An Interview-

published in Trust Fanzine 212 (Jan '07)

     

Since I did not manage to show up on their concert in Cologne as agreed, we did this interview via Internet using a Messenger software.

When I first wrote to you, you told me that it makes you nervous doing interviews. While preparing myself, I could not find even one older interview with you. What´s the reason?

Peter: I think, within the last 8 years we were asked maybe 3 or 4 times. But as you said: We are quite happy that we do find ourselves in this kind of interview situation that often.
Rodrigo: As Peter says: nobody asks for interviews and sometimes it´s also our own fault [e.g. the MRR asked us once but we were far too slowly and then simply forgot that].

I was more interested in the reasons why it makes you nervous to give an interview

Rodrigo: No idea, somehow that gives me the impression as if I would have something important to say. I don´t really like to be in the spotlight. Probably that is the reason why I decided to play drums.
Peter: Well, for me it´s some kind of strange seeing published my thoughts on certain things. I can´t really say why. For example it took me really long until I lost the feeling of being completely displaced when being on stage. During the first concerts I sung with the hands in my pockets hidden behind the guitar box.
But I admit that today I definitely have fun when playing gigs. I mean it´s not that I get kicks out of the fact that it´s me in the spotlight, but there a really nice moments that can take place during a concert. Certainly, the nicest things are usually happening before or after the gig when meeting people.

But don´t you agree that music is always about presenting oneself?

Rodrigo: That´s exactly what´s our problem with it.
Peter: Of course this is totally absurd: On one hand I am saying that it´s strange for me to see published what I think about certain things, on the other hand we are writing lyrics that we publish in booklets and on leaflets that we display on our concerts. Maybe the reason for our provisos against interviews are based on something else: On not knowing what kind of questions are going to come up…

 

You did a tour in Israel in spring 06- how was it?

Rodrigo: It was a great experience for us. Awesome impressions, really nice people and even some time to realize some touristic and cultural activities.
Peter: Without even mentioning the political dimension: I really enjoyed staying at only one place during the whole week and spending the whole time with the same people. As you know, the usual touring- routine is totally different. Since this was different in Israel, we did not only have these typical superficial conversations with the people there. Of course I don´t want to say that we spend the whole time discussing profound matters, but you get to each other better when it´s not the typical thing of arriving at a place at 6pm, eat something, do the soundcheck, drink something together after the concert, have breakfast together and leave again the next day. I mean, even this way we made many friends over the past years, but it took time.
In general the time in Israel was far too short. 1 week with 4 gigs doesn´t include lot of “free” time.
Micha: Lots of things were quite chaotic, but the guys there did their very best to make the best out of it and really took care of us.
Rodrigo: We have had 4 very different concerts: The first one was in a soda factory that was squatted for that night, the second took place in a school cafeteria, the third one in some kind of atrium and the last one in a bar.
Micha: We never got drinks.
Peter: And we needed to live from-hand-to-mouth: Money was the permanent problem, or better: it IS the permanent problem of the debt-machine Kobayashi. But who cares?
Rodrigo: This was mainly our own fault and a result of wrong planning and lacks of communication.
Peter: We would really like to come back to Israel, but I do not think that this is realistic within the next years.

The conflict between Israel and Palestine (or nowadays Lebanon as well) is being discussed among the leftist scene in Germany intensively and sometimes also in a dogmatic way. Did you get any new input during your stay there or is that conflict not that present in the scene?

Rodrigo: Uff, this is really not easy to answer. Of course we got a lot of input there and had a lot of interesting discussions.
Peter: To me it seems as if a lot of people over there are tending to thinking only in black and white terms as exactly the way they do over here. But of course there are exceptions from that rule: people who try to establish some sort of interchange / dialogue and who are neither driveling about the terror-state Israel and the Intifada as a legitimate auto-defense of an oppressed nation nor following the israelian state policy without question anything. But to be honest, I did not get the impression that politics was that present in the scene. This is something I definitely expected to be different.
Rodrigo: Most of the people we met were Israelian leftists. Wherever we have been, we were always asked if we would like to join anti-wall actions.
Peter: Well, I was not asked that frequently….

 

When I looked at your website, I saw that you also have an continously updated spanish version online. Furthermore you also got some songs with spanish lyrics. Where does this connection come from?

Rodrigo: It´s your turn, Peter.
Peter: Daniel (bass-player) has very vivid contacts to Spain since many years (he also does the label Tofu Guerrilla which releases and distributed a lot of spanish stuff). I also lived in Barcelona for about 1,5 years and that´s why there are many personal links and friendships between us and folks from there. Our first single has also been released on casette by 3 (or was it 4?) spanish labels.
And because we speak spanish and want the people there to understand what we do, we maintain a spanish version of the website. The reason why there is a spanish song on each of our LPs is that it gets some kind of boring singing german the whole time- although for me it´s still far easier to write german lyrics.
By the way: On the last LP Laura from Disface sings the spanish song with us.

 

In your bandhistory you are writing that you are caring about “subversion and counterculture”. Do you think it is possible at all that music has a subversive or even revolutionary impact on society or would you rather say that especially so called counterculture has a stabilizing effect because it makes it more bearable living under capitalistic circumstances by “consuming protest attitude”?

Rodrigo: I don´t think it´s about feeling comfortable. I think we got to keep on fighting for free spaces and defend them. Inspiration, communication and information are the keys. Wo really keeps on believing that revolution will come over night? Who still believes in revolution anyway?
Peter: The statement you just quoted was written by Martin. He left the band because we did not accomplish his intellectual demands :)
Seriously spoken, I do share your opinion here: Nobody gives a fuck about a punkconcert (we just recognized this during our last tour) and I am not even speaking about changes / progress that might be initiated by such an event. But on the other hand, I remember very well when I was 15 and heard bands like Slime. Someday I began to think about the lyrics and it became necessary to go to a demonstration from time to time to avoid the breakdown of the image I had of myself as a political punk. You see: it´s great to be against everything as long as this opinion does not have serious consequences. But I don´t belive in revolution neither- not in this country. That is why the struggle for social centres, squathouses etc.is that important: You can lock out the “evil system” for a while.
Regarding this issue our lyrics have changed as well: They are still political, but you can definitely find a lot of self-doubts in there as well.
Rodrigo: Yep, I would agree with what Peter just said.

Ok, maybe the word “revolutionary” was a bit exaggerated, but do you think that Punk / HC can have political influence on society?

Rodrigo: If I am thinking about the old days, punkmusic definitely politicized me.
Peter: Nowadays I am seeing it more this way: I am writing songs about political issues because I am caring about these questions and because politics play a role in my life. If this will make somebody think about it (what I don´t really expect because we are not telling anything new) that would be awesome. And if a song can be a backslapping for even one activist, that´s also great. But political influence is another thing for me. As a band we can support political movements to a certain degree when playing benefit-concerts or taking info-material with us, but I gave up the illusion of the band as a poltical project itself. Nevertheless I would definitely say that Kobayashi is a political band.
Rodrigo: That´s right. A book can move a lot more than ten good Punk / HC bands.

 

The lyrics of your song “Ibb Ibb Hurra” remind me a lot of my own history as I was born in a german smalltown and grew up there. Is that song autobiographic?

Micha: We all grew up in smalltowns.
Peter: I am not a very complicated person. Although I would love to write lyrics that tell stories like Jens Rachut does (singer of bands like Dackelblut, Angeschissen and others) but in the end all the stuff I write has more or less direct connotations to my everyday-life. I was raised in a hicktown called Ibbenbüren- the slogan of the village fair there is “Ibb Ibb Hurra”. And the song is about the feeling I get when I go there to visit my father. It´s a horrible place: All the people of my age look exactly like their parents, no change at all takes place, all this narrow-mindedness… I am always happy that I left that place.
Actually that is not the first time that someone comes up to me saying that the song reflects his / her own history.

 

OK, let´s go for the final question: You have just been to the recording studio to do a new LP. Are you satisfied with the results and when will the new stuff be released?

Peter: The last one already? What a pity, I actually just started to like it.
Micha: I am quite happy with the recordings and in general I like the new material a whole lot more than our old stuff.
Rodrigo: The people from the studio (Tonmeisterei / Oldenburg) were awesome: lot of technical know-how and really motivating. The LP (and CD) will be released by several DIY labels including Tofu Guerrilla of course.

OK- thanks for the interview and see you on one of your concerts! Any last words?

Peter: Thanks for your interest and have fun in Berlin!
Rodrigo: Yo- and have a nice evening.

Interview: Niklas

 


 
   

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