Polish hardcore punk label Refuse Records kicked off its impressive oprations back in 1993 and today, after 28 years of carrying the torch, is not showing any signs of slowing down. Ran by Robert Refuse, his service extends to bands from all around the world and it has been a pleasure to promote his releases for many year now. Today, we’re teaming up with the label to give you special commentary on the current situation in the world, including pandemic, the US protests, some hot news regarding Refuse Records releases and other hardcore bands, publications and releases worth your time. Check it out and go here to see some of the new arrivals in Refuse Distro.
Read the full interview below:
Hey Robert, how are you dealing with the current situation, where are you staying, how are you doing?
I’m all right, thanks. Staying in Berlin all the time entire this time instead of being on tour with Firewalker in Southern Europe that would be happening right now. I hope I’ll be able to go to Warsaw at the end of the month and visit Finland this summer. I don’t have much expectations from this year though.
How has the Coronavirus situation impacted Refuse Records, your associated bands, and, in your view, independent punk culture in general?
It’s much more difficult to operate for Refuse Records as touring bands, shows and festivals are important factor to keep going and release records. It means that Refuse Records is mailorder-only operation right now. I appreciate all the orders coming, this is very supportive in this situation. Some releases were in pressing plant already when all the cancelation happened. Bands like NO-HEADS, FIREWALKER, DARE, INITIATE, WASTE, MODERN LOVE, THE FOG, PROTEIN, GOVERNMENT FLU, INSECURITY and DREGS had to cancel their tours.
Recordings for planned DARE/INITIATE split 7” was never finished because of restrictions and canceled tour. Some other bands had no chance to finish recordings sessions like NO–HEADS in Richmond or APPRAISE in Barcelona. I know DREGS finally did it last weekend in Vienna so there’s at least some progress here.
Your prediction when and how it will end?
No one knows so we can speculate only. I don’t think much happen will happen this year. If so, then mainly smaller shows with local bands so this is important to keep local scenes alive right now. This way we can keep support international network of touring bands and so on. I hope venues, DIY spaces, stores, distros, labels, studios will survive all this difficult situation.
As we can see in some places we also live in times of unrest – economical issues, political issues and now we can observe race issues exploding in USA too after cruel racist murder of George Floyd followed by police violence against protesters. Things in our part of the world like Poland and Hungary are serious too with avoiding law and contitution, corruption, public media control, repression and silencing protesters in the name “Covid-19 restrictions”. I hope this terrible situation will makes people more aware about serious injustice going on worldwide. 2020 looks like important year in history and let’s see where we will end up.
𝐼 ℎ𝑜𝑝𝑒 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑖𝑚𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑒𝑚𝑝𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑡𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑠 𝑟𝑢𝑛 𝑏𝑦 𝐵𝑙𝑎𝑐𝑘 𝐿𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑠 𝑀𝑎𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑖𝑛 𝑈𝑆𝐴 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑏𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑠𝑝𝑖𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑜𝑓 𝑢𝑠 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑖𝑛 𝑑𝑖𝑓𝑓𝑒𝑟𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑.
Tell us a bit about your releases schedule for the coming months?
I just started Refuse Records channel on YouTube with purpose of sharing live videos and audio materials from the shows I set up since 1994 and keep in my personal archive but also Refuse releases or other label related stuff. I hope to start working on new Refuse website too.
I’ll definitely release much less records and most probably mostly reissues or old archive materials as there’s no tour back up from current active bands.
Still, brand new THE FOG 7” titled “Into the fog” came out last month and there will be two more 7” coming out this month – FIREWALKER (7” vinyl version of limited cassette “Alive”) and PROTEIN (with their new “The things I cannot hide” 7”).
In the pressing plant there’s also reissue of 1990’s “Wrapped up in this society” LP by SCRAPS from France.
CONQUEST FOR DEATH (former What Happens Next?) finished their new LP after couple of years of working on it and it’s sounds great and powerful. I’ll start production this summer.
Highly-anticipated CHANGE ”Closer still” debut 12” should be available widely soon I hope. I’m just waiting for US version on React! to be ready.
I’m spending more time on going through archive materials and some projects moved forward recently and I’m pretty excited about it.
I can mention LÄRM “Demos” 54-song LP (this is where European straight edge has started, raging and ultra fast!), SKEEZICKS Discography 2xLP (classic 80s hardcore band from Germany), STEP FORWARD Demos 1989-1990 LP (Umea Straight Edge, pre-REFUSED) and KTO UKRADŁ CIASTKA “Rozdział 1992-1993” LP (First band “signed” on Refuse Records!).
We’re also busy with Warsaw Pact Records with digging through Polish Punk/HC archives and working on some 1984-1985 materials of bands like SIEKIERA, TZN XENNA, PROWOKACJA, REJESTRACJA, ZBOMBARDOWANA LALECZKA or REKRUT. Finally things with Warsaw Punk HC compilation 1978-1989 has moved forward and right now we have more than 35 bands confirmed. As you see, no time to be lazy and apathetic, haha.
No shows and no tours for upcoming months though.
Awesome! Are there any other records and hardcore related stuff you’d like to recommend for the current tough time of (post)pandemic season and amid rising anger and frustration?
Check FUSE 12” on Quality Control, new KOHTI TUHOA 7” on La Vida Es Un Mus, AGENDA demo (political sXe w/ members of Drug Control/Headcount), HEADCOUNT new promo tape (hopefully 12” someday soon on RR!), URBAN VOID demo (intercontinental project w/ members of WarxGames, Wall Breaker and The Fog), fresh demos of new Berlin bands like CAGE KICKER and GESTURE.
Listen to MRR, Sonic Overload and EqualizingXDistort radioshows.
Read/check new issues of “Artcore”, “Razorblades & Aspirin” and “Quarantined” zines.
𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑦 𝑠𝑎𝑓𝑒, 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑦 𝑎𝑤𝑎𝑟𝑒, 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑦 𝑎𝑙𝑒𝑟𝑡.
Thanks for all the support.
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