In Darkness There Is No Choice - Bringing ANTISECT into the light

Home Interviews In Darkness There Is No Choice - Bringing ANTISECT into the light
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Written By: Val Landrum
Nov 22 2011

antisect album art

For many people, ANTISECT will need no introduction. For the uninitiated, they were one of the first of the bands from the anarcho-punk scene in and around London to delve into the darkness and explore a heavier more metallic sound. And they are often viewed today as, alongside AMEBIX, fathered the "crust" genre.

They started out as a band in 1981 and struggled to find a place for themselves within the larger punk scene there. They were certainly a band that wanted to 'walk the walk' with regards to their politics and their dedication to the squat scene in England in the mid 80's is undeniable.

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ANTISECT only put out two studio recordings during their almost seven years as a band. 1983's "In Darkness There Is No Choice" LP has long been heralded as an anarcho-punk classic due to its vehement attack on society and its musical ferocity. It took them three more years to release another slab of vinyl but 1986's "Out From The Void" EP is another classic. Certainly more "metal" than their earlier LP, the EP climbed as high as number 7 on the indie charts and is a testament to their power. ANTISECT had recorded another LP at the request of Mortarhate Records in 1986 but those recordings never ended up being released and the only way to hear some of those tracks is to get one of the live recordings of the band from that time. ANTISECT toured heavily around both the UK and Europe and their live shows were known as "a genuine force to be reckoned with".

ANTISECT have recently reformed with a mixture of members from both their founding lineup and the lineup they had when they finally broke up in 1987. Thvey have already played some dates, most notably the Puntala-Rock Festival in Finland.
See them if you can. If you have their records, throw them on and hear how well they hold up after all these years. If you don't have them....Find yourself one.

ThrashHead: So tell me about who makes up the personnel in ANTISECT today? It looks like most of the lineup that was present in 1987 is back again. How did you find the new members? Do you know what Caroline Wallis and Pete Paluskiewicz are doing these days?

ANTISECT: Pete Boyce and Pete Lyons were in the original line up, Laurence and Tim were in the last line up. Joe is the new boy. We rescued him from the trash outside a chip shop in North London earlier this year. Caroline began with us in this incarnation but it's since proved too difficult, for various reasons, for her to continue her involvement, so we now go out as a 5 piece. We believe Pete Paluskiewicz now lives somewhere in Scandinavia.

ThrashHead: What have you all been doing in the interim time?

ANTISECT: Pete Lyons has a recording studio in London and has been an engineer/producer for the last 20 years or so. Pete Boyce and Tim have both been bringing up families and Laurence has been co running an independent film company.

ThrashHead: What catalyst brought you back together? Was there something that triggered your desire to revive ANTISECT?

ANTISECT: We'd been asked, on and off, for years but with the various things that were going on in our lives, there just wasn't ever the right combination of circumstances that would have allowed it. We were asked again last year by Timmy Hefner if we would do the Chaos in Tejas festival in Austin, USA and that prompted us meeting up to shoot the shit. The festival came around too soon for us in the end, but once we had begun meeting up and rehearsing again it was obvious that there was something there. It hasn't been easy, even now, but we came to recognize that, if we ever were going to do it, the window of opportunity was only ever going to get smaller, and so this time just seemed to present the right set of circumstances to us.

ThrashHead: With the benefit of hindsight, did the anarcho-punk movement or punk in general make a difference in the world? Do you see any validity in it as a social movement? I must assume so and that is why you are re-engaging.

ANTISECT: We've had enough communication with people through the years to be aware that, yes, to a lot of people, the "anarcho-punk" or "whatever-you-want-to call-it" movement made a pretty definite difference. Like all of society's social groups, it has it's problems and dilemmas and it would be arrogant to assume that it has or ever did have all the answers, but what it probably did achieve was to encourage a whole generation of subculture to evaluate their world. We meet a lot of those who were very much in the thick of it at the time and are now, years later, involved in other, maybe less overt, but no less politicized activities to convince us that, yes, it has had and will continue to have a lasting effect. The world needs an alternative view.

ThrashHead: I know that you have played some of the "New Dark Ages" material live this year and that those songs have been heralded as classic by many people, will there be a studio recording of those songs?

ANTISECT: We're scheduled to begin work on some new recordings early in the new year, and yes, it's fairly likely that some of that material will end up being a part of it.

ThrashHead: Are you working on new material? What topics are motivating you these days?

ANTISECT: We've been trying one or two things out as we've been going along, but writing won't really begin in earnest till the new year. Topics and motivations? Well, pretty similar to what they've ever been really, though obviously with a few new perspectives. We're 25 years older, and the experiences we've lived through during that time will obviously have left their mark, so, it's difficult to pin down exact topics as such. Guess we'll all have to wait and see what transpires.

ThrashHead: Are you surprised at the reverence that so many have for ANTISECT? Did you think you were creating something that would have such a lasting power for people?

ANTISECT: It's cool that we do seem to have made a mark for some people, though reverence is probably too strong a word for it. Life can be short and if any of us can somehow leave something positive behind that stirs the fire and imagination in others, then that can only be a good thing. We've never really given much thought to what we've written, other than it serving as a means to express how we feel about things. If, as seems so, other people can relate to it, then that too can only be something that can make us all stronger.

ThrashHead: Looking back, how do you feel about the material that you released in the 1980's? Many regard it as some of the most powerful punk, both musically and lyrically, of its time. It seems that the messages are as valid today as ever. What are your thoughts?

ANTISECT: Yes. We do think the messages are as valid today as ever. If it's one thing we were, and are, conscious of in what we write it's that we would want it to be timeless, We would rather write about things that might matter to each and every one of us for years to come, than what might be the topical subject matter of the day. Some things don't go away. For us, pretty much most of what we felt back then, we still feel now. So in that sense, to us at least, it has been timeless.

ThrashHead: Any plans to tour in the US? (please!)

ANTISECT: Yep. The US is one of the places we never made it to, so it is definitely on the agenda this time round. Tentatively looking at spring 2012.

ThrashHead: I like what you said on your official website about "to engage means that our focus must be more outward than inward and we must be strong enough in who we are to be able to trade the blows". Can you expand on that? Are people still too inward looking for real change to take place? Doesn't change at least start with examination of self?

ANTISECT: Yep. Change does begin with the examination of ourselves, and the courage to believe in who we are and the balls to have the courage of our convictions. Self-examination is not always a comfortable process, but at the end of the day, we are all that we have and ultimately all that we can ever have any control over, so nothing can ever really change on a global scale unless we first make those choices internally. Anything other than that can only be moving into the realms of coercion.

ThrashHead: What was your reaction to the riots in Britain in 2011? What about the "occupy" actions happening today around the globe? Do you think the left may have finally congealed into a force that can push for real change?

ANTISECT: Fully behind the "Occupy" actions. Change is so incremental though, that two steps forward often leads to one step back, as in these cases, legislation tends to be altered to find more ways of clamping down on people being able to voice their discontent. Plus, as earlier, real change can only be accomplished if it comes from the hearts and minds of those who wish for it. Thus, the more of us that openly show our disaffection with what we see around us, the more steps we take towards replacing that vision with our own. Though we should perhaps remember that with the sheer vested interest of the "powers that be" being such that it is, control will not readily be relinquished until it becomes clear that this would be the only path left available that would benefit them. It's a long road. But we know this, don't we?

ThrashHead: What is next for ANTISECT?

ANTISECT: We have a few things in the pipeline, but we're taking things one step at a time at the moment. It's very much a "see what's out there" kinda thing. New stuff is coming up every week and some of it is genuinely fascinating. Things are different now. In some ways the logistics of doing things have become a lot easier, but this is tempered a little by our need to exist in our worlds outside the band. We aren't wayward squatters anymore and the needs of others around us have to be considered when we make decisions about what we do. New recordings? Some more shows? See who we can pull into the fray? See what happens. Like we say...We make it up as we go along. Who knows?

Antisect live in Norwich 1987 by Derek Williams

Antisect - Out From The Void (pt. I & II) - lyrics by AfYN

Four "well seasoned" veterans of the Boston Punk and Hardcore scene!
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