Interviews

Be Yourself – introducing French hardcore band STUPID KARATE!

STUPID KARATE Jonathan Skorupski photography
In conjuction with the release of their new DIY music video, we have teamed up with French wild hardcore band STUPID KARATE (ex-MÖRSE) to discuss their band,  controversial lyrics, new EP released on October 10th, and some politics.

Photo by Jonathan Skorupski.

Hi guys. Let’s start off with an explanation of your controversial lyrics. “Smells like piss spirit” and other lyrics like “my new hobby is sniffing glue”, “fuck off and die”, “penis out of pants”, “ sound like a one hell of an abusive rally. Can you expound on this idea of spitting such offensive lyrics through music and hardcore punk, a genre that was designed for far differens purposes, in particular?

Hi Karol. First of all, thanks a lot for your directness. The lyrics of our S/T EP are talking about different kind of people: drug addicts, violent macho guys, dumb teenagers… We don’t want to judge them, we just try to imagine their toughs and feelings. Yes some of our lyrics are abusives but, hey, we are a punk band! For example I love the lyrics of JEAN LOUIS COSTES, they are abusives and it’s okay. Also, the lyrics of PC DEATHSQUAD or PITBOSS 2000 make me laugh. I really enjoy bad ass, raw, fun and gross lyrics. I don’t think punk music is about being polite.

Would you say there are some global aspects of this content that we can take from? Is there a message you’d like to get across to your listeners?

We’re not a political band and we don’t want to say what to think or what to do to our listeners. Right now we’re working on the lyrics of our second EP and we’re talking about Diogène de Sinope – an incredible philosopher, Bill Laimbeer – the punkest NBA player and how it’s important to build bridges to Mexico (the greatest country ever), not walls. There is not really a common theme. The only messages that we have are be yourself and, please, don’t be a jerk. Yeah, I know, it sounds cheesy.

So I guess you’re not a fan of Donald Trump’s presidency?

Ho hell no ! When a populist and ultra nationalist person is in charge of a Nation it’s never a good sign. Unfortunately he is not an isolated case : Rodrigo Duterte, Vladimir Poutine, Miloš Zeman… We’re living in a hatefull period, everyone is afraid of his future and, instead of thinking about long term solutions, everyone is blaming the strangers. It’s always easier to say that you’re not the problem but the other is.

STUPID KARATE live

Photo by Ludovic Bernard

How do you see it potentially affecting your local political scene in France?

The Brexit and Donald Trump give to the Front National (a French nationalist politic party) hope. They think that they can win the national election in 2017. I think it’s possible too and it’s sad. The political atmosphere here is really awful. People are afraid of their future because of the unemployment and the terrorism. Politics use this fear to make hateful’ statement. Everyone is losing his mind. I don’t know what’s going on but it’s not good.

Some might say these happenings mark perfect time for punk and will eventually result in hundreds of amazing records :)

I trully believe that. It’s the perfect timing for new bands ala REAGAN YOUTH or MDC!

Does hardcore punk have to be always political?

Well, if you’re looking at the hardcore or the punk scene nowadays, there are not a lot of bands with political lyrics. So, I guess it’s not an obligation. I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing and, honestly, I don’t really care. In my opinion punk music is not about saying political things, it’s more about being yourself. If you say “punk has to be this or that” you miss the point.

That’s why you started this band? Tell us more about the path that led you to forming STUPID KARATE.

I met Harald (guitar) a few months ago, we both wanted to play in a fast and fun punk band like LIMP WRIST. Then we found Théo (singer) and Mathieu (drum) and we started to write some songs. It was last summer. We both like movies and music from the 80’s, we wanted to pay tribute as well as bands like DEAD KENNEDYS as movies like The Brood. I think that’s what STUPID KARATE is all about : the alternative culture from the 80’s.

Stupid Karate

Have you been in other bands before?

Yup ! Théo (singer) is the bass player of SONS OF O’FLAHERTY, a celtic punk band from Vannes and Mathieu (drums) is the drummer of THE WITCH, a metal band from Douai. Harald (guitar) was in a band called MENACE when he lived in Bayonne and I used to play bass in MÖRSE.

Is STUPID KARATE going to be a heavy touring band? Do you have any plans to hit the road sometime soon?

Well, I would love to but it’s not that simple. We all have a job or are looking for a new job, Mathieu and Théo have other bands, Mathieu has a child and I am married. Futhermore we are a young band and it’s really difficult to book shows when your band is new and your friends are not promoters. Despite of all these difficulties we have some gigs in January 2017, we will play in Nantes, Lille, Nancy and Lyon.

By the way, how is your local independent arts and hardcore punk scene?

The punk local scene in the north of the France is really great. We have cool bands (FAKE OFF, JODIE FASTER, BURNING LADY, VETO…), cool promoters (SPIT IT OUT, RIFFEATER, STREETS ARE TALKING…) and great involved people (Mika from DTTH records, John from DIY cafe, Grégory Smets, Gael from Radio Campus…). It’s always a pleasure to play here.

Do you find that it has any discernible influence on your music?

Not really.

Haha. Ok, and what do you think about bands just releasing material digitally? How do you go about physicals formats?

Releasing a physical format cost a lot of money. You have to pay about 1000 euros for a vinyl release and 500 euros for a CD release. It’s a lot of money when you’re a little punk band like us, without any label. Money that we don’t have so we’re only releasing a DIY CD and maybe later some tapes. So I trully understand bands releasing only material digitally :)

STUPID KARATE live by Ludovic Bernard

Photo by Ludovic Bernard

Can you share some of the finest records and artists you discovered in 2016?

I really loved the last releases of YOUTH AVOIDERS, SYNDROME 81, COUPE GORGE, HEAVY HEART, RANK, CULTURE ABUSE, RIXE, TAULARD, NOFX, BROKEN TEETH, GLOSS, DÉPARTE, SECT and SUICIDAL TENDENCIES.

Finally, can you give us any glimpse into what you are working on next?

Right now we are writing some new songs. We will hit the studio in february to record a new EP.

Ok guys, thanks for taking the time to chat. Good luck with the band. Cheers!

Thanks !

STUPID KARATE live!

STUPID KARATE Facebook
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[email protected]
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