I was digging through some old computer files and found this interview I did with Walter from Rotting Out in 2011 just after Street Prowl came out. It was meant to be part of a zine I was working on that never ended up coming to fruition. Rotting Out were one of my favorite bands at the time and have managed to stay relevant through the years, releasing another solid LP and putting on a better live show than almost any other band out.
You guys put out your first LP a few months ago. That’s a pretty big step for a hardcore band, moving on to do a full-length record. How do you feel about how its been received and how do you progress from there?
It took almost 2 years to write that. So we did everything we could. After we ran out of our ideas we talked to Nick Jett. He gave us some ideas we didn’t use and some other ones that we did and that made the songs that much better. We pretty much just mowed through all the songs until they sounded how we wanted to. We didn’t want to sound like an East Coast band because people were already doing it and they were doing it better than us so there was no point in us really trying. So we wanted to sound like a band from the west coast.
What bands in particular?
Suicidal, Black Flag, No Mercy. There was New York influence but older New York Hardcore bands like Cro-mags and Warzone and shit like that. Just faster shit that was tuned to E. We didn’t want any of the songs to sound the same. After you get to song 4 or 5 on a record you start to fall off and fall asleep and shit starts to blend together. We didn’t want that, we wanted to just keep hitting hard, fast-paced, we wanted people to be surprised when the record was over. I’d never sang before so this was the first time for me writing lyrics. My favorite bands were people that really opened up and poured everything they had out there. I put a lot of my family troubles, troubles with my mom, troubles at home, just shit I grew up with. There’s a song about how much music means to me in there, a song about me and my friends who were a bunch of fucking idiots but we didn’t know anything else, but to be fools and cope the wrong way. It’s almost like memoirs of my life and my friends, but kids received it really well and we were really stoked on it. Especially kids across the country, circle pitting for us. We’d been to the East Coast a couple of times and that had never happened for us. But we’d play new songs and kids were stoked, kids were really warming up to me doing vocals so that was giving me more confidence to vibe out and weird out and do my thing.
You said a lot of the songs were about your life growing up. What was life like in the town you grew up in?
We grew up in LA in a town called San Pedro. It’s right on the coast like where the ghetto meets the sea type vibe. It’s kind of like old Venice, the higher you go up on the hill the richer it gets. I grew up in the projects which is basically right on the harbor. I grew up living in the projects for the first 15 years. There was definitely some ugly shit. I never like glorifying stuff like that like, “Oh yo I’m from the ghetto, I’ve seen some hood shit blah, blah, blah, I’m all calloused and shit.” Because straight up, that shit sucks. One thing I don’t like is guns and shooting. I’ve seen people die in front of me, more than once. The way that fucks with your head, you become numb and emotionally calloused and worn. After that the way you cope with shit is completely different than how other people do. Don’t get me wrong, I would have traded all that shit in a second for a white picket fence and a secure income. So I definitely don’t shoot people down like “You’re rich, you don’t know what you have.” Because I would have loved to trade that any day. All that anger and shit, I didn’t feel like I was welcome at home. Especially being a straight edge punk kid in the projects. Imagine walking down the street with a mohawk, getting shit from all the eses and shit like that, it’s a little rough, they don’t take it easy on you, I’ll tell you that. I definitely had family troubles, just like anyone else. I put a lot of that into it. All I did was skate, ditch school, eat, go to shows. That’s all we really did. Three of our dudes are from there. A lot of everything we do is inspired by the town we’re from. That’s why I love bands like Take Offense that rep Chula Vista. Nobody knows where the fuck Chula Vista is, just like no one knows where the fuck San Pedro is. The biggest thing to come out of San Pedro was The Minutemen, Chula Vista, you got nothing. It’s so cool that Take Offense is hitting it so hard and repping their town and I back that because we do the same shit.
Leather Daddies by Alexis Gross and Miyako Bellizzi
This past August, photographers Alexis Gross and Miyako Bellizzi traveled to the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood. The fair, billed as the world’s largest leather event, attracts more than 400,000 attendees from around the world. Participants are encouraged to wear their “most outrageous leather/rubber/fetish attire” and cautioned against bringing their children and/or pets to the gathering.
Leather Daddies features everything you might expect. Full frontal shots, bondage gear, cock rings and leather harnesses. It’s a project that feels all too topical in the wake of Lou Reed’s passing. Grown men whip one another in the street and engage in acts of fellatio as bystanders crowd around to observe. The photos are explicit and direct, even bordering on the lewd at times, but serve to offer a rare glimpse into a community that has largely closed itself off from outside documentation.
The zine is 34 pages in length, perfect bound and printed on cardstock paper with illustrations by Tamara Santibanez. In a nod to the lifework of Tom of Finland, the cover features a black and grey rendition of an uber-masculine figure, his chiseled features oozing in hypersexuality. The Newsstand will be hosting an exhibition and release party for Leather Daddies on Tuesday October 29th from 7 to 10 pm in the Lorimer / Metropolitan Subway station.
Interview: Trapped Under Ice // Backlash Fanzine 2009
Digging through a box of old zines last week, I came across an interview I did with Jared and Justice of Trapped Under Ice back in 2009. It originally appeared in a zine I did called Backlash along with interviews with Naysayer and Backtrack and a few pseudo-intellectual rants about politics and social injustice that are pretty embarrassing in retrospect. Trapped Under Ice had just released the split with Dirty Money and were working on writing their first full-length LP. They’d come up to play a benefit show for Kev One after getting stuck in traffic after missing their show NYC show with the Cro-mags the previous month.
We’d met the summer before. I was roadie-ing for CDC and ended up spending a good deal of time packed into the back of their conversion van along with all their gear. The band looked a little different then. Ben and Klipa were still playing, Fiacco was filling in and Anton had come along to sell merch. With a crew like that, we found ourselves in some of the most ridiculous situations and looking back, I’m still not sure how the band managed to function as well as they did through that era.
I’d only just moved to New York City a few months before the tour. I hadn’t met anyone in Backtrack yet and probably could have counted the number of NYC – friends I had made so far on one hand. I was slightly nerdier then, with a much poorer taste in music, but so were they and we kept in touch after the tour ended. In the years to come our paths would cross again and again. A few months after we did this interview, they wound up sleeping on the wood floors of my tiny Bedstuy apartment for two weeks when they came back to record their LP. I started to roadie for Forfeit and we found ourselves on tours together a couple more times before they eventually took my band out on tour as well.
A few weeks ago I watched them play their last show at This is Hardcore in Philadelphia. After more than a half-dozen tours, numerous fests, and regional shows I’ve probably seen them play more sets than I ever will any other band. I felt a strange mix of nostalgia and awe watching them play, flipping back through the countless memories, watching them grow and change as a band and individuals as well. Interviews have a strange way of capturing a particular moment and I think this one does that particularly well. The conversation recalls a time of excitement and naïveté on the part of both theirs and mine, hopeful for the future and entirely oblivious as to the things that would come.
My friend and housemate Nathaniel Matthews is curating a show of “First Zines” at the Newsstand in the Lorimer / Metropolitan Subway stop this Thursday August 29th. The exhibition will feature the “first zines” created by an array of artists and zine publishers you know and love, as well as new zines composed by first-time zine makers.
If you can dig up a copy of the first zine you ever created, stop by the Newsstand before the event to drop it off for exhibition!
The demonstrations continued on into the third night, protesters meeting the police head on at the bottom of the hill leading into Beşiktaş. The two sides clashed just outside Dolmabahçe, a former Ottoman palace that neighbored Prime Minister Erdoğan’s Istanbul offices. They waited until dusk each day as if in accordance with an unspoken agreement, the tension building throughout the evening while each faction assembled their forces on either side of the designated point to wait. At nightfall the battle would ensue, the tear gas filling the air as the two sides vied for position pushing forward then retreating again.
Since the beginning the police had been ruthless in their use of tear gas, pepper spray and chemically-infused water cannons. You could smell it from blocks away, an ominous cloud that burned at the nostrils, throat and eyes until it suddenly became too unbearable and forced you to change course. They exercised little discretion, attacking protestors, innocent bystanders and medical clinics alike in what human rights organizations deemed to be “an excessive use of force.” The image of the woman in red, captured early on in the demonstrations, came to symbolize the police injustice, sharply illustrating the heavy-handed approach taken by the state in its attempts to quell the demonstrations.
That night, the police barricade had cut off the only real avenue to Taksim from the North and so we took the back way through Kagithane to get up to Gezi Park. You’d hardly have imagined that a protest was underway from the mood in the square. Groups of people were camped out on blankets, drinking and smoking in the cool nighttime air. Young children laughed and danced, their middle-aged counterparts chanting and waving Turkish flags. A host of vendors had set up shop throughout the square, for them the whole thing was nothing but business as usual. They pushed their carts through the crowd, selling simit, bottled water, and surgical masks, adapting their stock of goods to suit the changing needs of the crowds of demonstrators.
The students I was staying with had been forecasting an uprising since I’d arrived in Istanbul two weeks before. They described a growing generational gap, a movement towards secularism on one hand and a return to more traditional Islamic values on the other. The youth of today felt misunderstood, they said again and again, estranged from the ideals of their parents and of those before them. They liked to smoke weed, have casual sex, and, most importantly, did not necessarily consider themselves to be Muslim. Erdoğan, on the other hand, pushed for bans on beer sales, tighter media control, and an overall retreat from the progress that had been accomplished by Ataturk almost a century before. And yet he’d been popularly elected in three successive contests, boasting nearly 50 percent of the popular vote in 2011. He held the support of the Islamic masses, maintaining strongholds in the country’s more rural regions.
Even my hosts hadn’t expected it to happen so soon. They could hardly hide their astonishment when the rioting had actually erupted, sparked by the use of police violence to break up a peaceful protest at Gezi Park in the heart of Taksim. The government had erred fundamentally, transforming a little-known issue into an outright war against Erdoğan and the authoritarianism he’d promptly come to represent. The protests soon spread to other major metropolitan areas across the country and consuming the capital city of Ankara as further reports of police brutality continued to trickle in.
At the time, no one had been quite sure how much information was getting out through the media blackout that shrouded Turkish news outlets. Numerous people were being arrested for “spreading untrue information” via their Twitter feeds and rumors circulated to the effect that the state would shut down that and other social media sites altogether. CNN Turk had chosen to air a three-part documentary on penguins the night the protests broke and the following morning’s newspaper headlines were choked with reports about the Miss Turkey pageant. We’d heard stories of angry demonstrators occupying the entrance to NTV, one of Turkey’s largest media conglomerates, the day before, waving fistfuls of money in the air and asking, “Is this what you want?”
Rob Soucy is a modern-day renaissance man. A film-maker by trade, he has hand in more projects than almost anyone else I know. When he’s not splicing video segments, he’s out shooting photos or at home writing children’s stories. Paperwork NYC recently released his project “Seeing Red,” a collection of photographs and stories from the time he spent in China last year shooting a crime series for Chinese television.
34 pages, full color laser print, out of an edition of 60. robsoucy:
Im so happy to share with you my newest project ‘SEEING RED’ its a collection of photos and stories from my life living in rural China. Last year I was invited to help create and shoot a T.V. crime series for a Chinese production company. This book documents all the different “nooks and crannies” I got to explore while shooting on location in main land China. If you enjoy my photos and stories from different places please pick one up from my close pals at paperworks nyc, right here!