Ebola (Afasi #2)

Joel Abrahamsson did this zine, Afasi (“aphasia“), in the late 90s. The bands interviewed for #2 were ‘Mrtvá Budocnost’, ‘Ebola’ and ‘Code 13’. If you understand Swedish, you can read this issue on afasinr2.blogspot

Brob

I started Afasi in 1997, together with a friend. At that time I lived on the countryside and didn’t have a lot of contact with the rest of the punk-scene but I had been listening to HC/punk since 1990. The first band I interviewed was ‘Operation’ [Sweden] (I did that over the phone). Then I did one with Sned from Flat Earth by (snail)mail. That was right after ‘Suffer’ split up. I also sent questions to ‘Crippled Bastards’. At first they didn’t answer but they did when I contacted them by email. Then I got an interview with ‘Totalitär’ from a friend. My friend and me also did a live one with ‘Oi Polloi’ ( in their van, when they played in Jönköping in 1998). I remember that I used an very heavy, old (from the 70s) tape-recorder that I had bought in a second-hand shop. We talked over an hour I think…

I already drew comics in 1995, so there were a lot of them in Afasi, which was actually the first place where people could read them. I also did an article about John Heartfield [German photo-montage artist] since there were a lot of punk bands that used his art for record-covers.

The first issue got good reviews in Spit Teeth and Absurd (zines) but most Swedish punks at that time didn’t understand what I was doing, so it was only when it got to other countries (through Colin from Hell & Damnation zine and others), that it got a reputation. In 1998 I started the second issue for which I sent questions to Filip Fuchs [Mrtvá Budoucnost guitarist], who became a good friend. I visited him in the Czech Republic when he played in ‘See You In Hell’ in 2005. The day he died in 2016 caused a big sorrow for me and many others. I also did a mail-interview with ‘Ebola’ and a live one with ‘Code 13’. This issue got out in Jönköping in 1999. It was supposed to be printed (350 copies) at my former workplace but because the guy at the printshop (a christian biker) refused to (Some pieces were too ‘obscene’ – There was some raw humour and short stories that only punks understand. “Yes, this is censorship.”, he said, “we can’t print this kind of stuff. We must think of our customers”.), I had to do it myself in a copyshop; so there were only 70 copies done. Three years later a friend and me tried to burn down that working-place at night and two years later it was closed down because of mis-using tax-money.

The third issue (2001) had one interview, with [Australian] ‘Rupture’s ‘Gus’ and ‘Stumblefuck’ just before ‘Gus’ died. Then for some reason I ended Afasi but some years later I started a new fanzine entitled Nyfrälst [new believer], which in many ways was similar. In 2005 I did a complication with some of the bands I interviewed for Afasi and Nyfrälst from (1998-2005) in english. It was distributed in the Czech Republic by Insane Society recs. In 2006 I ended the whole fanzine thing and in 2008 I started my comicbook-label Förlag Goldstein [“Goldstein publishers”]…

Joel Abrahamsson

‘Ebola’ (from Newcastle) was Karin R. (vocals) & her hubbie Micky McGuinness (guitar) – both ex ‘One By One’, Chris(sy) Patterson (drums), Jonny/Jonathan ‘Lobster’ Shaw (vocals; R.I.P.) – replaced by Nick Loaring in Autumn 1996 – and Andrew ‘Andy Stick’ Nolan played (bass; also ‘Sawn Off’ & ‘Shank’). Since Karin has Belgian roots, her bands made it over here quite often: ‘Ebola’ played at the Vort’n Vis twice e.g. (96-05-1997-09-12). ‘Skater’ (Jake Thurlow) took over the drums for a while. Andy Irvine (‘Disaffect’) played guitar and Set Dixon (‘Active Minds’) drummed in a later line-up; Duane Ager (ex ‘Bloodshot’) played bass…

[Translation below; with help from Joel Abrahamsson]

I read in the booklet that comes with the Incubation LP that you are old enough to remember ‘The Raincoats’, ‘The Slits’ and ‘Kleenex’ (‘Liliput’). What has motivated you to still be in the punk-scene after 20 years and what other kind of punk activities have you been involved in, except for ‘One By One’ and ‘Ebola’?

Micky and Karin were both in ‘One By One’, Micky was also in ‘Generic’, I [Andrew Nolan; Andy ‘Stick’] was in ‘Sawn Off’ and still in ‘Shank’, ‘Skater’ [Jake Thurlow] was in ‘Bloodshot’ & ‘Slain’, and Nick is running a label called Enslaved. Chris is still in ‘Sawn Off’ and Jonathan is nowadays in ‘Minute Manifesto’. Micky used to help out with gigs of Flat Earth and sometimes I do one in ‘The Mouth’.

While some of us are old enough to remember ‘The Slits’ and ‘The Raincoats’ etc., I’m not: I haven’t got more then 8 years of punkrock under my belt. What drives me to keep involved? I don’t think any of us knows any better nowadays. We’ve been involved in this since our teens and I don’t know any way out. Styles comes and go but the DIY ethics still represent an alternative to the machine-like big business and rock and roll bullshit.

Tell me about your tour with ‘Stack’ in August? How was it? Any gig (event) that you remember? What do you like the most about touring?

We did a small tour in Germany, England and other places in August 1998 with our friends of ‘Stack’, who sadly split up after that. Memorable gig? I don’t remember to be honest; playing gigs are a colleteral occupation. When I’m on tour, I prefer to get away from life with some of my friends and meet (hopefully) inspiring people. Playing gigs are more like a means to get away from things, I like it better than touring. The most ‘memorable’ event was in Antwerp (Belgium) [‘Ebola’ played at the ‘D’Herbouvillekaai’ squat 3 times in 98-99], which I don’t want the readers to make a part of…

What would you say you to your child that you missed as a kid?

I think this question should be asked to the whole band but I don’t believe anyone in the band gets a lot of joy from the little misfits and some of us really hate children and can’t even in the same room as them. I can’t say I missed much as a child, nor that I had bad childhood, but I can’t say I missed that much except some understanding from my father. I think he was like most men in this country: cold and not open for questions. I can’t speak for the others in the band as they’re not around. []

One thing that differs between England and Sweden is that there are many ravers that are politically active. Are there any ravers that spread their ideas through their music?

I don’t know. I haven’t been to any raves in six years. Punk & hardcore aren’t popular anymore, and techno & rave have the same impact on people that punk had in 1977. There are idiot fashion-victims as there were/are still in HC/punk.

Let’s say that ebola and AIDS are put together by a few scientists. In your opinion, for what purpose would that be?

Pffff…if you read Virtual Government by Alex Constantine you’ll learn about theories and research about the CIA moved nazi-scienties from Germany to safe-places, avoiding trials, to North- and South-America to continue their science of weapons of chemical, biological and noise-based nature. He revealed the idea that AIDS and ebola were both constructed by humans and part of research by different authorities and their secret services, especially the CIA, into defensive weapons that are tested on their own citizens, political dissidents and adversaries. Do I believe these ideas? Sometimes, they’re not that untrue but I don’t have any safe answers and can only speculate. Maybe the X-files will answer that some day, yeah right.

Any other books than Virtual Government that you want to recommend? Do you read a lot of books? What do you think of Dostojevski?

I read millions of book bu I haven’t read Dostojevski yet though. I could recommend The Demon by Hubert Selby Jr, Foucault’s Pendulum by Umbero Eco, anything by James Ellroy and Iceberg Slim, Thus Spoke Zarathustra by [Friedrich] Nietzsche, The Assault on Culture by Stewart Home, The Devil’s Notebook by Anton LaVey and hundreds of more books. I read more than I’m listening to music.

About the lyrics “Pray to the converted, why bother? But wait a minute, who’s the converted?”… I know this isn’t the purpose of the lyrics but could the ultimate moral lesson of it be that all these ‘fuck racism’, ‘fuck homophobia’, ‘fuck the system’ lyrics are still relevant since many people in the scene aren’t converted yet?

Yes, you’re one of the few that understand the meaning of those lyrics. Perhaps I wasn’t very clear for some people. We are accused to pray to the converted but take a look around: there are still loads of idiots in the punk-scene who don’t do anything else than getting drunk and collecting records. There are also lots of young people in the scene and everyone can’t be born a vegan, anarchist, DIY, squatting punker. I would rather see people to be little more specific than to say “fuck the system” (which is joke song of ‘Scatha’ by the way). It’s very easy to have politics that sound good but don’t mean that much.

The British scene seems really inbred because when you hear something of a new band, you would already heard about it from others and the average age of people in the scene is quite high. Do you think this is sad?

Eh what? Why would I think this is sad? OK, taking your question systematically: the British scene is as any scene. There’s idiot ego fights in pubs and some go to heavy-metal concerts, and there are some cool people who believe in what they do. There are good people and there are idiots.

Bands’ line-ups and people’s musical tastes change from year to year. Does ‘Scatha’ sound like ‘Disaffect’ or ‘Sedition’? Does ‘John Holmes’ sound like ‘Health Hazard’? No. The first thing you need to know is that very few people can play an instrument properly in this country. So I would like to state that it’s because they’re fed up with people in whatever band they used to be. I assume this is a response to your question? Is this a fair answer? Do you expect people to quit just because their their old bands split up? (Red.: No, I’m not critising, I’m just making an observation. Sorry if I offended you.) Should bands last forever? Obviously not. Who cares if ‘Ebola’ is ex ‘One By One’ or ‘Generic’. We don’t pretend to be anything like these bands and it would be foolish to think our band is based on one or two of the members of these bands’ line-ups, people’s musical tastes change from year to year anyway.

Regarding the age of people in the scene, well I would guess that’s around the mid-twenties, with old foxes like Micky and Sned that hang on until they die. People come and go all the time and I’m still surprised when I see young people who come to the hardcore festival in Bradford the first time every half-year. It feels good to me that so much fresh people get into this scene after so many years and I think newly introduced people, bring in very good potential for the exchange of opinions (Red.: I think so too).

I would recomend to check out ‘Urko’, ‘Minute Manifesto’, ‘Scalplock’, ‘John Holmes’, ‘Canvas’ (even if their CD isn’t as good as their new stuff) and ‘Slain’.

Since your 7” is a lot faster and more powerviolence than your LP, which is a lot faster than your last band ‘One By One’, can we expect your next record to be even faster than Imprecation?

The next record, who will probably already be released when this fanzine is out, is a little bit faster than our former record. I don’t know, perhaps our next record will be ska. It’s sad when some bands put out new records without developing. Just listen to ‘Spazz’ and how much they changed from their first LP: not very much at all. Unfortunately, DIY lacks of quality-control in many different ways. (Red.: I agree. Just sit down and listen to ‘Bathory’s first record. Damn powerful. Although I doubt that there’s a need for any quality-control.)

‘Ebola’ has very strong political lyrics, would you see your self as a political band or the opposite? Do the lyrics express the music or vice versa?

‘Ebola’ is entertainment, that’s all. If people see us as anything more than that, then this is fine. You don’t think we’re thinking of overthrowing the state every time we play, do you? Punk is entertainment, some bands like ‘Ebola’, try to give a deeper sense to it and make it all more relevant but to most people ‘Ebola’ is just another band playing fast music.

You say that “punk is entertainment, some bands like ‘Ebola’ try to give a deeper meaning and make things more relevant for those who live”. Do you think it’s necessary for the punk-scene to mix with other cultural expressions than just HC/punk? Is ‘Ebola’ as a band involved in anything that’s not related to the ‘scene’?

I don’t think it’s relevant for punk and hardcore bands to move from their own little world, but I think it’s relevant for anarchists and the like to express their ideas outside their own little circles. Punk is music, politics affects us all. ‘Ebola’ is ‘Ebola’; as a band I don’t think we’re involved in anything outside the band, not that I’m aware of.

When will the split 7” with ‘Solanki’ and ‘Servitude’ be released? What will the lyrics be about?

There won’t be a split with ‘Solanki’ and it was never meant to either. There might be (but I don’t know) a split with ‘Red Monkey’. The split with ‘Servitude’ has already been recorded and will be released when the booklet is ready, it would be released by the end of 98 or the beginning of 99 on Clean Plate recs. There will be five songs on it. They’re about the meat-industry (as we now got rid of meat-eating bastard), the idiocy that most people display and the violent attitude towards the world as a whole and respect for people that are important to you.

You said you got rid of the “meat-eating bastard” – how important is it for you that everyone in the band stands behind what you all stand for, and do you see all meat-eaters as bastards?

It would be stupid for me to judge people on their belief-system, so no, I don’t see all meat-eaters as scum. Most people I met in my ordinary life aren’t vegan. “Got rid of the meat eating bastard”, was only an expression of a person in the band I disliked, who didn’t care about other’s ideas or opinions. When a band wants to represent their opinions to the rest of the world – more than just ‘rocking out’, then it helps that some of them like the ideas that the band connects.

I think the meat-industry is a symptom of capitalism that affects the lives of áll of us in this society, to be bought, sold and fucked over by anyone in a certain situation (usually when it’s about money). If someone doesn’t have the slightest bit of respect for life or tries to do something (now matter how flawed it is) for this shitty world we live in, then I see no reason to play in the same bands as them; since the rest of the band is trying to bring out our ideas and he ridicules what we’re against; off course the meat-eating was only the tip of the iceberg and as for the person concerned, I see no reason to spent time on him. So, repeating: I done’t see all meat-eaters as scum, I think they are rather stupid, judging from my own standards, so the comment was more directed to a person I did dislike.

What is the song Bombed Out about?

(Checking the record quickly.)

It’s about two things (though you could discuss that until you die): about the falseness/insincerity of the emo-scene and how devastating it is. It’s also about discovering that your friends are heroin-junkies. Both these subjects are linked to each other: compare fake emo with the real pain of people who witness someone addicted to heroin. “Unable to invest in mainline emotion”. Perhaps I have gone too far this time.

I know you share the same adress as the anarchist group named Tyneside Anarchist Group. What kind of organisation is this, how do they work and are you personally involved in it?

We don’t share the P.O. Box of T.A.G. anymore, I don’t know if they still exist. I was involved in it during a short period when I was living in Tyneside. T.A.G. set up “official” ‘North East of England’ A.F.A. [Anti Fascist Action] -groups, and they’re still doing it today which is a very good thing. As I said before: I don’t know if they still exist more than just their name; I haven’t spoke with any of the other people of them since a long time.

The members are from radical movements (and I even include punks here), they’re short-lived and there are always new people floating by or coming in, while others jump off; groups have the same membership-jumpers and – but I’m not sure about that – most people have moved away. Most work is done by 1 or 2 people and they seldom see result of their work. (Red.: There’s probably goin’ a lot in it.)

What do you think of the fact there’s another band called ‘Ebola’? Have you got any problems with that?

We don’t care, we played with them twice. We don’t sounds the same.

What about the noise-project that you recorded in your bedroom? What is it gonna be called and what label will it be released on?

I’ve been interested in harsh noise since many years now. I started my own project a year ago, the name is ‘Joshua Norton Cabal’ and there will soon be split-CD out with ‘Macronympha’ and a split-tape with ‘Jerstice’ that will be available by the time you’ll be reading this. I’m also on some compliation-records and will have CDs out with ‘NSBR’ and ‘Survivals’ at some point. It’s good stuff that I did on my own and there are records that I’m planning on getting out. My own label, Smack In The Mouth, is just a stepping-stone and can be contacted at S.I.T.M., Bright-O-Three Philip Basement – 72 Queen Street, Glasgow, G1 9HN, UK, if anyone is interested.

You have a jazz-part in some of your songs on the Imprecation 7”. Do you yourself listen to jazz? Any favourite jazz-musician?

Personally, I listen to jazz very little. Most of it is annoying as fuck and I don’t think that part was very jazzy, it was just some plinking on keyboards on top of a fairly quiet bit. ‘Skater’ hates jazz but I like some bands; some people that could be thrown in your face as being a representation for us, would be John Zorn, John Coltrane, Sun Ra, Peter Brötzmann and some other stuff.

Thank you for making the effort to answer my questions. Can you ask me a question and finnish it?

Was it really worth the wait? No, my question comes from a discussion I had with some people I know from Sweden about some bands that are very nazist and hung out in nazi-gangs. I think they talked shit of every band that was on the Uppsala Crust compilation [Your Own Jailer recs, 1996]. Is that true or is it just bullshit?

When I asked him about the details of the rumours, I got this answer:

It was a discussion about some bands that had a very unpleasant attitude by socialising with people who had right-extremist views; the only thing I remember was regarding ‘Nojsbojs’ and ‘Diskonto’, something about their drummer. It was in a discussion with Död & Uppsvälld [Stockholm based HC/punk label run by two guys from the hardcore/crust band ‘Scumbrigade’], and they spoke about various idiots in the scene; I told ‘m about some specific British bands and they told me how shitty the Swedish scene was; and that’s what they told me.

I think Död & Uppsvälld should take their fucking piss label and shove it up their pretentious asshole.

‘Ebola’ can be contacted through Mr A. Nolan – flat 1, 274 Kilmarnock Rd – Glasgow G43 2BL, Scotland. Email: simian@globalnet.co.uk

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