MASS SEPARATION - interview

1. So what's up with Mass Separation? Got anything new to tell the readers? By the way why didn't you guys reply the first interview?
- Cheers this is Yeap here. I answer this interview on behalf of Mass Separation.. Sorry for not replying the first interview. Had been busy putting together the split with Unholy Grave and also a split vinyl a few months back. Plus now we have a new Drummer in the band, AJA of Relationsheep, Fastgame. We are currently recording for the split with Atrocious Madness. Our current line up is Yeap on vocals/guitar, Boy on Bass and vocals, Aja on drums.

2. You guys considered the band as punk but the truth is Mass Separation is more likely a grind band with political lyrics. So what's punk about? Mass Separation besides being DIY? Errr are you guys fans of early Napalm Death?
- Well, to us music is not really important. Its about the ideas. Cause you can be playing anything at all but a song without an idea has no passion. Music I must admit is not one of the best ways to convey our message but hey we just love getting out there to play the music to friends that love the same kind of music as we do. We were all brought up by punk rock and extreme music. To MS,  punk is about self empowerment, liberation, diversity and keeping it real. So we take our actions on real life stuff, we don't want to be just singing about it and not practicing it.  Yes most of us in the band used to like old Napalm Death.

3. What fascinates you guys with anarchism? Is it because it had suddenly become a trend in the punk/hardcore scene or because Emma Goldman convinced you that anarchism is the only way for us to live in a utopia?
- I personally was way fascinated about anarchism way before there was anarcho punk in the scene here. This is because it really applies to my life. And I feel comfortable practicing it . Yes for quite some time I have been reading stuff by Emma Goldman. There are quite some inspiring stuff that she said. But what really spark me into getting was getting into bands like Crass and Conflict when I was a teenager. Punks that actually practising what they SING/SHOUT ABOUT. I must admit I couldn't really identify with the street, Oi, Chaos punk scene.

4. Why are patches popular among anarcho-punks and crusties? What's so "anarcho" about it (patches). I don't think it has any significant impact to the cause you guys are fighting for besides being just another fashion statement. Do you have anything to say about this?
- There's nothing really "Anarcho" about wearing patches but it is a way of self expression.... about expressing your dissatisfaction or to support a band which you are very much into.. For me its means of making a statement. But I must agree with you nowadays punks are not wearing patches to express or to support but just to belong. In this sense yes it has become kind of a trend.

5. How come none of you guys got dread-locks? Don t you know that they're the in things in the " anarcho-punks" scene? Are you afraid of being mistaken as one those new metal kids?
- Hahaha.... used to have dreads... got tired of it. But hey, its our choice not to have dreads......

6. Ok enough silly questions; lets go to some serious thing. So you got a split release with Unholy Grave from Japan. Whose idea is behind this release? How do you get hooked up with those guys? Are you happy with the release?
- Ok, about the split release with Unholy Grave. Basically this idea came up after Unholy Grave came to play a gig here last year on 31 August 99. Basically me and Takaho (UG's vocalist) were writing and trading with each other for some time and we agree to do a split. Well I got to know Takaho from Jali (Demisor), he asked me to do a gig for Unholy Grave here as their flight back to Japan transits through Malaysia. So that's how we hooked up. About the release... well actually we are quiet displeased with our sound quality.. but no big deal of course. The cover (CD Sleeve) however as me and Takaho deal was supposed to be a 7'' sized booklet. But deal to lack of funds we have to stick to a normal sized Cd cover. Because of this the lyrics were also downsized which made it very hard to read. Apologies to Unholy Grave on this part.

7. Beside Parkinson, I must say that your band is quite active in releasing new material. So what s the secret? Most local bands take forever in releasing new stuff (take Carburetor Dung and 24 Reasons for example).
- All of us take the responsibilities of writing the songs. Maybe that's why we are speeding it up. No secrets actually.  We kinda put lots of time into the band. Thats why I guess

8. Your lyrics tend to be quite simple and to the point. Is it because of the music you re playing or it is because you dislike writing long and complex lyrics? Another thing why don' t you sing in other language beside English? Do you think that by doing so you will not reach the band goals?
- Actually the lyrics in all our previous releases were quite lengthy. But of course we would like to write something that is easy to understand . Well we sing in English most of the time because that's the language that I'm most fluent in. And I write the lyrics. Correct me if I'm wrong, if you want your ideas to be heard not just locally but everywhere around the world, English is the best bet to convey the message to most  people everywhere. You can't tell people in Sweden or Africa about what's happening in Malaysia through Bahasa Malaysia (language spoken in Malaysia) right.  We have some Bahasa Malaysia songs coming on its way I reckon.

9. Anarchism is not really accepted in Malaysia, the closest thing we got is the Socialist ideologies that you know are not quite accepted within the larger context. So how far do you think anarchism will be accepted in Malaysia?
- For now through my own practices, Anarchism is practiced more at a individual level now. Not at a organised level yet. There are not enough people who actively practice it to have a movement. But for now it is starting slowly.  More and more people are starting to grasp the idea.  There distribution of literature has also increased which means it can be more obtainable . There are alot of small movements that are starting up like KOOF Foundation, FOOD NOT BOMBS, APF, CALLUS COLLECTIVE, Coalition of Retaliation. For now most of the people I know who gets into Anarchism are from the punk scene. But this can be also because of the rising trend in Anarcho Punk music. But I have met  people who really get into the idea sincerely. I see Anarchism is getting more acceptance nowadays, even more if there is another big political issue like the last Reformation (bad example). People will start to question the government and thats where the education of Anarchism becomes more easy to!
 grasp. We need Critical Mass!  But Anarchism wouldn't be anarchism in the first place if it was accepted on a large scale would it. Heheh. (Hmm, eh? ed.)

10. One thing that have been lacking here in Malaysia is the workers rights movement, it's like there s almost nothing wrong with the system they're in, even though most people know that it s untrue. How do you see this? Do you have any view towards this matter?
- The activist scene unlike the punk scene is still at its infancy stages. But for workers rights movement we have one or 2 groups going on but not exactly Anarchist ones. There is one in Penang (North of Malaysia) that fought for the rights of the underpaid McDonalds workers. Its not that people don't question about this and that here. But it's because most of this workers feel they got a family to support , bills to pay so they could not risk jeopardizing their jobs.  As you know in our country anything unorthodox that comes out from the mouth will be reward with Internal Security Act (ISA). Thats free speech Malaysian style for you. Most people in Malaysia are just to scared to do anything.

11. There s this talk about having some sort of  law and order  over the Internet. Do you think this is possible?
- Well one thing for sure. We have been govern in real life. Now they want to govern us in the web too. Fuck this man. People have the rights to do, read and view what ever they want on the net. So long as it doesn't hurt/oppresses anybody.

12. What's your view towards Mp3? Are you into it or not? What do you think about the possibilities that one day Mp3 will be the next format to enjoy music and eventually replace other format that s readily available? Do you think CD will face the same consequences that vinyl had a few years back?
- I'm not really into Mp 3. I don't know much about it, but yes, I think CDs will face the same consequences as vinyls. People's needs are changing everyday, they want something that can be obtained fast. Now you can have the smallest and most compact gadgets which used to big a damn big piece of chunk in the old days. This goes the same with the topic we are talking about here. With MP3 you can download stuff for free. You don't have to buy a record or Cd. But I heard that if you put your music under MP3, the company that makes MP3 technically can use your songs for what ever they choose too. Correct me if I'm wrong.

13. You got split releases with the likes of Unholy Grave and Cripple Bastard. I must say that they re quite big names in the scene of their own. So do you feel that you re on the same league as they are? Are there any local bands you adore?
- Not at all. In the first place we don't consider CB or UG as big bands. What happen to the nonhierarchy talk? He he he he.  They happen to be our friends. It hasn't crossed our mind about the existence of leagues. Of course there are bands that play very good music and there are band that do not. But that does not mean that the lousy sounding band is shit.. maybe they have good ideas. But of course good music will surely catch people attention first. I think everybody is big in their own way. Not only bands... Anybody who has done something for the scene adds up to the big picture. Well, in the local scene there are few bands that I like .....Fastgame, Ravage, Blockage, Relationsheep, Shitworkers etc.

14. The thing I noticed about the local DIY punk/hardcore scene is that most of the "new guards" tend to have a narrow view towards other things that doesn't fit their description of punk. They tend to be PC and stuff. Anyway don't you think this will limit their ability to reach those outside of the punk/hardcore scene?
Yes this does limit their ability to reach people beyond the scene. These people are mainly what I call Coffee Shop Anarchist. All they do is sit around and observe other's actions and criticise. Not constructive critism.  But they don't go out and do something for themselves. All I can say that is I don't really give a shit about this so called scene police/ guards/ runners.  We should just get up and do what we know is right! Not just roll over and die because this  guards says its wrong. Anyway, I tend to view it as positive criticism.

15. So do you see the possibilities that people outside the confine of punk/hardcore work with those inside it? How can this be achieved with out the scene even opening its doors towards outside people? Will punk become just a ghetto?
- Well personally, I'm from the Punk scene, I have been working on various stuff with people from all other kinds of scene to a certain cause. That's what solidarity is called right? You do not only find solidarity in the Punk Community. Its everywhere. By opening the doors we share our ideas and this will open to new understandings. Punk will become a ghetto if the people in the scene don't want to liberate themselves. There are no walls confining Punk from other things. It is people that are putting up walls between themselves.

16. Well I guess this is all for now and since this will also be featured in a Finnish zine maybe you can tell the readers something that I haven t manage to ask you. By the way are there any final words? Thanks for your time. I really appreciated it. Thanks again!
- Thanks Markku and Hatta for this interview appreciate it a lot. Sorry for submitting late. Hi to everybody in the Finnish scene. Though we don't know much about the Finnish scene we hope to have more contacts from this part of the world. Bands, zines, labels, get in contact. Oh yeah, check out the Atrocious Madness/ Mass Separation . Its on its way.

Yeap or Nazha Aini,
W1-02-05,
Subang Perdana,
Goodyear Court 9,
47610 Subang Jaya,
Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.   

E-mail: [email protected] hotmail.com

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