Interview: Horror Vacui before their tour around Mexico

[Beto Sigala]

Sometimes you have the wrong idea about some of the bands you listen to. Having internet doesn’t give you precission in terms of knowing how independent music works all the time.  Koppa the lead singer in Horror Vacui , talks in a very intense way about what it means to be a true DIY musician. His band is beyond tags, their work is far to be related with other postpunks acts from Italy. They play what they feel, and tell the things they want to say, without paying a lot of attention to any particular scene. Horror Vacui is giving some shows in Mexico during august, and of course they’ll make a stop  in Guadalajara’s Foro Palíndromo by thursday august 15th. Here, the full interview with Koppa.

Dark music is alive all around the world, maybe as it ever was before. Ho do you see yourselves, do you like the tag of a goth rock band, do you identify with any movement?

Koppa: I started planning to have a goth rock band in 2006 when me and Marzia (guitar player in Horror Vacui) were living in London. We were constantly attending a pub where all the goths were meeting up and I personally started enjoying this music around that time (while Marzia was already into the Cure, Joy Division, Bauhaus, Sisters Of Mercy and so on). At the time we were living in a squat in Brixton and were hanging out, playing and living with crusty punx from all over the world and our main listenings were focused on the crusty side of hardcore punk. If I have to identify with a specific movement, that would definitely be punk (if you can call it a movement). I don’t deny at all the goth rock tag because goth rock is what we play and what we’ve always wanted to play with Horror Vacui. Both the current and the past members of Horror Vacui play (or played) in a large quantity of bands; here are some names: Kontatto (d-beat raw punk), Campus Sterminii (stench core), Giuda (metal crust), Noia (metal punk), Death From Above (d-beat raw punk), Tuono (old school Italian hardcore), Bleeding (UK82 punk), Ed (skate-core), LMF (California HC punk), Tenebra (70’s rock), Headed Nowhere (hardcore) and the list can go on for another 20 lines… Where do we see ourselves? Somewhere in between the DIY hardcore punk scene and the goth rock/death rock/post punk/new wave one. We play for both the crowds in squats and clubs, no matter what. The only important thing is we want to make sure no right wing shit is involved in any place we play and any band we share the stage with. I don’t know if dark music is more alive now than ever because i was a little kid in the 80es when the new wave/goth rock bands were at the top of the charts, but I think there are a lot of bands around the world now that really kick ass and deserve more attention.

Recently Italian musicians are making a big splash in postpunk scene around the world. Why do you think this is happening?

Koppa: I’m actually surprised about that because I know just a few bands playing post punk in Italy and we’re not really connected with any of them because we move our steps into the DIY punk scene mostly, especially in Italy where we play something like 7 or 8 shows a year because not all the punks enjoy our style and not all the goths enjoy our attitude… I’m glad to hear this from you, but I think it’s just the feeling of someone that lives far away from Italy and doesn’t relly know what’s going on here. If you said that because you know bands like Soviet Soviet and Ash Code, even if we played together once, we don’t have any contact with these bands and that scene. No prejudices, those bands are very good in my opinion and I respect em, but we belong to 2 different worlds. There’s a band called Education (from Rome) that is really fucking good and, like us, they’re all punks, play squats etc. Hope you’ll have the chance to listen to them.

By the time you came in the scene, maybe there wasn’t the hype it’s happening right now in the postpunk or goth. How do you compare 2010 with 2019 in terms of creating and sharing you music?

Koppa: I really don’t see such a difference. In Italy things are exactly the same. We’re play in front of the same crowd since the very beginning. The number of people that approached the post punk music in the DIY punk scene probably increased a little bit, but I’m talking about 20 new people who started bands or show up when we play. I saw a difference in Europe but I don’t know if it’s because our name grew up a bit during the years or because a lot of people approached this music. Most of the people consider us a punk band, so it’s hard for me to understand if what we play is now hype or not, and, honestly, we don’t care because we play what we like even if it’s not hype at all.

 

Every recording it’s different, and humans are constantly changing, but what’s the best story around ‘New Wave Of Fear’, this far?

Koppa:Well, New Wave Of Fear has been written between 2015 and 2017. 2 songs are about the migrants who are trying to get a better life in Europe because in their countries there are wars, misery and poorness. A lot of people in Europe are racists and don’t want to welcome refugees in their countries and the far right wing is gaining a lot of consents and this thing scars the shit out of us because the shadow of a fascist dictatorship is just around the corner. Then we have some songs about life and issue we live every day, and a bunch of songs about death and the feelings we have towards it.

What are you working on right know, is there any new music coming soon?

Koppa: We have 5 new songs ready (we’ll play some of them in Mexico too) and we’re working on 3 or 4 more songs we have in our heads but haven’t practiced em together yet. Hopefully we’ll be able to finish em by the end of the year and record em before next summer. We changed line up right after the New Wave Of Fear album has been recorded so the process of writing new stuff has been a bit slow because we had to teach the old songs to the new members to keep on playing live. Of course the new record will be a bit different from New Wave Of Fear (which was a bit different from the previous record Return Of The Empire, that was a bit different from the first one that was In Darkness You Will Feel Alright which was a bit different from the demo…)

Have you ever felt a connection with any latin american, or mexican band?

Koppa: Not really. I know some bands and I’m happy we’ll play with some of them next month, but we’ve never really been in touch with any South American or Mexican bands except for Fofao, a Brazilian friend that has a one man band called Besthoven that has been going on for ages playing d-beat raw punk and has a passion for post punk too and a band I forgot the name… We’re not really active in social medias and stuff. I use facebook to promote the shows of my bands and the shows I book and to promote the records i release with my label (agipunk.com). I don’t have instagram. I personally grew up in the 90es and the only way to connect with people and to discover new muisc was writing letters and tape trading. As internet became a part of everybody’s daily life, the magic around the discovering of new music kinda faded away for people like me because you could have everything with a simple click. Same was for the relationships between people. Thanx to My Space and Facebook I could quickly connect with people I’ve been writing letters for years and, back then, every time, i had to wait for one or two months to get a reply, while, now, I can chat live with people that live 10000 km far from me, but at the same time I get requests or messages from people I couldn’t care less and sometimes even with people who have ideas I don’t share at all, so I’m a bit of an outsider of the social media thing, but that’s a different story and I kept it too long…

Your music is embraced very well by many mexican fans. How do you feel giving shows in Mexico?

Koppa: First of all we feel Mexico is giving us the chance to play some shows. Music is our vehicle to travel the world, spread some messages, meeting new people, making new friends and living new experiences. We’re really excited to be there and can’t wait to play in front of the Mexican crowds. Our expectations are never high because we’re 5 punk rockers and hate rockstars and shit like that, so, whatever will be, we’ll be happy. We wanna thank from the deep of our hearts Cesar Daniel Bustamante for booking the tour and helping us with the drive and the backline.

 

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whole mexican tour
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