1) Names, ages, instruments etc?
Right there is me, James Koppert, who is the vocalist/MC and I am 19. There is Sam Kitson who plays bass and Dave Kitson on guitar who are identical twins and are also both 19. We got Rick Hargreaves on drums who has only recently joined us as our last drummer left to be a frontman in a softer band and lastly we just got a new member called DJ Samo who I think is 23 and is awesome on the decks and will basically be scratching giving us a heavier sound.
2) Give us a brief band history
I suppose we started first when we were about 13 when we did a band called Monkey Spank which was a death metal band which we made up as we went along on a few school band nights and always got kicked off for being too explicit. A few years later we formed another shouty band but that only lasted a few practises. Finally we got to college a few years ago and decided to get our fingers out and formed Our Own. There was no heavy music bands playing at all in Scarborough then once we practised a few times Active Minds put on the 'Break The Mould' gigs putting on punk and HC bands from all over. We played a couple of open mic nights and went down pretty well and then Set gave us a chance on 'Break The Mould' and we've been gigging since then.
3) What are your main influences?
Most bands in interviews go on talking about what they listen to to answer this question but I think they are two different things. The bands that have influenced the Our Own sound are maybe hard to see until you dig deep. I suppose the heavy bands are Will Haven, Strife, Vision Of Disorder, Downset and a heavy dose of Helmet. Then there is the emo stuff like Quicksand, Handsome and Far and I suppose Pearl Jam gets in there somewhere. And lastly there is an obvious hardcore hip hop element to us as well, in our beats and vocals and scratching. We also listen to some of the new school metal bands like Tool, Fear Factory, Deftones , earthtone 9 and obviously Faith No More.
4) You said you were influenced by real hip hop. Could you give us a quick overview of what this is ie recommended groups, labels, magazines etc. Is there a rap underground in the UK?
This is a dope question that I hope I can answer and open people up to another world that is also punk as fuck. Firstly lets get some things straight Will Smith, Puff Daddy, Ma$e etc are not Hip Hop, they are rap artists and are simply whack. The 'real' Hip Hop comes in the form of the Hardcore Hip Hop scene from real people (not label marketed), usually New York East Coast that come from straight poverty and want to express their anger and political beliefs through music and is sometimes called the black punk. You get the gangsta rappers whose lyrics are not worth the time of day then there are the players who don't believe in the underground and believe solely in getting the money, jewels, women and mansions and are whack as fuck. The dudes worth listening to are the 'playa haters' who are the MCs that are against everything the playa's are about. They are opposed to major labels and fancy clothes and jewellery and are against the way women are treated by the scene. The lyrics from these types of band are usually political and with a message. There is even a hip hop DIY scene just the same as our scene but unless you are part of this hip hop scene the stuff is pretty hard to get hold of. One label worth checking out is Rawkus records. They put out the best underground records and loads of vinyl stuff. You can buy compilations of their singles on CD which is called Lyricist Lounge. Zack de la Roche of Rage Against The Machine does some stuff with them and puts out a lot of real political stuff. Also albums to check out are Black Stars album. These guys do a lot of benefit gigs for certain things they stand for and quite recently did one for Mumia-Abu Jamal along with Rage and also did an anti police brutality benefit but the best underground hip hop album is Company Flow's 'Funcrusherplus'. Simply look inside the CD and you see the words INDEPENDENT AS FUCK and you will see what these guys are about. They released it DIY but then let Rawkus put it out as it is so dope. They have one black and one white MC and are from Queens NY.
As for the UK there are quite a few real underground scenes especially in Bristol and Birmingham. Stuff like Huntkillberry Finn, Black Twain, Uncanny etc are worth checking out. There are a few UK zines going about which you can pick up in some skate stores or hip hop record shops. Hip Hop Connection magazine is quite in touch with the UK underground scene. Shit, I have gone ona bit too much here ain't I!
5) How did you get into the whole hardcore thing?
Basically I always liked the music best, it was more powerful and the people were real not player rock stars even if they had sold the same amount of records. I always preferred lyrics with a meaning as well. It gives you more of a belonging and grip upon the world. Active Minds introduced me to the more unmetal type stuff and started taking me to some of the gigs and festivals. HC is easy to get in your blood once you have been a part of it, it is like a big brother/sisterhood lacking in discrimination. I suppsoe it is simply because it is real if you know what I'm sayin'. How did you get involved?
6) What subjects do your lyrics deal with? Is a message important for you in a song?
The message is the focal point and the drive behind a song in Our Own. Sure I have some personal feelings I may want to release some day but that doesn't belong in Our Own. Our Own will always be a political and more issues band. Bands like Marilyn Manson and Korn play this anti authority music and have the anti authority image but their lyrics don't reflect that. They have so much power over the people that put their records on every day and yet do nothing with it, they could make some awesome changes with their lyrics but they don't and I never understood that. I admire Rage Against The Machine and Downset. Yes they are on major labels but look what they are doing with it! They are opening minds and breeding thoughts on a massive scale. The DIY scene is often preaching the same issues to each other and sometimes a band breaks out and they get flak for it.
Our Own lyrically are very anti-fascist, pro-equality, pro-working class but without discrimination. We write about anything that concerns us that we feel need viewing. We wrote a song about uni fees and how education is moving further towards a middle class good. I have studied economics and it's obvious that education is beneficial to a capitalist society which we live in apart from it being our civil but it isn't. There are even less apparent things going on as well. I had an A level exam yesterday and the questions were all phrased in extremely middle class language which a working class dude would have problems to understand, which I did. The whole education system is based on making sure the lower classes fail and stay where they are and vice-versa. In recent times more working class kids have got through the education system and maybe that's why uni fees were introduced.
7) Have you got any plans to record anything? Have you got any ambitions to release records etc?
We have actually recorded a few demos but never released em because we didn't like em which was a cunt because we had worked hard to get the money together to go into a studio and never used it. We then recorded some stuff on a computer but hated that as well. Only a few friends got some copies but they managed to escape Scarborough and we were shocked when a kid from Kent sent a letter saying him and his friends love that band, that was cool as fuck.
We have just started recording a new load of shit which I am going to release as an EP this autumn. We are recording it on a 4 track and it sounds awesome. Dave got a job in Dixons for a while and so managed to get hold of a mini disc so we can like record 3 tracks and then compress them down into one track so it is pretty good. We made a pact that we are going to release it even if we don't like it as usually everyone apart from the band does.
8) Apart from Active Minds and yourselves are there any other punk/hardcore/DIY bands in Scarborough? Is there much to do in Scarborough? Is there much evidence of Nazis etc?
There aren't many HC bands but there are plenty of heavy music bands. There is Moral Code who sound a bit like a softer type of us. They do the whole rap metal thing but do it really really well. Their singer Leeroy is sXe and also one of Scarborough's champion boxers. There is Killshy who are really young and play very System Of A Down type metalcore and they have just released a CD EP which is awesome. You can get from me for £5.50 which includes postage etc and their singer Nick is sXe and big into HC. There is Moon Chicken which I used to sign in and were full on deathcore like Canvas but now they are techno punk guys sounding like Massive Attack meets Fear Factory but it works. There is Homage and Shile Of Pit who are melodic punk and there is also some metal/grungy type bands like [element] and Dripfeed and I can also recall about 5 bands that are just starting up, one of which includes a female singer which is something we need to see more of. The scene here is absolutely awesome for such a small town and when we put a gig on we get never under 150 people but what is dope about the crowd is that there are lots of different ages and also it isn't just full of males there are a hell of a lot of females in the crowd as well which I think is weird as there's hardly any of them starting bands. Us and Active Minds quite often put gigs on for each other and all the other bands. We've had dBh, Stalingrad, Narcosis and others all down here playing. We are playing with Asshole Parade and End Of Century Party on the 14th and on the 20th July there is the festival of youth arts on the beach where all the bands are going to go crazy on a big stage.
The scene is probably so big here as there is nothing to do apart from make music. There is also a big skate scene but the council motherfuckers refuse to build a skate park and make it illegal to skate everywhere else and then they wonder why things like vandalism and violence increases, it is because the youth has nothing to do. Some stats recently came out that said Scarborough was the second most likely place to get assaulted in England and the first for teenage pregnancy. Do they think that this will go away by putting up more cameras or putting more pigs on patrol. No. The answer is simple, give us something to do rather than walking the streets and fighting anyone that fronts.
Last Saturday myself and a group of friends were talking about politics down this little square inbetween some alleys and this pig woman told us to move for no reason apart from that they couldn't monitor us with their little cameras. I stood my ground and instead she was the one that moved.
Again on the Hip Hop thing we got some instrumental DJs and DJ Kista has his own DIY label called Vapours Records which he put out underground stuff.
We are also putting together a fast and furious punk HC band called the Subversive Cunts which has me on vocals, Pat and Sean from Moon Chicken on guitar, Aidie the Oi Polloi drummer on bass and Set from Active Minds on drums. That will be really political and vicious.
As for the Nazis there are few in Scarborough but most of the cunts come from Bridlington which is also where I heard the White Wolves are based. Both us and Active Minds have had threats off them but their mouths are bigger than their guts as they have never dared to turn up to any shows as they know they would get their arses caned. Us and Moral Code are very anti-fascist and so is our crowds know what I'm sayin. I believe we need to fight fire with fire and get more militant. If they are going to start beating innocent people for their skin colour and sexuality (doesn't make sense to me either) heads need to stand up. I ain't saying we necessarily start killing but heads need to start popping up from the underground and simply showing that we ain't tolerating this shit know what I'm saying?
An incident occurred recently when this bunch of rich, middle class, college boy motherfuckers were giving this black girl shit and beating on some gay lads we know so Leeroy from Moral Code and I started saying this is what we sing about lets sort it so we went along with Sam and asked them if they want to start some shit with us and they shit their pants and won't be doing it again. They thought they could just keep on abusing people and that's wrong.
9) Do you often get to play out of Scarborough? When did you learn to breakdance?
That gig in Bradford was our first gig out of Scarborough but Narcosis have promised us one in Wigan, dBh in Liverpool and Numb in Hull. We are going to play loads more in a month or so once we got some new songs with our new members sorted as we had a load of shit with our last drummer.
I never really learnt to breakdance, I just picked up a few moves as a kid in the 80s when the whole B-boy thing was huge. I always go absolutely mental on stage. My girlfriends dad bought me a cordless mike which allows me no restrictions in the crowd. If your getting with the crowds they will get with you. I hate these bands where the singer doesn't have a guitar to play but still just stands there. You may as well slam a record on, that ain't a show. Some say I go over the top others says that's why got a big crowd. The music and movement go together. The rest of the guys are shit hot musicians because whatever I do theys till get it right, they are an amazing band in themselves.
10) What do you do outside the band?
We all skate n stuff and all got other bands that we play softer stuff not live but just for the love of it. We've just finished college and have part time jobs and I write for a HC/Punk website, and I am also starting to do a zine and a distro so if anyone wants to get in touch about that feel free.
11) What is your view on violent dancing?
Violent dancing I think is perfectly OK as long as it only involves those who wish to be involved but as soon as it starts impairing those who don't then people oughta settle down. The pits are often testosterone filled and prevent female members of the audience going down to the front. I am guilty of it myself I know but some people think you have to show how hard you are or something and it's not. I fucking love a slam but I also like to know that people are going to pick me up when I fall over. If people go too mental when we play I tell em and everything's fine. It all amounts to respect: for yourselves, to others and to the venue.
12) What is your view on the situation in Kosovo?
It is a purely awful thing caused by a few individuals with too much power and then a majority suffers for no other reason than race. That is what this war and many others are about and for what? I get really really confused when I think about things like this, I try to put myself in the minds of those involved and I still can't see why.
I see that NATO need to be there to help it stop or stop it escalating but again they are using it as a 'lets flex our big muscles' exercise which they always do and lets face it they are the ones that the media has been allowed to know about. I think in a war situation like this and all the others kill all the leaders including Blair and Clinton and start again. Leave alone the poor bastards on the front line and shoot those who sit on their arses out of danger and dishing out orders.
More and more times war is occurring. Never is there a time of peace on this plant. What is the point of celebrating the millennium if nothing is going to change? The millennium will come and the next day there will still be a war.
13) Do you fell that there is more talk than action from a lot of bands?
Firstly I think that if a band does no action but still talks then that is better than a band that sings about how satan fucked them up the arse last night or how they got pissed and had a fight last night. At least they are opening people's minds and making sense. But even so I don't think a band who sing about anti-racism are going to stand by and watch stuff go on around them. With not being in a city not much demonstrations or anything goes on and if they did the attention it would get would be miniscule. However next year we are having an anti-nazi demonstration against the National Front so if anyone wants to join in come down and we will give you a place to stay. The reason is every year for some reason we have the Orange Men marching through our towns followed by NF members stickering everywhere with their filth so we want to tell them where to go. Set tried to cross the road and got physically removed as their was a march on. Well fuck that, who do they think they are?
14) Is there anything else to add?
Yes, sorry for rambling on so much and basically a massive thankyou to you Ewan for giving us our first interview and the opportunity to air our views more than just at shows. I really really appreciate that and I would just like to thank anyone who has supported us or put on shows or any bands who have come down to the Borough to play with us. We all take stuff for granted and its great to be able to say thankyou.
* ATOMSMASHER * BOGDAN RACZYNSKI * CREATION IS CRUCIFIXION * DREAM THEATER * KNUT* LAWNMOWER DETH * MICHAEL KNIGHT * OUR OWN * PERE UBU * SOEZA * SPY VERSUS SPY
* NEW IN * PAGE 99 UK TOUR 25th-30th September 2002 * GIGS * ZINE * DISTRO * LABEL * THE DEVILS * LOSING THE BATTLE * INTERVIEWS * PHOTOS * RECORD REVIEWS *ZINE REVIEWS * LINKS * FORUM * CONTACT *