of groups who played punk highly influenced by british punk. And in Catalonia also came to light bands who played punk at a higher speed. But all of this has been lost, and now it is very hard to gather a hundred people in a concert. There are still people who create collectives and go ahead with their work. But they are a few. We hope with the squad movement and a pair of halls recently open in Barcelona, the punk and the hardcore flourish again in our city.
I think you sound a little like italian old hardcoregroups like Wretched and old spanish groups like MG-15, what about that?
-Well, now that you mention, maybe it is possible there is a “latin” way to conceive the hardcore/punk. And we do thank you for comparing us to bands of such caliber. Actually our influences are quite unequal. We are mad about the 80’s hardcore. Bands like Poison Idea, HHH or Discharge. But we have grown up listening to Motörhead, Slayer or Sick Of It All, which may make our sound a bit more metal, without losing the punk and harcore roots nor the speed, which is what we listen the most. Nowadays we keep listening bands like Charles Bronson, JR Ewing, Ratos De Porâo or Spazz. And we keep trying to provide with energy and intensity our music.
What does punk mean to you, is it only a word or is it a lifestyle?
-Punk, there is no doubt about it, can only be understood as a way of life. But it is interesting and important at equal parts to not lose sight of the individual. The most important thing in this life is people. Now that everything around us is rotten, perhaps the only light we are able to cast is our own. That is why I think it is better that each being brings to life whatever he has to bring without having to support on labels which, almost certainly will end up betraying him. Punk can be adopted as the beginning of any rebelliousness movement, but the Revolution is carried out when leaving the uterus of any established movement. Punk Included.
What are your lyrics about?
-I am in charge of writing all the lyrics of the songs. And, though I am used to writing about the social problems around my own generation, the previous one and the forthcoming one, I prefer doing it speaking from the feelings. I think in hardcore and in punk this is a detail that is not taken into account quite often. I prefer focusing people’s attention in how those problems affect the individual rather than showing up a problem that I think all of us should assume as part of a rotten and perpetuated in time system.
Which is the most political song you have done?
-Almost all the lyrics have a emphasized political component on our last record. “Gaza (Las Manos Tan Sucias)” exposes the brutal continuous attack from Israel suffered by people who lives in Palestina, with the Europe and USA approval. “Viaje Hacia La Nada” speaks about the people who risk their life crossing the sea from Africa to reach for the golden and full of lies Europe they have seen on their TV.
Doesn´t music and politics goes along hand in hand?
-Taking as a starting point that any political decision affects us as individual beings, that is right. And taking as a starting point that any attempt of revolution starts and ends inside of each one of us, that´s the way it should be. When four guys decide to start a common project I think it is interesting to try to use their music as a platform to try to change the world. Or, at least, their world. Without leaving the fun apart, of course, which is used to being one of the most interesting ways of civil disobedience.
Is there any good Spanish punkband which is really political? Other good Spanish bands?
-In my opinion, the last greatest political band in Spain are Sin Dios from Madrid. One of the most commited and consequent with their cause. I would also emphasize El Corazón del Sapo from Zaragoza, who disappeared two years ago leaving a legacy of many great records. Their singer is now playing in Kuraia, in Euskal Herria, and they´re making very interesting music sung totally in euskera language. Berri Txarrak from Navarra also stand out, who have already reached a status of audience very much superior, but they have not left aside their combative fight since the first day. Manifesto was based in Barcelona some years ago, and HHH many more years ago; at present I will say Fix Me, who are the rebirth of the huge E-150.
How is it to live in Spain nowadays? What’s the best and what’s the worst?
-I would like to tell you, about this matter, that I live in Catalonia. And, although to the rest of the world Catalonia is considered a part of Spain, I do not conceive like this. Catalonia is an occupied country, with less military violence but with the same political violence, by Spain. Exactly the same as what happens in Euskal Herria. Since the Civil War, (1936 to 1939) we live politically oppressed by the country who won that war and imposed a territorial and dictatorial regime to these lands. At present, Catalonia has got nationalist political parties and keeps alive their original language, which has got an official character. And involves a continuous fight believing in a future time away from the Spanish political clutches. Regarding your question, the best of living in Catalonia is to not live in Spain. And the worst is that Spain keeps governing us and denying us an autonomy referendum with the approval of all the world organizations.
Is it many differences between rich and the poor?
-Well, basically the one you indicate seems to me a big difference. The rich one is rich. The poor one is poor. [Ha, ha, ha…] But you are right. In Catalonia the middle class has also disappeared. And now, with the Crisis everyone speaks about, things are getting worse, which is no surprise.
Why did you do the covers you do on the CD Venom and Defiance? Do you do any other covers?
-We did the Venom cover because, due to our age, Venom were a referent for us when we started listening to extreme music. And because it is very usual here to find heavies and punkies amongst the audience in a concert. Furthermore, the Black Metal is a great theme. And on our record, with Martillo of The Capaces on the chorus, it suits fine. We did the Defiance cover because they are a band we love. For their technique when playing as well as their commitment with the punk. They are a great band. We are used to playing live “Kaos” from RIP, “Endless Vacation” of The Ramones and “Cop an Attitude” of Poison Idea, in addition to the two covers in our record.
Is it any big punkbands which have been over in Spain and played?
-Barcelona has always been the city of this State where there have been most concerts. All the greatest punk bands, the middle ones and the smallest ones have passed by here. Recently, some bands like Spermbirds, Discharge, Varukers or Discarga have been here. Last year even the remainings of Sex Pistols played here. And the rumours say that in summer will come to play the Bad Brains. Though I really doubt they offer a concert with a scent of the 80’s, the Bad Brains are the Bad Brains.
Barcelona, how is the musiclife there?
-Poor. Quite poor. The institutions promote very commercial music. There are hardly bars where you can listen decent music at night in Barcelona. For the groups it´s very complicated finding halls to play at. That is why the little music circuit you can enjoy is at squads. If you are planning to come to Barcelona to do tourism for one week I recommend you to spend the night at any squad, that might be the best option for you. The only hall that seems to be able to change that inertia is Estraperlo, recently open a pair of months ago, and there are daily concerts.
What do you know about Sweden?
-I know few things about Sweden. I know it is very cold. I know in winter time there is no Sun. I know Abba were Swedes. I know there are an infinity bands of black metal with unpronounceable names. I know that if you fancy we go to Sweden to play, for us would be a real pleasure. And I know, and that is the most important, the best band I ever heard in my life were Swedes, and were called Refused.
Have you heard any good Swedish bands?
-I must tell you that Sweden, in my opinion, is the best music factory in the world. A high percentage of my records and most of my favourite bands are from Sweden. I have mentioned before the incredible Refused, but I still like what Dennis do in The (International) Noise Conspiracy at present. I like a lot too the Entombed trajectory. And many other bands such as Wolfbrigade/Wolfpack, Genocide Superstars, Raised Fist, Disfear, Nasum, Victims…
Have you done anything more than Aprendiendo a morir, if you have, how can I get it?
-“Aprendiendo A Morir” is our second work. The first one was called “Uno Zero Uno”, inspired on the book “1984” by George Orwell. 300 copies were made and it is sold out. If you wanted it I guess you should look for it on the Internet, because physically there is none for sale.
New things like MY Space, Facebook and those things, have it helped you a lot?
-The only Internet tool we have used to promote the band has been Myspace. And we think it is a very good tool for it. We have met a lot of people around the world who appreciates and values what we do. And that has given us the chance to contact bands, labels and fanzines who see and understand life the same way we do, so it is much easier going to play outside or to manage concerts anywhere and give them a good diffusion.
Have you been outside Spain and played, where have you been and where was most fun?
-We have never played outside Spain. We have played mostly in Catalonia, and we have played in many places in Spain. Now we have in an immediate future some concerts in Barcelona, Zaragoza, Madrid, Euskal Herria and any other places in Spain. We are also managing to go to play at the Trashfest in Holland. The best concert we ever gave was at the hall “Gruta 77” in Madrid in front of 500 people. Though I must tell that we, the band, step the stage whether there are 500 people or there are only 15. Our concerts are based on the energy and nobody leaves the hall feeling indifferent.
How does the average El punto devil-fan look like?
-Among the audience there are always people who listens to punk. There are always people who listens to hardcore. There are people who listens to metal. On all our concerts there are always people of these three types. And there is always the typical bewildered who does not know who is going to play that night (and does not care), and when we start up our repertoir does not know where to run and hide. [Ha, Ha, Ha…]
Which people do you miss on your concerts?
-Girls. Girls. Girls. Girls. Girls. And girls.
Which song is the fans favourite? And you own El Punto-favourite?
-There are always three culminating points in our live repertory. People drives crazy when we play the RIP “Kaos” cover at top speed. The Venom “Black Metal” has also a very good response. Of our own songs, “Dioses De Andar Por Casa” is the one people enjoy most. We love playing live “Los Lobos (Están Hambrientos)”, from our first record “Uno Zero Uno”. We always play it to end the concerts and it is used to ending immersed in a huge sonorous chaos and people enjoy as much as we do.
Why do you sing only in spanish? Except the covers maybe?
-I write and sing in spanish, apart from some exception in catalan, because I consider it´s very important the load within the message in my lyrics. And it is much easier for me when I write, and more understandable for the audience if I do it in spanish. Though I have a good level in english all the task between emitter and receiver is facilitated composing in spanish.
The label you’re on is it your own or what?
-The label is ours, absolutely. We believe in self-management as a way of life. We believe in what we do and we want to have the control of our records from the first recording session to the sleeve design. That is why we do everything ourselves. From the lyrics to the record design, as well as the logo, the label or the release date of a record.
First, last and most expensive record ever bought?
-I bought my first record on 30th May 1982. It was the “No Sleep Till Hammersmith” by Motörhead. The latest record I bought was a Split of Atka/Shimetsu edited by my friend Matt from Ecocentric Records. And the most expensive one I have ever paid for is a vinyl rarety of Mercyful Fate.
Most embarrassing record in your collection?
-Probably the weirdest record in my collection is one by Luixy Toledo, who is a pitiful freak nobody likes. But I do like him. When I put that record on in my car all my friends make me turn it off immediately. But I like it.
What about mp3 and downloading, where do you stand?
-I download all kind of stuff. And I do not care at all somebody downloads anything by elpuntodevil, on the contrary. I would recommend everybody searching and investigating. Downloading stuff just to test. Listening very much and all kind of styles. Constructing oneself musically, because nowadays with a tool like the internet might be a very satisfactory experience for everyone. The Communism has taken the net and we must use it. Personally, if I like a lot a record or a band, I am used to buying their work. But I first listen on internet.
Is it good or bad for a band of your calibre?
-Good. Very good. Extremely good. It allow us to be known in a Myspace without having to spend a cent in absurd promotions. It allows to any person, anywhere in the world, may listen our work. And if somebody is interested in us to go to play anywhere, we will. Because we enjoy life this way. We have enough spreading everywhere the message we came to disseminate, because that (together with the fun) was the reason that impulsed us to create a band.
How much does a band like El Punto sell of your CD..s?
-We do not claim to sell much. It is not prioritary for us as a band. From the first record “Uno Zero Uno” we edited 300 copies and were sold out in a couple of years. From the new record “Aprendiendo A Morir” we have edited 500 copies and we have already sold about 200. The record costs only EUR 6,00 because we do not claim to get rich with it. All the money is invested to make a new record again. If someone is interested in buying our record can contact us and we will send it to him.
Futureplans for the band?
-We are composing new lyrics and practising hard because we have a handful of concerts in a short time. The new songs sound faster than the former ones. And though it is too soon to tell, it is possible the new record is called “Tempus Fugit” and focuses on how time runs and condemns our lives from birth to death. By the moment we want to keep playing everywhere before we make a record again.
For yourself as a human being?
-I hope the band keeps having a good rhythm of concerts. I hope my radio program keeps working as good as it has been doing for the last 15 years. I hope the book I am writing has got a good response. I hope I can keep living withouth having to go to work every morning, because I do not like working. I hope the world understands, though the leading class persist in make us understand that it takes only one finger to shut a mouth, it takes only a kiss to open two. I hope the world understands the Revolution depends, always, on oneself.
-Devil never sleeps.
Something to add?
-First of all I would like to thank you Peter for this interview. Congratulations for your Fanzine and I wish you go on with it a long time. There are million bands who need the support of people like you. We would like to say too that if somebody wants to get our record or see us live can contact us at the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org And nobody forget the wolves are waiting out there for us. And the wolves are hungry. And we are “Aprendiendo A Morir”(Learning To Die) but before we do we will keep shouting out loud every Revolution must be based on the smile and on the fight. And the Devil, as you know, never sleeps. Salutem!