Hasma Interview

Hasma Interview

( The following questions to Hasma were posed by the visitors of punk.gr – the original can be found right here . Translated from greek by automaton 3. A “[ ]” signifies a translator’s addition to the original text.)

The usual question about influences & bands they listen to.

The bands that we listen to & that influenced us are countless & differ for each one of us. From ’50s rock ‘n’ roll, to metal & hardcore, we’re not discriminating. [There’s] a particular emphasis on greek punk from the ’80s to now.
Which greek band has influenced you?

There’s a multitude of greek bands we listen to. Bands such as Genia Tou Chaous, Arnitiki Stasi [also known abroad as Negative Stance. They released the split LP “Love Is Our Strongest Weapon” with Kismet HC (self-released, 1990), the LP “Spectators Of Decadence” (Wipe Out, 1993 – later repressed by Genet), and a 7″ (Profane Existence, 1993)], and, in general, all the greek punk scene from the ’80s to now. Naturally, since we’ve been listening & still listen to all these bands, it makes sense that they’ve influenced us to a certain degree.
When & where did you have your first show, & how difficult was it to book it?

The first live show of Hasma was in ’94 in Pyrgos Ileias [which is where the band is from] together with Panx Romana. It was neither hard, nor easy. It was what we wanted to do back then, & we managed to do it. Nevertheless, given the state of the town at that [particular] period, an independent[ly organized] show was a definite conquest.
Is the guitar player [Yorgos] Pavlidis related to the [Pavlos] Pavlidis of Xylina Spathia [well-known greek rock band of the ’90s, which released a successful record on the independent label Ano Kato & then moved to Virgin]? Because their voices are also similar. (That’s an idiotic question, don’t ask it.) (punk.gr: We asked it, because it was also posed by others.)

Wha’ the hell???…
What do you think of the punk/HC scene in greece & its relation to other scenes abroad.

The greek scene has managed to stay alive for over 20 years, retaining to a large extent its subversive element. It never produced, that is, those “media-driven,” wide-exposure punk bands that one sees abroad. This means that it was never really absorbed by the music industry. On the other hand, there were & still are bands with something to say & other that don’t put emphasis on what [it is] they’re doing, or are just serving a passing whim of theirs & get over it after a while. Nevertheless, there appeared exceptional bands at times, & with a very personal style (in terms of music) & a substantial (anti)suggestion for things at that, such as, e.g., Genia Tou Chaous [sic].

Compared to abroad, the situation in the greek scene is rather “familial,” that is, the scene works as a set of groups of buddies, where each group acts as they think is right. There are fewer bands & fewer spaces, but this also has to do with the fact that also fewer are those actively engaged. Certain dividing lines that are introduced are not the best thing [one could wish for], but this mentality has always been a part of punk, it may be what keeps punk alive.
Regarding the lyric “the only salvation is the destruction of authority in every conceivable form.” How do you perceive the “destruction of authority in every conceivable form,” & what does it imply?

Authority’s whatever manages to make us reluctant to refer to it or to stand against it. Its destruction has a different interpretation for each one of us. It has to do with each one’s daily life & with the ways it manages (if it does) to establish itself in us. It could be that it’s eliminated if & only if we realize that it’s something inexistent & that everybody tries agonizingly to convince us is existent, if we live incorporating our daily lives & our actions into frameworks [suggestive] of solidarity & autonomy, gaining ground within & with respect to our inner needs. Bringing down things that most take for granted.
Do you believe that punk as (per instance) [a] music[al genre] should evolve & be influenced by other musical genres? What is more important to you, music as art & expression or the message [it carries]?

For starters, punk is not so much a musical genre to us. It has more to do with an impulsive & spontaneous opinion about expression in general. The “raw-at-all-costs” punk can very well end up being more pretentious than even the most commercial of all sounds. In general, though, there’s no recipe, each one plays punk as they perceive it, notwithstanding which it’s a good thing for new suggestions to come into play, both in terms of music & of message. To us, music & message weigh the same, they are the two faces of a single coin. Because a powerful message won’t get through if the song’s not nice, & a musically nice song with bad lyrics has no reason of existing as a song, but rather as a musical composition.
All the small daily struggles against the sold out routine, where can they lead to in your opinion?

When we fight to live above all that persecutes or annoys us, the outcome can only be good, both for us & for what we want to do.
What would your stance be towards a hypothetical alternative outpost, if such a thing were created & didn’t “conform all that well to the guidelines” of Villa Amalias [the predominant punk squat in Athens]? Let’s say, would you ever play in such a place, not all that political, but quite DIY [nevertheless;] i don’t want to go on applying labels [on things,] but i’d really like to hear your opinion, regarding a possible initiative along these lines by some people. Thanks in advance!

Of course we’d support an outpost of that sort given that it would be an independent initiative & far away from profit-making considerations. After all, a DIY outpost comprises a political statement on its own right amidst this society of spectacles & of counterfeit images. I wish that every person, every group of people would operate along these lines, creating & operating such outposts of free expression. It would also be the only way, for those who love this way of expressing themselves, to keep things alive. Nevertheless, the “guidelines” you refer to is most probably a farfetched word. We, personally, don’t operate according to guidelines nor have models. Whatever we do is our own opinions in action.
If it so happened, would any of you be part of another band (possibly with another musical direction) which held a contract to a label?

This is not something that can be answered hypothetically. We have our band, with a clear stance towards things, & this is nothing that can be changed. From that point on, we can’t be thinking hypothetically about such situations.
Would you appear live with such bands?

We’d certainly appear live with bands of a different attitude than ours, if the show took place in the way we usually appear live (non-profit, independent[ly organized] shows), or for some issue we’d like to be a part of through our music.
Do you consider yourselves part of the greek punk scene, or does the issue of categorization leave you cold?

We are a punk band (at least in the way that we perceive the term), but without wanting to be in a certain category.
Why are you selling your CDs for 6 euro, while you could sell them for much less?

To start with, we don’t apologize for choosing to do what we do. The CD is pretty expensive to make the way we want it to be (if you want more info, contact us) &, to sustain our activities, this is the price that will allow us to release the next one. After all, that’s how things led from the first CD to the second. At any rate, all this criticism directed to bands & regarding their choices of places in which to have a show, their releases etc. is not representative of us & we consider it entirely aimless.
Is your self-financed effort a result of respect towards your music or a more general life philosophy?

It’s both. We’ve decided not to incorporate our music in the music industry’s reality, but rather to maintain it as a part of ourselves & of everything we believe in. In analogy, we try [to do] the same with our lives, that is, to turn what we believe in into action to the extent that this is possible.
Hello. I’d like you to ask them how they started making punk & what led them into becoming anarchists.

We don’t call ourselves anarchists, nor have we ever signed as such. In general, we don’t align ourselves with any political ideology, but rather with a libertarian mindframe. As for punk, it just happened, without a particular reason.
How can i get one of your CDs, because i only have some mp3s & i know a lot of people looking for your songs & don’t have an internet connection for mp3s.

Our first CD, “Ta Hromata Tou Misous (The Colors Of Hate)” is currently out of print. We’re now considering reprinting it. You can get our second (Äntekdikisi (Counter-Revenge)”) either by emailng us (xasma@punk.gr), sending us a letter (Hasma, Miaouli 1, GR-27100 Pyrgos Ileias), or through the mail order of punk.gr. Also, there are always copies in shows we play, as well as in certain other distros:

* Across The River (acrosstheriver2@yahoo.gr or P.O. Box 54059, GR-14310 Nea Filadelfeia, Athina) [Across The River may have closed meanwhile]

* Wipe Out’s mailorder (wipeout@wipeout.gr)

* Sperma distro (parkinsons_tug@hotmail.com o r Sperma Distro, Ellina Stratioti 12, GR-26223, Patra) [that’s TUG’s (of Parkinsons, TUG, & Reality Bites “fame”) distro, with an appropriate name: Semen!]
Where can people from Thessaloniki buy your CDs? Is there a store selling punk CDs?

In general, our CDs are not found in record stores, because we distribute them on our own & pass them on to record stores if they accept to distribute them on a non-profit basis, something that is extremely rare.
What more do you think you can offer to the greek scene?

We’re not thinking in terms of “what we can offer” & the like. We’re playing our music just so that we do what we like to do & for the people who express an interest on listening to us.
Why don’t you play tracks from “Oloi Toso Monoi (Everyone’s So Alone)” (other than those also found in “Ta Hromata Tou Misous (The Colors Of Hate)”) at their shows? They kick ass!!! […literally: “Sorry… but they fuck!!!”…]

It’s true that the tracks from the demo [tape] we usually play are those also found in our first CD. This is not intentional, it’s just that we make a choice because we also release new tracks & want to play them. Nevertheless, we’ll start playing again one or another of those songs, it’s an omission in our shows.
Any shows for the summer of 2002? &, if yes, where?

Nothing yet. We wish something could be arranged. We, at any rate, are available.
Will there be any shows in northern greece in the summer? Kavala – Alexandroupoli?

As we said above, there’s nothing organized yet (unfortunately).
Ask the guys whether they’ll come down to Kalamata for a show in the summer or sometime in general.

At some point we’ll come down to Kalamata for sure, since we’ve got friends there that want to put on a show, but there’s nothing certain.
Are you optimistic looking at the future of punk/hardcore in greece?

Since we’ve reached this point & all goes well, why not.
Some last words from us: thanks a lot to punk.gr for taking the initiative to do this interview, as well as to all who asked questions. Also, thanks to all who take an interest in what we do & support independent initiatives in general. Be well.

Hasma can be contacted via:

snail mail

Hasma (ΧΑΣΜΑ)

Miaouli 1

GR-27100 Pyrgos Ileias

GREECE

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