Earlier this year, the Oakland community squat space Hot Mess/RCA won the first of its legal battles against the developers trying to evict them from the property, a pioneer case for squatters’ rights in the US. While their order of eviction was overturned, they will have many fights ahead of them in a system that sees squatting as a dangerous illegal activity, one that impedes on the capitalization of property by banks and speculators. It seems like most of the time, the authorities that be would rather see their citizens homeless in order to line their pockets with money from developers. However, in California the law of “adverse possession” creates guidelines for squatters and makes it possible for them to own the property the are squatting after 5 years of paying property tax and living openly on it. That’s how Steve DeCaprio, from the band Embers and CEO and founder of the non-profit Land Action, took legal possession of his own home, and in March he was interviewed on CNN about squatting and squatter’s rights in California. He did a great job of presenting a responsible face for squatting, showing that the fears that drive the evictions of squatters are unwarranted in many cases. In fact, it seems like many of these evictions are more driven by profit than by public safety. Personally, I find it “morally yucky” that banks in California have foreclosed on hundreds of thousands of homes after manipulating families into shady mortgages and taking in billions of taxpayer dollars as a bailout. Taking possession of an abandoned property and restoring it seems like a better way to go for the neighborhood, community and country at large. Check out the CNN segment with Steve as well as an Oakland squat photo essay below.
German neofolk musician Art Abscons’ Les Sentiers Éternels LP was named one of CVLT Nation’s “Top 6 Neofolk Releases” last year, and with good reason. Though the mysterious performer only appears in public behind a green monster mask, his music is the opposite of monstrous: In my review of his 2012 LP, I described Abscons’ music as a “very refined — I would even say ‘classical’ — neofolk style that explores softer, even beautiful, melodies, usually sung in French or German. Les Sentiers Ternel is a drowsy and often downright pretty LP of lilting, dreamy neofolk music — not the sort of thing you would expect a Tolkien-esque goblin mutant creature to make.” Although there are obvious influences from What Ends When the Symbols Shatter?-era Death in June, Art Abscons reaches further back in musical history for inspiration, drawing upon old European folk melodies and themes.
Recently, I was able to ask Mr. Abscons about the mask, and, more importantly, his music. The following interview was conducted in May, 2013.
Let’s start with the present – “The Formulas of Death” was officially released last weekend with a launch gig. How was the event? And are you happy with how the finished album has turned out?
The festivities surrounding the release of the album turned out the way we wanted them to. We had a sold out show and I guess you can say that we arranged the entire night by ourselves. We only played songs from the new album since it was the release show, and that all felt really good. Yes, we are of course very pleased with the way the album turned out.
I’m curious about the genesis of this new record, as it seems like a giant leap in every way from your previous work. I only discovered recently that there was a big delay between the recording and release of “The Horror”, so I’m curious first of all: did the work start on the writing of “Formulas” before “the Horror” was released? And did the time between the recording of the first album and it finally seeing the light of day allow you time to reflect on how you wanted to progress as a band?
The first conscious decision to start writing on a new album came after the release if I’m not mistaken, around three months after the release. Some of the riffs actually date back as far as 8 years. I don’t recall us actively discussing how to progress, it all happened when we were not together really. We didn’t rehearse for quite a long time due to various things and once we started doing it again we were somewhere else. No one objected and no one really said anything about it. To say a cliché; it was all very natural. We all knew that we were going somewhere else, and I guess we are still on the move.
CVLT Nation is stoked to present you with our interview with the infamous GEHENNA, who will be headlining this Friday’s CVLT Nation 2nd Anniversary show in Santa Ana! To read Mike Cheese’s story of Gehenna, click here! Check out the interview below as well as the info for this Friday…
To the unknowledgeable, explain who Gehenna is and what fuels its negative existence?
Gehenna was a desolate valley outside of Jerusalem that was used as a trash dump and eventually it became a place where the city exiled their diseased, their poor, their criminals and their blasphemers. The valley became a lawless parish and holy ground for ritual spells against society performed by the excommunicated. That in turn is what GEHENNA as an entity represent. We’re the ones who’ve been disregarded who’ve learned to embrace our painful existence by singing songs of the damned and accepting our place on the outside of society. GEHENNA is the love of hatred and the discipline of lawlessness that lets life carry us into the grave. True Trill Death!!!
Agnus Dei, The Secret’s fourth and most recent record was released this past October and has received a welcome reception. As musicians what did you set out to accomplish with Agnus Dei?
It’s a kind of standard answer but we mainly tried to write an album that was better and more complete than the previous one. “Solve et Coagula” has been a turning point for our band, it gave us the chance to play more shows and with a lot of great bands. Playing live gave us more self-awareness as musicians and taught us a lot about ourselves and what we wanted to move towards with our new album. We didn’t want to move too far away from the approach on “Solve et Coagula” but at the same time we wanted to expand and get more control over our sound.
The great thing about extreme music is that, no matter where you look around the globe, you’ll be sure to come across an outstanding brand of metal, hardcore, crust punk, harsh noise, or experimental sounds. In the case of Dephosphorus, the geographical distance between them and Vuyvr proved less important than a relative isolation of the rising Greek scene, due to socio-economical factors – eventually overcome by internet communication. But keep in mind that this land is the birth place of democracy, and of key philosophical concepts that came long before christianity and still guide us to this day. Interestingly enough, even though their music is as brutal and impulsive as can be, these guys speak from a very deep place, with passion and wisdom. So why not look into the cosmogony and artistry according to Dephosphorus?
Intro and questions by Roderic Mounir.
Hi Dephosphorus! You explained the origin of your awesome name in a previous CVLT Nation interview, so let’s switch to the next question.
The only Greek bands we know are Rotting Christ, Septic Flesh and you guys. And Aphrodite’s Child, of course! Any strong, influential acts that mean a lot to you, that we should immediatly check? Also, tell us more about the current scene in the region.
Panos : The Greek underground scene is currently on the rise, reaching creativity heights unseen since the early/mid-90’s. Comrades currently on top of my list :
- Dead Congregation. IMO the best death metal band in the world right now.
- Antimob. Amazing hardcore punk with political lyrics in greek. If you want to get a glimpse of how it is to live in Greece right now, you will definitely feel the tension and frustration throughout their music.
- Ruined Families. Dark, chaotic hardcore with no-wave and post-punk hints. Crucial stuff !
- Omega Monolith. Instrumental, drone-y heavy rock of epic proportions.
- End. Fantastic black metal.
- Stereo Animal. Great 90’s-style metal and noise rock a la Killing Joke, Prong, Helmet, Godflesh, Ministry…
- … plus all the local bands featured in the Monomaniac comp. EP series that I’m putting together through my label, Blastbeat Mailmurder. Forthcoming Vol.2/3 will feature a ton of great bands.
Numerous local bands have raised the bar over the last 10 years, and started to do their own thing outside of the beaten path. More and more of them are touring abroad too, so watch out!
Intro and questions by Panos Agoros
It is just a matter of time before a musician takes the challenge to create outside of the cozy familiarity of her/his confined microcosm – be it a scene, genre or whatever. The outcome of such projects usually doesn’t rank above “amusing,” serving more like a creativity break than anything else.
Vuyvr from Switzerland are the rare exception to the rule. “Eiskalt”’s no-nonsensical take on black metal, devoid of its most overdone clichés and chock full of genuine inspiration, might very well be the album you were looking for. A rollercoster ride into the punk roots of the genre, an eerie, yet concrete trip, exciting for the imagination but free of mumbo-jumbo.
You recorded «Eiskalt» live in your practice space. Do you think that you will also record live for your next record?
Roderic: Maybe not in our practice space, but definitely live. Just with a little more time.
A daydream for us at Dephosphorus is one day to record live in optimal conditions, at a studio which would allow us to perform live each one on our own individual room… Would you like that too?
Roderic: Well, I can only speak for myself but with Knut we’ve always recorded in a decent environment, with enough time to do as many takes as we wanted. Same goes with the other guys and their bands, as far as I know. So the idea with Vuyvr really was to go for more direct and rough approach.
Pushing this scenario further would be to record 100% analogically directly to tape… Would that make sense to you too?
Roderic: Analog is great, just much more expensive. I’ve had the luck to record an album on analog tape, «Bastardiser», back in 1997.
INTERVIEW BY GAVIN MCINNES
PORTRAITS BY TODD JORDAN
Via The Heavy Mental
Back in 1969, an art student who called himself Penny Rimbaud was walking through the English countryside and discovered a 16th Century farm house. Where most would have continued walking, Rimbaud saw infinite possibilities. “This could be an anarchist collective art center,” he immediately thought, “where people from all over the world would come to exchange ideas.” “Then they’d go back home and start their own!” he yelled aloud.
Over the next few years he pieced together a band of other art school kids and they called themselves EXIT. Things were slow at first and Penny’s dreams looked like they may not make it much farther than Epping Forest where the house was located. Then a truant teenager named Steve Ignorant walked up the driveway and shortly after, the anarchist punk band Crass was formed. Unlike EXIT, Crass didn’t ostracize their audience by playing avant-garde noise. They played songs. And they weren’t just songs, they were empowering anthems about going your own way and never letting anyone tell you what to do. By the late 70s, the momentum was overwhelming. Pen’s best friend from art school Gee Vaucher moved back from New York and began to give the band a visual identity. Now Crass were a “thing” and Dial House was their headquarters. Their pranks garnered global media attention and had Margaret Thatcher denouncing them in parliament. Smart punks around the world who felt bored by fashionistas like the Sex Pistols and the Exploited, latched on to Crass’ intellectual revolution. I was one of those kids and we duplicated the Crass graffiti stencils from the records so we could cover our own streets with the words “THERE IS NO AUTHORITY BUT YOURSELF.” They weren’t just a band. They were the brains of punk and provided the foundation for the modern anarchist movement. It’s hard to imagine Occupy without Crass. In fact, it’s hard to imaging a lot of teenage punk rebellion without Crass.
It’s been a quarter of a century since the band disbanded but Dial House is still regularly attended by anarchists and outcasts seeking to change their own environments. It’s been over 40 years since Penny had his epiphany on that hill in Essex and despite it all, it’s still happening. That’s because, no matter what you say about Penny and Gee (yes, she still lives there) they walk the walk. The band has come and gone but the ethos of Dial House has never faltered. That’s why, at 70-years-old, Rimbaud is finalizing a plan to continue the culture of Dial House after he’s gone. He recently had an art show at New York’s Boo Hooray to sell a collection of his drawings in order to pay off the remaining debt on the home and convert the entire estate into a trust that will continue to do what it’s been doing since he found it. It will remain a place where people come to exchange ideas, forever. I’ve gotten to know Penny quite well over the years and visit Dial House with my kids regularly. I always come back feeling refreshed and inspired. The kids say, “It’s magic there.”
Penny Rimbaud: I’d like to point out that the above ‘history’ is fairly inaccurate on several levels, but as it seems to be a rather nicely put together little piece, I’m not going to spend time correcting it. Everyone has their own version of events, and the above one is most decidedly Gavin’s, which is fine by me.
Sweden’s Sonic Ritual have been toeing the line between heavy metal and punk for the better part of six years now. Their up coming EP, Last Exodus from the Land of the Dead, due out this summer via Electric Assault Records, promises to be the band’s best yet. For those unfamiliar with Sonic Ritual, now’s the time to familiarize yourself. Up beat punk surges, heyday heavy metal riffing and arena sized vocals kiss off Sonic Ritual’s catchy brand of heavy metal punk.
I spoke recently with singer and guitarist Henke Palm about Last Exodus… and what’s going on with Sonic Ritual, follow the jump to see what he had to say…check out Sonic Ritual’s version of THE OBSESSED classic “Iron & Stone below!…Pre-order SONIC RITUAL — The Last Exodus From the Land of the Dead HERE!
Full interview after the jump!