you can see in the review section the RECONCILE CD is one of my personal
highlights in SxE Hardcore this year. This was just reason enough for me to get
in touch with FedeX to send him some questions.
the way: Once again I can just recommend to get your focus on other scenes than
First off, please tell me something about yourself and what you´re doing besides playing in a Hardcore band.
I'm Fedex, and besides singing in Reconcile I book shows and I run a label called Varsity Records. I don't study or have a regular job.
What was your motivation to start a band? Please give a brief history of the band.
Well, in the late 90s, we used to go to shows every weekend to see all the local bands we loved, and one day one came up with the idea of starting a band. It was just because we love Hardcore so much, we wanted to experience it on every level. We also printed zines and stuff. So sooner or later we would end playing in a band, and that was in March 99. None of us had any experience at all, but I guess we managed it pretty well. In the last 5 years we played almost 100 shows in 3 different countries, releases 2 cds, 1 split cd, appeared on several compilations and answered lots of interviews. We are looking forward to doing more of the previously mentioned activities.
Just recently you released your first album on your own label “Varsity Records”. How have the reactions been so far? How hard is it for you as a South American band get the attention of the North American or European scene?
Well, reactions have been great. Lots of kids are picking it up, and we are glad they are doing so. And as to how hard it is for us to get attention... well it´s hard indeed. But we count on the help of great kids who support us and distribute our record cause they like our band and because they believe we should all get the same opportunities regardless of where we are from. Those people are: Nick (Third Party Records), Robert (Commitment Records), The Pointing Fingers, Xavier (Still Holding On), Matt (Death Sickle Records) and we thank them all. And of course all the kids who write us or even interview us for their zines, that helps us a lot to get the word out.
As far as I know it seems like there´s a very dedicated scene in South America. What can you tell me about the Hardcore scene in Argentina and especially in Buenos Aires?
There are shows every weekend here in Buenos Aires. We live in a very populated city, and besides, Buenos Aires has a huge tradition about nightlife and stuff like that. So buses run all the night and there are millions of clubs where you can at least try to book a hardcore show. We also have had hardcore bands in Buenos Aires since 1989, so that has settled a basis for how things can be done. Even if those kids are all gone now, and even of what they did doesn't represent me entirely, I must give them credit for opening the road for kids like me and my friends.
What about the big names in Hardcore, like Hatebreed, Champion and all the others: Are they touring in South America? When I hear bands talking about shows in South America it always sounds like something special.
Some bands go to Brazil. But no one comes to Argentina anymore after the crisis we suffered in December 2001. Our economy deflated a 300% so it´s almost impossible for us to book a show for a "big" band a pay for their plane tickets and their cachet and everything. So no, no bands are playing in Buenos Aires. Before our crisis, really good bands came down here and we enjoyed it a lot, but those days are over.
In the last few years we had a development to that “Metalcore”-thing in Germany. Everybody´s playing Metalcore or Tough Guy Hardcore. Along with that came a lot of kickboxing at shows and talk about some “Vegan Warriors” stuff. Straight Edge always meant something positive and intelligent mixed with a lot of energy to me. Today we have Tough Guys and kickboxing. Does these things stand for Hardcore these days?
I´m totally NOT down for tough guy shit, or the word "justice" or anything. I appreciate some hardcore bands that play metal music, like early Earth Crisis for example. But I cant relate to the whole thing. I feel like a kid, not a soldier for any cause that must fight battles against degradation and the impurities of the human race. I´m through with Christianity and deification. I identify more with the ideas you can read in Youth Of Today´s lyric sheets or Minor Threat´s. Where fun and positivity were more important than anything. Make these moments last for how they are and for how much harm we caused to others
Is Straight Edge “just a phase” and only some sort of identification for kids?
Each kid knows what the edge is for him/her. I just couldn´t care less. It is there for you to do what you want with it, I´ll be doing what I´m used to do with it regardless if kids take it as just a phase or as the justification for beating people up. I'm edge, fuck you.
Personally, what do you think: Will you still be Straight Edge in 15 years? Maybe that’s a stupid question because I think when you´re really into something sometimes you can hardly imagine thins to change.
I think so. But i don't think about that too much, I just think about how the edge can make positive things for me today. I´ll worry about what happens in 15 years when those 15 years pass by.
When you look at all those bands and people who were involved in the big wave of Straight Edge Hardcore in the late 80s and what happened to them: How do you feel about all those bands that had a similar message as you, knowing that most of their members have grown out of Hardcore and Straight Edge?
I don't think or care about that. I only care about my feelings when the "We´re not in this alone" LP is turning in my room. Or when I put my GB tape in my walkman and can't sit still on the bus. The personal histories of the people envolved in the writing and recording of those songs doesn't mean much to me compared to what those songs have inspired me to do.
I was always wondering why Hardcore bands seem to have such a short lifetime. Most Hardcore and especially Straight Edge bands (Judge, Gorilla Biscuits, Chain Of Strength…) broke up and are still breaking up after releasing just a couple of songs. Can you imagine why? So far nobody could really give me an answer.
Maybe it wasn´t really their thing. Which is weird, isnt it? How could someone be a huge inspiration for thousands of kids around the world and through time, and still don´t feel it long or strong enough? It just blows my mind. But I stated in the previous question, I´m not into the personal histories, but more on the feeling and passion they have released onto the world, and how much we can profit from that passion.
What do you think about reunions? Last year Youth Of Today played some shows in Germany and this year there were rumors about the Gorilla Biscuits doing a reunion show.
I´m not into reunions a lot. Of course if any band I like plays my town I´ll go to the show, regardless how old, fat or disenchanted the members of the band are. I think it´d be great fun to see YOT live.
Has Hardcore lost its meaning with more and more talk about fashion and old band-shirts instead of political awareness?
You couldn´t say "lost", maybe "changed" or "mutated" its meaning towards those trivial things. And again, I don't feel I need to think and meditate a lot about what kids with lots of dollars are buying through ebay or discussing on a message board. Hardcore and Straight Edge are personal issues (despite their community outlets) and I take them very personal. I do love "hardcore fashion" and love old bands and their shirts, but of course I don't think that´s the essence of hardcore. I also don't think the essence of Hardcore would be political awareness (I totally agree with you - Stefan). I think it´s all about having fun with your friends, being independent, being youthful, looking beyond material goods... which is pretty political, of course.
In the near past I heard American Hardcore kids defending themselves for giving their vote to Bush. Do you think that being Hardcore and a Bush supporter is a contradiction in itself?
No I don´t. Hardcore is about individuality, standing up for what you believe... and Hardcore is about multiplicity. Of course I don´t agree with those kids, I wouldn't have voted for Bush. But that doesn´t disqualify them as Hardcore. We don't need to agree on everything in order to be a peaceful community of independent musicians and music lovers. They are free to think whatever they like. I´m not here to judge them or anyone, I´m here to make the most of my days so I won´t waste a second judging others.
How were the reaction in Argentina to Bush´s re-election?
I don´t think people cared much about that. For us, it would be the same. No matter what his name is, if someone ends up being the president of the US it means he´s a wicked person and he has compromised his ideals and virtues to economic and political groups who enabled him to be president. So we don´t care who the president of the US is, we just hope he doesn't hurt us hard enough.
Is Hardcore the next big thing?
Hardcore is a personal thing. You can have Hatebreed songs playing on every radio station on the planet, but what makes Hardcore is what each individual kid feels about it. So if you feel it big inside of you, then it´s a big thing, no matter how many records Alexisonfire did sell.
What are your future plans with RECONCILE (besides world domination)? You mentioned you were planning a European tour in the summer.
Our new CD, July 20th, is coming out as a 7" in Portugal in January on Hard To Break Records. And we are booking shows for an Eurotour in the summer, I hope it all works out.
What can we expect from Varsity Records in the near future?
You can expect a lot more quality hardcore from all over the world. Our next release will be the discography debut of EN MI DEFENSA, it will be a full length CD. They are a straight edge band from Chile, the play melodic hardcore like Comeback Kid, Champion or Go It Alone, but they have political lyrics against capitalism and stuff like that. I love them and they are excellent kids, that´s why we are helping them out with their record.
Okay, that´s it! Thank you very much for your time! Is there anything left your wanted to say?
Thanx Tobias for the interview, the interest and the support. Keep up the good work and I hope we´ll meet in the summer!
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