Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Life As War interview with Vocalist: Silvio. August 6, 2010.

Vista: Basic stuff, who's in the band and who does what?

SILVIO: We’re five. Tálio plays drums, Sylvain and Alessandro play guitar, Baptiste the bass and i do the Vocals.

Vista: "Life As War"...Where did that name come from and what does it meant to you, as a band?

SILVIO: It originally comes from the translation into English of Godfrey Reggio’s Naqoyqatsi, which in Indian hopi language means Life as War. The movie is a kind of critical poem against the the path occidental societies have chosen to follow. The numerisation of human knowledge and identity is the main subject of the movie. When I saw it, I thought the subtitle would work well for a band name. Then we discussed it together and every member of the band seemed to be able to understand the quote in a way they recognized themselves in it. The only thing we can be sure of on this earth, is that the end of everyone’s road down here is death. Somehow it’s the only certitude we got. And since life often seems to be a struggle, and that waking up to a deeper understanding ouf our society looks like taking a deeper conscience of the tragic situation in which humanity has got himself in. We could easily reduce human existence to a everyday and global struggle to death. But when I say that I don’t intend to just throw up some nihilist statement. I think their is beauty beyond darkness, but this true beauty, light or hope (whatever we call it) only can be revealed through a realistic approach of the human built up world and our life conditions.  At least it’s what i think

Vista: Give us a brief history of the band. Year started, ex-members, and what has been released by the band, so far?

SILVIO: Well, we’re a hardcore band from Switzerland, the country of mountains, in the center of Europe. We played NYHC influenced hardcore with a touch of Rock’n Roll. We’re a bunch of great friends before being musicians, and try to deal with social problems in our advanced modern occidental societies, like eldery loneliness, suicide, gender issues and media-propaganda. We’ve brought out two records, one that we self produced (Ultima Ratio) in 2007 i guess … but I’m not sure anymore haha ! and the other one is an EP (To tell you this) we brought out through Conatus Records from Switzerland and What we believe records from France. I believe we’re a small band who does it’s job with passion and honesty. We started out playing in 2004 with Sylvain playing bass and ex-member Richard on the guitar. It took a year playing in our practice room to finally find our sound and to write the songs who would eventually make up our first set list. In 2007 our good friend Baptiste joined the band replacing sylvain at bass, who went on to play guitar. That’s basically it !

Vista: What are some topics you deal with, withing the lyrics? It seems like the lyrics to the songs are extremely important to you. Give us some details of your lyrical topics. Also, you guys seem to really embrace the old school hardcore sound & spirit. Who are some direct influences to the band?

SILVIO: I’m actually working on the lyrics of our upcoming record. I’m not writing a lot, since writing is always a point where i freeze my thoughts and i love to rethink and reform the content as much as i can, i often write the definitive lyrics just before recording. But still, I’ve already cleared-up what every song will be about on the record. One of the songs is gonna deal about how hard it has become to approach and understand the other gender, how with the exception of sex plans, it’s become really hard to build up relationships between men and women nowadays. Another song will be about how hard it seems to achieve self consciousness today. Sometimes i’m a spectator of everyday life situations where people don’t seem to be able to recognize that the person they are facing is another being just like them. And i believe it’s because it’s hard to recognize others if you don’t recognize yourself. The lyrics of our two previous albums where mostly about incoherence within the hardcore scene (empty statements, fashion and fame) i guess that for a music that meant mental and physical rebellion it’s sometimes funny and mostly sad, when you watch what it concretely is. But this ain’t just about hardcore. I think there is a global critic that can easily be made about our human society. We also wrote lyrics about how old people are cleaned away when they no longer can be useful for the market and economical growth, and how we just leave them to die alone. Well we all have different interests and influences but I’d say : Most Precious Blood, Terror and for our upcoming record i’d say Gorgoroth and Kickback, but these are more like similarities than influences, since the guy who writes most of the lyrics doesn’t even listen to those bands.

Vista: What's up with the hardcore scene in Switzerland? Strong or weak? Also, what other bands are active & keeping hardcore alive there?

SILVIO: Switzerland’s Hardcore scene is more of a regional scene rather than one which the whole country is united. This seems to be mainly because of the multiple linguistic regions. There are four different languages spoken in this country : French, Swis, German, Italian and Romansh. The scene has hit some lows and and some highs within the last few years, to give you an idea the town we come from, even if the population is only around 20'000, about ten or more bands play hardcore here. Most of the shows are full and you’ll find an amazing atmosphere and energy. All bands are very diverse, which makes this scene an interesting one, if you look through all of them you are sure to find something of your taste. The main hardcore bands over here are : Unveil / Dead Verse / Animal Instinct / Cataract / Promethee / Seed Of Pain / Elizabeth / Vale Tudo / Keep It Back / Black Hill / The Stand / Archers and Arrows / Call for Blood / And many more…

Vista: Do you guys ever play any cover songs live? If so, what songs have you done?

SILVIO: All cover songs we play are pretty much classic hardcore songs for us, it’s not about being original but about sharing a good moment with songs that everybody knows and loves. Like : Madball / Sick of it All / Terror / Comeback Kid / Figure Four / Shattered Realm.

 Vista: Have any members from Life As War been in any other bands?

SILVIO: Before the band was created all members were playing in other bands. Driven by Hate, Strength of Despair and Dawn of Suffering. All bands have had a certain recognition around our region.

Vista: Who are some of your influences, vocally? What singers do you look towards, for inspiration?

SILVIO: Vocally : Nas for his groove. Terror for the violence, Modern Life is war and Verse for the emotion. Lyrically : Immortal Technique for his moral unsubmition. But you don’t really have full control when you sing or write. I mean it’s not about doing the same thing than some band, guy or whatever. To me it has always been about finding my own voice, vocal and lyrical style.

Vista: I saw on your Myspace site that you played a show with an American band called, Municipal Waste. How was that show? Also, I see you have done shows with Have Heart & Shipwreak A.D....If you had to pick which genre of bands to perform with, which would you choose?

SILVIO: We’ve played with many big bands such as Sick Of It All, Walls of Jericho, Cro-Mags, Verse etc… But playing those type of shows has never been a priority for us neither a feeling of accomplishment. Our interests are meeting new people and sharing stuff with them weather the band is well known, has some recognition or not. And if I would have to chose between sharing the stage with another big band or some friends, I would chose my friends for sure.

Vista: What are some goals that you have set out for your band? Is it to play out as much as possible & have kids beat the shit out of each other? Haha.Speaking of that, are kids going off as hard as they can or no? I remember many years ago, I saw a lot of fliers for shows with kids complaining about "violent dancing"! Thoughts?

SILVIO: If their is one goal, it is to constantly rediscover and redefine our sound and playing songs which get all five members of the band excited. The pit, a place to go crazy, but i still think it means going crazy together and not against one an other. Accidents can happen when you loose your mind, and i think people are aware of that, but even if i get punched in the face, it’s no big deal if it isn’t being done on purpose. I think there are as many opinions on this particular topic as their are kids going to shows, it just a question of sensibility.

Vista: As a band coming from Europe, what are your thoughts on American hardcore/metalcore? From your perspective, do many Europeans kids really still look New York Hardcore {as an example} for inspiration or direction in sound, attitude? Do you think European bands bite the New York tough-guy style too much?

SILVIO: Well, hardcore came from the US. But Europe has had it’s own violent punk  movement which is crust. And bands like The Exploited or Kickback are history of hardcore/crust. But you know, the us where founded by Europeans, and the idea of democracy that is used and sometimes over used by your government is an ancient greek idea. So i can’t consider that taking a good idea or concept from somewhere or someones else is something wrong when it’s done with the will to do it yours. I really try to make our sound and lyrics sound european and swiss and l think we will finally achieve that. I don’t think it’s fun to be Madball241 or just another band who’s a copy of Terror. It’s about finding your sound and working on it. And over the last decade i think so many new things have happened within hardcore in Europe. If you’re curious, you guys should listen to the last Kickback album or Argument 5 :45 which is a Russian band singing in Russian. I personally never understood what made some European bands well known in the states like Born From Pain while their are plenty of way more original band over here.
Vista: In Europe, countries are really kind of close to each other, it seems. Here in the U.S.A...You can drive for endless hours & still be in the same State. But in Europe, it seems a little easier to get from one country to another. Is that fair to say, or think? Also, what is the over-all best countries that Life As War has played? Have you guys done much touring?

SILVIO: Of what i understand of the united states every major city seems to have it’s own identity. And places like New-Orleans or Seattle don’t seem to be similar at all. With the European union, it has become very easy to work, study and travel through other European countries. We do have a lot of cultural exchanges in Europe. It’s rich of diversity and i’m really passionate about our continent. The actual European countries have mostly all been built on common grounds like democracy, Christianity, European philosophy, and the Italian renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, colonization, the french revolution and later the communist revolution are historical facts that have built  diversity and similarities to our countries. When we play in a new place or a new country we’ve never been to, i like to read about their history, to understand their actual social, political and economical environment. It’s some of the things i do love above all about being involved in a band. We’ve played several european countries, sometimes for a week-end, and last year we did our first European tour. I think we will do another within the next year. I’d really like to go more to the east that time, since I’ve traveled there and i really loved it. But going somewhere with your band is still another feeling. Sometimes you meet people living so far away from you, but loving the same bands or concerned with the same existential or social issues, and sometimes their own approach will bring you some steps more ahead. Man, if you’re curious and open minded it’s  delightful to be Alive.

Vista: What is coming up for the near future with Life As War? Any new CD's/Vinyl coming? Also, what are your Summer/Fall 2010 plans?

SILVIO: We’re working on our next record, which will be a full length, we already have the major parts of the songs done, now i have to do the lyrics, and it should be out sometime around the end of next winter or next spring. We’re all really exited about our new songs. I think it’s the best we have ever did, so we’re exited to listen to it recorded and then to share it with people. And until then we’ll continue to play regularity in Switzerland and around.

Vista: Final thoughts. Best way to get in touch with Life As War?

SILVIO: I’d like to say that i’m grateful to you for choosing us to do an interview. So thank you man !  You seem to do an amazing job with your zine, so keep on doing that. And if you have any reaction or question about what i said in this interview or you just want to say hi, write us an e-mail on our myspace site. Good night and good luck New York !

1 comment:

  1. Nice interview. Do you know what the vocalist's views on religion are? Thanks.