This weeks interview (albeit a day late) is with American Oi! band Brassic. While their name may not be known to all it is certainly not because of poor music. Their cd Voice Of Freedom is an excellent cd. So check out the interview and learn more about them, and pick up their cd form your favorite distributor!Like last week, this interview was conducted by Boots & Braces webzine. Kudos to them for another great interview. Check out B&B here
1. Hi Mongo, it is necessary to begin as usual with an introduction. Could you introduce your band, its history and the current band members please? Could you say anything interesting for each separately?
Well we have been active since 2008.We recorded a 4 song demo which gained a lot of attention. With Clyde on guitar we took over a year to record our debut album, “Voice of Freedom”. We played some gigs in Los Angeles and Orange County in California, which is where we grew our main support from. Our current line up is myself on Bass and Vocals, Skinner on drums and David on guitar.
2. Let's talk about your ex-members. Your original singer had to go back to Britain, right? Are you still in contact with him? Are you going to meet him during the European tour? Also your ex-guitarist Clyde was replaced by David last year. Could you tell us the reason why if it is not secret? :--))
That is correct. Our original singer is from England. We do still keep in contact and he is happy to see where the band has gone thus far. I hope to meet up with him in Europe when we’re out there!
Clyde had a lot going on in his personal life. He was ready to leave the band because of his busy schedule. We are thankful that he contributed so much to the band. He still attends our local gigs as well.
David was our friend for many years. So he was our next choice to play guitar and we’re quite happy he joined up. We’ve recorded some songs with him and are very excited to write some more as well upon our return home from Europe.
3. How did you come to contact with music generally and also the Oi! style? What motives led you to play in a band, even skinhead band?
Well, when I was a teenager David, our current guitarist and I would go to punk shows every weekend. This is where we saw some Oi! Bands play. Bands like the Business, Dropkick Murphys, Oxymoron and whatnot would tour regularly. That was our first exposure to the music. Before the internet was around, this was one of the only ways to find out about the scene. I bought compilation records to find out about new bands and had mixed cassette tapes from others with great music on it.
I have been playing music since I was a teenager, and Oi! Is my favorite style. So it only makes sense to play Oi! Music.
4. You decided to name the band Brassic, which means to be without money in British slang, right? Why did you choose the British name? Was the main reason that you wanted to get closer to British bands with everything? Were you really be almost without money at that time? And is this situation better now? :--))
Our original singer is the one who named the band. He was quite brassic while he lived in the US hahaha. It was quite a fitting band name and we stuck with it!
5. How would you describe your music? I think it could be labeled as classic British or European Oi! which is not typical for American bands. What is your opinion? Do you think every true skinhead band all around the world should have a similar sound? Are there other American Oi! bands with this sound?
I would agree with you about our music sounding like European Oi! That is where we take most of our influences from. America has had some of the best bands in my opinion as well. I think Arresting Officers set the standard for American skinhead music that has not been matched since!
I don’t think all other oi! bands should have the similar sound. I enjoy a difference in styles. But I do not like the streetpunk crap that comes out of the US more often than not. Shit bands like pressure point and what not sound more punk than anything.
I think Crucial Change, Vanguard, and The Ameriskins have a good sound for American Oi!.
6. Mongo, you are responsible for most of the music and lyrics, right? I noticed you usually listen to a specific band for some time and then write a Brassic song inspired by this band. Do you still use this principle?
I am responsible for the lyrics. The music is collectively written by the three of us. That is true that we get on certain kicks with bands and end up writing songs that are similar in my opinion. Usually, we write the music first and the lyrics after.
7. It is no secret that your biggest inspiration are legendary European bands like: Brutal Attack, Skullhead, Condemned 84, Combat 84, Arresting Officers, Indecent Exposure, Violent Storm, Battle Zone, Skrewdriver and from younger bands: Perkele, Subway Thugs, Code 1, Les Vilains, Alternate Action, On File, Glory Boys, Short Cropped. Have I omitted a band who should be named by their side? :--)) PLEASE, WRITE 2 OR 3 SONGS FROM EACH NAMED BAND THAT YOU LIKE MOST !!!
Well this is a tough one haha.
Skullhead: Victory Or Valhalla, Wild & Free, Look Ahead
Brutal Attack: We Won’t Run, Under The Hammer, The Return Of St. George
Condemned 84: Under Her Thumb, Here They Come Again, Teenage Slag
Combat 84: Right To Choose, Rapist, Skinhead
Arresting Officers: Evil Has Landed, Working Class Patriot, Stop Red Action
Indecent Exposure: I Won’t Let My Country Die, Rocking The Reds, Save The Nation
Battle Zone: Way Of Death, Young Gifted & White, Victimized
Skrewdriver: Boots & Braces, Back With A Bang, Streetfight
Perkele: My Own Way, The Disease, My Home
Subway Thugs: Subway Thugs, Romantic Street Bullyboy, Frustration
That’s as far as I’ll go. The other bands, I don’t have favorite songs, but favorite albums!
8. Let's talk about your excellent album Voice Of Freedom. Are you satisfied with the result and what reviews have you got? This album should have been firstly released by American Defense Records, then by Oi! Ain't Red Records, but it never happened. Why did you finally choose Hostile Class Productions as record label and how was the cooperation with them? Could you introduce and characterize other Hostile Class releases please?
I am quite happy with the end production and release of the album. I think it’s great that we’ve gotten so much worldwide attention with it. We were originally going to release it on American Defense Records, but that label is no longer around. Oi! Ain’t Red was our next choice, but we got in contact with Hostile Class records and felt it was only right to release this on an American Label. All CD’s and Records were pressed in the USA, which is rare these days! I think Hostile Class Records is the best label in the US when it comes to skinhead music. They are the only label that brings European bands to the American scene. I think the previous release were fucking great! I also like the future plans of the label as well. We will be on an upcoming Condemned 84 tribute album that Hostile Class will be releasing!
9. Brassic has straight and direct lyrics like a skinhead band should have. The first song speaks how people are infested with shallow and decadent culture. Have you noticed any turnover of the thinking of people or do you meet more and more sheep with poisoned minds?
The third song expresses the pride for being skinheads. I read in another interview with Brassic that true skinhead should be patriotic, working class and stand for his opinion despite all. Do you believe that you can hold this position and ideals until death?
I write the lyrics based upon my opinions of what I see in the everyday life. I hate where my country is going in certain aspects. I hate the attitude of mainstream society, so the lyrics are written expressing these views. Being that I live in California, there are a lot of left wingers and liberals. You wouldn’t believe the shit these people say or do sometimes! Being a skinhead where I live is being a way to tell the mainstream you don’t agree with their opinions, and you aren’t ashamed of it. I think it is possible to hold skinhead ideals your whole life. The working class lifestyle and beliefs will always be around.
10. The song Time For Change points out the red ideas that are spewing from the media. How exactly was this red danger meant? Do you think that communism is still a major threat or is it really dead now and just replaced by something else?
The song Benders is presented as an anti-gay anthem. Is there really a strong lobby of people with this disease in Los Angeles? Have you participated in organized counteractions against their marches and love parades?
The last song Voice Of Freedom is directed against politicians who lead us straight to perdition. Do you think that it is possible to reverse this status quo with a peaceful political change or there is no other choice than to advance in the spirit of early American traditions? :--))
I wrote Time For Change during the presidential election that Obama was running in. I was so sick of hearing about him everywhere. People were talking about him as if he were Jesus Christ. Since he’s taken office, he’s proved that he’s just another puppet, and offered no real change to our sinking ship of a society, haha. Yes Benders was written as an antigay anthem. Homosexuality is a big disease in California. If you are anti gay, they slander you for being a racist. I just don’t understand how faggots are their own race. The only way to change our country peacefully is to VOTE! I don’t think enough people vote in all elections. This is a big problem. If we don’t vote, then the rich and the politicians who are in their back pockets, will continue to destroy the working class in our nation.
11. I also read that is not easy to be patriotic skinhead in Los Angeles. You have to often face up to gangs of so-called SHARPS with origin of (illegal) immigrants and visage of gangsters, right? How many patriotic skinheads stand against them? Are you in contact with other skinhead or non-skinhead crews with similar attitudes?
The songs Fuck L.A. from Lonesoldier and Evil Has Landed from Arresting Officers speak also about gangs of drug dealers, murderes and other criminals. Is this bad and worse situation the reason why you covered these songs? Is it really like when you live under siege? What other problems and oppressions are lurking there?
Haha, that is right. It is not easy to be a Nationalist skinhead in Los Angeles. We get called racists and Nazis all the time. This does not bother us though. I could care less what a drug dealer, or a gangster thinks I am. If they have a problem with us, then I encourage them to come to our gigs instead of spreading rumors online or when we are not around. We covered those songs for a number of reasons. We wanted to sing about those subjects, but I feel those songs already covered everything I have to say. In the US, I think we are backwards. Politicians and liberals are more concerned with the “civil rights” of people who are here illegally, than the rights of true Americans. This is the biggest problem we face in my opinion.
12. You also participated on the excellent compilation United Skins For Freedom Of Speech released by Oi! Ain't Red Records. You are represented by two songs, the first is a notorious cover of Skrewdriver and the second is your own song Hated & Proud. Can you tell us why you decided to put just these 2 songs on this compilation? Were they recorded specifically for this compilation? How did you get in touch with people who prepared it? What songs and involved bands are best in your opinion?
We had recorded that cover song before the compilation, but we wanted to specifically release it on a compilation record. Then I heard that Oi! Ain’t Red was doing a compilation, so this was perfect. The Hated & Proud recording that on this recording is taken from our live performance in Brazil actually. I really enjoyed that compilation record. I think Kill Baby Kill!, Bandeira De Combate, Les Vilains, English Rose and Short Cropped had the best songs on it.
13. How many gigs have you already played and with what bands? Do you remember your best and worst gig? Are there any bands with whom you desire to share a podium? Do you have any memorable or funny experiences from gigs which you can mention? :-) Do you play more covers on your gigs when we skip mentioned songs: I Don't Like You, Evil Has Landed and Fuck L.A.?
We have played quite a few gigs. We’ve played with Bonecrusher, Oxlbood, Red Alert, Social Task, Riot Gun, Bandeira De Combate, The Wrecking Dead, Youngland, and some other greats. Our worst gig was probably with Oxblood and Red Alert. The gig was shut down in the middle of us playing Skrewdriver’s “I Don’t Like You”. It was one to remember! Haha. So far the best one we played was with Bandeira De Combate in Brazil. They were the best crowd! But we are very much looking forward to playing KUGGNAS this year!! Yes we play some good covers live. We have a wide variety to choose from, so it just depends on what we feel like doing!
14. How do you remember the East Coast Oi! Fest in 2010 where you played with Cockney Rejects, Oxblood, Condemned 84 and many other great bands? Can you describe the background of this event a bit? Which of the bands had the best live performances there? Did you have any problems due to your attitudes and opinions there or nobody cared? Do you have any info about East Coast Oi! Fest 2011?
East Coast Oi! Fest 2010 was cancelled. We were scheduled to play it, but the ARA were spreading rumors about it being a racist festival so the festival was shut down. This is a similar story everywhere else these days! The cowards of the AFA and ARA like to talk shit on the internet, but never want to meet us at gigs without police!
I sure hope there will one day be another East Coast Oi! Fest.
15. A big surprise was your Brazilian tour where you played with legendary Bandeira De Combate. You decided to make this tour, because Endstufe previously played there and so you contacted the organizers yourselves, right? Whose idea was it? :--)) What can you tell about Brazilian land, people and gigs there? Can you tell us more about Bandeira De Combate, What kind of people and musicians are they and what are your favorite songs from them?
Yes, this gig was amazing! Skinner was paying more attention to the Brazilian scene at the time. He was the one that suggested to get in contact with the promoter. I think Brazil has a good scene, and hardest drinkers! Haha. We look forward to playing another gig there soon. I think Bandeira De Combate is very underrated outside of South America. My favorite songs from them are Esteremos No Front, Vida Skinhead and Tenacity.
16. Brassic is going to travel to Sweden to play on Kuggnas Fest at the end of July !!! You will play with such bands like: Bisson & The Vikings, The Wrongdoers, Bakers Dozen, Glory Boys, The Riot (from Czech Republic !!!), etc. How much are you looking forward to this awesome event and what band(s) will have the best show in your opinion? :--)) How many days will you dwell in Sweden and in Europe?
I am really looking forward to seeing all the bands you mentioned play. As well as the London Die Hards, who were recently added. I don’t think Europe knows what they’re instored for, when we hit the stage ;). We’re going to play our hard hitting Oi! And get some laughs from people as well haha. I’ve been known to be a comedian on stage sometimes. I’ll be travelling around Europe for about two weeks!
17. Now comes the sad thing... Brassic should have played in August in the Czech Republic, but unfortunately this will not happen. Barely after the concert was scheduled internet pests were playing their traditional game full of lies and defamation. They pulled a few things from older interviews out of context, published your photos in T-Shirts of British RAC bands (but your photo with T-shirt of Perkele they forgot to publish), labeled you with all possible -ism stickers and depicted you as pure NS band. As a result of these rumours the whole concert canceled. How do you look from a distance on this whole affair? Is possible to face to this seditious offensive campaign of so-called "RAC Hunters"?
Sadly, this is typical for the current skinhead scene. A bunch of faggot internet warriors who like to spread rumors, and get gigs shut down is common. I have no shame in the music I like, and the views that I have. I have nothing to hide. I don’t think there should be black and white lines in the scene. The leftists act as if you are not a SHARP or red, then you are a nazi. They are more of a fascist, than the people they are accusing! I still don’t understand what they have to do with the skinhead culture. They usually don’t dress like skinheads. They aren’t working class. They’re usually low lifes. But they will not be around forever, unlike the true skinheads.
18. So, when we have already succumbed to the usual labeling of bands, how would you classify yourselves? There is no doubt that you can be put alongside with other patriotic Oi!/RAC bands, but you are not racist or racialist, right? You are only inspired ALSO (!!!) by some lyrics of RAC bands that point to unresolved problems in our society, right? Would you like anything to say to PC Skins who are with horror scared of all what could be a tiny bit smell by patriotism and RAC? :-)
Well, we still don’t accept any labels other than Nationalist Oi! This is true, we do not sing about racial issues. We keep this out of our music, no matter how much the left wing points the finger at us. If they think our lyrics are about racial issues, then that is what they are thinking already. They are the ones who are thinking these thoughts, not us. We tell it like it is. We don’t sugar coat anything. If it offends the PC cunts, then fuck them!
19. Could you describe the current scene in California generally? Are there any good punk bands in Los Angeles that you can advice? Could you introduce also the strong RAC scene in Orange County? I think that there was some tension between you and OC crews in the past, right? Is it better now? Could you tell a few words about Youngland and Tri City Trashed?
The scene in California is diverse. In Southern California, it’s split. You have the PC scene in Los Angeles, which is dying. And you have the right wing nationalist scene in Orange county and the Inland Empire, which is alive and kicking! We have problems with a lot of people, but we don’t care much. We still play our gigs, and release our music. We’re still here through the years! Youngland and tri City Trashed are good friends of ours. We have played gigs with both bands. In OC, this is acceptable without problems. I think Youngland is playing a gig in Germany very soon. They are great live!
20. What other American bands are your close friends? Please tell us anything interesting about these bands as well: Crucial Change, The Ameriskins, Vanguard, Bonecrusher, Brassknuckle Boys, The Wretched Ones, Lonesoldier, Oxblood (about their music, your experencies, your favorite songs, etc.)
We are good friends with Crucial Change, The Ameriskins and Lonesoldier. The other bands I have met, or talked to before. I think the first Brassknuckle Boys full length was very good. But I don’t care much for their newer recordings. I think they have a new guitarist that isn’t that great. Bonecrusher are great as well, but I have not been satisfied with their latest albums. The return of Oxblood was at East Coast Oi! Fest 2008. This is where they covered Skrewdriver and got the crowd going. That was the best performance I saw of them! It is sad that their guitarist passed away since.It is also a shame that Vanguard called it quits. They had some good music!
21. Could you write any interesting things about Los Angeles as the metropolis? How do you spend free time there? Do you have any hobbies apart from the band? Do you have any favourite places or pubs where you meet? Which sport do you like? Are you fans of any club? What places can you advise to visit for tourists when we leave Hollywood burn in hell? :--))
I usually don’t hang out in the city of Los Angeles much these days. Mostly the beaches of Orange County, or surrounding areas. I go to gigs almost every weekend. There is a strong scene in Orange County. Occasionally we’ll go to soccer games. Sometimes LA Galaxy, or we’ll go support CHELSEA when they come to town. For people visiting, I suggest they look into what gigs are coming up. There’s nothing like a good gig in OC ;). That, and the beaches!!!
22. Let's talk about "very popular" subject of current times. :-) What do you think about American foreign policy? Do you agree that the U.S. government should meddle with affairs of other countries? What is your opinion on the "democracy" coerced by force? Can we look at the attacks of 11th September as a result of this interferences? What do you think about the American system of alternating two major parties?
Well I think our foreign policy is crap. I don’t think we should be getting into other people’s business as much. We have enough problems to work on at home. But I think it’s the interest of the rich fuckers who have been destroying our country for some time now. I don’t think we can spread democracy to some third world muslim shit hole. But at the same time, I don’t want those fuckers invading our country like Europe. We already have too many illegal immigrants destroying our country and culture. I think the two major parties bickering and fighting are a result of not enough Americans going to the voting poles on election day. People need to pay more attention to what our shit politicians vote on and do more.
23. I read that you (unlike most Americans) understand how situation was/is in Serbia and you express to support to Serbian people. Haven't you had any problems at work due to this opinion yet?
Yes, I was deployed to Kosovo a few years ago. After learning more about the situation I thought it was awful that NATO backed the Albanians. If that were to happen where I lived, I would have done the same as the Serbians. I don’t express my political views at work, so I don’t have many problems.
24. Are you interested in history? Do you have a favorite characters and stories from the past? Who is most responsible for the glory and the progress of California in your opinion? In which historical period would you want to live if you would have had a time machine and the possibility to choose?
Yes, I’m quite interested in history. I think my favorite historical figure is General Patton. I believe he was the last American Hero. He is from the same general area as me in California. He was very anti communist and had some great views about California, as well as the world. Hahaha, as for which time period I would live in, I’d like to live in the 80’s. A lot of things seemed quite better then!
25. Do you buy any printed fanzines? If so which ones do you like most? Could you tell what happened with Brew & Honour zine, because there are no new issues or updates?
I liked Brew & Honour. I’m not sure why Eric Scott doesn’t do it anymore, but it was the best in the US from the modern times. There’s always Skinhead Magazine, and Bombadero as well. But I think today ther’s more blogs than anything. Glory Days of RAC, US of Oi! Sweden, Boots & Braces… etc!
26. What do you know about the Czech republic? Do you know any czech bands? Do you know Czech beer? :-)
I know that Prague is an amazing city! I have some Czech friends. I hope to visit one day, and organize a gig as well. I am looking forward to seeing the Riot play at Kuggnas. They’re my favorite Czech band at the moment! I don’t know any Czech beer though. Maybe you could help me with that! haha
27. How does it look with the planned split EP with Code 1 a split CD with Bandeira De Combate? When we can expect these albums? What other plans for future do you have?
Well it is still on the table to do a split with Code 1. When we return home, we’re going to be writing songs. We’ll see how many we can push out soon. Either it will be a follow up album, or a split. Depending on how many new songs we can do. There were also talks of a split 7” with T.M.F.. So keep your eye out for new material late this year! As for gigging, we’d like to make our way to the Czech republic next year. Hopefully this could be arranged!
28. Any last comments? Would you like to greet anyone?
Cheers for the interview! We really appreciate it! We hope that we can play in Prague sometime soon. We hope that as many people around Europe can come see us at KUGGNAS this year! I’d like to send greetings to all my friends in Brazil, Germany, Belgium, Sweden and the Czech Republic! Keep the faith!!