Coming off their recent 12” record on Garagem Records and German/Czech tour in early May, Porto rough d-beat punks from DOKUGA sit down with IDIOTEQ to discuss the band, the record, European DIY hardcore scene and the role of politics in punk culture. Launch the record and read the full interview below.
Photo by Pedro Roque Photography.
Hey there guys! Thanks so much for your time and the honest will to tell us everything about DOKUGA :)
To start off, please tell us your story of how you got started in punk music? Also, how did you form DOKUGA?
Hi! We started the band in 2006, but before that we were all involved in Porto’s punk scene, be it organizing gigs or making the artwork for other bands . Giró used to be the drummer for RENEGADOS DE BOLIQUEIME, an important Portuguese band in the nineties and together with Oscar, they had FREEDOOM until 2014.
How did you come to focus your form on this particular d-beat niche of hardcore?
We don’t think a lot about belonging to a certain niche. I think it’s just the way it flows with the four of us together. We see ourselves simply as punks, but I think you could say we fit on the “dark side” of it. Fast and raw punk, that’s what moves us.
Can you tell the IDIOTEQ readers all about your latest 12’’ record? Are there more new recordings coming up soon from you guys?
We started recording this 12″ at a time when Giró (our drummer) was living in London, so we only had two or three days for him to catch up with the new songs and then recording the drums. Despite that, we think it’s the record that best depicts our sound. Before we had a demo from 2007, a split cd with MOTORNOISE, 3 songs at Hardcore Mayhem vol. I and participated in some other compilations. All of that are available at our bandcamp or through youtube.
This year we’re planning a new record and a split 7″ with VAI-TE FODER.
What labels have you been working with on your releases? Please drop us a couple of lines about your local and other European DIY labels worth checking out.
We’ve always kept things pretty d.i.y., even now, that we had the record out through Garagem Records, it was a cooperation in which we were always involved, from the artwork until the packaging…
Our past records were all self-released, except for a compilation from Smyt Records (France). Nowadays the Portuguese active underground punk labels worth mentioning are Garagem Records, Zerowork Records, Degradagem, Dog City Records and Destroy it Yourself. We are also working closely with Pet’a from Aback Distro and Records from Czech Republic, that’s distributing our stuff.
Running a punk band for 10 years must take quite a bit of commitment. How engaging is this project for you guys and what does it mean to you personally?
It doesn’t look that long, but in 10 years we’ve had our ups and downs, particularly because there were times when some of us had to work abroad and we couldn’t be together, play and write as much as we would like. I think now it’s one of the best times for us in terms of activity, because we all live close to each other and are all committed in catching up some of the lost time and opportunities we’ve missed on past years.
Has the recent political and social events like the migrant crisis affected your lyrics? How political is DOKUGA and how much do you care about such issues?
Regarding the migrant crisis, everything is wrong when you see someone denying help to people that already lost everything because of their origin. Countries and borders exist mainly for economic reasons and religion is the poison used to trigger all of this.
No one can be indifferent to that, people should always worth more than that greed crossfire in which they’re caught. That being said, I think it’s impossible for anyone with a brain to be apolitical…
As a band, we are always ready to participate in benefits for libertarian or social causes, but most of the times when we are writing, we try to say things in a way that doesn’t sound too “preachy”.
We are punks, of course we are all up to “fuck the system” and destroy hierarchies as well as indulging in other more hedonist misbehaviors… We’ll hardly be able to come up with something new so, the challenge is to try to say what has to be said from a less direct and more personal perspective.
D-beat and crust punk bands are often viewed as being extremely political. What do you think is the reason behind that? Do you think that’s accurate?
Since the beginning crust has always been a politically aware punk sub-genre. When you don’t have that, it tends to sound more like poorly played death metal. The thing is that sometimes it seems like there is a lyrical standard and all the bands say the same thing, the same way…
What do you think hardcore punk’s responsibility is in today’s political and social culture?
In the modern world information travels at a fast pace. On the other hand, Punks’ not that popular nowadays, so it’s supposed impact and responsibility is limited to a relatively small bunch of people.
For us it certainly was an important way to achieve political and social awareness. Good intentions and ideals will always thrive in the punk underground, side by side with reckless attitude. In the end it is up to each one to be responsible for their own choices.
Do you have any further thoughts on how punk music has developed over the years and where it’s heading in the upcoming years?
One of the coolest things about punk is the large spectre it embraces. Saying it´s all about the “attitude” is the biggest cliche but also the most felt truth . Wherever it goes musically, let’s just hope it remains raw, self-conscious and keeps a d.i.y. ethic…
Ok guys. I guess that’s about it. Thanks a lot for the introduction and your thought on various subjects. Now that we know each other better, what are your plans for the future?
We went on a Germany/Czech Republic mini-tour with VICTIMS OF CLASSWAR in early May, and are planning to realese a couple of splits with SYSTEMIK VIOLENCE, a new band from Lisbon, and VAI-TE FODER from Braga.
Thanks for your time and the interview, Karol! Hope to see on a future tour ;) Cheers!
Yeah man! Thanks so much for your time! Cheers from Warsaw! Take care!