Entrevista a la banda Hello Bastards [en ingles]
“We are from Brazil, Argentina, Poland, Israel and Germany who have been living in London for many years. This band was started to give voice to our views and beliefs, and to encourage punk music to become a political threat again.
Punk nowadays means nothing. It has been dilapidated and absorbed by the system, the threat that was the essence of punk music has evaporated. Most bands do not have a message and most bands have forgotten that punk music is political.”
Hello Bastards Myspace link [photos, music, videos etc.]
New Hello Bastards interview! Here is our latest interview wih the awesome zine called xMusic as a Weaponx. There are interviews in the zine with 7 Generations, Anchor, True Nature, Giant and Sink or Swim.
1 – How was your band name chosen and what does it mean and/or stand for?
The band name was chosen because of an album titled Hello Bastards by the band Lifetime. This album had great impact on most members of the band and I guess it is something that reminds us of the great memories that we had of the punk/hardcore scene from our younger days. Of course, the name also symbolises a collective ‘fuck you’ to authority and certain aspects of society which we talk about in our lyrics.
2 – What was the motive to start a music project with such a strong
message and attitude? What do you want to achieve with Hello Bastards?
The initial reason for starting the band was for fun. We were all friends and looking to make music together. Over time and due to the political nature of members of the band, the project kind of morphed into a serious political punk/hardcore outfit. I think that now, it is this political message which keeps us going as a band. We realise that punk/hardcore is becoming less and less interested in politics and more interested in fashion and forming cliques; we feel that this is something that needs to be addressed.
3 – Tell us a bit about yourselves. Where do you live and what do you do
for a living? Jobs? School? Are you involved in some other projects
outside of Hello Bastards? Other bands? Does anyone of you write a Fanzine?
Do you actively participate in any sort of struggle?
The band, although based in London have no English members. We have members from Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Israel and Poland. We feel that this adds an international mix to the band allowing different ideas and musical creativity to flow. Most members of the band work, a couple of members do not, getting by, by other means. I (Amy) participate in a vegan anarchist hip hop project called Kurohata and Norbert the drummer plays in a sludge type band called Soro; Santiago our bassist writes lots of political articles for magazines, web sites and books among other things. We all try to partake in various struggles as much as we can whether animal rights, human rights i.e Palestine conflict, immigration struggles or local anarchist projects, all sorts really.
4 – Did you manage to self release your demo cd spending no money at all?
How did you do that?….
The only money we spent was on recording the demo. Basically, we managed to ‘expropriate’ certain stores of their CD’s, photocopying facilities, paper etc – a little bit of ingenuity goes a long way.
5 – You set up a stall with free literature at every show you play, right?
Why’s that? And what kind of stuff do you have to distribute?….
We feel that the music is only a small part of what we are about; tabling literature is very important to us. The literature at shows helps the band to spread a message. It’s basically another way to express our ideas. We usually have a wide variety of political books which are sold dirt cheap at shows as well. Again, due to the inventive nature of members of the band, books are expropriated from the dark and dusty shelves of corporate book stores and given a new life at punk shows; the money made from these books always goes to animal or human rights organisations…..
6 – When you play live, do you give speeches in between the songs? Do you see that important? What types of message do you hope people are able to take away from seeing your band live or listening to your music?
Yes we always do. It is imperative that we keep the spoken word alive at shows, it is too easy to just let the music take over. However, admittedly, we are not the best people at explaining our ideas especially as none of us are native English speakers, but we do try our best. I guess all we can hope for is that people get the same passion at fighting injustice as what we do. When we are on stage it is the thought of animals being experimented on or it is the thought of the Palestinian child who was murdered by Israeli war planes that drives us and gives us our energy. We hope that people understand our passion and can appreciate where we are coming from…..
7 – It was something intentional to gather 5 people from different places
of the world to play in Hello Bastards? Cause you all live in London but
none of you are from there originally, isn’t it? Does anyone of you have
any problems with immigration? What do you think of borders, countries and
It was not intentional it just panned out that way. It helped that we were all vegan and drug free as London does not have many people into the same lifestyle, so we all just gravitated towards each other. Immigration is a big problem for this band. Already our bassist Santiago from Israel has had to leave the UK due to visa issues; we do not know if and when he will be able to come back to the UK as the UK is tightening up its border control. This is really bad, not just for this band but for all of the people from war torn countries who could be sent back to their homeland and possible death, it’s just awful. As a band and as anarchists primarily, we do not believe in borders, flags or countries as each can be used as a rallying point for nationalistic and fascist views. Only with the destruction of borders and national identity and where freedom of movement is paramount can we truly have a just and equal society…..
8 – Humans are social beings who live in groups. The majority of the
population lives under a system where the people, the animals and the
earth are exploited and oppressed. And nothing changes, just gets worse.
Can the system be reformed? Do you believe that anarchism is the answer to
this civilized chaos? Do you consider yourselves anarchists?
We do not believe that any system based on exploitation and oppression can be reformed. Reformation has been the thorn in the side of all revolutions throughout history; it is the one thing which nullifies and diverts energy into channels controlled by the powerful elite. Anarchism is the only answer which we feel is sincere in its aims to rid the earth of exploitation. If we look at anarchist history, anarchists have always attempted either by education or by direct action to fight aspects of ‘civilization’ head on, which they felt, were not compatible with living free and usually at the cost of their own lives. Anarchism now faces challenges which it did not meet maybe 100 years ago. Civilization is a very different creature now, although civilization has always been based on oppression, now it is on a much larger scale. We believe that anarchists need to be open to the struggles, not just in the factory, but also to the global assault on the earth and its inhabitants; green anarchy seems to answer many of these questions, to me at least. I would not like to speak for the rest of the band, but it is safe to assume that we all believe in total freedom, whether we call ourselves anarchists or not…..
9 – You all live by the Vegan Straight Edge ethics, right? What were the
reasons that made you choose these lifestyles and what have inspired you
so much to make this decision for life? How did you become Vegan Straight
Edge and what changed since then?
We are all vegan drug free but I can only comment on how I became interested in this. It all began 16 years ago, when I started listening to Punk and Hardcore music, especially when I was introduced to bands such as Minor Threat and Youth of Today who were singing about Straight Edge and Vegetarianism and after reading lots of great books about the issues that I decided to change my life for the better. It had a huge impact on my life and on how I see the world and the people around me. Even now I feel as strongly about these values as I did when I was a teenager only that they have now been encompassed into a wider view based on anarchist principles. ….
10 – You have a song named “Leave their world alone” where you support
indigenous cultures singing “Indigenous peoples must be free. We have no
rights to impose our will or tell them how to live”. The expansion of
civilization originates deforestation, pollution, exploitation and this is
threatening all native people around the world. How can we leave their
world alone if we keep destroying? What can we do to make things right?
And as vegans, how do you see native communities who hunt (and gather and
also grow some food) for their own survival?
Most people in mainly Western or affluent societies hold dear to anthropocentric views. If we look back throughout history, the West has always raped and exploited land from those people deemed less ‘civilised’ than themselves and always for their own gains. It was believed that it was a given right to do this and that the land and its people (mainly indigenous) were there to be used and exploited for their own gains. This viewpoint still predominantly holds true today. There is no slow down in the destruction that we are reaping on this earth, if anything, it is exceeding. The few indigenous tribal peoples still living today have little hope of continuing their life free from our interference, civilisation will only cease once every tree has been torn up or every river polluted. I believe that the damage has already exceeded the tipping point and I cannot see how tribal peoples can exist in their current settings what with the continuous and daily attacks from corporations, governments and civilisation in general – it breaks my heart to say so but it just seems an impossibility of finding a way out of this mess.
My own viewpoint on hunting is probably different to the rest of the band; we have never really discussed this issue. I believe that veganism is predominantly a choice which those living in cities and I guess civilisation can and have the choice to make; and of course I completely urge everyone to go vegan for issues I do not need to discuss here. However, I feel that tribal peoples even though they hunt and of course eat meat still live in a far more harmonious relationship to nature and with the animal kingdom than any of us could ever hope for. There is a harmonious connection to nature which they have, which they actually need to have in order to survive. So I as a vegan living in a city do not have the right to judge these peoples. Green capitalism is still capitalism, whatever way you look at it. Me going to a vegan restaurant, or me buying vegan food is still way more damaging to both the environment and animals (animals will die from transportation of these products on roads or the packaging made in factories churning out pollution etc) than what the indigenous people may take from the land, there is no comparison really and I have no right to make that judgement…..
11 – In your song called “Political Statement” you say “Defying the
imposed culture, a fight against all, the windmills of ignorance someday
will fall. (…) Liberation for all. Vegan as a political act”. So, for you,
veganism is more than just a diet?
Yes absolutely! Veganism has to be looked at as something more than just a lifestyle choice. Our whole culture is based on exploitation of people, animals and nature. Living in capitalist societies, it is our duty to adopt vegan ethics thus serving two purposes; one, to avoid as much as possible in the partaking of oppression and exploitation over animals, people and the environment and two, to essentially help bring down capitalism for the purpose of the total liberation for all. So veganism must not stop at the stage of diet. As stated in the previous question, if veganism entails blindly supporting green capitalism or fair-trade then this is not something which we can envisage working. Green capitalism will always still exploit people and the earth, by its very nature it has to. For organisations to survive whether green orientated or not, they have to follow market trends and the flow of money or they will fold. They can claim all the green credentials they want but capitalism destroys regardless of green ethics or not. Ok, so we have vegan products, how are these resources extracted to enable the packaging of these products? From mines raping the earth of its resources maybe and usually in some poor country exploiting the people. How are these items transported? By roads leading from the mines to the depots, this can entail roads and what comes with that is the destruction of forests and nature etc, completely wiped out for the transportation of goods for our vegan products. Where does the soy come from which is in nearly all vegan products? Usually from areas of forest / jungle cleared to grow soy crops. Essentially therefore, if we use veganism only as a tool to end exploitation then it will fail, however, coupled with a strong anti-capitalist vision then I believe that we can truly aim for a new world in which we can all live free from exploitation…..
12 – Do you try to get food for free? Do you dumpster dive? And when you
buy do you prefer to get organic and fair trade products?
Some of us in the band dumpster, most of us try to when we get the chance. If I buy products, then it has to be locally grown produce. Most produce which I purchase if not grown myself, is purchased from local allotments, most within walking distance of my home. And of course, I would always buy organic over non organic and fair trade over non fair-trade, but looking at the bigger picture and as previously discussed, this is still not the ideal situation.
13- What kind of things do you label as drugs? What’s your view on drug
dealing? (Be it legal or illegal.)
To put it simply, drugs are ANYTHING which you find yourself addicted to. This could be an addiction to technology, this could be an addiction to gambling, an addiction to substances or to anything. It is about recognising these addictions and then breaking that cycle. Drug dealing is a symptom of civilisation and culture. Through the way society is structured people need to work in order to survive; now although I disagree with drug dealing, sometimes this is a person’s only means of survival. We can have a discussion about the ethics of drug dealing, that’s fine, but for that dealer, who may not have any other choices in life this may be the only route to buy food, support the family and what not.
14 – Do you think that alcohol kills the revolution? Why’s that?
If you look at certain anarchist groups which have fought in revolutions, I am thinking about the Machnovists from the Ukraine or those in the Spanish revolution or even smaller guerrilla type groups such as the Bonnet gang, then they all espoused a strong anti-alcohol and drug message. The Machnovists considered alcohol such an issue that they would empty villages of alcohol as they spread through the Ukraine because of the damage which it could cause to their revolution. You can also see the damage which alcohol and drugs have caused to some revolutions such as the Black Panthers, completely decimated by crack etc. This has nothing to do with my views about straight edge, I really don’t care about that at all, but from a revolutionary viewpoint, alcohol and drugs will destroy any and all revolutions, no question.
15 – In one of your songs you do scream “Straight Edge is dead, you’re
next” – What do you mean?
This song was basically written in response to the current straight edge scene and the seemingly idiotic and macho path it has taken. I guess it was written more out of frustration as what we now perceive the scene to be about. Straight edge is now more about fashion, cliques and dance moves than what I remember straight edge to be, such as radical politics and lifestyles.
16 – What’s your position regarding promiscuous relationships? Do you see
the “one night stand” kind of sexual interactions as something we should
avoid as revolutionary people we say we are? Do you think we should only
have sex with the ones we deeply love?
I believe that as long as people respect and do not hurt each other then I do not care what people do.
17 – What’s you feelings regarding prostitution (be it legal or illegal)?
Do you feel it is the same to sell our bodies and sexual favors in
exchange for money than selling our labor, and this means selling our
soul, for money too? Is one thing worse than the other?
Prostitution means selling our bodies. Every one of us prostitutes ourselves every single day, in the factory, in the workplace, in our interactions with hierarchical structures. For me, prostitution for sex is no worse than selling our lives in the workplace. Of course, there are other issues with prostitution for sex which I do not agree with, but, if those who are doing it to survive and are working for themselves and not some pimp then good luck to them.
18 –You have interesting and stimulating lyrics and you talk about
important subjects as sweatshops, for example. In one of your songs you
scream “Sweatshops across the world. Clothing more important than life. A
legal prison for poor people. Twenty first century slavery. (…) Precarious
conditions. Hidden repression. Abusive environment. Fear and
intimidation.” To buy is to support, that’s a fact! So, are you concerned
if the products you consume are sweatshop free? Do you try to know if a
product comes from an “ethical” (such thing doesn’t exist but you know
what we mean) company before purchasing it? Is Hello Bastard’s merchandise
We believe that it is important to recognise that sweatshop free and so called ethical company / products are essentially just another niche market helping to prop up capitalism. They make a very very small difference and that difference I feel is more personal than anything else. Our tees are all sweat shop free and even though we are living in a capitalist system and that sweatshop free does not really mean that much on the grand scale of things, it eases our conscious a little to know that some 8 year old kid did not make our clothing with a gun to his head…..
19 – What’s your opinion about all the CCTV cameras in every street,
corner, shop, restaurant and supermarket? Big Brother is always watching
I think it is crazy that we have to live under such circumstances, that it is widely acceptable in this society to be surveilled 24 hours in the name of national security. Who would have thought that George Orwell’s theory of a Big Brother type of society in his book 1984 would become reality? This just shows how much fear and paranoia exist in this world we live in, where capitalism dictates how we live and under what rules in order to justify its existence.
20 – Do you watch Television? Would be better to smash our TV sets or is
there anything positive by keeping them?….
I wouldn’t distinguish between different aspects of technology. I must admit that I do watch TV occasionally, mainly for educational purposes; there are a lot of interesting political documentaries that I do watch. However, I am aware of the fact that watching TV is not good as you are bombarded by TV adverts, exposed to stupid game shows and Celebrity Culture which from an anarchist point of view is something to fight against. But I must say that I believe that not just Television but most forms of technology are essentially destructive to the environment and to a society that are brainwashed by adverts to consume more, to support capitalism and to keep this cycle going…..
21 – Do you ride bikes? Don’t you agree that’s a great tool to be used in
our daily life struggle against pollution?….
Yes, most of us do ride bikes whenever possible. Yes, it is a great tool to fight against pollution and far better for the environment than other modes of transport such as cars. I do not own a car but I use public transport or ride my bike when needed. But we must be aware that bikes are made of metal, plastic and rubber and that these are of course resources extracted from the environment. The same mines that extract resources to produce a car will also be used to produce a bike. Essentially they are still contributing to the destruction of the environment, but of course they are still the best alternative we have.
22 – Political orientated Vegan Straight Edge bands exist to spread their
message through their lyrics and speeches at shows. Touring helps to reach
that goal. For that, bands need to get a van, or a bus, or cars to do it.
But are vehicles the only option? Do you feel it is justifiable to drive
our cars around? Do you drive cars running on vegetable oil (which we
think is the most ecological friendly fuel available)?
We need to stop looking at things from a human perspective. We need to ask ourselves what is best for the earth? What does the earth need to survive? Is there anything that we can do to aid its return to health? Emphasis should be placed on what the earth needs and not on what we as humans need. I do not believe in travel at the cost of the earth. We are far separated from our original lifestyle of early or tribal peoples. John Zerzan discusses this in his works. We have lost that close community life which tribal peoples did enjoy and some still do. We seek new communities to replace those we have lost. This is where punk comes in. Punk acts like a community in a world where traditional communities have been destroyed. Punk survives on its message and touring bands, it always has and it always will. So, no, I don’t think it is justifiable to drive around in cars, but it is something which is accepted within the greater scheme of civilisation. Any way we can tour or function as a community which requires the least damage to the environment the better.
23 – The more we know about everything the better, right? Every time we do
things by ourselves instead of relying on the mainstream and getting
things already done we’re proving that another world is possible. Do you
try to stay true to the underground and DIY (Do It Yourself) ethics as
much as possible? Is that something you care about?
Yes, we believe that we need to do things ourselves rather than just becoming consumers. We do not like the commercialisation of punk / hardcore and what it has become. It is down to us, the kids to keep the true essence of punk / hardcore alive.
24 – What do you have to say about religion? Spirituality? Does anyone in
Hello Bastards believe in god? Why?
No one in Hello Bastards believes in religion and I am not sure about spirituality as this is something we have not really discussed. Personally, I find my strength and guidance through my relationships with my friends, through my family and through my community.
25- Do you like the city, concrete, traffic, buildings, jobs, paying for
basic things as food, water and shelter? What are your thoughts on
Civilization? Technology? Progress? Where and how would you prefer to live
I have already touched on my views on civilisation in previous questions so I will not go into too much detail about that, only that we need to stop looking forward for some magic answers to societies’ issues but rather look back, back to those groups of people who have lived in harmony with the earth and the animal kingdoms for thousands of years before this horrible thing called civilisation came into existence. I believe that this holds the key and from my point of view this is the way humans are supposed to live. My utopian vision if you like, for how I would like to live is loosely based on Kirkpatrick Sale’s work Dwellers in the Land. Sale talks about cities being broken down to what he called Bio-regions, small autonomous communities which would be self sustainable, non-hierarchical and egalitarian. Humans have lived this way for hundreds of thousands of years and will more than likely continue living this way once civilisation has gone…..
26 – You’ve written a lyric about Jeff Luers named “22 years”. Do you
support other political activists who were jailed? What’s you stance about
Yes, members of the band write to prisoners or indirectly support political prisoners through other means such as organising benefit shows, discussing them in our lyrics etc. Again, prisons are a tool of those in power to control society. Prisons and the court systems are primarily based on class, gender and racial lines and represent everything we stand against…..
27 – What’s your opinion about the conflict between Israel and Palestine?
This issue is something which we feel very strong about. We as a band have always supported the Palestinian struggle for self determination and their struggle to live free from Israeli oppression. This issue is all the more pertinent as we have an Israeli member in the band who is active in the anti-occupation struggles in Palestine. I will not go into detail as those who care what our views are on this issue can read a comprehensive discussion we have with people on our myspace profile; this will give you a fairly good idea of where we stand. I would just like to say that at the time of writing Gaza is being attacked from the air from the sea and from the ground. A disproportionate battle is taking place, one where the population of Gaza are helpless to defend themselves from the barbaric slaughter visited on them from the Zionist Israeli government. This issue is very uncontroversial even though the media attempt to portray otherwise. Stop occupying people, stop the bloodshed and give Palestine back to the Palestinians…..
28 – You write about economic oppression, fake freedom and democracy, how
the wealthy exploit the poor and about governments corruption and frauds.
You think the only way is to allow a radical change? A popular uprising
where everyone needs to revolt and fight back? Do you think pacifism
change nothing and that violence is the only way to achieve total freedom?
I believe that all forms of struggle are necessary and that there is a path which we can all choose to follow in these times if we wish. It is not up to me to say which is more effective in terms of struggle than something else; only that whichever way people choose to revolt has the support of their communities and not just a few individuals. For example, if we look at black history in the US it is clear that the Black Panthers achieved probably more than what the civil rights movement ever did in a short amount of time. But it can also be argued that the Black Panthers may never have had the opportunity to achieve as much as they did, had it not been for the support of their communities, much of which had been influenced firstly by the civil rights movement. The same can be said for any other struggle. All forms of protest and dissent are crucial. Essentially therefore, I do not care how change occurs, only that it does.
29- Any final words?
Thank you for the interview and we would just like to show solidarity with people struggling all over the world from Greece to Gaza. Our thoughts are with you…..