Today, let's take a break from crust music. Summer is hitting us hard in Europe what with the end of the world and all that, and even though I have been able to work on my tan, I still feel a little bad about it. I do feel like I did my bit by wearing shirts from apocalyptic bands for more than twenty years but still. But let's take a break from the doom and gloom, and talk about something completely different and decidedly joyful: d-beat. Yeah right. And in fact, let's have a whole interview about it with a special guest, Alex guitar player and grand distorter of the d-beater-than-thou band Disease and the d-beat raw punk-themed fanzine Just a Nightmare (to be fair, he also does crust in there so maybe I did not wander that far off in the end) and he even plays in the noizepunk affair Angza.
In case you have never heard of Disease, which I very much doubt since they have been going since 2012 and have been very prolific, they hail from Skopje - that's in Macedonia in case if you need to know because you went through the American school system - and can be said to be the ultimate Disclose-loving, distorted d-beat unit. Not many bands can claim to do it as well as they do in a subgenre that has weirdly become quite busy in the past ten years. Check out their latest offerings if you need any convincing. They will stud your face.
Beside the sonic projects of Alex and the detailed eventful story of Disease, crucial aspects of the mighty D-war are tackled in this interview as you will see, from the d-beat phenomenon, the worship of Disclose, to the journey into Discharge and the 10 year long personal involvement with this very peculiar genre in the world of extreme music.
A massive thank you to Alex for taking the time to answer these questions. Bupp-u-dupp-u-du let's go.
TSN: Let’s get straight to the point. Do you remember the first time you heard Discharge? Did you know about them beforehand or was it a total discovery? What record was it? What did you think? What were you originally into as a spotty teenage punk?
TSN: And what about Disclose? How and when did you first listen to them? What did you think? Some people absolute hate Disclose at first and then learn to enjoy the music like an acquired taste, was it your case?
TSN: What was the original idea behind the formation Disease back in 2012? What were the main motivations? Did you play in other similar (or not) bands before? What about the others? Did you struggle to find a dis name? Did you have other possible names for the band? Were you aware of Mallorca’s Disease?
TSN: Macedonia is not exactly famous for its d-beat scene, how did people first react when Disease played locally? Any anecdotes about early gigs? Any pub landlord pulling the plug after two songs?
TSN: Are there many punks into d-beat or crust in Skopje? What does a typical Skopje punk listen to? Any good local bands you’d recommend? What’s the historical Macedonian band? I know and enjoy Brigade O.D. but there must be others.
Oh no, not at all. I’m not sure what a typical Skopje punk is these days here, or if there is one at all. Tank Warning Net, New Police State, early Disclass, Fluks, Born For Slaughter, FxPxOx are some of the punk bands I really like and ones that left a mark on the scene I believe. Some of the historical early punk bands are, Badmingtons, Fol Jazik, Saraceni, Morbid Joker.
TSN: Disease celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2022. How does that make you feel? Did you consider the band as a serious project right from the start or was it something that just grew throughout the years? How do you feel looking back at all your productions? What more do you wish to achieve with Disease?
TSN: The d-beat phenomenon has been going strong for decades now and has gone worldwide. I don’t think there is any equivalent in the music world of a style that is characterized by the intentional accurate imitation of one band. Why do you think the Dis style is so appealing to so many of all ages and nationalities? From an outside perspective, people often find it boring because it is always the same. So why why why but why? Can there even be an « original » d-beat band?
TSN: I have noticed that throughout your discography, there are significant changes in d-beat styles, faster käng-influenced like on Never Ending War Crimes, primitive d-beat raw punk like on the earlier recordings and now so-called Dis-bones styled d-beat. Disclose also had those same distinctions (from Tragedy, to Nightmare of Reality and Yesterday’s Fairytale, Tomorrow’s Nightmare). Was it an intentional move from your part? Do you choose the specific bits of Disclose legacy you want to work on? How do you imagine Disease’s sonic evolution?
TSN: Since Kawakami’s passing, Disclose have become legendary, almost cult-like. What is your take on this? What made the band so special and unique considering that there were a lot of other d-beat/käng/crust bands in the 90’s?
A: Disclose made that chainsaw guitar, the sound on the side, Kawakami was honest d-beat raw punk warrior which can surely be noticed in the legacy he left behind. So that’s one of the key things for Disclose being the cult-like as you say, being honest, passionate and true towards what you doing.
TSN: Disease also seem to tour quite a lot. The 2019 tour was quite eventful as I remember. Could you elaborate a bit? How did the whole covid mess affect you and the band? How difficult is it to be a Macedonian punk band touring?
TSN: "Just a nightmare" is another side of your obsession with Dis music and raw hardcore punk. Could you tell us about the birth of this zine and why you felt the need to write about bands, their stories and creative process? What is the purpose of Just a nightmare and what do you hope to achieve? How do you pick the band you interview?
TSN: In our modern digital age, you chose to do a paper fanzine whereas, sadly, the genre has practically gone extinct. Why? Do you think physical punk fanzines are still relevant and not just a piece of nostalgia?
TSN: Alright, time to chose now. You have to give at least a short explanation for each answer:
- Favourite Discharge song: "HNSNSN", song hard as a megaton explosion.
- Favourite Disclose song: Ugh, Fear of the nuclear age! The perfect D-beat raw punk song!
- If you did not have the choice would you rather listen to Massacre Divine or Shooting’ up the World? WHY! No explanation on this one!
- Disaster’s War Cry or Dischange’s Seeing Feeling Bleeding? Disaster’s War Cry.
- Antisect or Anti-System? Antisect
- Heresy or Ripcord? Heresy
- EU’s Arse or Underage? Eu’s arse
- MG15 or Subversion? Subversion, fuck it haha!
- Deadlock or Final Bloodbath? Final Bloodbath
- Wolfpack or Driller Killer? Driller Killer
- Avskum’s Crucified by the System or Disarm’s Dömd? Dömd
- Svart Parad or Bombanfall? Svart Parad
- Tragedy or Nightmare or Reality? Nightmare or Reality!!!!!
- SDS or Gloom? Gloom!
- Kaaos or Riistetyt? Kaaos!
- Hiatus or Disrupt? Hiatus
- Diatribe or The Iconoclast? Diatribe
- Dogs or cats? Both!
- Five favourite 80’s käng bands: Totalitar, Mob 47, Bombanfall, No Security, Crudity.
- Five favourite 90’s d-beat bands: Disclose, Besthoven, Decontrol, Disaster, Dischange.
- Five favourite 00’s d-beat bands: Dispose, Warvictims, Giftgasattack, D-Clone, No Fucker.
- Five favourite 10’s d-beat bands: Physique, Dropend, Honnor SS, Life Lock, ECD, Svaveldioxid.
- Five favourite Dis names: Disclose, Discharge, Discard, Disorder, Disappoint, Disbelief, Dispose.