Sweden's hardest mosher, biggest joker, CEO of the Pit Lab and all-round crazy fucking dude Behdad interviewed VxR a few months ago, but seeing as he decided to shelf the zine he was working on I thought I'd post it up here. It was cut short but Behdad rules and it gives a little insight into what we're about.
What made you start Violent Reaction? And why did you start it as a one man project? Who is the mastermind behind Violent Reaction? Isn't there any edgemen in the UK into rough Hardcore, or is everyone busy trying to be the new WARDOGS?
I had the idea a few years ago. I was a drummer at first, then I started playing guitar just to help write songs for a band I used to sing in called Nowhere Fast. I got a bit more into guitar and I started to wonder if I could record a demo by playing everything, just for myself for fun. I never really did anything about it until I got fucked up in a fight by two drunk ex-Army wankers in Liverpool, on edge day 2010 ironically. It was hearing the Boston Strangler demo, which was all recorded by the singer, while recovering that really got me stoked to do my own thing. I'd always wanted to play in a straight edge band, and the North has a few strong edgemen, but sadly there aren't really enough of us who play music for a full band.
No idea what everyone else is trying to do, probably playing covers of modern American bands or something...
Speaking of WARDOGS, which in my opinion was a great band. I'm sure everyone knows that they drew a lot of influence from LOC, but what do you think about a lot of UK bands trying to go for that style? Not Edge bands but just Hardcore in general. To be honest I don't follow the UK scene too much but it seems that it's really popular over there, almost too popular.
I never heard Wardogs to be honest, I just know they liked Iron Boots a lot, and Iron Boots liked Warzone a lot. I like Warzone a lot. Third favourite Rev release in fact. Yeah from what I gather, 'youth crew' is the big thing at the moment. If that meant Side By Side covers, Xd up hands and pos-tops I'd be stoked, but it's more Lockin' Out, expensive hats and smoking weed from what I can tell. On one hand I can be glad that there are a lot of kids at shows having fun, but at the same time I'm not an advocate for shite. Support bullshit and bullshit grows. Blindly supporting any band just because they're in our scene will only lead us to ruin.
I think one problem is that a lot of younger kids are swamped with so much modern hardcore via the Internet that they never bother to check out what came before, where the new bands got their shit from. If only more kids were staying at home listening to Negative FX, and not paying £15 to see the latest flash-in-the-pan mosh machine we would all be better off. That said, newer bands like The Flex, Think Twice, Obstruct and Persepex Flesh are certainly doing things right.
..But at the same time there is some Straight Edge bands that draw their influences from the 80's, like you and STAB. While it could be said that you bands are similar, it wouldn't be too fair to put you in exactly the same category. STAB draws their influences from another era of UK Hardcore than VR does, you seem to blend the rougher side of USHC with early UK hardcore punk and OI!. Do you feel that you are trying to keep a regional style? Is it a concious move to blend together American Hardcore with British sounds? This sounds a bit smart-assed but are you trying to preserve your musical heritage?
Me and Ola from Stab have discussed this a few times actually. We are both very into the idea of our home influences shining through. I'd say Stab do a much better job of this, them lot are a collective encyclopaedia of UK/Euro punk and hardcore and they mine it well while doing their own thing. Violent Reaction's main influences still remain the early USHC classics, especially the early 80s Boston/DC sound, but with a healthy and unavoidable dose of the UK stuff that influenced those bands. You'd be surprised how many classic USHC bands were essentially either just a mix of Discharge and oi (Negative Approach, SS Decontrol, Last Rights etc), or Discharge and Motörhead (Poison Idea, Cro-Mags, Bastard etc) . Stoke-On-Trent has a lot to answer for!
Maybe it's in my British boot-stomping blood, but I don't seem to be able to write hardcore songs any other way...
The lyrical content for VIOLENT REACTION seems to deal with just plain disgust for society and alcohol culture, traditional Straight Edge themes if you will. Do you feel like Straight Edge could be used as a political tool or would you prefer to separate them both? I feel like the divide between Straight Edge bands who deal with more personal matters hatred and against alcohol and more political Straight Edge bands is getting larger. Do you think it would be better to separate the different ''Edges'' or do you think that we should unite? Would your edge tilt more against BOSTON 82' or the 90s Vegan Straight Edge? Personally, are you more of a FLOORPUNCH edgeman than a EARTH CRISIS edgeman? How would your ideal Straight Edge band be in this day and age, not soundwise but ideologically?
Boston '82 every time. The whole attitude and vibe just sits so much better with me than any of the 90s bands. I mean, joyless dudes with curtains spinkicking to metal with a backpack on, or a bunch of nutters with shaved heads that just worked, slammed, fought townies and made the hardest music ever recorded? No contest!
For me, straight edge is simply abstaining from substance abuse. All that other shit like veganism, politics, celibacy, it's all fine if that's your way but to me there's no actual connection with straight edge. I'm vegetarian and I'm certainly no right-winger, but neither has any bearing on my straight edge. The guys in the live lineup play in Abolition, a very political 90s influenced straight edge band, Nick plays in Stab and I play in Sectarian Violence which are openly left wing straight edge bands with mostly vegan members. Yet personally I believe these elements exist independently. If Nick comes to practice with a cheeseburger in his hand, he hasn't sold out, he just isn't currently a vegan. If Charlie calls me and tells me he's just got back from a roman orgy, he hasn't sold out, he just might have the clap. If I break into an old lady's house with a golf club and start teeing off on her Jack Russell like I'm Happy Gilmore, I haven't sold out, I'm just a cunt. Of course, society and the media etc play a part in drilling the booze thing into people's heads, the UK has one of the worst drinking cultures in the world. But people have to make their own choices, it's be far too easy to use it as excuse, like "oh it's society that makes me do this shit, nothing I can do about it, so I may as well carry on I guess...".
Anyway, last I checked, Earth Crisis hadn't recorded 'Intro/Changes' or knocked fuck out of nazis with pipes, so Porter and the boys take the crown for me.
As for my ideal straight edge band attitude in 2012, just check out the video of Negative FX playing 'Might Makes Right' at the last Mission Of Burma show. I'm not on a straight edge recruitment drive, I don't want to better society, I just wanna run through Wetherspoons in a knife suit.