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An Interview with Justin Pearson


As a musical genre, punk’s not commonly considered to be riddled with nuance, suggestion, or surprise. What you see is what you get. It’s either on or it’s off. Loud or louder. Rude, bombastic, brutal, or all of the above. Like it or go the fuck home. But every now and then, someone or something comes along, to challenge all you thought you knew about anything ever. Enter Mr. Justin Pearson.

By the impressionable age of twelve, Justin had infiltrated Phoenix, Arizona’s hardscrabble punk rock scene. Going to shows like Suicidal Tendencies and Fugazi, Justin’s moral, social, and political points of view began taking shape. A code of ethics formed around the chaos of his internal and external worlds; and it wasn’t long before this shitty, pissed-off kid figured out that punk is far more than just some fleeting rebellious veneer. It’s a way of life, requiring absolute independence while maintaining respect for yourself and your environment.

Over the past 20 years, Justin Pearson has become one of hardcore’s most formidable figures. Owner of Three One G Records; bassist for bands like Dead Cross, The Locust, and Head Wound City; Retox and Planet B vocalist—Justin’s signature sound has found it’s way around the globe, many times over and over again. This rude, screamy, aggressive sum reserves its right to go anywhere it wants whenever it pleases.

Justin and I met backstage after Dead Cross played Denver last fall. It was the end of the night on the final date of the band’s first tour. Talking to Justin, I found myself surprised at how someone so pleasant could make such devastating music. A contradiction of sorts, I suppose, or maybe more so a product of my own misguided presumptions. Either way, my presumptions were busted into a thousand smithereens that night. Now, I’m honestly not sure if contradictions truly exist. Maybe things just go together and it’s not always up to us to make sense of them? Rather, we should just smile and say, “fuck yeah” when they feel right.

Veronika Sprinkel Ink. proudly presents an interview with legendary hardcore musician, Justin Pearson. A conversation about ethics, origins, and some other stuff. Enjoy.

Text and interview by Veronika Sprinkel



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An Interview with Justin Pearson


As a musical genre, punk’s not commonly considered to be riddled with nuance, suggestion, or surprise. What you see is what you get. It’s either on or it’s off. Loud or louder. Rude, bombastic, brutal, or all of the above. Like it or go the fuck home. But every now and then, someone or something comes along, to challenge all you thought you knew about anything ever. Enter Mr. Justin Pearson.

By the impressionable age of twelve, Justin had infiltrated Phoenix, Arizona’s hardscrabble punk rock scene. Going to shows like Suicidal Tendencies and Fugazi, Justin’s moral, social, and political points of view began taking shape. A code of ethics formed around the chaos of his internal and external worlds; and it wasn’t long before this shitty, pissed-off kid figured out that punk is far more than just some fleeting rebellious veneer. It’s a way of life, requiring absolute independence while maintaining respect for yourself and your environment.

Over the past 20 years, Justin Pearson has become one of hardcore’s most formidable figures. Owner of Three One G Records; bassist for bands like Dead Cross, The Locust, and Head Wound City; Retox and Planet B vocalist—Justin’s signature sound has found it’s way around the globe, many times over and over again. This rude, screamy, aggressive sum reserves its right to go anywhere it wants whenever it pleases.

Justin and I met backstage after Dead Cross played Denver last fall. It was the end of the night on the final date of the band’s first tour. Talking to Justin, I found myself surprised at how someone so pleasant could make such devastating music. A contradiction of sorts, I suppose, or maybe more so a product of my own misguided presumptions. Either way, my presumptions were busted into a thousand smithereens that night. Now, I’m honestly not sure if contradictions truly exist. Maybe things just go together and it’s not always up to us to make sense of them? Rather, we should just smile and say, “fuck yeah” when they feel right.

Veronika Sprinkel Ink. proudly presents an interview with legendary hardcore musician, Justin Pearson. A conversation about ethics, origins, and some other stuff. Enjoy.

Text and interview by Veronika Sprinkel



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Le Dictionnaire de l’emo’s Favorite Records of 2017: Emo, Punk & Love!


Le Dictionnaire de l’emo is one of our favorite blogs where we find out about both obscure and incredible records, all the time, so it’s no surprise we asked them to share their top picks of the year. Find some great stuff on here…

I didn’t write that much this year on my blog because of personal issues and procrastination. But I was following with attention what was going on in the music world. I didn’t expect to have as many crushes as I had this year, a lot in screamo, some of them in shoegaze and metal. I’m also surprised to find some of my favorite records in French d-beat and Oï! Here’s some words about my very favourite records this year…

Øjne – Prima Che Tutto Bruci LP

I think that Øjne are some of the winners of screamo music this year, as their album we were all waiting for since 4 years, Prima Che Tutto Bruci, is just awesome, full of emotions, melodies, and of that specific Italian screamo skill. A grower: the more we listen to the LP, the more we have chills. AND THAT OPENING TRACK HOLY SHIT.

Trachimbrod – Leda LP

Another winner of the year are Trachimbrod with Leda, which is how can sound a “pop screamo” record, I guess. This band still uses a lot of their shoegaze influences to give to the sound of Trachimbrod a lot of warmth, to make us feel comfortable and safe when we listen to the record, while being super sad and cathartic at the same time. A perfect album to listen alone in your bedroom, and definitely a listening companion for a very long time… #swedishskramzmafia.

Lirr – God’s On Our Side; Welcome To The Jungle LP

Lirr. released a 100% surprising and incredible first LP called God’s On Our Side; Welcome To The Jungle, where they choose to almost completely let the Pianos Become The Teeth-influenced screamo behind them, to play a really unique blend of indie rock, screamo, math-rock… And R’n’B ! This record is a real journey, a very ambitious one. A great congrats to them, I hope this isn’t the only time we’ll heard about them.

Ostraca – Last LP

Ostraca floored me with Last, a record where they let their sufferings unleash into an ocean of heaviness, droning ambiant parts and epic screamo explosions. A very challenging listen, cathartic as fuck.

Massa Nera – Los Pensamientos De una Cara Palida LP

Massa Nera dropped a surprising first album, with unreal drums and a very City Of Caterpillar-esque sound, with lots of influence, a haunting atmosphere.

French screamo & punk galore…

Chaviré – Interstices LP

French screamo highlights from Chaviré brought with Interstices a perfect witness of the social/political situation in their hometown and their whole country, with lots of great melodies, but they always sound as angry and raw as they were since the very beginning.

Jeanne – I LP

I was also BLOWN AWAY by Jeanne, a super-underrated band from Strasbourg with a member of Paramnesia on guitars and vocals, which released in almost total secrecy a full-length, simply named I, which will never be released physically for equally secret reasons, and this is a compltete banger, full of good and dark riffs, with lots of half-clean/half-dstorted guitars. I think neocrust and Jungbluth influenced them a lot!

Potence – L’Amour Au Temps De La Peste LP

Potence, a band with an ex-Daïtro at vocals and members of Geraniüm and Black Code, also released an awesome emocrust record, L’Amour Au Temps De La Peste, which is a block of anger thrown straight against all the demons of our always more racist, capitalist and individualist societies. Also in France, this was really the demo year.

Dédale, Les Mauvais Jours, Marée Noire, Circles, Deletär, Années Zéro, Bleakness, Contractions… They all released a demo tape / 7‘’ this year, there’s a lot to say about all these bands and I don’t have enough time to explain why they all are so cool, argh. It’s going from garage punk to d-beat, from oï to Revolution Summer-influenced hardcore punk…

But hey, be sure to give them a listen, you’ll find members of great French screamo bands in almost all of them, and it’s always 100% catchiness and sing-along.

Noteworthy Mentions…

erai gave me chills with their S/T, a bit went out of nowhere, but wow, what a wonderful LP. It’s 90’s emo record with a LOT of post-rock influences, with some clean vocals that even reminded me of early Devil Sold His Soul. Absolutely great.

Also yeah, Short Days and Zone Infinie are the best French punk bands of 2017, their albums are incredible. First one sounds like a The Observers-worship with some Youth Avoiders vibes, when second one is a modern version of Camera Silens, with 2 songs that even have some emo similarities. Both about boredom, cops, depression.

Also, here’s some others bangers not to miss, to have a good resume of the year:

  • Dawn Ray’d – The Unlawful Assembly (black metal from the black bloc, ex-We Came Out Like Tigers)
  • Bastos – Second Favourite Person
  • Heritage Unit – Enjoy Moving On
  • Death Of Lovers – The Acrobat
  • Makthaverskan – III, Sannhet
  • So Numb (super-underrated fast post-rock / post-metal with blast beats and shoegaze influences from the USA)
  • SeeYouSpaceCowboy – Fashion Statements Of the Socially Aware
  • Slowdive – S/T (BEST comeback possible for the UK famous shoegaze band)
  • You could be a cop – S/T
  • Modern Love – Tross Alt
  • Woolworm – Deserve to Die
  • Sect – No Cure For Death
  • Paramnesia / Ultha split
  • Code Orange – Forever
  • Full Of Hell / The Body – Ascending A Mountain Of Light
  • To The End Of The Summer – Laughing EP
  • thisismenotthinkingofyou – S/T
  • Frail Hands – S/T
  • Mahria – Analemna
  • Cloakroom – Time Well
  • Drab Majesty – The Demonstration
  • Planning For Burial – Below The House
  • Mind Awake – Pressure
  • Letters To Catalonia – 3 songs tape
  • Converge – The Dusk In Us…

And the list goes on…



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Le Dictionnaire de l’emo’s Favorite Records of 2017: Emo, Punk & Love!


Le Dictionnaire de l’emo is one of our favorite blogs where we find out about both obscure and incredible records, all the time, so it’s no surprise we asked them to share their top picks of the year. Find some great stuff on here…

I didn’t write that much this year on my blog because of personal issues and procrastination. But I was following with attention what was going on in the music world. I didn’t expect to have as many crushes as I had this year, a lot in screamo, some of them in shoegaze and metal. I’m also surprised to find some of my favorite records in French d-beat and Oï! Here’s some words about my very favourite records this year…

Øjne – Prima Che Tutto Bruci LP

I think that Øjne are some of the winners of screamo music this year, as their album we were all waiting for since 4 years, Prima Che Tutto Bruci, is just awesome, full of emotions, melodies, and of that specific Italian screamo skill. A grower: the more we listen to the LP, the more we have chills. AND THAT OPENING TRACK HOLY SHIT.

Trachimbrod – Leda LP

Others winner of the year are Trachimbrod with Leda, which is how can sound a “pop screamo” record I guess. This band still use a lot of their shoegaze influences to give to the sound of Trachimbrod a lot of warmth, to make us feel comfortable and safe when we listen to the record, while being super sad and cathartic at the same time. A perfect album to listen alone in our bedroom, and definitely a listening companion for a very long time… #swedishskramzmafia.

Lirr – God’s On Our Side; Welcome To The Jungle LP

Lirr. released a 100% surprising and incredible first LP called God’s On Our Side; Welcome To The Jungle, where they choose to almost completely let the Pianos Become The Teeth-influenced screamo behind them, to play a really unique blend of indie rock, screamo, math-rock… And R’n’B ! This record is a real journey, a very ambitious one. A great congrats to them, I hope this isn’t the only time we’ll heard about them.

Ostraca – Last LP

Ostraca floored me with Last, a record where they let their sufferings unleash into an ocean of heaviness, droning ambiant parts and epic screamo explosions. A very challenging listen, cathartic as fuck.

Massa Nera – Los Pensamientos De una Cara Palida LP

Massa Nera dropped a surprising first album, with unreal drums and a very City Of Caterpillar-esque sound, with lots of influence, a haunting atmosphere.

French screamo & punk galore…

Chaviré – Interstices LP

French screamo highlights from Chaviré brought with Interstices a perfect witness of the social/political situation in their hometown and their whole country, with lots of great melodies, but they always sound as angry and raw as they were since the very beginning.

Jeanne – I LP

I was also BLOWN AWAY by Jeanne, a super-underrated band from Strasbourg with a member of Paramnesia on guitars and vocals, which released in almost total secrecy a full-length, simply named I, which will never be released physically for equally secret reasons, and this is a compltete banger, full of good and dark riffs, with lots of half-clean/half-dstorted guitars. I think neocrust and Jungbluth influenced them a lot!

Potence – L’Amour Au Temps De La Peste LP

Potence, a band with an ex-Daïtro at vocals and members of Geraniüm and Black Code, also released an awesome emocrust record, L’Amour Au Temps De La Peste, which is a block of anger thrown straight against all the demons of our always more racist, capitalist and individualist societies. Also in France, this was really the demo year.

Dédale, Les Mauvais Jours, Marée Noire, Circles, Deletär, Années Zéro, Bleakness, Contractions… They all released a demo tape / 7‘’ this year, there’s a lot to say about all these bands and I don’t have enough time to explain why they all are so cool, argh. It’s going from garage punk to d-beat, from oï to Revolution Summer-influenced hardcore punk…

But hey, be sure to give them a listen, you’ll find members of great French screamo bands in almost all of them, and it’s always 100% catchiness and sing-along.

Noteworthy Mentions…

erai gave me chills with their S/T, a bit went out of nowhere, but wow, what a wonderful LP. It’s 90’s emo record with a LOT of post-rock influences, with some clean vocals that even reminded me of early Devil Sold His Soul. Absolutely great.

Also yeah, Short Days and Zone Infinie are the best French punk bands of 2017, their albums are incredible. First one sounds like a The Observers-worship with some Youth Avoiders vibes, when second one is a modern version of Camera Silens, with 2 songs that even have some emo similarities. Both about boredom, cops, depression.

Also, here’s some others bangers not to miss, to have a good resume of the year:

  • Dawn Ray’d – The Unlawful Assembly (black metal from the black bloc, ex-We Came Out Like Tigers)
  • Bastos – Second Favourite Person
  • Heritage Unit – Enjoy Moving On
  • Death Of Lovers – The Acrobat
  • Makthaverskan – III, Sannhet
  • So Numb (super-underrated fast post-rock / post-metal with blast beats and shoegaze influences from the USA)
  • SeeYouSpaceCowboy – Fashion Statements Of the Socially Aware
  • Slowdive – S/T (BEST comeback possible for the UK famous shoegaze band)
  • You could be a cop – S/T
  • Modern Love – Tross Alt
  • Woolworm – S/T
  • Sect – No Cure For Death
  • Paramnesia / Ultha split
  • Code Orange – Forever
  • Full Of Hell / The Body – Ascending A Mountain Of Light
  • To The End Of The Summer – Laughing EP
  • thisismenotthinkingofyou – S/T
  • Frail Hands – S/T
  • Mahria – Analemna
  • Cloakroom – Time Well
  • Drab Majesty – The Demonstration
  • Planning For Burial – Below The House
  • Mind Awake – Pressure
  • Letters To Catalonia – 3 songs tape
  • Converge – The Dusk In Us…

And the list goes on…



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Punk Not Bombs: Severed Head of State in Serbia


I started booking shows with my friends (or I should say “crew”) back in the beginning of the 2000’s. The name which we used was (and still is) Positive Youth (Pozitivna Omladina) as we were influenced by youth crew bands like Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits etc. Also the majority of the group were straight edge so it was more than normal to use that name. But of course that wasn’t the only reason. Positive Youth refers to unity, friendship and last but not the least, positive mental attitude. Those things were important for us and still are.

Anyway, in the late ‘90’s, just after NATO war against Serbia, we started our own bands, practicing in the basements, old houses and all other similar places. We were influenced not just by the youth crew bands from USA but also by the local hardcore punk heroes Hoću? Neću!, Totalni Promašaj, Smudos and others. For those who don’t know, Kraljevo (my hometown) had strong and really influential hardcore punk scene during ’90’s and their influence spread all over the ex–Yugoslavian area. Besides those bands there was the punk distro/label Kontrapunkt. It started as non music/political fanzine, various political groups and other interesting stuff. In the times when nationalism was mainstream and it was supported by the state and majority of people, those guys were on the frontline of antinationalism. They started, together with comrades from other ex–YU countries, several antinationalist campaigns under the name “Over the Walls of War and Nationalism” (Preko zidova nacionalizma i rata).

So, under the influence of both—straight edge youth crew and political hardcore punk, we started with our own thing. Among the first activities were organizing gigs—for our bands, but also for the touring bands from abroad. Although there were active bands, in the 90’s there were not so many gigs of touring bands since Serbia (or SR Yugoslavia) was under the sanctions and it wasn’t easy to get in or get out. And funny thing is that there were not so many bands playing from other cities. It was a little bit closed scene. After the collapse of Slobodan Milošević’s regime Serbia was open to the world and Kraljevo also opened their venues for the touring bands. That’s how the bands from all over the world came here and played their gigs. One of the gigs that we like to remember was Severed Head of State gig in 2003.

Severed Head of State wasn’t the first foreign band to play in Kraljevo. In 2002 two bands from Croatia, AK 47 & Intoxicate, played their first gigs in Serbia after the war. And one of their gigs was in Kraljevo. Although we were a little bit scared that some crazy Chetniks/right wing extremists will cause some trouble nothing actually happened. But the day before Kraljevo they were robbed. Someone stole their van which was actually borrowed from a friend of theirs who spent all of his savings to buy it. What was more problematic was their backline which was also in the van. So they were left with nothing, but they decided to come to Kraljevo and they played hell of a gig.

An year later we had another foreign band in the city. This time it was an American hardcore band, which of course, we didn’t care about at the time, but after the show we realized that it was important as they were probably first Americans who came to Kraljevo after the NATO bombing (if we don’t count the diplomatic personnel). Somehow we were informed that Severed Head of State got some problems with booking the show so we accepted the call from Belgrade punk veteran Andrea. She introduced us to the situation and we agreed to help with the show. As I remember, we were little bit euphoric because we’ll host a punk “superstar” band, but actually didn’t know too much about them.

Anyway, we found a venue, it was a nice underground place called “Opposite”. Located in the basement of an old house couple streets away from the city center. The owner was a pscyhobilly fan, really enthusiastic, who opened his place for our gigs, and never had any complaints. Only thing which he insisted was not to come too early to the place. But this time he had to do it because the gig was in the time of “Sablja” (Saber), a state organized action against the criminal groups. This “Sablja” thing started after the assassination of Zoran Djindjić, prime minister of Serbia, who was assassinated by the mafia. So the next couple of months we had something like a curfew while the state fought against mafia. This whole thing failed big time, but that’s another story. So actually the gig was supposed to be a matinée show, because we had to finish around 10 pm. And that’s the information that everybody got, except for Severed Head of State themselves.

Three other bands were also playing. These were locals OPD and Lifeless. Old school hardcore band Another One from Belgrade were also on the bill but they cancelled. On the day of the gig Severed Head of State were late and we were getting a little bit scared what had happened. The people started to gather and I saw a lot of familiar faces, but also some unknown. And then I realized how important this gig was. In one moment we couldn’t wait anymore so we started searching for the phone number of Žule from Banja Luka (Bosnia) who was their tour manager and driver.

In 2003 it wasn’t easy to find a mobile phone number. No one from the crew had mobile phone (yeah, we were poor punx from the province), so we asked our friend Mačak, another punk veteran. He gave us Žule’s number and when he told us that they’re in Niš, we were fucked. The situation was like this: the band is 146km away from the place where they should have been long ago, the gig was supposed to start an hour ago and we didn’t have a backline to start, since we were waiting for theirs.

In the end, we decided to bring our own backline, which was some 200m away from the venue, so we asked our friends to help us. In one moment, you could see groups of punx carrying drum set, amps and other stuff from the basement to the venue. We set up the backline and started with the gig. After a while, Severed Head of State appeared in the club, so then we started changing the backline. Again, punx gave us a hand and we unloaded our equipment and changed it with theirs. I remember that their backline was huge, compared to our small shitty amps. And we had a lot of problems moving it through the crowd.

Finally we made it. They set up their backline and started. “Woooow! What the fuck!” That was the first impression. They killed it. It was soooo hot (the gig was in June). It felt like we were in Hell. The crowd was crazy, moshpits all the time—we thought the venue will be destroyed. And suddenly, some “silueta” appeared on the doors. Those were members of a special police group who came here to stop the show, because it was too loud and too crowded. We tried to talk with them but there was not way to negotiate. One of them said: “What? They bombed us, I was at war for three months because of them. Shut the music or else!” And that was the end.

Unfortunately, the band didn’t stay for a night since they were in hurry, that’s why Žule doesn’t remember anything from Kraljevo. They didn’t eat anything, because the crowd eat their food, someone left the plate with the pie in the venue, so people thought it was for free. But despite that everyone who was at this gig (we sold 95 passes) remembers the power of Severed Head of State.

By Vojkan Trifunović, a Serbian hardcore punk veteran who still plays in the band The Truth.



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Adrestia: Punks for Rojava


Adrestia is a crust metal force coming from Sweden that takes politics seriously. Live, these guys engulf the audience in the flames of an ongoing struggle for direct democracy and autonomy happening in Rojava, while still playing great music influenced by equal doses of scorch-all-to-hell crustcore and melodic Swedish death metal. On Monday night they played in Sofia the first ever punk show at the new autonomous social center Fabrika Avtonomia. Despite being late due to problems with their van, the show turned out to be amazing. Bands like Adrestia have so much to say, so we decided to interview them about their music, their politics, and their uncompromising DIY attitude.

Let’s start with some brief introduction to the band. How did you get together and what’s the main driving force behind Adrestia?

Martin: I’m Martin Shukevich and I’m quite old by this time… I have played in some bands before but couple of years ago I moved back to the town where I grew up, Linköping, and then some years after that I founded Adrestia together with some other guys.

Fredrik: I’m Fredrik Dure, I’m the touring drummer of Adrestia for this tour. I play in the band Snake Tongue.

Martin: You also asked about the purpose. I think that music-wise Adrestia is nothing revolutionary, it’s like a mix of crust punk and some old Swedish death metal. But the main thing where we differ from the other bands in the genre is that we have quite political approach. We really like to do things for real, not just talk about things. We don’t just write some lyrics but also like to put some actions behind the words. That’s what we try to do with Punks for Rojava. And I hope to be part of other similar projects in the future too.

Can you tell more about Punks for Rojava project?

Martin: The Punks for Rojava project was an idea that we’ve had since I’ve been a lot into reading and studying the development of the Syrian civil war, and especially what was happening in Rojava, of course. And the thing that struck me quite early was that the society they are trying to build there is very similar to the society that I’ve always believed in, that I’ve always fought for.

Especially when I was younger I used to label myself a syndicalist, or an anarchist. So I’ve always believed in this kind of community based society with cooperative economy. But then I have to admit that for many years I was quite disillusioned, I really didn’t believe that any big changes could occur during my lifetime. Even though I still believed in the ideas, I was thinking that unless the things get worse it’s still okay, I guess.

But then I’ve read about Rojava and I realized that the stuff was actually happening down there in Syria. They were already trying to build this society built on direct democracy, gender equality, cooperative economy. Basically all the things that the punk scene or the anarchist community stand for, too. So I thought that since there are similarities between the punk scene and the administration of Rojava, then we need to fuckin’ help them out.

So what do you think are some useful day to day actions that we could implement to spread the word and try to build communities which are operating on similar principles? I know that in Sweden there are festivals like Punk Illegal, or a lot of punks helping the refugees, going to places like Palestine, etc.

Martin: Yes, those are all great projects and I think that the situation here in Bulgaria is quite different, but in Sweden people are used to have a certain living standard, so they are not so eager to risk anything. But a good way to support meaningful projects is to collect some money and send them somewhere. That always works, even bigger organizations like the Red Cross always do this too. The difference here is that when we do it as punks, we always look for channels to ensure that the money goes there directly without anybody getting paid in between; without part of the money going to some middle man, or a boss. So I think that projects like that are really important, but the most important thing is that we begin to speak to each other about politics again.

There is some kind of a mindset within the punk scene that says we already know what anybody thinks, so we don’t need to discuss about politics. That we should discuss about bands, and beer, and who plays where and who plays with whom… who plays the bass on that fuckin’ record… but actually I don’t fuckin’ care. That’s not why I’m here. I think that we need to speak what we want. What do we support? What do we stand for? Because I don’t believe that everybody knows about these things. I don’t believe that we all think the same. I believe that we should all have an open discussion about these matters to come to conclusions, to be creative… to find creative ways to implement the ideas that we stand for.

So do you think this is happening in the countries you visit on tour? Do you see that any meaningful discussions with the punks happen at the shows? How do you see the DIY punk scene in all these places you have visited so far?

Martin: It’s really different from country to country. Few nights ago we played in Kosovo. For me, it was if not the best, then one of the nicest shows I’ve ever played in my life. They have a squat there, even if they don’t call it that way. They don’t label it like a squat but technically it is. They made it that shitloads of people came out to the gig. It was really great atmosphere and the people were open to discuss things with us and so on. There is not really a punk scene out there, it’s more like a scene consisting of all the alternative people who want to do something that’s not commercial or mainstream. That was the strongest experience for me on this tour. Like going there and have the chance to speak with the people about the situation there. I’d love to hear what they do and what they could do to improve their scene, and also we’ve had a little talk how we could tell other bands to go there and play. That we should make more interaction with the people there and I would really like to encourage other bands to go there, because it’s really awesome place and the people there are really nice.

Otherwise, it’s really hard to say something in general. You have the hardcore punk scene in Slovenia which is really, really big since the time of Yugoslavia in the early 80’s. So you can’t really judge Ljubljana by any kind of Balkan standards, it doesn’t apply for example to Albania which doesn’t have anything like that until the mid 90’s. It’s like two different worlds, yet so close geographically. But in the end of the day, except for the problems with our van we’ve had a great experience.

I guess you also have some Balkan background and speak Serbo-Croatian language… You also have a Slavic name and songs against Putin.

Martin: Hahaha. No, actually my wife is from Belarus. That’s why I have a Slavic name. To break the tradition that women take the family name of their husband, I took her name instead. Also because it’s a Belarusian surname and it sounds a bit cool, you know. When we were young in Sweden we’ve always watched how the Soviet Union kicked Sweden’s asses in ice hockey. So we think that these Slavic surnames sound pretty cool. But otherwise the reason I speak Serbo-Croatian is because I’ve been on tour there like six or seven years ago, and I’ve picked some phrases there and then continued to study at home. So I have no roots to the Balkans but I’ve been to the Balkans in the past and I know so many people from there.

[at that point of the interview the police approach to us and as the cops go by towards the other people from the show standing about 20 meters from us Martin starts singing “Fuk da Police” by NWA]

To continue the interview, you were actually in Bulgaria with another band some years ago. You’ve been playing in many other projects, can you tell us what happened with all those other bands?

Martin: Scorched Earth, which was the band that I played in Bulgaria with, disbanded in 2011. It was a band that we formed just some months before. We started booking our tour even before we had a record out. It was a really long tour with 27 shows and then we came back home from the tour. It was a nice tour but then it was really hard to continue since everyone was living in separate places. The band existed in theory for three more years but we never did anything more.

Then Scorched Earth developed into Snake Tongue. I’m not a member of Snake Tongue anymore but Fredrik is.

Fredrik: Well, Snake Tongue is a band formed by Martin but we decided to keep on moving with that band after Martin left off. And now we try to make new songs and tour. That’s the thing, like with most punk bands.

Are there any other bands from Sweden that we should definitely check out?

Martin: Yeah, my old band, the band I like the most is Shades of Grey. It’s a band that I was in together with one guy and two girls from Sweden. We played in that band from 2005 to 2011. We also toured a lot. For me, music-wise Adrestia is kinda continuation of Shades of Grey, it’s in the same spirit of being political and writing this kind of crust/metal music and so on.

So what’s next for Adrestia? Are you gonna continue doing this kind of conceptual records that are very political in their message?

Martin: Yes, for sure. I really want to continue doing political stuff. Punks for Rojava and Adrestia is kind of connected but it doesn’t always have to be connected. The things we want to accomplish with Punks for Rojava is to build a huge international network that shouldn’t be just Adrestia but for sure we’re always gonna participate. And I also have some offers to do lectures on Rojava. It will happen during the fall at different locations in Sweden. Something that I will do is speaking to different political parties. For example to tell them about Rojava and hopefully change their minds on who are they supporting in Syria. But then music-wise we also have some shows booked, like benefit shows for Rojava that begin in August.

OK, anything else you want to add?

Martin: We have to thank everybody who came here in Sofia tonight. We are super-thankful to play here. It was one of the nicest shows I’ve ever played with any band and it’s really amazing to see so many people having fun on Monday night.

Fredrik: It’s amazing to see people come together, even like you said, on Monday. We see how people just come and support their movement and DIY. It warms my hearth to see things like that. We need to have that in our society nowadays. Support each other.

Martin: Also I wanna say big thanks to all the organizers from this awesome place Fabrika Avtonomia and to Diana from Varna who made the amazing poster.

Photos by Cockroach from their show in Prague.



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Stream the Debut KING OF SORROW LP


We already shared the first single from Bulgaria’s youngest hardcore band KING OF SORROW. Two days before the official release date (and party) of the album you can stream it in its entirety.

Wondering how DIY was this record? “Bow to my Wrath” was recorded by the band’s guitarist Mihail Slavov (also in Expectations) in their very own Sofia-based rehearsal room and studio space. Mastering was done by Marius Costache (148 Studio) in Bucharest.

For their debut LP KING OF SORROW are working with Bulgarian hardcore punk label Ugly and Proud Records, which we’ve been regularly presenting here for his releases of Seven Generations, Old Ghosts, Nine Eleven, Band of Mercy and whatnot. “Bow to my Wrath” is out on white / black vinyl. Pre-orders are still up on Bandcamp, some exclusive merch is available via uglyandproudrecords.com.



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DIY Conspiracy’s Booking Fund


Hello everyone!

We’re DIY Conspiracy, a webzine covering the international DIY hardcore punk scene for a dozen years. We are also devoted to organizing DIY cultural events and booking our favorite bands in Sofia, Bulgaria. While this has brought us some of the most rewarding things in life, sometimes it has also left us financially broke.

For the last few gigs we rely explicitly on Prix Libre, or Pay-What-You-Want entry for the shows, with 100% of the profit going directly to the touring band. However, we still need to empty our pockets to feed the hungry bands with vegan treats, for printing posters and flyers, renting some backline equipment for the show, or even paying for facebook ads to invite more people. In other words, proudly losing money for sake of dedication. It’s a situation everyone involved in the DIY scene is aware of, and not unique to us in any way.

Our next gig will be a punk show for Kalashnikov collective, and that’s a dream come true since we’re keeping in touch with these amazing folks ever since our teenage years! We’re super excited to have them play in Bulgaria for a first time. However, they are taking a flight and we have to rent the whole backline and PA for the show. And to make the gig even more awesome, we would like to print some punk fanzines to be available for free at the show!

So, to make the inspiration visible, audible and touchable – we’re asking for €200 which would cover the backline rental and other expenses. We’ve always managed to make things work out in the past but this time we are in an urgent need to ensure the show will happen, the way we want to. The show itself will be on a donation fee, everything going to the band.

As a perk for helping us out to make the gig possible we will send you a free copy of the awesome vocabulary for bike travelers in 52 languages our friend is putting out soon, it comes along with a CD compilation with punk songs about bike. Your copies will be sent out later in May or early June.

Note: We understand perfectly well that there are plenty of meaningful causes to raise funds for instead of some punk show, and that not everyone agrees with the current trend where DIY bands use crowdfunding websites to fund their recording sessions, record releases, or tours. After all, we all do this as a hobby and consensually agree with the fact that we should throw in a certain amount of money from our own pockets. If everyone launched fundraisers for every single project they are involved in, then nobody would care anymore. We would be glad to discuss this issue with anyone interested.

It’s perfectly fine to support political prisoners, local infoshops, or a lot of meaningful projects out there instead of some kids trying to break even with paying for hosting a website or booking punk shows.

Anyway, thank you so much for supporting us, we really appreciate your help!



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Bastos – Second Favourite Person


Artists: Bastos

Title: Second Favourite Person

Release: Digital

Year: 2017

Label: DIY

Romania’s saddest boys Bastos are back! This time with a full-length and no longer solely instrumental. Second Favourite Person has been out just for a few days but we already cried a few times over it. Not just because we’re doing a show for them in Sofia, but because we loved their previous record. Not sure how we feel about the band having lyrics now, but we probably like it as well. Vocals are emo to the bone, slightly put back in the mix so they’re definitely bringing a new intensity to the sound and helping Bastos keep their listeners challenged and excited (and sad).

Some of the lyrics are in Romanian, others are in English, but they’re short and sincere and we doubt you’ll have hard times understanding them. Second Favourite Person is a crazy, friendly and yet very emotional ride. I kind of like their new approach to production. While their debut split 7″ was clean and spacey, this one is raw, lively and edgy. Probably it was recorded live, who knows. Only thing we know the band did it by themselves and we love that. DIY and sad forever. Give it a spin, grab it for however you can. Make them sad boys happy.



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Prix Libre: An Introduction to the Gift Economy of DIY Punk


“Free as in freedom, not as in free beer”—Richard Stallman

Prix libre, from French is usually translated in English as Pay what you want (PWYW), or Pay what you can (PWYC), rather than a literal Free price. It is a term that is used to describe the way the equivalent value in money has to be determined by each person who would like to buy the thing.

It’s kind of hard to be more abstract. It has to be understood within other ways to put a price on something—free, as the 1960’s San Francisco Diggers advocated, at cost of production, or with a sliding scale from either of those to a supporting profit, and of course for profit.

The first radical use of Prix libre I’ve experienced was in the small town of Tarbes, France, at the Celtic Pub—a venue whose shows were all for prix libre. At the entrance there was a box for donations that also had a sign explaining the implications—you are paying for your drinks at the bar, you are paying for the concert with your donations in the box. It mentioned that through this system they were making shows affordable but absence of donation would finish by ending the reputation of the venue and bands would stop making the detour to play in the town.

In a way, they were explaining how the pricing put the responsibility of supporting the network of touring musicians along with keeping it accessible at the same time. On average it meant that you may have less money at the rough end of the month, but keep the door open to people who couldn’t afford a set price. The bartender would then remind everyone of the concept and pass the hat-shaped box. The same principle was going on in the anarchopunk scene and squat scene, in other cities like Grenoble, Marseille, Toulouse, or Lille.

It’s around the same time I started to hang around more bands with a radical practice of this concept, like the anarchist hip-hop band l’Oiseau Mort, the first band I’ve got records for prix libre (though their last record was sold for a fixed price of €4.60, which is exactly the production cost), or emo-crust Bökanövsky—their merch would be sold for pay what you can. Some years later, as the band from our label were one by one transitioning to its use we decided to switch all of the records, cassettes, zines & patches to pay what you can.

From the beginning in 2010, we had been making things following the Plan-it-X record motto of “if it ain’t cheap it ain’t punk”, in which cheap meant affordable. It was a bit difficult to sustain it as we tried to keep prices as low as possible and still give away or cut discounts so that people who couldn’t afford it would still get our stuff. In the fall of 2015 everything was for prix libre, with or without a short explanation depending on the type of places and their previous exposure to the concept—more than a pricing in itself, it was a matter of sharing the practice and to encourage others to do so. Other practices taken from the anarchist milieu would be degendering of the language and use of gender-neutral pronouns, veganism and encouraging folks to pee sat down in order to keep shared bathrooms clean and accessible.

After a year and a half of strict use of the free pricing, I would say it has more ups than downs. On the upsides it keeps our stuff affordable no matter the context, currency and state of the inflation. On the downside, and especially on tour, the notion of support can easily be avoided and there was a few examples in which it ended with full bags of merch traded for some small change. In the end, it sort of evens out as the pricing gets known and often, the average amount of money is bigger. Maybe because the bands are better and attract more people now, than five or two years ago?

We printed “don’t pay more than €8” on some older releases, sold some for €5, when it’s not outrageous in some punk & hardcore circles to buy an LP for €15. On average, we’re able to get money back quicker to help other folks release their stuff more easily. If we often leave the distro unattended with a jar for the donations, the practice of pay what you can often lead to having to engage in conversations, asking about the pricing, about the means and process of production to determinate how much they want to pay and demystifying it along the way.

On any given day, I would say that one of my ideals would be to help in implementing anarchist practices into the mainstream, though in real life it often means cooptation. In the third issue of the Grenoble collective anarchopunk zine Maximum Cuvette, there was an article about the economic concept that gave a few examples of the use of Prix libre by cultural administrations, in which free shows became shows on voluntary and encouraged donations as prix libre, and also gave the example of the bandcamp.com platform, which offers digital downloads for pay what you can, although not translated as prix libre on it’s French version.

Many economists have argued some benefits of using it in the virtual (and legal) businesses, but none really touched the social functions that come with using this system, meaning the anarchistic ideas may too easily be removed and the advantages salvaged. While I’m still not exactly sure when this form of payment became commonplace within the DIY punk scene and grassroots leftist movement in France, it was in October 2007 that it broke into the international mainstream with the pop band Radiohead’s single “In rainbows”.

About the author: Giz Medium is a touring DIY folk-punk artist from Marseille. Giz is the founder of Bus Stop Press label.



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