Tuesday, 2 April 2013

AMEBIX interview

there's no need for any introduction here... or maybe just a bit of my rant.. so as you know, there were many debates about if Amebix are commercial or not after their reunion, a lot of rumors and controversy about the band, etc.. even I'm one of those who don't really like new Amebix songs and all that "playing big fesativals..." stuff, I appreciate and respect all the things this band has done in the past and also the fact that they're trying to do something new and doing things and playing as they want, not paying much attention on what anybody thinks is right.. also I think that this interview is interesting to read and Stig is saying some really clever stuff..  also from his words is obviously that with this reunion thing they didn't planned to earn money and becoming commercial band so I trust him, at least until they give me a reason to convince myself to the contrary.. 
okay, interview was made by my comrade J, questions were answered by Stig and it was published in 2nd number of Mentalna Smrt fanzine.. that's all you need to know.. play the video and enjoy the reading..

J: Introduce yourself:)
Stig: hello everybody ,my name is stig i have been playing in  bands since 1978 two of the bands i started are amebix and zygote i also do acoustic music and other projects when i have the time

J: So Stig, what are you up to lately, except commenting videos on youtube?
Stig: well been quite busy really ,we amebix  have started putting out our own records on our own label through easyaction records .and i have started to run our merchandise store and keep and send out stock  ,records tshirts ect  we have taken control of all our stuff .

J: What about any Zygote stuff? Got any plans to make those available in the future?
Stig: i really started zygote to keep my hand in playing music as amebix had stopped and i need to be doing something ..we had a wild time with zygote and began to  develop some good ideas ,i think if we had carried on we could have become really good ,but we drank a lot and the lifestyle i was living was making it hard to do ,for me there were some very dark times back then ,but we had some good songs i guess we were just ahead of our time like amebix ..if we could have developed a way to record the two guitars properly the records could have been a lot better ..i think there is still zygote stuff available online .people have offered to put zygote records out again but unless i could remix and work on them im not really interested ,but who knows ?

J: After Amebix, and after Zygote...up until Amebix reunion...what have you been up to all these years?
Stig: erm my life has been a complete disaster really ,i have done a few different bands like zygote also i have been recording bits and pieces of a solo project vie been working on acoustic stuff mostly ..trying to make something atomspheric on my own .and now im teaching myself to use computer recording studio stuff ,and hopefully building a little studio for my ideas and those of friends.

J: Are any of those recordings available for listening, or released somewhere?
Stig: what my acoustic stuff ? well there is one track up on you tube that i recorded after living on the street ,but its different to anything i have  done before  just me and an acoustic guitar  not heavy  riffs but still kind of emotionally heavy so people say anyway ,hope fully i will get the chance to finish it someday and put it out ,we will see

J: Amebix released a video for a new song, how are you satisfied with the feedback you got for the video and the new song?
Stig: i don't really care , i have  always made music that i want to hear , i haven't seen much negative feedback but if i took notice of what other people thought i would never have started amebix ,as no one understood us at the time ,and now they are just starting to get our old stuff and we are moving on doing new stuff so maybe it will take another 25 years before they like the new stuff ha ha ha

J: Hahaha now days when ever you go to a punk gig, there isn't a single person in sight without Amebix patch/t-shirt, so it wasn't like that back in the day?
Stig: no it wasn't like that back in the day although there were a few people that understood us its taken at least 20 or so years for the rest of the world to catch up with what we were trying to do ,but its good that people respect our integrity and that we are not doing this for the money and that we answer to no one except ourselves .we are exactly what we appear to be.,… people need honesty in a world full of lies .

J: How come you decided to do a video in the first place? I'm sure this is going to interest all the evil speakers commenting that soon we're gonna see Amebix on MTV hahaha
Stig: i really didn't know much about it when it was happening but i think it was robs idea to use a friend to make a video for the song knights as we didn't have any money to pay him rob paid with a sword he made ,and we got a video cheaply done ..so all good just something to look at done by a friend to go with the song really ,

J: The video was really great, it really works great with the song, have you considered making the video like that for every song, to make the new album kinda of a audio-visual experience?
Stig: that would be great to do and i suppose if we were on a big corporate label maybe we could do things like that ,but how much control would we have over it all ? you see this is one of the things about doing it ourselves and keeping it real .we don't have lots of money so we get favours done by friends but you cant keep asking people to do things forever  for little or no money .to be honest i don't think we would do another animated thing but who knows ..im interested in film as a way of getting our ideas across though..

J: New album is about to be released soon, how does it feel to release a new record after all this time? Are you any nervous how it's gonna be accepted by people?
Stig: as i said before  i don't worry about it that much ,as long as you are true to yourself and make a record you can be proud of, who cares if people like it or not ,?amebix were hated by the press and the public for years ,we are not here to make people happy or do whats expected .now the world has caught up with us and our music is acceptable we have to take it further .sonic mass will be released on 20th of september .i think it is a really good record  and even if everyone hates it ,i will still think that .

J: Knights of the black sun...tell me what's the song about? My interpretation of the song is something like “we are back on the throne we long abandoned and we're stronger than ever. Amebix is back!”, am I even close hahaha?
Stig: yeah i think you are kind of close, atmosphere wise but its about a lot of things people can make they're own minds up exactly what ..its more about a feeling really , how it makes you feel not what it means .but yeah we are back ..he he just when they thought it was safe again and predictable ..

J: Who was involved in songwriting? Was it just Rob and you or was Roy also involved with his ideas? Not just for this song, but for the entire album.
Stig: we were all involved in the songwriting as roy is a fully fledged member of the band and not just a drummer which is good cos he thinks of stuff i don't think of and vice versa ..he also recorded and produced the whole album ,which is amazing not many bands have done what we have done with just three people ..me and rob would bang out ideas with  roy  who  would add his ideas .or come up with a song on his own and we would try and play it .

J: In the comments of “Those who belive shall die – Darkest hour” you said that you like the two guitars, have you considered getting another guitar player in the reformed Amebix? Or any other instruments like keyboards?
Stig: well the creative process is between three people but there maybe a time when we might need to get extra people in for some songs

J: After the new album will be released, can we expect some big tour to promote the album?
Stig: i don't know about 'big' but hopefully we will get a chance to get out a bit ,if things go well who knows   we are not part of a record company with agents and pr and stuff we just arrange it ourselves through  friends or whatever ..its just down to money really if we want to put on really good gigs .

J: So, if someone would like to do Amebix gig how much would that cost? What's the usual fee you ask for a gig? If that is not a business secret hahah
Stig: i have no idea although that is still being decided whether or not we can tour and when ect  as we all have to meet up, practice ,hire equipment ect so it costs a fair amount of money to set up tours and stuff but im not a business person im an artist which is probably why im always skint   ha ha ha

J: Hahahaha so I guess only traveling expenses, free drinks and food are out of the question?
Stig: yeah free drinks and food are usually left down to how charming we can be to our host wherever that is

J: After reunion you both played in clubs and big festivals like Hellfest. Which ones do you prefer?
Stig: hellfest was great but i prefer to play a bit closer to the crowd and smaller venues ,but i still had a great time at hellfest ,met some nice people there .

J: Was it strange to play in front of such a big crowd like there was on Hellfest, during the day and with mostly metal crowd? 
Stig: it was very strange to play in daylight  and to so many faces but we did ok ..everyone was there for the music no fighting or moaning or egotistical bollox , the crowd was ok too, first time seeing us for a lot of them were to young for our first time round .

J: Do you think it's time for Amebix to make a switch from mostly playing in smaller clubs and start playing big halls, and huge outdoor events more often?
Stig: i don't know about huge out door events i don't want to become some kind of corporate rock act ,with loads of old farts coming along to sing along before going back to there shitty jobs in there huge cars .i wouldn't mind playing one or two but i don't want to be accepted by the music business ,but we want to put on good shows, so its a difficult thing to do right  as there are plenty of people out there that want to sell amebix .we must be careful .to keep our integrity   thats important to me

J: I really wanna hear your opinion on this...crust punk. People fame Amebix for inventing the genre and the entire crust subculture, what's your view on the subject?
Stig: ha ..its strange you know these day everything has to be labeled and genre defined so that people don't have to think or try anything new .i was 15 in 1977  and i had just been thrown out of school it was a really good time the early punk days  all the bands were different they all sounded different and we all looked different ,you have to understand how fucking dangerous it was to be a punk in those days ,just nothing like now where its acceptable really ,i mean people used to try and kill me for the way i looked and the things i  believed ,it was a dangerous thing to be .and i come from that scene ,the original punk scene that was about thinking for yourself and doing something for and by yourself and your friends  d.i.y.   so by 79 /80 the second generation started and i was totally involved in that to .we were poor and we lived on the streets for years ,we ate what we could find or steal. our clothes were dirty, cos we had no money ,we only had ourselves and our band to keep us going ,we would play gigs and after a while we would see people turning up that looked like us or tried to look like us .very strange .but what does that mean these days ? i don't know ,we used the word crust to describe something big or heavy or dirty in bristol ..me im a  punk i believe in being different and not following .im still poor as shit but that is not a good or cool thing ,being poor is shit being hungry is shit having no home sucks its not glamorous  only those with money think it is .i don't know what a crust punk is supposed to be ,we are not owned by any genre .if you have an open mind you are welcome however you dress 
J: I agree with the part that it's not cool being poor, lots of people here my age (20-25 for example) are now into acting poor, sleeping on the streets, stealing food, squatting...and behind all that there are rich parents who they can come home to anytime this new trends gets boring, is it the same in UK? What are the punk trends at the moment there hahaha? 
Stig: i think it  was like that in the uk too  back then yeah people always want to be what they are not there is nothing glamourous about lying in a squat freezing  and hungry while all your mates have gone home to mummy to have there christmass dinner  at home  that happened a lot to me and that’s how i realised that a lot of people didn't have to live like we did it was just a passing thing for them until there inheritance came through or whatever  ,for some of us there was no choice ,but there will always be fakers .i have no idea what the punk trends are at the moment ,im an old fart just doing what i do .

J: You have been living on the streets, sleeping in squats and eating what you could find...because of that I'm really interested in your views on vegeterianism/veganism. Are you maybe vegetarian/vegan? And what do you think...where would be the line between chosing vegetarianism/veganism and your own survival(when living on the streets)?
Stig: basically im not against  eating meat but i don't eat a lot of meat thats factory prepared as i believe that an animal that dies in fear and misery transmits fear and misery into the meat which in turn makes people aggressive and or full of bad hormones .but i was raised to kill and prepare  my own food  but thats difficultt in the city unless you are a cannibal of course  ha ha .

J: On the “Risen” documentary, I've seen what looks like to be a pretty big record collection behind you, was that taken in your home?
Stig: i don't have a home of my own that was filmed at my friend s house but i left there some time ago he had some good records and one day if i get my own place ill start collecting records again but its not worth it until i do cos i cant carry them around  with me  they would just get fucked up so i mostly put stuff on my puter mp3s and wav files of songs and mixes ,but im living at my girlfriends house now so who knows ?

J: While we're on the subject...what are you mostly listening to these days?
Stig: im listening to all kinds of music i don't let fashion dictate what i like, classical /hard /soft all kinds ..i really like neurosis  great band making good art .i get ideas from any kind of music as long as it makes me feel something .i think as you get older being part of something becomes less important

J: Earlier you mentioned words “safe and predictable”...would that be your description of the punk music today?
Stig: yeah i guess its a description of most forms of music and the genre label thing; if you like that then you will like this kind of thing ' no one has to try anything different or look outside there own little scene for inspiration  or new ideas , people are so afraid  of being different and that to me is not punk rock ..a lot of the so called punk  bands these days seem to have looked back at people that came before them and tried to take certain aspects and then make a blueprint and not deviate from it at all so they never really do anything dangerous or really different  but that is the case with all forms of music these  days especially the harder metal stuff where everyone sounds just about the same growling shouting vocals that all sound the same ,it gets boring ..another case of the big record labels desperately trying to be down with the kids and sell them back there own culture

J: Since you mentioned people who came before in the scene...in the last few years many of the old bands got back together and started doing gigs and recording new stuff. There's Amebix, of course, Doom, Deviated Instinct... to name a few...and those reunions worked out great, then there were some like Hellbastard(blah) which didn't work out so great(at least that's my opinion)...I've even heard rumors that Antisect are back together...what's your opinion on the subject of reunions?
Stig: on the whole i find reunions deepressing and personally i really wouldn't want to go and watch bands that i grew up playing with or liked anyway especially if they are doing nothing new or just playing stuff that doesn't mean anything anymore but this thing that we are doing with amebix is not some lazy moneymaking rip off this is a real progression in our whole style and having roy in the band hads made us a more powerful band ,taken it up a step ,i think without being bigheaded we amebix are one of the most powerful three pieces out there musically and philosophically ..but as i personally know all those bands you mentioned it would be unwise of me to say which of them suck ha ha ha

J: Recently there were some riots in England provoked by the death of Mark Duggan...are things back in normal now?
Stig: well it depends what you mean by normal  i sat up watching the riot helicopters all night cos some of it happened less than a minutes walk from where i live,but i didn't feel like getting involved as there was no real reason for it people were using it as excuse to loot the little local shops which sucks.

J: Now for the end let's get to more relaxed themes...you are from England, the land of football, are you a football fan? If you are, which team do you support?                                                       
Stig: football ?no not really ive never been interested in sports at all  but as a little kid i used to like chelsea but history repeats itself, in the roman empire when the people were getting restless, caesar  would spend more money on putting on gladiatorial battles to channel they're aggression and take they're minds off the true facts ,each to they're own but i find it difficult to get excited about watching a group of overpaid snooty little pricks kick a ball around  but thats just me

J: Straight edge or drunk haha?
Stig: ha ha straight edge? i believe all these things are personal and entirely up to the individual ..when it comes to drugs anyone that knows me will tell you that i have taken more than most people  but its not a lifestyle i would recommend to anyone ,i seen my share of madness and death enough for plenty of lifetimes .i also used to drink a lot but not so much now just a little i cant handle hangovers anymore .

J: What's your favourite type of beer/alcoholic beverage?
Stig: if i have a drink its usually white wine it doesn't make me feel so bad the next day .

J: Thank you for doing the interview! Would you like to say something for the end to our readers?
Stig: yeah my fingers are hurting ow   im gunna stop now all the best   love stig   ng nm

to find out more about the band, its history and members lives go watch a documentary called "Risen: a history of Amebix" here:

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