We love Romanian bands – that’s what I have to say after a few interviews and listening sessions with bands from this country. Here’s another one, an interview conducted on March 18th, 2012. This time we meet Viez, the vocalist of MEDIOCRACY, a crust/sludge/thrash/hardcore mixture from Bucharest.
Hey, guys. Pleasure to have you here. Please introduce yourselves.
Hello there! My name is Viez and I play vocals. My bandmates are Radu and Costin at guitars,Para at drums and our new bass player is Fane. He replaced our old bass plyer Dop after he went to study abroad but he has been a close friend of ours before because he is also our sound guy.
Give us a brief history of MEDIOCRACY (how did the band form, etc.) and tell us what bands were you guys in before the current project?
Well it all started in 2007 when I got the idea to form a band with a strong message and a different sound than what we had previously in our scene. Initially I wanted a crust band and for this I spent the next 4 years trying to find the people who would at least have an idea about this and to be willing to form a new band of course.
This is my first major project but the guys played in different bands before this, mostly metal. To give a few examples they played in CAP THE CRANIU, H8, NIGHTPRAY, PROTEST URBAN, RAIN DISTRICT among many others.
You guys draw from a lot of different musical influences. We love your idea of mixing crust, hardcore, punk and metal. Who is responsible for producing your releases? Has Marius Costache been doing this work every time you record?
Yes he has been working with us right from the start. I actually knew Marius before I even met the rest of the guys, at the time I was still trying to form the band and he told me early on he would like to produce our record. As we are all good friends we all worked really well so far and he knows exactly how everything should sound.
As for the influences.they come from all our different backgrounds and this is how we managed to make them all work together.
How about writing it? How does this blend emerge?
Well most of the songs come out the same way… Costin or Radu come up with a riff or more and they work on that until we settle on something that feels right. Most of the times I write the lyrics after a song is done but there are also cases when I come with an idea for a song, or a few lyrics and we go from there.
You are releasing the “Memory Hole” EP. How does it differ from the previous releases? Where was it recorded?
We recorded these 3 songs in our new rehearsal room.Every record we did was recorded in a different place [laughs]. But I guess this didn’t affect the sound because we always had Marius to take care of this.
I don’t think it differs in a big way because it’s still MEDIOCRACY, I still deal with topics that make me or others angry. I guess the difference is that there are fewer songs this time. Initially we wanted to make a split 7” with another band and look for some labels to support this release,but sadly we couldn’t find those labels nor the other band.This is how these 3 songs came to form “Memory Hole”.
What formats do you use to promote it? Personally I feel the physical product is so important, the artwork, the smell, etc. Could you tell us how the package and its look fit with your music and stories you tell?
Well I for one would love to release our records on vinyl, but it’s way too expensive for an independent band to do it themselves, so we settled for CD’s and tapes.Most of the promotion though is done on the Internet and for this we have both our albums for free download because we felt this way they would travel much quicker in multiple places of the world. We are all aware we are not going to get rich by selling records any time soon so we just like to share our music with whom ever wants to listen, for free.
You recently released a cool studio feature of the band playing live. What’s the story behind it?
That is actually when and how we recorded. A “what you see is what you get” sort of thing.While we played Marius and another friend Corina where filming and recording. We played the songs a few times until we got everything right and that was that.
Tell us more about the record label that you’re on.
Asiluum is a netlabel that Marius and Costin started some time ago to promote their own materials but it became a big support to other bands aswell.
The other label we have Metalfan Records Division, who kindly offered to support this new release and help us with the promotion. Metalfan is actually a metal website from Romania but they also decided to support bands from time to time and so far all has been going well.
What’s hot in Bucharest right now? Tell us about your local scene. Give us your thoughts on shows, clubs, and local bands.
Well the Bucharest scene is mostly metal. I for one would love to see some more punk/hardcore bands emerging but I guess this is the social climate we have here right now. I don’t realy feel I fit in our local scene because I grew up being a punk and now I find myself mostly among metalheads. This difference becomes more obvious when I try to bring a punk message into their scene.. a lot of people didn’t like it but guess someone had to do it [laughs]! I can name a few bands: CAP THE CRANIU, DEADEYE DICK, BREATHE LAST, DEATHDRIVE, PROOF among others. I’m really excited to hear this new band called Void Forger who play a sort of doom/crust from what I heard and who are he first to try this sound around here.
The best place to do shows in Bucharest at the moment is Fabrica Club in my oppinion. It’s pretty big and there are shows there all the time and of all kinds of genders. I do feel the need for an autonomous centre, not just for shows but other activities as well, but since there aren’t enough people to support something like this I guess it’s not the time just yet.
You say that you stand against fascism. What exactly do you do to make people realize that some ideas are just wrong. Are your actions limited to words?
[laughs] At the risk of sounding like a poser, the band is our only stand we have at the moment. The problem is that a movement to take a real stand has failed to emerge here in my opinion. There were some collectives a while ago that organized some demos, protests some Food Not Bombs actions at which I participated at the time. But as the time passed these actions became more rare, the groupes dissolved and the band became my only way to take a stand really. My band mates were not the activist type and since I couldn’t find a collective to participate at organizing something I settled for spreading my message through music. In time I realized I’m not an activist either. I do support any action against racism, homophobia, sexism or nationalism, but my way of fighting against these things is in my everyday life by talking to people one at a time exchanging thoughts in the hope that something good might result in the end.
Our music may not affect too much people, but I do meet people from time to time who say they enjoyed the message as much as the music itself and who felt the need for such a band in our scene. This couldn’t have made me happier because changing people’s minds is the hardest thing anyone could go on doing and I never really had much hopes for it. I just wanted to share my views with the rest of the world, in a fun way but still strong and committed.This may not be enough for some people but I consider I did by best with what I had and I consider this band to be of much more help at opposing fascism or any other oppressive ideology for that matter, than just getting in fights with nazi skinheads on the streets… allthough this is necessary at times..
The music you play have become synonymous with political stuff in the lyrics. Are there any current situations that currently have your attention? What’s pissing you off the most lately?
I think there always where and always will be.
We recently had some stronger protests in Romania against our corrupt government and people seemed to be waking up…sadly it didn’t last very long and the flame pretty much faded.. but I guess the harsh winter was a big factor in this matter, so let’s hope that with spring people will take the streets again,this time much stronger. I have my doubts about this but there’s always hope. My biggest disappointment is that we don’t have any significant movement to fight for the common citizens, the young, the old and so on. The unions are corrupt, all of the political parties are corrupt and this seems to be pretty much accepted by everyone.
Where have you been touring so far? How long were your treks and how were those?
We have toured twice so far.We had our first tour in December 2010, around 6 months away from our first show, as support for THE ARSON PROJECT from Sweden, in Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. I was a great first tour although we had some issues on the way.. our van kept breaking, one time a tire exploded, we got arrested in Greece… oh and Bulgarian officers want cd’s for bribe [laughs].
The second one we did alone, in support of our second album “Asoma”, through Romania, Hungary, Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia and Greece. We’ve met some great people on the way and played with some great bands. Cheers to the Larissa Crew!!!!
What festival have you been playing and/or attending? What’s your favorite and what do you love about attending and/or playing it?
Well the only festival we played so far was an open air metal fest here in Romania called OST Fest, which is located in Rasnov, at the base of the Carpathians. We had a good time, played a good show, even though we where totally different from all the other bands playing there.
I would love to play festivals like Obscene Extreme, Play Fast or Don’t, Fluff Fest, Punk Illegal etc. These are the ones I like the most but it doesn’t all depend on me so I don’t know if we will in the near future. So far we don’t have any fests confirmed,only some shows in Romania.
I am currently booking our third tour for this May, which I hope will happen because it’s the first time we go to the West. The plan is to hit Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany… hopefully we will get there.
Thanks so much. It was a pleasure to listen to such good tunes while preparing questions for a band. Any last words?
Thank you for this interview and your support!We really appreciate it! Cheers!
Go here to see a cool set of live photos of MEDIOCRACY and see the live studio video we were talking about:/a/em