No one could have predicted when the Straight Edge ethics and mindset became known in the punk scene back in the 1980’s that it could have such a far reaching effect. But yet, the directives of Straight Edge (no drugs, no drinking, no smoking as a basic foundation) are one of the most punk ideas out possible. In a society dominated by beer ads and smoking billboards, going against the grain of a substance drenched culture is about as rebellious as you can get. Add in the anti-farming and anti-animal cruelty stance of Veganism and you have total base of self discipline and compassion. With the ever increasing tension in the world with the banking industries and governments trying to run over the common man, Vegan Straight Edge bands and scenes popping up worldwide might make more sense than anything (commonly known as xvx). Much like Italy’s To Ashes. Taking influence from the bands that developed the worldwide scene, they look to make an impact and provoke thoughts from any and all listeners with their lyrics and no-nonsense heavy hardcore sounds.
MMF – So tell the readers about a bit of the history of the band and how To
Ashes came together.
To Ashes started in the end of 2013 by Katto (guitar) and Luca (drums) and with the
early entry of Emy (bass) and Ivan (voice) few months later. The different
backgrounds of all of us gave a lot of ideas and new inspiration to the initial project.
We decided to record our first work in the summer of 2014, after some live shows,
at Toxic Basement Studio by our friend Carlo. The EP went out on tapes by Bound
By Modern Age label and soon it will be available also on 7” (out with BBMA and
Black Fire Rec). In the end of 2014 Marco (second guitar) joined the band and we
strengthened our sound. Now we are working for new songs and playing lives in
MMF – From listening to the material it sounds like To Ashes has a wide range
of influences. Who are some of the bands that got you inspired to write the
brand of hardcore you guys do?
We come from different musical backgrounds, but all with the same roots and
attitudes: DIY, antifascism and activism. The main influence are hardcore and
metalcore bands of ’90s like Chokehold, Earth Crisis, Gather, Culture..but in
general we compose without thinking about a specific kind of sound. We are
however inspired by the idea that hardcore is more than a musical genre, so we are
very interested in writing lyrics about social complaint and injustices, anarchism and
experience of resistance, animal and earth liberation, sexual freedom and straight
edge, so we were influenced by all the bands that used their voice to spread those
kind of messages.
MMF – In Italy, especially with the political state of a lot of Europe, from what
I’ve read the hardcore scene has been doing really well. Do you feel a lot of
the kids are drawn to the music and message because of the way of life over
Honestly we think that the hardcore scene is doing pretty bad in Italy. We can’t
deny that there are still bands that label themselves as “hardcore”, but for the vast
majority of them hardcore is nothing but another musical genre and this is very sad.
We always thought of hardcore as a space for sharing ideas of freedom,
compassion, equality and against any form of exploitation and discrimination. We’re
not saying that you must make political speeches between one song and another or
you’re “kicked out of hardcore” but hearing about how drunk you were or how hard
you partied last night (from a personal experience) just isn’t our thing.
Fortunately there are also bands (and spaces) that have something to say and put
great effort into bringing forward something real.
MMF – Tell us a bit about how Veganism ties into your band. Have all
members always been Vegan or was this a choice that formed over time? Or
better yet, what led to you going the Vegan route?
Of course veganism was a choice that formed over time, we think nobody can be
born with the main concepts of veganism in his head. However it is a fundamental choice for us, because it is one of the most influential way of affecting the market
based on the animal exploitation and the devastation of the earth. We think also
that veganism is just one side of the wider movement for earth liberation, so it must
go hand in hand with direct action, auto-production and anti-capitalism.
MMF – Do you as a band partake in any activism, charities for causes and
such outside of the music and shows?
We think that activism is very important, because ideas are just words without direct
action. There’s great need of doing something, especially in an age and a place
where most of the people only think about themselves with no regard for what’s
happening right next to them. That’s one of the reasons why we, both as a band
and individually, take part in demonstrations, pickets, protests for social, political
(as anarchists), and animal freedom causes, and charities for legal fees, animal
rights prisoners and so..
MMF – Any big news or shows coming up you want to plug here? Where can
folks buy the new album?
If everything goes well we’re gonna do a couple weeks tour of Europe this summer!
As for the rest, we have some shows here in Italy during this winter/spring:
– Feb. 21
st Imola @ Brigata 36
– Feb. 28
th Genova @ Terra di Nessuno
– Mar. 28th Cremona @ CSA Kavarna
Now you can buy the tape directly from us (message
http://www.facebook.com/toashes) or via Bound By Modern Age Records
(http://boundxbyxmodernxage.bigcartel.com/); here’s also the link for the digital