THE EX - INTERVIEW
"Hi Jantsa. Yes I received your questions. I don't have much time to answer them very long. So, if you don't mind i keep it a bit short."
I don't mind as I didn't have much time for the questions..
Your records haven't been distributed here (I only know of one small distro "Jakelu Laama" couple of years ago).. What do you think might be the main reason for this?
"Question 1 / distribution in finland: I don't know why, you should ask your local distributors. We 've been offering our CDs (and others from our distribution company 'KONKURRENT'' in Holland). Maybe you should ask Karin at Spinefarm in Finland why she doesn't distribute them. Maybe there is simply no demand for it."
Referring to previous question; I think that even many readers of this ´zine haven´t yet heard you, so how do you sound and how do you make your music?
"2/ how do we sound: Very good, thank you very much. I find it very difficult to explain in words how the music sounds. My goal is to make music so that people can listen to it. Yours is to write about it. If we would fit in a certain style it would be easier. But we don't. Just called it 'ex-music'."
I guess it's my goal to try (sic: I've only heard 10% of The Ex) but the Ex-files put it best: "Starting out as an anarcho-punk band... The Ex has developed over the years into a melting pot of divergent musical styles, interweaving noise, folk, jazz and etchnic music, under one unique umbrella: Ex-music." "Other features are the discordant, highly rhythmic guitar work, the rolling, almost African drumming style and the furious way in which Sok delivers his ofter sarcastic lyrics" What else from the bands (or do you call yourself a band?) ideas/ideals you think would be important for people to know? E.g. what kind of things you sing in your lyrics?
"3/ important: As I said above our music is the most important for the people, not our views or ideals. We don't have a message, we don't have straight solutions to all problems in the world. We are not kind of christians who want to convert the world. We have a lot of ideas, also a lot of ideals. Sometimes we sing about it, and sometimes not. We may inspire some people, we may show them there are also other ways of making and working with music. For instance, we have strong ideas how we work. We try to stay independant, do as much as possible ourselves (booking, organising, recording, lay-out, distribution etc. etc.). We are absolutely not interested in the world of rock&roll or other kind of strange pop-business."
Now people might know something about you but what do you know/expect about the people here in Finland or the country (from what you've heard)?
"4/ About Finland: To be honest, I don't know much at all about Scandinavia in general. We've never visited your country so I also don't have any fixed ideas about it. We are very happy to come."
Your 20-year anniversary party will be next weekend, what kind of feelings you have now? Remembering all the ups & downs from those years? Any surprises at the party?
"5/ 20th year: We are not looking back on the last 20 years in one wayor another. For us The Ex only exists by the fact they are making music now! That's what count. We all the time create new songs and pieces and also new audiences come and have a listen. That 's why we still exist. The 20 year thing seemed to be a good exuse to organise a great and big party."
So how did you meet up with Steve Albini/Shellac?
"6/ Albini: We met Steve in the last couple of years a few times. Also when he still played with Big Black. Last year we were starting to work with the american label: Touch & Go. When we were in Chicago we visited Steves new studio and were very impressed. Steve himself was not there. So we just phoned him. He was immediately very exited about the whole project."
And what about the cellist Tom Cora (r.i.p.)? What other works has he done besides with The Ex? Maybe played with some orchestras as well? (just a guess)
"7/ Tom Cora: he played in 'Skeleton Crew' with Fred Frith, 'Curtlew'; solo and 'RooF' (with Phil Minton, Michael Vatcher and myself)."
I haven't heard this project with kurdish musicians but it sounds interesting, how did you came up with that and how was it?
"8/ kurdish I'm not sure which you mean. We did so many projects."
'The Spanish Revolution 1936' photobook 2x7" is an impressive package. What kind of reasons you had for re-releasing it 2 years ago, I mean were they somehow different, like has the relevance of the book somehow changed after 13 years (as the world situation changes too), what do you think?
"9/1936 The only difference is that it was re-released on CD-singles. It used to be vinyl 7". The book stayed exactly the same. There was and is still demand for it."
Slight misunderstanding (?) - I wasn't asking if the book has changed, but were the reasons for re-release different and has the relevance changed (´cos at the time they saw clear links between what happened in -36 and what was happening in -86) So what's your definition / comprehension / expression of anarchism?
"10/ anarchism: Find those question very difficult. Especially if I don't know what you exactly mean by anarchism. I don't like it as 'group name', as being a part of a group. I believe you can be anarchist as way of living, as a free way of thinking but I don't like to 'sell' it to the newspapers. You are a anarchist, you don't sell it."
'I heard a rumour..' that you live/-d in some kind of big squat just near Amsterdam? At least you are (ex-?) squatters... So how's the squat-scene nowadays in Amsterdam? And/or the scene there otherwise?
"11/ squatting : yes, all of us were squatters. The last years we are not so involved anymore. As I told you before, we are a music group and not a political movement, or squat-movement. We used to have a very big squat were a few ex-members were living. Just outside Amsterdam. Certainly when the squat-scene in Holland was very big and impressive we had alot to do with it. Everywhere were little shops, concerts etc etc.. It was a great time. Now it's still there but 'less prominent'. Everything has it's ups and downs. Things change, the world change, some of us get children. To be short: we are a bit less involved. There are so many other things we like to do."
That's it, like I said I've translated some bits from the 'Threat by an Example'-book - wanna add something to that? Or anything else?
"12/ add? come and have a listen. bye bye luc"
The Ex web-site story: http://www.xs4all.nl/~exrcrds/
Terrie guitar G.W.Sok vocals Katrin drums Andy guitar Luc bass
|THE EX & SHELLAC - Together on tour in Scandinavia, Finland:
La 05.06. HELSINKI. Oranssi-klubi
Su 06.06. TAMPERE. Villa 1898
Disturbing domestic peace ('80)
History is what's happening ('82)
Dignity of labour ('83), Tumult ('83)
Blueprints for a blackout ('84)
Too many cowboys ('87)
Hands up! you're free ('88)
Aural guerrilla ('88)
Joggers & smoggers ('89)
Dead fish ('90)
Scrabbling at the lock w/ Tom Cora ('91)
And the weathermen shrug their shoulders w/ Tom Cora ('93)
Mudbird shivers ('95)
Starters alternators ('98)
SINGLES & EP:S
All corpses smell the same ('80) 7",
New horizons in retailing ('80) 7" flexi,
Weapons for El Salvador ('81) 7",
Villa Zuid moet blijven ('81) 7" flexi,
Gonna rob the spermbank ('83) 12",
The red dance package w/ Alerta ('83) 12",
Enough is enough w/ Awara ('84) 7",
Destroy fascism! w/ Ex + Chumbawamba = Antidote ('87) 7",
Rara rap ('88) 7",
Lied der Steinklopfer w/ Dog Faced Hermans ('90) 7",
Keep on hoppin' w/ Mekons ('91) 7",
6.1 ('91) 7",
6.2 w/ Brader ('91) 7",
6.3 ('91) 7",
6.4 w/ Guests ('91) 2x7",
6.5 w/ Kamagurka, Herr Seele ('91) 7",
6.6 ('92) 12"
BOOKS The Ex - 1936, the Spanish revolution ('86), w/ 2x 3"cd G.W. Sok - Ex-rated ('97)
TAPES Pay no more than 6 Fr. w/ Svätsox ('85), Live in Wroclaw ('87), Treat w/ Dog Faced Hermans ('90), Ample ('91), Ample 2 ('95)
VIDEOS The Ex & Guests - Live at the Bimhuis ('92) Terrie, Andy & Friends - Sounds of bells ('95)
COMPILATIONS (out of many) Oorwormer w/ Svätsox, Zowiso, Grrr..('82) lp, Enemies of the State (´84) lp, Communicate! (´85) 2lp, Dig this, a tribute to the great Strike (´85) lp, Support the miners' strike w/ Morzelpronk, Zowiso ('85) lp, Hits and corruption (´86) lp, Viva Umkhonto! w/ B.G.K, Scream, Victims Family ..(´86) lp, Emma (´86) 2lp, Intifada w/ Seein' Red, The Plot, Vernon Walters..(´88) lp, Life is change ('89) lp, Exclusion ('89) lp
* * Dog Faced Hermans (w/ Andy) Humans fly ('88), Every day timebomb ('89, Mental blocks for all ages ('91), Hum of life ('93), Bump & swing ('94), Those deep buds ('94)
Ig Henneman Tentet (w/ Katrin) Dickinson ('93)
Roof (w/ Luc) The untraceable cigar ('95), Red Note
Kletka Red (w/ Andy) Hijacking ('96),
Little Red Spiders (w/ Andy) The Music Of The Little Red Spiders ('97)