A.O.A. (Playmobil System #2)

A zine edited by Dominique ‘Bouboul’ Raas, from Le Havre (harbour on the French Channel coast, gateway to the UK at the time). He had been the guitarist of the punk-band ‘Hatefuls’ in the early 80s and started ‘Burning Ambitions’ in the second half of the 80s. He was the guitarist/vocalist. Doris Le Mat-Thieulen (vocals/bass) & Fabrice ‘Moshé’ Bosman (drums; later ‘Gooloo’ & Loïk Paillette) of the band also helped out with the zine. Later ‘Bouboul’ was also in ‘Guttersnipes’, etc. Besides all that he promoted also the Vieillesse Délinquante tape-compilation of his friends François Gasnier & Vincent ‘Coco’ Colliard (Ballyhoo productions).

The zine started 85-ish. As far as I know there were 3 issues (#3 got out March ’86). #1 featured ‘Upright Citizens’, ‘Dirty Scums’, ‘X-Creta’, ‘Zyklome-A’, ‘Instigators’, ‘Rattus’, ‘Subkids’ and there were also reviews (concert/records/tapes), infos, etc. #2: Short bits on ‘Neurotic Arseholes’, ‘Pandemonium’, ‘H.H.H.’ ‘Wulpse Varkens’ ‘Mottek’, ‘Mellakka’, ‘Wrecthed’, ‘Wut’, ‘Maniacs’, ‘Heimat-Los’, ‘Sherwood’, ‘Disrupters’, ‘Terveet Kädet’, ‘Final Blast’, ‘Capital Scum’, ‘Subhumans’, ‘A-Strant’, ‘Ceresit’, ‘Kaaos’, ‘Armatrak’ and more, plus a longer interview with ‘A.O.A.’, reviews (also zines), a lengthy scene-report from West-Germany, one about São Paulo and a piece about squatting in London. #3: contains interviews with ‘Butcher’, ‘Final Conflict’, Kurt I Kuvös’, reviews, info and more…

At the time of this interview ‘A.O.A.’, an anarchopunk band from Edinburgh, was: Stephen Telford (vocals), Scott Patton (guitar), Bruce Wagener (bass), Deek Smith (drums; replaced ‘Marshall’ Anthony Mallin).

[Translation below]

‘A.O.A.’, a band based in the beautiful but boring city of Edinburgh, are one of the revelations of the year from across the Channel, with their excellent EP Who Are They Trying To Con [C.O.R. 1985]. So it seemed interesting to ask them a few questions to find out more about them. It was Stephen – recently released from a detention-centre, where he had to stay three months after being arrested at a ‘Conflict’ concert for insulting cops – who responded on behalf of the band.

When, where and how did the band start?

The band started late ‘84; Bruce, Scott and Marshall lived in the same area and decided to play together. I got to know them at a concert and they asked me to sing with them. This is how it all took off.

Current line-up?

The line-up at the moment is Stephen (vocals), Scott (guitar), Bruce (bass), Deek (drums). Deek is the only new member, he took over from Marshall on drums when we felt that he didn’t invest enough in the band and that he didn’t agree with what we were doing and saying.

How is Edinburgh for a band? Is it easy to find rehearsal-space, places to play?

Edinburgh, and Scotland, are zero for bands. It’s almost impossible to find a place to rehearse, and even harder to organise concerts. It’s illegal to squat in Scotland so all venues are owned by capitalists whose sole purpose is to make as much money as possible, and we refuse to deal with them. It’s about reclaiming what is ours, taking back what they stole from us, squatting everything.

What’s your best gig so far?

Personally, my favourite show was at Loanhead, with ‘Direct Action’ (!), ‘Oi Polloi’ and ‘The Apostles ’. It was a benefit-gig for the miners and there was a really good atmosphere there; there were speeches made by miners and the money raised was used to buy Christmas-gifts for the miners’ children. Loanhead is home to Dilston Glen, Scotland’s largest [mine]pit.

How do people respond during your concerts?

The reactions at our gigs are always very good; we’ve never had any problems, and a lot of people dance and have fun while others prefer to stay quiet, watch and listen. Concerts are ideal places to meet people, have a drink and exchange fanzines, cassettes, leaflets, general information, etc. And this is what we think they should be: places to get together, not for various tribalisms and brawls.

What d’you think of your “local stars”, ‘The Exploited’?

I don’t want to talk too much about the exploiters since they’re bigger than us!

Do you have relations with other local bands or in other regions?

Our bassist’s brother is in ‘Oi Polloi ’so I think we’ll play with them quite a bit in the future, since they don’t live far away and believe in the same things as we do. [Hence the split-LP] Other than that, we don’t have any special relationships with other bands other than our beliefs and shared gigs.

What are your favourite bands (musically and lyrically)?

Some of our favourites are ‘Disorder’, ‘Chaos UK ’, ‘Antisect’, ‘Flux ’, ‘Rudimentary Peni’ and many more. We either like bands that play fast and loud, or those that have something interesting to say, so our list would be too long; the ones mentioned above were chosen at random.

I have noticed that most people in Britain are not very open to foreigners. To them, what is not British is shit. What do you think?

I don’t know why people think foreign things are crap. I’ve heard a lot of great bands before. I don’t even call them “strangers” because we’re a whole, all the same, and the way of thinking that you evoke, leads to divisions within the movement: “divided, we fall”. If people don’t listen to a band because it’s not British then they’re a bunch of morons. Everyone, regardless of nationality, is trying to spread the message of freedom. We must give everyone a chance! THINK!

Talk a little about your relationships with Children Of The Revolution. Did you sign a contract for your EP?

No, we didn’t sign a contract and we never would. That’s their way of looking at things, we can operate without pieces of paper that counteract our lives, telling us what to do and what not to do. All we did was send a tape to Tim [Bennett] (C.O.R.) who asked us if we wanted to release an EP, to which we responded positively; no legal hassles, no contracts, no complication . Thanks Tim.

In France, we have got a lot of problems with some neo-nazi skins. And in Scotland?

In Scotland all the skinheads I know are relatively cool and don’t start fights, so until now that hasn’t been a problem for us. This is for all skins, everywhere: why do you fight with your fellows, we’re all considered as shit by those in power, direct your anger towards the real cause, those who order us what to do, those who manipulate us. FIGHT BACK!

What do you think of anarcho-punk bands such as ‘Conflict’, ‘Flux, ‘Crass’, etc.?

Those bands have done a lot of things for people, putting up gigs, founding record-labels and basically helping other bands; they showed what can be done. It’s up to everyone to continue this good job. DO IT.

Do you think believing in anarchy is realistic?

Yes, it’s realistic to believe in anarchy. After all, everyone wants to be free and we should all strive to make our dreams come true, take command of our own lives, express our anger against what we think is wrong. Anarchy is being realized, it’s just a matter of making it clear to more people, we can lead our own lives, we don’t need to be told what to do. Crush the state / Break the law / Stay in bed until 4 a.m. / Yeah!

Since people love to put labels on things: don’t you think you’ll get one with “Anarcho-punk” written on it (because of your lyrics). Does this bother you?

People can label us but we won’t accept their labels. We’re 4 individuals with similar beliefs, not clones of anyone or an item to put in a box with a label stuck on it. Labels lead to divisions, stay yourself.

What is your opinion on drugs, glue and alcohol?

Drugs and alcohol can just as easily turn you into a wreck or a zombie as they can help tear down walls, make people less reserved, help them have fun (personally I like alcohol, the more, the better.). BOOZE NOT CRUISE.

What do you think of Class War (pro-revolutionary, anti-capitalist magazine) very popular with the punx across the Channel?

Class War is a good thing as long as it is against the elite who run our lives; it helps ordinary people realize that something is wrong, people are showing their anger; despite everything there should be a lot more facts, we should organise our own worker co-operatives and get rid of the bosses, help each other to do the things that need to be done, ignore their laws. In the meantime, if one day you get bored and go out to mangle a rolls royce, at least it will cost them money to get it fixed and that’s where it hurts them, in their purses.

Do you have any record-projects, especially an LP?

We’re going back to the studio soon but we don’t have any definite plans for the band. We would love to release another record anytime soon but until we can afford it, we have to wait and see what happens.

What are your hopes for the future?

In the future we want everyone to come to their senses, see what’s wrong and put it straight. We’re going to keep playing, release another single if we can, keep spreading the word. NOT DO THE SAME. The future is in our hands.

What’s the meaning of ‘A.O.A.’?

Originally ‘A.O.A.’ stood for ‘All Out Attack’ but we decided not to keep that name but we kept the initials and changed the meaning on various occasions. For example: ‘Authority Organises Armagedon’, ‘All Our Anger’; ‘A.O.A.’ doesn’t correspond to any specific meaning, find one yourself. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

 

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