Earth Citizens (DisAgreement #7)

DisAgreement started in the early 90s as a paper zine; Pascal Thiel (singer of ‘Fourtress’ & ‘Ulrich W. Modreck‘) & his brother Lex got involved. The zine was initiated by ‘Schlaak’ Alain Graf (from Esch-sur-Alzette, where the Kulturfabrik – venue that hosted quite a few HC/punk bands – was located); he was the vocalist of the punk band ‘Microlax’. Various people joined and contributed, e.g. ‘Brego’ Marc Bregoli who also did Persons Unknown zine. The language used is German… A good mix of music (not limited to HC/punk) and politics.

Nowadays DisAgreement lives on as an underground music e-zine, podcasts and Lex & Pascal’s program (Der Daiwel Steet Virun Der Dier; Letzeburgs for “The Devil Stands In Front Of The Door“) on Radio ARA. Read all about it on: disagreement.net

Here’s a non-comprehensive review of the contents of the first issues… #1 (1990): interview with Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the history of the Lux band ‘Microlax’, record-reviews, info on skins in Germany, and article on the unification of Germany & fascism, etc. #2 (’90): nationalism in the Eastern Bloc, police-brutality, terrorism, Ernst Mandel speech on Revolution In The East, record-reviews, presentations of Lux bands, interview with ‘Subway Arts’ bassist Fränz Laureys and more. #3 (’90): interviews with ‘Die Nakse Bananen’ (Hol), ‘ Nazz Nazz’ (Lux), ‘Elvis Just Left The Building’ (Lux) & ‘Waiting For GM’ (Lux), readers’ letters, terrorism & ideology, record/concert-reviews, the Lux scene, commercialisation of metal, etc. #4 (’91): more on terrorism, more readers’ letters, interviews with ‘Graue Zellen’, ‘Go!’, ‘Richies’ (Ger), ‘Capitol Punishment’, info on ‘Emils’, ‘Suckspeed’ & ‘4 Skins’, loads of reviews (records/gigs/tapes/zines), squatting in the Hamburger Hafenstrasse, the real history of punk-rock, feminism, ‘Crass’ and much more. #5 (’91): letters, reviews (also books), fascism in the ‘new’ Germany, various opinions (e.g. Patrick Kolb on police-violence), interview with ‘Thatcher On Acid’ & ‘Microlax’, etc. #6 (’91): ‘Type-O-Negative’ controversy, mucho reviews, interviews with ‘Daily Terror’ (Ger), ‘Phantoms Of Future’ (Ger), ‘Into Another’, ‘Oi Polloi’ & ‘Fourtress’ (Lux), columns and more. #7 (’92): tons of reviews (music/writings/concerts, even drinks!), pieces on democracy, McDonalds, short stories, interviews with ‘Crowd Of Isolated’, ‘Springtoifel’ (Ger), ‘Earth Citizens’ (Swi), ‘Gough’ (Ger), ‘Death In Action’ (Ger), ‘Vlot Voor Vit’ (Bel), & ‘Purple Haze’ (Lux), and so on…

Brob

editorial from the 1st issue:

Why this magazine?

Maybe because nothing like this exists here yet but maybe also because we’re bored. That means that nothing is going on here, either you go along with the big divisions of life, or you end up as a drunkard, unfortunately there’s no middle ground. The ideas of this magazine should lead to the construction of such a scene. In order for the magazine to continue appearing, we need your help: send us articles, reviews or whatever. Though different opinions often drift into the same political corner, we are impartial. We see ourselves as a critical, provocative, anti-fascist, anti-dictatorial, pro-punk, pro-freedom magazine.

———-

I wasn’t a founding member of DisAgreement but only joined for the 4th or 5th issue. Why? Because back then the so-called hardcore scene was rather small, and it seemed that everyone was doing something. Many people played in bands, which I did too, but to little success, so I found myself chronicling what was going on at the time. Inspiration came from other music magazines and fanzines who wrote record and concert reviews. Especially the latter seem, in retrospect, important, because they not only talk about the music, but about the whole atmosphere going on at the time. Back in the nineties, shows were small, there was maybe an audience of 100 to 200 people, sometimes even a lot less. That made it possible to know a lot of people who came to all or most of the shows. It didn’t take long for hardcore to become more popular, attract bigger crowds, and all of a sudden the spirit of the early years was gone.

My brother Lex didn’t start it either but also joined later on. I haven’t had any contact with any founding-members for many years. Lex has paper copies of all 20 issues but not all have been scanned. [#1-7 available on request] At first it was mostly punk-rock, hardcore and anarchy, but then covered a broader spectrum of genres from the underground, and maybe also became less political and more centred on music. If I remember correctly we ‘had’ to donate all 20 issues to the National Library because there’s a law somewhere that every local printed publication needs to be archived…

Pascal Thiel

‘Earth Citizens’ (Zürich, Switzerland) was the band of fellow-zinester Pablo (No Sanctuary, Alternative, Brain Death, etc.) a.k.a. ‘The Prophet’ ath that time. They toured Europe in May 1991 with ‘Schrein’n’Hart’ (vocals & driver), ‘Furz The System’ (guitar & backing-vocals), ‘The Prophet’ (drums & backing-vocals) and Oli (driver). Dani was the bassist in the end but on this tour they didn’t have a bass-player… (Read more: [Earth Citizens])

[Translation below]

Earth Citizens

(anwsers by Pablo ‘The Prophet’)

Dis: Introduce yourself, short biography, etc.

P: ‘Earth Citizens’ were founded in August 1990, of course (?) there were the ‘usual’ line-up changes but now we are: ‘Oi!Siris’ – vocals / ‘Furz The System’ – guitar & vocals / Dani – bass / ‘The Prophet’ – drums & vocals. We played 27 gigs so far, in Germany, France, Holland and England. Our releases are as follows:

1990 * Squat Muzak Part 2 (split live tape with Joy?) (Resistance Productions)

1991 * No God No Leaders No State No Religion 7” EP (Resistance Prod.) (sold out)

* To A Nation Of Party Lovers cassette-LP (16 songs + booklet in different languages – more information available) (Resistance Prod.)

Fucking Hell (on ABC Bradford; 1 in 12 Club Benefit compolation-ape)

1992 * How Much Longer…? (split-7” EP with folding-cover + booklet in 4 languages; ‘Dekadent’ is the other band and Romp Productions their label)

* That feeling (on Screaming For A Better Future Vol.3, Campary recs, Ger)

* Religion (on Religion double 7 ”compilation, Sideshow recs, USA)

* Questioning (on Profane Existence double-7”, Profane Existence, USA)

* Züri Schtinkt! (on Punk is… One Alternative compilation-tape, Resistance Prod.)

* Make It Possible (on Let’s Live Part 2 compilation-7”, Extune Sound Carrier, Ger)

I’ve also listed the individual contributions to samplers because these songs are only available there and will be, as this is part of the band’s concept.

Dis: You took a break, why? Does this avoid boredom (monotony) and promote creativity?

P: Our break (about 3 months) was firstly due to health-problems (hearing) and secondly ‘cause we were looking for a bass-player. Both seem to be clear again, so we’ve started rehearsing again and also play live again (Feb ‘92). We were by no means bored playing the same old songs, on the contrary, we like our old songs even more than before and it’s difficult for us not to play them anymore but the set demands it because it’s a little more than 40 songs in total, about 2 hours of material, so we have to part with one or the other song.

Dis: Have you already had problems between the individual band-members? Because of differences in opinion?

P: Oh yes, there were! But in with the original line-up, with whom we were on tour. It turned out that we didn’t have much in common with our first singer. He eats meat, for example, and now ‘Earth Citizens’ is 100% vegetarian/vegan. But also musically it didn’t work out quiet well with the first singer either, because he just wanted to do fast punk; we on the other hand want to play a bit of everything: oi !, punk, HC, grind, noise, etc.

Dis: Keyword tolerance. How do you feel about your enemies, do you also use violence? Do you think that this will help you achieve your goals?

P: Good question, really. I don’t know how everyone thinks and I have to admit I don’t even know myself. I’ll be a father in a few months and I think if someone physically assaulted my child, I would be able to use violence. In other cases I always look for a pacifist solution. I hate violence. On the other hand, I find violence against objects (banks, butcher-shops, etc.) morally acceptable.

Dis: Do you have a goal in mind when it comes to the music and lyrics? Is there enough response to your music and lyrics in Switzerland? Also international response?

P: As a band we have goals. Yes, of course, otherwise we wouldn’t do it. Our goal is to be an alternative to the whole ‘rock-business’ (including HC, etc.), so that we can offer people something in the hope that maybe a few get together and start a band that tries to give something to the people on their part, or that somebody starts doing a zine or whatever. There is so much that one can do. Our goal is to inspire. There is a response in Switzerland, the result of which is the split-single with ‘Dekadent’ on their own label. Well, there could be more ‘feedback’ but it’s a start. There’s a lot of international response. E.g. we could easily organise a second tour with 40 gigs all over Europe (the first was in France, Holland and England – 10 gigs). It’s just that you ‘achieve’ more elsewhere than with your ‘own’ people. Our cassette-LP, which is now available in 13 countries / 11 languages, shows that there has been a positive response, you can only do that if people are interested.

Dis: Do you play a lot of concerts? What kind of people come to your gigs? Are there a lot showing up?

P: As I said at the beginning: we’ve played 27 times since August 1990. Compared to the bands I played in before, that’s a lot. But it could be more, we’ld rather play live than in the rehearsal-room, which is indeed understandable, because we don’t make the music and lyrics for ourselves. This month we’re playing 1 or 2 gigs, and we’ve been asked if we want to play in St.Gallen and Regensburg (Germany); let’s see if that works out, because we don’t have a van anymore and money-wise it’s not a bed of roses either. Overall there’s a lot of ‘punk-rockers’ coming to our gigs, I mean people who see punk as fashion, drugs and music, which absolutely does nót correspond to our view of ‘punk’. In addition, there are also the ‘real punx’ – people who do zines, run labels, organise gigs or play in bands themselves – just people who do something themselves instead of constantly moaning and complaining. It varies how many people come, it also depends on what kind of bands we play with and how big the venue is. E.g. the Queens Hotel in Scunthorpe (UK) was packed, which means there were between 150-250 people, in the Reithalle in Bern, which is relatively a lot bigger (than the Queens Hotel), we played at 5 in the morning in front of 15 half-dead, drunk zombies. Usually the ‘small’ concerts are much more fun. By the way, we prefer to play in autonomous centres or squats.

Dis: How would you describe your lyrics in general? Which topics do you address? The lyrics are quite simple, why?

P: In the review in Maximum Rock’n’Roll about the Let’s Live Part 2 compilation-7” Lance Hahn (‘Cringer’) calls us a peace-punk band… If you put ‘anarcho’ in front of it, it’s quite what we are about. The subjects of the lyrics? I think the keywords should be: resistance, love, anarchy, shit-technology, propaganda, religion, violence, money, squatting, people who adapt to society, terrorism, human & animal rights = one struggle, one fight! I don’t know if the lyrics are really that simple, because we’ve often been misunderstood. In general, however, I think that the lyrics have to be simple so that éveryone can understand them; so that Filipinos can no longer say they don’t understand us; we try to translate all our lyrics into various possible languages.

Dis: Besides ‘E.C.’ are you also musically active elsewhere? Any other activities?

P: Well, ‘Furz The System’ contributed a ‘solo’ to my compilation-tape under the name ‘Hated’ (just drums + vocals) and he doesn’t rule out further projects. ‘Blackbird’ (a band from Hong Kong) asked me if I wanted to play drums on 1 or 2 tracks; of course I wanted to, I’m waiting for the tape so I can start with it (I have to rehearse and then get into the studio). The whole thing should be an international production, so other people from ‘abroad’ will be on it. Regarding other activities… Dani & ‘Oi!Siris’ & ‘Furz The System’ actively help out at gigs, working at the bar, intrance or stuff like that (in squats). ‘Furz’ and me have been doing Resistance Productions, a tape- and record-label (list available), the distribution Anti CD (records, tapes, zines, leaflets, booklets), all that since November 1988. After our last zine got too ‘big’, in other words gave us too much pressure, I started doing a monthly zine written in English called No Sanctuary; which mainly supports ‘DIY protest punk’. Lara & ‘Sämy Soyahead’, both members of ‘Earth Citizens’ (ex bass-players) work actively on the zine and on leaflets. My latest project is a C60 tape-compilation under the name ‘Punk Is …’, where I am always looking for new, smaller bands that have good idead in their lyrics, the first tape in this series should actually be out by the time this interview is published.

Dis: What about political activities (squatting, animal-rights, antifa, etc.)?

P: We’re not members of any organisation, nor any party. We think what Greenpeace and Amnesty International do is good, but is based on propaganda too much, we prefer groups like Animal Liberation Front, London Greenpeace (Green Anarchists – they have nothing to do with Greenpeace!). We’re active in the sense that we make leaflets, distribute them at our concerts and sometimes do one or the other direct action. Squatting is part of life but I’m the only one who doesn’t live in a squat. We rehearse in a squat where two of us live. So it’s also completely ‘normal’ to us. Being ‘political’ is… For some politics is that what our governments do, for others breathing is already politics…

Dis: Your record-sleeves…they have anarchy & love all over; don’t most people see that as a stereotype? Here we don’t find this kind of thing very popular anymore, although there are many who think that way, but who don’t want to reduce their opinons to just 2 words?

P: We’ve heard many times that we are the ultra cliché band, but what the heck? We believe in what we do and we don’t really care if people are bothered by it. I mean, if you see anarchy (life, peaceful coexistence of all living beings with respect for mother earth) as a stereotype, in my opinion you have a screw loose. If you don’t want to live (= anarchy), you want to die (= fascism, etc.) and that’s probably not entirely normal, right? Who would like to die? We don’t! People who don’t want to limit their ideology (if people wanna call it that?!) to 2 words remind me very much of politicians: big talk – little action. We’re not hardliners but we don’t shy away from expressing and voicing our opinions.

Dis: Question to the vocalist: the singing sounds totally brutal, is that honest anger or a mere facade?

P: Well, ‘Schrei’n’Hart’, our first singer is no longer there and I don’t know exactly whether if the way he sang was honest or just a facade.

Dis: Do you follow the commercial development of your band & label or what? What do you think of major labels, can people boycott them completely?

P: I beg your pardon? ‘Earth Citizens’ & Resistance Productions are 100% nón-profit & DIY! And that will néver change, otherwise the band & label would dissolve within seconds. Major labels are tótal shit! We don’t need them because we (not just ‘Earth Citizens’) can do everything ourselves. Well, ‘everything’ is exaggerated, since 99% the pressing-plants belong to multinationals and tape-manufacturers are not ‘independent’ either. But we can keep everything within limits by leaving the multinationals aside wherever possible. As for the consumption from major labels: yes, we can boycott them 100%! We don’t have to buy records from majors, we should support ‘our own kind’.

Dis: Keyword fanzines; how do you judge the role of fanzines? Is a fanzine even allowed to make a profit? My opinion about it: as long as there are no losses, the price will also be lower.

P: OK, you’re talking about fán-zines. We can’t do anything with that because we’re not fans of anyone. So if I leave out the fán, I can answer your question. Zines are a very important part of the ‘underground’, most of them very interesting (I’ve been reading zines since 1984) and more informative than the established, commercial music mags. Without zines there wouldn’t be that much; so I can state that zines are part of it, just like the bands, both feed each other. I think if a zine doesn’t make a loss, that’s very good. Why aim for profits? If through the profits the circulation of the next issue can increase or perhaps a 7” or a tape can be added, then I agree with making profits, but otherwise I think that zines should return as much as was invested – Nó Profit!

Dis: You can’t live of your music: do you work, do you study, or what?

P: ‘Furz’ and Dani work in a self-managed café called Zähringer, that may become 100% vegetarian in the near future. ‘Oi!Siris’ goes to high-school. And I do most of the work for Resistance Productions (writing letters, etc.) but I’ll start working again soon, though I don’t know exactly what yet.

D: Do you have enough time/space for a personal life outside of your activities?

P: I don’t know exactly how the others see it but I have enough space for my personal life; this interview is part of my ‘free time’. In my free time I fight for life. Band, label, distribution, life is one.

Dis: Well, I don’t have enough time/space for further longer questions, so here are a bunch of keywords that you can comment on. It might be dreadful but it allows a more ‘free’ explanation without having to adhere strictly to restrictive questions, at least in the written interview…

Dreams?

P: I only have one. A world of love, peace. A world without hatred, violence, exploitation of animals, nature and humans. Anarchy = Massive Love!

Dis: Tears?

P: I feel really strong because I actually managed to cry in front of my girlfriend. It really sets you free!

Dis: Love?

P: In addition to the ‘Massive Love’ that I dream of, of course I also love my girlfriend and our child, who will be born in September.

Dis: Hate?

P: I hate people who exploit or torture others (animals and humans). I hate the system that is slowly destroying this world. (Red.: It’s not that slow anymore …) May they rot in hell!

Dis: Underground?

P: Lives! There are many, many ‘smaller’ bands, zines and labels, they give me the strength to keep going because I see I’m not alone.

Dis: punk?

P: An attitude. People resists what goes wrong and try to live as independently as possible. There’s also the old ‘punk rock’ and the 82 punk, which is my ‘favourite music’.

Dis: Skins?

P: Unfortunately, I’ve never met any in Switzerland. In England, however, I sat at a table with a black and a skinhead, comfortably having a veggie burger at the 1 in 12 Club. I also have contact with 2 English skins. I actually know why you pick this subject, but you won’t hear from me what you want to hear. Because a real skinhead is not a racist.

Dis: Honour?

P: What is that?

Dis: Ideals?

P: I only have one ideal and that is Anarchy (already explained elsewhere).

Dis: Control State?

P: As long as there are systems/governments there will be surveillance. I really don’t care what’s in my files. They are judgments by insane psychopaths.

Dis: Anarchy?

P: Massive love and respect for the earth!

Dis: Communism?

P: I had and still have certain sympathies for communism, but like all other forms of systems it just doesn’t work because there’s also a government, and governments are álways corrupt.

Dis: Politics?

P: Politics, what governments do, I’m not really interested in it because they only screw things up.

Dis: Noise?

P: ‘Lärm’ [German for ‘noise’] was a really good band, even if they were into communism. Noise is in a way very good, there are some good [noise] bands. The noise at airports and trainstations really stresses me out, even if the noise is mostly made by people. I prefer to be with few people.

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