Smurfpunx

08/24/2009

Hardcore is More than Music

Filed under: Gele Limonade, Aalst, Ideology — Tags: , , — smurfpunx @ 16:31

Hardcore is More than Music

Smurfpunx-collective: we wanna do something about the ‘no future’ ideology

+ foto Smurfpunx -from L to R: Mokka / Natasja H. / Anmie / Brob / Natasja D. / Frank / Michel

bottom: Heleen’s feet

absent: Pascal / Ine / Kris / Guy / …

A free-minded translation of an interview in a local newspaper (autumn 1988)… The ‘journalist’ (Johan Velghe) obviously had a biased opinion of what it was all about and didn’t caputure everything as was intended or in its context!

“No names and pictures where we are recognisable.”, is the message the members of the Smurfpunx-collective, a dozen hardcores that move into the ‘Gele Limonade’in the De Ridderstraat in Aalst, convey at the start of the interview. A few buildings away from ‘Netwerk’ where they regularly organise concerts. People walking through the street might have noticed a strange but above all numerous, young public enjoying themselves. ‘John Doe’ piles up hardcore with punk, skinheads, new wave. Inspired by the punk-movement of some 7 to 10 years ago, it creates its on way of life with music, an ideology, an aversion against existing social situations – Has anything changed since 1968? – and external characteristics. The scouts-uniform has been thrown away and changed by the chequered shirt, the Chipie-jumper swapped with the hooded sweater.

“We’re a bunch of friends, a collective, an organisation without organisational structure. There’s about 15 of us, mostly from the region Aalst – Wetteren. When we went to hardcore-concerts in Leuven and Antwerp, we experienced the weirdest and most unbelievable things. Bad choice of venue, bands not showing up, a chaotic organisation. That irritated us. And since concerts in the area Gent – Aalst were lacking, we saved up about 20.000 BeF [€ 500] and this amount was used as the bail for a first concert in the Roxy in Dendermonde. We intended to organise the concerts in an appropriate venue, conveniently located for the public, with a good P.A. and decent publicity.”; the spokespersons of the Smurfpunx-collective state.

SMALL SCENE

The Belgian hardcore-scene is small. From West-Flanders to Limburg: the bands and the people attending concerts know each other. The contacts are intense and the bands play together often. Foreign bands that are touring, contact the organisers.

“All is based on friendship. There is little talk about finances. We break through the ways of the big rock-circuit, where everything is about money. We bring bands from the U.S. but the entrance-fees remain reasonable because the bands have little demands. In the rock-circuit this belongs to the country of the fables.

The hardcore-scene has kept the ways of the punk-movement, of making use of the establishment as little as possible. This puts us in direct opposition with the rock-circuit. Without spending too much money and in alternative manner, we’re also getting somewhere. That’s hardcore to us. It means much more than just music and it certainly doesn’t fit the image that the average citizen has about hardcore: a boozing freak with this hair in the air. The concerts are accessible to all. Hardcore was part of the anarchist scene in 1984 but nowadays the political content is realized at a personal level.

Hardcore and [fascist] skinheads are in direct contrast with each other. Skinheads have connections with the extreme right. For an outsider the difference is often difficult to notice but it lies in the behaviour and the words. There’s a lot of stereotypes in people’s minds but even youngsters think in stereotypes about hardcore. It’s supposed to be all about fast and noisy music. Hardcore-music does not easily fit one category. It ranges from plain noise, over reggae, blues, jazzy influences to songs that point out that hardcore is an underground-culture. While disco is nothing more than so many beats per minute, hardcore has to offer more.”

LITTLE ‘NATION’ ON ITS OWN

The Smurfpunx-collective may well have borrowed its name from a pub in Wetteren that was named after Peyo’s blue creatures, the collective has a philosophy about it. The Smurfs are a particular kind of ‘nation’. They live far away from society and provide for their own needs.

“We exist and think autonomously. There are anarchist elements in our line of thought but the main motive is to determine ourselves what we are and what we want. There are external characteristics. Newcomers tend to imitate all of this sometimes. We find that ridiculous. Someone isn’t hardcore for wearing the right sneakers or a chequered shirt… The features are there but we don’t exclude anyone, they’re not required per se. Above all one has to be one’s self.”

CRITICAL

The lyrics of the songs are critical and aimed against the powers-that-be. One sings against Apartheid, against Reagan, against vivisection, against eating meat, against multinationals… Stage-diving, pogo-ing and slamming are ways of expression to experience the music. Stage-diving came over from the metal-scene.

“Nowadays everyone expresses one’s self the way one wants. Stagediving is not that ‘in’ anymore. It’s mostly harmless. You’re pulled upright quickly after the dive in the crowd.”

The hardcore-audience consists mostly of 17- to 22-year-olds. The spokesmen of the Smurfpunx-collective indicate that they’re a minority. Society doesn’t tolerate hardcore. Hardcore won’t fit into the system and the members of the Smurfpunx-collective think it’s nothing to bring on national TV. The remain pure and real, hardcore has to be kept out of the commercial circuit.

“It’s no fun in 1988 to be the son of a doctor. You can’t stick a sociological label on hardcore but the working-class is dominant. In 1988 the ‘no future’ of 1977 is still actual. It’s not that propagated anymore as ten years ago. Everybody still realizes the threat of unemployment but it’s being approached in a more positive way. We want to do something about it. A hardcore is no whining drop-out in the gutter.”

NETWERK

The Smurfpunx-collective organises concerts in Centrum Netwerk in Aalst but also in Gooik, Gent, Jette, Antwerpen and there are ongoing contacts with Eeklo.

They’re pretty satisfied with Netwerk. “They’re not nagging when something goes wrong and they’re interested in what we’re doing. The collective has no real connection with Netwerk but they did propose certain things in that direction.”

Netwerk is not a very well isolated venue. That’s why the concerts end before 10 p.m.; something which can not be said about the disco-joints in town.

Aalst also has a hardcore-scene of its own with ‘Violent Mosquitos’ (who – in line with the hardcore idea – released their five track record by themselves), the recently split ‘Hate Crew’, ‘Heart Explodes’, ‘Rough Justice’, the recently formed ‘Myosotis’ (forget-me-not) and the ‘Pitbull Boys’ duo.

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