maandag 18 november 2013

logo Kickback

This interview with Pascal Pastore took place on Friday, the 1st of November and was done by Bert Goris. Pictures by Serch Carriere.

-Pascal, the last time I saw you was at the shows in Li├Ęge and Amsterdam.  How have you been since then? How has life been treating you lately?
I quit everything…smoking and drinking and such. Because I was pissed off with everything, the whole world and stuff…especially my band. But for me nothing changed. It’s over for me. I’m already old, I’m a pissed-off, depressed guy…I’m a sad clown, always smiling…but dead on the inside.
-How long have you been feeling like this?
Oh, since I was young already. I always acted like this…always smiling because I’m bored…the sad clown.

-Sorry to jump from one question to another, but I would say not one Kickback album is the same as the other. The evolution you have made on each album is incredible. Were there always one or more specific members responsible for that or is it a combination of different factors?
If you want the whole story…Stephen was the first and the second album and now we got Damien. For the rest…Irvin was good, maybe Simon back in the day…he brought some technical stuff, but he did not create anything. I think it’s a question of wanting to do something good, because it’s all commercial nowadays. We want to go against the grain. It all used to be a very violent movement. I grew up with Dead Kennedy’s, Bad brains, Black flag, Negative approach even Minor Threat. It all used to be about very intelligent bands, but now it’s all about consumerism. Or either it’s too indie, hipster, boring… I’m 42 years old now and I just don’t  listen to hardcore or any of that anymore. Maybe some old stuff, but besides that, nothing. It’s over. But for Kickback, I make an exception. I try to find out how it all works for me, as a musician. A lot of dedication comes with it as well because it’s hard work. And obviously we always try to make something new…not the same thing as the previous album, which is a very hard thing to do as we are not that much into hardcore anymore and Stephen is living in Thailand, so.
-What caught my attention with the ‘No surrender’ album, and with other albums as well…It seems like the album and everything about it makes just a perfect package. The production, the vocals, the lyrics, artwork and samples…it all seems to fit in perfectly. What is your role in the process that starts with the birth of an idea which then becomes music and images,…
In the first place, it was all about finding the money to make the record. Everything is so expensive these days. I grew up with demo tapes, you know. We tried different drummers and all. I’ve put my heart and soul into this, together with Damien. I put out this album to piss on all the other band members who quit. Band members who just come and go… But for me ‘Et le diable rit avec nous’ is the same. We first of all had no money, no decent production…just a lap-top and that was it.
-It seems to me that all attention concerning Kickback is always focused on Stephen and never on any of the other band members.
Yeah, it’s almost like Lady Gaga you know, haha.
-Do you find this normal or is it something that bothers you?
I know how it works, but Stephen is great too you know. On the stage he’s a perfect front-man. But on the albums, I would like him to do some more. But it’s like this…they like the singer…they want a bad guy on stage. But for me, Stephen is an intelligent guy. People tell a lot of stupid stories, but he’s so much more than that.

-There have been a lot of conflicts between the band and the audience…
Yes, obviously. Because when you are pissed off about something this is the way you will react…
-Can you always agree with the way other band members act on stage or do you think they sometimes go too far?
And don’t you think this often overshadows the rest of the band and its music?
To be honest, I grew up with people like GG Allin…you know. What can you do? People only seem to care about the current bands and don’t look into the history of it all…
-Exactly, we all know the early 80’s hardcore scene was a lot more violent and provocative than what it is now. Is that something you would like to go back to with Kickback…that sort of atmosphere? Or is there any form of atmosphere you prefer even more? What does the perfect show for you look like? Or doesn’t it exist?
It used to exist I think when I was younger. Or maybe I just felt that way then because I was young or whatever. Hardcore used to be music for runaways, misfits and stuff like that, especially in the USA. The punk people, drug addicts, … But even hipsters are into it right now. It was all less marketable back then. When you’re into the music business, you know it’s fucked up! Bands who are around now…Biohazard and Sick of it all. Take the Cro-mags even. Who ever saw the REAL Cro-mags? Nobody. I’m into Kickback. I play the shows for money and for my friends haha. No, no…I don’t have any friends anymore. I don’t mix with a lot of people, because we have nothing in common. I’m into jazz and they are into cocaine and parties/girls, but I don’t give a shit about that. It’s boring.
I still smoke weed, but I’m not a party-type anymore. I used to party every night…but now, no more!
-In the past you have been put on bills with bands that have nothing in common with Kickback whatsoever. I’m specifically referring to beatdown bands etc. Do you enjoy that…playing with such different bands and in front of different audiences (audiences that aren’t yours). Perhaps you like to confront these specific people, as they couldn’t be further away from the mindset of the band?
No. It seems they all want the crown. But we took the crown years ago.
And as far as the music goes, it’s always the same. It’s boring. I have these type of records at my home. Even the first Hatebreed for instance… Years ago it was all about the violent dancing controversy and now it’s the beatdown bands who are fashion. But they make money with it…it’s all about the money. Hardcore has become mainstream music. It’s all about brands like Eastpack, Vans etc. … It’s backpack music haha.
-How do you feel about your own music and the way people perceive it, do you think there's a large amount of people who 'get it'?
Off course. But it’s like Black Sabbath and stuff…who cares if people get it. It really doesn’t matter to me. I don’t like to be clapped for, you know. Maybe other people in the band are into that, but not me. I don’t have facebook, I’m not looking for friends, I don’t want to pick up girls or anything. I don’t give a shit about those things. People bore me, I’m waiting for people to surprise me. “ Etonnez-moi!”. But most of the time I’m boring too. I don’t care. I’m a selfish guy and I try to find my way. I’m in my cave and I make music. I’m like a wounded animal and I’m licking my wounds in my cave. But maybe it’s my own fault you know. Maybe all the things that I blame people for are my own fault. I don’t fit in this world. I’m not that strong, because I just don’t fit.
-I don’t know…do you think it has to do with not being strong?
They say the strongest animal is the one who fits, who survives.

-I think of the 3 key-members of Kickback as very strong characters. Did this often clash in the past?
Yes, off course. When we started Kickback, we wanted to make the perfect band, the perfect style, the perfect riff… So that’s already a hard job to begin with…this quest that we had set for ourselves.  That’s why we are never happy with anything.
And Stephen hates what I have become and vice versa. It’s something that grows. We are very extreme in our own different ways. I’m like boring and Stephen is crazy, mean, pissed-off sometimes. We hate each other, but we have to stand on that stage for one hour a day. But even now, we still like that…we don’t fake it.
For the rest, the touring and stuff has become so boring. Everything is the same everywhere because of globalization. There’s no more fun in travelling around. It’s the same everywhere…the same trendy looks, the hipsters, the sleeve-tattoos,…
It used to be so different, take Eastern Europe for instance or even Portugal or Spain…they were not yet hooked by the USA. OK, people get more intelligent because of the internet and all the information they can get that way, so that’s an advantage of globalization. But for the rest… everything has become too easy. I believe you have to suffer in order to get somewhere.
-For as far as I know, you grew up in the banlieues of Paris. Do you still live there? To what extent has this defined the man you are today?
I don’t live there anymore. It’s impossible to live there. It’s the same thing as in the rest of Europe. It’s all immigrant people who come and live there now. I’m an immigrant’s son myself. I got an Italian/North African background.
I grew up in these type of tall buildings in the banlieues. So maybe I’m a bit tougher than the rest, but not too much. But it’s a tough place to grow up…you can compare it to Schaarbeek in Belgium. I grew up in the banlieues, but I can’t live in that place anymore!
I grew up in Nanterre to be exact, a sort of communist city. No movie theatres or stuff like that there. But a good public library! That’s where I found all of the good music when I was young. I listened to funky music, reggae music,…  But I wanted something crazier. I saw the Sex Pistols on tv and Bauhaus and stuff like that.  So I went to the public library where they used to have all sorts of vinyl to rent for 1 franc. So with that record I would go to my friends place. That’s how I found out about Black flag and Dead Kennedy’s. I was 14 at the time. That meant such a big change for me! In the beginning when I brought these records I had no idea at what speed to play them haha. In those days, nobody played music that fast. But I have to say that I wasn’t really punk and dressed up dirty, I was more hip hop and I was wearing sportswear and stuff. I said: ‘No, I’m not punk, I’m hardcore’. After that I went to Paris and met all these street people who were into graffiti and stuff.

-You say that you feel alone and don’t exactly care about a lot of stuff. But then I ask myself what gives you fulfillment…the desire to go on? What’s your passion?
Jazz music, definitely. Jazz music from the fifties and sixties. Sometimes movies, video games. And of course, literature! I have no limits when it comes to that stuff… I read everything, I like everything, I eat everything. I’m always looking for perfection. It’s a permanent quest I’m on.
-Do you feel alone in the band as well or do you feel a certain resemblance to the other band members that you don’t share with other people?
Yes, I feel alone in the band as well, but I guess that is my own fault. If you feel different, you are going to fuck the band up. I did that on the last tour, that was my fault. Even if you have a different personality, you have to be able to make sacrifices. But at the time I felt so bad…I was fed up with the touring, you know. Only one hour of pleasure a day. Last time, I was trying to bring back the past…making friends, partying,…But you can’t bring the past. The past is the past.
- How do you feel about the future, be it Kickback, diapsiquir, or any of the members including yourself? I'm asking this because Kickback's last album (Le diable rit avec nous) had a very different vibe from its predecessor (damien had said it would be more in the vein of diapsiquir) and from what i've heard the next diapsiquir will be very passionate, so this has to signify some changes?

I’ll try to explain…
Now in Paris there is an exhibition about punk music…and they try to bring back all of the old stuff. But they are all copycats. For me, WE were the punk music and the hardcore music. It’s all about evolution. Black Flag is the perfect example. They started out as very simple punk/hardcore music, but they changed after that. Off course…you have to change! Negative Approach, the same…John Brannon quit the band and started Laughing Hyenas, which was a great band. You have to change and to evolve. It doesn’t make sense if you do the same thing over and over again, like for instance Agnostic front. Although I have to say that I really like Roger, he’s an honest guy.
But if you don’t evolve, you got no brain!
I can tell you something about the next Diapsiquir album…We want to make the perfect music for us! Like totally commercial music, but not shitty music. We really want to make something in the vein of easy-listening music with a good production, good lyrics,… but with the same impact! I want to make a great album for me to listen to…that’s my project, my future! The rest of my future is uncertain…No hope, no light, no money…Voila, what the fuck!!