Founded in 2005, Tuzla, Bosnia & Herzegovina’s HOBSON’S CHOICE have decided to call it quits later this year! I sat down with the band’s founder and vocalist Aleksandar Todorovic to talk about the past, the future and the reasons for this tough decision.
The following interview was conducted a couple of weeks ago. Time has moved on and some statements refer to things in incorrect tenses, but I’m sure it’s not a biggie, right?
Hey, guys! I’m very pleased to welcome you on my pages. I’ve just listened your brand new track “In Limbo” and I was very stoked until my dropped my jaw when I realized you guys have announced your break-up (!), right?! Is your new album going to be your farewell with HC? Tell me more about what’s happening.
Yes,it’s true. We’re splitting up at the end of 2013.we’ve reached the point where our lives lead us to different directions. So, we decided to play as much shows as we can and to release some kind of material at the end of the year. Still not sure about the format.
Yeah, but you have announced new members earlier this year, right? Perhaps you’ll change your mind again? :)
I believe this is it. One of my closest friends and co-founder of the band, Rusmir, our drummer is starting a new family. Not long ago he also started a company. He is set on a life journey on which we totally support him. I really can’t imagine playing without the buddy, so it leaves us with a little space to maneuver.
Ok.. so let’s discuss what’s left :) Is this new song a single so far?
Do you have some more unreleased songs locked in HC vault?
Yep, it’s single.
We don’t have any unreleased songs, but we’re preparing some new ones to be recorded later this year.
And what about the gigs? What have you got planned?
We decided to play as much as possible till the end of this year. We hope to visit places where we had a great time in the past and maybe play in some new cities where we unfortunately didn’t have chance to hang out with people.
Our first farewell show was on SAWA fest in Croatia on 19th of July. It is a great annual hardcore punk festival.
Nice. Who else is on the bill?
At this moment, we are in talks with lot of our friends planning farewell shows. Some of them are in progress, some are booked. The one which means a lot to me personally is Edgeday fest show in Novi Sad, Serbia, which will take place on 18th of October. For other dates, one should check our Facebook page where we’ll post dates regularly.
Cool. Is playing shows still as exciting now as it was when you started?
It’s kind of individual experience, but as a band we still really enjoy being on stage, sharing energy with people. It’s the best feeling in the world! As time passes, you just learn to direct your attention, provide and soak up all positivity that comes from the crowd.
How will you remember HOBSON’S CHOICE? What are you most proud over the band’s career?
Well, for starters, I think I’m proud the band lasted for 8 years now. Actually nothing has really lasted for that long in my whole life. It means we gave it so much time and energy and it eventually rewarded us back with great times, great friendships and unforgettable moments. There are so many things that made this band special for us, but personally the most significant feature would be perseverance in/promotion of straight edge and drug free values right from the very start to the bitter end.
Do you have any regrets? :)
Maybe we could possibly do more recordings. There’s still some time left, so we’ll try to do something about it.
Alright, Aleks. Before we finish off, please tell me about the current state of Tuzla’s and the whole national punk scene in Bosna. How’s it doing?
Quantity and quality on/of Bosnian punk scene changes with times, but for sure it is alive. There are quite good bands, shows happen on regular basis. Numerous groups of enthusiasts and activists regularly work on promotion of alternative cultures.
If we speak about Tuzla’s punk scene, it’s pretty much in decline and lacking attitude as there are merely two sane bands yelling about problems. Somehow, kids are not interested to get involved into network of like-minded people, go somewhere and play, share ideas, have fun. I suppose it’s a global phenomena, but it reflected severely on our small community. Unfortunately, I see no favorable solution. This widespread absence of attitude towards every day problems is closely related to hardcore punk scene which, in my opinion, should be the catalyst of changes, but it often fails to respond. To sum up, I hope we see some better days, both on the scene and in everyday life where we’ll face challenges as they come.
Today’s youth are apparently struggling with misguidance, growing up in a culture of debt, expensive lifestyles and plastic idols. Is it inevitable?
It is inevitable that you will be exposed and tempted to follow the others. It is how the system works. Someone pays a lot of money for this to happen. It is up to parents and school to deal with this problem right from the start and help their child as much as possible when facing this growing temptation and eventually overcome the obstacle. One can always find an excuse for being sucked into this powerful system of modern world, but there is where we need to work on and strengthen our positions.
Are you still going to continue to contribute to the punk scene somehow?
I will always be involved into punk scene as there is my home. It is the place I closely relate to, it is the place I learned the values from. If it wasn’t for punk scene, I would probably be as lost as many people are in today’s world of profit and idolatry.
Do you still follow straight edge ethics? After all these years, what does it mean to you?
It means the world to me. Straight edge was the stepping stone to a more meaningful and more positive life. The values I learned helped me to overcome personal fears and face problems as they come. I’ve learned to rationalize and eventually make my life more constructive.
Now more than ever, straight edge is a direct and global rebellion against the modern world consumerism politics which I don’t want to participate in and I encourage everyone to stop feeding the system with the money.
Thanks so much for your time, buddy. The whole thing you did with this band, it means a lot, really. All the best with your future endevours! Cheers from Warsaw!
HOBSON’S CHOICE official website
HOBSON’S CHOICE Facebook
HOBSON’S CHOICE Bandcamp
HOBSON’S CHOICE MySpace