Interview with Silent Order (Halyfax, Canada)
Hi dudes! To begin with a few words about the band: Who played on what? How long have gathered? That prompted the creation of the group?
Silent Order: Our current lineup is Richard on bass, Michel on drums, Sammy on vocals and Matt on guitar. We have been together for about a year, and Michel is our second drummer. Silent Order started with the break up of our previous band, Gone Drinkin’… because we decided we wanted to do something different style wise.
You live in Halifakse, the population is almost like in my town, but I think it's like two different worlds ... Tell us something about your city, which is interesting, not necessarily associated with the punk scene.
Matt: Halifax is the largest city in Atlantic Canada (east of Montreal) and is a coastal city. I’m not really sure what else to say about it, its not a bad place to live but its pretty isolated form the rest of Canada. Theres a lot of hipsters!
Michel: It’s illegal to drink in public, it sucks. You can do it anyway but you get a huge fine if you get caught.
Richard: Halifax blew up 100 years ago.
Sammy:I'm not aware of anything ineresting in Halifax.... there's a cannon that fires every day at noon. I guess that's slightly interesting maybe?
And with regards to the scene as it developed in Halifax? What is a group and zines? In general, Canada, that is of interest associated with punk?
Sammy: There is a small, but quite active music scene here. Unfortunately, the hardcore/punk scene is even smaller. The good thing about that is, the tiny handful of people involved have put together some really awesome bands, shows, comps, zines, etc.
Matt: The scene in Halifax is not too bad. Its not huge but its definitely the best in Atlantic Canada. Once again, the relative isolation from the other larger cities in Canada prevents us from having a lot of touring bands come through. (Montreal is the nearest large cities, and it is a 14 hour drive with very few places worth playing in between) So its not worth it for bands to make such a long drive for one show that has no guarantee of drwing enough people to pay the gas money. Theres a few zines here, nothing that comes out very regularly though. The ones that do come out are very good. A few bands are well known around Canada, such as Contagium and Napalm Raid, but this is because of extensive touring by both of those bands. It takes a lot of motivation for a band to leave Halifax and go on tour and most bands just can’t keep it together enough to successfully get out on tour. I think, also, that Halifax is highly regarded across Canada in terms of the quality of music that people hear coming out of here but, as I said earlier, many people and bands don’t actually come here because of the distance.
Michel: Five or six years ago there was a really big punk scene, then it kind of fizzled out. Indie music became really popular for a while, but now punk is making a bit of a resurgence.
Richard: Halifax is incredibly musical. There are tons of hardcore, post-punk and pop punk, but there isn’t a lot for raw punk. I’m certainly jaded by the music scene here. I find a lot of the bands are extremely elitist and they think that they’re the shit and that fractures the scene.
A year ago, on our TV telling about the mayor of Vancouver, that he travels to work by bike. The fact that several years ago in the city budget surplus formed a $ 1 million, and that after the referendum was decided to build the embankment for the leisure of citizens. For Russia, it just sounds like science fiction)) I think if I lived in Canada I would have been law-abiding citizen, paying taxes, performing his duties. Why do you think people in Canada start to play punk, hold shares, are protesting? I think Canada is all I talk about material wealth. For you, that was the reason to play punk? And how do you determine which style you play? What is the reason for this choice?
Matt: I can’t really comment on Vancouver, but I think you are right on about our culture being one of material wealth. Myself, and I can’t speak for the rest of the band, I think that our culture is sick. It needs to be overhauled and toally re-organized in a more equitable and realistic manner, with a focus on social justice and the things that really matter, which isn’t flat screen tvs and Hummers. People from the rest of the world have this vision of Canada sometimes as being a paradise with free health care and more responsible governance than the United States. I realize that our standard of living is much better than a great portion of the world, but I feel bad when people think that Canada is so “multicultural” and inviting to outsiders. In reality it’s just another piece of the Corporate hellhole of fortress North America. Our standard of living is dropping and the gap between the rich and the poor is growing, both at a very fast rate and largely due to Corporate rule and Government collusion with the Corporations. This will definitely make a good atmosphere for a new wave of punk bands! For me, the reason I play punk is first and foremost my love of music, specifically my love of punk music. I love the community and inclusion that the punk lifestyle offers and I feel like I belong, whether this is just another human delusion or not I don’t know but it keeps me going. As for the decision of what style of punk to play, I love alll types of punk so I would like to play in all types of punk bands before I get old!
Sammy: I don't want to echo everything Matt has already said, so I'll keep it short; it's true that our society is obsessed with materialism and consumerism. It makes me sick to my stomach knowing that I'm going to waste most of my life at work, so that's a big part of what drives me to play punk.
The style we play is something we talked about when we formed the band, but mostly it's just a mix of the different flavours that each of us bring to the table.
Michel: While Halifax is a really good place to live, the city tries to make bullshit laws to make up for common sense, and coming from a skateboarder background, I just get sick and tired of this bullshit. As far as punk goes, I just didn’t relate to the popular music that everyone at school was in to, and once I heard punk I found it was what I was looking for both terms of music and culture. Also I love to play drums really fast. I wanted to drum for this band because I do play in two other bands now but they are more pop-punk or garage-style and Silent Order has a meaner sound which brings me back to my drumming roots. I suppose you could say I never bought into that shit about people defining themselves by the things they own and punk seems like the complete opposite of that which suits me a lot better.
Richard: Canada is essentially the little brother of the U.S. There are definitely differences in our health care system and how our government works but we aren’t much different otherwise. One thing we have that the U.S. doesn’t is that our country isn’t in the extreme amount of debt they are. We are a bit of socialism with a lot of capitalism. I think people in Canada start to play punk for the same reasons people do anywhere else in the world. People have angst, people disagree with things and its one of the best forms, unless you put on a suit, to express yourself against the things you don’t agree with. I agree, Canadian culture is all about material wealth. The number one reason I love punk rock and play it is unity, that’s the reason I got into it.
Are you politicized group? Are team members adhere to something political ideas and movements?
Matt: I would say that we are not a political band, but some of our lyrics reflect a political awareness. I definitely consider myself anti-fascist/racist and believe that fighting racists is the only way to deal with them, as well as being a very politically minded person, but other than anti-racism, I have not been what you would normally consider politically active.
Sammy: No, we are not a political band, but I like the term politically aware. Our lyrics are more about a dismal view of the things I see and are just generally dark without having any political lean.
Michel: I would say that we are not overly political, as Matt and Sammy said. Any frustration I feel about political situations I tend to try and get out on drums and on stage.
What do you do besides playing in a group? May be studying, working, may have some hobbies which are difficult to imagine for me?
Matt: I got to university, majoring in Sociology. I am planning on doing my masters degree next fall (2012). Music and academics are my two main focuses in life right now. I also play drums in another band, and I collect records. Don’t forget beer.
Sammy: I’m a cook at a high class seafood restaurant. I make dinner for rich people who hate. My hobbies are collecting punk records, and running up enormous tabs at bars across town.
Michel: My main hobby is playing drums, which I do in three bands. Aside from that I like to drink, skateboard, and fish.
Richard: I slay hoodrats. I work a college. I love sports.
As in Canada the situation is with homeless people? It is a lot of them?
Are there any activities in support of the homeless, such as FNB?
Matt: This is not something I feel I know enough to speak about. Maybe someone else in the band can offer something on the topic.
Sammy: There are homeless people here but I don’t really know how big the numbers are. There are shelters and the Salvation Army gives them food, clothes, and a place to sleep. I never give them money when they ask me outside my work.
Michel: They do have shelters and programs in place for people here, but there is still a lot of people who are homeless and poor.
Richard: Halifax is a city, so obviously there are a lot of homeless people, but its nothing compared to bigger cities, Vancouver being the worst.
What about squats? Are they, or the problem of affordable housing does not exist?
Matt: There are not any squats that I am aware of in Halifax, but I’m sure there are more througought Canada in larger cities. Affordable housing is definitely an issue. Rent is expensive and it keeps getting more expensive. I think the issue is not so much rent but the cost of living keeps rising in general and wages do not.
Sammy: I don’t really know what the affordable housing situation is like in Russia, but here its not usually impossible to find a place to stay. As for punk squats, usually its just a house with punks living in it that agree to have shows.
Michel: I don’t really know anything about squats.
Richard: I don’t know of any squats in Halifax. I think housing is affordable, you can have a minimum wage job and still have an apartment.
What about nazi? Do the threat ?
Matt: It depends on the city. Sammy and I are both from a city called Moncton which is in the province of New Brunswick, about 3 hours west of Halifax. Moncton has had many problems over the years with Nazis, and Sammy and I have had conflict with some of them in the past. Halifax had problems years ago but now does not have a visible Nazi presence. Other places in Canada certainly have visible Nazi presences but nothing anywhere near the situation in Russia.
Sammy: Theres not really a Nazi skinhead scene here in Halifax but in bigger cities and some really small towns, they really make themselves known.
Michel: There aren’t really any in Halifax, if there are they either get fucked up by punks or they hide and don’t show their faces in town.
Richard: Not in this city.
ACAB, do you agree? How are things going with the cops in Canada? What are the problems?
Matt: Fucking right I agree. The cops in Canada are assholes like anywhere else. They break the law and crush protest and get away with it. They don’t patrol the streets brutalizing the populace like they may in some other places and they certainly don’t have to be bribed like other countries but they are definitely here to protect and serve the rich, the government and the corporations.
Sammy: I’ve had nothing but bad encounters with police throughout my whole life and I have nothing positive to say about them.
Michel: The old cops aren’t bad but the young cops are assholes.
Richard: I don’t believe that all cops are bastards. I think there are enormous amounts them that use their power in the wrong way, there are crooked cops everywhere.
I have heard that in Canada big enough for unemployment benefits, and that can be good for him to live without working)) Is this true?
Matt: Yes and no. We do have a half decent EI (Employment Insurance) program, but you have to get 1. A lay-off from your employer, which means if you quit or get fired you do not qualify, 2. A certain, large amount of consecutive working hours from one job within one year and 3. Go through a lot of paper work and wait a long time to get it. Once you get it, or if you get it, it is definitely a great program to milk for a while, especially if you play music, but most businesses and the government find ways to ensure you don’t qualify.
Sammy: If you get E.I. and you worked a good job with a good wage for the required amount of hours, and you got a lay off, and get accepted, then you can live a very low-scale life and most likely not have to work. I did it for 6 months and I got very good at video games and started to gain weight until a girlfriend made me get a job.
Michel: I’ve never been on it but what Matt said is pretty accurate.
Richard: Yeah, it is a good program but you have to work to get it.
Maybe I have something not said, or about something you want to tell, please)) A few words at parting))
Matt: Thanks for you interest! Also, a big thanks from all of us for putting out the cd! I hope to make it to Russia someday. We will have a 7” out sometime in the next year, and anyone who wants to contact us for shows, etc. can email us : silentordernoise(А)gmail.com
Michel: Come to Canada!
Sammy: I want to hear more Russian punk. Kawakami Nightmare is awesome! Have you heard them? How’s the cider in Russia? Cheers, up the punx!