You can‘t fight all the time. You need to laugh, too!

Alberto Juankar Grass Kosta

Boikot is a spanish Punk Rock Band. They made a new Album which is called Amanecío. They went to Bosnia looking for joy and vibrating rhythms. They changed their style and created a new one. The original instruments that Bosnian musicians have brought, mixed with the Italian ska contribution of Banda Bassotti winds section, a bit of Celtic music recorded in Galicia and an urban pink rock brand made at home. This is a real european style and thats why I did an interview with these interesting musicians.

The first song I heard from Boikot was No pasaran (Video) your version of the partisan song Bella Ciao which you connected with the zapatistian fight against neoliberalism. Your mixture of hard guitars, tough vocals and the traditional acoustic part seemed to me like a symbol of the international social movement. And your sound reminded me of my youth. When I was about sixteen I listened to a concert of the basque Band Su Ta Gar (a Video). They were on their tour to their second album. Your hard and very fast drums reminded me of this band. And that’s why I liked your music from the beginning. What do you think are your musical roots?

    Well, our musical roots are plenty of many kinds of music. We listen to a lot of music, not only punk rock. We listen to metal, ska, classic rock, hard core, even some pop songs that remind us of goods things in the past. We know
    Su Ta Gar since a long time and we‘ve been playing with them even in the Basque country. I think our music maybe reminds you similarly because its strong and fast music, too.

Boikot Boikot

Your first LPs were very Rock’n roll style, with punk & ska elements. The trilogy La ruta del Che went another direction. You mixed your old style with some new latin and hardcore elements. And my impression is that with these three albums your political way radicalised, similar to your music. Pueblos II is musically and politically a shout, a journey to the liberation fights in (South) America. You covered a traditional partisan (Bella Ciao) and guerilla song (Hasta Siempre) in your very special tough way. What do the traditional partisan, guerilla and working class songs mean to you and your music?

    All of us belong to a suburban neighbourhood. I‘m from Barcelona and the rest of the band is from Madrid. We have always lived as working class kids with our fathers working at fuckin‘ factories all the time while we were looking for something that can change our life. That’s the reason why we sing about liberty, justice and equal rights. Like the songs you talked about.

I saw a very nice live video were you performed Hasta siempre. I think the video is on your DVD Historias Directas de Boikot. However, you started the song very soft with an acoustic guitar. I think its Kosta Vázquez who tries to sing the lyrics, but the audience wanted to sing by itself. The band and the audience seemed to be one at that moment. It’s like a concert not for the audience but with the audience. What did the tour through South America mean to you and your musical way?

    I see, you‘re having a good feeling with this song, thank you! Nice that you enjoy it. Well, touring through South America changes your perception because South America is a very big continent and at the same time a poor continent with a lot of poverty and suffering and injustice. This is something we must not allow! Especially because the majority of people is living under these bad conditions, of course apart from the government. We were recording „No Escuchar“ in Mexico and made five concerts there. We saw the things which are told on the album. We saw the stories you can listen to. We like denouncing problems – but always with words and music.

Juankar Kostar

In 2004 you recorded the song Stop Censura (Video) together with many different spanish bands and musicians. Why you did that song? Are there any connections to the declaration of the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) to stop military actions within Catalonia to start the peace process?

    Talking about denounce. This is another trouble we want to publish but this concerns to our own country. Many bands like Sociedad alcoholica, Su Ta Gar, Berri Txarrak which are from the Basque country, have been accused by right wing political parties for making statements which, they said, is justifying terrorism. But this is not true! They were just accused because they are from Basque country! And that’s another injustice we should talk about. Thats why we invited a lot of bands from all over Spain and made this song and a video clip with all participants. It was very amazing. Unfortunately you can‘t stop terrorism by accusing music bands for terrorism. To stop terrorism you need to talk and talk. Now! Banda Bassotti has similar problems as a band supporting the Basque country.

I personally saw you for the first time at the Kato in Berlin, together with Banda Bassotti in novembre 2006. These concerts were the most impressive ones I saw for the last years. I could never imagine that the left counterculture is still alive and tough. I will never forget these many people shouting loudly, raising their left fist and your massive rock. Was it just a happy coincidence that you played this concert in Berlin with Banda Bassotti or did you already know them before? And how you would describe your relationship to Banda Bassotti?

    We knew them before. We played with them. We know their producer Kaki Arkarazo for years. But our relationship is getting closer because we‘ve been playing with them some more times. Even in Spain, too. And now we‘ve made a tour around Germany. We invited them to a very important show in Madrid where we played and Picchio and Sigaro came to play with us Bella Ciao. It was amazing. They are good people who sing very enthusiastically what they feel.

Grass Boikot Blaeser der Deutschland Tour Grass

You described in your information to your new disc Amaneció that it was recorded in different cities. And that’s why different cultures came together and found a way to collaborate musically in a new way, your very special way. I personally think that this album will create a new style, a real european style which includes elements from its west to the east. You mixed harmoniously latin, ska and celtic music with the joyful, sometimes melancholic sound of the eastern music. And you even included arabic elements. But this album sounds very different compared to your others. The music and styles are not broken, they fit together and combine the different cultural elements in a very impressive way. Why did you go to Bosnia, to that broken country with so much of sorrow and mourning, where the nations had devided themselves?

    Oh! Thank you for the compliments, for all you say about our new album, thank you very much! The reason why we decided to go to Bosnia was that we would like to mix our punk rock with balkan music and not to do another album in the Basque country as we did the last two ones. And we wanted to give ourselves another musical change. At first we thought to go to Russia but we were too late. Then we talk with our producer Javier Abreu and he knows someone in Mostar in Bosnia at the Pavarotti Music Centre – a place for kids of the civil war in Bosnia. It is a fantastic place. The centre contributes to the War Child International Association and is a good opportunity to help that people. You can visit their homepage, have a look at it. We met a lot of people who told us stories about the civil war which I shudder to think about. They told us how the war started and why. We – Kosta, Jkar, Alberto – were never so close to a fuckin‘ war. But let’s talk about music, not about war. We always try to get in touch with the places where we stay. We write the lyrics about that places because we want to show everybody who listens to our music that there are similar feelings in different countries. We did that when we were in Cuba, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, even in Turkey for two times. Also in Italy or Germany now. Every part of the world has its own troubles, acts of injustice etc. and we want to tell about them.

Your song Amaneció combines very different musical elements. It starts with a traditional waltz, continues with a nice latin-ska part and changes into a fast punk song. But that is not enough, you combine these different styles with a dark metal part which is changing into a joyful gypsylike dance. And at the end everything clashes together. This song is really a big hit! It is an intelligent dancing song. I could listen to that song the whole day. Where and how did you compose and record that song? How do you feel with that mixture of completely opposite styles?

    This song was recorded in Mostar. All rhythms, all guitars and even parts of the lyrics were recorded there. And we recorded all the traditional instruments as accordion, clarinet, tamburitza in Mostar. It was amazing! It was very exciting because when musicians don‘t like your music they don‘t record it. At first they weren‘t used to play fast. But then they liked it a lot. Also the way to mix our music with their music. And I think the final idea does work!

Boikot in Mostar

Another song that I really like is Skalashnikov. The beginning sounds like a yiddish klezmer song. The clarinet screams so softly, but you turn the expectation upside down and a really fast ska / punk song rocks. The metal guitar part is also included and does not disturb the nice party track. Again it’s really a harmonious cultural clash, but for that song you went the way still further into the east. Why do you want to direct the video to Skalashnikov in Mostar, in that ruined city? And why under the bridge where in 1943 a big battle between the yugoslavian liberation army and german fascists took place?

    Because the bridge has a very important history as you already mentioned. No intruder could destroy the bridge. Not during the First and not even in the Second World War. It was destroyed in their own war. This event was very painful for all the Bosnian people in the city of Mostar.

Another interesting song is Bubamara. For me it sounds like a russian traditional. But the trumpet could also be taken from an eastern european communist working class or marching song. What is this song about?

    It is about a gypsy party. They have a lot of music and fanfarria (gypsy music and rhythms). The music is usually sung at weddings and funerals. And we‘ve made a song to tell about this and at the same time include the lost generation of the last wars on the Balkan. During the war people had a little slogan. It was like that: Remind the world of all the mistakes we‘ve done and fight against them so that they will never happen again. And all that mixed with party music. Because you can‘t fight all the time. You need to laugh too.

Juankar Boikot in Konzert Alberto

Your bonus track is a traditional Sevdah song originally from Mostar and about the city of Mostar. You recorded an acoustic version of that song. The Sevdah music combines (in the true sense of the word) the muslim and slavic roots of the Balkan. Again a cultural unification. Why did you choose this song as a nice outro for the album?

    The song is a traditional song from Mostar. It looked like a good way to say goodbye the to album. It is sung by Teo, a friend of us.

So this album seems to be a new beginning into a different direction. You needed four years to record it. You went through all parts in Europe to mix it. Obviously you met interesting, joyful and friendly people everywhere. You took that warmth and happiness and transferred it into your music. Are you satisfied with the result?

    Yes! You‘re right! Always meeting people all around the world, that is fantastic for us. When we split up – I don‘t know when – it will be nice if people everywhere remember us as a good punk rock band!

The interview was done by e-Mail with Grass, the drummer of Boikot.

Grass in interview

The next concert in Berlin will be at 10. of October at Duncker Club at the popkomm festival promoted by roadshock.

More Information
Official Boikot Site
Boikots myspace Site
Lyrics of the album No escuchar
Other lyrics of Boikot
Pictures of Concerts at Estragon / Bologna, Villagio Globale / Rome, Flog / Firenze, Muse Cervi / Reggio Emilia, Shibuya / Antic, Maple House

2 Antworten auf „You can‘t fight all the time. You need to laugh, too!“

  1. 1 kuba 30. Juli 2008 um 20:13 Uhr

    very nice and informative text/interview :-)

  2. 2 LucaPinoRelli 31. Juli 2008 um 14:20 Uhr

    don‘t forget the concert on 10th of october! its for free!

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