Auschwitz Rats took some time before they answered these questions from me but now have the good polish hardcoreband done their work for me and hereīs the result...august 2015.
Please tell me a little bit history of the group?
-KONDI: We played our first gig at the end of 2011 Ė it was a benefit concert for anti-fascist operations. Since then we have played 41 concerts. As Auschwitz Rats we started as a four-man squad: Bandama vocal, Gryzoń guitar, Migas Ėbass and me on drums. At the end of 2013 Maza joined with a second guitar. Before all of this Bandama, Gryzoń and me started a Warhead band that now when I think about it was the base to create A.R.. As Warhead we mostly played covers of the bands that inspire us to this day. One of the main reasons we started a band was the boredom surrounding us combined with desire to blow off steam generated by the reality.
CHRIS: Precisely, and it all began about 2000, when we first started listening to punk bands and at the same moment we grabbed the instruments and took first steps in playing. It was a long and hard way. We couldnít afford instruments so we played everything we could find or were given by our friends. We sounded awful but in retrospect I know it was damn honest. After that we had two small projects that I will not mention here. At 2007 what Kondi already said Warhead was born. We played lots of concerts in Poland and abroad back then Ė whatís left of this project you can find on the internet mostly live recordings. Auschwitz Rats resulted in demo cd that appeared at the end of 2011 in 500 numbered coppies that sold out almost immediately. We had a mini studio where we recorded the material. I made the cover and the insert. At the moment we are preparing first full album that will come out on vinyl and cd. Lets hope itís gonna be soon.
Please tell me a little about every member in the group right now, age, family, work, interests and something bad about everyone?
-KONDI: Me and Gryzoń know eachother since we were kids. We fell into punk rock much about same time. We wasted lots of health and money on boozing but thanks to that we obtained a good communication (laugh). Besides, alcohol is one of the favorite hobbies of the band members (laugh) but for real: our lifes aspire to greater things. We try to support the scene. Weí re going to concerts and we organize some, we make interviews for punk zins. Furthermore Gryzoń is a graphic designer so he sometimes creates posters , zin covers and cdís Ė not always containing punk rock (laugh). In our ex rehearsal room now there is a recording studio leaded by our good friend. Recording is Bandamaís subject of interest and any day heís gonna do something about it. Aside of that each of us has a shitty job, but fortunately we have wonderful girlfriends (laugh) and by that I mean: I, Gryzoń and Bandama cause Migas and Maza are still to take (laugh).
Why the name Auschwitz in your name??
-KONDI: When we thought of name for the band we wanted it to be controversial and provocative. Provocation was always closely connected to punk rock. We hope that our name in connection with our message will make people think and reflect on the Holocaust, considering the fact that even today there are lots of shitheads in Poland who glorify fascist ideology and racism . There were and still are punk bands with similar controversial names like SS Kaliert or Treblinka of which everyone knows are anti-nazi.
You have a good raw sound? Is that music which influences most?
-KONDI: I donít know if we have good raw sounds (laugh) itís for us to judge that. Itís definitely a result of our skills or lack of them (laugh) and what inspires us. We never assumed that we want to sound like band ďAĒ or ďBĒ. Ofcourse we were and we still are inspired by lots of hc/ punk bands by that I mean faster, more aggressive and heavy sounding than traditional punk rock which in connection with our skills gives the final effect. But if youíre talking about our DEMO I have to add that it was 100% DIY produced. We recorded it in our ex-rehearsal room all by ourselves. We knew a little about record realization but not too much (laugh). Still this knowledge affected in some point the way we sound.
CHRIS: This place that Kondi already mentioned turned into tiny recording studio since our DEMO and itís called Village Records. Mine and our friend Matusz Janiczak joint project. I hope to record there not only Auschwitz Rats but also other bandsÖ time will show.
Also as Kondi already said lots of bands inspired us but mostly the street punk bands from the 90ís which drew from UK82 and American 80ís hardcore. I think that American hc-street punk is what influenced us the most. There were many bands like that. Unfortunately the last couple of years it got pulled. Many bands retired. No use of searching anything like that in Poland. Of course we keep up to new bands that show up from time to time.
Whatīs the best thing with playing live?
-BAM: You can release all the accumulated anger, give vent to your emotions; and this feeling that not everything is lost.
CHRIS: For me as guitar player thatís the only moment I can really spin the amp loud (laugh). Every time we come to the concert as a public we feel the energy overfilling us and when we come on stage as a band I can feel this energy going back to the people. Itís very encouraging and thatís why Iím glad we can take part in this. I think itís the only existing perpetum mobile in the world,
self-reinforcing machine without energy loss Ė PUNK ROCK (laugh).
KONDI: People bumping on drums (laugh).
And where is best to play?
-CHRIS: Itís hard not to notice that just a little of concerts in Poland come out really great. The reason for that is a lack of cash for technical background. Why? From my observation itís caused by less and less people coming to the gigs because of very selective approach. If thereís no people, thereís no money, if thereís no money thereís lousy technical background and the sound will suck. Even if the band is doing their best and will give lots of energy but the sound system will be bad there wonít be enough power for the audience. It happens very often that the bands have too high financial standards for polish promoters. They just donít realize how low are the incomes from gigs here, and how low are the life standards. Fortunately many of these bands are very understanding and come to Poland just for a full tank of gas and some food. Thatís what I love about punk scene.
KONDI: if it comes for playing at the club itís good to check who the owner is, so you wouldnít support some old nazi fuck for example, who use to beat up punx and now turned into some businessman. Itís best to play in places you know people who own it.
How is it to play this sort of music in Poland? Is it hard to get gigs?
-CHRIS: We didnít have any problems playing gigs in Poland. Since we showed up in 2011 we played constantly. There were so many offers we couldnít catch up. The reason was probably that there werenít any other bands like that on polish scene. We had been given flattering reviews in zins, people liked what we played. I remember that our website crashed in just one month after activation because of too many people streaming our music.
KONDI: Thatís right. There werenít and still arenít any bands like that. Even though in the neighbouring countries this kind of punk rock is very common. I feel whatsoever a lack of bands in Poland playing pure punk rock with great punk attitude.
I also think that we were treated as some kind of news, maybe still are. Many people compares us to The Casualties. They are very popular so many people associate us with them whereas we use different patents on playing and are inspired by many different bands.
-KONDI: Hardcore, Street Punk
What does punk mean to you, is it only a word or is it a lifestyle?
-KONDI: I think ďlifestyleĒ is for people who live according to their schedule and after ďhardĒ day they relax over squash, e.g. fuckiní yuppies. For me most of all Punk is the set of values by which I live. Itís having my own opinion and courage to express it even if Iím in minority. Punk is undermining status quo. Making differences and creating my own reality. Itís a passion, not profit or trend.
How do you see on downloading, mp3 and that stuff?
-BAM: From the listener point of view itís easy: you have free access to the music. There are situations when recordings are barely available if at all Ė itís becoming a common thing. From the point of view of the band there is a dilemma, because thanks to putting mp3s on web you can reach out to more people but at the same time they reduce the chance to sell some CDs. The best solution is to buy vinyls and CDs of the bands you like, treating mp3s just as a trial.
KONDI: I think mp3s are no problem. The problem are people and their lack of awareness that buying cdís helps the band to survive and to function. It is especially important in underground where you play for passion not for profit. You support the band and the scene by buying records and other stuff. Cdís contain cover and the insert with lyrics Ė which are very important in my opinion. It is obvious that cdís cost and some people canít afford them but you can always deny yourself a few beers.
How is it to live in Poland now? Politically? How is it with fascism, racism etc?
-CHRIS: To tell you the truth itís pretty hard to live here. Many people went abroad to earn money. Itís hard to find job in Poland that would provide enough money to subsist and make a descent living. I didnít mention extra money for self fulfillment cause itís possible only for people who work abroad or work in Poland at expense of private life (16 hours a day). The reason for that is our bad economy situation. After war west left us in the hands of the communists and it didnít change much since then. To this day country is being ruled by the same people who just fit their political views to the new reality. They use their status for their own business. Of course you wonít hear about it in media, because political parties already own it. There are much about 80 political groups and a common Pole can only repeat few that he heard in these media. Elections and all that crap connected with it is a well thought game. For me itís no different than mafia. I heard that people in Sweden use the term ďPolish ParlamentĒ for things that are complicated and confusing Ė it doesnít surprise me at all. All they do is fighting for their own asses. Itís embarrassing that world is laughing at us. Intelligent people stay away from the politics cause they donít wonít to take part in this idiots parade. Next thing is a huge amount of Officials. You canít do anything without their permission. Poland is on the top over european countries in the number of officials and amount of complicated regulations referring to everything! And everyone has to work for their salarys. Itís specialy hard for those who are just starting the bussiness. It rewers of course to those who are on the lowest round Ė employees. We know it from our own experiance. To tell you the truth i canít think of anyone i know that is happy with his financial situation in this country. My family Works abroad, my friends familys work abroad.
Fascism and racism is mostly visible among soccer pseudo fans. Itís so fuckiní sad that ideologies like that still excist. Antisemitism is very noticeable here. Swastikas on walls, words filled with hate and calling for violence. And itís quite often written by teenage brats. These pseudo fans wave their flags calling themselves Ėpatriots! A true patriot knows the history of his country and knows for what their grandparent fought during IIWW. The Independence march unfortunately attracts a few percent of that pathology. Every year Warsaw loses tens of thousands zloty Ė devastation of streets, street lights etc. Last year they attacked ďPrzychodniaĒ squat cause law enforcement shut its eyes to it. They threw rocks at the building and bottles filled with gasoline. They broke windows. Imagine how people who live there felt (also children). Entire punk/hc scene organized gigs for the whole moth to help people in ďPrzychodniaĒ. There many more examples.
KONDI: Poland is a catholic country. The religious fanaticism prevailing in the society is very fuckiní annoying. My psyche is damaged every time I meet people like that (laugh). Itís very noticeable among my family. Religious doctrines inculcated in them killed their personalities. They lost their self-confidence and they thank god for every personal success (not seeing their own merit in it). It goes to most of the nation. Itís well known that thanks to religion itís easier to manipulate and control people. So many people live in poverty but they wonít do shit about it cause religion teaches them submissiveness. We have in Poland a radio station created by a fucked up psycho Ė business priest. He gets loads of cash that he gets from naÔve people (mostly old and poor). That priest rides a maybach and flies a helicopter, he has account on Caribbean and a house there!! Radio is a gold mine for him. Another sign of that religious plague is a cult of the polish pope. After he died people went nuts. Many public buildings and streets are named after him or were renamedÖ what pisses us off but is funny at the same moment.
Is there any good bands from Poland now?
-KONDI: There were and still are good bands in Poland. In my opinion worth most attention are:
DRIP OF LIES
would also add
What do you know about Sweden?
-KONDI: First of all, Sweden had and have lots of great bands. I heard that in the past Swedish use to rub tabacco in their assess which made them stain the sheets. As I remember I got this info reading interview with Coca Carola (laugh), though I donít know is that true. I also know that youíre a nation that likes to have a drink and thatís what definitely connects us! (laugh), except that we have access to alcohol 24/7 and you can only by it at a certain time and place. I heard that you have high taxes but social care is on very good level.
Have you heard any good bands from Sweden?
-KONDI: Sweden is a mighty country if it comes to good music!!! You have so many great bands that I canít even imagine (laugh). I found out about swedich bands thanks to my school that had contact with a school in Sweden. Once a year kids from Sweden arrived. There were nice integration partys (laugh). On one o them I met a guy. He said he was a hippie but he was alright. We drank vodka and sniffed swedich tobacco and we talked about music. He told me about bands like Charta77 and Ebba GrŲn. After that I listened to 59 Time The Pain Ė especially ďEnd of milleniumĒ. Millencolin, Satanic Surfers. At the moment bands like Disfear, Wolfbrigade and Victims rule! As I know a lot of good for the swedich music was done by Pole Ė Mieszko Talarczyk who died tragically couple years ago.
BAM: I would also add Auktion
MIGAS: And Toxic Lab Rats.
Your lyrics, who does them and what influences you?
-CHRIS: I wrote most of the Demo lyrics but everybody added something. I donít think of myself as author cause this message is actually something that we all have in common. I also like more personal lyrics but they have to be written the way everyone could identify with. What you hear on DEMO relates to what hurts us and things people should be reminded of. You can say that this is the thing that brought us to this music Ė ďmessageĒ.
Which is the thing you never write a song or will be doing a song about?
-CHRIS: There are so many subjects worth writing about. I think that wise lyrics will always be a positive inspiration for people. We are aware that we canít change the world as a single unit but as a scene and society we are able to achieve great things. I would never write a lyric calling for harming innocent people. The basic principle is to act without harming the innocent!
KONDI: We will definitely not write a song for any political party. (laugh)
Politics and musics, does it goes hand in hand?
-BAM: Music should inspire. Personally i donít like when someone tries to force his opinion towards others. Verifying the actions of the politicians and what kind of reality government creates for us to live in is necessary just for not letting them take full control over our lives. Determined resistance shouted from the scene has a true possibility to break through this mainstream claptrap. You can have ÖÖÖ.. without supporting any of the political sides. So if the band doesnít give a shit about politics Ė ok, but on the other hand, if the message in the lyrics opens your eyes on whatís going on around you Ė itís also ok (as far as itís not going to extremes like: sieg heil or vivat lenin)
KONDI: I think that bands who intentionally broach the political subjects (Conflict, Crass, Aus Rotten etc) are necessary . Their lyrics make people wonder and broaden their awareness. Of course the message shouldnít be strictly telling how to live and how to act cause that wouldnít have anything to do with the freedom. For me the politics lyrics are the quintessence of punk rock, but still Itís good to have bands that touch the more loose subject like e.g Turbonegro Ė my absolute favorite.
Best political band/artist?
-KONDI: Dead Kennedys!
Do you think that music(lyrics and so on) can change anyones life)I mean people who listens to music)?
-CHRIS: Sure! We know it from our own experience. If it wasnít for punk rock it is possible we would be different people now. I think scene and the message coming from the music opened our eyes to many things that we werenít aware before
Are you doing any covers live?
-BAM: Yes. Come to our gig and check it yourself! ;)
Can you imagine yourself doing a tribute song to a special football team, animal rights or any political party? Or have you already done this?
-KONDI:From what you mentioned A.R. could make a song just about animal right. We are fully aware of how animal are treated and exploited by humans. Two of our band members consciously reject eating meat. Football is out of discussion for me. I love this game and I love to play with my friends but everyone knows todays football is all about business and money and has nothing to do with sport. Of course the fasist football fans are not out of the topicÖ they are a real problem in Poland, so as you can see football clubs are not for us (laugh). Maybe if it was a club similar to F.C Sant Pauli whose management resists the business model of running the club and the fans are anti-fascists. If it comes to political partyÖ well I already answered this before.
Please tell me a funny thing which have happened during your career and under some gig?
-KONDI: We've played a gig in abandoned jam factory. It was totally DIY punx picnic. We were placing our stuff on scene and I noticed thereís no rug under drums. Ití s very important so the drums would be stable and wouldn't ďslip awayĒ during playing. So I said to our vocalist to find me something I could support the drums with. A brick or case. With lots of enthusiasm he started searching. After a while he came back with a beer cap and asked if it would do the work (laugh). So ok he was a little bit drunk but still I appreciate his efforts (laugh)
How does your audience look like? Which people do you miss on your concerts?
-KONDI: Nasza publika wygląda rożnie. Przede wszystkim to punki i to się dla nas liczy!
Please rank your five favoriterecords, five favoriteconcerts and five most important things in life?
-CHRIS: There many bands which is important for me, so I will list the ones that influenced me the most since we started the Warhead and Auschwitz Rats. All of Mad Pigs recordings, Monster Squad, Carrer Soldiers, Demerit, The Unseen and many more. The most stuck in my memory gigs were: Breakout, Call The Cops, Mad Pigs, Unseen, Social Distortion.
Five most important things in my life are: Friendship, Honesty, Truth, Energy, Dedication.
KONDI: We are inspired by the same bands and we go to the same concerts so I agree with Gryzoń 100%. Maybe I would add to the gigs: SS-Kaliert, and first The Casualties concert in Poland in 2004. And the five most important things in my live are: Friendship, Honesty, Truth, Open Mind, Individualism.
Is it boring with interviews? Which is the most stupid question you ever have got??
-KONDI: Your questions are pretty interesting so they are not boring (laugh) and Iím having fun answering them. I donít remember stupid ones but i remember wierd like: ďDo you watch ski jumping?Ē (laugh)
Do you understand that reviewers always compare bands to other bands? Is that disturbing when you try to something own?
-KONDI: Not always these comparisons are accurate. Sometimes the Ö..I think itís best to listen to the recordings and give own opinion. We are compared to The Casualties all the time. It really piss us off but I already mentioned that. You have to do your job and not care too much. There will be a moment when band will find their own individual sound but it needs patience and lots of hard work.
Futureplans for the band?
-CHRIS: We want to finish our first full album and give premier live gig. We would like to play European tour which was hard to accomplish but I belive better days are coming. We managed to assemble many contacts and some of them turned into friendships. We help others making gigs in Poland and they will help us when the time comes.
-KONDI: At this point all of our plans are strictly connected with the band.
-CHRIS: Letís create this scene together not hurting one another. Support each other in what you do. Punx not Dead!
KONDI: Belive in yourself! Donít let this government assholes get in your heads!
BAM: Drink responsibly!
Something to add?
-KONDI: Thanks for the interest. Lots of respect for you for running this zine all this years.