PATRICK HASSAN – Interview

XREPENTANCEX | CARRY THE WEIGHT

 

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I’ve started to work with Pat since the very beginning of STRAIGHT & ALERT. One of my first wholesale orders was a CARRY THE WEIGHT one with records of NEVER AGAIN, COLD SNAP and WAYFARER, back in 2009. He has always been super nice and easy to work with. A while after this very first order I found out he was also playing I many other bands I liked and was another figure of the UK hardcore scene. That’s the reason he is featuring in this first issue.

 

[This interview featured in the first issue of the printed fanzine STRAIGHT & ALERT #1 but for those who didn’t scoop a copy I decided to post it all again here]

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s start this the classic way. Please introduce yourself, how old are you where do you live etc…

I’m Pat, I am 26 in a week or so, and I live in Kent, which is in the south of England.

 

How long have you been involved in Hardcore and music in general, and how did you get into it?

I have been involved in hardcore for just over ten years. I was always into heavy music as I had a brother 7 years my senior who loved metal. He bought records/got VHS videos from Roadrunner Records that had bands like Biohazard and the Misfits on. I used to love checking them out. I gradually progressed into hardcore and punk and started going to shows in Kent around 2005. A lot has changed since then but I still love being a part of it.

 

If I am right you are or were playing in FINAL RAGE, INHERIT, NEVER AGAIN, SECTARIAN VIOLENCE, WAYFARER, EGO TRIP, XREPENTANCEX and running CARRY THE WEIGHT records. Is that all? Give us a hint about (some of) these bands.

Yeah that’s most of them. I also currently play in DIGRESS and UNHOLY MAJESTY. I did a couple of demos for a band called FEEDING CHAIN last year but we haven’t done much since. A couple of other projects are in the making too. I love(d) doing all of these bands for different reasons. xRepentancex is probably my ‘main’ project at the moment – it’s a band I have wanted to do for years, so when I found members to make it happen I was stoked.

 

Is XREPENTANCEX the only active now, maybe SECTARIAN VIOLENCE too? When you had several ones playing at the same time how did you manage to deal with them all? Was your involvement different in each band? If we can talk about a «role», what would be yours in each band?

Of the bands you mentioned xRepx and SxV are the only active ones now. But Digress and Unholy Majesty are also releasing records and playing shows now. It can be quite hard to juggle everything sometimes, especially as my ‘real’ life is getting busier, as well as the label. But I don’t really do anything else socially haha. My role differs in each band. In most of them I am the organizer and song writer (musically). In others I take a backseat. In Inherit for example I just turned up to practice and played what I was told – Rich Shiner (ex- xCanaanx, The Break In) is a great song writer and really knows the genre well. Also in Digress, I wrote the lyrics and chipped in with some riffs on ‘The Seventh Day’, but Dan Rayner (guitar) and Ben Woolf (bass) are incredible song writers, especially for 90’s stuff, and they work well with how creative Oli (drums) is with ideas.

 

What are your occupations, job and ways to spend your spare time beside your bands if you have some left?

I am in the last year of my PhD in Philosophy at the moment, and I lecture part time at the University of Reading, and for the Worker’s Education Association. After I finish this course I might end up in a different city or country for work, so my immediate future is a little uncertain at the moment, but I hope to work in academia full time. In terms of spare time, everything goes to bands or the label for the most part. Every now and again I get to go hiking.

 

Patrick-hassan

If you didn’t pick Hardcore, can you guess where / what / who would you be?

I’m not sure I can answer that, but I think I would probably be less than who I am now.

 

It’s a bit cliche but, what did Hardcore bring you ? Like I know it helped me to define who I am and my values when I was a teenager. Not only being straight edge or vegan, but also the way I consider things and how to do to them. Try to make as much as I can, on my own and not waiting for someone else to do it for me.

You pretty much nailed it. Being involved in the hardcore scene gave/gives me space to really explore that inquisitive aspect of my nature: are the values ‘society’ is giving me actually good for me? Developing your individuality and reinforcing a DIY attitude is what I take from it.

 

The Love – Hate question: What pisses you off / makes you happy? At the moment or in general.

Complacency and laziness really get to me. But more than that, when people try and cover up those aspects of their personality by whining and crying out for pity. I can’t stand this over-sharing of feelings. The universe owes you nothing, just get on with what you want to do in this TINY amount of time you have. A recent pet-peeve are these cupcake vegans: when cakes and treats become priority number one, and who go out of there way at length to acquire them like they are some elixir of life. Grates on me so hard.

What makes me happy: achievement, seeing my friends doing well, dogs, getting to travel a lot and go hiking, a healthy and vibrant hardcore scene in the UK, creativity, playing shows.

 

Like I said you run CARRY THE WEIGHT records, one of the most active and best European labels nowadays. Tell us more about it. When and how did it all start? Are you running it alone? What are your plans and goals with it?

Thanks for the kind words! It all started in 2009 when Dead and Gone Records was winding down and there was nothing to fill the void. Me and Tomas (who I co-run the label with) were just starting Never Again and we wanted to release stuff ourselves so we started CTW. The label is busier than ever which is cool, it really reflects the amount of great bands there are out there right now. We have plans to just keep releasing records while we can and to have fun at CTW Fest 6 in October with EARTH CRISIS.

 

What is the worst experience you had to face with the label?CTW

This is relatively rare, but every now and again I will have to deal with some snotty brat complaining that about how it has been 4 days and they STILL haven’t received their order, like CTW is Amazon.com or some shit. The label is and always has been run out of a bedroom, and when kids think they are owed some premium service it pisses me off. But like I said, that is thankfully not the norm.

 

Tell us more about SECTARIAN VIOLENCE. This is an international band featuring members from USA, UK and Sweden right? I assume the whole process of a regular band like writing songs, rehearsing, playing gigs had to be redefined. In a nutshell, how do you do to do this band?

That’s right. Andy, Tom and myself are from the UK, Staffan is from Sweden and Nick is in the USA. People always think it must be hard to do but honestly that band probably runs more smoothly than any other I have been in haha. I usually write the songs and then everyone bar Nick will get together one weekend in the UK to polish them and record them. We send them to Nick and he records the vocals. Booking tours is really easy as we have a lot of connections from our previous touring bands. We don’t play very often but it’s always fun when we do. Socially it works really well, tight group of people who are all on the same page. We are currently writing for a new 7’’.

 

2015 has seen the birth of a crazy good LP by XREPENTANCEX «The Sickness of Eden» and you guys just played the IEPER FEST for the first time. What kind of response did you get from people for the LP and at the fest?

Thanks again! I had never been to Ieper so I had no idea what to expect, and when I saw how the big the stage was and how early in the day we were playing I thought there would be no one there. Thankfully I was wrong. The place was packed and I had a lot of fun playing. People seemed to dig it and I met some awesome people. The response to the LP has been overwhelming. The second press is almost sold out and the record has only been out for 6 months or so. I am really proud of the LP so it’s cool to see other people enjoy it too.

 

What are you plans with that band?

Like any band, it’s just for fun. We get offered a lot of tours but we can’t really do them due to my, and everyone else’s, work schedule. I only ever really wanted to do an LP so whatever happens now is just having fun with it while it lasts.

 

You guys seem to stand hard for Veganism & Straight Edge with xRx, even called Hardlines by some. Do you think it still makes sense to preach about these causes nowadays when we are flooded with videos, facebook posts, and all kind of stuff about it? Don’t get me wrong, I’m also standing for these ideas, but maybe a bit tired of some people’s moralistic speeches.

That is a great question. I would say two things. First, I think because of the sheer volume of social media campaigns about animal rights, people can become desensitized to the content. Consequently, it can be good to try and reach people through an alternative means, if that’s your intention. Secondly, while we most certainly stand for Veganism and Straight Edge, I never intended the band to be trying to a ‘make a difference’ or to convert people. It was meant as a constructive expression of aggression at things we despise, and at the same time a homage to 90s bands we all share a love more. Maybe other members would give you a different answer, but I don’t think it’s xRx’s job, or any hc bands job, to give people an overly moralistic lecture. Hardcore is about energy and getting caught in the moment. If I want to learn about something in detail, I will go to the relevant authorities on the matter. If people watch the band, listen to the lyrics and as a result begin to consider their own life choices, that’s cool, but it isn’t in virtue of that that xRx is a band.

 

xRepentancex

 

NEVER AGAIN was active for a really short period (2009-2010)? How did you manage to put out that many records ( a 7’’, 2 tapes, 2 split 7’’s and a LP) in such a short time?

That was my first proper band so I was super enthusiastic to write, record and tour. Looking back on it I can’t really say anything too positive about the music other than it had a youthful energy – the songs have not aged well in my opinion. But being in that band taught me a lot about touring and about how people can behave.

 

Why did you break up so fast? I’ve only been able to see you guys in London opening for INTEGRITY and it was wild ! I’ve heard some bad talks about NxA especially after you guys didn’t show up to a show friends of mine were booking in my hometown during the NEVER AGAIN / WAYFARER tour. It’s time to kill the rumors !

That Integ show was so much fun. The band ended about two thirds into the NxA/European tour that you mention. It was years ago so I don’t want to go into every detail (we would be here forever), but the short version is that the singer, Luke, alienated himself more and more from the rest of us the few months leading up to the tour because of differing maturity levels. By the time that tour came about we were hanging by a thread, fed up with having to deal with lies, an ego, immaturity and disrespect, while at the same time spending hours booking tours and organizing everything. The night before the show in your hometown we played Paris and Luke, who had been trying to get out of the tour the whole trip, ‘fainted’ and called an ambulance. The paramedics told him nothing was wrong with him and they needed to get back to work. They left, annoyed they had been called to the scene. That was the last attempt he gave to get of the tour without being straight up about it. That evening he said he wanted to leave to go back to the UK. He left, after much argument trying to get him to at least finish the last week and not let people down. We were all disappointed but by that point we were all mentally exhausted from having to deal with him that I said I didn’t want to do the band anymore. We (not him, of course) had to apologies to all the promoters and the band we were on tour with who witnessed all this from the start (AYS), our tour driver, roadies, and the label who had JUST released our LP. I heard people in your hometown were upset we didn’t show up, but believe me, there was nothing we could do at that point. The most irritating part was after all of that and talking it out, he spread a lot of rumors about how Tomas ‘bullied him off the tour’, which was a real kick in the face to everyone, including Tomas, who had to bite their tongues and cater to Luke’s will just so we wouldn’t let down everyone who put time into making the tour work. Maybe it was to cover up or deflezzzct his own behavior, who knows. By that point most people close to the band/in the UK scene knew what he was like and had witnessed his behavior so the rumors didn’t really stick.
I was definitely bummed out about that band ending at the time as it was doing fairly well. But at the end of the day it’s only a hardcore band. Makes me laugh thinking about how silly and trivial it all is now in perspective. Luke sold out almost immediately after and I haven’t seen him at a show for years. I have no bad feeling towards him now, maybe he has changed, who knows. It was a lifetime ago. The band definitely taught me a lot.

 

I know this one is gonna be hard but, which are your 5 favorites releases on CARRY THE WEIGHT and why?

Oh man, tough one! In no particular order: Incitement – «Hyena» 12’’ (perfect metallic hardcore), Rot In Hell/Wayfarer split 7’’ (artwork rules), Said and Done – «Weight of the World» 7’’ (VERY underrated NYHC worship), Correction – «demo» (Raw as fuck Straight Edge hardcore feat. xSTAFFANx), xRepentancex – «The Sickness of Eden» LP (shameless, but the artwork by Sue Coe is great and it was our first gatefold LP).

 

In my opinion UK has now the best European hardcore scene with so many good bands, from Hardcore Punk to Edge Metal. However from where I live, it seems UK is not linked to the mainland and you seem to have more connections with the American East Cost than with Belgium, Germany or Western Europe. How would you explain that? And what’s your opinion on the UK and European scene in general?

I am so happy about the UK scene right now. After being pretty awful for a few years, things got REALLY good since about 2012. Great bands and lots of them too. I think that US connection is probably a language/cultural thing more than anything else to be honest. But I don’t know, UK/EU relations seem pretty good to me. Europe has a some excellent bands right now and it’s always fun to tour. I would like to play France more. The 2013 SV tour we did had a few French shows and I enjoyed them all. I love the south of the country too.

 

Time for your last words, shout outs and bands to check out.

Thanks for doing the interview! Listen Day of Rights!

 

Alexis

Alexis

Alexis is the one man behind STRAIGHT & ALERT, also doing vocals for Harm Done and Raw Justice (R.I.P). He has been involved into Hardcore Punk for 15 years, running Straight & Alert, playing in bands, booking shows or doing a fanzine. Based in Nantes, France.
Alexis

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