Paranoid State comes from Netherlands and they were a very positive thing to listen to I think and I heard a lot of early english punk in their music and I wanted to interview them and now it´s done. Wim is the one who is answering the questions.  August 2019

Please tell me a little bit history of the group?

Wim: "We started in 2014, Martijn, who I know for quite some time, asked me if I was interested in starting a band in the style of Rites of Spring. I was into it immediately because it's a style I really like and I had some musical ideas that didn't fit in my other band, Tense Reaction. So we had to find a bass player. I knew Gideon from the scene and he's one of the best players around but also very busy with his bands. But when I sent him a message, asking if he was into it, he replied within a few nanoseconds: "When is practice?" After playing a couple of minutes together it was clear that there was something there. Then for almost a year we were practicing, writing songs and we made a recording which became our first LP. It was funny because after this recording we still had to do our first live show and right after that gig we got two offers from labels who wanted to release the LP."


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

Wim: " Gideon is 39 years old and lives in the center of Amsterdam. Besides playing music he has a huge interest in cinema and collecting records. He has a job in mental health care and teaches bass now and then. Currently he plays bass in Open Wounds, fast 80s style hardcore with a member of Vitamin X. And he is also the guitarist for Dutch sailorpunk band Karel Anker & De Joden.

Martijn is 35 years old, he lives in Utrecht with his girlfriend and is a professional filmmaker.

I'm 51 years old. I live with my girlfriend and our dog and our cat. I make a living as an art framer.

Maybe the other guys have something bad to say about me, I only have good things to say about them because they're my friends and appreciate them for being in this band together.

Before I switched to guitar I played drums in a band called DanDare and in Vitamin X.

I also play guitar in fastcore band Tense Reaction."


I can hear much different influences but mostly punk as GBH, One Way System, Husker DU? Favorites from the past? 

Wim: "Hüsker Dü is obvious a very big influence but I never thought about GBH like that. It's funny because you are actually the second person who calls us a cross between Hüsker Dü and GBH, the first one was James Rose, the singer of Annihilation Time and EEL.

It's cool that you mention in your review of our records that our music is difficult to label but it's punk without a doubt. I like to think about Paranoid State as being a hardcore punk band, working within the parameters of the HC punk style, but also trying to be as free as possible to do what we want within these boundaries.

My favorite bands, and also the bands that are a big influence on the songwriting for Paranoid State, are Hüsker Dü, Wipers, Black Flag, Articles of Faith, Bad Brains, Government Issue, Scream, Funeral Oration (especially the Communion LP) The Offenders, The Minutemen,  the list goes on. I'm also very much into bands like Joy Division, Killing Joke and The Sound, this dark postpunk sound, and I listen a lot to John Coltrane. But my all time favorite is The Clash, it's the most important band in my life. When I discovered that band it was like a door opened for me.


Paranoid State are you satisfied with the name? How did it came up? You weren’t afraid that some other band would be named like this? Which is the best bandname you know? 

Wim: "We were brainstorming about bandnames and this one was the name that stuck. It works on different levels: personal and political.

When I was checking the internet if there was another band with this name I couldn't find anything! And then when we put up a Bandcamp and Facebook page all of sudden this dance band from New Zealand from around 2008 came surfacing and I had never heard of them! I still don't understand why they didn't surface when I was looking for bands called Paranoid State on the world wide web. I guess Google works in mysterious ways.

The best names are the ones we make up for bands that still have to be formed to fit those names but probably never will be realized.


What´s the best thing with playing live?

Wim: "Getting lost in the noise, being in the moment. It doesn't happen all the time but when it does it's the best thing ever."


And where is best to play? And the worst place?

Wim: "For me it's not a so much a specific place or venue but more about the people and the vibe of the whole thing. The best place is where people are open towards the bands that are playing and are totally into it. The worst places are those shows where people prefer to sit around a campfire outside listening to some asshole with an acoustic guitar rather than checking out the bands that are playing their asses off on stage. But we will always give at least 110 percent. Even if we're playing in an empty room."


How is to play this sort of music in Netherlands right now?  Which types of bands do you have concerts together with?

Wim: "The scene has it's ups and downs but right now it's actually pretty happening. Lots of young bands, people organizing stuff but also veteran bands like Seein' Red are playing again. Bands we play a lot of shows with and everone should check out are: Forbidden Wizards, GFR, Pressure Pact, Raylin, SFD, Stranded, Pauper, Terror Defence, Azijnpisser, Pig Frenzy, Network76."


How would you describe your music in three words?

Wim: "Loose, tight, loud."


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

Wim: "Punk has been around now for about 43 years! It has been declared dead so many times and it's still important for so many people. It can give you so many opportunities: pick up an instrument, start a band, organize shows, don't fool around, just do it. It's still happening everywhere, young kids getting into it. Not just the music, but the whole thing. The way things are being done. For some people maybe it's just the music, but for some it's also about  the ethical side of things. For me punk took the original feeling of rock 'n roll, the freedom, and made sure it was secure, so the assholes couldn't get their dirty hands on it.


What shall a young guy do today to shock their parents as the way we did when we were young? They have already seen everything 😉?

Wim: "Young people can always shock the older generations. When I was young it was a haircut or a pair of ripped jeans. But in these days, imagine being a punk parent and your kid is totally into Mumford and Sons or some autotune monstrosity, then what?"


How is it to live in Netherlands right now? Politically?   Fascists?  Is it a Paranoid State?

Wim: "The far right seems to get stronger and stronger. Ideas that were unacceptable 30 years ago are now embraced even by the establishment. We have a new rightwing party here in Holland with a young and media-friendly leader who is very popular, also among young people and people who are highly educated, but also among people who are conservative christians. And they are openly flirting with alt right figureheads and racists and sexists. It gives me the creeps. They have some problems already within their own ranks like so many rightwing groups, but it seems when one of those groups  implodes a new one will arise.


Is there any good bands from Netharlands  right now?  Is the punkscene/metalscene/hardcorescene big? How is it in your hometown?

Wim: "A lot of great bands around (see question no. 7). The metal scene  is always big in Holland, but I don't know very much about it. The HC punk scene in Utrecht was very big 15 years ago, but when the squats disappeared so did the scene for a while because it was harder to find places to do DIY gigs. But things are looking better with initiatives like Onrust Mosh Alert and Revival Hardcore Fest. Also we have venues like dB's and ACU who are very supportive of the diy scene. Amsterdam is still always very active, lots of shows and initiatives. And in Rotterdam and some cities in the south of Holland young people are organizing a lot of shows. Bands to check out are: Forbidden Wizards, GFR, Pressure Pact, Raylin, SFD, Stranded, Pauper, Terror Defence, Azijnpisser, Pig Frenzy, Network76, Kru$h, Crustenunie, Crawling Blind, Savage Beat and of course our brother bands Open Wounds, Karel Anker en de Joden and Tense Reaction!"


What do you know about Sweden?  Have you been here sometime?

Wim; "Gideon played the Linköping Hardcore Fest in 2009 with his former band Civil Terror. That was a great festival which is not around anymore if I´m not mistaking. I have never been to Sweden. But we should play some shows over there in your country!"


Have you heard any good bands from Sweden?

Wim: "Sweden always had a big D-Beat and metalscene right? Sorry State Records once compared us with the Swedish band Data Control but I never heard of them. Do you know them? Gideon likes Masshysteri"


Your lyrics, who does them and what influences you? Why not in your own language??

Wim: "I write all the lyrics. Most of the songs deal with personal stuff also when they're more on the political side of things. I tried to write in Dutch but it didn't work for me. I like the English language and I have the feeling it suits this style of music the best. I also like the fact that's it's not my first language, so there's a bit of a distance between me and the words. It's easier to write in a personal way and to write about certain topics. It's hard to explain but it works for me."


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

Wim: "Food, partying, going to the pub, being banned from the pubs etc. (Although I do like the Descendents, Peter and the Test Tube Babies and Sham 69 haha!)"


Politic and music, does it goes hand in hand?  Which is your most political song?

Wim: "It can go hand in hand but it should be from the heart. Some bands even made sloganeering into an art, so there's no formula, if it works it works.

Our most political songs are Down in Flames, Paranoid State and Damage Done. I wrote Down in Flames about the rise of the far right here in Holland and how fulnerable some achievements we have made the last couple of decades still are. I didn't want it to be to specific about only one situation, and MRR, when they reviewed the record, didn't understand what it was about. Then Trump got elected and I was like: "Now you know what it's about!"

The song Paranoid State is about dark forces at work, so the title of the song works both ways.

Damage Done is about the power of words, how the words of a loved one can hurt you with the truth and how a person in power can destroy things with lies.


Best political band/artist?

Wim: "Joe Strummer, Jello Biafra, Max Beckmann."


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

Wim: "I can only speak for myself but music  definitely had a huge impact on my life even before punk rock, more than I can put into words. Music gave me direction. It can change you or reinforce you in a certain way. It's a powerful tool, sometimes for better or for worse."


Your favorite recordcover alltime?  Who does your recordcovers?  And do you have any good recordstores in your hometown?

Wim: "My favorite cover is London Calling, not only because it's so great but also because it's such an important record for me. I also like the Raymond Pettibon art on the SST records. And the Dischord stuff, I liked the clean designs combined with hardcore punk music.

Martijn does all our designs. I think it's great in a way that it's very original and it really catches your attention.

"Dig It" is a really cool record store here in Utrecht. The guy who ownes it is from the scene and is very supportive of local bands who have records out."


Is it important to get out physical records of your stuff? Why or why not? Vinyl, CD, cassette, what do you prefer if you could choose whatever ?

Wim: "It's always cool to have your music available in a physical form. Now in these times you can have the best of both worlds, you can listen online and get the record. I prefer vinyl, it looks great and I like the sound of it. It's natural. It brings the energy of the music across in a way that's more real than CD's "


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

Wim: "Once we played in a vegan restaurant in London. But not in the basement where we were supposed to play, the manager put us on between the tables with dining people. We played full blast of course."


How does your audience look like? Which people do you miss on your concerts? Which is the biggest band you ever have played together with?

Wim: "A lot of young people come to punk shows nowadays, along with old bastards like myself. So it's pretty varied. The people I miss are the ones who stay at home while they should come out to see the show because I think they are missing out.

The biggest band we played with is Stiff Little Fingers and we did Rebellion Fest Amsterdam with a lot of big names on the bill like UK Subs and Ruts DC."


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

Wim: "This one is tough!

Records: The Clash - London calling, Hüsker Dü - Zen Arcade, Wipers - Over the edge, Bad Brains - ROIR tape, Black Flag - Damaged.

Concerts: Scream 1988, Bad Brains 1989, Wipers 1989, Hüsker Dü, 1987, Toxic Reasons 1985.

Most important things: Music, being able to do the things you love, the beauty of it all, life is short, and most important: the person you love and loves you back."


First, last and most expensive record ever bought?

Wim "First: Everly Brothers - 20 Greatest hits. Last: Toxic Reasons - Bullets for you. Most expensive record is probably the Hüsker Dü box set Savage Young Dü. But I didn't have to buy it, I  got it as a birthday present!"


Is it boring with interviews? Is it much interviews?

Wim: "I like doing interviews, we don't do a lot of interviews so it's still cool!"


Do you care about reviews? Which is the most peculiar you ever had, with this band or any other band you have been to?

Wim: "Reviews are always a bit weird, on one hand it's one person's opinion but if it's done in a good way, if the reviewer uses his insight and knowledge in a good way to review a piece of work, be it music, a movie or a book or a piece of art, it has value. But I know people who will buy a record if a certain reviewer hates it. They go like: "If he hates it it must be good!"

One of my earlier bands once got a review of a demo in a dutch magazine saying the record was great to get rid of constipation. A couple of weeks later it was "demo of the week" on a canadian online magazine, so what can you say."


Which bands do people compare you to, is it boring that people compare you to other bands or is it understandable?

Wim: "I totally understand why people compare bands, I do it myself all the time. It gives you an idea of context and sometimes it can be a surprise, like GBH and One Way System which is cool! We get compared by early Hüsker Dü a lot, that one is obvious, people hear things in the music which is very cool. Black Flag or Rites of Spring or even Killing Joke. I loved that one because that band is a major part of my musical forming. And they are still as powerful as ever."


If you could choose five bands from the past and the history and nowadays and both dead and living bands to have a concert together with your band. Which five have you been chosen?

Wim: "I  choose bands who are long gone so I would have the chance to see them live (again): Dead Kennedys with Jello, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Hüsker Dü, The Clash."

Is music a good way to get out frustration and become a nicer person outside the music??

Wim: "Yeah, without music and playing in bands I would lose my sanity."


Which is the most odd question you ever have got in an interview?

Wim: "What's your favorite animal. Gideon answered that one brilliantly. (Something about a sea turtle.)"


Which is the question you want to have but you never get. Please ask it and answer it?

Wim: "Question: Coffee or tea. Answer: Coffee!."


Futureplans for the band?

Wim: "We have a bunch of new songs so hopefully a new record soon. In september we are going to the UK for a couple of gigs. We like doing shows abroad so maybe do some in Sweden? Who knows!"


For yourself?

Wim: "See last question!"



Wim: "Do it. And trust your instincts."


Something to add?

Wim: "Thanks for doing this interview with us and your interest in our band, I really appreciate it!"