Saturday, 17 October 2015

Interview: See You in Hell

Long running Czech hardcore monsters See You in hell will be heading over the ocean in a few weeks to rock our South East Asian cousins with their furious burning spirits sound so I shot them a few questions to see whats up. Their current LP 'Jed' (Poison) is an absolute rager and I'd urge you all to check (czech!?) it out on their bandcamp - Ow!

1) Hi Filip, so see you in hell will tour SEA soon, what can the Asian punx expect from their Czech cousins?

Yeah, the tour starts in 3 weeks! Needless to say, we are quite excited about it! Malaysian, Singaporean and Indonesian punx can expect nothing more and nothing less than 20-30 minutes of ass-kicking, high-energy, raw hardcore/punk with lots of gang choruses (in Czech language, so its little difficult to sing along with us, sorry, haha!)… and obviously some alcohol and spicy food over-consumption! Also last, but not least they can expect a bunch of old fuckers in their early 40s, who are still excited about touring all over the world thanks to the international network of friends! I mean, back in the 90s when I started to correspond with people from this part of the world and traded tapes of my previous band MRTVA BUDOUCNOST with them (Jimbo/Broken Noise + PARKINSON, Pat/SPECOPS + APPARATUS, Eddie/Forum zine etc.), I would hardly ever imagine to be able to visit South East Asia! And now it looks it will happen quite soon, which is still little crazy to me! Being a long-time fan of hardcore/punk from all corners of the world and being somebody, whose number one heroes are called Luk Haas or Tim Yohannan, being an avid reader of zines like Mangelslakt or We Are Gonna Fight (which both focused a lot on S.E. Asian D.I.Y. punk scene and which both sadly ceased to exist), having a solid collection of tapes and vinyls from this part of the world (like the now quite rare THE BOLLOCKS and OPPOSITION PARTY EPs), this really makes me happy to be able to do this tour! Thanks esp. to Ci Chaan, Pat, Shaiful and Deden for making this happen! Check out the FCB event of the tour here:

2) See You in hell is a well travelled band, with Japan, Europe and America both north and south under your belts, could you tell us a bit about these travels, what have been your key experiences of the punk scene worldwide, what things surprised you the most and please tell us about some of your favorite gigs.

Punk belongs to punks, not to businessmen and if the people are both excited about D.I.Y. hardcore/punk and well-organized, then touring the world with your band can be an amazing and often life-changing experience, which you will remember forever – and you don’t need any parasitical managers, agencies, sponsors, major labels, big festivals and similar bullshit. One of the aims, when we started SEE YOU IN HELL back in the 1999, was not only to make some fucked up noise and to express ourselves in the lyrics, but also to be an active part of hardcore/punk scene, incl. organizing gigs and tours for other bands and yeah, touring abroad with our band as well. This dream is definitely full-filled since we toured Europe five times (incl. two UK visit w/Scotland being the high-light every time – cheers to Zina, who worked hard to bring not only SEE YOU IN HELL, but also good number of other bands from Czech to your shores!), Japan twice, Brazil twice and U.S. twice as well and always brought back a great memories and experiences from these travels. And also new friendships – f. e. it was always awesome for us to organize gigs here in Brno for bands we originally met on our tours in faraway. Travelling often makes you to think hard about your daily boring life-routine back at home and however stressful the touring sometimes is or can be, it actually allows you to step back and re-think/re-evaluate...

Since we played so many gigs all around the world it is hard to say what surprised us most or which gigs were favorite. In general I would say that our Japanese tours were insanely good just thanks to the sheer number of ass-kicking bands we played with, thanks to the hospitality and good organization skills of Japanese punx. But Brazil f. e. ruled hard as well, esp. the first tour, which we did in part w/RATTUS and also thanks to partying w/the crazy tour promoter Fabio and the general laid back mentality of the country. Many gigs of our US tours were good too, esp. the Midwest ones and the final basement gig of our first tour in Boston was one of the best we ever played. South Europe back in 2008 w/SHEEVA YOGA was great too – Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Italy etc. Of course we played some kind of not totally usual spaces on these tours – like inside the boxing ring or in sex shop in California, under the bridge in Brazil, in squatted University classroom in Greece, in record shop in Japan... It is hard to high-light just one key experience, well it is utterly impossible, so let’s just say that one of the key experiences is to meet and hang out with people you corresponded with for long time ago (like with Kawakami/DISCLOSE in Kochi a year before he died) and to play with many of your favorite bands in their home-turf – some of these bands you would never see live otherwise. And obviously also to see the foreign countries not as a tourist, but to see it more through the eyes of an ordinary folk - thanks to the hospitality of local hardcore/punx… this sometimes includes staying in or visiting some parts of the cities, which are “no go zones” for tourists, haha... but this makes it even more interesting! 

3) As an old school zine fanatic (you zine has been going like 20 years?) I know you have a keen interest in collecting and recording information about punk, past and present. Why is this archive work so important to you?

I started with my first zine already back in 1991 and my current zine (30 issues out so far, 31 out in early 2016, hopefully with our S.E. Asian tour report!) called Hluboka Orba goes strong since 1993. Well, I am not sure if publishing schedule of new issue in every 1,5 – 2 years can be described as “strong”, haha! My interest in zines and books (I wrote and self- published one as well – about the history of hardcore/punk in Czechoslovakia before 1989, it is called “Kytary A Rev” = “Guitars And Screams”) goes back to late 80s, when I first read about punk rock in official Czechoslovakian music press BEFORE I even got a chance to listen to it. And as a 13 year old metal head this immediately made me super-interested and willing to find out more about this style, which is musically even more brutal than heavy metal and lyrically not so dumb… So written word is still super-important for me and that’s also one of the many reasons why I still publish the zine and why I buy basically every zine in Czech, Slovakian or English language (and sometimes also in other languages), which I came across and which has something to do w/DIY hardcore/punk or radical politics… Zines are also a great and almost ever-lasting documentation of certain times, in fact I would say that one of my fave free time activities is just to go through the huge collection of zines I collected in last 25 years and pick up and read some of them from cover the cover – this includes the killer 90s/early 00s UK zines such as Riot, Hell And Damnation, Ripping Thrash, Attitude Problem, Noise Fest, Aversion, Raising Hell etc.!

4) You have told me in the past that you are a big fan of tour reports (me too, that's what inspired me to start a band in the first place!) What is it that excites you about them, can you think of any report that really inspired you to get your band on the road?

You put a bunch of wild punk rockers in the (often fucked up) van or on the plane and send them on the road to abroad for couple of weeks – to places they have never been to and to the hands of people they never met personally… to countries with often quite different culture from their own… add some crazy characters, some alcohol and/or drugs consumption… Of course one of the most appealing parts of the tour I already discussed above – you escape from your daily fucked up routine (job, family obligations etc.) for couple of weeks… now, the question is, why do you need to escape from it, when more sustainable solution would be to change this routine at home... Well, it is not always (or rather mostly) possible as we all know. Other exciting things were also already mentioned – to meet people you knew till now only through mail, to see bands you never saw live, to see the countries you would hardly see otherwise… When we are on the tour we mostly don’t give a shit about tourist stuff (well, except the drummer), mostly due to time/money restrictions and also maybe since most of us are little lazy in this… we prefer more to hang out with local punks. I will never forget some crazy after-show uchiages in Japan, the drunken chaos of House Of Crust in Edinburgh or after party in Bristol in the house of Totters from DUMBSTRUCK, some of the parties in Brazil, when we hanged out with people from LOBOTOMIA or ARMAGEDOM… We are still ready for more experiences like these! I published dozens of tour reports in my zine (one of the best ones was S.E. Asian tour report of KRUPSKAYA written by their guest bass-player Skulda, who will go with us as well as roadie now) and read even more, many of them inspired me to get my band on the road for sure, but it is hard to high light just one… But speaking about our upcoming tour I have to say that the tour report of CODE 13 written by Felix Havoc in couple of his separated MRR columns was one of the best I ever read. They went to Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Australia some 15 years ago – back then, when most of communication still went through old school snail mail and when the touring circuit in this region was just coming to existence. Add to this the Felix super-interesting, detailed and in-depth style of writing and D.I.Y. punk as fuck attitude (and the sheer fact that CODE 13 ruled hard! Sadly this band is kind of forgotten now, which is simply not fair!) and you get one of the best tour reports ever written! In fact I sometimes toy with the idea to translate it from English and to print it in my zine in the future, but I would definitely need some photos and flyers from this tour – hopefully I will find some in Malaysia and Singapore when I will be there since Felix was unable to provide any when I asked him. And no ass-kissing, but I really liked your tour report from the 1st US WANKYS tour, which you published in your Ploppy Pants zine! Also I need to add that for tour report to be interesting to me the writer has to be excited about hardcore/punk (which includes writing also about the other bands they play with – not only about his/her band) and being in general interested in the scenes and countries visited. And if the band takes some experiences from the tour back home and applies them, then even better (like to provide food, drinks and sleeping place for touring band – esp. the Americans should take an important notice!). 

5) Whats up with See You In Hell - the last LP Jed is a ripper, really building on the Japanese style hardcore sound you introduced with Utok - will you continue to work in this style or have you more twists and turns planned? Any recording or release plans at the moment?

Thanks, I am happy to hear you like the record! In fall of 2014 we self-released 2 songs flexi to celebrate 15 years of the band’s existence (ltd. to 330 copies, we have last few copies) and right now we slowly write and practice new songs for possible upcoming 4th LP (maybe out in the fall of 2016?). Those new songs are more or less in the vein of the “Jed” LP material, so you know what to expect, right? No, there are no plans to change or style at all. Also for May of 2016 there are some more or less vague plans for Scandinavian tour (Sweden, Norway and Finland), this is the last part of Europe where we didn’t toured so far, so we hope this will happen finally!

6) Please tell us a little about the regional comps which you help facilitate, why is it important for you to make these statements?

I was always into the idea of local scenes = networks of local bands, zine writers, gig organizers, activists etc. supporting each other and also I was always big fan of regional compilation records (you know the obvious titles). And I also feel a need to document this. Brno (and surrounding small towns/villages) had a great scene back in the early/mid 90s, but sadly there was nobody to document this on compilation vinyl, so in mid 00s when the scene was again in a great condition locally I felt the urge to do this.

“Spalte Brno Na Prach” (“Burn Brno To Ashes”) compilation LP was released in 2008, 300 copies on red/800 copies on black vinyl in cooperation of all 12 bands included + cooperation of Czech and Slovakian D.I.Y. labels. It includes a thick booklet w/Brno scene report in English as well. “Brno Stale V Plamenech” (“Brno Still In Flames”) comp. LP was released in 2012, 600 copies on black vinyl, again in cooperation of all (this time 14!) bands included and labels too. The booklet was even thicker this time including interviews {sadly in Czech only} w/all the bands + couple of Maximum RocknRoll scene reports from Brno reprinted – so English readers can be satisfied too. Some of the bands are same like on the first compilation, but there are many newer names as well.

It has to be said, that while I basically coordinated the release of both these records, they would never saw a light of a day without the help of other people – who did artwork, who did the interviews, who pressed the record, helped w/graphics etc.

Recently I was thinking about doing another Brno compilation, since in last three years there is a good number of new bands, but recently I lack the right motivation and time, but this may change in the future…

Also in early 00s I coordinated the release of “Dying Alive/Living Dead” comp. LP, which had raw hardcore/punk bands from all over Czech Rep., not only from Brno.

Obviously you can find more info about all these compilations on

7) OK buddy anything else you'd like to add throw it down here!

Thanks a lot for your interest! Now, when Ploppy Pants zine is dead and buried, I for sure totally appreciate to be interviewed at least for your blog, although the paper zine would be obviously better, haha!

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All photos by Murray Bowles ( taken at the final gig of SEE YOU IN HELLs 2nd US tour w/LOTUS FUCKER in Oakland in December 2013.