1- Your songs deal with very important issues that affect the world directly. From the more “political” subjects to the more personal ones, how does the band go from the initial and abstract idea of the song to its final version? How do you feel when you are at the studio?
The hard part is taking something from that abstract idea to a finished song, basically it's all about the effort of playing music for hours and writing a ton of words and doing whatever is necessary to make it happen. As most creative people know, there can often be a huge chasm of work between an abstract idea and something that exists in reality. The ideas usually come from something we've seen or experienced and our most successful lyrics come from a place where our personal experiences are mixed with the political ideas. We want to write songs that come from us and not just make songs that are pieced together from news clippings or whatever.
2- What reasons make you write about some subject?
We write about whatever moves us, it could be larger political issues or something close to us. Generally, injustice and suffering in the world eats away at our psyche and we feel compelled to write about that. See other suffering is a very powerful force and it's impossible for us not to recognize that and we feel a compulsive need to say something about it.
3- What sort of delays do you believe that political figures like Michelle Bauchmann can bring to the minority movements?
I think those people show the truth about how many people think and what they're desires are for the future of their country and the world in general. The delay they bring to humanity or civilization is that they are a constant antithesis to progressive, rational and scientific thought. They focus people on a world based on fantasy and require no evidence, reason or compassion. Beyond that their main problem is that they are hateful, abusive, power hungry and want to create a world where everyone is a slight variation of themselves which is scary and sad. It's truly too bad these people have such a large voice in the political system.
4- In addition to the band, which other activities do you dedicate yourselves to?
We're all pretty busy playing music lately but besides that Jord is part of the Haiti action network, Chris now has a couple of kids that take up a lot of his time but he's always doing something creative or interesting, I paint sand draw every chance I get. We're in a little moment in time right now where we're focused on playing music and headed towards recording a new record.
5- The first time I heard TETA I got speechless. I mean, that was the thing. Very fast and very intelligent. Just like PCL, the parts that most caught me were the intricate and progressive ones. Supporting Caste is a very serious album that blows my mind every time I hear it and it was radically important to me in 2009. Failed States only confirmed Propagandhi as a band that takes very seriously the message you want to pass. What can we expect from the next album?
The next record seems like it's going to be an exciting one, we have so many different types of riffs and atmospheres going on, there's a lot of twists and turns. We try to have each record a little different from the last one. There's a lot of really rocking stuff on the next one, people who like us will be into it! We've got an additional option of having Sulynn contributing some riffs so who knows where it all goes from here, we don't really plan it out we just keep playing and waiting for exciting notes and sounds to catch our ears.
6- I saw on your website that the inscriptions to be the new guitarist are going insane. Knowing that the band has very strong political roots, how does it feel to see that so many people care about your music while they are forced to handle with this crazy world we live in? (this question was made at July, last year)
As you know by now, we have Sulynn Hago on guitar now and she's been totally ripping it up live, people love her because she's awesome and truly has that rocking spirit! We completely understand what it's like to use music to soothe us in hard times and to be able to relate to other human beings through listening and creating so we totally appreciate with anybody who listens to our band. We're grateful for any connection we've made that has helped anyone out or at least made them feel less alone in the crazy and often disappointing world.
7- Music festivals have really grown in Brazil and it looks like that if you want to see your favorite band you have to feel good with some giant logo of a drink brand (which probably has sexist advertisements) right in front of your face. What is your feeling about the presence of marketing in music events and in all things we like for entertainment?
We've done our best to avoid those type of shows and festivals. Those sponsors are the reason we don't end up playing so many of the punk festivals. When we play festivals we end in sort of more obscure places with different bands.When there's no giant sponsors we're happy to play but I think we prefer smaller shows anyway.
8- It's a shame to see that most shows in Brazil are not a safe space (especially for women, who are massacred by men with “tons of testosterone wanting to show off their physical strength”). What can be Propagandhi 's contribution to make these spaces more attractive to women in opposition to what happens nowadays?
Yeah, that's too bad. We often try to say something when it seems like the crowd is being too aggressive or a particular person at a show is being to out of hand. We want people to have fun and don't want to make a bunch of rules but we also want everybody to have a good time. It's a fine line, our drummer Jord's 40+ year old wife can be seen stage diving and having fun so it's hard to know what people want to do or what they think is fun. We love the excitement of the shows but at the same time we can't stand macho nonsense. We make it known that we expect people to be reasonable. I'd prefer if everyone went totally crazy but didn't crash into each other so much but no one seems to listen to that suggestion. People generally dance the way that has been historically established in any genre of music which is too bad.
9- I read an interview of Chris talking about his mixed feelings around How ToClean Everything. I don’t know if it helps the ego but for me TETA wasessential to develop my position pro-feminism, against xenophobia and to make me understand many other things that formed the person who I am today and that helped me to follow paths I think are worthier. It ended up not being so much a question, but what have you changed since then? How do you feel about your music once it impacts people from many parts of the worlds?
I think any creative person or human being looks back on what they've done 20 years earlier with mixed feelings, if you don't you either haven't progressed or you're delusional of your own achievements, haha. I think it's healthy to want to do better and I think anyone really trying will do better. We are definitely thankful and happy for anyone who got anything positive from any Propagandhi albums. I still like How To Clean as well but the important thing really is that at the time they achieved what they were trying to do, for the most part. There's some great and endearing songs on those earlier records, we still play some of them and the lyrics, even though they were written so long ago are still relevant for the most part. It seems extra nice when the music ha touched people in far away places that none of us would have ever dreamed they'd make it to, like Brazil for instance. I think when those songs were made there was absolutely no thought that anyone in Brazil would ever hear them.
10 - What are the "cars" that have killed the punks? How not to apologize to the “cowards of this world”? Sometimes it seems impossible not to succumb.
The "Car That killed the punk" came to me from two things: There's a NOMEANSNO song called "The hawk killed the punk" which, I interpret as a metaphor for the streamlining of fashion in punk killing the individuality of the scene. The second idea came to me when I saw some California Punks I know driving around in Cadillacs and stuff like that, I thought that was the complete antithesis of punk and completely lame. Basically the idea is that we should, in whatever ways we can, be self reliant and do stuff on our own while trying to keep our money from gas and oil industries. We should activate and do what we can to inspire ourselves and have fun, in the case of that song "Hadron Collision" t hat we're referencing it's about riding a bike in the winter and enjoying it while saving the environment a little bit of carbon and pollution. To not apologize to the cowards of this world is to keep living positive and doing what you feel is right despite the fact that they're afraid to leave their shells and try to bring you down whenever you flying too high for their comfort levels, or when your dreams are bigger than their imagination can handle. When I feel like I'm succumbing to the lameness of society I try to remind myself that if I succumb I have became exactly what I always feared. there's an old poem that was used on a MANLIFTINGBANNER record that said "For He/She That His/Her Youth Denies Is Surely Dead Before He/She Dies.
11- A generation grew up listening to How To Clean Everything and another one grew up listening to TETA. Now a new generation is growing up hearing Failed States. How do you think this record can affect these young people?
We just hope that we grow and see the world in new ways, they're still interested in what we have to say and can relate. when they can't they'll be gone and that's OK. If something else catches their eye and inspires them that's cool but we'll always be here doing our thing and burning our giant fucking inferno of a flame! ha.
12 - Thank you very much, hope to see you over here once again. If you wish, please send a message to your Brazilian fans. There are many of them around here.
Thanks so much for the interview, Henrique. It's greatly appreciated. We hope to see you down in Brazil sometime soon. We had a great, great time there last time we played! Take care.
Ps: thanks Michelle so much for translanting the questions. You are the really best.