We caught up with Fiducia Collective‘s longtime member Jos to discuss their engaged DIY approach to DIY booking and punk collaborations and the upcoming 6th edition of their Fiducia Fest, slated for March 24th at AZ Mülheim in Mülheim an der Ruhr (halfway between Duisburg and Essen, Germany)!
The festival was formed to support DIY scene, create a space for open-minded people to come together and share their emotions, thoughts and feelings, and it has evolved into one of the most interesting screamo / dark hardcore / post hardcore oriented mini-festivals in Europe. This year’s edition will feature 8 bands: IDIOTEQ featured DREI AFFEN, WHAT OF US, SUR L’EAU (go here to check out our recent interview), CRIMINAL BODY, as well as Giessen’s PORTRËIT, Berlin’s YACHT COMMUNISM, Bielefeld’s ORGANA and Cologne’s I RECOVER. Sadly, Bielefeld’s WEAK TIES and Münster’s LENTIC WATERS had to cancel shortly before the fest due to personal reasons.
Hey buddy! Thanks so much for joining us here on IDIOTEQ! How are you? Please tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I’m fine. Thanks for having me! My name is Jos and I’m from Bochum in Germany. I’m part of the concert collective Fiducia we set up shows in the Ruhr Area for more than 11 years now and we have our sixth annual Fiducia Fest on March 24th of this year. In these years a lot of different people were involved in Fiducia and at the moment we are about 10 people in very different situations of our lives that are connected through their involvement into the DIY punk/hardcore scene and political activities. Right now we do most of our shows at the AZ in Mülheim or at the Nordpol in Dortmund. We are mostly into Screamo and Emo Violence but also do Emo, Power Violence and (Post-)Hardcore bands now and then.
Please take us back in time and explain what were your hopes and expectations when you first started booking shows? What prompted you to organize events and launch a festival? Also, why call it Fiducia?
The idea for the first show was pretty easy. A good friend of mine got convicted for some things he did at an Anti-Nazi demonstration. He had to pay a fine of several hundred euros and I wanted to help him so I organized a shows with three bands I was friends with as a fund raiser in my home town at the time. After the show a few people told me that they also wanted to shows and so we decided to form a group. We thought about a name and didn’t want to go with a dark or brutal name but rather with a positive one. One of us came up with the Latin and Italian word Fiducia which means confidence and we all liked the sound and the meaning of it. Fast forward a few years to the first festival: We already had booked a show for June Paik for the Saturday of the Easter weekend of that year when we got asked by Lars from React With Protest if I could set up a show for the Resurrectionists/Cloud Rat tour for the day after. Since it wasn’t possible to combine both shows on one day and we didn’t want to let down any of my friends in both June Paik or Resurrectionists we decided to do two shows back to back and call it Fiducia Mini-Fest. In the past years we crossed out the ‚Mini‘ but the idea of a festival that celebrates the confidence in the positives aspects of diy punk stayed the same.
Sounds amazing! Fast forward to 2018, have your hopes and expectations been fulfilled? How has the fest evolved?
Well let’s say the way we do shows has changed. Nowadays most of us have less time for the subculture. When we started basically all of us were students in the early or mid 20 and we had tons of time to set up shows, play in bands, do politics or just go place. Now most us of work what you could call a ‚real job‘ or are busy with the final exams of their studies and I for example have a child. So for us now it is a way to get out of the routine of every day life. Since friendship is an important part of diy punk for us we often have bands at our shows that we a friends with and new friendships develop as well. That’s also why we want to keep everything familial rather than getting bigger each year.
This year for the first time the fest will only be one day because for us it is easier to handle that way and we also have included an talk on the topic of Hardcore & Gender into the festival, I’m really looking forward to it as well.
Ok, so tell us more about this year’s edition, the lineup and non-music events that extend the very core of the festival. What will be the formula of this ‘talk’?
As I said we only do a one day fest this year with nine bands. We have What Of Us coming over from the states. They play a mixture of Screamo and heavy Hardcore and the will tour with Sur L’Eau from Munich, Germany prior to the fest. Also Drei Affen will visit us. Although they have a German name they are from Torrelavega in Spain and might be the best European Emo Violence band at the moment. We also have Weak Ties and Organa from Bielefeld, Germany at this years edition. The bands share members and Weak Ties play a mixture of Fastcore and Power Violence and Organa play a dark style of Hardcore. Weak Ties just toured Scandinavia some month ago and Organa will play a short tour in Germany, Poland and Czech Rep. after the fest as far as I know.
To have more variety in the music we invited Yacht Communism from Berlin, Germany a very new Post Punk band with members of Svffer and Henry Fonda and Criminal Body from Münster, Germany. They just released their first LP and this band is formed from the members of Jungbluth who wanted to start something new with a different approach to music. Expected some noisy wavy punk with a huge 80ies influence.
Other than that we invited Marion Schulze, a sociologist from Neuchâtel, Switzerland. She has published a book about gender roles in the punk/hardcore subculture and will present some results of her research in a talk with a historic perspective as well as a view on todays scene. There will be enough time to discuss the topic and reflect on your own position within the scene and what you might be able to do for more gender equality in this subculture. We think it is important to keep these topics in mind and work on them. Because if you don’t reflect on it you can’t be aware what you need to change.
Other than that we will have distros and food stands and info points from different political groups at the fest.
In one sentence, what band features and characteristics make a good submission to your fest?
Wow, that’s a tough one. Especially because it doesn’t matter what I say there will be bands that fit the description but still will probably not be invited by us since in the end it’s very subjective.
But here is my try: A band that would fit Fiducia transmits emotions with their music and wakes emotions in us, also it understands diy not as a way to get famous but rather as a mean to itself.
Nice one, thanks!
Ok, so what is your vision for further evolution of the fest?
Honestly I can’t really say that we have a vision for that, we take it year by year. There will probably be a Fiducia Fest in 2019 but we haven’t talked about it yet. Maybe we will return to two days, maybe not. Generally we want to add other stuff to our calendar, have more talks and discussions – combine music with politics for example.
Should punk be always political?
For me it always has been political. But being political doesn’t necessarily mean to be active in a feminist, animal rights or antifa group. We I got into this whole diy punk thing a friend of mine told me that for him punk meant ‚personal revolution everyday‘ – question your daily routines and challenge your norms and translate this to society as well. Politics starts with the way you live your daily live. It’s not enough to talk with your friends about how much racism sucks if you don’t open your mouth when you witness someone insulting another person with a racist slur for example.
What active political role do you think punk communities and live events can play in the society’s educational process? Have you seen a lot of people truly inspired by the lyrics, the talks between songs and networking in between live performances? How do you this role of live shows evolved over the years?
I think you should not overrate the role a subculture can play in the society’s educational process, especially of a subculture as small as diy punk. It can change the view of some people it certainly has changed and shaped my view on the world and I know of several others but to change society you have to reach more people than just the few people into diy punk. Unfortunately I see the society as a whole at least in the western countries on a social backlash and I have no clue how to influence the society as a whole. But because of this I think that it is important for the diy scene to emphasize the connection to progressive politics. To do so I would like to see more bands do political statements between songs and on their social media for example and talk about the lyrics of their songs and the meaning they have whether they are political or persona
Any good examples of such artists?
Amygdala were very intense and have strong personal and political messages. And I also really liked Coma Regalia and Yuri for their attitude and the way they expressed themselves when we did shows with them.
Love these bands, and love Shawn Decker, haha! Ok, so let’s wrap it up with some thoughts on your local arts community. How is the punk scene in Duisburg, Essen, and in between?
I think the best word to describe the diy scene here is fluctuating. Of course it is typical for every subculture that most of the people get into it in their teens and a huge part grows out of it in their twenties. But next to this effect the Ruhr Area is not a place people move to but rather people move away from to other cities and places with more stuff going on. I’m in my mid thirties now and have seen several people getting into diy punk with 16 to 19 and move to Berlin, Hamburg or Leipzig five years later. This leads to the fact that the scene is pretty small even though several million people live in the Ruhr Area and that not much has a long life. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing because this also leads to the possibly to try out new thing and not falling into to much routine. Also I think that the diy scene in the Ruhr Area has discarded the feeling of being provincial in the past few years and started to just do stuff. Some very interesting projects started in this area in the past years such as the experimental arts and music festival dESTRUKTIVA or the anarchist book store Black Pigeon to name only two.
And there are also great bands like ZilpZalp, Lügen or Kepler, other concert collectives like Emokellerbooking or Stresz DIY and autonomous venue like Nordpol or AKZ. So there is a lot going on, you just have to keep your eyes open ;)
Cool. Thanks so much. Appreciate your time! Good luck with the fest and the rest of your work. Feel free to leave your final words. Take care!
Again, thanks for having me! Keep up the great work. Thanks for reading and enjoy diy punk! Stay open for new stuff and don’t get caught in traditions! Support your local scene as well as touring bands and do what makes you happy. If you want to: join us at our fest or at any other show, would be a pleasure having you!