Monday 28 November 2022

Live by the Crust, Die by the Crust: Nocturnal Scum "S/t" 12'' Ep, 2018

Germany has always been a bit of an enigma for me. I am not just talking about the success of Rawside or some of the transcendentally cheesy haircuts that many famous athletes wore well into the late 90's. By any standards, Germany has the best network of alternative punk venues anywhere in the world. Even smaller towns have their own autonomous centers provided with cheap rents, actual stages, sound systems and bars (and pissed punters of course). And I won't even get into Berlin's Hausprojekte or Leipzig's insane concentration of alternative spaces hosting gigs and political activities. If Leipzig was turned into abs, it would be Cristiano Ronaldo's: rock-hard. Obviously German towns, especially the ones mentioned above but also Hamburg or Bremen and others (not including München, who would like to live in a golden right-wing magnet?) attract large numbers of foreign punks looking for cheap places to live and great punk action. Some Berlin gigs don't have any actual German-born punks and it does not even affect lager sales. No wonder punks from all around the world move over there instead of Paris where it is horribly expensive, dirty and where punk gigs take place in shitty bars selling stale beers run by landlords who don't give a damn about any music, let alone punk. If you asked the twats, you could just as well be putting on Drungeon and Dragon events as long as the nerds get drinks (arguably people don't really get pissed when playing the game but what do I know). At least, I presume they won't take speed in the bogs.

As a result, because of the amazing venues (sometimes getting subsidies to pay the bands, even shit ones like mines) and hordes of punks living there it is little wonder that touring bands often favour Germany. More often than not what is called "European tour" is basically six gigs out of twelve in Germany, two in Switzerland and sometimes one in glamorous Paris, but that's pretty much because we have selfie-friendly spots and we are on the way toward Barcelona and other much cooler places. This combination of ace spaces, punks from all over the place and countless bands touring should create dozens upon dozens of amazing local bands that should be able to export themselves. You would expect Berlin to be looking down on Portland and put Sweden to shame. Making Paris look like a kindergarten is not nearly enough Berlin. 

In fact, I cannot think of that many remarkable German bands in the field of d-beat/crust in the 00's and 10's. Perhaps most of the good shit remained local and did not reach the shores of Terminal Sound Nuisance but one would logically expect to be overrun with great bands. Even street musicians should be doing covers of Amebix and Anti-Cimex and not abominable covers of "Bella ciao" or, even worse, Manu fucking Chao. I am not claiming that there have not been good bands in those decades (Instinct of Survival are undeniably one of the best crust bands ever and I can think of a couple of genuinely enjoyable other acts), just that there have not been many considering the ratio of punks that are into crust and d-beat raw punk over there. I mean, there are more studs at German punk gigs than there are in Earth's sex dungeons. Are they just too busy looking good or too spoiled with great music to bother? Are Berlin punks just lazy bums? Am I just a shameless ignoramus? Will they retaliate against me? To crust or not to crust? 

But anyway. Whenever I hear about a solid crust band from these parts, I therefore get very curious, not to mention relieved, because of the potential, and it seems only fair to include a Berlin band in the Live by the Crust, Die by the Crust series, a motto that is probably tattooed on many a punk's arse in that very peculiar town. Enter Nocturnal Scum. Something of an odd choice for a name, not that I dislike it and "scum" is after all not an unusual substantive in a punk band's name (see Scum Noise, Scum of Society, Scumbrigade or Scum System Kill), but there was - and still is - already a crust band called Moribund Scum around so that it makes one feel there is a lot of scum in Germany. It is not like they were in a Highlander movie and there could only be one crust scum around I guess. There was room for two types of scum, the nocturnal and the moribund. That's diversity after all.

NS formed in 2015 and, as is often the case, it was not a first attempt at punk music for the members. Singer Katrien used to growl in the well-respected second stenchcore revival band Last Legion Alive, Isa and Janse played in Chorea Huntington and the very good Kriminal, Lassi also played in Kriminal and Gitshi was part of Katyusha, a local metal crust band, in the early 2010's. Back when they were still active (they stopped playing around 2018), NS was often referred to as "that band with Last Legion Alive's singer" and by "often referred to" I mean that I might have read it twice on the internet, one of which was actually my own doing. The connection cannot be said to be unintelligible. After all Katrien's vocals were particularly memorable in LLA, a well liked band in itself, and, without disrespect to the other worthy musicians, it makes sense that people mostly remember the band for her. 

This being said, NS and LLA don't sound alike, the former being more energetic and not as doom-oriented. The sound is purposefully raw as the six songs were recorded in the band's practice space so that the recording has that primitive, wild, feral quality (I am reminded of the early so-called "proto" years of extreme metal) and what the music may lack in heaviness is largely compensated with the crude energy and furious drive permeating the record. In terms of style, NS are pretty pummeling and certainly love their fast and epic thrashing stenchcore balanced with headbanging mid-paced moments with double drum and some death-metal leads. Good shit. They are not reinventing the wheel and don't claim to be. They give the impression that they play crust for crust's sake and love doing it in a genuine way. I am heavily reminded of bands like Limb From Limb, early Krang and Fatum (definitely, post-2015). I like the fact that they rely on energy more than on their pedal boards or effects. The music has that very spontaneous vibe, it is basically very direct and unpretentious and, while it cannot be said to be a major crust work, it is one that can be easily recommended. Especially with Katrien's demented vocals, the actual elephant in the room. I cannot really think of a similar vocal style in crust music and the closest comparisons I can think of on a Tuesday afternoon in November is a cross between Order of the Vulture's mad and evil singer and Meg's gruff throaty vocals in Excrement of War. She hellishly barks, gnarls and growls her way through the songs and manages to sound threatening and very dynamic. If my very mean scary maths teacher had been possessed by evil, she would have sounded just like her. The vocals in NS are impressive even if you are not into crust music (although it does help). 

I don't think the band was still active when this 12'' Ep came out through Angry-Voice Records in 2018. The artwork is simple but evocative enough and I like its pagan Amebix-like eeriness. And there is even a poster included. That is so retro. I love it. After the demise of the band, some members formed Terminal Filth, a 100% satisfaction guaranteed stenchcore band that has been one my favourite punk records of 2022. And while you are it, give Electric Masochist a go if you are looking for an over-the-top howling crust-pants-fueled distorted d-beat band to play at around 4am at your aunt's New Year's Eve party. 

Big thanks go to top geezer Martin for his help in the collection of information. Merci mec!        


Berlin Scum

Tuesday 22 November 2022

Live by the Crust, Die by the Crust: Phozgene "S/t" tape, 2017

Life can be beautiful. And I don't mean just the band LIFE, who has been consistently beautiful for ages, unlike many of us. Sometimes you can encounter, by sheer chance, marvelous punk recordings out of nowhere, so to speak, like Randy Orton's RKO but without your skull being buried on a wrestling mat (this being said, the sensation can be very similar with loud crasher crust). Phozgene is one such example of an amazing hardcore punk surprise. I wish I could tell you that I found their tape in my mailbox because the boys were massive fans of Terminal Sound Nuisance and were begging me to write about it (a $100 bill would have to be included in the envelop of course). But unromantically, their recording just appeared in the youtube recommendations one morning and I think I clicked on the link because the "O" had a peace symbol in it. The most glamorous element of this embarrassingly anticlimactic story may be the fact that I was probably wearing my Disclose pyjamas. It could be much worse of course and Vancouver's Phozgene could have merely been a pure waste of my precious time and attention span. At least, the recording is brilliant. 

More often than not, surprises are disappointing though. Years ago, I remember my dad insisted on bringing me a present from one of his holidays in a resort of some kind. I tried to dissuade him as the last time he had done that I ended up with the cheesiest Dubrovnik key chain. But he told me that this time he would bring me something I would actually enjoy and be proud of. That got me very worried but his drive was quite touching and I thought that the worst thing he could bring back was an ashtray or, if he were particularly ambitious, some sort of smelly carpet from an "authentic" market for tourists. I was wrong. When he came back he proudly told me that he had gone in an actual "rock shop" where he asked for a "rock shirt". My heart almost stopped beating and when he gave me the grey, vastly oversized Limp Bizkit top, I was so speechless that he mistook my reaction for overwhelming happiness. I never told him that this horror quickly ended up as a dust cloth that I would still hide under the bed in case a fellow punk saw it and ruined my then fragile reputation. A scarring experience indeed but I should not complain, it was a heartfelt gift and I should feel lucky to get gifts at all. And it did make for a quality dust cloth to be honest. So thank you daddy. 

But back to Phozgene. "Phosgene" means "a poisonous, colorless, very volatile liquid or suffocating gas, (...) a chemical warfare compound" which I suppose makes it a synonym for special brew. Phozgene was a band that had what I call a "fuck me effect". I suppose that if you spend too much time watching American series and films, you could call that the "wow factor", which sounds pretty dreadful to be honest. The "fuck me effect" implies that you are completely taken by surprise by a brilliant band, one that you did not necessarily expect much from and that gives you a massive kick up the arse (in a good way, not in a "where have you been all night son?" kinda way). Phozgene felt exactly like that. A band seemingly coming out of nowhere and checking all the right crust boxes. It was basically a crust equivalent of the RKO: you don't see it coming but it nails you nonetheless. And whenever I listen to Phozgene, I still remember that amazing feeling of being pleasantly surprised and it does make your Supreme Leader - i.e. me - really happy as it has become pretty rare to be favourably impressed by a random obscure band in a world where we are continually fed new bands and constantly bombarded with hyped "genre-bending rules-challenging crucial hardcore bands" that end up being forgotten and replaced with another one six months after. Not that any of my own bands has ever been included in that category. So I may just be envious. 

I asked guitar hero Cordie about the history of Phozgene and that was how it went. Back in 2016 bass player Alex and himself had just completed a tour with their PDX-based band Suss Law and they decided to go back to Vancouver (where Cordie is from). The both of them started messing about in the studio and quickly wrote songs influenced by the mighty G-Anx while smoking weed. Amazingly they were capable to play an actual gig just weeks after the songs were even written in those circumstances. If you lock me up in a studio with some mates and feed us a weed-based diet, the result would be absolutely embarrassing and the best anti-drug campaign in world's history. The message would be something like: "If you don't want to make a fool of yourself in public like that twat on stage, don't do drugs". But anyway, after that first gig the band recruited new drummer Darrell and two months after they recorded that little gem of a demo. There was another studio session in the Summer of 2017 where four songs were recorded, one of which appeared on the Terminal Noize Addicts compilation Ep in 2019 along with Suss Law, Zyanose and fucking Disorder (one of Cordy's teenage fantasies I'm sure). The three remaining songs have not been released yet (hopefully a label will wake up and get to it someday). By 2019, Phozgene was no longer though as they stopped playing after a small tour in Canada in late 2017. In the end, the band only played for about ten months.

So what makes Phozgene a highlight of the decade for me, albeit a modest one. The band had something that few others can claim to have: they sound original. The basic ingredients for the recipe are classic in the best sense of the term. Right from the introduction, the main direction can be aptly defined as old-school filthy stenchcrust with 90's style dual vocals and an angry punk vibe (rather than a metal one) running throughout. Or something. The band don't hesitate to switch beats, from the traditional dis-käng worship to the dirty mid-paced thrashing crust one and blasting old-school hardcore. Apart from G-Anx, 80's British crust bands like Mortal Terror, Electro Hippies and '88 Deviated Instinct come to mind just like cavemen käng inspired classics like 3-Way Cum or State of Fear and I would also definitely compare it with the more contemporary '09/'10-era of Cancer Spreading (that's accuracy for you). But while bands influenced by G-Anx usually stick to the ultra fast käng hardcore template, Phozgene also worked on the psychedelic aspect of the band and freely included more progressive influences with tribal space rock bits, dark postpunk moments, free rock solos and even some synth thrown in there, all of those smartly integrated into the whole and not just thrown in there. So yeah, weed. 

On paper, it could just sound like a mess but taken as a whole, it makes sense and allows the demo to tell a great story with different moods that is different but still coherent and meaningful. It will definitely appeal to people craving for gruff old-school crust and at the same time bring something new, with a fresh twist, to a table that often lacks personality and creativity. I suppose that we are not far, conceptually at least, from what Instinct of Survival offered in the mid 2010's (revival stenchcore meets Zygote and Smartpils) and a band like Kärzer (which you can explore here) can be approach in a similar light. It would be far-fetched to claim Phozgene were the first act to add psychedelic and progressive influences to classic crust though and in the 90's Bad Influence and Πανικός clearly pioneered this drive to go beyond through this peculiar path. But as I mentioned, it is uncommon to see that nowadays, even more so from a band proverbially coming out of nowhere. 

This demo was first released in 2017 by Thought Decay Records from Canada (Phane's own short-lived attempt at releasing stuff I presume) and reissued in 2020 by No Name Records from Kiev. With a 25 minute running time, it would make for a brilliant vinyl Lp (just saying). Cordie and Alex are still doing Suss Law (distorted and noizy UK82) and the latter also plays in a Ramones-inspired band called The Chuffs. As for Cordie, he is a busy bee and beside riffing in the brilliant Phane (charged punk at its very best), he also lent his skills to Brutalize (raw punk hell), Despair (which I can say is one of my favourite orthodox d-beat bands of the decade so you will hear about it at some point in the future) and he has probably written a handful of riffs for three new bands since I started this article.

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Live by the Crust, Die by the Crust: Scumraid "S/t" tape, 2016

Scumraid is a bit of a special band for me. Not just because their name includes two terms, "scum" and "raid", that trigger my sensitive and trustworthy crust detector but because I actually put on a gig for them in Paris in 2016. At that time, Scumraid were touring Europe with Sweden's Sex Dwarf whose singer, Per, got in touch with me for a gig in the world-famous town of dog turds and love (often in that order as you are more likely to find shit on your shoes than love, let me tell you). The request was a little surprising as I had only put on the one gig at that point, namely Deathraid in late 2015, and that was only because the person who was originally supposed to do it threw the towel just two weeks before the show. Since I love Deathraid and tragically missed Consume on their 2004 tour, I though it was my duty as a loyal punk soldier always ready to die for the cause and the greater good - by which I mean putting the capital on the d-beat/crust/raw punk map - I heroically volunteered to take matters into my own hands. The gig actually went well, the turnout was great, the bands delivered, I did not lose any money and everyone went home happy. On the whole not a regrettable experience at all but not one I was particularly inclined to repeat as I easily get stressed out and tend to run around pointlessly like a headless chicken when under the pressure. Needless to say I would make a poor football coach.

The very little experience I had as a "promoter" (I bloody hate the word) made Per's offer rather unexpected and unanticipated, albeit flattering. Not to my credit, I was only vaguely familiar with Sex Dwarf and Scumraid (clueless would be closer to the truth). I must admit I was a little bored and overwhelmed with all the so-called noisepunk bands at that point and therefore pondered over the subject. Not that I wouldn't be in the audience if someone else did it, quite the contrary as I am one to support international bands and brag about it constantly, but I was not particularly enthused over the idea of going through the hassle of putting it on myself. But then, how often does one get the chance to organize a local gig for a Korean hardcore band? So I gave them a proper listen. And, of course, I was left gobsmacked and quickly agreed to make the gig happen. 

As if having already two foreign bands on the bill was not ambitious enough, two Belgian bands - Suit Side vs Veda Plight and Werly, both from Liège - were added, not really on purpose but because they were friends, needed a gig on that very same day and I would have felt guilty not to help them out. The gig was on a Sunday night which is not a great day for punk gigs as everyone is usually too hungover to bother coming out of their lair. The turnout was alright as I remember it but, more importantly, Sex Dwarf and Scumraid absolutely killed it, were very friendly and I am very happy to have made the right choice. What a happy ending and an ode to the network of friends, right? After that I put on many more dates for many more punk bands and I get requests from all over the place asking me for a gig in Paris. That's the predictable catch when you start doing it: your contact gets instantly shared with pretty much every punk bands setting up their European tour and as a result you end up with messages from mediocre German metalcore bands that you have never heard of and wish you had not.

When you have four touring bands on a Sunday, you have to watch the time. If you are running late, it can be very awkward to ask a band that has been traveling all day to shorten their set. But on the other hand, if you start too early, the punters have not arrived yet or just hang around before the venue sharing stories about their weekend and how they made up with an absolute stranger at a dodgy bar the night before because they were just too pissed to know better. So you always have to ask the bands: "How long is your set exactly? We have to be done by 11pm, otherwise the landlord will get on stage and unplug your massive pedal board". The threat always works miracle. When I asked Scumraid, the singer replied that they were only playing for twelve minutes. I think I stared at him for a few seconds in disbelief. Obviously, you are not going to have an hour-long set when you play crasher noize hardcore crust but twelve minutes sound a little short when you have traveled 6000 miles. That's 500 miles for one minute played. The man mistook my surprise for disapproval and quickly added that they could only play a nine minute set if twelve was too long. It really cracks me up just thinking about it and it is, to this day, one of my favourite gig stories. I think they did an encore and ended up playing a lengthy set of sixteen minutes. 

To be honest, Scumraid has to be one of the best bands I have put on. They absolutely crushed it live though it might have been a bit much for most of the audience on a Sunday night. At least it provided a good excuse for not hearing your bosses' voice on Monday morning. The deafening goods were delivered by this power trio efficiently and with apparent ease. I must admit I am not well versed in Korean punk music and the bands that spontaneously came to mind before bumping into Scumraid were ICBM (early 2010's great dark old-school crust), Dead Gakkahs (intense female-fronted fast angry hardcore) and The Couch (00's spiky pogopunk, please don't ask) which is not very much indeed. If you are interested in further exploring the Korean scene, 2016's Seoul Compilation Tape comes highly recommended. It showcases a lot of different hardcore punk styles and that's what I like and expect from local compilations. And it's oi-free, thank fuck for that.


This tape was released in 2016 but Scumraid already had two Ep's under the belt by then, 2014's Out of Order on D-Takt & Råpunk Records and 2015's Rip Up on Iron Lung Records, the former being a scorchingly magisterial lesson in crasher noize crust. I think the present tape was the only thing that the band had left when they reached Paris so that I promptly jumped on it to support the touring band (and annoy my insufferable neighbours with mean bursts of hardcore), in spite of the rather odd cover which displays the band on some Seoul roof (I presume) with the bass player pointing for some reason to the singer/guitar player's crotch with a stick to the drummer's amusement. Oh well. The sound on the tape is very raw and it feels like a demo recording compared to Out of Order, which it is. As a result it does not sound as relentlessly powerful but if you are more into the raw punk end of the crasher spectrum, you might prefer the furious primitiveness of the tape. Scumraid is a tight band and they unleash seventeen songs in seventeen minutes without ever letting the innocent listener rest. It can be a bit of an exhausting listen because it does sound like you are getting the bollocking of your life (not unlike the aftermath of you placing a stink bomb on your teacher's chair to impress your mates in 1992). As you have guessed by now, Scumraid play referential (punky smileys included) blownout crasher hardcore noize crust - insert additional cool term if needed - with harsh vocals, high intensity and insane tempo changes. 90's classics like Gloom and Collapsed Society are invited to the table, but the influences from the subsequent generations may be stronger, namely 00's crasher noize tornadoes Ferocious X, Contrast Attitude and Deceiving Society and of course, because it is probably the most relevant comparison, the mighty D-Clone. 

The thing was recorded at Seoul's Mushroom Studio and if you are looking for a better, more potent production, the seventeen songs were remixed and mastered at LM Studio in Osaka by Ippei Suda - a genius in noizy hardcore who worked on materials from Framtid, Defector or Contrast Attitude, not exactly a newcomer - and were released as the ace Control Lp in 2018, a record that is still easy to get. The band has (mostly?) relocated to Tokyo and if you ever have the opportunity to witness the chaos, do yourself a favour: grab your crust pants and run. 


Monday 7 November 2022

Where there is a Zine there is a Way: an interview with Tom General Speech

It is with much pride that I present to you the third interview conducted by yours truly for Terminal Sound Nuisance. This time I sat down on a comfy chair with Tom from General Speech. If you are not familiar with it, GS is a tentacular entity based in Lexington: fanzine, record label, distro and Discharge fashion outlet. Sheer brilliance. I have always enjoyed Tom's work because of the dedication and the passion pervading his writing but also because of the minute accuracy, the careful craftsmanship and the knowledgeability of his outputs. Even when he writes about bands I don't particularly care about, he manages to keep things interesting and engages the reader. You always learn something out of it. The man is so good that he can turn Asylum into Mozart. Genuine love and faith into punk-rock. But enough arse-kissing.

The interview is pretty massive and we went from rather light topics, like the future of global punk music impacted with the ever-changing listening practices, the relevance of physical forms in the face of technology, to much more serious issues like homemade Discharge badges. We went deep. Tom makes very valid and thought-provoking points so I strongly encourage you to read our verbal exchange, especially since it makes both of us look really smart and sharp. Of course, this is a conversation in process and punk being a collective entity, I strongly encourage everyone to bring new thoughts and arguments to the issues discussed. 

Massive thanks go to Tom for taking the tie to answer the questions with the utmost seriousness but then I expected no less from him. Cheers mate. Up the punx and all that.

Terminal Sound Nuisance: Alright then, let’s start with some basic information. Would you please introduce yourself to readers who might not be aware of your work? No need to include your blood group.

General Speech: I'm Tom, and I live in the USA. I've been doing fanzines, and a distro since around 2007, but I didn't adopt the name General Speech until around 2011 when I started a new zine and the record label. Since most people think I'm old if they only talk to me online, or really young if they meet me in person, I'm 34 years old.  
TSN: What is the band or the song that initially got you into punk-rock when you were a teen? Was that a specific moment or was it more like a process?
GS: It was definitely a process. I heard it in secret at night on the radio. Most times I had no idea what it was cause I was listening at a very low volume, and my recorded cassettes sounded really bad. Some bands like Suicidal Tendencies or Black Flag I didn't know what it was until 2-3 years after I heard it, and I didn't know it was called punk at first, I just knew I wanted to hear more. I think the bands that were most pivotal at various stages were Ramones, Bad Brains, and then Crass and Discharge. Each of these was just like opening a deeper door of interest I couldn't return from.
TSN: When and why did you start the General Speech fanzine? What was the main idea behind the project at first? Why did you want to do a paper fanzine at a time when they were, by and large, already becoming a thing of the past (or are they?)? How would you describe your fanzine to someone who does not know much about punk?
GS: I had been doing zines a few years already. I was doing around 400+ copies per issue near the end and I was spending less time on correspondence and letter writing which I loved, and more time printing and stapling zines and filling orders. I just sort of wanted to change. I think as people progress in their work, sometimes you just want a fresh start, or feel like you want to go in a different direction than what you originally started, and that was the case. 
When I made the change to General Speech, I'd do around 150 copies per issue and it was sent out for free to people who were doing zines, bands, or close contacts and friends. It was a better way to refocus on the communication and network of friends aspect. I think that physical aspect of communication was also why I wanted to a paper zine instead a blog which was popular at the time. I later collected issues 1-4, and 5-8 into omnibus issues that sold in higher quantities. 
Of course as time went on, the internet and social media made mail correspondence less necessary, and climbing postage costs made trading more difficult. Smart phones have allowed me to be more productive and work or write or email in the little moments where I have 3-4 minutes here and there. I'm doing this interview on breaks at work. It all adds up, and I can accomplish more now than I did then. Correspondence is easier, but also sadly less detailed a lot of the time. And I'm back to doing bigger print runs, since I can squeeze in more work here and there, than I used to, 1000 per issue, and about 200 per month of a smaller monthly zine called General Speech Supplement that's more along the lines of the earlier free half sized General Speech issues.

TSN: What are the contemporary and old fanzines that inspired and keep inspiring you?
GS: I have to give a huge thanks to MRR. I come from a small town without much or any punk stuff happening. My first zine review got 2 dozen letters in a matter of a couple weeks, and that alone was enough for me to keep going. I think R'yleh Rising and Warning were the first that inspired me on a level of "oh anyone can do this". As I started discovering older zines, I always held the deepest respect for the passion and obsessiveness I felt, almost like a camaraderie, from the 80s UK fanzines Final Curtain and Raising Hell. Both seemed like punk was the most absolutely exciting thing on the planet for them, and the enthusiasm just pours out in their writing, and layout and every aspect of the zines. To me, punk is still just that. The most exciting thing on the planet.
TSN: And what about the record label? Discogs tells me that your first release was 2012’s Confront Ep. Was that something that you wanted to do for a while and the opportunity just came about? Or was it supposed to be a one-off that turned into something bigger? Again, what were/are you trying to achieve with the label? What kind of bands do you want to support and promote through the label?
GS: I think the first release I wanted to do was the Decay 7". I had been chatting with Pablo, who is an absolute legend, wealth of knowledge, and for decades did his own bands and zines, and label, Strongly Opposed. When he told me that the Decay 7" was never pressed how they originally intended, since the cutting engineer thought it was too distorted, I thought I'd like give it a try to do it from the master tape and get it closer to what the band wanted. 
Around the same time I had mentioned this my friend Zach who did the label and zine Not Very Nice, among others, and around the same time Confront had been looking to release a 7", and Zach and I were both fans, so we did it together, and I think Confront just got done first, but both were started around the same time.
I knew I wanted to do a label, and from the beginning that the focus was just going to be records I wanted to come out to have in my own collection that I thought may not come out otherwise. All of them are passion projects you could say. Luckily they've all done well so far. 
Looking back, I think that Confront was the easiest release on the label. There was no social media, no Bandcamp, no real marketing other than just good old fashioned flyers and word of mouth, and emails. We sold out of two pressings quickly. Since then every release seems be harder and harder to keep people's interest, as people move further towards using Spotify or YouTube as their primary music source, and as social media becomes key to getting the world out about releases.

TSN: Finally GS is also a distro. How did it start? The selection of records is quite specific again. Could you tell us how you select your catalogue and the labels you strive to distribute?
GS: Like I mentioned earlier, I live in a place where there are not many people into punk. The record stores certainly don't have any current DIY punk releases, so I started mailordering a lot from an early age. At one time there were enough local people interested where I could buy 5-10 copies of a record I wanted and have a few to sell to other people. I think it was both a desire to share good music with people in a place where there wasn't much of it easily available, and also as a record collector a way to get new records without actually spending much of the money I was making at my job. 
Eventually it got to where very few people locally were buying records so I eventually started a website and sold online. The focus of what I stock is things I usually want and am personally interested in. There's not a record on my website usually that I don't enjoy. I am one person, and doing this is obviously work, so it makes it easier to sell records you're enthusiastic about. Running a record shop is harder because often you have to cater to what customers want, even if you don't like it. I get the luxury of just sticking to what I enjoy. It makes reviewing easier, and my email newsletter easier when I can write honestly and positively about things. 
I think people enjoy it as they begin to pick up on what my tastes are, which are pretty diverse, and know in a sense they can trust things I get in even if they haven't heard it. So while you may see some raw punk or 77 classics, you may also get a cool garage or psych rock, or extreme metal reissue in the mix that I usually don't stock unless it's got a unique appeal to punks, and I've had some people check them out and really enjoy things.
TSN: Seriously how many hours do you spend on GS as a whole, fanzine, label and distro included? Do you also have a dog called GS? A tattoo?
GS: It's hard to quantify it. I should probably keep track, but at the end of the day this is a labor of love, not a job. On the distro, between 2-20 hours a week. Some weeks I have 10 orders, some weeks 200. But it's rarely more than I can handle. 
Each release varies as well. The Deef records which I'm working on now have been countless hours and first steps taken almost 10 years ago.  But others just sort of come together fast and get done fast. Some releases just have more hurdles to get over than others. 
The larger issues of General Speech I spend sometimes 100 hours on. The smaller monthly issues I've been doing sometimes I get done in 2-6 hours, and that includes going to the print shop and printing them. I intentionally try to do them fast cause otherwise they don't get done. In fact I'm very behind on them at the moment after a particularly busy month of travel and punk shows. 
I surprisingly don't have any tattoos, and I no longer have any pets, but love cats and dogs and animals in general.
TSN: The interviews you conduct and the pieces you wrote for the fanzine are very detailed, knowledgeable and contextualized, much more so than the ones you can read in more mainstream and lazy music papers. What is the process behind a typical GS interview and article? How much time do you usually spend? Have you ever traveled to interview someone?
GS: I think when you are passionate about something it's easy. Or it becomes easy. I got a lot of positive feedback on the Damned article I wrote in the last issue. I think I wrote that at work on my phone in around an hour or two during breaks, and then edited it later. Just all from memory, and then went back and double checked details here and there on records. They are my favorite band, and the band I've spent the most time with, and own the most record by, so it felt easy. 
Other times there's a conscious desire to do something that can't be found elsewhere. What's the point of regurgitating things about bands we all know and love that can be found online with a little digging. This is basically what modern music journalism feels like to me. It's boring, and if I'm going to compete as a paper zine people have to pay for, against online music journalism and various resources online that can all be read for free, I better be trying to make it interesting, so sometimes I spend a good amount of time on things, and on interviews. 
I've never travelled to do an interview, but a couple times like with The Assassinators, and Terveet Kädet I saw them on tour, wasn't able to interview them at the show in person, so I gave my interview questions to them with an SASE to do in the van and mail back to me.
 I was going to drive a couple times to do interviews that didn't end up happening though. At the end of the day, if it's something I want to do bad enough and is punk, I'll travel or do whatever to try and make it happen. 
TSN: The interviewees often told stories about their works or the band’s history or anecdotes or very specific elements of context. How do you think such smaller pieces of bands’ history tie up and are woven into the global punk history and narrative?
GS: I'm a detail oriented person. I'm also the sort of person who thinks that trying to apply a narrative to punk as a whole is both impossible and foolish, as to do so, you have to emphasize one person, one band, one era, one scene, one country, etc. at the center of that narrative. When you do this, it erases the beauty of punk which was that it was global, and every participant was equally as important, and anyone could participate. Any underground subculture stands on the collective effort of its participants, not just the accomplishments of a few. 
I think you can apply this to any history, but especially punk, and so I don't think one glaringly obvious detail is necessarily more important than the small ones, because they all make up the collective experience of punk, and sometimes the small details are what resonate with some people, and the obvious ones are what resonate with others.
For instance, a few years ago I found a great original press photo from a Swedish newspaper in the late 70s or early 80s of Ebba Grön.  It still has the grease pencil markup around one the members indicating how to crop and size the photo for print in the newspaper article. I could easily remove these grease pencil lines, and the photo would look much nicer, but I left them on, as it was a great example of a journalist applying a narrative that likely missed the mark of what punk is about. They are focused only on one member of the band, while outside the frame of what what they marked on the photo is the audience, with a punk around the age of maybe 12, having the absolute best time of his life. He has a look on his face that all of us have felt while watching a truly amazing band, it's that feeling like punk is the greatest thing in the universe. To me, I bet that kids memory of that night is more interesting than what the band member would have to say about it. Without that kid and everyone else there, punk wouldn't be the same.
So I guess just as a general habit, I like to soak everything in, and consider it all potentially important, even if it may not be particularly important to me personally. 

TSN: Some of the bands you deal with are very obscure, and/or sometimes, arguably, unlistenable. Aren’t you afraid to alienate a large part of punk readers who might not be as well-versed as you are? Or is GS intended to be a more nerd-oriented thing? Would a younger punk be able to get into it? Have you had feedback about that point?
GS: I can't say I've had feedback to that degree. I think part of it is that young people probably don't buy zines as much as the people from the generation they were ubiquitous to, so perhaps what you say is valid, and I just don't have any way to know for certain. 
I'm not sure I really care though. I'd love for young people to get into zines and to read General Speech, but also young people should figure out punk on their own, and do their own thing, and they will. It's not a necessity for young people to grow up to love Plasmid and Confuse and Skumdribblurz. If they grow up loving Warthog or whatever bands are cool in the scene right now, and find a place with the same positive acceptance that I did, then punk is still alive and all is well. Young people probably don't really care about things exactly the same way as your and I's generation, and that's fine.
I think the one thing I do have going for General Speech is that even though sometimes the stuff is obscure, people tend to find it interesting, and it's coming from my personal perspective as a fan writing a fanzine, and a place of honesty that people tend to latch onto, and appreciate. So sometimes I do get feedback that's positive from younger people. Like in my monthly zine I've been covering some things that are so obscure I wouldn't even consider covering them in the bigger issues of General Speech, but I think at this point young  people who missed the age of zines and blogspots find it fascinating that there is still so much absolutely crazy stuff that you just can't stumble across on YouTube or Spotify. 
TSN: How do we get the younger generation into punk-rock these days? Is GS an attempt at converting the youth?
GS: I think by adapting to social media trends, and also supporting what young people are doing creatively. I think if you really wanted to reach the maximum number of young people with the sort of content I'm putting in General Speech, YouTube shows or podcasts are the way to go. The younger generation is dialed in a completely different way to what most of us slightly older punks are, and there's a huge gap in DIY content on these platforms, but I think there are plenty of people who want to consume that content if it existed 
I have been asked multiple times if would ever consider doing a podcast, or videos, or put together Spotify playlists for people. Maybe it would be nice if that existed, but I think it becomes hard to align DIY values with a world increasingly ensnared in corporate technology and social media platforms, advertising, etc.  I haven't quite made up my mind yet on the pros and cons of putting stuff out there that's putting more revenue into corporate pockets than I already am with PayPal, social media sites, and other companies that are just sort of ubiquitous if you are doing any sort of business online.
On a more local level, never forget the importance of all ages gigs, places to play, and congregate. I've seen my city go from a place where 15 years ago there were 50-200 people at most punk shows from 14 years old to 40 years old, to where there's not really anyone under the age of 28-30, primarily due to there being an entire decade where there was, and still is no place to see or play music if you are under 21. If you don't find punk as a place to belong by that point, you're probably going to have tried to find something else.
TSN: I am under the impression that the scope of GS in terms of style (see the great article about The Damned) and investigative accuracy is becoming larger. Am I right? And if so is that a conscious decision?  
GS: Hmm, I almost said no, but I think it's a conscious decision. I hate that there are so many inaccurate pools of information on the internet. With user sourced websites like Discogs and Wikipedia, and video descriptions and comments on YouTube that are just so inaccurate , and then you even see a lot of this regurgitated elsewhere as if it was fact? It's concerning. I read about punk a lot, in books, in zines, on the internet. It's frustrating to see our history sort of getting smoothed out and details lost so quickly after it's happened when we have more tools available than any other generation to preserve it. But I think this is just the struggle with preserving any history.
Another peeve of mine is Instagram accounts that just repost photos they find online with no info, or poor or inaccurate information. They are seen by thousands and are sort of the bottom of the barrel when it comes to internet punk content. So I want General Speech to try and avoid the spread of misinformation. Sometimes it's even information that would be completely obvious with something as easy as just owning the record. So yeah I guess I want General Speech to feel sort of trustworthy and authoritative when possible. 
As far as scope, I like a lot of stuff, but the scope will forever be what I want to write about.  I love early punk, but there's a ton written about the classics. It's not as exciting to me to cover. I also feel like most people reading General Speech are a bit more knowledgeable, I don't need to cover basics. If I write about them it's going to be in a way that feels like G.S. It's going to have a bit of my flavor to it. If someone reads it, and it's over their head, there's no shortage of other things to read and get up to speed in that area.
TSN: You obviously are very much into Japanese hardcore punk bands, you did interviews about very precise aspects of Confuse or Paintbox, and released some unknown (to most) noisepunk or 90’s Japanese hardcore records. When and how did your passion for Japan start? And why? The scene has always been very popular and exerts a fascination and an attraction that has arguably no equivalent. Any theory as to why? What makes Japanese bands so unique according to you?
GS: I can pinpoint the interest to hearing GISM on the PEACE comp which I was lucky to find very young. Actually that comp sort of ignited my love for global hardcore in general, but GISM was the craziest thing I'd ever heard up until that point, and then I heard Confuse... 
It's hard to say what draws the fascination to it, but I think it's because of my own sort of hardline stance on punk, and feeling a level of camaraderie. Punk is my life, for better or worse. I couldn't get rid of it if I tried. I think for some people who get into punk, and then get out of it after a few years, got into it maybe as an interesting social scene, or they may have just enjoyed the high energy music, and physical release of live shows. 
For me, I've always felt a deep rebellion against oppression, complacency, etc. and an intrinsic alignment with DIY, self reliance and responsibility. The facets that make up punk outside of just the music part. The fact that the music and community are also something I feel strongly about has sort of built a connection I can't ever imagine giving up, and I take punk seriously because it's the thing I care about most. 
Japan seems to have a more homogeneous society than we do, and to be punk, is a harder decision because you are basically opting to step out of society permanently by being different. It's not an easy choice cause you may not be able to go back as easy as you can here, and if you're punk there, you tend to take it seriously. This comes through in the music, the fashion, and the fact the scene tends to age and still remain active. I think it's something I just naturally bond with. 
TSN: Now let’s talk about noize. You are obsessed with raw noisy hardcore punk, the messier the better as the Skumdribblurz interview can attest. Why? A lot of those 80’s UK bands (System Sikness, Sons of Bad Breath, Eat Shit…) are objectively unlistenable and quite terrible, as much as I personally enjoy them, but why do you feel they should still be documented? What is so enjoyable in such inept punk bands? Like The Decay for example?  
GS: I think one of the most pure expressions of punk is people doing punk when it's the thing they want to do more than anything else in the world. The bands you mentioned couldn't play, yet their love for punk was so strong they tried by any means to overcome it and do it anyways. I'm a firm believer that there's a lot of unwritten, unspoken languages in music. Things science can't explain, and things I don't want to be able to be explained out of fear they could be artificially mimicked. But those bands tend to have an energy and emotion emanating from them that is warm, and comforting. It's the energy of enthusiasm and reckless abandon, and love for what you are doing. Sometimes it's so bad you just have to laugh, but the world is a fucked up place and sometimes we need fucked up music that still reminds us to have enthusiasm, reckless abandon, love, and sometimes just to laugh. Any band that makes someone feel like that is worth documenting.
TSN: Can you talk to us about the upcoming Nottingham Nightmare Lp? And what bout Hysteria Ward? How did that one come about as it is not really a « typical GS band »?  
GS: Nottingham Nightmare will shine a light on 4 bands from that area, who never managed to release anything properly back in the day, yet despite not releasing anything, the bands from Nottingham had a sort of undeniably strong influence on the evolution of extreme music, especially Skumdribblurz. I've got a few things I want to do first, and obviously the audience for this release is small, but it's certainly a record I'd wish for in my own collection, so I'm going to do it. It came about after years of correspondence with Tim from Skumdribblurz, and inheriting what had remained of his cassette collection. There's a lot of stuff in there no one has heard like Skreechy Skroochers, dozens of Skumdribblurz tapes, Genocide Association, Nightmare of Noyze (ex-Skumdribblurz), System Sikness (Pre-Intense Degree), Utterly Bum, etc. It's intense and depraved music and needs documenting for the very small number of people who care. 
As for Hysteria Ward, it may surprise people that my biggest love is actually 70s and 80s UK punk. I own twice as many UK records as I do American or Japanese records. I love the All The Madmen label, the Mob, Astronauts etc. and Hysteria Ward was like a hidden gem released right at the time the label fell apart, so there's very few copies and a lot of people hadn't heard it, but really it was good enough back then to have been a real album, but I just don't think they had the money. I felt like maybe it would be overlooked and no one would ever do it, but then around that time there was a wave of resurgence and interest in goth and post punk in the punk scene, so I decided it was a good time to try it. 
It was easy to get in touch through some UK friends and the band was very easy to work with and I still keep in touch with Lou the vocalist. Of all the reissues I've done, I get the most email years after that release thanking me and saying what an amazing record it is. It resonates with people. I think the timing was good, and it helped that it was great and beautiful music.

TSN: Were there tears of joy on your face when the Asylum reissue came about?
GS: Absolutely. Well, I had the behind the scenes look too, as it was coming together. I talk with the guys who put that release together regularly, and knew it was going to be phenomenal, but when it was actually out it was just perfect. The perfect reissue. All the details I'm obsessed with, like a 70s UK Delga Press style pocket sleeve with the flaps on the outside and die cut pocket opening, that's stuff Clint and Paco and I talk about all the time, and things that probably like 5 people care about in the world, but it just makes for a very enjoyable feeling to hold it and think about the care that's gone into it. 
TSN: The focus of your zine is quite international which I think is very important. In spite of the immense knowledge available about international bands, I am sometimes under the impression that we too often tend to focus only on renowned punk scenes (Japan, Sweden, Britain, Finland, the US) and discard bands coming from smaller countries and scenes that are not as fancy. Would you agree? Could you recommend five current bands from « smaller » and « not as fancy » scenes?
GS: Most definitely. I think there's two problems, one is that bands from smaller places don't have the exposure bands from bigger cities have. This isn't even on an international scale. For instance people can probably name more bands from Colombia than American states like Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Maine, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, North and South Dakota, New Mexico, etc. There's just not as many resources, and opportunities in smaller places that make it possible for bands to connect and get noticed by the global punk scene, even if you're digging pretty deep.
The second problem is smaller towns and small places it's more difficult to find people who all have a shared vision for a band, and often times relationships and creative differences between band members where there's not many people to play with, leads to more compromise to appease your band mates, and sometimes the music doesn't turn out as good when you can't come together on a shared vision or shared goal. There's also little in the way of bands that are your peers, so it's harder to hone your skills and have a bit of friendly competition and improvement against other bands. In a place like New York or Tokyo, there's hundreds of bands you are competing against. It's easier to see what people are doing well and not well, and use those lessons learned to improve your own band. In smaller places, you may be the only band, so there's not really the opportunity for younger bands to see other bands leading by example. I think because of this, sometimes music from smaller places just doesn't quite reach the level of quality as other places which makes it less desirable to seek out. Of course there are outliers, but I've seen it enough to think it's definitely a real problem. Most people who have the real drive to do something greater end up doing whatever they can to move to some place with more opportunities if they feel like they don't get them where they are from. 
Some bands I'm loving right now from less mentioned scenes are Die In Vain from Istanbul Turkey. They play simple and catchy punk influenced by bands like The Partisans but with the slight rawness of bands like Chaos UK. I released a tape by them earlier this year. Morbo from Peru continue to release my absolute favorite record of the year when they do release something. Just perfect catchy punk rock that follows no trends. Balta from Hungary will be a name people will know soon as they have a 7" coming out on a bigger label. It's amazing, and will be a total modern masterpiece to people who love insane raw 80s hardcore.  Ignorantes from Chile, even though they moved to New York, continue to be one of the best and most exciting bands live and on record. They stay underground cause they don't believe in social media, etc. Crispy Newspaper from Russia released 2 totally unique and wild USHC inspired LPs. They speak out against the war in Ukraine which has caused the singer some trouble and unfortunately some jail time. I've also been enjoying Peripherique Est, which may not actually be active any more, but they were a recent band from Belgium that I totally fell in love with. If you like 70s French and Belgian punk it's like a true time machine back to the glory days of 78-79 French language punk rock. 
TSN: The rise of the internet, the great equalizer, has made almost the totality of punk music available online. What was once a utopia is real. We have access to obscure 80’s Italian hardcore, 90’s Burning Spirit hardcore, weird Soviet no wave or raw Greek dark punk everywhere, all the time and effortlessly. On the one hand, the sharing and availability of knowledge can be seen as a very positive and equalitarian process as many lesser known parts of punk history (like Yugo punk or Medellin noise) have reached the greater number, for free, and it is much easier to put your music out there when you are a young band with limited cash. On the other hand, I sometimes feel that we just fell into a complacent consumer culture and lost a real appreciation of many bands and their context now that you can just play them on your smart phone while taking a dump at work as one streaming link follows another. What’s your take on that? Is the magic gone?
GS: I think overall it's good, the more information is available the better. I do think that it is a bit of a shame that some people grow up now on 80s HC obscurities rather than knowing the sort of lineage of punk and some of the great early bands, but people can enjoy what they want to enjoy. I do find it strange when people talk to me about something like Mopo Mogo, but don't know Metal Urbain, or a particular experience was a band playing kinda simple early sounding punk with keyboards, wanting to trade me obscure KBD and 80s hardcore badges, but not knowing The Stranglers, who I was playing at the venue. How can you be a punk keyboardist and not know the Stranglers?! 
I think another thing I miss, is that the internet and globalization have reduced the communication barrier down completely, which is good, but if you are willing to get on social media and YouTube and Spotify and Bandcamp, you can see what the world has going on in the blink of an eye, from trends in punk sound, artwork, fashion, everything. And it's caused things to be a bit more of a melting pot, and a lot of individual identities have been lost as access to information becomes easier. Like in the 80s and even 90s bands from Sweden, Finland, Spain, almost any country, or in bigger countries like the US, there was even local or regional sounds. That doesn't really exist today where you have South American bands trying to sound like Swedish hardcore and American bands trying to sound Japanese, or like they are from Finland with reverb on the vocals. It's not to say some of these bands aren't decent, but I miss the slower evolution of influences. Now an artist will blow up and they have done 7" and LP covers for 30 bands in a year and they all look the same, or trends come and go and bands from all over try to capitalize a bit off it. If you think about it some of these artists have done more album covers in a year than people like Pushead did in 5, and people float through 3-4 music trends in 5 years where some bands from the past spent 5 years honing songs in the live environment before making one new record. They may be fun for a while but I think sometimes aren't as memorable in the long run than something really unique or something that doesn't shy away from what the place they come from has historically done really well due to it's natural influences, natural sounds, etc.
TSN: So many new bands, « There’s a new band every week » as Zounds said, so as a music fan how do you keep in touch with new punk music? Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed?
GS: It's completely overwhelming. I used to be in very deep, I'd check out every new band I could, buy demos, and get hundreds sent to the zine, and there's even more bands now than back then. I don't have the time anymore. The distro keeps me up to date following new bands on labels I'm in touch with, and friends bands, but there's a lot that slips through the cracks. There's a whole world of popular YouTube channels of new punk I just have no idea about cause I'm at a computer all day for work, and when I get home, it's just not what I want to do, get on a computer and check out bands on YouTube or Bandcamp. I have a lot of good friends who keep me updated, and social media helps too, but I'd say the majority is slipping through the cracks these days as opposed to the minority, but I'm still checking out as much as I can. I'm of the opinion that while it may be rare there's still new bands that can impress me more than old ones, so it's worth it to keep an ear to the ground.
TSN: A mate of mine, in a rare moment of wisdom, said that nowadays we know many many more bands and music but we don’t know them as well as when we had less of them. Agree or disagree?
GS: It's hard to when there's so much to keep up with. We add thousands of bands and records to the annals of punk every year, so I can't blame people. Also not everyone is an obsessive like me, plenty of people don't have time to familiarize themselves with every release on Small Wonder Records, or sift through the Poko and Johanna records catalogs to see what's boring rock or raging punk, because they are out there making art, doing bands, participating in political actions, etc. Being knowledgeable is important, but knowing every morsel of information about bands and punk, rank pretty low in importance in the grand scheme of knowledge, and just in the grand scheme of everything in general. I would be equally happy if I was out there making punk music, and making art instead of learning all I can about punk, and just putting stuff out there for people to consume. 
I think part of it also though boils down to what the last few generations find important. It's too early to say if where they are placing their priorities is good or bad, or somewhere in between.
I think part also has to do with social media. In the 80s, if you liked a band you would write to them to learn more, see what was going on in their town, etc. That info was published in zines, cause that was how info was shared so it's been preserved. Now if you like a band you can probably follow them on Instagram, or follow their members, and immediately see what the band is up to, flyers for the shows they are playing in their towns, pictures of their pets, friends, and their job and other details about their lives. There's less of a need to ask for the sort of details you used to have to in letters, and I think some people find it difficult to continue to pry for more about bands, when you can already glean a fair amount just from someone's social media presence without ever actually talking to them directly. That's sort of a shame. If punks are going to use social media, they should still keep up positive and actually meaningful conversations. Community is important.
TSN: What I love in GS is your drive to document punk history, like a scholar would actually. Since no proper academics is likely to rave about State Children or Wrong Boys, do you think we have a role in writing and remembering our own collective history because no one else will? Is it something that you think about though GS? Does punk still belong to the punks?
GS: Punk will always belong to the punks, because it's us who understand it the best. Scholars and academics will still try to write about it, usually if not always poorly, and I haven't made up my mind how I feel about that. I guess I'd like to remain open to thinking someone can do it properly, I have punk friends who are in the academic field, but they aren't usually writing about punk. 
So sure, punks have a role in documenting, but punks don't always do the best job of it either, and many of us make the same mistakes or more mistakes than academics. The amount of poor information on the internet alone can attest to this. There's a lot of private collections out there that hold more punk history than any museum could, and I think this is one of the easier ways punks can preserve things, by holding onto them and taking care of them until it's time to let them go to live with the next generation of punks. But I mean we don't always do the best in terms of writing and publishing, and that's fine.
I also dont think any punk should feel responsible for playing a role in documenting our history. If punks want to document punk, I'm all for it, but if they just want to continue to smash it up, I'm here for that as well. So to answer the latter half of your question, no I don't really think of G.S. as trying to chronicle our history in any profound way, I think personally I do it cause I enjoy it, and I enjoy the music and the community around it, and the discussions that writing and putting that writing out in the world brings about. 
TSN: I am sure you love records as much as I do but do we really need more physical records? In an age of environmental collapse and overproduction of cultural goods, is it still relevant to release physical records, vinyls especially? Most kids I talked to at punk gigs don’t own, and don’t intend to, a turntable - and I am not even going to mention tapes - so why bother? Is it a heroic quixotic, but ultimately irrelevant, act of nostalgia or the necessary protection and survival of punk culture? Does the future lie in immaterial formats?
GS: Records and physical formats are both a luxury product and environmentally irresponsible. They are absolutely not necessary. If people want to keep to physical formats, I'd like see things switch over to something like high quality CDr demos or CD releases with 5" or 7" packaging if people want to stick to that sort of DIY format we are used to. I am very guilty of almost never streaming music just cause I have a lot of music in physical format already, and lots that's not on streaming sites, but if bands just stopped releasing records all together I don't think I'd be sad or mad, if there was still a way to enjoy the music. 
I also think our planet and society is totally and completely fucked, so if making or buying records or zines or doing drugs or whatever people want to say is destructive to the environment or human life is helping you get through this nightmare, I can't really critique anyone for it. 

TSN: Alright let’s talk about lighter stuff. Do you remember the first time you heard Discharge? What did you think? Did you instantly get it or was it more like a process?
GS: Since I'm younger my first exposure was the CD which had Why plus the first singles. The one from around 2000 I think on Castle Music. It was absolutely incredible to me, and I remember thinking it was way more hardcore than Bad Brains who I thought were the best hardcore band I'd ever heard, which I think if you limited things to America, Bad Brains would still be the best ever, but I had already got into Crass, and was becoming more politically minded, and I think Discharge was just the band that filled a spot I was looking for, but didn't know that spot existed. They had the politics and the power. Antisect and Crucifix I heard soon after and they also meshed really well with what I was looking for at the time. Plus Discharge looked so cool. Fashion has always been something I love. They just seemed to check all the right boxes, and still do. To say it was life-changing may even be an understatement.
TSN: The Discharge badges set is one of the nerdiest thing I have bumped in the past couple of years. Do you do Discharge cosplay? When did you have this idea and how did you make it happen, it can’t have been easy to find all the original designs? Some of them are horrible let’s be honest although it did not keep me from getting a set, obviously.
GS: I don't do Discharge cosplay, or any cosplay, but I love fashion. I do own a jacket similar to the one Cal wears on the cover of Realities of War, but it's got no studs or paint on it.  I own a lot of vintage leather jackets, and that one is a unique style you don't see often which is why I like it, and not necessarily cause Cal wore one similar. I still haven't figured out the exact make of his jacket on that cover though, if anyone knows. 
As far as the Discharge badges, I wanted to do it, and I worked out a deal with their management to do officially licensed shirts and badges. I did several shirts and 3 sets of badges. 1 set in mystery packs, and 2 other packaged sets. About half of the designs are reproductions of old 80s badges, and half were original designs of my own done in the spirit of old 70s and early 80s punk badges. They were all designed and also printed without any use of computers as sort of an homage to the effort that went into designing graphics that small back in the day. If you compare them to a modern digitally printed badge, the quality is pretty different. Sometimes the easy way isn't always the best way.
I love old punk badges and collect them, and it's amazing how much time and energy some people put into the designs. Each one can be a work of art. It's not like today where people download a logo from Google and sell the badge in an Etsy store. It was a real point of pride to make a badge that looked great and unique.  It's also something punks can be proud of for turning it into a DIY thing and part of our history, subculture and fashion. Badges could even be a secret code that only other punks knew. I love the 70s badges that don't actually say the band name, like Ian Dury's set of badges that said "Sex &", "Drugs &" and "Rock N Roll", or the Damned "I Smell a Rat", The Adverts "Bored Teenager", Buzzcocks "What Do I Get" or "Time's Up". You knew someone was cool even if they didn't look particularly punk, if they were wearing one of those. So that came through with some of the Discharge designs like the ones I made that just say "Q: And Children?",  or "They Declare It", or "War Is A Black Hole To Avoid". To the uneducated, these are unassuming or even confusing, but we all know what it means. 
I think people enjoyed the badges and the designs cause they were different and not like the same old things we've seen a million times. They were very popular and I quickly got tired of making them to fill the demand.
I still don't have all the designs I know of existing from the 80s though, even after years of collecting. At this point I think I have 20 or 30 Discharge badges from the 80s, but there's probably 20 or 30 more I don't have that are out there waiting to be found. Most interesting is there's really only like 3 or maybe 4 Discharge badges that were official merch back then. The rest were made by fans and bootleggers which explains some of the crazy, and like you said, sometimes bad looking designs that don't match their usual aesthetic. There's a certain charm to it. Also, get in touch if you wanna trade, or sell old punk badges!

TSN: Once taboo-era Discharge like Grave New World is now quite well-liked in some quarters. What do you honestly think about this album? Are Final Bombs brilliant, embarrassing or lovable against all odds?
GS: I think it's easier to think Grave New World is listenable if you separate it from Discharge. But I don't regularly listen to it, and to call it a classic, or anything beyond a bizarre piece of their legacy is kind of silly. I prefer Shooting Up The World CD to both Grave New World and Massacre Divine, but that even gets played about 1% of the time compared to the Bones era and even the Pooch era output.  
Final Bombs deserves respect. Even though not all of their records are things I regularly listen to, they take pride in what they do, and make an effort to do it well. There's not a lot of bands that have been going near 40 years, so props to them. 
TSN: Discharge is probably the only band in History to have created its own subgenre, one that has been going for almost four decades and has spread all around the punk world. Why do you think Discharge still fascinate? What made them so special?  
GS: They were the complete package. A band that delivered in every category. Their music was amazing, and maybe more importantly, consistent. Until 1983 there's nothing you can really nitpick as being anything other than just completely raging. It was challenging what was currently happening in punk, their lyrics were simple but drove home the importance of awareness, individuality, and resisting war and nuclear weapons. It was something people of every class could understand and get behind if they agreed with it. And then never underestimate the importance of aesthetics, however vapid people may think it is, they looked cool, and their art and layouts were incredible. It tied up the whole thing into a package people could be proud to like and excited to emulate. Modern "D-Beat" fashion is pretty boring compared to Discharge, who brought the '77 style, and blended it in with something new that in a way that said, you can still love Crass, and dress in all black, but George Cox creepers, Vivienne Westwood and Seditionaries shoes and clothes, and looking PUNK, are still cool too. The fusion of DIY with traditional punk fashion I think is massively important to the evolution of punk fashion, even if things are a bit less creative these days.
TSN: Talking about d-beat bands: has punk-rock become conservative? Where has the originality and creativity gone? Could you name five punk/hardcore contemporary bands that you feel are original and bring something new to the table?
GS: I'm probably not the best to answer this question, as there's a lot out there I'm not familiar with, and my tastes tend to gravitate towards specific things that don't extend too far outside established punk criteria.  Maybe Turtle Island is the most extreme example of something I like that is very original? Algara, Prision Postumo, Rigorous Institution, Ojo Por Ojo, Mock Execution, these bands may not be completely original, as they are all informed by punk from the past, but I feel like at least they don't have any real sonic equals in punk at the moment, and are sort of setting themselves outside trends. I also like all these bands quite a lot.
TSN: Punk-rock is a tale of missed opportunities and of record plans that were supposed to happen but never did (like Antisect’s second Lp for instance). What is according to you the best record that never actually happened?
GS: The best ones that came out eventually is the Protex LP and the Nerves second 7". It's mind blowing they weren't considered good enough or profitable enough to release at the time. The one that continues to haunt me is the Crück 7" from Japan. I love them deeply, but they never got to do their own record. No idea if it was ever recorded or not, but 2 labels advertised it. The Fallout LP from the UK, which was recorded, I think there's an unreleased Guilty Razors record which would be cool to hear, but somehow I doubt they could ever match the intensity of that first 7". There's some ads for stuff like ADK Omnibus 3 with QOP, Bradbury (G-Zet / Bitousha), and others, an LSD 12" was advertised. Those would have been cool. Nouten Rockers 7" 1983 Japan compilation of the early Sapporo Punk Scene featuring Deef. Akusho Virus is an obscure one, supposedly this was to be a 7" or Flexi in the mid 80s in Japan, but it never happened. The only copy of the recordings I've heard suffer from tape degradation, but you can tell the original master sounded amazing. Like The Execute meets G-Zet. There's dozens of bands that also just never had a chance to record anything at all, and just live tapes exist, some of which show they were obviously deserving of some studio time.
TSN: What does the future hold for GS in terms of writing and releasing? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
GS: I think I'll probably call it quits after 2 more issues of the fanzine, and try to find a different output for writing, or a publication who wants my writing, that isn't corporate. If I do other issues they will be smaller and sporadic, or larger and themed. Maybe take a stab at books, I have 2 book ideas one of which I'm not ready to share yet, but the other is about punk postcards, so if you have and punk related postcards, or interesting punk postcard stories, please get in contact. 
As far as the label I just reissued an LP for Slicks (OG Kyushu punk, which is near sold out from me), and then I have LPs, 7"s, and CDs lined up for Deef, Die Öwan, Frigora, Auntie Pus, and a few more. 
The distro will keep going until I get bored with it. 
I'd like to do more art and more directly creative things. I'd like to do more fashion oriented stuff outside of just shirts and badges. In 10 years? Maybe dead? or still just a punk doing punk things? Only time will tell. 

TSN: Alright, time to have some proper fun.
- The five Japanese noisepunk records that you would recommend to a beginner in the genre:
Confuse - Contempt For The Authority and Take Off The Lie 7"
Gai - Extermination 7" Flexi
Swankys - The Very Best Of Hero LP
Gudon - Zannin Seija 7" Flexi (listing cause I hope they also listen to the latter Gudon records which are not noisy but even better)
Tranquilizer - 7" Flexi
- The five Japanese « Burning Spirit » hardcore records that you would recommend to a beginner:
I'm not a huge fan of this term as a genre classifier, but if we are talking traditional Japanese hardcore here's some:
Lip Cream - Self Titled LP
Gauze - Equalizing Distort LP
V.A. - Thrash Til Death LP
Death Side - Wasted Dream LP
V.A. - Get Back The Discharged Arrow LP
Bastard - Wind Of Pain LP
Nightmare - Give Notice Of Nightmare LP
Judgement - No Reason Why 7"
Tetsu Arei - Tetsu Arei LP
V.A. - Who's Chained Up To The Dogs Of Outrage LP
- Three bands that everybody seems to love but that you secretly hate:
I don't really hate any bands at this point in my life. General dislike are bands that just look lazy. It's ok to look cool whether that look is punk or not. 
- Three bands that everybody seems to hate but that you secretly love:
I don't keep secrets about what I like, but The Smiths, Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett, Ska in general.  
- Heresy or Ripcord? Heresy

- Diatribe or Iconoclast? Iconoclast 

- Abraham Cross or Gloom? Gloom

- Flux of Pink Indians or The Mob? Hard one, side B of Strive to Survive and the Neu Smell 7" are the best, but the Mob's output was more consistent. Gonna go with The Mob as a whole package despite Flux's prime being better.

- Massacre Divine or Shooting’ Up the World? Shooting Up The World

- Bastard or Bastards? Bastard

- MELI or Massacre 68? MELI

- SDS or Misery? SDS

- MG15 or Subversion? MG15, easy

- Distress (Beograd) or UBR? UBR

- Private Jesus Detector or Hiatus? Private fucking Jesus Detector!!

- Bombanfall or Svart Parad? Bombanfall 

- ’87 Doom or Discard? Fuck... Gotta go with Doom. Discard though....

- Gutrot or Plasmid? Plasmid!!!!!

- Disfear or Meanwhile? Meanwhile 

- Eat Shit or Sons of Bad Breath? Let's go with Poison or Old Codger

- Macrofarge or Banish Arms? This one stings... but Macrofarge. 

- Kaaos or Riistetyt? Kaaos

- Disarm or Avskum? Avskum

- Framtid or Disclose? Disclose

- Poison Girls or Crass? Crass by far

- Chumbawamba or Political Asylum? Passion Killers

- The Clash or Sex Pistols? The Damned

- The Astronauts or Blyth Power? Astronauts 

- EU’s Arse or Underage? EU's Arse

- Black Fag or Gayrilla Biscuits? The Apostles

- The three best live performances of the past years? The Damned, No Fucker, Ignorantes