Epidemic Records is co-releasing a new EP from German straight edge band VENGEANCE TODAY in March 2015 in cooperation with Anchored Records, Beyond Hope Records, SubZine Records and 5 Feet Under Records. Hailing from the Dresden / Chemnitz, the band delivered a few demos and their debut LP “Dude, You Just Ruined The Show” (2013), toured Europe extensively (they did more than 170 shows in 24 European countries), and are now ready to hit you even harder with more blistering and blazing hardcore anthems. These guys wholeheartedly reject racism, sexism and homophobia and support a drug free lifestyle. Three of the guys in the band are vegan, all of them live and encourage straight edge, which became the core focus of our recent discussion.
VENGEANCE TODAY are leaving for the first time for South East Asia in March, right after the official release of “Rest In Piss” EP, coming up on March 2nd. See more details below and expect an exclusive full EP stream coming up on IDIOTEQ.com very soon!
Photo by Don’t look at..
Hey guys! How are you? What’s up at the VT camp? Already stoked to hit Asia next month?
Everything’s cool here, thank you!
We’re looking forward to play the upcoming shows and yeah, in less than 4 weeks we’ll jump on the plane and go to South East Asia.
We have already been on the road in many different countries but this is definitely gonna be the next level shit. Things are about to get crazy and wild!
Yeah man! You’re also releasing your new EP “Rest In Piss” via Epidemic Records, Anchored Records, Beyond Hope Records, SubZine Records and 5 Feet Under Records. How did you team up with so many DIY labels and what was the purpose?
I’d say the amount of labels has not only one reason. So now I have to dig a little deeper than just one sentence, hahaha
You know, we never claimed a place among the „big players“ in the scene.
We started this band with zero knowledge about the scene, the records and releases, the promotion, about anything! We just wanted to make some music and to look how it would feel.
Later we tried to play any show somebody would let us play and recorded some stuff in our rehearsal room. Everything was released by ourselves, we didn’t even think about labels.
The first time we tried to get some label support was in 2013, as we released our LP.
At this point you realize that it’s not just write one email and everything’s done.
We just contacted each label of which we thought, they might help us. In the end there were three of them. Anchored Records, 5 Fett Under Records and another label from Germany that is not existing anymore.
As „Rest In Piss“ was recorded I contacted all the labels once again. Of course Anchored and 5 Fett Under were the first one I asked. We all know that these are small DIY-labels running by nobody but very passionate guys who are doing their best for the scene. But this DIY labels just cant guarantee anything from day one. I didn’t want to risk that in the end we’d found ourselves without any label so I contacted more and more. Finally there were 5 labels that were ready to help us with the release and I am really happy about every single one. :)
Considering the EP itself, are you proud of the final effect? How conscious was your approach to writing this time?
The songwriting was different this time.
I played guitar in this band before I took the mic. But even after that I used to have a word on the music. The writing and recording of the EP was the first time I let the guys do whatever they like. I was concentrated on the vocals and the lyrics.
After I heard the final result I was really happy.
When I think of being proud… everybody in this band has much more responsibilities than 3 or 4 years ago, we live in different cities and two of us have to drive really long distances to rehearse or for the shows. Considering that we still keep it running. And when I think about this all, that’s pretty much the thing that makes me proud, yeah!
Speaking about the very content of the EP, why would you name it “Rest In Piss”? :) What influenced your lyrics?
Hahahaha, now that you’re asking it sounds really funny!
To be honest there is no deeper meaning of the name. I don’t even know anymore at which point it came to my mind… It could be that I got it during the writting of the lyrics for “Saffron” but I’m not sure…
There was something that made me feel that ‘Rest In Piss’ sounds right and it still does :)
I started writing lyrics shortly before the recording. But the ideas and the issues were there for already several months. There have been some persons I’ve met, brief acquitances, or certain incidents that digged deeper into my mind and bothered me. I chosen some and dealt with them in my lyrics.
Ok, let’s talk about straight edge for a couple of minutes. What’s your stance on the straight edge approach to life? Are you a hardline crew? :)
I am consciously straight edge for like 25% of my life. This is a fucking long time to think about the meaning and to see it from different views.
The most of time I don’t even think about it. This is a part of the daily routine, you just do it the same way you eat, sleep, breath and so on.
But of course, the reasons to be straight edge are still there, it’s important part of my personality and it formed me in many ways.
I was born and spent my childhood in Russia. The country is known for the fact, that people are consuming alcohol in vast amounts.
Already as a child I saw people who’s bodies, families and lives were destroyed by „legal drugs“. Now I know that all these people didn’t even realize how they fuck themselves up…
Later, these experience became one of the proofs that consequent being sober is the best way to avoid alcohol and drug problems.
The other side of being edge is the fact that you always see the world as it really is.
You don’t try to put the rose colored shades and to escape from some shit. If you want to have fun and to laugh you have to find things that are really worth laughing for yourself instead of getting pissed drunk. If you want to meet new people you have to talk to them in the way you REALLY are. You don’t have an excuse for yourself later that you was drunk and out of control if you talked shit. You take the consequences for what you’re doing.
And of course, I know what is really important about my friends. There are some „friendships“ that are only based on doing „crazy“ stuff while being drunk and/or high together… this is not what I would appreciate about my friends.
But hell fucking no, we aren’t a hardline crew in anyway. Everybody is a human being gifted with a mind. So everybody decides for him- or herself.
There are so much other things about people that are more important to me. Like shoes, tattoos, and their mobile phones.
Hahaha, no, of course not THESE things! I think, the ability of a healthy reflection of themselves and the world is what it should be about.
Yup. There are a bunch of bands who seem to truly don’t care if people are straight edge or not. I believe that’s partially what hardcore is about – not forcing your views on others. Do you agree?
Absolutely. There are some things that I just expect from someone who is attending punk and hardcore shows.
Being straight edge is definitely not in this list.
Cool. Some who claim the title straight edge also abstain from caffeine, and casual sex. What’s your stance on that?
Ah, this is really a question you can discuss endlessly and won’t get on a common ground.
For me consuming caffeine or not has nothing to with straight edge. For me Straight Edge means that you are avoiding to numb yourself. The society is already ignorant enough, I don’t think that somebody can help mending it by being drunk and/or high.
Casual sex is also not a very big part of being or not being straight edge. Sex is the most intimate thing two persons can have with each other.
It’s just wrong to reduce this only to a cheap, fast fuck. I think casual sex is generally not very cool and most of people (maybe all of them) who are open to casual sex or even actively looking for it have got a problem with themselves, with their personality.
But I wouldn’t say the definition of straight edge also includes not having casual sex… it’s more about respecting yourself and people around you.
What is your reasoning behind promoting sXe and veganism then?
Since I am Straight Edge I didn’t regret it. It doesn’t happen often, but each time I reflect this decision I get more and more proofs that it was right and still is.
This decision and experiences I’ve made during all the years seem important enough to even deal with it in some of my lyrics.
I don’t want to force people to become like me. But if I can make somebody start thinking about the whole issue after reading the lyrics then I can’t ask for more.
As for veganism – VENGEANCE TODAY don’t deal with it or promote it. There is one single line in one song on the LP I speak about abuse of animals.
But in my eyes it still far from being called „promoting veganism“.
There is one simple reason for that – one of us is not vegan/vegetarian. So it would be kinda hypocritic :)
Do you think the general idea of “straight edge” has changed since you started to follow it?
To be honest, I didn’t deal with the idea of sXe very much in the beginning.
It was just as experience how it would feel to stay sober and how long would I pull it through.
Later I realized that there is not only one universal idea what Straight Edge definitely means. Everybody got I different views – some drink coffee, some not, some jerk off, some not…
As far as I remember, the main point of this has always been to stay sober, not to numb yourself, not to poison your body. And I think, this point still remains.
Straight Edge has also a certain political/social meaning, of course. And like every political issue there will always be different views on it. I can only tell how I see it all.
What moments have made you realize that living this way was a good choice to make?
Being Straight Edge doesn’t mean you’re hanging around on your couch at home.
You go to events and places like all the others. You meet people, interact with them and see them interacting with each other. You see people having fun and you see some people almost passing out and behave very strange ways.
To be honest I’m really convinced that being sXE is the right decision each time I see somebody being totally drunk and not having him- or herself under control anymore.
And of course as I said before – as soon as you get confronted with a case of broken families and broken lives caused by alcohol and/or drug use. Probably you won’t find very much of such cases in the hardcore and punk scene which consists mostly of young kids. But the world is much bigger then only the scene and in my eyes it’s worth staying sober also besides the scene.
Ok, back to the band, what other messages are you sending out there?
Everybody in this band holds views that are pretty much left winged. It might sound like a cliché in the meanwhile because there are very many bands which have similar views and messages.
But it doesn’t make this views less important. To keep it short – we despise authority and we are still against every kind of racism and other kinds of discrimination like homophobia and sexism.
There are some lyrics that are dealing with it more or less directly. Of course there are also other, like „everyday“, issues we are dealing with.
I can’t say that every song has got a strong political message. But in my eyes every lyrics have more deeper meaning than problems with girls and love.
What would you like VENGEANCE TODAY to be remembered for?
I never thought about it. I really think it’s kinda pretty tough question :)
We try make a contribution to punk rock. We try to connect the band with all the other things in our lives and make the best of it.We love to share stage with other bands and just hanging around at shows.
For me it would be enough, if some years later somebody would still think „Vengeance Today? They were a bunch of kind guys“ hahaha. Is this too unambitious?
Not at all! :) Ok then. So what else can we expect from VENGEANCE TODAY in 2015?
VENGEANCE TODAY is going to play as much shows as we can. Hop to return from South East Asia alive and well hahaha, we’ll head off to Portugal in May, Porto, Aveiro, Lisbon and two more cities will be on the route.
There should be one more tour in Middle Europe later this year, but this one is pretty vague at the moment and will be more clearly later.
The new record will arrive really soon, so after the SEA-tour we want to have a record release party with some friends. There is not certain date, but I think it will be in April.
These are the plans for now.
Thanks so much for the interview! Feel free to add anything you like. Take care, Johann!
Keep it real, keep it hard, keep it gangsta!
:D Hahaha, sorry, just kidding! I mean:
To all the “scene people” out there – support our local bands first, this is what hardcore based upon.
Go to the small shows and try to give something – the whole fucking thing urgently needs somebody who can give something instead of only taking.
Karol, thank you for the nice chit chat, it was fun! I wish you all the best for the future.