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Assert
04/11/2004 (interview with Britt)



Why did you form the band in the first place, and how have the band changed over the years?

I formed the band as an outlet for my aggression and to keep me busy! i had a backlog of lyrical ideas and had been working on the road with the Blaggers I.T.A. i needed to create or i would self destruct!! the challenge was to build a band from scratch and get something released.

You are just releasing new album Riotous Assembly . What can people expect on the release? And what is your favourite track on the release and what is it about?

People can expect; power, passion, precision playing, politics, speed, aggression, incisive lyrics and a bullshit free view of the world today. It's an anti-globilisation album drawing inspiration from all corners of the aggressive music world. My fave track is probably 'School of assassins' which is about the military academy the S.O.A. in Columbus Georgia in the states where officers from Latino countries are taught how to torture and carry out acts of subterfuge and to destabilise their own countries if need be. The place is nick named the School of assassins! ; the shit that goes on all over Latin America is frightening !!! one of my other favourite songs is 'Never forget you' which was written for my friend Matty who died a couple of years ago; someone recently told me at a gig that the song helped them come to terms with the death of their best friend, so that was nice to know.

What label have you gone with and how easy was it to find a label?

In Europe we went with Diehard/Hardboiled and in the states Maltsoda records, both labels are honest and very easy to get on with which is rare in this day and age!! I sent the cd out to a few labels and as usual they wanted it then started to ignore my e-mails and playing the bullshit game ,so fuck them!! it was pretty easy to find a good label as it's a very strong record. Dealing with labels can be such a pain in the arse but we have put out stuff ourselves in the past on the Hideous Eye label. If bands cannot find a label then put it out yourselves, set up a tour and sell the thing;stay in control and re-invest any profits back into the band. we still sell our things very cheap at gigs; cd's are a fiver, shirts are £6 , we sell a shirt and cd for a tenner combined! it's better to have people wearing the shirt and playing the records then sat in the merch box! . Bands charging anything up to a tenner at gigs for a c.d. are fucking ripping you off and taking the piss.

What other British bands fit into the same vain of music as you? Do you think and you have more in common in US bands and do you think you would get more recognition if you were an American band?

I don't think there are any!! the thing with Assert is that we like to keep evolving; punk and hardcore in the u.k. is just so stagnant and boring and i hate to feel bored ! i'll do whatever it takes to keep it interesting and inventive; change the sound, change the equipment, change the band members!! i don't care about the rigidity of the 'scene' and i have no interest in the 'rules' of punk and hardcore, for something that is supposed to be free of rules it probably has more do's and dont's than any other musical genre ; that is something i will continue to fight against. Geographical location of any band has little to do with how much we have in common with them; i think we have a lot in common with some u.s.a. bands in the sense that there might be a political bond or the fact that we play hard and fast and are very energetic on stage; there are not many u.k.bands who play like that; we have lots of things in common with bands from sweden as much as any other country of the world. Most of the 'exciting' bands tend to emerge from the u.s.a.; it is an economic super power , a cultural super power, and a huge country so that's no surprise! many good bands also come from Japan. I just don't see many challenging groups coming out of the u.k. with a very real edge and strong ethics. For me it's not a career or some middle class passtime, its my fucking lifeblood. Would we get more recognition if we were from the states? i could never answer that ! there are a lot of cliques and divisions in the U.K. and it is the classic country that celebrates mediocracy and a lot of what comes out of punk and hardcore in this country is piss poor, pretty much like the state of the economy!!! what happens in art and culture is a mere microcosm of society itself and this country is going down the tubes; we need a fresh layer of hungry , raw, bands to express this.

What bands have you most enjoyed sharing a stage with and which bands would you like to in future?

Kill Your Idols are one of my faves; we have played with a lot of good bands, Agnostic front, Biohazard, Cause for Alarm, Cro-mags, Napalm, Madball, Murphys Law, G.B.H, Discharge, Poison Idea, Exploited, Slapshot, and many more. maybe we should play with Busted and fuck 'em up!

 

Tell people about the current UK scene?

Its full of rules and divisions and middle class kids with nice haircuts!! its full of old men with no energy living off the past!!! its full of gobshites like me!!!! there are still some great genuine people out there putting out zines and putting on gigs, but, the early eighties have long since gone, it's time to move on and evolve if we wish to become a potent force again!! o'h by the way, fuck the 'scene' !!

If I remember rightly, you are not averse to stripping off on stage? Where does this come from and what type of comments does it attract?

We last stripped off in '99 !!!! see what i mean about stagnation? it got us a lot of attention back then; it was an anti-fashion thing , an anti-homophobic thing and a way of pissing people off in a very conservative u.k. punk and hardcore 'scene' boy did it work!!! we moved away from it when it started to get a bit cabaret and boring !!

What is the best sentence you have ever heard, that someone has managed to get into a song's lyrics?

'That's right muthafucker, we're that spick band' - Los Crudos ( from Chicago)

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2004 / 2005.

We released 'Riotous Assembly' in Europe and the States and a split with our friends The Swellbellys; we have toured the u.k. twice this year and are working on the fifth full length in our own Hideous Eye studio ( D.I.Y. or die !!) i have the full length 'Britt and the Insurrctionists' ( 14 songs of street punk/rock 'n' roll) to come out next year.

Any final comments?

we shall just continue to be a thorn in the side and a bunch of assertive and self confident fuckers!! please check the website : www.assertkickass.co.uk and thanks for the chance to rant !!

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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.