SEX PRISONER – Interview

Tuscson’s best Powerviolence

 

Even if I don’t listen to SEX PRISONER as much as I should, they played a big role in my life because it’s probably thanks to them that I started HARM DONE with my band-mate Antoine. We were touring with RAW JUSTICE and played a gig in belgium. After the show we slept at a dude’s who was into powerviolence. He played a couple records and then told us about SEX PRISONER. What a blast, we were all stoked on their sound, somewhere between NAILS’ violence and early SIX FEET DITCH crazy breakdowns. A few days after we got back from tour we were chilling with my mate Antoine at a friend’s place, playing that record again. «Let’s start a band like this, just for fun» someone got started. The joke was running when about 30 minutes later and 2 phone calls we had a line up, put ourselves to rehearse, write songs in a week. That’s how HARM DONE began, and now we are here two years later with a 7”, a tape and a LP we recorded in 2016.

Now we just announced a EURO TOUR with Sex Prisoner and Harm Done at the end of 2017. Life’s crazy sometimes, isn’t it? So thanks to SEX PRISONER!

[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 begin with the usual presentations: who’s who, doing what and are some of you involved in any other bands, running a label or whatever related to music?

Kyle does bass, Kevin does vocals and much of the bad attitude, Gilbert on drums and almost as much bad attitude as Kevin, and finally, Matt on guitar and much of the crying. Matt and Gilbert are in another shoe gaze type band call Hikiomori. Other than that, we all enjoy playing and going to shows and living life in Tucson.

 

I have to admit that even if I play in a powerviolence -like band I don’t know much about that scene. How did you end up playing that kind of music? I feel you guys brought something new, like you have your own style of PV mixed with heavy breakdowns. Am I right or is there any other bands playing the very same genre?

Haha yeah PV is pretty obscure, it’s always funny trying to explain it to family or friends outside of hardcore about it. My exposure to PV was fairly gradual. My cousin first showed me some hardcore bands when I was real young (10, I think) such as Youth of Today and Anal Cunt haha. Growing up, I was always listening to my Dad’s music such as The Who, or Patsy Cline (which I still enjoy) so hearing this aggressive, ferocious music was unbelievable at the time. So pretty much from a young age I was started listening to punk and searching out new bands. I started going to shows pretty young too and loved it. Kids just getting it all out there. I started listening to PV bands like Infest and Crossed out in early high school and loved the aggression and attitude; a cave man punching a bully right in face. As a “scene”, PV is probably strongest in LA, at least from what I’ve seen. LA is probably the only place we’ve played shows with all PV bands. In AZ, kids like PV, but other styles of HC are more popular, so shows are pretty diverse on the HC/Punk/Metal spectrum, which is always fun. Finally, my last point on PV then I’ll shut up: I view PV as a misfit sub-genre in a misfit sub-culture (HC Punk). Kids just come as they are, have a good time, and get it all out there. No stereotypes. Just pissed, and having a good time.

 
 To be honest it’s thanks to your band that I started mine (Harm Done)!

Awesome man, I’m glad to hear that! Attitude and fun first, gear last. You could play a PV show with only a bass that has one string; as long as you have the attitude to bend that string the right way.

 

What are you main influences?

I listen to a fairly wide variety of HC, punk, metal, etc. When writing, I try to capture the aggressive West Coast PV attitude but also draw on influences from all over HC/Punk/Metal. Some of my all-time favorite include Despise You, Crossed Out, Merauder, and All Out War.

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Sex Prisoner is a pretty weird name. What’s the story behind that name?

Yes, it’s a very ugly name, and we picked it to match the music we’d be playing. I read in a newspaper that police had raided this drug house in Tucson and found sex prisoners drugged and shackled. The guys that ran the house were caught a few miles from where I grew up, and I thought it was one of the most heinous and vile crimes you could commit on another human, and one that happened really close to home.

 

Two of you are brothers? Do you think that has an impact on the band, good or bad, in any way?
Hell yeah, it’s awesome. All four of us went to high school together and are all good friends with each other too. Knowing and liking each others personalities definitely helps with writing and operating as a band. We know when to party (majority of the time), and when to get serious (maybe once).

 

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You recorded an LP due to be out on A389 records. How did this happen, when is it planned to be released and what can we expect?

Yes, we have recorded an LP called Tannhauser Gate. We’re hoping it will be out in early 2016. There will be some label news coming out shortly. I don’t think the labels want me to reveal too much right now. We’re planning on having a fun release show in Tucson, locals and maybe some PV heavy hitters.

 

Have you been playing a lot in the USA and are you planning on doing a European tour? We definitely need you here.

We’re kind of dumb when it comes to touring…we like to make a vacation out of it. Whenever we play outside of Arizona we’re always going to the beach or site seeing. One of my favorite shows that we ever played was in Pomona, CA with Magnum Force, In Disgust, and Despise You. Before the show, we went to Malibu, and I sat in an Adirondack chair on the beach, drank a beer, peered out at ocean blue, and was on cloud nine for about 15 minutes. Aside from AZ, we’ve played all over California, Chicago, and on the East Coast several times. We’d love to play in Europe, maybe 2016? Poop jokes.

 

What’s the best and worst thing you’ve experienced as a band?
Best thing is when Kevin once wore a crop top and smashed an acoustic guitar signed by Kenny Chesney at some birthday party show. People didn’t react, and it was really quiet. 5 minutes later we were done with our 8 minute set. Worst thing is when I ripped ass on Matt’s face and he started crying. Or another time is when Matt had to potty on the side of the road and got a cactus needle stuck in his ass. Haha jk, all good times.

 

Your lyrics look pissed off and straight to the point. Can you tell us what are they dealing with? What’s your writing process?
Yeah, like the band name, the lyrics are ugly. I want the lyrics to be visceral, like when you’re so pissed your blind. Pissed beyond reason. That said, looking back, I would have written some lyrics differently. You can’t un-ring the bell, just learn from your mistakes. Overall our lyrics deal with internal feelings, personal issues, issues with other people, and dissatisfaction with some politics.

 

How’s the scene in Arizona? What cool bands from that area should we check out? Here in Europe we mostly hear about the New York / Boston / Cali scenes but don’t know a lot about what’s going on between the two coasts.

Overall, AZ is sweet. We all have a lot of AZ pride, and our roots and friends are here, so that honestly probably biases our opinion on AZ. Like most scenes, the scene in Tucson has its ebbs and flows. Right now, I’d say we’re on an upswing, a lot of younger kids are starting to come out to shows and are getting involved. Tucson has had some awesome shows over the past couple years. This one venue, Club Congress, which has been in Tucson for forever (one of its claims to fame is that John Dillinger was capture there sometime during the Depression) has started throwing all ages HC shows. We’ve played there twice, and everyone comes out (partially because of the bar?). Those shows have been really fun, it’s like a reunion and a meet and greet at the same time haha. Phoenix has always been a fun place to play too. Our buddy Chase (in Gate Creeper who you should check out) helps run this venue/coffee shop called 51 West that has some really fun shows.

 

What do you know about the European hardcore scene and how do you see Europe in general? I’ve heard some crazy shit from American citizens on the news, like some guy who was thinking that radical Islamists had invaded France / Europe and were burning everything down. Or the «No-Go zones» supposed to be in Paris according to Fox news.

As far as Euro HC, I love and listen to the bands that have been around for 10+ years, but unfortunately have relatively limited knowledge of bands that are more current. That’s my fault.
As far as Europe and radical Islamists invading France or the “No-Go zones” in Paris, I know that France has a relatively large Muslim population, but haven’t really heard of or believe in any rumors of invasions or whatever. Catholicism still seems to be a stronghold there. Either way, I think it goes without saying, fuck religion. From what I’ve seen, the big issue in Europe right now seems to be the refugees from Syria. I know Hungary is taking an anti-immigration stance, and some countries like Germany were taking in as many refugees as they could, but have since had to cut back.
As far as touring Europe, I heard Scotland and England are basically like the East Coast but with different accents haha (we view the East Coast as awesome by the way, and would likely love the UK). I heard Czech and Germany rule; shows are awesome, and you get loaded up with beer as an added bonus. I really want to go to Europe.

 

On the other hand, from here we also hear pretty crazy stuff on the news coming from the USA. What’s up with violence over there? We have seen lately there’s a wave of police blunders spreading all over the country and poisoning the atmosphere. Last that shocked me was a video (with the cop’s body cam) where a cop shoot a black guy in the head because he was not carrying his driving license with him and refused to get out of the car when he seemed armless. Has it always been this way or new technologies are worsening the portrait?

Yeah, I’ll try not to take up too much space. Across the U.S., police have become increasingly militarized. Cops are trained to think in binary terms; good or bad, life or death, white or black, etc. which obviously is a total fucking farce. Life isn’t a coin. Cops are also trained to believe they are warrior protector soldiers that are a part of this domestic military with one mission, to apprehend as many people as possible. That’s partially a result of some drag net policies like the war on drugs, broken window, etc. and our decade and a half of ongoing foreign wars. A lot of the policies like broken window, were deployed in big cities with a high non-white population. Combine militaristic attitudes with institutionalized racism, and you get non-whites being arrested/victims of police brutality disproportionality to their population. It’s fucked up. As you mentioned, a man got shot in the head for missing a front license plate, among many other instances.

Side note, I’m a huge supporter of the second amendment, which includes open carry, concealed carry, assault weapons, etc. The 2nd amendment is the U.S.’s greatest form of homeland security. Also, I’m hugely independent; I don’t need to the government to keep me safe. I am free to protect myself.
 
 
What do you think about ONE LIFE CREW? Hate it / Love it or don’t give a crap? I know a lot of people here love their music / hate their lyrics but just take it as a big joke. So I wish to have an American point of view on these Clevo-Haters. Time to see if you are PC kids or not!

Haha nice, an inflammatory question! I fall in the category of liking the music, but finding the lyrical content dumb. Art isn’t supposed to be nice; it’s supposed to make people think. I also believe that you don’t have to agree with a piece of art’s message to enjoy or appreciate it. Censoring art that people find offensive blurs/diminishes the importance of the issue or conversation being had. That said, I find the lyrical context of OLC to be extremely lame. Whatever, that’s their shit.

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Is there a question I didn’t ask you would have liked me to? Something important we didn’t talk about that you want to say?

1. Donald Duck; my favorite cartoon character.
Should he calm down?
2. Have you ever acted like Donald Duck at a show? Multiple choice question below:
a. Yes, but I had just drank a 4Loko so it’s somewhat justified
b. Yes, I am always pissed and am kind of an asshole about it.
c. Yes, fuck it.
d. All of the above.
 
 
Any last words, shout outs and bands to check out?

Currently listening to Fetty Wap.

 

You can get the SEX PRISONER records on the store.

SEX PRISONER will be on tour with my own band HARM DONE in Europe in October / November 2017. Here are the tour dates and poster, catch us on the road :

Tour event : https://www.facebook.com/events/1371019192982052/

10/25 – Rouen, FR
10/26 – Kortrijk, BE
10/27 – Krefeld, GER – TBC

10/28 – Eindhoven, NL — BLOODSHET FEST
https://www.facebook.com/events/1102252166562874/
10/29 – Hamburg, GER

10/30 – Berlin, GER
https://www.facebook.com/events/1493124024096196
10/31 – Leipzig, GER
11/01 – Vienna, AUS
https://www.facebook.com/events/1202523286541819
11/02 – Padova, IT  – TBC
11/03 – Zurich, CH

11/04 – Paris, FR
https://www.facebook.com/events/1440380942712452

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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