Hate Crew (interview Tilt! #3)

June 11, 2011 at 8:19 am | Posted in Tilt! # 3 | 1 Comment
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Interview with the band * 1987

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  1. When seeing back the interview with ‘Hate Crew’ which appeared in Tilt! #3 in 1987, it was great for me to re-read some of the lyrics that I wrote back then. And especially, to put these against the way I’m thinking about the same issues today.
    Nowadays I’m no longer into many of the ideals we used to subscribe to. But, at the time, we were sincere. Sincere and also iffy, because sometimes we got dragged into emotionalism and taken for a ride. For example: we know in the meantime that the notorious child-abuse case that inspired the ‘Hate Crew’ song ‘Limits of Pain’ (the so-called ‘Zaak Notaris X’, or ‘Notary X Case’) and that outraged Belgian society long before Dutroux and the ‘paedo-priest scandals’, turned out to be completely based on false rumours. Rumours and accusations that were first spread by an aggrieved ex-spouse in a banal divorce-case, then blindly and eagerly taken over by the left-wing press (the satirical weekly ‘Humo’ and the Socialist daily ‘De Morgen’, in particular) who both jumped on the case because the accusations were directed against a member of Antwerp’s right-wing upper-class. It cost both papers’ credibility.
    Then there’s ‘Ten Commandments’… Well, the ‘fuck religion’ line belonged to the standard package of punk and hardcore lyrics. But here also, it was inspired by sincere anger about both what I saw in the news and, especially, bad personal experiences with bullying by both teachers and their pet pupils in a Catholic school in Aalst which I attended for a few years. But today, I think differently about it. Partly, this is because I got inspired by Islam when I was in Bosnia in the second half of the 1990s.
    But there’s also something else… We could say that, at least, in our anti-religious line of the time, we eventually got what we wanted. Catholicism (and Protestantism) are nowadays all but marginalised in the Low Countries as well as North-Western Europe in general. This is, of course, the outcome of a wider sociological process much more than of punk slogans. It was good that there was a wider reaction against the suffocating and hypocrite Catholic conformism that existed in these parts until quite a few years into the 1980s.
    But did we really wanted the ‘new conformism’ that took its place?
    By ‘new conformism’, I mean the almost totalitarian tyranny of consumerism and fun (which, BTW, also swallowed up much of punk and hardcore in the end), that is propagated by ubiquitous media- and peer-pressure. I will not say that it is all-pervasive but it is definitely there and it has taken the proportions of a new mass cult that you’re supposed to follow if you want social acceptance. It is also much more subtle and pernicious than the old Catholic conformism because it is based on an illusion of unlimited personal freedom, whereas we all know that one can only live up to the expectations and demands when one has (sufficient) money and that non-complying is being sanctioned not with imprisonment, torture and exile, but with social isolation and marginalisation. In some aspects, it’s gotten more ‘Brave New World’ than ‘1984’…
    I will even go further: today, it takes a lot of guts and self-assurance for a young person to out him/herself as a serious Christian and even more so as a Muslim. In certain ways, believing became an act of dissent and resistance against the fun tyranny, at times when the Socialist as well as Green Left are either recuperated by the latter, or dead. Had I written punk and hardcore lyrics today, they would reflect much more outrage for what happens in the name of ‘freedom’ than by what happens in the name of ‘religion’.


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