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WOLFxDOWN discuss hardcore, veganism, politics and more

After a bit of a controversy plus losing a vocalist (the band’s buddy Dave is filling in on vocals), WOLFxDOWN are continuing their search for a new frontman (frontwoman?). In anticipation of the official announcement, you can read an insightful interview jut posted in the pages of Rise zine. Check out some of the excerpts below and read the full thing after the jump.

Photo by Twin King.

Why use hardcore to spread your message? What does hardcore mean to you?

Hardcore has always been a way to express your rage about things that happen in the so-called “outside world”, to put all that shit into words and turn it into a message that can be delivered to an audience. The straight edge bands of the early days tried to spice the angry, loud and fast punk music up with content, that goes beyond the nihilistic “no future” kinda attitude – they challenged the kids to rather turn their hate into something productive instead of merely being destructive and self-harming. That’s why I guess hardcore is the most adequate form of musical expression for our perspective: We think that positive things can spring from negative emotions. In the present capitalist pile of shit we’re living in, there’s enough reasons to be angry. All it takes is a way to canalize your anger. And I don’t agree with that pacifistic hippie-bullshit kinda view, that suggests for the sake of the matter, it is better to present it in an unagitated, calm way – to prevent people from getting offended. I’m gonna quote the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison here: “I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; – but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest – I will not equivocate – I will not excuse – I will not retreat a single inch – AND I WILL BE HEARD.”

I do think that this is a very “hardcore” thing to say. Political protest is supposed to be inconvenient and thus should spark discussion. Above all in the respect of animal rights it’s a matter of life and death for non-humyn beings – therefore I consider hardcore punk as a very suitable form of articulation. I want our music to be the spark, that puts hearts on fire. Direct action is the word – if something displeases you, be outspoken about it and try to change it.

To return to the second question: We had a short summary in our “Bring Back the Politics” split tape with True Valiance from the UK – I will use this one clarify what we consider as “hardcore”. “Hardcore: our community, a movement of the black sheep, a place we call our own, where we feel like home and take our own decisions. Not just a place that we create by ourselves and where we feel safe, but also our approach to improve it. Our counter-model to mainstream society, not a copy or a cheap recreation of the latter. Let’s not be modest and just call it a shelter for the outcast – what we create is a manifestation of our discontent. We don’t need to hide, we want change and that’s what counts. Think for yourself, act for yourself, act together, communicate, reach hands, open hearts, break down the walls, don’t build them ‘ that’s what this is about. Music is only the clearest expression of our vital culture. We are solidarity, open-minded and positively aggressive. Angry at those who shut up and close their eyes. Together we’ll make the difference – so don’t be gullible, question everything and be aware! Against the odds, we’re the seeds of the new world to come! Always more than music.

Thinking about what hardcore means to me nowadays, I had a flashback to our tour in South East Asia. I experienced the hardcore scene to be pretty pure and honest over there. Most of all in Malaysia and Singapore or the Philippines, people were really caring. The shows were overflowing with passion, you could tell that hardcore really means a lot to these people and it moves them like nothing else in the world. When we played in Manila/Philippines and kids were going crazy to our songs, I closed my eyes for a few seconds and thought “Yeah, this is totally where I wanna be”. It made me happy to see the people having so much fun and that’s how it’s supposed to be. I wish, people in the more or less “oversupplied” hardcore scenes like the one in Europe would cherish what they have as much as those kids did. My opinion on hardcore is pretty torn. Every time I just came home from tour having seen all those cities in different countries and having met all those wonderful people, who share my view of politics and life in general, I know in the back of my head, that the hardcore scene harbors these kind of people all over the planet and it still ignites a glimmer of hope in the hardcore scene within me. Festivals such as the Fluff Fest in the Czech Republic or the Ieperfest in Belgium seem like a community of mostly like-minded to me. Then again, when I set my focus more on political structures and thus get enough distance for a critical view on the hardcore scene, I get disappointed pretty often. It’s just not enough for me, to see hardcore merely as a self purpose. Living just from one show to the next, always sporting the latest trendy shirts is too trivial for a purpose in life to me. Maybe hardcore has never even been as political as I want to see it through my romantic, rose-tinted glasses. The time in which hardcore was most offensively-minded – the vegan straight edge culture of the 90s has given birth to disgusting tendencies such as the hardline movement with all that pro-life shit. Maybe on the one side the idea of direct action was directly linked to bands, which may even have inspired people to take action, but on the other side people were judged because of their sexuality. Anyways I think, we can learn a thing or two from any kind of hardcore movement. I draw a positive individualism and the general questioning of societal norms from the DC-Hardcore such as Minor Threat or 7 Seconds, the idea of solidarity and sticking together from Youth Crew such as DYS and from the aforementioned 90s metalcore such as Chokehold I draw a deep social criticism, which necessarily must lead to activism. There are points of criticism to be found in any of those movements, without any doubt. I wish for young hardcore kids to chose the best elements of each and build their own philosophy from it. That’s where I see a potential in hardcore. I guess there is or should be some kind of fundamental consensus. For example that there’s no place for neo-nazis and fascists within the scene. Anyways it would be awesome if kids could get into more profound politics through hardcore. At this point, I can suggest the books of Gabriel Kuhn, who deals with hardcore and anarchist practice. The bottom line is: Get educated, get organized, get active! “Take care of each other so you can be dangerous together”. Form an affinity action group with your friends and kick some ass.

Most people seem to think that vegans are morally self-righteous, or argue that it is unhealthy, expensive, or simply too much effort. I’m sure that you hear things like that all the time though. How do you respond to critiques like this?

I guess I already answered this question largely in the last one. Sure, seen from the perspective of a meat-eater, veganism alone is enough of an inconvenient issue just by itself to get people pissed. That’s what they call “cognitive dissonance” in psychology: The phenomenon that people tend to somehow alter the issue according to their needs, if it collides with their own point of view. Easy example: A guy in a bar tries to hit on a girl and gets rejected. He says to himself something like “Whatever – she was ugly anyways.” I see that same kinda logic in many discussions about veganism. Saying that, I don’t think vegans are the better persons – it‘s not some kind of “holier-than-thou” mentality, that meat-eaters always wanna see in vegan people, but just the attempt to be less shitty. Unfortunately it’s nearly impossible to live completely “cruelty-free” – but what’s there to say against living your life trying to do as least harm to others and the planet as possible? Trying, I’m gonna stress it again. Minor Threat said something pretty wise: “At least I’m fucking trying, what the fuck have you done?”.

Besides that, I don’t think it should be a financial question whether to support the killing of other sentient beings or not. I’m a student myself, I don’t have a lot of money and all I can say is I’m not starving either – I’m doing pretty fine actually. Concerning the “effort” that you mentioned: There’s some positive aspects coming with it, too. Veganism definitely increases your awareness of what you put in your body, you learn how to cook new meals and generally become more conscious of eating. You learn to cherish a good, hand-cooked meal instead of mindlessly stuffing your body with fast food waste everyday. Saying that, I gotta say that I surely do love vegan fast food as well and sure, veganism CAN be unhealthy, too, if you just feed on fries and ketchup everyday. If you eat consciously and healthy, a vegan lifestyle is definitely healthier than a omnivore one, though. There’s enough studies stating how bad animal products such as meat or milk are for your body, you better check that. Listen to Dead Prez ‘Be Healthy’, too.

How would you describe yourselves politically?

We are anarchists who share the dream of a just and free society, where the individual is able to prosper and creatively unfold itself and the distribution is based on the “each according to his/her needs” principle. Thus, we strife for an abolishment of all hierarchy, we do not want to have someone decide over our lives – there should be no authority but yourself. We despise the idea of borders, nations and governments. Sadly, the term “anarchy” or “anarchism” leaves people with a bitter taste, thanks to mainstream media propaganda which uses these words as some kind of synonym to “chaos” or to describe a situation where the “law of the jungle” allows you to cause destruction and harm to others without any order. True anarchism is the exact opposite – it is order without rule. Another misconception is to state that “anarchy will never work”, while pointing out that the nature of mynkind is necessarily evil. Contrary to popular belief, anarchists do not have a certain final goal – there’s no point where our struggle for total liberation will ever achieve full satisfaction and come to a full stop, it will always stay a constant process of self-reflection and change towards emancipation. Vital to such a development is the education and self-emancipation of the people. This development, which includes minor everyday struggles as well as major struggles against reactionary anti-progressive forces in our society, we like to call the “social revolution”. In an age, where “revolution” has been turned into yet another hip marketing slogan, it’s important to point out the difference: Our call for revolution is the call for radical subversion of the current system and establishment. By this, we do not mean a violent coup d’état, where a small group of people kills its way through the government, we mean change by society as a whole. We don’t think, pacifism can get you anywhere though – fighting the state in violent way has always been a reaction to the violence we’re exposed to every day (I recommend the essay “How Nonviolence Protects the State” by Peter Gelderloos). Radical subversion means abolishing the capitalist economy system of exploitation, which never “has caused” any crisis, but is the crisis itself. It means organising the resistance against the destruction and exploitation of nature and its inhabitants, towards earth, animal and humyn liberation. Furthermore, it is breaking out from the hegemonial patriarchic order, towards a society free from hierarchy, oppression, exploitaton and exclusion. Thus, revolution is not a singular (facebook) event, but an infinite process. The revolution is here and now, sometimes its rumble gets louder and clearer, sometimes it’s just a promising whisper. Therefore, we will not resign, but keep fighting for a world free of domination, where there are neither masters (whether in the skies or on the ground) nor slaves. Preguntando caminamos.

Go here to read the full interview.

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