Yesterday, I watched an Instagram video from Alec Empire who is one of the founding members of the Digital Hardcore band Atari Teenage Riot; currently included in the band are Nic Endo & CX KiDTRONiK (photo to the left is one of the other founding member Carl Crack may he Rest In Power). In this video below, he bids us a Happy New Year in an calm preemptive hue for “Pacificist & Alert Attitude” for the new year.
I watched and listened to him poignantly speak over a panorama of topic, but one relating to Censorship? Alec is known to be a straight up litigator of personal/social political politics. He holds no punches while he conveys to all his fans the severity of his message. Some of us Old School punkers need to take heed. It’s time we learn to mentor to the young, future breed instead of Blame-blasting or Poser-bashing (You know calling people who are in it for a minute, trendy – poserish).
He dropped another point about choosing the right music. How a certain type of music has been deem violent and disruptive with th epossiblity of censorship being applied by certain streaming services, etc. Along with inspirational blurts such as: “never to let anyone impose upon you,” “don’t let people brgin you down” and “ignore ‘cynics’ by merely walking away.“
For those who don’t quite understand the underground music culture, for a self-selecting group of people its more than just songs being played in a format aggressive, violent, vile and disruptive or wearing clothing in a style only ill-reputive to the status quo. It’s a lifestyle, a haven a self-selecting group of individuals can find comfort and solace from a status quo culture different from ethical and moral standpoints. The music is a healthy channel to express and solidfy what we as individuals can connect within and comunity of the underground cultures we adhere or identify to be. For some Punk Rock, Black Metal, Digital Hardcore/Breakcore, Grindcore, Noisecore, Techno, Industrial, and Hip-hop, etc. Yet, in this different genres there exist those brutish ignorant Right-Winged individuals who flaunt the ideology of hatred and fear amongst our cultures.
Furthermore, Alec narrows his message by expressing this phrase, “Choosing Your Battles.” Yeah. Where do we stand when it comes to sexism, racism, homo/transphobia, animal rights/veganism/vegetarianism, health care, homelessness, domestice violence, gun rights, eco-fascism, the environment, and drug/alcohol/sexual abuse, etc.? These are few topics that creates political upheavel and ferments division within the cultures and the environments we inhabit temporarily or permanently. However, through communication and clarity there can be a collective cohesion of tolerance.
For instance, I was at a show in Atlanta back around summer of 2019. I went to the God Speed You Black Emperor and Manas (both bands were fucking awesome) perform! While I stood in line in front of the theater on that warm sunny afternoon, I notice some guy walking pass the line screaming like he’s a gremlin with a knife in his hand and wearing a BURZUM t-shirt.
Dude, in the punk rock, noise and metal culture that is one of the main NSBM-White Supremist music projects plaguing the underground extreme music culture (in this case Black Metal). When I saw this dude walk by, I scream right at him, “FUCK BURZUM!” He keep walking down the street and I continued yelling at him to “FUCK OFF……… RUN BACK TO YOUR CAVE WITH YOUR WANNABE BLACK METAL ASS……” Stupid Idiot. It was a…’You Might Be a Fake Ass Nazi If…’ moment for this bloody idiot.
It was an ugly moment, but I’m not one of those types who takes this as a warning sign during this past Trump-Era in America. Someone visibly disrespecting the neighborhood known for liberal culture and liberal politics at a concert with two performing acts with very liberal-leftist political views. Especially, politics concerning race. As far as that guy wearing that shirt, he’s lucky the old school cliques of S.H.A.R.P. (Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice) Skins, Crusty Punks and Peace Punks didn’t run after his ass for a beatdown. Bloody Cunt!
To conclude, Alec is conveying a message of perservation, peace and conviction. Especially, for past, present and future subverts in the underground extreme music culture. We must learn to be tolerable and passive in the same manner for any issue besides; like, balance between Samurai and Monk. As far as idiots like that guy in Atlanta, there are more of them to show up at future events. They will test any and all of us. They will want to know one thing like myself and Alec Empire/Atari Teenage Riot, which is : WHERE DO YOU STAND?
You got to have a stance on any issue. There is no more middle of the road. You either with us or against us. There’s no point in fighting or agruing why you can’t be down. Alec roughly phrases it in the video, “If you don’t agree with someone who doesn’ take music seriously, those cynics, then, JUST WALK AWAY.” Think about it; if you are going to watch a band like God Speed You Black Emperor play a show while quietly giving a THUMBS UP to a guy wearing a BURZUM t-shirt attempting to create a raucous, then you are playing with fire and you need EXCLUDE YOURSELF, as well. This crowd isn’t for you. In other words, you are TOO DEAD FOR ME.