“Too Punk for Metal, Too Metal for Punk” – Interview with Collapsed

Over the decades the Canadian hardcore/crust punk scene has given us great bands like Iskra, Storm of Sedition, Massgrave and many others, proving to be an extremely fertile ground for certain sounds and a certain approach to punk. Quite recently from the desolate and cold lands of Quebec have emerged Collapsed, authors of a destructive mix of crust punk and death metal as we have not heard in a long time. Since finally a real DIY conspiracy (including Phobia Records and other labels) has released the self titled debut album of the Canadians on vinyl, I thought it would be a good idea to do an interview with Collapsed in which we talk not only about music, but also about the punk scene as “support not competition”, solidarity and complicity with the decolonial struggles of the Canadian First Nations and the importance of taking a clear position against the fascist scum present within the extreme metal scene (mainly in black metal) in Quebec as elsewhere. All this and much more in the words of Santiago, Michel, Kev, Paskk and Yan. TOO PUNK FOR METAL, TOO METAL FOR PUNK. SLAVES TO NO ONE!

Hi Collapsed! First of all, thank you for agreeing to answer these questions! You are a fairly recent band, so for those who don’t know you yet, it’s time to ask you some banal biographical questions: when, how and why were Collapsed born? Where did you get your name from?

Hey hi! Well, everything started in 2018 when I (Yan) got flooded and had to move back to Montreal. We (Santiago and Yan) were already talking about reforming a band, our other project Hang them All broke up around 2013. We did a jam session at my place to build some songs and Santiago mentioned some guy (Paskk), from Belgium who used to play in Segregated back in Liege, was looking for a band in Montreal. He can play guitar and do backing vocals, he also has a roommate (JP) who plays bass. So, we met and rehearsed the song “Man/wars” and it sounded good. Then, we kept rehearsing on a regular basis. We needed a singer… tried a couple people while doing a cover of Anti-Cimex; but it wasn’t it. We asked Konfront singer (Mike), but unfortunately, he didn’t have the time. Luckily, we kept asking more and more (we knew Michel was the right guy for the job) and he finally accepted. The lineup was now completed…for a while. We managed to write a couple songs and played a few good shows (scene is pretty cool in Montreal). Meanwhile, we totally self recorded, mixed and mastered our first album during winter 2019-2020 and released the LP on Phobia records (Czech Republic) in partnership with Up the punx (Poland), Deviance (France) and Hecatombe (Spain). Bullwhip Records (Malaysia) also did a tape release! Stiv from Vision of War did the artwork for that album. Later that year, JP had to leave the band going back full time at school. Matt tcheval Deadly Pale filled in for a couple of shows to help us while we were looking for a new permanent bassist. We then asked Kev, also from Konfront to play bass and he learned the songs and joined the band quite rapidly. We got on a couple compilations, played a bunch of shows and recorded at Nomansland studio (Thanks Chany Inepsy & Dizz) an EP in two days for the Pils session in June 2021. It’s getting released on tapes right now. We are almost ready to record our next album! Ho yeah and we sucked so bad finding a name…. Nenuphar and other crappy ideas like that made us reach for help… My (Yan) girlfriend found the name.

Reading on your facebook page and bandcamp, you define yourselves as a band that plays crust metal influenced as much by 90’s crust punk as by swedish death metal. How did you come up with the idea of combining these two souls in your sound? What do you think are the links that have always united the crust punk scene with the extreme metal scene?

We didn’t really think about it… Paskk and Yan usually write all the music and our sound came out like that. We knew we all liked loud angry crust punk in the vein of Skitsystem’s Stigmata (we are all fans of Swedish crust).

Paskk brought the old school death metal influences. We forged out our sound around what we like to hear! Pretty simple no? We’ve all been in the scene since the end of the 90’(Paskk is younger though) and we’ve all been in different bands in the same scene since then.

What were your first approaches to music and the hardcore/crust scene in your life? And what are the bands primarily that have influenced your music and approach?

Santiago: As for a good majority of non-conformist teenagers, the punk rock scene was not satisfying enough at the level of hate and aggressivity. The grind crust universe was more suited to me (late 90’) when I first entered the music scene. My biggest musical influences were at the time Extreme Noise Terror, Human Greed and Driller Killer.

Michel: My first approach to the punk/hardcore scene started listening to bands like Conflict, Crass, DK, Flux of pink Indians, ENT, Disorder, Subhumans and Chaos UK. Those bands really got me as a teenager and brought me to love music, and especially to this way of life. Around the age of 15 I began to play music with friends, we were in the early 90’ in Montreal, Canada, The best time for the Punk hardcore crust scene here in my opinion. Maybe I’m just nostalgic hahaha. So many good bands and crazy shows. Civil disobedience, State of fear, His hero his gone, Global holocaust, Dropdead, Human greed and so many more. All those good bands threw me further in the crust sound like Disrupt, Wolfbrigade, Tragedy, Fall of Efrafa, Consume, Disaffect, to name a few. I’m still enjoying and discovering so many good bands and I still need to sing and scream to empty the rage of all injustices.

Kev: When I was 10 years old, I’ve started listening to Swedish death metal bands like Dismember, Entombed, Grave, etc… my first tape was Entombed Clandestine. Around 16, I’ve started to listen to punk bands and I’ve fallen in love with all this way of life. Around 20, I’ve discovered bands like Wolfpack, Skitsystem, Aus rotten, etc… And boom!!! The mix of the two styles made my head burst!!!!! Now at 40, I play death crust in my best band project in my all life!!!

Paskk: I’ve been a punk rock fan at first glance, when I was about 13 years old. When I was 17 years old, I started to discover more underground punk bands; mainly uk82, anarcho punk and street punk stuffs. When I was 19 years old, I saw a Born/Dead show and not long after, a Sangre show and it was a revelation to me. The energy that crust punk music was unleashing made me enlightened. When I was 20 years old, I pursued my discovering of the genre and started to listen to bands as Wolfbrigade, Skitsystem and Tragedy, to name a few. It wasn’t long for me to focus mainly on crust music (the Swedish style always has been my favorite) and let the street punk genre and look back behind. I started playing in a crust band around the same time back in Belgium. Before moving to Canada, I experienced playing in bands in that music style with 3 bands. Two as a guitarist singer, and one as a singer. Around 23-24 years old, I started to appreciate metal music again, because in my streetpunk phase, I kind of let it denied for a while. I was loving metal again and more especially old school Swedish death metal. Bands like Entombed, Interment, Demonical Unleashed, Bloodbath, Entrails, Asphyx or the later LIK rapidly became an inspiration and a passion to me. I started looking for bands that were merging the kind of death metal I love and the kind of crust punk I love. I already knew the mighty album “Stigmata” of Skitsystem which was a perfect example of how Swedish crust and old school Swedish death metal could become the perfect cocktail. This album is still in my top 3. I discovered bands such as Totält Jävla Mörker, Guided Cradle, Misantropic or Fredag den 13 e, again to name a few. When I arrived in Canada, I was willing to make a new band of that style of music, which I call either crust metal, or death crust. And it’s what we did. I incorporated elements of death metal in my crust riffs, Yan did too, and Collapsed was born. Get ready for next album!

Yan: My approach to music might be different than my band mates. I don’t like to consider genre, I listen to pretty much all kind of music. I’ve been introduced very young to 60’-70’ music, learned guitar pretty young in the early 90’and never stopped. I’ve been in some school band and liked the feeling of being on a stage. Some friends played in a Ska-punk band Downshift in Case in the late 90’ and I joined them for a good while, we played shows all around Quebec. We were underage playing in bars but it was fun! That band went on hiatus after a few albums and several years. Through common friends, I replaced the guitarist in a local legendary crust band Global Holocaust in early 2000 and got introduced to crust punk. I already liked extreme metal and grindcore complexity and speed but that mix of punk rock and metal sounded right in my ears! Played with them for some time then started various bands projects. I’m still very into experimental music of any genre. I’m all about Emerson Lake & Palmer, Dillinger Escape Plan, Bad Brains ,Assuck, Django Reinhardt, Dystopia, Spazz, Wolfpack, Elvis, Flat & Scruggs, Deicide, Choking Victims, State of Fear, Ravi Shankar, The Beatles, Louis Armstrong, Monster X ,Hendrix, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Fuck the facts… the list goes on and gets more and more on the weird side, I got to be careful when I write music for Collapsed not put too much weird things but the guys are watching me.

Canada has been famous for years for giving birth to many interesting and valid bands in combining crust punk and extreme metal, from the seminal Iskra (fundamental for the development of RABM) to Ahna, from Napalm Raid to Massgrave. How do you explain this extreme fertility of certain sounds in your country? What are your relationships with the punk-hardcore scene in Quebec and Canada in general?

Well, there’s a bunch of extremely talented bands coming out of the north, let’s say it’s so cold you can freeze to death ½ – 1/3 of the year…people are stuck inside and music is an excellent way to get together and do something artistic and fun! The country here is really really wide so there’s a scene but it’s spread. Let’s say from Montreal to the next big city is 300+ km and it’s like that (or worse) all across the country. However, There’s a really nice scene in Montreal. Usually shows of all kinds pretty much everyday, lots of festivals… Underground music scene is active all across Canada but mainly gathered in every big town. I think we have good relationships with other bands and venues but we’re pretty much a bastard kind of weirdos cousins… Too metal for punk rock shows and too punk for metal shows… but it works out! We’re not too much politicized, but more about raising awareness… Not here to preach, we don’t have to justify our ideologies, we say what we think, like it or not.

Quebec is unfortunately famous for having an important Black metal scene whose protagonists are often linked to environments of extreme right or with strong nationalistic-racist feelings. What are your positions about this scene and bands that use extreme metal to convey messages and positions openly fascist, reactionary, racist and oppressive towards minorities?

FASCISTS ARE NOT WELCOME!!!

We’re greatly against all kinds of discriminations. The Antifa movement is really strong here in Montreal and Fascist acts in the punk/metal scene are really watched. Some bands try to book right wing shows from time to time I’ve heard, but most get cancelled or stopped. They are now a minority. Going out in more rural regions people can be more redneck… Our position towards bands openly fascist, racist, homophobic, sexist, transphobic or oppressive toward minorities ? FUCK those persons, they don’t want to meet us in person.

With your music do you also want to convey your political ideas or do you focus on other themes and topics?

Collapsed isn’t much about politics, more about critical consciousness. We talk about premature death of ecosystems due to overconsumption, war, pain, mankind stupidity, relation interactions. Ideologies will bring conflict and there’s enough of those, we are more about exposing problems that are bringing us all down the drain. Not to be pessimist, but the future does not augur well for planet earth if we keep running that kind of system…

Recently, in the last few months, horrifying news arrived from Canada about the discovery of mass graves of First Nations children. A news that certainly does not surprise in a continent born from colonial oppression and genocide of native peoples, but that returns to emphasize the importance of the struggle and the movement of decolonization. The reaction of the First Nations was in some cases violent with the destruction of churches and other symbols of European colonialism on Canadian soil. What are your positions on these anti-colonial protests and revolts as a response to the horrors of yesterday and today of (neo)colonialism and oppression suffered by First Nations? Do you also deal with certain issues in a track like “Lost Tribes?

One of the biggest Holocaust that ever happened in America. In 1924, Paul Rivet estimated that between 40 to 50 million of people lived in the hemisphere before the Indigenous Holocaust began. With some historians arguing for an estimated 100 million, or more. That population got eradicated, their lands got stolen, children killed, women raped…first nations have the right to be angry and we support them. We’re opposed to repression against the first nations and Inuit people. Who doesn’t like a nice church fire? We’re against religion anyway, people can think what they want but not impose their ways of thinking to others.

What does being part of the DIY hardcore scene and playing crust punk mean to you? What do you think about a quite famous slogan within the hardcore scene that says “make hardcore a threat again”?

Slaves to no one.

Isn’t it making punk a threat again? Bunch of good bands on Profane existence! We did our first show with Appalachian Terror Unit!

The Goal of punks was, at the beginning, to shock and provoke, and we are part of that generation of punks. -HATE US.

Unfortunately, there’s division in the scene, people get sometimes offended for nothing and stuff. We like it wild, like back in the days.

Punk is support not competition.

Your first album was recently pressed by Phobia Records and others labels. What is your relationship with this important labels? How did the decision to release your first s/t album come about through a true DIY conspiracy between multiple labels?

We started and will always stay fully DIY, it’s a way of life, we don’t want to depend on anybody. We’re able to record and produce our music ourselves and all our merch is made locally by punks. We had the help from Stiv of Visions of War for the artwork and meanwhile Paskk talked to Mirek from Phobia record to release and distribute our first Lp. We did it in partnership with other labels, it surely does help for a larger distribution! Phobia is planning another pressing of the s/t, since the first one sold out pretty fast. We’re about to go recording a new full-length album in a few months and we plan to release it on Phobia too. So you might get new Collapsed material during winter 2022! (Hint Hint we’re starting preprod really soon!) We would really like to tour Europe and meet everybody from those awesome labels in person during summer 2023, we already had plans for last summer but Covid fucked that up solid… We still managed to do a couple shows around our home town. And it seems like everything is going better now! We just recorded the first of a long list of Pils sessions at NoMansLand studio, an initiative of Chany<Inepsy> and Dizz. They have started those sessions to help to promote the DIY underground bands. They’re releasing some small batches of tapes for every band and eventually gonna release a compilation. Ours got mastered at Enormous Door Mastering (Huge thanks to Jack Control<Severed Head of State, World Burns to Death>). Also, we recently covered the song Godforsaken for a cool State of Fear tribute album with a bunch of nice crust bands from all around the globe. It’s getting released by D.I.Y. Koło Records in Poland. The S/t album also got released on tape by a local label called <Still not fast enough>. Our friend Arnaud did some limited edition tapes and patches. Bullwhip Records in Malaysia also released some tapes of the s/t to have some distribution in south east Asia.

Are you already working on the new record? If yes, do you already have in mind when you will release it and through which label you want to press it on vinyl?

Well, we have answered that in the previous question. When our rehearsal space was closed during the early pandemic, we managed to rent a secret warehouse bunker to continue rehearsing during the lockdown (avoiding the spread of the virus by safety measures though), we kept composing more and more, and now pretty much everything is ready for our second album. We might have a split coming too…

You recently participated in a tribute to the immortal State of Fear along with other great bands, from the Swedes Misantropic to the Italians Cancer of Spreading. How did the idea of participating and collaborating in this compilation come about?

Yeah!!! State of fear is a major influence for us! It’s an honor to be part of the tribute compilation and the line up is insane. Paskk saw that tribute and contacted the label to bring us in. We had to choose, learn and record the song in the same week to send it to the label which needed it very fast to send it to the pressing plant! There’s some delays with the pressing plant but I heard it’s on the way. We’ll get it in a couple months. You can already listen to our cover on our bandcamp. (Collapsed – Pils Session)

We have come to the end of the interview, I leave this space for you to write anything you want and that you consider interesting for those who will read! Thank you again and I send you a big hug Collapsed friends!

TOO PUNK FOR METAL

TOO METAL FOR PUNK

SLAVES TO NO ONE

FUCK YOU ALL

CHEERS

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