1) Who are the people behind Refoundation Records and how did you get in touch with veganism and Hardcore in the first place?
Refoundation started as a group of 5 individuals trying their best to set up shows for bands with something more to say than the evergreen hardcore cliches. Whether it was about benefit shows with italian bands or about booking dates for foreign bands which people weren't so much interested anymore in, everyone of us gave his own little contribute to keep meaningful and political issues strong inside the hardcore scene and use that as further tool for the struggle against oppression everybody should be involved in, either inside or outside the hardcore environment. This basically was how we met. The idea of the label came as a second step during late summer of 2006 as a further effort to increase our impact and give us a more concrete chance to be totally outspoken concerning our beliefs. Now we're just 3 people behind the label. 2 of us left during the path in order to follow different interests. We all are from different cities and areas of Italy and since we didn't grow up together we have different stories, experiences and priorities, but I think what happened to us is not something so unusual: we were angry and disgusted kids not so comfortable in living among our society schemes and social relationship rules, so we found in punk/hc a good way to escape and give vent to our rage as a primary necessity, and then we got into the 90's hardcore with its contents, messages, politics, still desperate but in a constructive way: this is how we knew more about Animal Liberation and Earth Liberation and we found veganism as a good tool to resist, to oppose a genocide system and get involved in political activities.
Are there any criteria a band has to fulfill before you sign them? Would you sign a band that sounds great but promote idea you don't agree with? Why not?
First of all, even if I can understand you used those terms just to simplify, I want to specify that we don't sign any band. I'm not saying this just to carry on the everlasting rigmarole about DIY everybody is already aware about (and I don't think I'm entitled to say something more than what has been said thousand times yet): our main purpose is to create solid and passion-based relationships between us and the people involved in the bands we release. It's not just us helping out and promoting music from cool bands, it's about sharing experiences, ideas, emotions, finding a way to gain the strength that can let us stay together against what weights down and torments us. So the answer is simple: you don't have to be the same as us, of course (also because the three of us aren't even so similar to each other), but you have to show us that you share the same suspect that there's something wrong in this system and you're using your music to fight against it; being in an individual/introspective or more political/committed way doesn't matter, we are able to recognize when words and music come from an affected heart. And no, we certaintly wouldn't release bands promoting ideas we don't agree with and I don't think I should spend more words about the reasons. For the rest, the only criteria is that you should play powerful, inspiring and good music, at least! ;)
Would you say people in Italy are very interested in veganism in general or how big is the sxe-scene in your country?
If we are talking about the current italian hardcore scene, my answer is absolutely NO. Everything fell apart and no one is really interested anymore in something
else than the right riff, the right style, the right clothes, the right moves, even the right words to say on a stage. Only few people sporadically set up benefit shows or try to put a
meaning into them at least or try to improve the state of local bands. The large part of people, which for the love of truth isn't that big, just wait the advent of new trendy foreign bands,
put money and empty efforts in order to satisfy the booking agencies, dress up for the occasion, comment on facebook, lastfm, myspace, twitter and that's it. I don't really blame those people
who try to do something different than spend the whole weekend in a shopping mall, but this is not what hardcore/punk is about, at least for me, for the way i knew it years ago, and, honestly,
this really seems to me a good paraphrase in a smaller scale of capitalism-based relations.
About the sxe-scene in Italy, i can easily say that it doesn't exist at all, but i never thought
it should be a matter of quantity. It doesn't depend on how many sxe bands and people are around; it depends on the quality of the message you spread. For me sxe has always been something
that could help an individual in finding his/her own way freed from the rules of society, institutions, families, something that could keep you constantly aware of what's going on around,
something that could make you really independent when it comes about your decisions in life, another tool not to waste your life in a way you don't choose by yourself. What I see around
is a completely identitary, conservative, close-minded, selfish and prejudicial behaviour; something that can close people in a cage even more instead of setting them free. After this
tragic description, i have to say that i know plenty of people here in italy strongly involved in veganism and animal liberation activities, if this was the question... only few among
them give a shit about hardcore. This is typical about hardcore: people into more politically oriented hardcore stick themselves into veganism considering it like a goal or something
to be proud of, while people into more real stuff realize that veganism is just a tool to promote in a larger scale of struggle against the same system responsible of the animal,
earth and humyn exploitation. A system I don't wanna be part of, but still a system from whom hardcore scene and people take the majority of benefits claiming themselves as revolutionary
in the same time.
One Euro is donated to special groups, can you tell which ones you support.
Of course! We periodically give a part of the money we get from the sale of albums and from the proceeds of benefit shows to different groups here in Italy and sometimes also from outside Italy. I'll go on with a list with short descriptions and links just to simplify.
SENZA GABBIE: it means "Without Cages". This is the italian group we supported more cause it recollects every of our main beliefs. It's basically a group that supports and helps political prisoners involved in Animal & Earth Liberation activities and direct actions, but also common anarchist prisoners.
SHAC: everybody knows about that. It's the biggest international campaign against vivisection which has local groups pretty much in every country. It's against the biggest vivisection laboratory in the world named Huntingdon Life Sciences. A lot of Shac activists are currently behind bars. For more infos: http://www.shac.net . Get involved!
AIP: they're the italian initials for "Attack the Fur Industry". This is the italian local campaign against fur industry and shop-chains that support it. http://www.campagnaaip.net
Besides them, we're always ready to gather money for single political prisoners, urgent situations or publications.
You sell your records for 10 Euro each, does that help to get them to the people? I have the impression that most people still think 18 Euro is an adequate price for a CD. What's your opinion about that?
The funny thing is that people from the mainstream music social scene, as you stated, think that it's ok to spend 18 euros for a cd, while people in the ē „ndergroundscene think that everything should be for free. I think that 10 euros for a full length record is the right price or something near to it, even considering that part of this money goes for a benefit. We think that If people are really interested they will buy our releases, and we don't really care if they don't: we don't really care about money, we try to make good deals for people who buy more than 2 or 3 records, we only try to earn the money to keep the label alive.
Which are the most interesting bands from Italy everybody should give a try? Which area do they come from?
As you noticed from my previous answers italian situation isn't at its best, at least for my taste. Btw if i have to name a few i can say: DOWNRIGHT fastcore from Genoa, RAEIN screamo from Forl DETROIT HotWaterMusicstyle from Milan, STALKER ex-Kafka post/hc from Genoa, INGEGNO oldschool from Perugia, THE INFARTO SCHEISSE! Screamo from Bergamo, IL MALE blackmetal crust from Modena... and of course our bands left: THE GUILT SHOW oldschool from the East coast and THE END OF SIX THOUSAND YEARS metal-post/hc from everywhere. Give also a listen to ALONE, even if they're not alive, http://www.myspace.com/weareinthisalone a very heartfelt band that meant a lot to us, maybe too much since i couldn't realize yet that they're not playing anymore.
Which labels inspired you to run your own company?
I'm not so much into indicating models cause i know the hardcore scene is always easily building heroes and idols which is not exactly what an underground movement should do. Anyway i couldn't hide that there are a couple of labels i identify myself in somehow and i would like to be able to be part of the same process they're still carrying on. A process that means never dividing this kind of music from its contest, from its meanings, from the flag of resistance, from a revolutionary urgency. For me everyone who try to put on a label, a zine, a band or whatever is part of that at the same level, these are simply the labels i musically like more and which writings inspired me more; i'm talking about CATALYST Records, EBULLITION Records and CRIMETHINC Collective.
What is your opinion about the current political situation in Italy. Would you say Berlusconi has to go after the latest scandal? Why did he come back in the first place?
Democracy is the mask where corporate oligarchic power hides behind. We are all living under a totalitarian system: a totalitarism has been defined as something that controls every aspect of society and people lives for its own purposes. This is exactly what so-called democracy is doing in every part of the globe; the purpose is not anymore the foundation of communism or the extermination of inferior races, but simply the concentration of wealth in few people's hands. This doesn't change the facts. I know Italian situation could be considered more weird than others and probably it is, but i don't consider Berlusconi an exception. Berlusconi is the extreme synthesis, without any mask, of what modern capitalism and democracy represent: concentration of power and money in few hands, destruction of territories, exploitation of workers and natural resources, necessity to find an outside enemy to fight against and discriminate, military and police-driven repression against those who are considered the inside enemies... everything shaped under the manipulation of the government-controlled media. The problem is that this is not a Berlusconi's speciality (could a single man do all of this?), this is the deed of all the political class, either right or left wing oriented. Berlusconi has simply the merit to show everything as it really is without shame. Should we really care about how many girls Berlusconi fucks with while people are starving, dying, being beaten up and closed behind bars just because they are poor or coloured? Is the prime minister behavior we should attack or the whole government action? This whole é½candal(scandal? This is the normal behavior of middle-upper class in western society, isn't it?!) has been built on just to distract population from ones of the most repressive, racist, freedom-killing, absurd laws an elected government ever put out. And left wing parties did their part riding the scandal's wave and not putting a finger to oppose the real politics carried on by government; this clearly explains everything about their interests in keeping intact the current political structure in order to pursue the power division game we're so used to. As long as people deceive themselves to be comfortable with that either being anti or pro Berlusconi I'm not anyone to tell them what they should or shouldn't do cause the veil fell down a long time ago, but it doesn't seem enough for them, it seems they all are ok and they don't have to take charge of their and others lives. On the other hand, as long as my and my brothers' and sisters' freedom will be threatened, i will not fucking care about any public opinion and i'll act in my and their defense.
What should change in your country to improve the situation of the people?
I might sound disrespectful or pretentious in answering in this way, but at this point I don't really believe there's any chance to improve this system. Capitalism and democracy (which is the political expression of capitalism) already took off their masks a while ago: it's clear to everyone that we're living under tyrannical governments. We shouldn't mind if there are still some places where we don't see blood copiously running along the streets: state and corporations are controlling every aspect of our lives and the only way not to take any risk would be accepting every rule, every decision they take upon us and upon every living beings in every part of the planet. If you don't walk in line, you're an outlaw and you deserve punishment; if you don't think as they told you to think, it's better for you to shut up. This is what happened in any proper dictatorship and I'm not fantasizing, i'm talking about what i see with my eyes right now in Italy, at least. I'm totally supportive of every activity aimed at giving some hope to people in worse conditions than mine ones, of course, but politically speaking a system like this, as history teach us, is not supposed to be improved or modified, the only solution is to totally dismantle it and build something new starting from the roots. It could be considered utopic or out of reality, but this is what i stand for and what keeps me alive everyday.
Are there any plans for releasing a dvd of a live show soon?
Not really. We were supposed to release a dvd with live shows and interviews from the FEEL THEIR PAIN FEST, a benefit fest we use to set up every six months here in Italy with tons of bands, but right now the project is in a sort of hiatus for a lack of money and energies of the people involved in the production. I would like you to check something out about this fest which is now over after 7 editions. It has been a really important part of our path, we owe a lot to it. http://www.myspace.com/feeltheirpainfest here you can find some history, pics, flyers, if there's something you can't understand for the language, don't hesitate to write to the address you see on the page.
So, i think this is all! Thanks a lot for your patience and support, sincerely. Having the chance to spread our ideas and beliefs is the main reason behind the label and i also have to say that i found the questions really interesting which is not something to take for granted.
Keep on with your good work and take care. We really like to discuss our ideas with people, so if everyone wants to ask us something please do it and get in touch with us.