Thank you for taking time to answer my question. As you are pretty new in the game with this band, introduce yourself and tell us your intention to start the band.
A: Thanks for the interview!
My name’s Matt A. and I sing in the band. Justin plays drums, Rex plays guitar and Matt L. plays bass. We started the band with the intention of putting radical politics and the vegan straight edge ethic at the forefront of our music. We have all been heavily influenced by politically-oriented punk and hardcore. We hope to use XReignX as a way of contributing to that culture and as a vehicle for sharing our beliefs.
Q: Was it always clear for you, that you want to be a vegan straightedge band, or was the straightedge part a coincidence?
I think right now it is really important to have politically motivated people in a band who share the same ideas and attitude to kick out all these right winged scumbags from our scene, our shows and from the streets.
Without going too much in detail, were you politically active already before, or pushed you now the band one step forward?
A: From the beginning, we set out to have all vegan straightedge members and to be overt in our message and dedication to these ideals.
Most of us have been involved of some sort of activism (animal advocacy, prisoner support, fundraising, food not bombs, etc). Though, I’m sure we’d all agree, we could all be doing a lot more.
In regards to the band- I would love for xReignx to act as an extension of our activism. From my experience, the punk and hardcore scene has great potential for aiding activist communities- specifically through outreach and fundraising efforts. Recently, we were able to raise some donation funds for a couple organizations we support (Border Angels and Vital Action). We’re all really glad we can use our band in this capacity and we plan to continue these types of efforts.
Q: Yea, there is always a way to do more for the animals and our environment. It is just important that we do not stop doing this. I see a lot of people who think, making a one time donation gives them enough karma points for the rest of their lives, but thats not case.
As you gain attention from a lot of people around the world, you have definitely good chances to influence them in a good way. So many hardcore bands have lyrics regarding unity brotherhood, sisterhood, passion, compassion, but only a few really do something. I was really happy to see you donating to Vital Action.
Maybe not all of the people know, who stands behind that project. Vital Action is the organization from Tim, drummer of the vegan straightedge band Seven Generations.
You want to go in detail, why you chose him for a donation?
A: Tim is a friend of ours, and a really sweet guy. It’s inspiring to me how he puts his punk ethic into practice, and Vital Action is just one recent example of that. Tim, and everyone else involved, is doing a lot of great conservation and environmental work, and we’re glad we can help in our own small way.
Q: It is always heartwarming when I see a video of freshly rescued baby turtles. He definitely focuses on the environment and cleans a lot of beaches from the first worlds trash.
You recently announced also a collaboration shirt with Greg from Little Rainbow Sanctuary. Why exactly his sanctuary and not another one?
A: The LRS guys actually approached us with the idea. We were all immediately on board. Not only are they doing some amazing, important work, but they have been-and continue to be- very outspoken about numerous social issues beyond veganism alone. They’re ethos aligns with ours, and the fact that they’re hardcore kids makes it a perfect fit.
Q: They are definitely doing an amazing job. Greg‘s wife hosts also another sanctuary. You may not know that, but a lot of money from the sale of Statement – Prepared for Battle 12“ went to Rooster Sanctuary. By the way, what was your intention of printing a Statement rip-off shirt? Are you also a little bit into the hardline movement, or you just want to provoke a little bit, haha.
A: We didn’t have any real thought out intention when it came to those shirts. We just thought it was a cool idea. I’ve always liked when bands recycle older bands designs; it’s like a way of paying homage and also a way to let people know what they’re in for.
None of us were a part of Hardline when it existed, and none of us identify with the philosophy now. Also, though the Prepare for Battle ‘X’ image became a Hardline symbol, I don’t think Statement was a HL band. What I like about that record, and that imagery, is the overt message of active resistance and total liberation. That, and the fact that it essentially marked the beginning of Vegan Straightedge.
All that being said, I know a lot of people have an immediate, negative reaction when seeing that image. So, I guess I can’t deny we must have had some intent to provoke, haha.
Q: So called rip-off designs are also very common when it comes to cover artwork for records, so why not for merch too? Haha.
From my conversations with Rat from Statement he still believes in a militant way of approaching meat eaters and/or people who abuse animals, but Hardline as it was is dead now. Vegan Reich explained the same in their communiqué before their first show. Even if Rat does not see it this way, but many people call him the father of Veganstraightedge. I would rather call him the grandfather of Veganstraightegde haha.
There is nothing wrong with provoking people, at least then you have their attention! Does Statement as a band also influenced you as a band, or what other bands „formed“ you that way you are now playing music?
A: In terms of ideology, Statement has probably had some influence on us as a band; but not really in terms of music. As far as influences go, we definitely pull from a lot of nineties bands like Earth Crisis, Chokehold etc. We also were going to a lot of shows in Southern California in the early 2000s when bands like Seven Generations, Gather, and Tears of Gaia were active, and I think that whole scene had a big impact on us- it did for me at least. Besides that, we all listen to a lot of different types of hardcore and punk and I’d like to think that that comes through in some way.
Q: You named a few good bands like Gather, Seven Generations and Tears of Gaia. Unfortunately all of them broke up and are no longer active, at least not with those bands. Even Earth Crisis and Chokehold broke up but are now back in the game again. Why is it sometimes so hard to keep a band alive?
A: I’m sure bands end for all kinds of reasons. Whenever it’s happened to a band I’ve been in it’s usually from just getting bored and burning out. After doing the same thing for so long it just seems kind of natural to lose interest and to want to move on to something new. Even though bands come and go, a lot of the people in those bands still stick around and stay involved in hardcore in some capacity- new bands, zines, art, booking/promoting, activism, etc.
Q: I understand you. it is sometimes also cool to see how certain people influence so many others by playing in many different bands, labels etc. But then on the other hand, sometimes good bands stop playing music and the fans are loosing their attention on some specific topics. How is the band going right now? Any great news for the near future, like new records, shows/tours?
A: We have a show coming up at the end of this month with Take Offense, Retaliate, Meth Breath, and PSO in San Diego. I’m really looking forward to it. Other than that, we don’t have much planned. We’re a pretty inactive group, and it’s rare that we all have an opportunity to get together. We have plans to start putting together a record in the near future.
Q: When I see how fast your first tape was sold, I am pretty sure, people want to see you and hear new stuff as well. How was your benefit cooperation with Little Rainbow Sanctuary going? Was it a good project for you and the Sanctuary?
A: The LRS benefit went really well. They designed a collaboration shirt and took orders before printing so nothing went to waste. All the profits went to the sanctuary. I’m glad we got to be involved- though the LRS guys did all the work. They’re awesome.
Q: Thats really cool to hear! I really hope your future plans for 2018 will come true. Is there anything you want to share with us right now?
A: Just want to say thank you for the interview and for being so supportive!
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