My Own Voice is an italian hardcoreband which was born back in 2001. Marco have been so kind to answer a lot of questions about the group. December 2014
Please tell me a little bit history of the group?
-My Own Voice was born in far 2001, it was me (Marco, the singer) and Luca, an old friend with whom I shared a deep passion for hardcore. We were 16 by then, and didn't expect much. The first years rolled by quietly, we released our first record in 2003 on italian label Vacation House Records, but we started hitting the road more consistently around 2006, when we released our second record, De Ira, with the coproduction of several DIY labels. Since then, we tried to tour Italy and Europe as often as we could. We travelled all over Italy and through Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Spain, France, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Hungary. Those are good memories! We recorded two more records, A perpetual state of revolution and Songs for the mutiny, we changed line-up a few times and now it's Marco singing, Tristan playing guitar, Emme playing the bass and Ste stomping the drums.
-Well, Tristan is 28, he lives with his girlfriends and two cats, he works in a community for people with mental distress, he likes hardcore music and table soccer, he's a slow guy and sometimes his second personality takes over. He used to play in metal-core band Underneath Your Empty Ways.
Ste is 28, he's a tyre mechanic, he lives in a small village in northern Italy, he likes playing cards and eating like a monster, he's bully and we're all very scared of him. He also plays in crust-hardcore band Miseria (check them out!) and he used to play in Contropressione (punk hardcore), Omnivore (thrash metal) and too many other bands to mention.
Emme is also 28, he works as an educator with kids, he's interested in all kinds of music and psychology, and he speaks too much. He used to play in Ofu, old school italian hardcore, and he now also plays in LaCosa. He used to play in Miseria with Ste.
Me I'm 29, I work as a psychologist and snowboard instructor, besides of hardcore I love surfing and snowboarding. I'm loud and sometimes annoying. My only band has always been My Own Voice, which is kind of my wife. For a short period I've played the bass in rock'n'roll band So Many Rhinos! Which don't exist anymore.
I think I can hear both hardcore and d-beat Am I right? Favorites from the past?
-D-beat doesn't actually influence us directly, even though Emme end Ste listen to it a lot, so it might pop in the songs here and there. Favorites from the past might be too many to remember, and different for each one of us, but there's certainly a lot of classic italian hardcore such as Sottopressione, Wretched, Skruigners and so on, lots of american old school hardcore such as Sick Of It All, Strife, Straight Faced, and one of our all time favorites is surely swedish band Raised Fist.
-It's me and Luca, the first guitarist, who came up with the name. It was kind of random back then, but perspectively we are quite satisfied with it – I guess hardcore is mostly about raising your voice. It's not an italian name because when we started we only sang in english; we added a few songs with italian lyrics only later. Best band name, I don't know, I personally like a lot Sick Of It All.
-The energy, the passion, the connection with people. To me, playing in front of a moshing crowd singing along is still what makes all the hard work meaningful and worth the while, and it's still something very emotional. The difference from the start, well, people know our songs now, and we are not terrified to fuck up everything when we get on stage, and it's nice to be confident – we still fuck up a lot, though ahahahah.
-For our story and our attitude, we prefer playing in squats, because of the connection and the ideas we share with that context. There's no place we really hate to play, we don't mind playing in bars or clubs, unless the people are real assholes – but that can happen in a squat too.
-I'd say it's cyclic. Hardcore is really DIY in Italy so it lives on collectives and groups of people that have the passion and energy to keep the scene going. Sometimes there's a lot of these people all over Italy, and the scene fires, sometimes there's a lack of them, so everything gets more static. I think now it's a really good moment for our scene, thanks to a lot of guys who put a lot of effort in it.
-Fast, loud, and deliberately offensive.
-Punk means a lot to us. It's been what has led our lives for almost 15 years now, it's a passion, it's the will to refuse certain rules and certain lifestyles, it's critical thought, it's antifascism, it's antisexism, it's the involvement in some kind of protests such as those for the right to have a house, it's supporting squathouses, it's friendship and reciprocal help. Definetly not a word.
-Real good. For example, everytime we release a new album, we put it in free download on the same day. As somebody told me once, you don't buy and you don't sell hardcore, you distribute it!
-It's shit, plain and simple. Unemployment is really high, people are getting angrier and so police is getting heavier on them. Politicians are taking advantage of this as always, by writing laws who benefit the rich (themselves) and put workers in a precarious position, and my opinion is that socially we are doing a lot of steps back as far as welfare and civil rights are concerned. Corruption is everywhere in this country, you probably heard about it. But hey, we live on.
-There's a lot of good bands from Italy now! Too many to mention, but here's some of my favorites: LaProspettiva, Congegno, Straight Opposition, Attrito, SudDisorder, First Brawl, Zona d'Ombra. The punkscene is living a good moment, lots of gigs and tours and people at the concerts, so I'd say it's fairly big in these days. In my hometown Milano there's a few people and a couple of collectives that work real hard to keep the scene going with great results, and they're also a real crazy group of friends. In Torino though, the city where I live presently, the scene seems a bit still, even though there's a lot of cool, hard-working people here as well.
-I know it's way north, cold in the winter, lots of sun in the summer, booze is expensive and people are friendly. I've actually been to Stockholm a few years ago, and it was fun. Plus I love lots of swedish bands.
-Some of our favorites bands from the past are from Sweden: Raised Fist, Misconduct, Intensity, Extreme Noise Terror, Mob 47, Driller Killer. Unfortunately we don't know much about what's going on in the present underground scene. I remember we met a band from Sweden when we were touring the Netherlands, band's name was Frivolvol – nice guys.
Your lyrics, who does them and what influences you? Why English and not Italian?
-I write all the lyrics, and I'm influenced by what I'm feeling or thinking in a certain period about some social or political subject, or about my life and what I see around me, something weird or sad or somewhat worth a lyric that happened to me.We chose mostly English because, like it or not, it's the language to speak with the rest of the world. We're using Italian more and more, though.
-Probably cooking or plumbing.
-I think it does as far as punk is concerned. Punk was born as a form of protest against society, and that's extremely political. Times have changed and so did punk, but there's still a lot to be unhappy about and to protest for and I think music is a real powerful way to express dissent and let ideas spread around. If you take protest out of punk, then it's just funny hairstyles and black clothes.
-I guess each one of us would have a different idea, I can tell about the band who influenced me the most in a political way, and that's Intensity.
-Well, it did change mine! I firmly believe that some kind of music can change your life and the way you think, sensitizing you to some important themes which you don't normally think about cause that's the way society wants you to be – uninterested. That's what happened to me, and that's a big part of what keeps me doing what I do.
-It's important even though it's hard and money-consuming. I think a physical record allows you to realize a much more coherent and meaningful project than just releasing music digitally. Presently, we are writing new songs we hope to record in 2015, maybe one more EP or maybe a split. We'll go for a DIY conspiracy, as usual!
-There's a lot of episodes, mostly problems that turned into hilarious shit. I remember a couple of things that happened on our Europe tour a couple of years ago. For example, our guitarist Tristan was going real crazy on that tour, we really had problems figuring him out ahahah; we were playing in Zagreb, I was telling a few things in the mic between one song and the other; when I turned around to see if the other guys where ready to start, Tristan was missing from the stage – he had left to go hitting on a girl from the audience, still with his guitar plugged into the amp, in the middle of the gig. He was single by then, and yes, he stayed so for a while. Another funny thing happened in Krsko, Slovenia: by the time we entered town and got to the venue, we were like 3 hours late, and the police stopped us twice on the way to the place. Easy, I mean, our van looked like a terrorist's van with 9 punks inside – we were touring with Strange Fear, a great band from Italy that unfortunately don't exist anymore. Well, we got to the place, we played our gig and later on we got out to meet some new friends that invited us over to their place to keep on partying. And obviously, the police stopped us again. But we were so fucking drunk by then that we just started taking pictures with the police van while they were checking on our Ids, in all possible combinations of members of My Own Voice and members of Strange Fear – the cops were super pissed but they just couldn't get our attention or seriousness, that was really fun.
-Most of them look like punks! We sometimes miss young kids, like 16 or 17, there's not many of them around at gigs, but when they're there it's a lot of fun – I like to see young people getting into hardcore punk.
-I know the other guys from My Own Voice won't agree, but here are mine:
Records: Raised Fist – Ignoring the guidelines, Intensity – Wash off the lies, Skruigners – Niente dietro niente davanti, Rancid – And out come the wolves, AFI – The art of drowning.
Concerts: Sick Of It All in Milan in 2008 or so, ACDC in Milan around the same year, Rumori del Lago in 2014 (DIY hardcore fest in the woods in north east Italy), Mobfest every year (DIY hc fest in Milan every winter), Raised Fist in Pinarella di Cervia on 2005.
Most important things in life: love, friendship, ideals, music, waves.
-It's a bit of an effort but it's nice to have the chance to express thoughts in a bigger space than a song's lyrics.. Not many interviews lately, we've become boring ahahah.
-No one ever asked if we are proud of what we're doing, maybe that's obvious but it's nice to state it, so yes, we're very proud!
-Nothing special – keep on doing what we've been doing so far, play gigs, release new stuff every now and then, make new friends, spread our music and our message. Hopefully find some time to tour Europe again in 2015.
-Surf and play hardcore as much as I can!
-Never give up, for how hard or unlikely your dreams can be, things come in time if you believe in what you do and work hard for it.
-Just a word of love for all the people that supported us and helped us going through the years, all the bands, the friends, the collectives, the squats, the kids we ran into in this wonderful adventure of ours. Hardcore is more than music!
And thanks a lot to you Peter and to anyone reading. Hope to see you in Sweden some day!