Interview

Interview: LIFEGRAB – Stop taking lives of the innocent

Q: Hi James.

Thanks for the opportunity to interview you. Because not everyone know you or what you are currently working on, give us some insight into your new founded band Lifegrab. Your demo is out now and the tape is getting released on Right X Choice Records. What was the reason behind the band?

A: I’ve been into hardcore and punk for the best part of 6 years now and I’ve always wanted to front a band. I play bass in a post-hardcore band called Holding Absence and guitar in a heavy hardcore band called unwritten. I’ve tried to start various projects a few times over the years but have never been able to find committed members to write with.

This year at Outbreak Fest in Leeds, I watched a load of great new UKHC bands like Chamber and Stranded and it inspired me to just go ahead and write and record a demo myself, then try to find members after. Civ of Gorilla Biscuits also gave a little speech on how more people need to start bands.

A few days later I had written, recorded and put out the demo, I guess I got excited haha.

As for the Vegan Straight Edge part, honestly I’m just a huge fan of Vegan and Straight Edge bands, I love bands that have a message in their music, so of course I planned to do the same. As for the music I just wanted to write something I’d enjoy listening to, some of my favourite bands include FocusedXMinds, Survival (RIP) and ColdXSnap (Jesse Barnett of STYG’s side project with Tom Edge).

I’m hugely into animal rights activism and I plan to try and do a lot using LIFEGRAB as a vehicle for it, I’m going to ensure the band does lots of outreach activism and flyers shows etc. I also pledge to donate 100% of all music (including physical sales) profits to charity (animal sanctuaries/animal rights groups) and 50% of all merch sales to charity. I haven’t written any explicitly ‘edge’ songs yet, but there will be themes in the future. I don’t want to be a Vegan Straight Edge band just to look cool if you get me.

Q: I totally got your point and I appreciate your passion you put into your music and your commitment for using LIFEGRAB as an outlet and donating your proceeds for a good cause. I think it is also way more easier to write lyrics about animal rights, veganism and total liberation, as for the whole straightedge topic. Mainly because animal liberation is something we should all care about, instead of straight edge wich is a personal decision.

Your first shirt design is almost sold out. Have you expected that people like your stuff immediately and that you would gain round about 200 likes in just a short time on FB?

A: Exactly yeah.

I really didn’t expect such a positive response so far, I really love the sense of community when it comes to the vegan straight edge. I just desperately want to finalise a lineup of members and play some shows now.

Q: Would you say playing shows with a full line up will increase the chances to influence people for a cruelty free lifestyle? Or is your main focus for the band/project to raise the awareness for animal liberation with activism, donations etc.?

A: I think both, I’m quite a confident performer and speaker, so I want to really go harder than most bands when it comes to the live show. I see so many bands just stood around and I’m like ‘what the fuck?’. I’m probably going to be quite preachy on stage, I know some people hate it and will probably heckle, but I honestly couldn’t care if people like it or not, the best bands are the ones that stand for something in my opinion.

The dream would be to use the band to inspire people to get up and get involved in activism and join their local movements or even start their own bands.

The rate that veganism is growing is a very positive thing, just like Earth Crisis acted as a catalyst for this change back in the 90s, I’d like LIFEGRAB to do the same.

Q: I agree with you. If people do not care how animals get treated in slaughterhouses, laboratories or factory farms, then we do not care if we offend them with the truth!

There was a really good sentence from Walter Bond lately in an interview I posted on my Facebook wall. It was something like: Even if you only help one animal in your life, it does matter, because for that one specific animal it means everything! There are that type of men out there, who protest, other one who inform and then there are those who are involved in activism! We need all of them to stop this madness!

Veganism is growing, but I would say it is more like plant based people are growing and not vegans. Especially here in Germany it is unfortunately very common, that „vegans“ eat plant based but then wear leather products etc. Because the reason behind their diet is mainly a healthy one instead of a compassionate one. And this is something I really hate, if people close their eyes from all the pain animals are suffering other than for the meat industry and dairy industry. And I think if people are only for a their health vegan, then it is more likely they will drop out at some time, because they do not feel what the animals feel. What is your opinion here. Do you like those so-called plant based people?

A: That is a great quote yeah man. I wish I could do more in terms of breaking into slaughterhouses or labs etc but if I get a criminal record, then I could potentially be stopped from touring and using music as a platform to promote the vegan lifestyle and animal rights.

Ah man, we don’t have many plant based people over here, McDonalds reigns supreme for the majority of UK people, children are getting fatter and fatter at a younger age and doctors are describing medication to make a profit from obesity when people could solve their problems through diet… it won’t be long until we are as bad as the US.

I think that the fact a vegan diet has so many health benefits is a great way to advertise it to people who may not initially care about the animals, however one would hope that eventually through following this diet people would eventually be willing to look further into the suffering of animals and then consider themselves vegan for health AND moral reasons. Feisal who is the guitarist in my other band Holding Absence, his family opted to go vegan for health reasons but they are all now active animal rights supporters.

Fuck fur and fuck leather, I’m sure there will be a song about this in the future.

PS. If you’ve only recently gone Vegan and own leather or fur, don’t throw them away, I have an old pair of Vans that are still really good quality with a small leather swoosh and I still wear them even though I am opposed to animal products, but to throw out would be a waste and even more disrespectful of the life that was taken for the product.

PPS. I recently heard most Nike running shoes that aren’t obviously leather or suede are Vegan friendly as they no longer use animal based glues.

Q: But maybe your impact after you got caught by the cops would be even more, as people spread your words throughout the world.

Oh okay, so the meat industry in UK does still have a huge influence in your society? Over here in Germany it is getting better and better. Especially in Berlin, where I live, is now like on every corner where you can eat something is at least one vegan option, if not fully vegan declared. But yea people are really dumb, they rather eat shit and take pills than to acknowledge to oneself that they could do some good things while avoiding to support animal exploitation.

I am now vegan for over 8 years and I am happy I have nothing left, but I know what you mean, at the beginning from my transition to veganism I had also some animal products left I used until they were no longer usable.

For Nike shoes. Yes, as long as they do not contain leather or another animal product as outer material they are completely vegan!

Do you already have some updates for LIFEGRAB regarding merch, shows, band itself, music releases you want to share with us?

A: That’s very true…

Yeah man, farming is still seen as quite an organic thing, when people think of farms, they think of loving farmers that have a couple of animals that they talk to and nurture etc… they don’t see it for what it really is Especially when it comes to dairy, there are literally adverts on TV constantly that try and make dairy cows look happy and it’s fucked.

That’s really good man! 8 years is impressive, it must’ve been much harder 8 years ago. What made you go Vegan? Were you Vegetarian before?

Today actually we had the first practice, it was super positive and we’ve started writing together, we plan to do a 7“ next which should hopefully be ready by the end of summer. As for merch, there are still some of the LG001 tees left here: http://lifegrabxvx.bigcartel.com/ we’re doing some longsleeves next at the end of this month. We will also be making our first donations from the profits from music and merch to Dean Farm Sanctuary (for rescued farm animals) and to South Wales Animal Save group.

After a few more practices we will be ready for shows, I’d say by mid July. So if anyone reading this would like to book us, hit us up on our Facebook or email lifegrabxvx@gmail.com

Q: Yea that is really weird. I mean how can people think there are only a few happy cows at a farm? There are billions of people on this fucked up planet and most of them eat so much meat. This can’t be humane!

I was round about 1year vegetarian before I switched to veganism. Personally the switch was pretty easy. But back in the days it was really expensive to get meat substitutes for your protein intake and taste like tofu etc. But nowadays it is pretty easy!

Yea I have seen on FB you are now in search of a bass player and then your line up is finished and you are ready for shows? Any bands on your wishlist you wanna play with on shows?

That sounds really good. Every donation helps a lot of animals! And we finally need to shut down every type of animal exploitation!

A: Absolutely, man, it’s so much easier nowadays, the only valid excuses are greed, selfishness and a lack of compassion.

Yeah we’re hoping to find someone who is a solid bass player, some of the new stuff we’ve written has some really cool bass parts which we want to ensure we can play live.

As for bands we’d like to play with, we’d definitely like to ask another new UKHC XVX band xServitudex to do some shows with us, perhaps we could do a weekender, we’d love to play with Safe and Sound when they make it over to the UK eventually too. But really we are happy to do as many shows as possible.

Q: Yea people are really selfish!

I wish you all the best to find a good bass player as soon as possible.

I have seen some live footage from xServitudex. What I have heard is, that those are the guys who previously in Gaia Bleeds. I hope they are doing the same good job as with Gaia Bleeds! haha. There is definitely a need in more xvx bands for a good compilation and maybe also a big show with all together! As xRepentencex are no longer active, there are good chances for you, to follow in their steps.

As the interview is an ongoing process, now you also made your first donation. Can you tell us more about that? Why that animal farm. You already thought about your next donation?

A: Absolutely.

I only managed to see xRepentancex twice as well, I got into them quite late which sucks. Absolutely yeah man I think they intend to do a lot of outreach and charity based work like us.

More XVX bands would be great!

So Dean Farm is a local(ish) non-kill sanctuary based in Chepstow which is about 40 minutes from Cardiff. The reason I picked them for the first donation is because they will regularly post videos and picture updates about their work and you can safely donate knowing where the money will go and what it will go towards. I feel with some bigger charities you can never know where your donation is going, so I am definitely going to stick to smaller ones. I also plan to use the smaller divisions (£30 for example) to go towards local animal rights campaigners for banners, leaflets, stickers etc.

Q: I totally got your point for small charities and the issues, with bigger ones. My next ones will also be smaller ones. I think within the last few months more people try to start their own thing and donate the money to a good cause!

It is also really cool, that you are posting about animal cruelty, which shows me, that you are really into that topic and be active in stopping all this shit. Not so many bands have that focus. Keep up that work!

Is there something you still want to share with us. Something which needs to be said? Or even something you want to ask me? Hehe.

A: As for the final thing, we’re still searching for a bassist, but are making good progress with the 7″, we’re going to be booking studio time for August.


Links you should check out:

LIFEGRAB – facebook

LIFEGRAB – demo tape pre-order

LIFEGRAB – bandcamp

Dean farm sanctuary

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