1. Ok tell us a bit about yourself, introduce yourself, what are you about, dreams, passions, hopes, fears, what makes you wake up in the morning and what makes you smile...?
Hey there. This project is called Kurohata. Kurohata means “Black Flag” in Japanese, we stole the name from a Japanese Anarchist journal published in 1945. This project is mainly myself with input from a few other people when we need beats or input on lyrical and vocal content. We make basic hip hop, I say basic because we are not musicians, we do not have an extensive knowledge of music production, we do not know how to make hip hop as such. This is an experiment for us; we are aware of our limitations and are just working on this song by song and learning as we go. It is because of our dreams, passions, hopes and fears that we do Kurohata. You know, this project is about our message; this is the most important thing for us. I am scared stiff that one day I will wake up and there will be no nature left, no forests, no birds, no flowers no nothing. This is a very real prospect that we are facing, we are completely destroying this beautiful planet, and that has to stop. All we are asking is that people think a little and act on their impulses, become passionate about the things which matter to them. We have taken from this Earth for so long, lets give something back.
2.Veganism seems to be a big part of your life and a foundation of your ideology tell us a bit about it, why and how did you decide to become a vegan, how do you include it in the bigger picture of social and political struggle and how do you integrate it with the fact that most people in the social struggle movements are far from being vegan (ie zapatistas, hizzbolah, etc etc)
I have been vegan for 12 years now. This is going to sound cliché but I first became aware of vegetarianism and veganism through the hardcore scene. I remember listening to bands like Earth Crisis, Shelter, Youth of Today etc and was completely blown away by the messages which these bands talked about. This was very profound for me at that stage in my life; I was young, interested in new ideas and new ways of thinking and veganism made me aware of what it really means to be compassionate. Coupled with this, I grew up in a family which placed emphasis on hunting. Throughout my life I struggled to come to terms with this aspect of my family, and it was through the hardcore scene that I found the escape I had been craving.
I see all struggles equal and inextricably linked. My basic take on life is to be as compassionate as possible to all life, whether that is human or animal, it does not matter. I believe that we are all connected in some way through a spirit or energy and to kill or destroy another living being or destroying a tree or polluting water for example, is essentially killing ourselves. However, I am also aware that I am in a privileged position, I live in a Western country, I am not poor, I have had some education, I have a job etc. For me to preach or to expect people from non-Western countries to follow a vegan diet is unrealistic and narrow minded. Activists like the Zapatistas or Hezbollah have more imminent struggles to contend with. We cannot push our Westernised views of what it means to be ethical onto people who face hardships which we can’t even imagine. My veganism would be of little importance to the family from Chiapas who are being forced from their land by the Mexican government or to the father who joined Hezbollah in response to his son being blown to bits by Israeli helicopters. Don’t get me wrong, I would give anything to see social/political groups over the world incorporating veganism and animal liberation into their ideologies, but that is not going to happen, at least any time soon.
3."From this love comes this hate" what is in your opinion the importance of emotions in politics, do you think that politics should be a pure rational exercise, an emotional output, both? What past and present struggles touch your heart?
I love the plants, the trees, the water which flows through the earth, I love the clear night skies, the stars, I love talking and hanging out with my family, my partner, my friends, I love living. And from this love comes so much hate. When I see the earth being destroyed, forests clear cutted, waters polluted, animals killed, family members who have diseases such as cancer, which is essentially a disease spawned from civilisation, it takes all my power to stop this manifesting into something which frightens me, perhaps that’s when my rational side takes over. However, I cannot understand a politics which is based solely on rational thinking. For me, my life is emotional, I am an emotional being, everything I do comes from my emotions and to cut this off would be denying parts of my existence. I do not want to talk or theorise about what type of world I want to live in I want to go out there and fight for it with everything I have got.
There are so many struggles which have influenced me in some way and touched my heart. It is really impossible to answer this question. If I am to name drop, then the Machnovistas from the Ukraine in 1917 who fought against the Fascists and the Communists, they managed to briefly create an anarchist society even though they faced enemies at every turn; those who fought in the Spanish Revolution in 1936, especially the Mujeres Libres, women who not only had to fight for their freedom they had to fight against prejudices even within their own revolutionary circles. More close to home would be the resistance which stood up to the fascist black shirts in Whitechapel in 1936; those fighting in Chechnya, in Chiapas and Oaxaca, in Palestine against the Israeli oppression, the ELF and the ALF who sacrifice everything to make this world a better place and of course the anti-capitalist movement as well. I mean, I could go on forever, I guess the point is, I am inspired by people who do selfless acts for something which they are passionate about – that is what touches my heart.
kurohata with Canaan
4. Do you see any possibility of dealing with the demons outside without first
dealing with the demons within? are they in your opinion just a reflection? "war outside as a manifest from the war within"? Thoughts on this....?
I’ve had this discussion with you hundreds of times I think over the years and I guess we never came to a real and tangible conclusion. I think it comes down to preference and what you see as the most important thing. Personally and I am looking at this practically, if I look at the state of the Earth, the Earth is dying, we are destroying this planet at such a rate that the destruction is pretty much in free fall right now; do we really have time for people to sort out their ‘issues’ first? I am not saying that it is not important but perhaps soon there will not be an Earth left for you to sort them out.
5.What are your thoughts on the Palestinian problem? Do you think it is possible to ever achieve a solution for that political and social problem? How?
This conflict touches me deeply. Palestine as it existed before the invasion had a sophisticated culture, a peaceful people with complex social structures, making the use of the land; you know basically they were living as any society would. Then one day, through no fault of their own, they are invaded by an occupying army, forcefully and violently driven from their land and the remaining people occupied with brute oppression. They now have fragmented communities broken up by the separation barrier and by illegal settlements, they have little or no water, their land is destroyed, they have no jobs, they are being shot at on a daily basis, not just from snipers but from US supplied fighter jets and Apache helicopters; they have no army to defend themselves, their hospitals and schools are being targeted with bombs. I mean this is a complete disaster and the irony of all of this is that, the oppressors, the Israeli’s, the ones causing all this shit are made out to be the good guys.
I’m not sure if there will ever be peace. It seems an impossibility to form peace with a nation hell bent on destruction of another people. Israel is greedy for land and for as long as there is land to be had, there will be war.
I guess there are two possible solutions, either the 2 state solution where both Israeli’s and Palestinians have their own sovereign states or the single state where Palestinians and Israeli’s share power over one nation (hopefully under the name Palestine). I personally have no preference or particularly care what the solution is as long as there is peace and innocent people on both sides are no longer killed.
6. the past you were quite involved with the so called hardcore scene, how do you see it today? how did you see it back then? do you recon any potential for anything? a minor threat or no threat at all???
My views on the hardcore scene have changed immensely over the years. When I first got into hardcore, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. I really believed that this movement, that SxE was going to change the world we live in. Although it did change my immediate world and the way I view things, its revolutionary impact as something greater was minimal to say the least. However, regardless of that, hardcore back in the day had some integrity and did give people hope. Now hardcore is just another music genre, it is no different from any other music scene. It has become a niche market for capitalism. The revolutionary impact which hardcore possibly had has completely disappeared. I go to the occasional show and it is like im at a fashion show or something. I feel completely out of place. Politics has disappeared and in its place fashion, materialism and mainstream music have taken over. This is not the hardcore which I knew. I am not saying that there are no political bands anymore, there are, but essentially the scene has changed for the worse and I can’t imagine it will come back.
7. you think religions are the opium of the masses? why or why not?
This is a difficult question to answer as there are many beliefs and some are affected by cultural manifestations which do not really have anything to do with religion but anyhow have morphed into a religious / cultural system. I think religion, in its pure form can be very positive as long as people understand that whether you choose to follow a faith or not, it is imperative that you keep an open mind and are not afraid to discard the things which do not sit well with your own views and consciousness, then I do not see a problem.
8.What is the purpose of life? what is the meaning of being on a rock floating in the middle of nothing? any ideas...?
I don’t think anyone has the answers to this. My own view point is that for whatever reason we are here and whether or not there is some sort of afterlife, while we are on this planet, we are just guests, and we do not have the right to destroy the environment or to cause grief to any other living being. My views very much follow Taoist thinking in that as stated earlier, we are all connected through an energy with the earth being our lifeblood. The Tao Te Ching states”The great Tao flows everywhere, both to the left and to the right. The ten thousand things depend upon it; it holds nothing back. It fulfils its purpose silently and makes no claim. It nourishes the ten thousand things. And yet is not their lord. It has no aim; it is very small. The ten thousand things return to it, yet it is not their lord. It is very great. It does not show its greatness, And is therefore truly great. For me anyway, this passage means a great deal and has influenced my general outlook on life.
9. who would you love to be in boxing arena with and why?
I think it is about time that people started actively resisting this hegemonic oppressive culture and those who continue its mission. There is not just one person to choose from as this system is maintained by a global elite and the super rich who think it is ok to treat everyone and everything as a commodity so that they can make money. Therefore, we need to destroy this system and from it’s ashes a new society, or new ways of thinking will grow; I do not know what that system will look like but I do know that the people will choose and as long as it is equal, autonomous and free from exploitation then I will support that. So to answer this question in a roundabout way, all those who resist this change will need to be delt with by whatever means the people have when the time comes.
10.tell us about your lyrics, plans for the future, anything at all...?
The lyrics touch on all things connected to Human, Earth and Animal liberation. We try to throw in some references to historical movements, people, recommended books etc, which might encourage people to learn more about the issues we talk about. We have been asked to do a couple of compilations, one a Vegan SxE comp from the UK and another comp from the US. We are also working with Eco-nspiracy who will possibly be putting some of our stuff out in the future. If anyone wants to get in touch check out our profile at: www. myspace. com/xkurohatax and thanks for the interview, we really appreciate the opportunity, good luck with the ezine.
kurohata with slavearc