We're a punkrock trio from Nijmegen, the Netherlands: Willem, Riekus and Toon. We've toured and released albums worldwide since 2005. We like our punkrock political and melodic, combining the best of ’90’s skatepunk, ’00’s emo and ’10’s orgcore.
Feel free to check out the song and an excerpt from the punknews podcast:
Anywho, we’re flattered to hear so much discussion about this song going on, and we’d like to clarify some misunderstandings about it’s contents.
This song is partly about skate culture indeed. But the skate culture is an example of (or a metaphor for, if you wish) subculture and counter culture in general, including the punk/hardcore scene. These cultures came into existence because people didn’t feel welcome or didn’t want to participate in mainstream sports or culture. So indeed, this song is about distinction rather than unity. But that can be a good thing! Second; the fact that subcultures partly exist by the grace of gadgets, fashion items and other commodities doesn’t mean that this is desirable nor that subcultures can not exist without them. That’s too easy and fatalist in my opinion. It’s not a given and we can change it if we want.
The new anti-squatting law will become active on October 1st, next Friday. To “celebrate” that, there will be a “Nood Kraakt Wet” demonstration in Nijmegen on October 2nd, next Saturday. The demonstration will start at 1300h at the Joris Ivensplein in Nijmegen. Bring your mom, pets and carnavalskrakers. Former and current (and future?) Antillectual members will be present, for the CAUSE!
This time no punkrock celeb doing guest vocals, but the counterpart to last week’s song about cultural upgrading. I guess you could call this our most “sing-along-able” song. Even though sing-alongness isn’t necessarily a recommendation for a song. But when fighting the Dutch anti-squatting law, you need to sing and stand together.
Etjen from Just Like Your Mom Toursupport provides the verbal contribution. Back in 2006, this long time friend decided we needed a van, so he bought one to help us out. That was the small start of his now successful initiative. Despite the growth he still helps us out behind the scenes A LOT and provides cheap yet good vans, backlines and so much more for bands. Newest development at “Mom”: vegan catering at festivals!
Please read on, enjoy the song and feel free to share it with your friends.
According to me squatting is the most used, most effective and direct form of non violent direct action around the world. Across our green and blue globe 1 in 10 people are squatting to make sure they have a safe place to life, to have shelter. That said it’s more than obvious that the ‘new’ law the Dutch government is introducing is nessecary if you approve of making a profit over the backs of people and peoples basic needs, but nevertheless it is a ridiculous and even plain stupid law. And yes, I know that you can’t compare landsquatters in South America with squatting as ‘we’ know it in the western world. But fuck that, the basis is the same. I could go on about counterculture, and the needs of free creative spaces. History proves that almost every music venue in Europe is based in squatting. Why? I would say, google and find out yourself. But anyway, enough about squatting and laws: as this song states, ‘squatting will continue’ with or without laws. So I think the Antillectual boys have a point with this song.
For me, after 15 years living as a so called squatter, squatting is more than opening a front door of an empty building. Squatting is a state of mind you are in, not thinking in boundaries, being creative, thinking outside boxes… And most important, being social to the environment around you, whatever that environment is. In that way I got involved with these Antillectual boys. They wanted to tour and needed an affordable tourvan for that. So over dinner at Yvo’s place I thought and said: “let’s do it” and that’s how the tour-machine Antillectual, and myself set of to where we all are now: Antillectual releasing a 3rd album, me buying a 7th tourvan. Sounds weird, but thats how it is. And no it’s not about growing or getting bigger… It’s about doing something you believe in, believing in what you do, and creating space for other people to use it. Which brings us back to the theme of this song… Squatting…
I can say I’m proud to be part of all this. I like it to see that the new Antillectual’s in the world and in the musicscene can use the basis we all created when they go on tour. I like it to see when people take responsibilty, write some songs, book their own tour, and just go. And believe me, there are a lot of new (and old) Antillectual’s waiting to hit the road and to hit the venues in your area.
Together we take what we need and use it to make this fucked up planet a nicer place to live in… Kraken gaat door!
The next casualty in line
The next threat rising from youth culture
Either disarmed or illegalized
Downgraded and removed
Squatting is not a crime
The petty bourgeoisie at war with their own legacy
Artists, students, bands like us
Culture in general, owing so much to squatting
For what is valuable
For what is not for sale
For what has no commercial interest at all
Callousness, why should I care?
I’ve got my house, I can drink my beer
Ignore its role in art and housing
Stress the conflicts and incidents
A place for those without one
A home for those without one
An outlet for those without one
No squatter is illegal
… but the mechanism works the other way around as well. When subcultures are unable to generate some extra money or simply resist to cooperate or fit in, mainstream media, companies and other institutions try to “downgrade” those subcultures so they can not be of any harm. The best example of this mechanism is the current anti-squatting law the dutch government has implemented in the constitution. Since squatting is a threat to the economy, healthy living conditions and simply stealing people’s property (not my words!) it should be forbidden. Since squatting is one of the most effective ways to create affordable living and working space for students and artists, a fertile home for underground culture and recycle ugly empty office spaces (my words!) it is not a crime! Kraken Gaat Door! (Dutch slogan meaning “squatting continues”).
That was it for side A of the record! Next week the first song of side B: a song about Pamela Anderson, Weird Al Yankovic, Hitler and Meatloaf. Guest contribution by Holland’s most critical, yet “converted” music critic.
After the release of our new album on November 1st we will be touring our asses off. Starting with a release tour in France in November. First dates have been announced. Please see below. We are still looking for dates, get in touch with us or Effervescence Bookings to fill the voids.
Nov 4 Available
Nov 5 Available
Nov 6 Available
Nov 7 Available
Nov 8 Available
Nov 9 France Saint Etienne, Thunderbird Lounge
Nov 10 France Marseille, TBA
Nov 11 France Montpellier, Up and Down
Nov 12 France Bayonne, Le Kixkil
Nov 13 France Cauterets, Le Commerce
Nov 14 Available
This is the fastest song on our album. About skate and counter culture. And YES, you heard it right, Chris Hannah (Propagandhi) sings on the last chorus. We asked him to do guest vocals for this song. He said he would try it, but warned us not to be disappointed. He did, and we weren’t. As most of you know Propagandhi is a band we love and enjoyed playing with extremely much. Having this collaboration means a lot to us. I hope you enjoy it too.
Chris was friendly enough to write some words about this song, and so did our most steady pair of extra hands on the road: Thomas. If you saw us play lately and visited our merch stand you must have seen him. If you booked a show for us, he was probably the guy giving you shit about money …
Please read on, enjoy the song and feel free to share it with your friends.
In case you like this, we are streaming more songs from our new album right here
Chris Hannah (Propagandhi) says
I must admit, I’ve only spent about 5 minutes on a skateboard in my entire life, so while I won’t pretend that I’m either familiar or interested in skate culture, I will say that what I understand the message of the song to be — a lament of the brazen commodification of something you love — resonates pretty strongly with me. Of course, as long as we live in a world where we teach young people that making money takes priority over compelling art, principled sport, democratic politics and humane sciences, brazen commodification will be the rule.
Early summer this year I was sitting in a van with some guys you might know. We were driving trough mountains in some country. Was it Italy, was it Austria? I don’t know. Two things I do know about that drive:
It was the first time I heard this song (and the rest of the new album of course) and I was instantly blown away. Not many songs so fast and aggressive will grab you by the throat with it’s melody and feeling like this one. It reminded me a lot of Propagandhi, but I couldn’t really figure out what it was exactly.. Now we all know.
The other thing was that I was once again reminded how cool it was to be on the road all over Europe with these guys. As one of the hardest working punkrock bands in the Netherlands, it’s amazing how nice and down to earth Willem, Tom and Riekus are. Yet these still strife to perfection in their songs and live shows.
That is actually where the meaning of this song comes in. The skateboarding scene has (d)evolved from the underground to the mainstream in the past 10 to 20 years. Where it used to be an extreme sport for people who wanted something exciting and something they could be passionate about, it’s now another object for MTV and big corporations to form to their liking and make money on.
Still there are, and always have been, smaller companies and groups of people that try to keep skateboarding what it’s supposed to be. They still understand that you don’t need those $200 Etnies shoes to be a good skateboarder. That you don’t need to be sponsored by Nike to make your friends think you’re cool.
Antillectual is the punkrock counterpart of those groups. While putting as much effort and time as possible into their music and performance, they still take the DIY approach to everything. This is once again made clear with the release of Start From Scratch. The songs are amazing, the lyrics are once again filled with critical views on important social and political issues and Antillectual are still those great guys. Punkrock how it’s supposed to be!
Nike commercials telling me that skateboarding is not a crime
Maybe not anymore since they bailed it out
From independent and resistant to contracts, million dollar cars
Upgrading culture, conformed to cruise on the mainstream
Graffiti in the galleries, studded belts at the H&M
Tattoos on the playing field, counterculture fully enclosed
Upgrade underground culture if you cannot forbid their domain
Or push them out of the market. If you cannot beat ‘em, join ‘em
They try to cut the ground from under our feet and steal our thunder
How are we supposed to distinguish us from them?
And revolt against the mainstream if it keeps on chasing us
Before you know it you will hear this on your radio
I wrote these lyrics inspired by the series of commercials Nike made for their “What if we treated all athletes … the way we treat skateboarders” campaign and the real life soaps around current skateboard superstars Bam Margera, Ryan Sheckler and Rob Dyrdek. These days, “extreme” sports like skateboarding and snowboarding are completely enclosed by mainstream brands and media. This goes not only for underground sports, but also for more and more forms of underground cultures like punk and hardcore. When mainstream media and corporations see there is enough interest for these sports or cultures they will try to “upgrade” them and conform them into mainstream sports and cultures and accompanying commodities.
You can ask whether this is bad or good. Sure, the attention and appreciation is nice. But it also takes away all the edges and atypical aspects of these phenomenons. There is a reason why these sports and art forms find refuge in underground subcultures. They weren’t accepted or welcome in the mainstream for a long time. Now the edge has worn of, they are welcome to produce a nice profit and make a brand look young, fresh and hip.
As for skateboarding, there is a group of organizations called the “Don’t Do It Army” that tries to keep it an underground culture, away from mainstream media and commercialism. The Dutch brand Severe Skate and Snow Gear is affiliated with the Don’t Do It Army. “Support your local skate shop!”
But the mechanism works the other way around as well. When subcultures are unable to generate some extra money or simply resist to cooperate or fit in, mainstream media, companies and other institutions try to “downgrade” those subcultures so they can not be of any harm. The best example of this mechanism is the current anti-squatting law the dutch government has implemented in the constitution. Since squatting is a threat to the economy, healthy living conditions and simply stealing people’s property (not my words!) it should be forbidden. Since squatting is one of the most effective ways to create affordable living and working space for students and artists, a fertile home for underground culture and recycle ugly empty office spaces (my words!) it is not a crime! Kraken Gaat Door! (Dutch slogan meaning “squatting continues”).
If those liner notes don’t spoil enough … Next week the sequel to this siren song of the counterculture, with comments from your mom.