In the spring of 1994, straight edge youth crew hardcore band BATTERY (1990-1998 + a brief reunion in 2012) toured Europe in support of the release of their first full length album “Only the Diehard Remain” (1994, Tidal Records / Lost & Found Records). I feel like most younger hardcore punk followers don’t even know the history and the influential work of BATTERY, and its its undeniable impact on many modern bands. Thankfully, 19 years after their most active era, BATTERY are back with a European tour and now just a handful of closing shows that will surely provide an emotional glimse into the past (see the full schedule HERE, see some videos documenting the trek HERE). Tonight’s show in Prague will take place at a newly refurbished venue and DIY center called Eternia, created by Tomas from the famous Czech punk festival Fluff Fest. We caught up with him to talk about this respectable project, his connections and personal take on BATTERY, and the mertis and aesthetics of DIY culture.
Battery were our favourite back when we were still moshing our hearts out at every show we got to. [They] were one of those things what inspired us to start Fluff nearly 20y ago. Well, today our bellies are jumping up & down and we need brake mid song if we get into moshing. / Michal, co-organizer of Fluff Fest
Photo: BATTERY live in Eindhoven, by Dean Van den Brande
Hey Tomas! How are you? How’s this year been treating you so far? How was Fluff Fest?
Hello karol, thanks for reaching out. The year has been pretty busy. Seems it gets busier every year as time goes by…
The Czech punk music scene is constantly getting a breath of fresh air, due in large part to activities like yours and various similar DIY collectives. How do you view your local independent punk music society and its evolution over the years?
I think the czech scene is very experimental. There is not really a visible border between the hardcore punk scene and different scenes / genres like indierock, proper metal, college rock, grunge, stoner rock, pop punk, even electro music or hiphop or any other genres. Lately there have been pretty much no “traditional” hardcore bands around. In a way it’s nice that people look for new outlooks and new points of view. In a way i kind of miss bands, zines, labels, promoters, etc with the good old hardcore drive and spirit.
It seems that Eternia, your newest addition to the map, have a great chance to add to it and open a new chapter for Prague’s punk. What led you to open it and what’s Eternia’s mission statement?
I wouldn’t be speaking about a new chapter, but the fact is that i’m presonally super thrilled about it. There is one big reason why the project started – I want to do what i love the way i love doing it. Lately, maybe with the rise of commercialisation of hardcore and punk, a lot of shows and bands are connected to different state support, sponsorship, town grants, finance from big companies, etc. I never felt connected to any of those. I always felt like losing independence or the DIY approach goes hand in hand with turning the underground movement into a toothless rock.
At the same time I personally feel like building something more sustainable than for example squatting, something you can spend energy on, while knowing it’s a longterm project.
So basically we are trying to create space for people who want to run things independently from the mainstream world. By the kids for the kids. Fund everything ourselves by the people participating, without asking for support from the authorities or companies and all those things we dont feel comfortable with. Life is too short for compromises :)
Apart from organizing shows, what are you hoping the crowds take away from this new initiative?
Shows are not the main thing we do here, they are just more visible than the rest. Different people (including myself) are running different projects here. The main idea of how to make it work financially is that people or subjects simply participate by paying rent for the space they are using. Things are going slower than we would like with all the construction work and difficulties, all the legislative rules, etc, but since we took the building over 12 months ago you can find a bunch of rehearsal rooms, tourservice warehouse to rent vans and backline, backline repairs, a show venue, tattoo studio, skate halfpipe, poledance studio, the gallery of a young artist, some living space. The next plans we are discussing or already working on is to open a vegan restaurant, recording studio, probably a hair salon, some shops, a coffee shop/bakery, but we will see what the future brings and if any interesting people come along with some interesting ideas to do here… anyone who wants to run something interesting and comes from a similar background is welcome…
Ok, so tell us a bit about the upcoming BATTERY gig and how you decided to book them.
I just always loved the band. I am happy they are back on the map and i wanted to add my little bit of help. I didn’t know anyone from the band personally back in the day. I only got to know mike, the guitar player, from his newer/current band DARKEST HOUR. When he told me about the plan to do some shows in europe, I was in right away and i’m happy it worked out. It will only be i think 9 shows in europe in total and only 2 shows in the east part of Europe – Prague and Warszawa. Dont miss it ;)
When did you first discover the band? How important is the band for you, personally?
In the mid 90s, the band and the scene at that time in general meant a lot to me. It pretty much changed my life. Hardcore as it was at that time showed me that you can do what you love, you can stay independent and creative. BATTERY to me always represented the positive and intelligent style of 90s hardcore. And musically it was simply one of most energetic bands around.
Speaking of BATTERY, we’ve had loads of great reincarnations of hardcore bands in the recent months and years. How do you feel about reunions in general?
To be really honest when all the reunions started like a decade ago i felt it was pretty cheesy, but over time I slowly (but totally) changed my mind about this. Nowadays it seems like every single band (besides the smiths ;) from the past is playing/has played at least some shows, so maybe i got used to it, or maybe i’m too nostalgic and old :), but witnessing a lot of reunited bands i saw on stage a lot of people really enjoying what they are doing. On a political level a lot of people who still believe in what they scream to the world. And on a personal level a lot of people who are enjoying themselves by sharing passion with kids just like they are still one of them. And even if it’s only the personal aspect of a 50 year old man who, instead of being a grumpy old guy in your neighbourhood, is still enjoying life to the max in a sweaty basement just like when they were kids, it would definitely be worth it!
Photo: BATTERY live, by Angela Owens.
Ok Tomas, so finally, are there any other upcoming shows at Eternia you can tell us about?
There’s been a bunch of shows happening. We do shows in different areas of the bulding, so we’ve had some bigger ones like dri and smaller diy shows like mont dore or travolta. We definitely have a bunch of shows planned. If anyone is around, i recommend checking out EDHOCHULI from the US. An insane band. OAK from Sweden will stop by to play this month as well. And I have to mention the local band ZMAR. That’s my favourite one I recommend to check out from the new blood of the local hardcore scene.
Great, thanks so much for your time, buddy. Take care, feel free to drop you final words and drop us a line or two about the next edition of Fluff Fest once you wrap up your first arrangements :) Cheers from Warsaw!
Final words? Support underground promoters. Those who do diy shows for their love of the underground movement, not because they have not grown enough to be able to work wih big names yet. Support underground bands, those who tour for their love of the diy movement, not those who play shows in your local squat only because metal hammer is not interested in them “yet”… as long as we understand that those individuals deserve our support more than a shiny band on a shiny poster we will keep the scene alive…
The last 3 shows of the BATTERY reunion tour are:
09.11. Prague – Eternia (Czech Republic)
10.11. Warsaw – Poglos (Poland)
11.11. Leipzig – Conne Island (Germany)
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