Coming Soon to America! An Interview with Remission

A huge thank you to Klane from Clearsight for conducting this interview with Phillippe from Remission! We’re all stoked to get to see Remission at the Showcase and on their US tour!

5 years ago, shortly after I met Victor from Rearranged, he sent me an mp3 demo of this Chilean band that sounded like Insted and No For An Answer. I dug it. Later they released a seven inch that I immediately got from Vic, again, and loved it to the core. The band was called Remains To Be Seen and few years later morphed into Remission. That’s how I learned about Philippe, their singer. He seemed to be one of the most active hardcore punk figures on the world wide web (you know these guys that you will meet at any good message board) and still seems to be one of the kindest ones. This dude is one of those pen pals I’m always cheered to hear from. So I decided to make this fan to band interview for the React! website, since I’m a huge Remission fan from the very beginning.

 
Some people may know that Remission began when the guys from Remains To Be Seen grew up and went through another line up change. It seems to me that both bands constantly changed their line ups and I guess there were more people involved than in Shelter. Is it easy to find the substitution for a band member in Chile? Is there anybody else left who played in both bands?
Daniel and myself are all that’s left of that old memory. Sebastian our bass player did fill in one time Daniel got sick and couldn’t leave his bed. Finding drummers is almost impossible, bass players it’s hard and there will always be tons of guitar players everywhere. I thinking finding members in any case will have its level of difficulty considering you don’t just want someone in your band who can rock out. Hopefully it’s a friend or someone you can assure is a good person and won’t be complicated to play with.

Remains To Be Seen’s got only 250 listeners on last.fm. Did you fight the mp3-pirates for people to buy vinyls? Cause the band was REALLY good.
In ’06-’07 the problem wasn’t very big. We streamed all the songs off myspace (rip) and released that 7” on two different colors which people seemed to be into and support. This was a big step for the Santiago scene since a band hadn’t released their music on vinyl in over 5 years. Thanks for liking the old band.

Was that name taken from 7 Seconds or Fuel?
7 Seconds of course.

Anybody calls you Phil TBS still?
Maybe one person to joke around with me. He knows I find it silly.​

So now you took the name Remission. Was there any other options? Maybe you could’ve been called Scared or Exile?
We tossed a few names around like Closure and three more I think which all got ditched. Remission was perfect since we’d be evolving but keeping the initial “rem” part of the word and it’d be named after a band’s ep we were very much into (O.S.A).

I see Remission usually compared to three bands: One Step Ahead, Verbal Assault and 411. Would you compare Remission to any other ones?
I would also compare it to Headfirst, Endpoint and Dag Nasty though the word “compare” should be taken into context of influence, especially with Dag. No band has been able to sound like them really.

Tell me more about the magic between Remission and post-soviet countries. Do you realize that you’ve got a pretty big fan base around here? People might not be aware of Verbal Assault, but everybody likes Remission here. What’s the deal and why don’t you have a Euro tour booked still?
I have no idea but the soviet following is awesome and hopefully we get to meet as many of them possible for a euro tour next year 2012. We have nothing booked because we don’t have time, money or offers for that matter.

Hope you’ll make it! Can’t wait to see you guys. Did you ever play outside of Chile?
We will next week for the first time. We have a U.S tour lined up where we’ll invade the East and West coast playing a total of 13 shows from Sept. 14th to the 28th. The biggest one of all is the React! Showcase and the main reason we’re flying to the north.

You had some releases before the React! one, didn’t you?
Before the Winds Of Promise 7” came out, we had a Demo 7” and the Accept LP come out through Amendment records. We also have a song on a Chain tribute compilation done by 1124 records. After WOP came a split 7” with Police & Thieves.

I think your seven inch on React! records is absolutely flawless. What do you personally think about this release and being on React!? 
Thanks man. We like the record a lot because it represents variety and it was a big step into the global hardcore community. We love being on React! and that requires no explanation.
 
Name your top 3 React! records releases so far.
Betrayed – Suffering 7”, Mindset – T&P 7” and Rearranged’s 7”.

You said before that the song “Isolation” is about the feelings that your father went through while being in prison. Can you tell us more, what was he sentenced for?
His three month sentence was on account of the investigation process of a scandal to have no contact with the outside. This scandal had to do with the sale of a legal substance used for different medications that his laboratory was selling to some people in unusual large quantities. In the end he was liberated because he had nothing to do with the activities of those buyers which was selling it off to people abroad to make speed as it is one of the ingredients.

Let’s talk about Chilean hardcore scene. Smaller countries usually got some locally big hardcore bands. Which are the main ones in Chile nowadays?
The bigger and at the same time better bands here in Chile are: Contra Todos Mis Miedos, En Mi Defensa, Entrefuego and 562 (the postal code of Santiago).

Tell us more about Invierno. Such kind of band should be really successful in its homeland. 
Invierno (“winter” in spanish) is the emo band that 3 of us in Remission have. It is very popular because the style of music (think Texas Is The Reason, Sense Field) is more popular and easy to enjoy. Our following is mainly teenagers out of which there are plenty of girls. The band just recorded 9 songs for an LP to come out at the end of this year and it’s coming along well.

Did you leave Approach cause the music was too heavy for you? Did they break up because you left them?
Those guys broke up because they lacked direction as their drummer went crazier than he already was. I liked playing bass there not so much for the music but to play an instrument and get to hang out with friends. I left because I no longer wanted to play in 2 bands and carry out school and a serious girlfriend.

I know you love the older bands like 7 Seconds, NFAA and Dag Nasty. Are there any current bands that you enjoy as much?
I won’t say as much but certainly there are bands now I like a lot. Give, Rearranged, Betrayed, Mindset, Lion Of Judah and Memorial are some that come to mind.

What do you prefer: to scream for change or to stare into the sun?
Scream into the sun.

Insted or Youth Of Today?
Insted.

Integrity or Hatebreed?
Next.

Nikes or Vans?
Vans authentics all black or black old skools please.

Do you still skate? What about the other guys in Remission?
The four of us have skateboarded at some point in our lives. I have a board I almost never take out but still like it a lot. Sebastian ocasionally skates on weekends and Daniel quit for good.

Tell us a random fact about Chile that you think would surprise us all.
Second country to abolish slavery in the world; we have it all from deserts, to regions of ice. Come check it out, it’s beautiful.

I saw you’ve got a Waterglass test press. Where the hell are the regular ones?
A few flexi tests were made to see how their recording would sound on vinyl. That band was talented, too bad they slacked hard.

Will google translate add Chilean to their list of languages, since it’s pretty different from spanish, isn’t it?
Haha, people in Chile speak SPANISH, there is no such thing as speaking chilean, HOWEVER, different latin countries have different accents, and to speak chilean has become an expression to represent how we talk very fast, sometimes you can’t understand a thing.

Thank you for the answers!
Thanks for the interview Klane. Hugs to you and all the readers of this. Check out the U.S tour dates on our FB page, listen to all the songs on bandcamp, buy a record and support current hardcore!
 
You can also come see Remission at the React! Showcase this month!

East Side vs. West Side (of Europe): An Interview with Clearsight

We have a great new interview by Chris from Dublin with Klane of Clearsight from Kiev.
Chris flew out to the React! Showcase in Cali last year, and might possibly be one of the most active members of our message board!

Big thanks to both Chris and Klane for putting this together for us!


When I think of youth crew in Europe I wouldn’t usually think to look to the east side of the continent, let alone the Ukraine. Thankfully the REACT! crew are always looking out for you and this time they’re bringing you Clearsight from Kiev.
A hardworking, hardplaying bunch of dudes that after a bit of a hiatus are back to spread a positive message to the rest of Europe and beyond thanks to REACT! pressing their demo onto vinyl.
Along with Rearranged from Moscow Clearsight are keeping the spirit alive. I asked vocalist Klane a few questions about life on REACT!, record collecting and what makes a positive scene. Bust.

 

 


I’m always curious as to how scenes start and prosper in certain areas/countries given youth crew isn’t as widely popular as other types of hardcore. How is it in Kiev? How did it get started? Was there a specific band (local or touring) that got people motivated to start bands?

Ukrainian scene is probably the youngest in the world. First band that may be considered hardcore appeared just in 2002, they were called “Ы” (russian letter “Y” pronounced like “i” in “sick”). I would say they sounded something like Infest + Charles Bronson. And the very first hardcore show happened just in 2004, it was Lithuanian band called BORA which toured Eastern Europe. That show meant pretty much for the scene and for few years BORA stayed a band that everyone loved. Until the Internet in Ukraine grew from dial-up to broadband haha. Around 2005 some more local start to appear. Some were really nice but never had anything recorded. First records that wouldn’t be a practice ones were made just in 2007. Main acts were Kiev’s band Humble Opinion (imagine if Have Heart were from Ukraine) and Keep On Fighting from Sevastopol (imagine the same with 7 Seconds and Cut The Shit). Youth crew-ish style here is pretty popular now, thanks to Clearsight, Still, Rearranged and High x Hopes, a wave of bands that appeared in 2008 to celebrate 20 years of 88 style haha. But back then, by the end of 2007, we had this “hardline” boom brought from Russia. That shit was crap and we felt we must have a “posi” band. Not that we just wanted to have it as a tool against this “hardline” thing it just came out natural that we made this band together.

Is it still active and producing bands today?

The scene is really nice in Ukraine nowadays. Lots of good bands and kids supporting them. We have two Ukrainian labels that put out the very first Ukrainian vinyls this year!
Check out Bluesbreaker, Set Adrift, Still, Aspire and Woundead if you didn’t yet. Those bands rock!

You guys called it quits in 2008 but recorded a new EP this last January, what’s happening with that? What was the reaction to you recording new jams?

Calling it quits caused lots of misinformation, shouldn’t have done it haha. Finally I have a great chance to make everything clear.
We started sometime in spring 2008, had some 7 shows in Ukraine and Russia and played our last one in January 2009.
The only record we did for now is Demo, recorded in May 2008 and remixed later that year. It was released on CDs and tapes on our guitarist’s label and later on I Drink Milk tapes. That’s all for now.
We came back as a band in January 2011 after two years of downtime. We had an unreleased song from 2008 and decided to record it. Then we wrote few more songs which are going to be recorded as well, sometime later this year, and will come out as a new EP.

Has not playing shows for two years provided you with fresh stuff to write about?

Oh yeah, haha. We had some bad mouths talking that we got back together just “for the React! seven inches”. I’m not sure if I even know what does that mean haha. Some other shit was happening. And I was pissed off so that our first new song, “Not Ashamed” turned out to be angry, more like the songs from the demo. We’re not faultless but we never do anything we’d regret about later, and that some silly shittalking won’t ever bring us down. Other songs mostly are not that angry so far. I’m a pretty kind dude usually haha. But seems like that song is gonna be my personal highlight of the upcoming record.

How did the 7″ coming out on REACT! come about?

So the React! 7” is a vinyl edition of our demo. In 2008 (as well as the two following years) no one in Ukraine was able to release vinyl. We were really young (we still are, but then we were even younger haha) and poor, so I guess Aram just felt sympathy for us. I still don’t think we’re that good to be in line with those bands on React! Man, I enjoyed Betrayed and Champion when I was 16 and now we’re on Aram’s label. Should I say my hands were shaking like I don’t know what. Haha, just can’t find a thing to compare it to. So just trust me. When we recorded those songs, if someone would tell us we’re going to be on the same label with Carry On, Betrayed, Common Cause and open for YOT we would consider that a nice joke. I’m wearing a Carry On shirt now! I think Jeff Hess was the first in the US to pay attention to us, then Aram wrote us that he liked the songs and Paco from True Colors wrote just one word… “Respect.” haha. We were happy enough with that! Really. Then in few months Aram told that he would put the demo out on vinyl and it’s happened recently.

I was sure I’d heard you guys before and sure enough I looked and had your tape on I Drink Milk. Atti is such a crucial dude. How did you hook up with him?

Atti is a really kind dude. Huge pleasure to have any kind of business with him. I love people who do more than collecting records or shirts like me.


You have a positive message in your songs. How was that received when you started playing?

As I told before, we had this fake “hardline” boom around when we started, I think that reflected in our lyrics pretty much, esp. the song “Enough” is totally about that thing. Grown up kids playing childish games, “saving Mother Nature” via the myspace vegan dictate statements. You know the deal. So in the beginning the band itself wasn’t really welcomed by many.
But heavy rain ends faster, so we don’t have it in Ukraine anymore. There are maybe few hardline kids somewhere in smaller Russian cities (probably they’re still using dial-up haha).

I guess I was unaware of the “hardline” shit that happened out your way. I get more from listening to ‘enough’ now. Did you guys play shows with those bands?

The scene is not that big, so indirectly we’d be on the same family tree on bandtoband, haha. We used to play with the bands that share members with bands that share members etc. But we will always decidedly refuse to play with any bands that are considered “hardline”, sexist or homophobic.

That’s a stance I can get behind. I can hear elements of Warzone and Turning Point in your sound. Would you say that’s a true statement?

We love both bands, so maybe their sounds mixed in somewhere along with all the others we enjoy. When we began, we wanted to sound like raw and hard bands – Crippled Youth, The Abused, AF mixed with the melodic ones like Underdog and Beyond. We were totally into Belgian Loud And Clear when their record came out. I would say though that our newer songs sound slightly different and would compare them to Orange County style with some Youth Of Today (and maybe even Oslo-city style) mixed in. I love comparings, haha.

Was it important that you sang in English when you started out?

It’s important for me personally. We live in 21st century and communicate internationally, having friends all over the world via English. Most of bands I listen to sing in English. I really enjoy some local bands singing in Russian, but I doubtfully would listen to that much of Belgian or Chilean bands without understanding. There are very few bands I enjoy without knowing the language (and have to translate the lyrics). They are Silencio Absoluto and Contra Todos Mis Miedos from Chile, Hårda Tider from Sweden and XAXAXA from Bosnia. So since the language barrier interferes me I didn’t want it happen to my band. Again I listen mostly to English-speaking bands so English feels more natural music language for me at all.


Did you guys tour out much? I know touring is expensive buy will you be playing out more now?

We were never much active, since we live in different parts of Ukraine and meet together not that often at all. Anyways we played in different cities of Ukraine, Russia and Belorussia. That’s ok for a Ukrainian band. I’d love to have a proper tour someday. Not that it’s too expensive, but it’s really hard to cut out some time. We all live too far from each other and we’re all really busy with our jobs and schools and girlfriends. You know the deal. I personally work almost 24/7. And all of us got some other bands going, so no tours yet. Maybe next year to support the new record. For now we’re thinking about the third Russian trip in August. We’ve got one show booked, maybe we’ll add few more. We’ll see. And then probably we’re gonna think over the trip to the recording studio. That’s almost as hard timewise haha.

I saw a video of you covering Alone In A Crowd into ‘Clearsight’ and just wanted to be there. It looked like the best show ever. There were equal amounts of people Singing along to your own song as well as the cover. How does it make you feel to have people song your words back at you?

It was really a great show. That was our comeback after two years. But that’s not the reason it was that cool. The reason is that Rearranged came to visit Kiev and all the best local bands played as well. I wouldn’t agree there were equal amounts haha, but I believe it’s cause “Clear Sight” isn’t recorded yet. The audience in post-soviet countries is really great, since people are hungry for good music. Bands that tour Europe usually turn around somewhere in Hungary or Checz Republic, so those few that do not avoid Ukraine and Russia always get some really great support! Ask guys from ON, Wait In Vain and No Turning Back.
And check out Kiev’s finest – Bluesbreaker – from that same show here.
This band should be on Lockin Out, haha.

What bands or people make you want to make music?

Well there are no specific bands or people. It’s just music itself. I can’t imagine my life without music. It just happened accidentally that I start playing, and once I tried I just can’t live without having a band. It’s one of the best feelings to create something that other people would enjoy as much as you. It’s compared to a feeling of enjoying some favorite band live.

If you guys could do a split with any band,past or present,who would it be?

Rearranged
for sure. The closest band ever for me. We are friends with Vic for pretty long time and we shared our wishes and efforts to put the band together with each other. And then finally succeeded at the same time. I always felt Clearsight and Rearranged were kind of brother-bands. And I’m really happy and proud I was lucky enough to fill in on bass for them few times. Their first show was with Clearsight, and our “last” show was with Rearranged, and our comeback show was with Rearranged, and we opened for YOT together, and I’m sure we’ll play our last shows together haha. I’ll definitely cry at theirs. I’m an emotional dude haha.

Hardcore has a habit of turning people into record fiends. Has this affected you? If so is there a band you collect?

Oh yeah, I started to collect records once and realized that’s a terrible addiction shortly after. I once owed my dad some 400 bucks (and my monthly pay was 350) and caught myself thinking of where to get some more money for a Realpower 7”. And then I thought “fuck it”, sold out almost everything I had (not that much though, haha) and got out of my debt. Since then I decided I won’t succumb to that temptation and only buy the records of my friends and some bands I love too much. I’ve got every record ever released by the legendary Russian band Ray (excl. the test presses) and almost everything from Rearranged.

I’m in Kiev for a couple of days. What do I have to see/do?

First of all you should prolong your stay.
Then, after having lots of fun with some kindest and craziest dudes from Love Pills & Whiskey crew, you should see Bluesbreaker live and then go to visit Victor in Moscow once you got that close haha. Actually Kiev is a pretty beautiful and cozy European city as long as you don’t live here.

From Judge to Alfred, Lord Tennyson: An Interview with Noose

I never thought I’d ask an 11 year old to interview a philosophy professor…but after reading this interview, I’m happy I did! Our next interview comes from Julian, who recently spoke with Bucky from Noose.


I have been listening to React bands since the React Showcase last year. I love all the bands on React. Aram is one of the coolest guys I have ever met and I like the way that he chooses all different kinds of bands. I was already starting to work on my new website (PMAKid.com) and interviews for it when my dad told me that React wanted to get fans to interview bands. I got to do an interview with Bucky from Noose and I am really glad I did, because he has some pretty interesting things to say. His responses really make me think. The music is really epic and I can’t wait to get my own copies in the mail.



Who is in the band? Are other bands you have been in, can you tell me about those too? Also, what other stuff do you do besides being in a band (like work or school)?


Noose is Bucky (vocals), Kyle (guitar), Matt (bass), and Joey (drums). We’ve all been in bands in the past. Kyle was in Duress and Poison Planet, Matt did Lake Effect, and Joey was in Poison Planet and Boiling Over. I (Bucky) was in several bands during my middle and high school years but none of them ever released anything. Besides a one off thing in 2003, Noose is the first band I’ve been in since the 90s.

Joey is currently playing in two other bands: Boilerman (Jawbreaker style pop punk) and Black & Blue (NYHC style, perhaps a bit of OI influence). Boilerman has a record out and Black & Blue has a demo. Both bands are worth checking out.

Kyle is currently in another band called Bald Pig. I think they’ve played two shows so far. I missed both so I don’t know what they sound like. I am sure they are fast!

Everyone in Noose works. Matt is a tattoo artist at Family Tattoo, Joey is biding his time at Whole Foods before he re-enters the world of social work, Kyle has four or five different jobs (preeminent among them is desk clerking at a seedy motel), and I teach philosophy at the University of Illinois (where I will someday finish a PhD).

Besides what I’ve already mentioned, the most important biographical fact about Noose is that 3/4ths of the band can kickflip.

My mom always says that hardcore music sounds so negative because it is loud and all the swearing and stuff. My dad and I always tell her that a lot of it is positive, even though it sounds angry. I tell her her about Kevin’s Positive Force Records and PMA. Would you guys say that you are a positive band? I kinda think so from looking at your lyrics, but you are also singing about things that you think are really messed up and doing it in a really confrontational way. How do you think people can try to always be PMA but still be forceful when you see things which are really stupid or mean?

Noose is not a positive band. 7 Seconds, Youth of Today, Uniform Choice…those are the bands I would associate with positive hardcore.

Noose is much more reactionary than those bands. Suppose you go through life with a PMA. You try to do what’s right, to make the best of bad situations, to see the glass half full, and keep your mind focused on worthy goals. You’re going to meet with lots of resistance along the way. The world is full of thoughtlessness, selfishness, and cruelty, most of which just doesn’t make much sense. Unfortunately, 7 Seconds isn’t the sound track for most people out there. So you look around and you see all this hate and you wish things were different but you feel powerless. Noose is a kind of gut reaction to that experience…to the hateful and violent aspects of our world and the frustrations that come from trying to live a positive life in the face of resistance.

I have two goals when I write lyrics. First, I want to address an issue or an experience or event that has affected me in some way. So there’s always a personal element to the lyrics; I’m not going to write about something I don’t care about or don’t have a stake in. Noose will never have lyrics about Satan or collecting sneakers or driving fast down the highway. To my mind that stuff is irrelevant.

My second aim is get the people who listen to the song and read the lyrics to really think about the topic, reflect on the message, and perhaps even come to see things my way. For this reason I try not to write lyrics that are too vague, poetic, or overtly literary. My primary goal is to communicate ideas. To take an issue or experience that has shaped me and make other people aware of it.

The reason for the explicitly confrontational approach is simple. Some people’s minds are changed by reason and gentle persuasion. Other people need shock therapy. Noose is going for the latter approach. It’s easy to just ignore the message of a band with a “live and let live” approach. By saying that veganism, for example, is not just a personal choice but the only morally adequate diet we’re not letting people off the hook so easily.

Of course, lots of the people who listen to our band are going to be people who already agree with us. A band like Noose helps to reinforce their confidence about their commitments. When I’m feeling alienated I can always turn on Chorus or Judge and get a sense of solidarity. I hope that Noose can play that kind of role for today’s vegan straight edge kids.

I am not supposed to say the f-word, so I will not say the name of the first song. It is the one that has two words where the second word is Art. My dad found the lyrics on your website and I have read them. What are you singing about? It looks like you are trying to tell people that their idea of art is bad.

This song is a response to a specific incident. In 2007, a “conceptual” artist named Guillermo Vargas tied a stray, malnourished dog to a wall in a Nicaraguan gallery as part of an exhibition. There are lots of rumors surrounding this incident; no one really knows what happened to the dog, whether it was fed, whether it was euthanized, or what Vargas’ precise intentions were. The point of the song, however, is that it’s never ok to exploit the suffering of others to make a product. Even if that product is beautiful (or tasty) its aesthetic value cannot override our basic obligation to respect life. By putting a starving dog on display in an art gallery, Vargas turned its suffering into a commercial product and profited from it. That is a great evil. What’s worse is that no one stopped him along the way. No one said “Hey…wait a sec…this is messed up.” I think that is a symptom of current our inability to look at art in moral terms. Many people seem to think that anything is permissible for art’s sake. That’s why you will hear lots of people using the vocabulary of aesthetics to defend practices that exploit animals. These people have a totally misguided outlook; the point of our song is to call them on it.

I know that you guys are vegan (my cousin is vegan too). I have met a lot of vegan people since listening to hardcore. Aram and Chris Bavaria and Andy Norton and some other people. My dad says that there were not a lot of vegan people when he was listening to hardcore when he was young, but that youth of today made it really big. He said that being vegan is really big for some straight edge people and they consider it as important as their choice to not drink alcohol or do drugs. Is this how you think too? Why are you vegan? Is it because of the way that meat is made? (My dad built computer programs a long time ago for feedyards. That is where they make cows gain weight really fast before sending them to the slaughter house. He said that slaughter houses are gross.)

Everyone in Noose is vegan for moral reasons. We think it is wrong, plain and simple, to use animals for food.

Possession of consciousness is enough for moral standing, for having your interests matter in moral decision making. Any being that has the basic capacity to form beliefs and desires and/or to have qualitative experiences (like feeling pain and pleasure) has the capacity to be harmed. It is wrong to cause harm without good reason and, simply put, animal agriculture is a practice that causes massive amounts of harm without good reason. I can provide a much more nuanced argument than this but I don’t think it’s necessary. It’s hard to deny that cows and pigs possess the morally salient features of consciousness without jumping through a bunch of very counter-intuitive philosophical hoops. Since we do not need to eat them or use products derived from their labor, it’s hard to see how we could justify harming them.

As for the relative importance of veganism and straight edge…well…I don’t think you’re doing something intrinsically wrong when you have a beer…even if you’d be much better off without it. I don’t think it is imperative that people who drink stop doing it ASAP. My complaint about alcohol is primarily the way it is used, not the mere fact of its use. I mean, if you pressed me I’d say that we have certain self-regarding duties and that using alcohol may actually contravene our self-regarding duties. But I have a hard time seeing the evils brought about by drinking, smoking, and drug use as being of the same magnitude as the evils brought about by animal agriculture. Perhaps we could create a society where people and alcohol peacefully co-exist. With veganism, however, my stance is reversed. I think the mere fact of animal consumption is intrinsically wrong, should be stopped ASAP, and cannot be part of truly peaceful society.

Why is one of your songs called “Nous”? My dad says that nous means “we” in French, but that the s at the end is silent. If you say the s then it sounds like Noose. I like what the lyrics say and I think it is cool that you have to think about them more than some songs.

‘Nous’ is a word that the ancient Greeks used to refer to the part of the mind that apprehends very basic facts about the world. The idea is something like this: the way that you know “2 + 2 = 4” or that “nothing can be red all over and green all over at the same time” is not by having direct sense experience of colors or numbers. Instead, you grasp these truths just by thinking about them. If you understand the concepts involved, just reflecting on these claims is enough to see that they are so.

In the song “Nous” I’m having a little fun with the lyrics by claiming that “straight edge” is a basic truth that is apprehended in the same way as the truths of math and logic. The whole song is allegorical. Still, I think there is a loose sense in which it really is “self-evident” that straight edge is the best way of life. Given the amount of harm caused by drugs and alcohol (and the very minimal returns on their use) it just seems obvious to me that these are things we should avoid.

My dad likes a lot of philosophy and he said that your lyrics are more philosophical than other bands. He thinks that the song Nature Red in Tooth and Claw is about making a conscious choice to not eat meat. He also said that you probably mention Hume in the song because he talked about suffering and preventing evil and what that means for people who believe in God but make animals suffer because people eat them. Can you explain this whole idea for me?

The title of the song comes from a famous line in a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. That poem had religious dimensions and dealt with the attempt to reconcile the existence of pain and suffering in the world with the idea of an omnipotent, omniscient God. If God is completely good and can do anything why should he allow evil to exist? That is a major philosophical problem and I’m not going to tackle it here.

The point of the song is that, even if we concede that the natural world is filled with pain and suffering (whatever the reasons) and even if the practice of meat-eating is natural, that’s no evidence that it’s right or that we should keep doing it. Many people seem to equate what is natural with what is right and what is unnatural with what is wrong. That kind of thinking is clearly erroneous. First of all, hearing aids, fake knees, synthetic vitamins and thousands of other products are “unnatural” but it’s obviously not wrong for people to use them. Alternatively, violence, oppression, rape, slavery and other obvious wrongs seem like good candidates for “naturally” occurring practices/behaviors. We may very well be predisposed to these kinds of things. Still, as beings endowed with the ability to think before we act, we can contain and control these predispositions and direct them towards positive ends. So the distinction between what is natural and unnatural, if it’s even a coherent distinction, doesn’t offer us much help in our moral thinking.

I reference Hume because he is famous for pressing the point that you can’t get an “ought” from an “is”. Moral facts have to do with what we ought to do; for example “you ought to tell the truth”. But the facts about what we ought to do cannot be cleanly derived from facts our natural predispositions or from whatever practices are allowed by contemporary society. The fact that you ought to tell the truth can be justified by moral theorizing, but it isn’t derived from the fact that people are naturally disposed to be truth tellers (we may not be) or from the fact that members of our present day society are primarily truth tellers.

I have seen the cover of your record that React is putting out and it reminds me of pictures I have seen when black people were being hanged a long time ago in the south. I know you guys are not racists or anything, but I wonder about your name and the picture. Why did you name yourself noose? It is kinda a scary name.

The name “Noose” is inspired by lyrics from Judge. Judge also took a no-holds barred, nearly over-the-top approach to straight edge. Think about these lyrics: “a beer, a joint like a gun at your head, the price you pay is the blood that you bled.”

Those lyrics point very directly to the self-destructiveness of drugs and alcohol and use a suicide metaphor to do so. When I was thinking about what to name the band I already had some lyrics written and I had a general idea of what the vibe would be. I was looking for a name that fit the confrontational nature of the lyrics…something brutal, ugly, and arresting. The name is meant to have sinister undertones because we’re reacting to some of the dark and violent aspects of the world. A noose is an object that is associated with suicide and has dark, violent connotations. You could substitute a noose for the gun in those Judge lyrics and you’d get the same message.

The cover of our seven inch is a riff on Black Flag’s ‘Everything Went Black’. We wanted the art to capture that same disconcerting, forbidding vibe that is expressed in our music and we also wanted it to retain a punk aesthetic.

Unfortunately, the image of a noose is also associated with lynchings that occurred during the Jim Crow era. We realize this but we hope that people are smart enough to grasp that the vegan straight edge is incompatible with racism. In the punk/hardcore scene, we’re playing to an audience that is anti-racist almost by default. All the criticism we’ve received about the name and the art has been from people who are threatened by (or simply dislike) our message; I can’t think of any critic who has really thought we have a racist agenda.

Since I am just a kid, I want to thank you for doing this interview with me. It is cool to be able to talk to people with a lot of different beliefs and try to learn from them, so I really think it is cool what you are doing. (I hope you are going to play the next React showcase so I can see you.) Is there anything else you want to say?

The great thing about hardcore is that everyone involved is ‘just a kid’. It’s a great equalizing force. The bands and the people at shows are all basically on them same level and no one really cares how old you are or who you know. I was your age when I first started to listen to hardcore and I had the good fortune of growing up down the street from an older guy who shepherded me into the scene, lent me records, and drove me to some shows that my parents never would have brought me to. One of the best things about my early experience in hardcore is that no one ever made me feel like my age was an impediment. Now that some of the older guys are truly old and have kids of their own things may be a bit different but I still can’t think of any other scene where there is meaningful participation from people of so many different ages.

If everything goes according to plan we will be playing this year’s React! Showcase and we will have a new seven inch coming out around that time. Thanks for doing this interview. Keep an eye on the Chicago Hardcore scene!