ODPISANI: a legacy of rebellion and rebirth

10 mins read

From the rugged landscapes of Slovenia rises a hardcore punk titan, ODPISANI. With roots tracing back to 1995, their journey is one marked by rebellion, resilience, and evolution.

When we talk of punk’s rich tapestry, few bands embody the spirit of the genre as authentically as ODPISANI. Formed in 1995, the band has witnessed and contributed to the evolving soundscape of hardcore punk. Their early self-released EP “ODPISANI” set the tone for a series of releases that resonated with fans and critics alike. Collaborations with producers like the legendary Tue Madsen have only solidified their place in the annals of punk history.

However, their story isn’t just one of music; it’s interwoven with the undying spirit of rebellion. Their songs, often a commentary on societal issues, have found resonance across generations. Whether it’s the frustrations of the modern world or the intricacies of interpersonal relationships, ODPISANI’s lyrics have always struck a chord.

In their recent EP “Rebirth,” the title itself speaks volumes. Following significant lineup changes, with founding members Peter and Borut parting ways and the inclusion of young talents Marko and Dario, the band has experienced a metamorphosis of sorts. This “rebirth” isn’t just about new members but a rejuvenated spirit and a fresh approach to their craft.

Despite the changes, the essence of ODPISANI remains intact. Sasha, the band’s drummer, plays a pivotal role, not just behind the kit but in orchestrating their concerts and media liaisons through his booking agency, which he runs together with bassist Joze. This dual role exemplifies the band’s DIY ethos, a testament to their commitment to the scene.

Their recent split vinyl with the Italian outfit TOXIC YOUTH, released under the Dutch label WTF RECORDS, showcases their penchant for collaborations and their commitment to pushing boundaries. This cross-border partnership highlights the universal appeal of punk, transcending languages and geographies.

The band’s evolution has been a mix of staying true to their roots while embracing the new. Digital advancements, for instance, have changed the way they operate, from recording to promotions. But as Sasha points out, while they’re an old-school band at heart, they’ve adapted to the times, harnessing technology’s power to reach a wider audience.

Odpisani live by Edin Suljić
Odpisani live by Edin Suljić

With aspirations that stretch into the future, ODPISANI is showing no signs of slowing down. With concerts already booked for 2024 and plans brewing for their 30th anniversary in 2025, fans have much to look forward to.

Their journey, spanning over two decades, serves as an inspiration to emerging bands. In the words of the band itself, the recipe for success is simple: “Don’t try to be someone else, be yourself. Just don’t give up. And love each other.”

In a world constantly in flux, ODPISANI stands tall, a beacon of authenticity and rebellion, echoing the timeless spirit of hardcore punk.

See our full interview below.

With 25 years of experience in the punk scene, how has the evolution of ODPISANI mirrored the changes in the genre itself?

Yes, ODPISANI have been changing all this time, both personally and musically, I could say that we have matured all these years and I think we still have some room to maneuver to complete the process. Basically, we never looked at changes in a certain genre, punk in this case, we kind of looked for our own way and somehow tried to avoid labeling and referring to only one genre.

Your recent works have been described as a “fresh musical breeze” despite the band’s longevity. How do you manage to stay innovative and relevant in a constantly changing musical landscape?

Never follow popular trends or adapt to them or try to copy them. Our recipe is to always try to find our own way and incorporate different genres of music into our songs, but in the end stay true to old school hardcore punk and to our way of expressing ourselves and finding our way in it. Of course, it is almost impossible to avoid influences these days, but we try to minimize them as much as possible. We try to present old school hardcore punk in a modern way or better with a modern sound.

The decision to start translating old songs into English is intriguing. What prompted this choice and how has it impacted the reception of your music, especially on international platforms?

It is interesting that in our beginnings we were already singing in foreign languages. On our first two albums from the nineties, you can find songs in Slovenian, English, German and Hungarian language. Because of this, we were accepted around the world, but then the previous singer decided to stop using foreign languages and sing only in our language and quite a bit in the local dialect as well.

This took us out of the international music scene for quite a few years and pushed us back into the local scene. The last songs recorded with the previous singer were again in English, as a booking agency requested this from us in order to make it easier to book our concerts in Europe. With the arrival of the new singer this all changed anyway, as he is a foreigner and does not speak our language.

So it was normal to translate all the old songs that we still play live into English. Some of them have done so well that we will probably re-record some of them and release them revamped and refreshed on the new album.

How have digital advancements affected the way ODPISANI operates, from recording to promotion and organizing concerts?

Ha ha… we are pretty old school at this, but like everyone else we adapt and go with the flow. Me and the bass player Joze are from the days when we made arrangements for concerts over the phone, by sending letters in envelopes, by recording on tapes in the studio and everything else that you can now see in museums. We were in bands together already in the eighties, so the present times seem like science fiction to us compared to the old ones. However… now everything is easier… and of course cheaper.

The band can arrange things on their own that were unimaginable before, there is more connection, more people hear your music, more contacts, more venues, more channels where you can present your work… so if I draw a line, yes old days, everything was OK, it was great, nostalgia and all that shit… but now are definitely better times for musicians. We learned the new way of operating the band very fast.

Odpisani by Jaka Čurlič aka JZA Crew
Odpisani by Jaka Čurlič aka JZA Crew

In these digital times, do you see technology as a tool that empowers or hinders genuine artistic expression?

I personally think it strengthens and raises the level of expression in serious bands. Of course, the new technology with the possibility of brainwashing spews abnormal amounts of primitivism and poor quality not only on the music scene but on all other areas of human society. This gives us an additional impetus to raise the level of quality in our musical expression, thereby surpassing the tons of crap that invade people’s homes and brains from various streaming music platforms.

With platforms like Spotify, TikTok and YouTube becoming dominant, how do you feel they’ve influenced the underground punk scene, both positively and negatively?

OK TikTok is major crap and I don’t see even the slightest positive thing in it. However… Spotify and Youtube are a necessity these days, both for bands and listeners.

Of course, it is generally known that by selling music on streaming platforms, certain people make enormous profits at the expense of musicians, who nowadays have almost no other options to present their work than to prostitute themselves in such a way. Even in the underground, in recent years it has become acceptable that if you are not on spotify, youtube, facebook, instagram… you are not anywhere.

However, on the other hand, as mentioned before, it has become necessary and socially desirable for bands to appear on these channels, which of course offers almost endless possibilities for success or wider visibility. More people can get to know your work and enjoy your music… and more people you can reach with your messages. With a sufficient amount of financial resources, you can also achieved world fame.

The departure of founding members Peter and Borut must have been a significant moment for the band. How did this shift in lineup affect the band’s dynamics and creative process?

On the one hand, this was an expected outcome, because the two former members had been hinting for some time that they would probably leave for personal reasons, but we were still a little surprised by their decision. I understand why they left, so we parted as friends. On the other hand, if I look back now, they chose the right time to leave, because then the pandemic started and we had enough time with the two new members to prepare in peace to return to the concert stages. During this time, we also made and recorded new songs and released them on CD and vinyl, recorded three new videos and thus waited for the end of the pandemic ready. In the meantime, as already mentioned, we translated all the old songs that we continue to play live into English. So the departure of the two original members didn’t affect the creative process too much.

The inclusion of younger members, Marko and Dario, has been highlighted as bringing a spark to the band. Can you elaborate on the blend of experience and new energy in the studio and on stage?

Young blood always livens things up in any case… ha ha. Marko and Dario are much younger than me and Joze, they have a different way of working and different views on the world and how the band works, but we got along perfectly. Working with new members also gave us a new impetus.

Dario had previously sung in a bigger band and seriousness was not a problem for him, which in some way he passed on to everyone else with his seriousness and dedication in making new songs and in the studio. Marko, on the other hand, came from an underground band and some things were new to him, but he fit in perfectly and progressed to a higher level very quickly.

The recent split vinyl record with TOXIC YOUTH showcases a collaboration across borders. How did this partnership come about, and are there more international collaborations in the pipeline?

This spring we recorded three brand new songs, the plan was to record four more songs at the end of the summer and then release the album, but things kind of got complicated, so we didn’t manage to do new additional songs. So we were left with three new songs that we had nothing to do with.

Then the idea came to release them with someone on a split record and I contacted the guys from TOXIC YOUTH who were immediately ready to cooperate.

Then together we contacted WTF RECORDS, the label that already has TOXIC YOUTH and which also distributes our last release and we quickly agreed with the owner Tim to release the record on his label.

That’s it. We’ve never done anything like this before, and I don’t think we’ll ever do it again. But never say never.

Slovenia has a rich musical culture. Are there any emerging bands or artists from the local scene that you believe deserve more attention?

You’re right, the small country we are has a lot of good musicians and bands. There are too many to present here, but I would still like to point out two groups that I really like and have recently surprised me very positively – REACH A.D. and SPY ABUSE. Check them out!

ODPISANI’s lyrics have always resonated with listeners, often touching on societal issues. In these challenging times, what themes or messages do you find most crucial to convey through your music?

In our music genre and in the scene, it has always been popular and desirable for the lyrics to be socially critical, rebellious… but this is not always so.

Most of our lyrics do touch on these topics, but they are also sometimes personal, touching on interpersonal relationships, sad and happy… just depending on the inspiration of the lyricist. Since joining the band, Dario has been writing really top-notch lyrics.

The name “Rebirth” for your latest EP seems symbolic, especially with the recent changes in the band. Can you delve deeper into the inspiration behind this title and the tracks within?

This was our first record with two new members, so the title “Rebirth” literally means the rebirth of the band ODPISANI, and that was the intention. The album cover itself represents a birth where the four musicians come out of the vulva, so that’s it. As for the meaning of the lyrics, “The Burden” is kind of personal, “The fallen ones” is very socially critical, “Remembered” is dedicated to the stepfather of Dario who died during the creation of new songs and also to all our friends who are no longer with us, “Your IQ” touches on human relationships during a pandemic and “Just dogs” also touches on human relationships and selfishness.

The lyrics of the three new songs on the last split vinyl record are mostly socially critical, rebellious and also touch on human relationships.

Reviews highlight the balance in your music between hardcore aggression and melodic street punk roots. How do you achieve this delicate equilibrium in your compositions?

Somehow, the members of the band don’t have exactly the same taste in music. There are bands that we all listen to and that we all like, but privately we have different favorites. Maybe this is the recipe for such songs, when everyone brings something of their own to the song and then such a mix of influences is created. Some call it hardcore, others hardcore punk, others just punk… they compared us to Misfits, The Exploited, NYHC bands… somehow they always look for influences in our music and pull them out of context.

Of course you like it when someone compares you to such bands, but that’s not our intention and we don’t make music to be like someone… we’re ODPISANI and that’s what we want to be now and in the future.

Odpisani by Edin Suljić
Odpisani by Edin Suljić

With a legacy spanning over two decades, what aspirations does ODPISANI hold for the future? Any sneak peeks into upcoming projects or tours?

We still have a few more concerts until the end of this year, but we are already flirting a lot with next year. We have already booked many concerts for 2024 and there will be more. We will go to countries we haven’t been to before, some festivals have already been confirmed, there will also be a lot of club concerts in Europe… but at the same time, we are already thinking about 2025 when we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the existence of the band ODPISANI and that’s what we have to prepare well. You can expect the first announcements of confirmed concerts for 2024 probably at the end of this month or the beginning of next month. So stay tuned.

Finally, as veterans of the punk scene, what advice would you give to budding bands trying to make their mark in today’s musical world?

Now this may sound very repetitive and has been said a hundred times before, but still… don’t try to be someone else, be yourself. Make your own music, practice, record, play live as much as possible, even if you think you’re not good enough… with time comes routine and quality. Just don’t give up. And love each other. Peace

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