Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fist Foundation.

It's been ages since I last posted here. Again, no excuses.

I've been to a show last August 18, 2012--that's a Saturday--at a local bar in Olongapo City. The show was put up by the thriving, mostly metal/hardcore show organizer in this rotten prostitution-induced part of the Philippines, Aural Massacre (shout outs to Jason Arenas and the gang!). I went to that show for two (2) reasons: 1. I've never been to a show for as long as I can remember; and 2. Fist Foundation, Powertools and Down From the Wound are billed to play at the show, three of the best, if not the greatest products of  Olongapo's underground music scene.

The show was dubbed as "AURAL MASSACRE XXIV: Pitong Taon ng Bakal". So based on the title itself, you get the picture of what has transpired that night: long haired machos and thin machos, obscure band logo printed on black shirts, horned-up fists in the air after every song, heavy and loud music and chicks, lots of 'em. It's a celebration of the seven year existence of the production, forgive me for lack of a better term.

This is a video of them in Aural Massacre XXIV playing State of Corruption which appeared on their first demo titled "Faces of Brutality": 

I interviewed Fist Foundation some time in 2010 and put it on the pages of Aspire. This was to pay tribute to Olongapo City's underground music revolution, which I am not part of since I was involved in it just in the first parts of 2010. Fast forward to 2012, after almost a year since the release of the maiden issue of Aspire Fanzine, here's the full interview of Fist Foundation, plagiarized and stripped from the slack-lustered pages of a zine you don't wanna know. And oh, it's not Face Foundation you sissies!


After being so much obsessed with hardcore music, I started looking for bands around Olongapo City that play, err... hardcore. Private messaging people I know who are veterans from the scene. Remember I was not that “active” with the Olongapo scene since I was only starting, and seeing long-haired metal dudes in black shirts at venues just scares me. Haha. So luckily, a not so close friend told me about this band and I immediately added them at MySpace. Some questions here and there led me interviewing this hard pounding band.

Olongapo’s only active hardcore band  to date. Fist Foundation is here to unleash their brand of in your face hardcore, a cross between acts like Earth Crisis, Hatebreed, Agnostic Front, Madball, Terror and metal band’s like Pantera, Slayer and Misery Index. Here’s Jero and Francis talking about the Olongapo scene, the band, their life and their stances on things around us on two different occasions.

ASPIRE: Hey there! Hope everything is fine. So… who will be the band’s spokesperson for this interview? To start off, let’s have a little introduction of the band (band’s history, past/current members, etc).

Jero: Hey bro!! Musta? Fist Foundation started in April 2004. It was formed by mark and I. Hindi pa Fist Foundation ang name dati HEADMESS pa kami nun. The original members are Mark on vocals, me on bass, Pado of Subliminal Level on drums and Augus on guitars then later on we are joined by Maynard of Drastic Intent. I think after a month Augus left the band, pinabayaan na namin ni Mark kasi Maynard can handle naman. Pero ang totoo nyan Mark and I decided to kick him out of the band hahaha!!!! Pero para naman sa banda din yun at malaki din ang nacontribute nung tao sa Fist, actually one of the best track in our demo si Augus ang gumawa ng riff, the song HOLY WAR. Before the end of the year nagpaalam na din si Pado kasi masyado na syang maraming tinutugtugan na gig. At that time marami kasing banda si Pado kaya he decided na umalis na din. In December, Francis Clark of CHAINBLOCK joined the band. Hardcore kid si frans kaya ang laki ng nacontribute nun sa amin lalo na sa song writing process. In June 2005, we made our first demo. After the demo was made nag iba ung areglo ng mga materials namin kasi sa demo dalawang tunog ng gitara ung ginawa ni Maynard kaya later on we decided to add another guitarist. A friend of mine since high school, JP Hondo was the perfect choice. So the current line up now are Mark Teves on vocals, Jero Divino on bass, Maynard Madria and JP Hondo on guitars and Francis Clark on drums.

Francis: First of all, thank you for this opportunity you gave us in this interview..
Formerly known as Headmess originally formed by front man Mark Teves(vocals), and Jero Divino(bass) then joined by Meynard Madria(guitar) also from the band Drastic Intent, Augos (guitar), and Pado(drums) of Subliminal Level. After their first gig on the EFM Production and Northern Atmosphere Production, Augos left the band for some personal reasons, the quartet pushed through with their old compositions. After loads of gigs Pado decided to part ways to concentrate with his other priorities paving the way for a new drummer, and  that’s the time that I joined the band after leaving Drastic Intent, that was on the mid of December 2004 completing a new and permanent lineup. Despite another change in line-up, we managed to keep the band alive and well-off in the local underground scene. Then after recording our EP, we decided to add up another guitarist, and that’s JP from the band All Under Heaven.
ASPIRE: How did you guys come up with a kick ass brutal sounding name? Is there a story behind it? Would you care to tell us.

Jero: Fist Foundation....hmmm... Sana andito si Mark para masabe nya kasi sya ang nakaisip e hahahaha!!! Pero the name speak for itself naman.

Francis: Well, it really doesn’t sound brutal I guess ehehehehe, originally it was Mark’s idea and when I joined the band, that’s the time the name was changed. It signifies unity, trust, and respect with each other, no matter what your up against to, no matter what race you are, rich or poor, what color you are, what clothes you wear.. and I guess that’s the most important thing in life..
ASPIRE: Are you guys have been in a band before forming Fist Foundation?

Francis: Yes. Meynard is the guitarist of Drastic Intent (thrash/metal band of Gapo), Jero is the bassist of Berserker 52 (one of the pioneering death metal band of Gapo) and Chaotica (another death metal band of Gapo), JP is from All Under Heaven (metalcore band from Manila) and myself from the band Chainblock (Manila New York style hardcore) and I also played with Drastic Intent for a while before joining Fist Foundation. Our front man, Mark, who came back from abroad, also played there with his metal band.

ASPIRE: Generic question. Do you have any day jobs?

Jero: Yup!!! Day jobs sucks but we got other responsibilities man!! Hahaha!!!

Francis: Yes, Mark works in a luxury ship and travels a lot. The remaining 4, works here in Gapo, Meynard used to work in Hanjin Shipyard but now doing some Culinary stuff, I work in SBMA in a publishing company doing Indesign, Jero is a personnel in Juken (Japanese Company), and JP is a registered nurse. That’s the reason why we don’t see each other a lot.. ehehehe.

ASPIRE: When people think of Olongapo’s underground scene, what they only know is the thrash/death metal scene. How did you come up with the idea of forming a hardcore band in Olongapo? Whose idea was it? How did the metalheads/scenesters reacted to your music?

Jero: Oo, totoo yan bro. Ako mismo is from a deathmetal band before (Berserker 52/Chaotica) pero I've always wanted to have a hardcore band kaya when Mark ask me to form a band and the genre is hardcore hindi nako nag-atubili. Pero syempre hindi mawawala ung pagiging metal dun sa music namin kasi both Mark and I is from metal bands before.

Francis: Way back 2004, when I came back here in Gapo, (I used to live in manila) I was with K (Powertools guitarist) almost all the time, and there’s this one time that I asked him if he knew somebody or someone who plays hardcore coz I was planning to put up a band that time. Then K told me about Mark whom I was not familiar with that time. Then 1 day I was introduced to Mark who has a band (Headmess) and we talked, and that’s it. I watched their gigs and hanged out with them a lot until the time came that I was one of them, the missing piece of the band ehehehehe.. When we play with the local bands here mostly thrash/brutal death bands, we play with our hearts, that’s what we want.. And I can say that, the respect that our band has established to the scene has grown enormously, it’s because we pay so much respect with  the bands here in Gapo specially the pioneering ones like Powertools, Drastic Intent, DFTW, INK, Subliminal Level and all those bands that we played with locally and also to other places.

ASPIRE: Since we are still in the musical aspect of the band, can you tell us the bands, people, things that influenced the band’s sound?

Jero: Mga kaibigan din namin dito sa ‘Gapo, andyan ang Powertools, Drastic Intent at marami pang iba. Local bands din like Skychurch, active pa sila nun nung binubuo ung banda e. Too many to mention. Madami e, from Madball to Pantera.

Francis: We had a lot of influences that made us who we are, even when we’re just starting when we are still kids.. We grew up having different experiences, hardships, idols, meeting different kinds of people in different places, and I think our band is mostly influenced on the situations that happens around us everyday.. There’s a lot of struggle everywhere, a lot problems, injustices, killings, terrorism, having a notion like “The World is not a safe place to live in”, of course, our families, a very important aspect. In terms of bands that influenced us, mostly the bands that a lot of people knew, Agnostic Front, Warzone, Biohazard, Madball, Pantera, Earth Crisis, Hatebreed, Vision of Disorder, Shelter, No Innocent Victim, Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Deicide, Entombed, Anthrax, Broken Hope, and a lot more..

ASPIRE: About the songwriting process, who is in-charge most of the process? Or is it a group culmination?

Jero: Si Mark ang gumagawa ng lyrics. Minsan nagsasabi lang kami kung anong magandang subject then si Mark na ang gumagawa. Pagdating sa music, lahat nagcocontribute, pag may nagawang riff yung isa inaayos na namin as a band.

Francis: Mostly the songwriting part is done by Mark, but we also contribute when we had something in our minds that can be added to the song.

ASPIRE: In Olongapo and its neighboring places, bands always talk about “wars” in their songs. Is this somehow becoming a “trend” or is it just what you feel like writing?

Jero: We don’t care about the trend, we do what we want with our music and when we get satisfied, yun na yun. ang mahalaga is we like what we do. Kasi pagdating sa shows dun lalabas ung binuo nyo e at pag gusto nyo ung ginawa nyo everything will be good on stage.

Francis: For me, it’s not like becoming a trend, but basically it’s what each of us feel. People are becoming aware of the things around us, and if we take a look at the present scenarios, we are pissed, we are disgusted, we are outraged. Writing a song is a way of shouting out what we feel. It’s an art. The most important thing is, whatever song we write or play, it should be coming deep inside our hearts.

ASPIRE: For me, hardcore music opens people’s minds on the glitches of everyday living, politics and government and just about everything while broadening perspectives and coming up of small but radical alternatives for people to minimize, if not totally eradicate, these problems. Here is the question for you, what is hardcore for you? Do you think it can help change the world? How does it help you to cope up with everyday struggles of life?

Jero: Hmmmmmmmm... For some, hardcore is just music, for some, it’s even a lifestyle, for us it’s an outlet for us to say what we feel. Through our music we can say anything. Let’s face it, not a lot of people listen to this kind of music but when you help one person to stand for his own through your music… it’s a big thing.

Francis: Hardcore doesn’t have an exact definition. For me, hardcore is not a trend, it’s not fashion, hardcore is understanding the real meaning of life, accepting the truth and fighting for the truth. It’s living your life without hurting someone, living in righteousness. No matter who you are, everyone deserves RESPECT.. RESPECT is not gained, it is earned.. That’s the most important thing to me. I believe the world has a chance.. Even if we can’t change everything, at least we can die trying.. (pucha pang beauty pageant na sagot)

ASPIRE: Do you think everyone in the scene has their own roles to play to keep the scene alive? Why?

Jero: To keep the scene alive is to avoid genre wars. Before kasi mga metalheads pinagtatawanan ung mga emo e hahaha!! Nakakatawa pero nakakalungkot para sa eksena. Ako mismo I’m not into that kind of music pero it’s not a reason for me to hate those guys. When I was still in my teens, nobody dares to harass me or my friends because of what we are or what we listen to. It’s because at that time Olongapo is a fucking haven for metalheads and metal bands and everyone I know is into metal. I miss those days man. I think it’s not fair for these kids to be treated the opposite way.
What I’m trying to say is give them chance in the scene. I’m not a fan of their music. I don’t even like the way they dressed but if it’s their time, lets give way brothers. Metal and hardcore will not die, its fuckin’ proven!!!!

Francis: Yes. All of us have a role to keep our scene alive. We should give utmost support to all the bands specially here in gapo.. What we see right now is, the scene here is slowly submerging. And we can see a lot of rising new bands that has potentials. And also, support the productions coz they are the one responsible of putting up gigs.

ASPIRE: What do you think is/are the reason/s why there are fewer females active in the scene? Is it because the scene moves towards being masochist? Can you see Fist Foundation in the future singing about gender equality?

Jero: Hindi naman siguro kasi nung time ko sa Chaotica na ang vox e female, marami kaming nakasabay na mga banda na ang vox ay mga babae. Hindi lang siguro kasing dame ng mga lalake ang mga scenesters. And about Fist Foundation singing about gender equality in the future, we don’t know yet. Let’s see.

Francis: Hmm, maybe girls nowadays much more likes hiphop and RNB.. aahahaa.. Maybe they think if they hang out with bands, they would look like “groupies”…

ASPIRE: What can you say about straight edge? Are there any member of the band that practices this lifestyle?

Jero: We respect vegan and straight edge people. You got to have a lot of discipline to do that and we respect them for that. This lifestyle, it’s not for us man. For 3 years I didn’t eat red meat and that’s the best I can do haha!!! Sarap ng sinigang na baboy e hahahaha!!!

Francis: None of us practices that lifestyle, but we have so much respect to them and to the principles of straight edge. I watched some documentaries about being a straight edge and I was amazed seeing and hearing stories, point of views of people practicing that lifestyle.. Full of positive views regarding SxE.

ASPIRE: What about abortion? Do you think there is the need for it to be legalized? Why or why not it should be legalized?

Jero: For me, I’m not into that but I think people has reasons why they do that.

Francis: That is a big issue nowadays and as we all know, it is somewhat conflicted by the people of the church and people of science. For me, Abortion is against the will of God..  And I am totally against it. Abortion is killing.. It should NOT be legalized.

ASPIRE: In this part of the discussion, I am going to ask you about your previous releases. So far, how many records have you put out?

Jero: Only Faces of Brutality. We are planning to have a full length but the members are too busy right now. We’ll wait till Mark come home.

Francis: So far we only released the EP Faces of Brutality but we are looking forward of recording a full length just finishing some new materials.. We hope it will push through..

ASPIRE: Can you tell us something about Faces Of Brutality EP? Some infos you wish to state for that release. Is it still available to this day?

Jero: Faces of Brutality is a 7 track demo. Sad to say it’s not available anymore but we are planning to include some of those songs in the next record.

Francis: It’s a 7 track EP, full in your face hardcore songs including Respect and Holy War… Unfortunately it’s not available but you can hear it in www.myspace.com/fistfoundation and also check it out in www.purevolume.com.

ASPIRE: While me and you was texting about some of the details of the interview, you mentioned that the 3-way split with Queen City Crew and Observe Silence from xthinkpositivex Records didn’t pushed through. Why?

Jero: I don’t really know what happened but according to Neil of xthinkpositivex, he's still working on it. We’ll see.

ASPIRE: As I was browsing to the internet some long time ago, I’ve come across a webzine. Its Overtune, ran by Sheng and Sky who are based from Manila. Its first issue of compilation entitled “Overtune Project Volume 1: Royal Rumble”, has included one of your song. Tell us how it would come about. How does it feel to be included with some of the best hardcore bands the Philippines have to offer?

Jero: The band has no idea how our song end up in that compilation but we think its good and we are grateful to be included in that project.

Francis: Honestly, we don’t know how they’ve included us to that compilation but thank you very much for that info. And also thanks to Sheng and Sky for including 1 of our song.. (I even don’t know what song it was!!) Added info: We are included in a 3 way split CD released by xThink Positive Recordsx. The 3 way split CD bands are Observe Silence and Queen City Crew and Fist Foundation. Of course its an honor to be included in such complilations with such great hardcore bands across the country.

ASPIRE: Mark, your vocalist, is still in Europe and will return this year. Did you guys take the time to write more songs? Or you guys just cared about your own lives? Hehehe. When he return, does that mean more shows for Fist Foundation, probably a full length and tours?

Jero: Hahahaha!!!! Actually the last time Mark talked to Francis he was really pissed about the progress of the band but were trying our best to get ready on our gigs when he come back.

Francis: We’re looking forward playing in future gigs and recording a full length album. Let’s just wait and see what’s gonna happen. Ehehehehe…

ASPIRE: Please answer this one. What could be the worst thing that could happen to you while you are in the bathroom?

Jero: Hahahaha!!!! This is a hard one hahaha!!! Siguro pag may nag crashed na airplane sa bahay nyo. You die while you are pooing. A very bad and funny way to die!!!

Francis: Maybe when the floor is wet, and your foot slipped and your face goes right through the bowl full of shit…

ASPIRE: Thanks for the interview Jero. I guess we have reached the end, any last messages, shout outs and/or threats you wish to say?


Francis: Thank you so much for this interview and more power to your fanzine.. (give us a copy ayt!!!!)


1. The TPHC 3-way split CD featuring Fist Foundation, Observe Silence and Queen City Crew will be out on January 2010. It will be under Neil’s xThinkPositivex Records based on Pagbilao, Quezon, Philippines. The band still plays whenever they can because Mark also leaves the country for his job abroad. I saw them play at the Aural Massacre 17 on December 19, 2009. And it was a great experience seeing them play live for the first time. (TPHC is out. Ask Neil of xThinkPositivex for your copy: http://www.facebook.com/xgwen.edge.tanx)

2. They are currently recording for an album. Some of the songs from their Faces of Brutality demo will be included. KEEP BUGGING THEM TO FINISH THE RECORDING! PLEASE! I BEG YOU!

3. Maynard, their other guitarist, left the band  to focus on his family. He was replaced by Pom Santos of Imbue No Kudos fame.


Mark - vocals
JP - guitars
Pom - guitars
Jero - bass
Francis - drums

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Southside Kings, Piledriver.

Piledriver was one of the first local hardcore bands that I've heard. They are one of the hardest working band in the Philippines today. I was lucky enough to have an interview with them and eventually featured them on the first issue of Aspire Fanzine. Back then they have finished the recording for Southside Kings and on their way for the mixing and mastering the tracks. Fast forward to August 2011, SOUTHSIDE KINGS is out! Yes, after the long wait, it is now out.

Here are some of the excerpts from the Piledriver interview on Aspire:

What were the major influences for the songs and overall feel of Southside Kings?

Howell: Still the same PD formula but we can say that we matured musically in this release. We try some new element and it worked just fine.

What does Southside Kings mean to you as an album and as a statement as well?

Howell: We worked hard for this release, this is one thing we are proud of. We can't really wait to get it out.. This release will speak for itself..

Hardcore lyrics are some of the truest and sincere words that I've heard in my lifetime. What do you hope listeners and detractors alike would take from the songs off Southside Kings?

Howell: Its up to them what they will take from our songs.. Hope we can share something worth for all the kids on Southside Kings CD..


MANILA - CRANK MUSIC RELIEF Call or Text 0917-352-3157 Php 250.00




Saturday, June 4, 2011

Azkals vs UFL All Stars.

Tomorrow's a big day for Philippine football as the Azkals, the Philippine National Football team, will battle it out with the UFL or United Football League All Stars at University of Makati football stadium. This will serve as one of the tune-up game for the Azkals before going to Germany for half a month for their training for the upcoming matches for the 2014 World Cup Asian qualifiers against Sri Lanka on June 29 and July 3.

Tickets are priced at Php 100.00 each. You can still get yours at UMak on the game day starting from 10:00 in the moring onwards.

June 5, 2011. 4:30 PM. See you all there!

Still strong.

Not much has happened over the past ages! #2 is still on hold due to unforeseen circumstances. Still on the works, tho.

Lots of shows are billed this June, due to money constraints, I can't attend any of 'em killer shows.

Anyways, despite, still here.. strong!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

CL 10/11 Semis: Barcelona 2 Madrid 0

Messi scored the two crucial away goals (76', 87') that put Barcelona's one foot on the UEFA Champions League Final at Wembley. Messi's second goal was fantastic! Passing after seven defenders including Iker Casillas. Visca Barca!

Second leg will be staged at Barcelona's Camp Nou on May 03, 2011 (May 04, 2011 2:45 AM Philippine time at BALLS Channel).


Real Madrid v Barcelona by fulmediax

FULL ARTICLE HERE: Ten-man Madrid undone by Messi magic

Monday, April 25, 2011


DEAD. A Melbourne, Australia-based two-man band is coming over to the Philippines to play their own brand of music on May 14-15, 2011. Hades' Bar in Timog Ave on the 14th and the other is on Yadu Dynasty, The Collective in Makati City. Here's an interview taken from Resistance For The Manic Generation/LionCityDIY blog.

They are dead. Dead. DEAD. And they want you to know that it is spelled in capitals, because there are only four letters and you have to make them count. More alive than ever, that obvious irony is symbolic of the sense of humour this two-piece (bass + drums) shares, which they hope to translate through their music. Intense grooves are interspersed with gruff vocals, and the result is a resonating dissonance, which is at once transient yet fixed, abrupt yet gradual. Catch them on their SE Asia tour this May – which spans 4 countries (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines) in 2 weeks – and be blown away by the onslaught. You've been warned.

Getting introductions out of the way, who ARE you?

Jem: I play drums and manage the band. I run an independent label (WeEmptyRooms) and do what's needed to pay the bills in between. Or do you mean the band? You can just check our bio on the website!

Jace: I provide bass, vocals, drawings and nudity for DEAD.

Most people would probably label your music as "stoner rock" or "sludge". But it seems like it's more multi-faceted than that. Let's hear it from the horse's mouth.

Jem: It's not something we worry about too much. We have no musical parameters or boundaries that we work within. We just try to play to our strengths. We're a new band so we're still trying to work out what that is. But I think “sludge” is fairly appropriate. Even if we play faster stuff it still sounds slow 'cos that's how I play the drums! Neither of us have any interest in playing to a particular style. It's probably easier and more useful for people outside of the band to find categories. But they're of no use to us and of course we think we are unique, we don't want labels!

Jace: I'm not much of a fan of “stoner rock”. I dig a lot of stuff that would be considered “sludge” especially a lot of the 90's era stuff that came out on Amphetamine Reptile. As much as labels annoy me, I don't mind being lumped in with “sludge” because I see it as being more of a general aesthetic than a specific genre of music.

Your SE Asia tour starts in 2 weeks. What are your feelings regarding that, considering how it is DEAD's first tour outside of Australia? Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe it is also your first tour (as a band) outside of Australia too as individuals?

: I've toured Australia more times than I can count, and I've also toured Japan and New Zealand extensively. I can't wait to play in SE Asia. Personally I think touring brings out certain qualities in a band that can't be achieved any other way.

: This is the first time my over-the-hill carcass has been out of the country, EVER! I don't like holidays and I've never been in a band committed enough to tour overseas so I am stoked to have the opportunity to travel in SE Asia and play shows! Jem and I like to tour and play as much as we can; I think it's essential to play with and learn from as many bands as possible.

How did the idea of the tour come about? Why SE Asia and not, say, Japan?

Jem: I've been trying to tour the area since FIRE WITCH went to Japan in 2007. But it can take a long time to get a band able to commit to tours like this. My mum is Tamil-Malay and I have family in Malaysia still. Half my spirit resides in Indian/Malay culture it would seem, and bringing that together with my main passion is very important to me. Aussie punk bands have been coming over your way for a while now – it makes sense to visit some of our closest neighbours. Also, all the members of the 7x0x7 collective have visited Australia over the last couple of years and I have been picking their brains about touring the area. So even though it's been a very impatient wait for me I'm glad the extra time has allowed us to forge stronger ties with the area. We do plan to tour Japan too and are currently booking a US tour for August 2011.

It is purported that you deliver live sets akin to THE MELVINS and HIGH ON FIRE. Justify that for us, what are we going to expect?

: I've seen both those bands live in the last few months and they are AMAZING! I don't know how much we are like them but it's no secret we both are majorly influenced and inspired by the Melvins' ability to be super heavy and yet still maintain a sense of humour. I've never watched a DEAD set from the audience so I can't say. All I know is from where I sit for our gigs, it's a lot of fun. Oh and don't expect us to wear clothes at these gigs. It's too hot, lah!

: I think Jem wrote that comment as a bit of tongue in cheek. We are HUGE Melvins fans though.

DEAD contains members of sick Aussie bands (in more or less the same vein) FIRE WITCH (Jem), INAPPROPRIATE TOUGH GUY BEHAVIOUR (Jem), and also the lesser-known FANGS OF... (Jem and Jace). How are these bands (notably, FANGS OF..., since you are made up of the exact same members) going to spill into what constitutes DEAD? Or will we see something completely different?

Jem: It's hard for me to say since I am in the band myself. The band feels different to me than my other bands but maybe to the listener it's very similar? We formed this band quite simply because we wanted to tour more than our other bands would allow, and not really because we had a particular musical direction we wanted to explore. So really your guess is as good as mine as to how it will end up musically. I think two-piece bands have a certain energy about them that really allows the individual characters of the two members to be more evident. In FANGS OF..., Jace handles most/all of the writing. In this band we write together more so it's a fairly even mix of his punk/pop roots and my improvisational background. Improvising is my punk rock. It's my way of rejecting conformity.

Jace: DEAD definitely gets more sparse in parts than I have really ever attempted before. Because we didn't start DEAD or FANGS OF... with any kind of definite manifesto, I imagine there will be similarities – with DEAD we compose music that I think highlights both the strengths and limitations of the two-piece format.

Your mate onion is also coming with you on the tour. How did that come about? How are they going to add to the DEAD experience outside of their solo sets?

: We haven't actually decided yet! Lara (onion) has played as a guest before with FIRE WITCH and INAPPROPRIATE TOUGH GUY BEHAVIOUR and has been mixing my bands live for 5 or 6 years. So it's easy for us to work together. And we enjoy the excitement of not knowing exactly what's going to happen and sharing music with people we love and respect. We'll just see how we're feeling on the tour and what equipment is available to use and take it from there I guess.

You are known for releasing your records on beautiful packaging (with a policy against jewel casing, no less) courtesy of WeEmptyRooms. You are also known for printing your shirts on sweatshop-free shirts and/or recycled op shop* tees. Therefore we conclude that you are a rather ethically-conscious band. How are you going to navigate that consciousness in SE Asia, where the context may be different?

Jem: I don't think we're an overtly politically-conscious or -aware band. But we have ethics and like to consider ourselves as humane. I prefer to think of our band as “human” rather than “political”. So many bands put their political agendas at the forefront of their band and then back it up with conformist music. This does not inspire me one bit. We play music because we are 100% obsessed with and it is the greatest natural drug on the planet. Our reasons really are very selfish.
As far as being in SE Asia; well we are guests when we are there. We're not gonna play the role of the arrogant westerner, I see that every day here at home and that's just in the punk scene! We're more interested in listening to the locals and learning about the situation in their area than telling people what they should be thinking or eating or voting for, etc.

And we have no interest in supporting sweatshops. There are sweatshop-free companies out there but we can't afford the good t-shirts and it's often unclear as to how ethical their standards are. By using op shop tees we ensure that every DEAD shirt is unique which is pretty awesome I think. We will also swap with people if they have some blank shirts for a printed shirt or we can print the shirt they want. These are the benefits of being such a small-scale operation; side stepping capitalism is quite easily achieved.

Lastly, we have both been record nerds since we were kids and putting some effort and thought into the packaging and art for a record has been instinctive for us. These days, the physical format for music is not essential, it's a choice. People don't have to buy music, most people will happily take it without thinking twice. So if you're gonna ask people to part with money I think you have to give them something of value. We print our records ourselves which is very time-consuming and stressful at times but we like maintaining that control.

Jace: Jem and I have a lot in common ethically. When we first started working together things like using recycled paper and 2nd-hand or non-sweatshop shirts just seemed obvious – we didn't have a thousand cups of tea over it or anything, we just did it. We definitely like grassroots sharing/trading/networking etc and enjoy the challenges and rewards of operating D.I.Y. I hope I didn't sound too righteous there!

You are going to play with the likes of GHAUST (ID), LEGARDA (PH), I AM DAVID SPARKLE (SG) and BLOOD ON WEDDING DRESS (MY), powerhouses in their own right in their respective countries. How do you feel about that?

Jem: GHAUST is the only band i know properly from that list. I have a 10" record of theirs that I really like. I can't wait to see them do it live. I have deliberately not listened to the other bands' recordings because I love to hear bands for the first time live if I can. It's what excites me the most. We are just really excited to see what sort of music comes out of these areas and try and convince some of the bands to come back here and play in Australia, if they can. If bands that noteworthy want to play with us we are honoured and a little bit nervous!

Jace: I've heard GHAUST and can't wait to see them live. Any band that is considered a powerhouse has my attention already!

Before we conclude, any last words?

Jem: Well I would like to tell anyone who is coming out to see us on this tour that we are very interested in learning as much about local language and culture (especially food) as we can. And I want to trade in my Aussie accent for a Malay one! So please come and say hello and teach us. Even if we look tired just come and say hi. Also any bands who have plans to come and tour Australia should talk to us about this. So many Aussie bands have come over your way, we want to see SE Asian bands come to us instead! Our album will not be ready in time for the tour, sorry, but it will be released on cassette by Ricecooker very soon after the tour. And it also will be on LP/digital in July through my label and Wantage USA. If any other labels in the area are keen to release any of our stuff please let us know.

Apart from that? I can't wait to come and play!


*op shop: Short for “opportunity shop”, this term is exclusive to Australia. They are equivalent to our “thrift stores”, “2nd-hand shops”, or “bundle shops”.

For more info, please check out DEAD's website on http://www.deadsounds.com

They will also be touring with onion – http://myspace.com/engineerofthesea

The tour is brought to you by 7x0x7, with the help of The Ricecooker Shop, GHAUST, and DIY Pinoy HC/Punk.