Saturday, June 6, 2009

INTERVIEW: Javi of Dramatic Battle: The Band (Part 2 of 2)

The 2nd part of the two piece interview with Javi from the popular Spanish band Dramatic Battle. [Part 2 0f 2]
Javi, you gave us quite an in depth history of the Spanish scene how about more specifically your band Dramatic Battle?
In Dramatic Battle we play a style which is very popular among Spanish nationalist scene, playing a classic blend of Oi / RAC in the vein of bands such as Skrewdriver, Combat 84, English Rose, Freikorps, Endstufe, etc... The band was formed about 2000 or so. The vocalist, after recording a low-quality demo tape entitled "Violencia Nocturna" (Nocturnal Violence) by himself; got a regular line-up together some time later and recorded the mini-CD "Terroristas."

"Terroristas" included 4 songs which became very well-known all over the Spanish nationalist scene. Later the band recorded a split with Depresion (Spanish streetpunk band) which got the band a bit better known abroad.

About two years ago, the band recorded a 4 track mini-CD called "La vida en un pacifico nuevo mundo..." (Life in a new pacific world...) ironically making fun of a Jehovah’s Witnesses leaflet talking about "peace and love between races all over the world" This was recorded under the name Dramatic Battle (to avoid hate laws here). The 4 songs included have become anthems among Spanish nationalists since the lyrics, full of irony and humour, are more direct and deal with social/political problems. Again, the band suffered line-up changes and added a new member, me. We then started to play on a regular basis all around Spain.

Honestly though, the band started as an apolitical patriotic Oi band. Later on, the original member, and founder, took the a path towards nationalism. He was sick of the politically correct Oi scene and left-wing infiltration. Then when I joined the band (being into the RAC scene for many years) Dramatic Battle turned into a true RAC band...

Up to this point we have played with bands such as Estirpe Imperial (ES), Zetazeroalfa (IT), Brigada 1238 (ES), Mas Que Palabras (ES), Retaguardia (ES), Frakass (FR), Blue Max (DE), Aufbruch (DE), Guarda de Honra (PT).

What was it that influenced the band to change heart and follow nationalist RAC direction?
As I said before, the singer-guitarist was into patriotism but not in a strictly political point of view. He was fed up with left-wing infiltration into Oi scene and the numerous self-proclaimed Oi bands formed by SHARPs and Redskins and his views about immigration, crime, race, patriotism were not well received by the liberals and left-wingers. He also drew influences mainly from patriotic Oi and RAC bands, which was not politically correct for apolitical skinheads.

The fact is that he really didn't change his heart but took a determination and choose a side since it was nearly impossible to sit on the fence and watch things pass by. I guess it’s pretty similar with the situation of bands such as The Unruly, Hated & Proud and Empire Falls...

On the demo, there’s a song about being proud of your nation. On the 1st mini CD “Terroristas”, the title song is against terrorism, especially the Marxist one from ETA, and demands the death penalty. Another song, ‘El fin del Paraiso’, is a bitter mourning about our nation and calls for its rebirth; ridding if of all the scum who rot it's integritity.

A funny incident happened, before I had even joined yet, when the band was asked to play in Italy with non-political band Prima Linea. It was a huge concert including many different bands from punk to metal. The band showed up and after playing several songs, suddenly started to play Skrewdriver's "Boots & Braces." which promted some people from the public to whine and complain. The organizer and singer from Prima Linea told the band not to play that song and the band decided to leave the event altogether. While performing, the band played with a Spanish flag bearing the double-headed eagle; a clear nationalist symbol. The truth is that they really pissed-off many people there!

Funny thing actually, some time ago I was talking with an Italian girl and she said she was at that gig that night, and she remembered the drunken Spanish band, displaying the nationalist flag and playing the Skrewdriver cover!

What has happened to the fans of Dramatic Battle who were fans before your direction change, have they followed?
Well, many people liked the band (from left-wing to nationalism), especially non political skinheads… but to be honest, most of the followers came from nationalist scene due to the patriotic feelings on the songs. Here in Spain if a band states they’re patriotic they’re immediately labeled as fascists or bigots. So...the founder of the band got sick and thought it was a logical evolution to head towards nationalism

Right now, our followers are strictly nationalist people...but believe me, non political skinheads still enjoy our music!

Are you or any of your band mates involved in additional bands?
Not now… about ten years ago I tried to play bass guitar in a well-known Spanish RAC band but the truth is that I was a bad musician at that time. I’m not much better though now. Several years later I sang in a live-project called Reyerta (Brawl) with members of other RAC bands and we played only Oi / RAC covers. Our second guitarist used to play in an Oi / punk band but he also got sick of average Oi scene and joined Dramatic Battle…

What is in the future for Dramatic Battle, any new releases in the works?
Actually yeah. We've got some new stuff and we’ll probably start recording soon. I guess we're going to release a new mini-CD, with 4 or 5 songs. A full length album is quite difficult to distribute; due in part to bootlegging and such. We don’t want to spend money to have tons of CDs stay in our practice room. We think it’s better to release mini-CD which is cheaper and easier to distribute.

You've played shows with with quite a list of bands, which was your favorite? Who is the biggest act you have had the chance to share the supporting stage with?
Before I joined the band they were a trio...they played a show in a little village during the local town celebration. A comrade talked with the mayoress (who was from a left-wing party) and she allowed the gig not knowing it was a patriotic band. The band showed up with 50 skinheads and nationalists with only a dozen locals in the village main square. They played about 12 songs. The mayoress' only complaint was the imperial Spanish flag, with a double-headed eagle, which the band played behind. Eventually the police showed up and stopped the gig, doing so without any violence, since it was a bit late for a live show. [laughs]

We really enjoyed the one show we played with Estirpe Imperial in Barcelona at an infamous biker clubhouse. It was a private show to honor a friend, and my first gig with DB! Our show with Kill Baby Kill was funny too since it was held in a ruined warehouse with only a half of a roof. KBK were really shocked about it, you know, it was a bit strange!

We once played in Asturia for a private party which was really a chaotic show . The drummer and guitarist were drunk as fuck and the singer lost his voice during the 5th song! To which the public sang the rest of the songs while we played… believe me, it was great!

The biggest gig we played was in Madrid honoring Ramiro Ledesma Ramos (founder of the 1st Spanish fascist party, JONS) together with Territorio Salduba, Brigada 1238 and Zetazeroalfa (during their European tour; be sure to check out their DVD); there were about 500 people and we really had a good time.

Italia is often looked at as a leader in nationalist actions with groups such as VFS, Casa Pound and many others, is there any influence from the Italian scene in Spain?
Of course, during 70’s and 80’s there were several political groups resembling Italian ones such as Frente de la Juventud (like Italian Fronte della Gioventu), Bases Autonomas (very similar to Italian NR groups), Vanguardia Nacional Revolucionaria and some others…

For some years there’s a party called MSR (Social-Republican Movement) which was founded after Italian nationalist parties such as MSI (Social Italian Movement) and whose ideology is National Revolutionary in a very European way. Right now there is a young party called MPS (Patriotic Socialist Movement) whose ideology is also National Revolutionary and take its influences directly from Casa Pound and Fiamma Tricolore.

The marches and meetings from Spanish groups are very similar to Italian ones and their social-political actions are very good examples for us. There were attempts to create an established Skinhead organization such as VFS but the government always arrested the organizers and disbanded the groups. There is a Spanish branch, in Madrid, of the Italian Radio Bandiera Nera which broadcasts every Thursday from 22:00 to 00:00 on RBN dial.

As far as music, bands such as Division 250 claim influences from Peggior Amico or Plastic Surgery (covering their famous song “Rivolta,” which later was re-discovered by many European nationalists, especially in Germany...bands such as Radikahl have also covered the song in German) or Rebelion and Seccion de Asalto show up as Italian influences.

Axis Mundi and Mara Ros are also strongly influenced by Italian songwriters, musically and lyrically. The fact is that Italy always has been a good role model for Spanish nationalist scene; of course there are always local additions.

Any last words you would like to share?
Thanks a lot for giving us the chance to be included on your web zine. to everyone, try our music and we're sure you’ll enjoy!

Greetings to all our friends and comrades in Spain, Europe and the USA. Oi! It’s a working class protest! We’re Iberian and brutal!

All the best mate, keep in contact and thanks for the interview.

[Part 2 of 2]

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