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Action Directe Interview


Introduce the band to people? ie how did you meet, who is in the band and why formthe band in the first place?

Joel: "We were called Shoot The 18 but no landlord in Leeds would give us a gig 'cos they were scared of retribution from the boneheads. So we became Action Directe after the French terrorists-cum-poets. We adopted Phil, co-opted John and drafted Spider and here we all are!"

Spider: "I got in contact with the band through a wanted ad in a record shop. I
never go through them, but somehow I spotted both the Clash and Killing
Joke in the influences and thought it must good stuff these guys are
doing... and I wasn't wrong!"

John: "I met the band by being the sound engineer at a gig of theirs. I liked
what they were doing so I got the venue promoter to book them a few more
gigs and so I got to know them. Last year they needed a guitarist to fill in and they got in touch with me and asked if I'd do it. Since then I've never looked back".

Phil: "I'm in the band. I met Joel in a queue in 1996 - it was hard times and the gruel rations were running low. I met John when drunk I met spider while I was asleep"

Describe your sound, and what bands have influenced you?

Spider: "Recently we've been described as the Clash of burgeoning industrial
punk in Kaleidoscope magazine, which I think is a brilliant way of putting it. There are many influences, but I would have to limit it to 5 I would say the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Killing Joke, Rancid and the Exploited. As a guitar player my style is pretty similiar to Steve Jones'."

John: "The Clash meet Skinny Puppy with Front 242 watching on.... or something"

Phil: "loud, with nasty drums and screeeeetchy feedback and digital distortion
influences for me - Autechre, Mission of Burma, Kid 606, Doc Scott, ATR"

Joel: "Loud, edgy, fast, and smarter than your average bear. The big bands for me are The Clash, Killing Joke, New Model Army and Manic Street Preachers, although my first love is Dub."

Which is most important about the songs, the sound or the message
they convey?

Joel: "Some bands have the message but no tunes and bore the tits off me, whereas some bands sound great but their message is disgusting. However, we believe that there is a middle ground between Billy Bragg and Combat 84, ..."

Spider: "Lyrics are really important, but we won't be changing the world with
just singing, so the music must be really good as well."

John: "I think they're complementary. I see my role as working on the sound, so in a sense that's more important to me, but that's only because Joel already had the message thing down when I joined. If it's not broke don't fix it and all that :)"

Phil: "One would be meaningless without the other."

What releases have you had out so far, and what track are you most proud of and why? How have they been released?

Spider: "The only one of the release I play on is our new single '60 Million
Guns'. I think I will be most proud of the stuff that we will eventually get written, recorded and put out on the upcoming album. I feel excited about re-working some of the old songs for the 'Def Before Dishonour' compilation."

John: "Just two singles since I joined, Sixty Million Guns and England. I'm most proud of England, I think the music and the message fuse really well on that one. You can listen to it without considering the lyrics and its still really powerful."

Phil: "I think that the fact that we have gelled so much as a band recently bodes well for the future with our forthcoming remix/reversioned comp
Although I do love a mix of "Nemesis" that is sitting on a broken harddrive of mine"

Joel: "We've had two albums, 3 EPs and a couple of singles so far; '60 Million Guns' is the best song we've written, but my personal favourite is 'Better Dead Than Red'. It sounds really, really fucking mean and could have been done by any of my favourite Oi! bands, plus it's about Alan 'Judas' Smith. People thought we were crazy to do an industrial-punk hooligan anthem, but we pulled it off!"

What are your thoughts to the internet music revolution?

Spider: "Internet plays a huge part in music these days. Vital for smaller bands. I don't know how keen I'm personally on all the mp3 stuff since nothing beats owning the real thing. There is a lot more feel to it when you have it on an actual cd or a vinyl.

Personally I've discovered countless bands through Internet and file-sharing. The idea is the check out new bands via downloads and then go and buy their record if it sounds like it's worth it."

John: "It's a great tool for lesser known bands, but hype makes it hard to know exactly where one stands. I still like to have a piece of plastic in my

Phil: "Best thing that has ever happend to music since wax cylinders. The way people are combining different musical styles into new ones via the massive availability if music is astonishing. Its tape swapping on a global scale. The amount of bands that are coming out of the filesharing/CD-r scene at the moment is fantastic"

Joel: "It's great and it's important, but there might just be too much of it nowadays. Plus you can't put a webpage in your scrapbook, can you?"

What is the best gig Action Directe have ever done and who else was on the line-up?
Joel: "The Bassment, Whitby, InFest and some great gigs in Reading, Cambridge and Bradford...plus 3 gigs and counting with the current - and best - line-up of Action Directe."

Spider: "I've only played two gigs with the band so far... but I'm guessing
Punx Olympix (June 9th) in London is going to be a highlight!"

John: "The first one I ever did with the band at the bassment in Leeds. It was
absolutely packed and I wasn't sure if I was going to play anything right but it rocked."

Phil: "Playing at the bassment (John's first gig). Stealing all the riders in Whitby a few years back. Infest was pretty cool as well."

How did you all get into punk in the first place?

Spider: "Somehow I heard about the Clash and I went to the local library and
got out a 2 cd punk compilation... 'Anarchy in the UK' by the Pistols was the first track on it and I was hooked! Ended up looking just like Johnny Rotten for years!"

John: "I'm more industrial influenced. I like the Clash and a lot of Punk influenced stuff. It depends exactly what you mean by Punk - I like the ethos and a lot of stuff that doesn't "sound punk" probably is in the ideological sense. Like Skinny Puppy for example."

Joel: "Got in through the Pistols but the Clash were more important. Plus there's so much of it that there's always new bands to get into."

Phil: "Er, listening to music?"

Describe today's scene.

Spider: "The whole idea of being what you want and doing what you want seem to have disappeared. The homogenity has taken over. I mean I probably shouldn't say that since I got a mohican, piercings, tattoos and a
black leather jacket, but I still somewhere down the line it changes. The creative freedom kind of died to a certain degree. I mean look back at the bands and people that were involved in the late 70's. It was a different thing back then. I think with Action Directe we're kind of going against the grain with not having your usual line-up since we don't have a drummer, but I think it's a brave move, pushing the boundaries a bit."

John: "There's lots of them....."

Phil: "Which one ;-)
Pretty good. There are loads of DIY gigs/festivals/zines about and it makes up for a great community."

Joel: "Patchy in the UK - too many old bands plugging old records, not enough new ideas from the new bands. In Europe it's a lot healthier - some great bands like the Stage Bottles, Betontod and Emscherkurve 77, and
the best festivals and labels. If I could become a born-again punk i'd move to the Ruhr in Germany where all the best bands are!"


Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2006.

Spider: "At the moment about half a dozen gigs planned and more to come! Got some filming done, so there will be some visual material coming up as
well along the 'Def Before Dishonour' cd and the yet untitled new album."

Phil: "Def Before Dishonour remix/reversion comp, some audio/visual stuff, and some gigs as well. all one our myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/actiondirecte "

Joel: "New album in September-ish, and plenty more to come before that!"

Any final comments?
Phil: "Yes"

Spider: - "No"

Joel: "Keep up the good work, Rebecca - and don't let the bastards grind you down!"
All the best & thanks!

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Please note that the opinions expressed by band members does not necessarily reflect the views of this website. Punk & Oi in the UK Limited are in no way liable for comments made by interviewees.


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