I have interviewed Burnt Cross a couple of times. And it's always nice to hear what they think. This interview was made by Jonas who run the blog Eslöv: Kategori A. He published this interview in Swedish at his blog, and gave me the english version. So the questions isn't mine. Don't forget to visit Eslöv: Kategori A
Take a look at the new Burnt Cross webpage
1. How did you get into punk? Was it the politics or the music that made you want to be part of the scene? Also, is it as important for you to make a politically relevant record as it is to make good music?
I was about 13 and into metal when i first heard the Sex Pistols and then i went on to search out more punk and the first LP i brought was Crass "Penis Envy" which led me onto the political punk side of things, this led to finding out about bands like Active Minds, Civilised Society, Conflict ect and that inspired us to start our first band Active Response when we were 15. We got involved in doing benefit gigs,writing for zines and activism from then on for a few years till the 90's when we got more involved in the free party scene. For me punk has always been about the politics, i can listen to The Misfits or Ramones quite happily but a punk song that is angry and has a message hits the spot more because its who i am, its what i feel inside so hearing it in this primitive form with a thumping soundtrack is just great. Punk is only a small amount of the music i listen to but it is the one that speaks to make more than the other genres i like, its the one that dominates my life in a way that its always there even if im not listening to it. No other music does that to me, no where near as much.
2. What made you settle for the name “Burnt Cross”?
I just wanted a less generic political name that doesn't use system/state style thing in it and i love my old school metal, also a nod to our dislike of religion i guess. A couple of people picked up that it has connetations of the KKK and i did think that myself but we are strongly anti fascist and it comes out in our lyrics so no confusion there. As we are just a 2 piece band i didnt have to fight too much to keep the name, its what i like about doing all the music and arrangements myself, you are the boss
3. Are you vegetarians (like me)? A mate of mine and me have an ongoing, neverending discussion on veggie food. He thinks it’s immoral to make veggie food that taste like meat, whereas I think it’s good, cos you can make splendid veggie brekkies with veggie bacon and anyone who wants to be a vegetarian can become one and still it what he or she likes, only now it‘s cruelty-free. What do you think about this question?
Yeah, we are veggies and i never really thought about this too much, i always thought that there was nothing wrong with something that tastes like meat, its an alternative so its what it is meant to be but i can understand why some people would find it offensive and respect thier view. If people give up meat cos they can get the same taste without the cruelty thats great even if it seems a bit of a contradiction, they may not care as much to give up whatever the case but the more numbers the better
4. Media covers up and lies about protest, in the UK as well as where I am, in Sweden, but some news of anger in Britain has made it’s way to the Swedish media. I take it that you lot are part of the fightback, so my question is, what’s the fightback like? What’s it’s strengths and what’s it’s weaknesses? How are ordinary working class people affected by Cameron’s policies?
Yes im involved a fair amount in activism, just this weekend i organised a shutdown of our local starbucks for 3 hours and get involved in local anti war group and on the streets against far right groups like the EDL. Ive been involved in activism for 20 years from hunt sabbing/animal rescue to enviromental and anti fascist protest..i will probably be doing it my whole life. The fightback here is weak to be honest, compared with countries like Italy and Greece. We had a few good protests last year with the students and anti-cuts groups but this year has been quiet. Im hoping that very soon people will start taking to the streets again and show this government of rich wankers that we know what they are up to and we are not going to put up with it. Of course its also up to us to change ourselves, refuse to comply to thier laws that we disagree with and stand against it when you can but also to try to escape the actual system itself by working less or just for yourself, pay less tax, grow your own food, squat, stop consuming so much, do share skills where you trade labour etc.. they are all ways we can ignore thier bullshit and not be a part of it.
Government policy is probably the same as in most countries, fucking up the poor to look after thier rich mates. The national debts are a lie and dont exist, money is made up from a touch of a button and the poor and forced to work like donkeys and witness the better off feeding of thier hardship. Capitalism aint working and the sooner it falls and a more compassionate model is put in place the better. I wont hold my breath.
5. What do you think about the Israel/Palestine conflict and how it‘s reported in western media?
Well our media is more pro Israel but we also get a fair amount of both sides to be honest. I have spent time in Israel and loved it but cant help feeling that it is commiting great grimes against people who are trapped in a prison whilst being bombed. I disagree with all the violence but Israel are at a massive advantage with thier military and weapons. Also the illegal settlements should be stopped and returned (all disputed land returned possibly). Its going to get messy i think but i hope some sort of peace is achieved. I dont know the exact details of all the history of the region either, just the basics so wouldn't want to delve too deep into that debate
6. I promised not to ask you any questions on football, but I’m afraid I must ask you one, namely what you think about the spectacle and multi-billion business modern football has become?
Ha, well i dont watch it, Paul supports Man United but doesnt go to see them i dont think. It has become an expensive hobby if you wanna see your team play and sadly thats the way most things go but like other things like music for example we can do it ourselves and start our own bands or soccer clubs. There is always someone out to turn a profit so just dont get involved in it just like you wouldnt go to see a £100 a show rock star, i would hate all the commercialisation anyhow and rather watch a game at our local playing field.
7. If your music was a sport and not music, which sport would it be? Something hard and physical like rugby, something elegant and precise like snooker or maybe something completely else?
Boxing..it packs a punch..ha ha. Well its got a punchy rhythm and is full of fighting talk so thats the best i can come up with.
8. Any words to your Swedish supporters? Do you like any Swedish bands and would you like to play here? What do you think of Sweden’s “Punk Illegal” Festival?
Paul met a couple of Swedes at a Mob gig this weekend and they were talking about punk bands and the Swedish guy mentioned Burnt Cross so Paul shocked him by saying he was one half of them. Its really nice to meet people who like our stuff and we have people in Norway,Finland, Sweden and Switzeland who distro our music or who get involved in putting the records out so we know that our music is getting out to such places. I tend to listen to more UK/US styles bands as i like to understand the lyrics of music i listen to so dont listen to hardly any foriegn speaking bands to be honest and i think the punk illegal fest looks cool but i also am not heavily into crust/hardcore too much apart from older bands so havent made it over to that festival. I dont actually go to many gigs these days, maybe once a month. Thats another reason why we are just a home recording project, we didnt want to gig. We did 2 gigs with friends playing the other instruments and they went really well but we are not sure about doing it anytime soon.