Well at first tell about your group, its history and last bands of everyone of your group. What sense of your band's name?
We formed the band in 2015. Jono, Ben, and I moved to Chicago from Florida around 2013. We played in bands with each other in Florida for many years before moving here. We were not playing in an active, "heavy" band so we decided to play together. Doris worked with Jono and we needed a singer and she was punk so we asked her and she did great from the start. She has never been in a band before this but can play the guitar. Ben and Jono play in a screamo band called Knife Hits that still tours occasionally. Ben and I play in a band called Great Deceivers which is an indie rock band that is a bit slower and heavier than most.
We could not decide on a name for the band and our first show was coming up. "Chew" was one of the finalists and we had to decide and that was the decision. It's too bad that none of us are good at coming up with names, because I hear great new names very often. I personally dislike the name very much, but it is too late to change it. Apparently, there is another band in Atlanta that uses the name as well, and they threatened us with a lawsuit to change the name of our band. We put the dots in between the letters and they said it's ok so that's what we do now. It does not stand for anything (acronym) other than what you would like to make up for yourself. We and our friends have come up with many humorous versions. I do not know how it would work out in cyrillic or would translate to Russian but I'm sure there are many funny things you could do with a handful of letters there.
What do you want to achieve by playing music, what’s the idea of the band? And tell us a bit about your political beliefs.
This is something we do for fun, first and foremost. We like the process of composing it and creating it. It is also fun to perform and inspire others to some sort of feeling. We also like that we get to meet others who are like-minded and travel across the country and the band gives us the opportunity to do that. The lyrics are about many themes common in punk and rock and roll- anger, frustration, longing, confusion, just to name a few. The lyrics address ignorance, the wealthy, the government, hypocrisy, mental health, and cops. We do not like cops.
To keep things simple we could be described as having anarchist or socialist beliefs, usually both. We are "leftists" in general although among us we do have some different opinions and viewpoints.
Please tell about things that inspire you for writing texts and music and about things that influence you (in creativity and everyday life).
Basically what was stated previously- our shitty jobs, how much we hate rich people, clinical depression, the pursuit of finding meaning, ignorant chauvinists who will not shut the fuck up, these fucking fascists, etc. This may not be speaking for everyone in the group. Playing this music makes me feel good like nothing else, so that is a positive influence as well.
Are there any places or initiatives you've know that operate in such a way that you think it’s a real alternative and a great example that DIY punk could be a vehicle for social change?
I can't speak for the others here, but diy venues themselves are a real alternative and the most apparent example of punk doing something to affect change. I know that I was "radicalized" by these spaces when I was young and I continue to hear relevant and intelligent discussions in these spaces that I probably wouldn't hear at a bar or at a sporting event. As far as organizations that perform direct action that are within the circle of diy/punk a few of us were involved in a group called food not bombs back in Florida.
What about your city? What are there bands, magazines? What relations between musicians?
We live in the third largest city in the US, so there are many of these things. We will try to keep it short. Bands we like a lot right now are Melanin and Dream Probe. Melanin is not necessarily hardcore but they are for sure the best band playing right now. Potential Friends is a cool zine from around here.
Musicians in the punk world tend to get along for the most part in Chicago, although there are some obvious "lines" that were drawn between different groups of people for different reasons. We are outsiders so we do not get involved in "beef" that predated us. The city is so large that there are different regions within the city that have their own scenes. People do venture out of their neighborhoods to catch shows elsewhere, especially if they are good shows. Even though it is such a large city, most people know each other at the sorts of shows we play and attend, which feels more like a smaller town would.
What of modern groups are interesting for you and worthy of mark?
Unfortunately I can not speak for the entire group here. We have varied music tastes, but it is obvious all of us like some of the same things. I will say I think Warthog is pretty cool. And Livin' Thing puts on a great show and has very fun music that I enjoy. Yautja from Nashville might be the best band that tours right now. Penetrode from Philadelphia is also making exciting, intelligent punk music. And Melanin. Seriously listen to that band right now.
Can hardcore music become the reason of positive changes inside our scene and in surrounding world in your opinion?
To an extent, yes. But music alone is not going to inspire someone to make changes. That sort of thing takes encouragement from others. As a music, hardcore is good at bringing people together and making them feel understood, so while it can provide fertile ground, the sprout will need care and time to grow.
Can you list: what do you like and hate in hardcore society?
Like- makes it easier for people to feel comfort around one another and possibly become friends, sweet riffs, touring, sometimes good politics and perspectives, sometimes cool literature, sometimes good food like elotes or tacos
Hate- bad attitudes, people making assumptions about others, ignorant chauvinists, loud mouthed know-it-alls, people acting like cops
What do you think, what will direction of hardcore in after years?
It seems that "tough" styles are coming back into fashion in the USA. What will come after this? Straight edge/youth crew style comes back in to fashion. We don't know. :-)
What do you guys do in everyday life besides music?
Two of us fight Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Two of us own dogs and like to hang out with them a lot. We all either work in a bar, music store, or dog grooming salon. I personally really like Star Wars and that's how I spend most of my free time outside of the band- reading Star Wars comics.
Pretty standard question: what do you know/think about Russia and local punk-community?
It's safe to say that none of us know much of anything at all about Russia's DIY or punk community. I'm sure I've heard a few bands here and there- like a "wait, is this band singing in Russian?" situation, but no idea about the scene itself or any bands. From what I gather, it had to be kept rather secret until the Soviet government dissolved.
If the question is about Russia in general we mostly think of Russia in terms of the Russian government using propaganda to influence our elections and the opinions of people in the USA. This is serious news to the four of us and it's something we read or hear about at least once a week. Other than this and the vague notion we have about how the Russian government treats its citizens, it is positive. I know that Russian society is very intolerant of homosexuals compared to the west, which I guess is also negative, sorry. We like Russian things and Russian people! The Russian people I have met have been friendlier than most others and usually initiated a good time or memorable adventure. That is just what has happened to me. I also enjoy a lot of Russian culture- music, literature from the 19th and 20th centuries. I really like orchestral music and I think Russians do it best. Sorry if this is not what your question was about!
Are important world events for you? Do you watch a TV news , taking part in some kind of social or political movements and organizations?
We are all very cognizant of most world events (that show up in the US media). We don't watch TV but rather read different written publications online. Some of us have been known to go to a protest here and there, but we do not actively participate in any organizations.
Events of 11 of September shocked the world and touched us all in some measure. Do you see any solution to the problem now, 15 years later? Do you support the actions of the US government with regard to Afghanistan and Iraq or you believe that everything that happened was just the result of its policies? What do you think: can ordinary people (or people involved in the hardcore movement) influence events?
To combat international terrorism? This question is beyond our skill. Invading Iraq and Afghanistan were 100% wrong and only caused more suffering worldwide. Our government should not invade any nation unless it is to save people from a natural disaster. One person and even the whole of diy/hardcore can not influence international events like September 11. We can't even get ourselves universal healthcare.
What do you think about religion? Is it important for you or it has anything to do with you? Have you heard anything about the Russian group "Pussy riot, which played a punk concert in a church, after which they were imprisoned?
None of us are religious. I'm pretty sure all of us are straight up atheists. I am definitely an atheist. We have heard about Pussy riot and their exploits and we support them. However, we do not have the cultural understanding to know why they would choose to play in a church or what specifically they were hoping to achieve with this protest. Our very basic understanding is that Pussy riot is anti-Putin and pro-LGBT (queer) and we are anti-Putin and pro-queer, so we think what they do is good. It is an injustice that anyone could be imprisoned for a protest.
Do you follow political news of your country? Did you vote in the presidential election?
We do. I am 99% certain we all voted in the presidential election. None of us voted for Donald Trump, but I can't be sure who the others voted for. Our votes for president don't count much, since we like in Illinois, a state that will almost certainly cast its lot with the liberal candidate. Another one of our archaic laws that just oppresses people.
What reliable sources of information about the US can you advise? are there any truthful media in the US? What sources do you use yourself?
The right method is to use many different sources, since each one is going to have some sort of bias, even ones you can't detect. The "wire" services, Reuters, and Associated Press are those that seem to have the most neutral take on things. Aljazeera is also great, but they no longer have an American bureau. New York Times is ok a lot of the time, as is CBS news. Our public broadcasting is quite good, National Public Radio or the Public Broadcasting Service, the latter of which does nightly news on YouTube and has many very well produced stories.
There is a very bad situation in the Russian economy in recent years. The government says we are in a position of hostility with the United States, mass media is actively promoting this. Is there anything same on the US TV?
We talked about it a bit earlier, but the only hostility mentioned is the attempt to influence our elections and public opinions. There are hostilities in the middle east between our two governments but it is rarely news. The US is in a better economic position than Russia, so there is no need to "blame" the situation on anyone.
I heard that the US is a very robotization country, for example, orders from the Amazon are delivered by drones. So, what do you think about robotics, and cannot it cause unemployment? Are you afraid of what machines could do as much as of what people are doing?
We don't know anyone who has received a delivery by a drone. This is advertised by Amazon as an amazing breakthrough, but it really isn't happening anywhere- it's just an advertisement. Robots are definitely going to take more and more jobs as time goes on. Which should be a good thing- we'll have more time to read, make music, and fuck each other rather than do the menial jobs. But under capitalism, it means that we will suffer since we will lose our wages.
What are some important topics you feel passionate about? What’s on your mind recently that you’d like to discuss within the band and among friends?
Many of the things that have already been addressed in the interview. A lot of that is heavy stuff. I really like Gatorade, and we like to joke about how much I like it but I seriously like it a lot. I am not an athlete. There are a lot of flavors, and I have very specific and rare ones that I think are the best. I don't know if they have Gatorade in Russia but if not and you get the chance to try some, please try some and you will know why I like it so much. If you are in the USA the best one right now is the Lime and Cucumber flavor.
How do you think the election of Donald J. Trump will affect the punk community in the next few years? To what extent does fascism take root in America and how scary is that?
It will piss everyone off a lot and scare us into being more politically active, even in the smaller and more mundane parts of our life. At least I hope it does. There have always been a lot of fascists hiding out in this country but this man has encouraged them to step out into the open, organize, and recruit. Plus, it has encouraged assholes who had one or two shitty opinions to turn into fascists. So that is frightening.
In recent time, sexual scandals with pop artists have sharply increased in US. What is it? Is it Trump`s revenge to Hollywood?
I think I know what you are referring to- what is happening is that women (and some men) who put up with abuse from their superiors have decided enough is enough and told the world who was doing what to them. Usually they find out that many others were experiencing the same abuse but were too afraid to say anything. This is most famous in Hollywood since that's where all the famous people are. We think this is a good thing and that no one should put up with abuse.
How are things in the US with sexual legislation in general? From Russian propaganda, I heard that if you persistently consider any woman, she can sue you for harassment.
It is very hard to be charged with and convicted of a sex crime in the US. That goes for most things in our legal system- you have to have a lot to actually convict someone or get money from them in court. So the propaganda has it wrong, that is not true and not happening. Our own propaganda says things that are similar to this and many ignorant and hateful people in this country think some version of this is true (I am speaking very broadly here). You and other Russian people are probably very used to this by now but when there is propaganda that makes claims that seem wild, they are probably not true.
What’s your opinion on nationalism, is it a big problem in the US as it is here in Eastern Europe?
The US has always been very nationalistic. However, it has taken a more racist tone as of late. It is a good way for racists to hide their racist arguments and statements behind the American flag. We think nationalism is just a tool to control people, divide them, and make them have conflicts with one another. I (Russell) may have a more conservative opinion on this, as I like national songs from other countries and cultures that belong to nations (I mentioned earlier I like Russian art/music/literature. I like the "Russian-ness" [I don't know if that will translate] of it a lot, so that is nationalism of a sort that I think is ok. Strange that I am telling this to a Russian person but life is strange I guess. But really though fuck nationalism and fuck racism. You can be happy to be Ukrainian for example but that doesn't mean others are less than you or you get to choose who is and isn't a "real" Ukrainian.
Have you heard about anarcho-fascism in US or about Jack Donovan? Don't you know who he is? Is he usual populist orator who make money by self-PR and scandals?
We do not know who that is but anarcho-fascism sounds ludicrous. We are familiar with that type of person and they are garbage. So fuck that dumbass.
What are your plans for 2018? New records, new tours?
We will record a full length LP next month. We have been working on it for the better part of a year. After that we are excited to play our new music on as many shows as possible, since we had to turn down a lot of gigs since we were working on the record. We just started planning a tour in May where we will hopefully play in both Canada and Mexico on the same tour!
Thank you for the interview, anything else to add?
Thanks for asking us what we think. Fuck fascism and racism, and our shitty leaders.
Oh and for good news sources- the intercept is probably the 100% best. I forgot to add.
Thank you for your patience while we answer these questions. We apologize that we did not address this sooner. I will do my best to use simpler language so it will translate easily. If my wording seems simple it is not because I think you or the reader foolish, but that we want to make sure there are no translation errors. My name is Russell and I play the bass in the band and I will be answering on behalf of everyone. The others may disagree with a point here or there but they trust me to answer accurately.