( The following questions to Apostolis “humanfly” of Disharmonic were sent by automaton 3 sometime in October of 2005, with the answers following early in November of the same year. Apostolis did a great job & clearly put some effort in answering them, for which a big THANKS! is extended to him! )
01. Why are you in a HC band? I know that you’re in a transitional stage in your life right now, what with finishing up your studies & all, & thus I’m sure you have many pressing things to attend to. If one also takes into account the negative criticism Disharmonic receive from time to time from certain factions of the DIY scene (see question #04), it must seem a struggle sometimes to plow on. So, why do you keep doing it?
Well, I am into hardcore/punk and especially its DIY side for a long period. I joined Disharmonic 2 1/2 years ago because I wanted to do a step forward, to express my messages & attitude to more kids. Besides that fact I love being on stage, I love traveling & preparing for a show and of course, I have fun, too. Surely, I am in a difficult stage in my life (by the way I just graduated from law school) but this fact cant stop me from going on with Disharmonic because I strongly believe in what Im doing, I have sacrificed a lot of things (time, money, etc.) for this band and I can say that Disharmonic (and in general the hardcore/punk scene) is a great outlet for all my problems and bad situations. Now about the negative criticism, you know, when you are in a band you are a bit exposed, if you understand what I mean
People can easily judge your actions without even know you. But every negative comment or accusation make me (and us as a band, of course) stronger and more stubborn. Of course, there are times that I think of getting out from all this shit, there are times that I am disappointed & embarrassed but finally I overcome. We do this for the kids and we do this for ourselves and nothing / nobody can stop us. Its all about positive thinking!
02. The greek metalcore scene seems to have been exploding for the past few years. Have many people within the country taken notice? How about people outside the country?
Sorry but I will not agree with you
There are not many bands and there is not such a thing called scene. Only some friends who cooperate from time to time and organize some shows. Some good bands came out the past few years but the rest are just following the new metalcore trend and have nothing to do with what I mean hardcore. If you wanna know about metalcore shows in Greece, I must admit that all the great and famous bands from all over the world visited our country the last years but speaking about local metalcore bands its a bit frustrating. Unfortunately people outside Greece hardly know anything about our scene and this is both natural and shame too. Natural because there is not such a scene and shame because we do nothing in order to make our scene better and stronger (with the exception of some dudes and groups that work really hard for it). So, my message is: start a band or a distro or a label, set up a show, do anything you can if you want to see our scene growing stronger one day. It doesnt matter if you are into metalcore, hardcore, punk or crust. Only the attitude counts.
03. What are the relations among the bands in the metalcore/brutal HC scene? Some of you collaborate on certain projects. Are the bands in touch, helping each other out etc.? If yes, how does that fit in with the perennial stories about backstabbers that are so common in other local scenes (metal, rock etc.)?
Due to the fact that, as I said before, there are not many bands in the scene, we all know each other so it is easier to get in touch or collaborate on some projects. But I think that this collaboration is more based in the friendship field. You know, someone will help us with the artwork/layout, we will help his band with the distribution, invite a band in a show in our town and they will invite us in a show in their town and that kind of stuff. We hang out together so its natural to co-operate on projects like I mentioned above. We are gonna start a new collaboration (on show organization) with our friends from Censored Sound very soon and this is the first time I say this in public, for more info stay tuned.
Backstabbers? My friend, backstabbers are everywhere (doesnt matter the scene)
04. As you know firsthand, traditional DIY spaces in greece (squats & autonomous spaces) have clearcut, if not necessarily uniform, political views. As a result, bands that have played in commercial venues (like Disharmonic) are denied access to most of these places. For some time now, though, people have been complaining that there’s a double standard concerning the treatment of local & foreign bands by DIY spaces in greece. In particular, the “commercial venue” rule mentioned above does not seem to apply to bands coming from abroad, & thus bands like Antimaniax & Endstand who play commercial venues abroad get to play these spaces as well. Is all that true? Do you think that such practices safeguard the DIY purity of such spaces, drive people away, or are simply not very well thought out?
Ok, thats a hard to answer question and its a bit difficult for me to explain in English language what I believe exactly, but Ill try to make my opinion clear and avoid misunderstanding
It is a truth that most of the squats & autonomous spaces (or so-called autonomous spaces) in Greece have clear-cut political views. I dont believe that they should not have a political view; the problem is that some people are really close-minded and they think that they are the absolute DIY masters. I make it clear that not the whole scene but only a few people behave in that way. Unfortunately a few people are enough to stigmatize a whole movement and drive people (and bands) away. I respect places such as Villa Amalias even though I dont agree in all the rules they set, I respect people who believe so much in their ideals and practice them in their daily life but most times the actions of some people contradict with their words. I mean that how can you deny access to bands that play in clubs when you attend shows in clubs, when you pay 15-30 euros tickets to watch your favorite bands live, when you support the commercial views of the bar/club owners by drinking your beer & hanging out with your friends in their places? Many people will answer that we live in a capitalistic way so we have to compromise because we cant live commercial-free, we cant live without the labels, without buying, without consuming. I can understand that they want at least to keep the DIY spaces pure but I think that they follow a wrong way. Its sad that more & more kids keep off these places and especially kids who have many things to offer. I wish that one day everything will change.
I cant answer clearly to other part of your question (why foreign bands that play in commercial venues, play these spaces as well). I dont organize these shows so I cant answer. The fact is that all the foreign bands (or better, most of them) that play in autonomous spaces in Greece, play in commercial venues abroad.
About Disharmonic, well, we dont care anymore about that situation, we are frustrated from all this stuff and we have so many problems to solve in our personal life that we havent enough time to get sad or be disappointed about this case. You know, there are more things in life than the DIY purity. Some parts of the band are politically aware, some are into DIY movement, we have supported a lot everything containing the word autonomous but we dont want to gain respect or be approved.
05. You, as a person, are one of the most self-motivated & active people I know of in terms of building bridges between this country’s bands & bands from abroad: you run a small-scale distro stocking stuff that would otherwise be unavailable in the country, trade for records, put out international compilations, keep in touch with tons of people abroad, & even organize shows now & then – all done in a way that I think of as perfectly DIY. Could you explain your DIY philosophy & what kind of values are behind it? & how come you’re so active without being overtly political (which may be seen as a paradox under the prevalent paradigm in question #04)?
Thank you. Sorry but I dont wanna speak about myself or my actions. You and other people involved in the scene are aware of what I do. For those who dont know, I run hXf prodaxionz (a kind of a DIY distro/label), publish Keep It Real fanzine and write for atraktos.net. If everybody wants more information or wants to ask me something about these activities, can get in touch with me. My DIY philosophy? I wont label my philosophy, I believe in equality, I believe in solidarity & co-operation. Hardcore is more than music for me. I wanna help bands & I wanna help the scene. Moreover, I wanna communicate and make friends and hardcore gives me this opportunity.
06. I’ve recently had a short yet stimulating discussion with a friend about tough-guy HC. Although I, personally, am very much against it for all the machismo it emanates, this person won my appreciation by saying that there are people in both sides of the spectrum that take tough-guy HC way too seriously. I’ve also heard another friend – also not so hot about tough-guy HC – talking of a kid whose HC dance is so controlled, yet absolutely brutal, that it’s a form of art to her. Do you think that the apparent antagonism between one side & the other is based on a misinterpretation of what tough-guy HC is about? What is the situation in greece like? I know that certain people complain every once in a while about violence in shows (typically coming from drunk people), do you think there’s a basis for that or is just so much whining?
The so-called tough guy hardcore came out from the U.S.A. (from cities like New York & Boston). Violence was and is everywhere in U.S.A. so as a result came to hardcore shows & scene, too. I believe that a person who hasnt lived under situations that kids in America (especially in ghettos) live cant speak about or judge tough-guy hardcore. I mean that there exists a motto that say kill them before they kill you, the times are hard so is the hardcore scene. I cant judge the true tough-guy hc because I am so far from all this shit that if I tried to explain it I wouldnt came to a result. But I can judge all these new tough-guy hc wannabes, its a bit ridiculous speaking about tough-guy situations and spreading out a tough guy hc when you werent into it. Watching bands posing like macho body-builders or listening to lyrics like me and my gang will defeat you and your gang while the person that writes them lives in luxurious places in rich suburbs, only makes me laugh. I am into positive-hardcore, you know even though you are full into shit, you must breathe, you have to overcome it. By spreading out positive messages, you help the kids, too. I know that there is violence and there is hate and there is a human kills human situation, but Ill try to get away from this, I wont perpetuate this.
I dont agree with hard and violent dancing, I prefer old school circle-pits, stage dives, moshing and that kind of stuff, but on the other hand I dont like to control my dance and Im against dance uniformity. The situation in Greece has nothing to do with the situation in USA or some European countries. Theres no such a thing like violent dancing (I mean real violent dancing
) but always there will be kids that try to be the kings of the pit or to impress the others by kicking & punching bodies or just
the air. But I think that its so much whining
If you wanna dance you can dance without being hurt, if you wanna just watch the show, you can do it, if you wanna punch someone, there will always be somebody else who wants to punch you, too, so you can do it! I am just kidding
Of course there are some people that dont respect the others or the place that a show is held, but I dont think that you can do something about it. Something I really dislike is beer in my clothes
But we mustnt exaggerate the things
07. One of the things that gets me every time – & I’m not talking solely about the greek scene, that’s an international phenomenon sure enough – is people’s apathy sometimes. Anyone with half an ear has heard of people contributing nothing to shows with no official ticket price (i.e., based on voluntary contribution), complaining about DIY cd’s that cost 6E (which I don’t find that high a price), only showing up for the “headliners” in shows they go to so that “opening” bands play in empty rooms etc.. Isn’t HC supposed to also be about self-examination & consciousness as well? What happened to all that all of a sudden?
Ive noticed so many times this phenomenon. People complaining when they have to pay some money (2-3 euros usually) to enter the show, or moaning when the organizers ask them to contribute to the show. On the other hand those people have always enough money to buy beer or wine to drink. Its a paradox
Moreover, they ignore the support bands and show up and dance only to foreign bands or Greek headliners. Its a shame I think, but those people dont have hardcore consciousness, they are in the scene just to have fun. To have fun its not bad at all, but hey dudes, just contribute to the shows & help the organizers, if you wanna see more shows. Dont misunderstand me, Im not arrogant, I dont claim to be the one who knows about hardcore attitude etc. But if we succeed in gaining hc consciousness, I believe that this situation will change. The past few years, many kids are trying hard to make the scene better.
08. How are your related to Censored Sound? Have you collaborated on something or are just friends & kindred spirits? Also, what are your thoughts to something they recently said in an interview for diymusic.org: “If we were on of those bands only playing in Villa (Amalias) & in other autonomous spaces once or twice a year & only when they’re invited to do so, without even contributing to putting on the show – yes, such bands do exist – what would the difference be then, would we be more underground?”
We know Censored Sound for 1 1/2 years now, and we have become good friends with the kids, especially with their drummer. We have shared the stage only once, but there are some plans of collaboration as I told you in another question. We believe that Censored Sound is one of the best bands of the scene and we like their music, because maybe they are the only ones who still play old school hardcore, coming out from the 80s. Personally, I agree with their thoughts in the interview; it is true that some bands that play only in autonomous spaces, do nothing more for the scene than playing there. And when I say scene, I mean everything concerning punk/hardcore, including political awareness. Its another paradox
You play in a DIY show, but you do nothing by yourself. But, I dont want to be absolute, there are many bands, too, that they dont only play to the shows, but they set up the equipment, they design the posters, they let foreign bands sleep to their houses and they have a great DIY philosophy. They are also, another bunch of bands that do all this stuff but they organize the shows in clubs instead of squats or autonomous spaces. They follow this way due to their personal reasons but they are still DIY for me.
09. What’s the deal with this “positive thinking” that Censored Sound & you promote & where does it come from? Would you say that the greek scene has been traditionally focused on “negative thinking” (I, for one, would definitely say so!)?
Positive thinking comes straight from your mind and heart. You know, I experience a lot of negative thinking the past few months and during some periods in my life, but positive reactions saved myself
We will always have problems, some of them extremely serious, we will always be into shit, but drowning in your misery isnt a nice reaction. Our lyrics have positive messages, but we also use lyrics in order to wake up some people, to let them see the reality, social & political messages, but with a positive edge. There is a renaissance of all this positive stuff; many bands spreading out positive messages & live a positive way of life (drug-free and/or vegetarian/vegan) and this is great! Yeah, I agree with you that Greek scene focus on negative thinking & depressive lyrics, but this is another way to express your feelings so I wont blame anyone for writing negative lyrics. If someone feels so shitty has to write down the lyrics to expand his feelings. I have written lyrics including stuff like I wanna die this fucking day or Despair, suicide etc. but I dont think that if I use them in a song they will affect kids in a nice way. You know, our song Fear My Thoughts is a very depressive one, includes some of my bad thoughts, but there is a positive messaging coming out of it. I need positive thinking, but I wont close my eyes in front of a very bad reality.
10. One of the things that gets me in the greek scene is the number of new punk – as opposed to HC – bands that form all over the place. Are people seriously that interested in punk? Hasn’t punk died & HC taken its place?
There arent many hardcore (new school or old school) bands in Greece
The new trend is happy punk, reggae/ska influenced tunes, rock n roll riffs etc. Young scenesters listen to this music and the physical consequence is that they form bands playing this kind of music. This aint bad; I like this music, too. I believe that attitude counts, not music. I cant answer to the question if punk is dead
What do you mean punk? Punk philosophy or punk music? And if you mean punk philosophy, which one
? There will always be punk bands, maybe new wave, but punk. Did I confuse you? I am confused, too!
11. What kind of music do band members listen to/draw their influences from?
We listen to a variety of music including styles like hardcore (old school, new school, sXe, crust, brutal, metalcore), punk, metal, reggae/ska/dub, hip hop, tri-hop etc. We draw our influences from what we listen, what we live and what we experience.
12. Finally, please give us a detailed list of Disharmonic releases (including compilations you’ve appeared in, label info, year etc.).
1. Unholy Remains demo CD (self released, September 2002)
2. Kick Over the Traces demo CD (hXf prodaxionz, October 2003)
3. By Your Side mini CD (Tutupaci distro, Cabal autonomous state of mind, A Pecervo Autoproduzioni, hXf prodaxionz, August 2005)
1. Eternal Fields fanzine sampler CD (2003)
2. Project: Unity hardcore compilation CD (hXf prodaxionz, 2004)
3. Keep It Real! sampler CD (hXf prodaxionz, 2004)
4. How’s That??? – A Tribute to the Greek Underground (Hellenic Crypt and Acid Twins, 2004)
5. United Worldwide (Troskot Records, 2005)
6. United Noise – Soli Compilation (Empty Head Records, 2005)
7. Sperma #3 (Διανομές Σπέρμα, DIY Madness, 2005)
8. We Are Here To Make A Difference – A Benefit Comp. to Skuld Releases (2005)
I wanna thank you a lot on behalf of Disharmonic for the interview and support, we appreciate it so much. For more information please check out our website:
and the related sites:
www.myspace.com/disharmonic, www.bandspace.com/disharmonic, www.purevolume.com/disharmonic
or just send us an e-mail to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Think positive!!! After the rain, a rainbow always follows!
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