Point Of No Return (Co-Existence #16)

Laurent ‘Veglam’ Chopard & Olivier Bresson, from the Besançon (France) area did this zine. Laurent drummed in a few bands (e.g. the emo outfit ‘Sapo’) and ran the label Coexistence Obscure; Olivier sang for the HC band ‘Existence’.

Brob

Olivier and myself got to know each other trhough mutual friends. We started CoeXistence when we got back from the 1996 Vort’n Vis festival. Before we’d already had the idea to do fanzine but this really motived us to take the plunge. We like the format of the fanzine Earquake (one of our main influences) a lot and we managed as well as we could to type things out and do photocopies. DIY! Only Olivier had a computer, and for a long time we did it ‘cut and paste’. It took long but it was a lot of fun! Content-wise, we mainly talked about hardcore/punk and tried to avoid the macho point of views that surfaced frequently in the scene of that time. We also often addressed animal-liberation, mainly from a libertarian political point of view. The fanzine existed from September 1996 to August 2002, and there were issues almost every 2/3 months.

Contents? To mention a few bands/people… #1: ‘Strain’ (Can), ‘Backstroke’ (Ger); #2: ‘Battery’ (USA), ‘Tempo Zero’ (Ita), ‘Sarah’ (Fra), ‘Seekers Of The Truth’ (Fra); #3: ‘Dropdead’, ‘Slamface’ (Fra), ‘Sottopressione’ (Ita); #4: ‘Undone’ (Fra), ‘Öpstand’ (Fra); #5: ‘Intrude’ (Ger), ‘Alcatraz’ (Fra), ‘Ahimsa’ (Pol), ‘Öpstand’ (part 2); #6: ‘What’s Wrong’ (Fra), ‘Spoonful’ (Fra), ‘Providence’ (Fra), ‘Discontent’ (USA); #7: ‘Abhinanda’ (Swe), ‘Serene’ (Swe); #8: ‘Consolidated’ (USA), ‘Damage I.D.’ (Swi); #9: ‘Intensity’ (Swe), ‘Awake’ (Pol); #10: ‘Refused’ (Swe), ‘X-Milk’ (Spa); #11: ‘Nothing To Prove’ (Fra); #12: ‘Reversal Of Man’ (USA), ‘Blue Water Boy’ (Swi), ‘Division Of Laura Lee’ (Swe), ‘Disaster Funhouse’ (Mal); #13: ‘Costa’s Cake House’ (Ger), ‘Section 8’ (USA), ‘Burn On Ice’ (Fra); #14: Molaire Industries [Fabien Thévenot], ‘Kuwanlelenta’ (Ger), ‘Red Kedge’ (Mal); #15: ‘Good Clean Fun’ (USA), Maloka [French anarcho-punk collective], Boislève recs, ‘Elevate Newton’s Theory’ (Fra); #16: ‘Point Of No Return’ (Bra), ‘Romeo Is Bleeding’ (Fra); #17: ‘Analena’ (Slo), ‘Elektrolochmann’ (Ger), Refuse recs [Robert Matusiak], ‘Demon System 13’ (Swe); #18: ‘New Winds’ (Por), ‘Burn Hollywood Burn’ (Fra), ‘Lack’ (Den); #19: ‘Fear My Thoughts’ (Ger), etc.

Laurent ‘Veglam’ Chopard

‘Point Of No Return’ was a vegan, straight-edge metal-core band from Brazil (São Paulo). They were interviewed when they played at the Hardcore festival of the Vort’n Vis (Ieper, Belgium; August 2000). Their music was described as “a mix of ‘Earth Crisis’ metal-mosh with death-metal elements”, others compared them with ‘Judge’; they had political lyrics in Portugese focussing on the Third World struggles and on the animal liberation fight. The band performed with 3 singers: Alexandre Fanucchi (a.k.a. ‘Kalota’), Frederico Freitas (fredericofreitas.org) & Marcos Suarez; the others were Tarcisio (De Arantes) Leite (guitar; also ‘Personal Choice’), Paulo Júnior (a.k.a. ‘Juninho’; guitar), Jefferson Queiróz (a.k.a. ‘Tigrilo’; bass; replacing Gilberto ‘China’ Gomes) & Luciano Juliatto (a.k.a. ‘Lobinho’; drums)

[Translation below]

We don’t have the opportunity to interview Brazilian bands live every day. The presence of ‘Point Of No Return’ at the Vort’n Vis festival (2000) deserved a conversation with Tarcisio (guitar) in the background of the festival (in the street with all the surrounding noise: all the vehicles you can imagine, excited people of different countries screaming, etc. and the rain to refresh us…). Gael happened to pass by (with a blanket!?!?) and joined in. Sweet!

When did you start playing?

We started in 1996. At the beginning, it was a side-project, most of the members played in ‘Self Conviction’ and then it became the main band. That said, the band-members also play in other formations.

Do you have a lot of dates in Europe during this tour?

Yes, we started in Italy with about 15 concerts, then Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and now Belgium.

And how do you ook at the European HC scene, how would you compare it to the Brazilian scene?

In Brazil, the people that are engaged in it come from less privileged classes than here even if there are also a lot of middle-class people; that’s due to the economic situation of the country. Since the 1980s, the Brazilian HC scene has always been linked to the punk-movement, to its revolutionary and ‘anti-system’ side. That’s where we really come from. To us, HC has always been a way to express our anger. Currently, the scene is growing enormously, which also brings along people who are not interested in politics.

Are all Brazilian straight-edge bands as politicized as you are?

Hmmm… There aren’t a lot of sXe bands in Brazil but it’s clear that the other sXe bands have views close to ours. I think it’s because of the punk-scene: we were interested in politics and we saw that the sXe way of life really fitted our ideas well. I think it’s quite different in Europe or the USA where the effect of fashion is important and where most go to the university, etc. There isn’t too much of this ‘youth sub-culture’ effect here, we’re trying to make the sXe scene a place where everyone can express their opinions and debate. It’s different because in Brazil, certain people got interested in the message, the political ideas before discovering the music. The Brazilian sXe bands I know are therefore developing more political topics than talking about friendship-problems…

We noticed that you had political leaflets in your distro, you seem linked to an organisation, can you tell us about it?

Yes, the MST [Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra = Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement,] is a movement of ‘workers with out land’. We’re trying to spread the message of what is one of the most important social movements in Brazil. We thought that it would be good to make it known to the people involved in the European HC-scene because they have more and more influence in the country, they make the headlines every day. In Brazil, the resistance against capitalism and neo-liberalism took the form of agrarian reforms; because of the situation, this movement could unite different groups and develop the struggle. We asked how we could help them, we were informed about occupations of peasants, very poor people… But we decided that our role would be more to help them spread their message.

Are you all vegans in the band?

Yes, we’re all vegans and sXe since the beginning of the band. We try to integrate veganism into a broader perspective because too many sXe bands simplify the vegan message, as if everything was either black or white, as if we were the angels and the others were demons. We consider that veganism is part of a fight against an entire system and that’s why we also try to adapt the vegan message to the Brazilian reality. You know, talking about veganism in Europe and Brazil are two very different things. (Short break because German and Swiss friends come to greet us before heading back.)

Is it difficult to be vegan in Brazil?

Not for us, because it’s easier to find vegan food in the big cities. Besides, we don’t need vegan goodies and stuff to live. Since Brazil is the biggest producer of soybeans, it’s very cheap and can be found everywhere. Rice and fruits are not expensive either. On the other hand, it’s more difficult on the countryside for example; mainly because of a problem of the culture and poverty there. There are places where people really have to struggle to get food and they don’t have a choice, and at the same time, in very poor places, there’s vegan people simply because they can’t afford to buy products of animal origin. Even in Mexico; I read an article about the Zapatistas: they’re basic food is corn and they said they had a mostly vegan diet. I believe that the circumstances are to be taken into account…

What do you think of the festival [the Vort’n Vis Hardcore 2000 in Ieper, Belgium]?

I think the most important thing here is that we met people from all over the world, we also appreciated the fact that a lot of people came to talk with us, ask us for explanations about the lyrics and wat we talked about on stage. The communication aspect is very important and at the same time we offer a different point of view because few South-American or third world bands came to play in Europe. People are curious to know how our life is for example.

And what did you think of the quite violent moshpit during your performance?

In fact, because I was playing, I couldn’t really realize what was happening. I have trouble seeing the audience because I focus a lot on my guitar-playing. That said, we don’t really feel we have right to say: “You there, you don’t have the right to dance because you’re too violent.”; we rather think that it’s up to the public to decide what is acceptable or not. We don’t oppose the emotional release as long as you don’t harm those around you. I think the main problem is that some people don’t care about the band, they just want to show that they can dance more violently than the others, and that really sucks.

(Gael): Don’t you also think that there is an americanisation of the audiences here and that some people have said to themselves “Well, this isn’t the typical Belgian band and they’re on Catalyst [the American label Catalyst recs], it can be the new fashionable band, so we’ll prove them something.”, you see?

It’s quite difficult for us to answer this question but I don’t really agree; on other dates, we were often perfect strangers playing with local bands, they didn’t know that we had just put out a 7” on Catalyst recs for example and that they would also release the CD. Even then, most who came to talk with us, didn’t know we were going to release something on an American label. At the same time, I can’t ignore it; the americanisation is everywhere, imperialism is also present in HC, not just in the outside world. It’s the same in Brazil, many dress the American style and only listen to American bands.

The singer of ‘Good Clean Fun’ told us that it was still less obvious.

Yes, it’s just a matter of degrees. As I told you, the HC-scene may be more critical in Brazil because of its political side. That said, americanisation is indeed present. Here, it’s true that it’s quite obvious, one just has to see how some people dress… You don’t get to see that in Brazil. I think we have to fight imperialism both from outside and inside the HC-scene. It may also be a question of language.

(Gael): You sing in English, right?

Yes, but we’re starting to use Portuguese, our CD is half English, half Portugese. And from now on we will only use Portuguese because we’re tired of adapting to the United States. In addition: few speak English in Brazil, many are illiterate. We think that singing in English in Brazil is a contradiction for us. We try to take a critical stand, to rethink the HC-scene and its values.

(Gael): In Europe, people tend not to be interested in poor countries and have a lot of prejudices regarding immigration…

When we released our CD in English/Portuguese, it was also a way to let people hear another language, encounter another culture.

(Gael): I’m sure there’s also reactions like “Hey, Portuguese is for pop bands, aggressive music must have English vocals. ”. In France, for example, many HC-bands sing in French but it’s not always well received, it often gets associated with old punk-bands.

Yeah, it’s the same in Brazil. At first, the punk-scene and the HC-scene were one, then there was a kind of split and the punk-bands continued to sing in Portugese. On the other side, HC-bands began to sing in English in order to stand out, to build themselves a new identity; they thought that using Portugese would be too punk. When, for example, you hear protest-songs in Portugese, the first reaction is “Oh, it’s very punk. ”. Singing in English was cooler. And then, after using English all that time, we said “But what are we doing?”. We don’t care if it sounds too punk or not. In Brazil, singing in English makes us a kind of elite that is only for kids of the upper-classes. The change has therefore imposed itself.

(Gael): Have you ever done big shows, with non-punk/ HC bands? Perhaps you could reach another audience?

Well, I think our music is too dirty for the tastes of the general public.

(Gael): Yes, but the metal-scene for example?

Yes, metal-kids might be interested.

The fans of ‘Sepultura’ (laughter)?

In fact, most of the known bands in Brazil sing in Portuguse. We’ve never thought too much like many HC-bands to turn to bigger labels to supposedly spread the message to a larger crowd. We don’t believe too much in that but I think we must always weigh the pros and the cons. A group such as ‘Rage Against The Machine’, for example, does a lot of good things; they really grab the opportunity to spread their message to the general public, but at the same time, it’s a difficult position to take on and the message doesn’t always get heard.

Yes, and there is a contradiction… In a sense, yes, since they are called ‘Rage Against The Machine’ while they are part of that machine. However, I respect them very a lot because they’re really concerned. At least, they do still spread their message unlike HC-bands who sign to major labels and drop their message and change their language.

(Gael): Have you ever seen ‘Sepultura’ in concert?

Of course! In 1991 or ’92; the concert took place outdoors, in a public place and all the different subcultures met, which caused a lot of fights, someone even got killed. Personally, I wasn’t very much at ease, I remained on the side, there were a lot of tough guys and all the trouble imaginable. It was a very big concert in a kind of huge square. Everyone remembers that concert in Brazil! The last time I saw them, was a year ago with their new singer; I didn’t really like, I preferred the old one. He came from the ‘Discharge’-style punk-scene. Since he left the band, it’s really pure metal. It must also be said that ‘Sepultura’ have good lyrics; at first they spoke about typically metal stuff, then they developed more interesting topics from Chaos A.D. on.

(Gael): Are there glam bands in Brazil? (Ed.: Well, hey! Even myself couldn’t have come up with this question, hé, hé!)

What bands?

Glam, you know, make-up style, ‘Mötley Crüe’? (laughter)

Ah! ‘Mötley Crüe’! I get it now. Yes there is, but make-up groups are rather black-metal. They remain very underground. There are bands in the resembling ‘Poison’ and ‘Mötley Crüe’with a less extreme look (laughter).

(Gael): Do you know that the drummer of ‘Poison’ is vegan?

(laughter) Oh yeah? I didn’t know!

Yes, he talks a lot about it on his website and he has a very militant approach.

Really? Cool!

I’ve always been a fan! (Laurent of course)

We continued the discussion some more while returning to see what was happening at the festival.

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