B.T.D. (Thaw #3)

This zine (Thaw) was done by Sven Schoonen from Roosendaal (The Netherlands); a guy that regularly visited our Smurfpunx concerts (in Belgium), together with a bunch of his friends. He also organised some gigs locally and ran a mailorder/distro… I never got to see the first issue (#1: ‘Lärm’, Definite Choice zine, etc.); #2 was called What’s Up (with ‘Afflict’, ‘Hate Crew’, ‘Capital Scum’, ‘Bad Influence’, etc.). This one here contained also an interview with ‘Instigators’, reviews and more. In the early 90s Sven was joined by Hans Tebbens because S5 mailorder had expanded so much; they also did an issue of a new zine, entitled Trauma… In 1991 Sven also sang for the ‘Fine Fellows’.

I got to know ‘B.T.D’ when they played a Smurfpunx gig together with other Dutch bands featuring on the On Our Way To Fools Paradise compilation-12″ (‘Laitz’, ‘Kikkerspuug’ & ‘Loud Warning’): 86-05-03… After ‘B.T.D.’ Marc, Marco (taking up drums) & Casper, formed the SxE band ‘Betray’, together with Paul van der Vlist (guitar; ex ‘The Muckrakers’) and Boris van de Woestijne (guitar; ex ‘The Muckrakers’)…

[Translation below]

b-t-d-thaw-3-ab-t-d-thaw-3-bb-t-d-thaw-3-cb-t-d-thaw-3-db-t-d-thaw-3-e‘B.T.D.’ started in December 1983. We tought it was necessary to ourselves that we started something where we could put our energy and creativity in. Also to communicate our ideas better. ‘B.T.D.’ originally meant ‘Behind The Dikes’ but nowadays it’s just ‘B.T.D.’. The current line-up is: Bart [Anthonisse] (drums), Casper [Kraima] (vocals), Marco [Somers] (guitar) & Marc [Hanou] (bass). The line-up changed 2 times. Wim [van Dam] and Rob [Zuiker] were the singers before Casper [since ‘85].

Bart studies part-time, is 20 years old and lives in a squat in Amsterdam. He was a DJ at Amsterdam’s only HC radiostation (Radio Dood [Death; squatters/activists/pirate radio-station]). Nowadays he’s busy with a new HC radio that broadcasts already in a limited way. The radio might be called Radio Mosvet but that is still uncertain [It actually turned into Radio Patapoe.]. Bart has also engaged in a total refusal of his military service. He spent a year in hiding and has then been arrested. He was in custody briefly but is currently awaiting the outcome of his trial – against which he will appeal. He’s also a vegetarian. Casper is studying mathematics at the University of Amsterdam. He’s 21 years old and lives in Amsterdam. He loves his girlfriend Esther and good food very much. Marco is unemployed, 20 years old and lives in Eemnes. He doesn’t know yet what he will do in the future; nowadays he tinkers a lot on old mopeds and motorcycles. He also skates. Marc studies social geography at the University of Amsterdam. He’s 20 years old and lives in Amsterdam. He’s a vegetarian. He also handles the ‘B.T.D.’ mail and writes articles for various fanzines. He also rides skateboard.

Our lyrics are very important, at least to us. We hope we can convey our message and that people get something out of them. The topics we sing about are environmental pollution, quizzes, the arms-race, hunger, meat-eating/MacDonalds, etc. However, it’s not that the music is subordinate to the lyrics; they’re both equally important. The way we see it, we have no bad music at the moment. The music we played before was sort of 1-2-3-4 trash and now it’s more crossover. Anyway, people should actually listen to it themselves.

We think it’s very important to take a clear position within punk. Precisely that clear position and the D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) idea make that punk is actually punk. That explains why there’s so much different music in punk. Just compare ‘The Ex’ with ‘Heresy’, ‘Lärm’ with ‘Frightwig’, ‘Uniform Choice’ with ‘Chumbawamba’, ‘Big Boys’ with ‘The Stench’.

The D.I.Y. idea is also very important. Take a band like the ‘Dead Kennedys’, which was quite big but they just continued to do everything themselves. Bands that became big gave things out of their hands, like the first punk bands in ‘77 (‘The Exploited’ – Did these actually ever do anything themselves?) and more recently ‘D.R.I.’, ‘Suicidal Tendencies’, ‘Faith No More’ & ‘Gang Green’ aren’t taken seriously anymore by most punks or they leave them aside. While lyrics or music don’t even have to be different. That D.I.Y. thing seems quite normal to us (just look at this zine Thaw) but in the United States of America things are quite different. Over there it’s quite normal for bands to sign to a label and stuff. Unlike in Europe where bands often still do everything themselves. OK, it’s mostly very easy to let others do things for you but doing something yourself gives the most satisfaction (It’s often impossible to do everything yourself as a band – e.g. distribution.) but we leave that – as far as we let others do things for us – over to other organisations who are OK (such as Konkurrent). That’s also what we have against people from the metal-scene: they do nothing themselves but buy T-shirts instead of making these themselves, they expect fanzines and concerts are just there. Metal bands are on major labels where everything is done for them; they do not need to bring their recordings to the pressing-plant themselves, they don’t need to put their records in the sleeves themselves; things we all do ourselves. But let it be clear: we think that’s fun to do! These major labels…that indicates a lot. Many of these major labels are multinationals who exploit people (in the end they are capitalist enterprises), some of which even – that’s what we are told – support the arms-industry. Also socalled small labels such as Roadrunner, Metal Blade, Death recs, Combat Core are subdivisions of EMI, CBS and the like. That’s why we use the term metal not only for a certain type of music but also for a mentality. See…a band such as ‘Electro Hippies’, who play metal/crossover but do everything themselves and sell their record for £ 4 instead of 3.99. Just flip through the MaximumRock’n’Roll. There’s really a lot of stuff for $ x.99 or $ x.49 for sale instead of whole dollars. That commercialisation within the punk/hardcore scene… that has really gotten too much. Before everyone was shocked about a record of 25 guilders [€ 12,50] but now that has become very normal! There are also a lot of people who want to pay a lot of money for e.g. the first ‘S.S.D.’ LP, singles of ‘Minor Threat’, ‘Violent Children’, etc. Of course it’s nice to have those records but to pay 50, 100 or more guilders? You can tape them and if necessary even copy the cover.

So far we didn’t play shows very often, at least that’s what we think ourselves. The last half year we deliberately didn’t perform because we didn’t have a rehearsal-space. Now we’re working on new songs but because we’re so critical things aren’t going too fast. If everything goes well, there will be a single on our own label within half a year – a collaboration with X-Mist recs from Germany. We have already released one other record. That is the compilation 12” On Our Way To Fools Paradise. We did that album with ‘Laitz’, ‘Kikkerspuug’ & ‘Loud Warning’. There’s 25 minutes of Music on it is still available. If you send fl. 12 makes to the account of Marc Hanou, Loenermark 867, 1025VP Amsterdam, mentioning On Our Way To Fools Paradise; we’ll mail it you. You can also just send cash but it’s possible that it gets lost. Without postage they costs fl. 7,50 and you can buy 10 for fl. 65. Besides that ‘B.T.D.’ is on a bunch of compilation-tapes; e.g. Alle 55 Kort, My Smile Is A Mask and many more.

Marc and Pascal [Möhlmann], a guy from Huizen, run a flyer-label, called Take A Stand together. Someday they would kike to start a fanzine but it looks like that’s not gonna happen. Take A Stand also wants to do the ‘artcore’ for bands and fanzines. For example, they have made the cover of the ‘Skeezicks’ LP Selling Out. Send your suggestions, questions and ideas to Take A Stand: Pascal, Riet 23, 1273CR Huizen.

There is also a thrash-band in het Gooi [region in the province Noord-Holland of The Netherlands]: ‘The Muckrakers’. They exist a little over half a year and are on the right track. If you send them a blank tape with stamps, you might get a demo. Write to: ‘The Muckrakers’, Marcel van Egmond, Potgieterstraat 20’’’’ (’’’’ means the 4th floor), Amsterdam.

‘B.T.D.’ has plans to tour Germany during the summer (if the single is out by then) and perhaps ‘The Muckrakers’ will join them. Besides that we want to perform as much as possible after the summer.

On the occasion of this, I sent them a few questions. They were answered by Marc.

I see that you’ve moved to Amsterdam. When you hear those stories about Van Hall and Bluf! that wants to quit (Currently Bluf! no longer exists anymore. RIP), then the scene here seems dead. Is it that bad?

I don’t think so. The scène…what is the scene here in Amsterdam? See, in the case of Bluf! [weekly paper dealing with squatting, anti-militarism, anti nuclear-power, anti-racism/-fascism, anti-apartheid & women’s struggles (Jan ‘82 – Apr ‘88)]: for a (national) action newspaper there needs to be action. And there is none any longer apparently. So if you want Bluf! to stay, you have to refuse military service, squat, wreck Shell gas-stations, etc.

What I know about Van Hall [squat/concert-venue], is that there are still concerts being organised, though not as often as before. It’s, I believe, other people doing it now, and it’s because of that the music has become more important than the original ideas of Van Hall/Emma [squat/concert-venue]. I don’t think it’s that bad, there are some people doing great things, like Folkert of ‘S.C.A.’/Trashkrant [zine] RIP) and No More Censorship Records [actually No Censorship Records; Folkert’s mailorder]. And things are still great at concerts. There’s enough of them here too (most recently there was ‘Scream’/’Fire Party’/’Phantom Tolbooth’/’Loveslug’/’No Pigs’).

You study human geography. What is that?

The study of the distribution of social phenomena on the planet. In other words why there are multinationals and why exactly are they multinationals. Why are some offices in place X rather than place Y. It’s a study of how humans have used/abused/will use the earth. It has a lot to do with connections to places. Why here and not there.

There is a whole series of proposals by Minister de Koning and they state, among other things, that the basic scholarships for students who are living away from home will be aligned with those of students who live at home. Say from fl. 605,40 to fl. 266 per month [1 fl. (guilder) used to be half a Euro]. Does that affect you?

No. Firstly: that reduction of the basic scholarship to fl. 266 only applies to students living away from home of 18 and 19 years old. So we don’t have anything to do with that. However, 29.000 people do! What they also want to do is to cut the scholarship for those living away from home with 60 guilders, and of those living at home with 40 guilders a month; and instead give everyone a free travel-pass. That’s ridiculous, of course because a lot of people don’t really care about traveling too much (myself, among others). And the worst of all is those slick guys in The Hague will determine how you will spend your money. It’s basically the same as: “We will cut 5 guilders per month for everyone but we’ll you get a ‘free’ newspaper. If this travel-pass scheme happens, we’ll have to deal with this.

You say EMI & CBS and the like are capitalist enterprises. I agree with you but I spin my records on an Akai record-player. Am I a capitalist now?

No, I don’t consider you as one. But see: a band has the choice between signing to a small D.I.Y.-label or a big, capitalist one. And if you choose such a big label, you’re not a capitalist necessarily but you are making the wrong choice.

And as for hi-fi equipment as a consumer you have no choice. That all comes from multinationals. And because producing hi-fi equipment involves a lot of research and capital investments, I think for the time being nothing will change there (unfortunately).

Coincidentally I am currently refusing military service on grounds of conscience-objections. But what are the consequences of refusing totally? What happens to your belongings, your room or house, etc.?

If you’re refusing totally as Bart does, then you will go to jail. You can only bring very limited things into prison, so you have to store your stuff somewhere (at your parents’ or friends’ house or so). See, you can of course keep your room but that costs a lot of money. Usually people have to give that up. (Besides, if you leave your room empty for so long, chances are it will be squatted too, haha.) If you want more information on total-refusing, write to Bart (same address as mine, only c.o. Bart BTD).

You mentioned a flyer-label. How does that work?

Well, in the case of Take A Stand it’s something quite idealistic. We – that is Pascal and I – make a flyer – usually A6 but sometimes also A5 – and we copy that 400 or 1.000 times, and we send them with our letters so that people who receive them can pass them on. Our flyers always contain a message (e.g. about Bart BTD, commercialisation within punk/HC, meat-eating – that one is still under construction) that we hope to carry out. Sometimes we get reactions and we see them pop up in various fanzines. That’s neat.

Have anything to add to this interview?



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