It’s eleven pm, one am, three am on a Saturday and I’m over-caffeinated at my old desk in my old apartment in Athens. I haven’t left the house in six days. I’ve not been in one city for more than three weeks in the last four months, so it’s not too bad really. I’m jamming the Diät record for the first time in a couple months—and definitely the first time since we got back from tour three weeks ago. Roadie’s first tour! As soon as the needle drops, it all rushes back; fish-eyed frames and colourful medleys, flashing lights and sonic ecstasy. I keep myself afloat on a melody, the record still sounding fucking incredible, even if somewhat bittersweet now. Despite the pessimistic sound and ironic title, the music gives me such positive energy I get teary eyed with emotion. Like I did almost every one of the nine times I saw them live. And I still look forward to the tenth next week in Berlin. I took notes on my phone drunk in the back of the van, one eye closed as I focused my vision long enough to type, but looking back it all seems like a dream underwater.
Hello my loves!
Cor blimey what a fantastic time I had in the UK! I went to Bristol, Brighton, Weston, Clevedon… Got high in cemeteries and drunk on champagne beer, bought a bunch of sick records, some of which I’ll jam on the next radio show… Which has now been renamed to Storm Stereo… (Yeh, I just changed it… ’cause I can!) Now I am back in Athens for a couple of weeks, taking care of some business while also trying to take it easy, finalizing some projects, turning 30 (!) with my twin sister, seeing the new French Oi! sensation RIXE at our new and improved tropical basement… The new RIXE track is banging by the way, check it out!
I’m also working on the second part of the Ex-Yu Special for MRR, alongside Habi from NE! Records, coming mid Spring 2016. After our Ex-Yugoslavia Special Part 1, with bands from Slovenia, we are moving on to Part 2, this time covering bands from Croatia, such as the beloved PARAF and KAOS form Rijeka! (One of the many cities on my “Punk Cities to Visit” bucket list)
When it comes to my obsession with Yugoslavian punk, PARAF was the band that started it all for me. It was the mid 2000s and a friend was getting rid of a bunch of his zines. One of them, called I believe Where The Wild Things Are, came with a CD-R comp, with something like 32 bands on it from all around the world. One of those songs was PARAF’s hella catchy “Fini Dečko” (Fine Boy). From the first strums of the guitar and the creeping keyboards I was intrigued. By the time the impressive vocalist had finished the first verse, I was in shivers!
Who was this fascinating band? Where did they come from? Where can I find more of this? (This was pre widespread internet access mind you.) I had already been on a frenzied search of all things punk, new and old, the weirder and more remotely-located the better. A decade almost went by, and by cosmic coincidence I ended up in San Francisco in 2012. While there, I got to know Habi from NE! Records, who specializes in Ex-Yu punk. Six years after that, I have just finished editing interviews with both PARAF and KAOS. And the rest, as they say, is history…
I have also just finished up an interview with Charles from Le Turc Mecanique Records, based in Paris. I’m very excited about his label and outlook, and that should be on the internets at some point soon. I’ll keep you posted. I have also been asked to guest review something by the nice people are Delayed Gratification, but I won’t give it all away too soon… 🙂
I’m hitting the road again on March 21st, as I shall be performing roadie duties for one of my fave current bands right now, DIÄT from Berlin. They’re going on a mini tour around the EU and UK, and I’ll be heading back to Berlin with them for a few days afterwards. Berlin punks, hit me up! Oh, I’ll also be DJ-ing the Glasgow show! If you see me, come say hello and tell me all about your local scene and why it rules!
To close off, I’ll share something I was reminded of while jamming NTS radio recently. Absolutely killer one-man project from France, which I first learned about while going through the MRR record vault a few years ago—fantastic stuff. If you liked QLOAQA LETAL that Metadona Records recently reissued, then check this out!
Until next time, stay posi, stay punk. The world is ours to reclaim.
With love from outer space