Sunday, 27 September 2015

XENOPHOBIA Exclusive Interview @ Strictly Nuskool Blog

The legendary Xenophobia, a trio which originally brought a proper rush in the house and was born & raised during the good old days of Rave talks about the past, the present and the future!
The founder and main head of Xenophobia, the man like Sid Truelove (a.k.a DJ Terminator) is being interviewed (featured special contribution also by Zillah Minx & Bert Fuzz a.k.a. MC Scallywag) for the duties of Strictly Nuskool Blog talking about the early days and their upcoming album called 'Bring On The Rush', which is fair outstanding! 

- After almost 25 years, Xenophobia are back with this upcoming new album of remastered oldies and some unreleased stuff inside as you've already announced some days ago! 
These are definitely great news to hear and deserve full attention from the oldskool community, as already many people out there keep on spreading it.
How did you come up with the idea of this Album?

SID: I got talking to Robin from Stay on Target records and he suggested the tracks I had written 23 years ago should be digitally remastered and rereleased on vinyl and CD. I thought it was a great opportunity to get those catchy tunes we made back in the day out again.

The tracks were re-mastered and sounded like we had just walked out of Kickin’ Records studio in 1992.

- Can you give me some details about the album release, like which old tracks are remastered, which are the news ones (unreleased), in which formats will be available and when is out?

SID: We are hoping for a release date late September 2015 and will be a double LP and a CD version with two extra tracks (not on the LP)  remixes of 'Rush in the House' & 'The Wobbler' previously unheard before.

As for tracks it’s got nearly the whole back catalogue on it apart from the first EP Hypo Psycho on our own label Ubiquitous records, so that’s a remastered 'Rush in the House' & 'The Wobbler' plus the Into Combat EP featuring 'Into Combat', 'Project 250' (Released by Carl Cox on one of his many Compilations) 'One Step Beyond' and 'Psycho D.F.' that went high in the Mixmag Hard Chart for some weeks. Everything else are unreleased gems written in the early 90’s.

- Taking it back to 1979 and your meeting with Zillah Minx which played a key role to you regarding music, as apart from this project you've also started the idea of Xenophobia. Rubella Ballet was born, offering a strong anarcho punk sound and also a great Album during last year like 'Planet Punk' out from Overground Records.
What do you remember from that day of birth of the band and how essential is to express yourselves from this band?

SID: I found Rubella Ballet & Xenophobia brilliant platforms for writing and releasing exactly what I want with no one dictating how it should sound, what lyrics we should use and how we should look. If you can’t express yourself exactly how you want what’s the point.

I have had the chance to express myself in both bands without any restraints. Of course I was influenced by a lot of rave music and bands like The Prodigy and many more but I still made music how I wanted hardcore Xenophobia style.

- Moving to early 90s and your transfer to the rave scene!
How did you decide to start writing rave music and how you caught up with MC Skallywag to start the project?

SID: I eventually saved up some money and bought a sequencer and a sampler well before there was personal computers, so a very basic set up but I could tinker around for as long as I wanted and that turned not into punk but digital music which wasn’t accepted as an accepted form of music. I started tuning into acid house pirate radio stations so naturally the music I was writing started getting influenced and sounding a lot different to punk.

 I lived in Poplar in the East End of London and Scallywag lived locally in the Teviot so we got to know each other early on and he came up to my very modest studio and as I had a Roland TB303 Bassline and a 4 track Porta studio so started recording stuff early on and before we knew it the demo’s we were doing were very catchy and unique compared to other music at the time. Shortly after that we wrote the smash hits ‘Rush in the House’ & ‘The Wobbler’. Scallywag then went to a few record companies armed with our new demo and secured a deal on the same day with Kickin’ Records, seminal UK House, Hardcore & Techno label based in Ladbroke Grove, London.

Who’s artists include The Scientist, The Messiah, Grant Nelson Aka Wishdoktor and sub labels like Shut up and Dance. We then mastered 'Rush in the House' and 'The Wobbler' at Kickin’ studios and released the 12” to everyone’s delight and sold like hot cakes.

MC Scallywag - The Acid Queen - DJ Terminator

- What's the story behind the 'XENOPHOBIA' name? Do you remember how that name was picked?
For those who don't know about, it's actually a Greek word as well.

SID: We used Xenophobia to bring attention to the racism in the world and reinforce equal rights for everyone. Xenophobia is the unreasoned fear of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange. 

Xenophobia can manifest itself in many ways involving the relations and perceptions of an in group towards an out group including a fear of losing identity, suspicion of its activities, aggression, and desire to eliminate its presence to secure a presumed purity. Xenophobia can also be exhibited in the form of an "uncritical exaltation of another culture" in which a culture is ascribed "an unreal, stereotyped and exotic quality".
It is a powerfull word and we knew people would not forget it easily.

- 'Extacy it really gets me going, gets me so I don't know what i'm doing, go to the flow with an E an rush me Ooo rush me Eee rush me' and 'Are you feeling wobbly?' being surrounded on many raves back then, hitting also the music charts by crushing all rave heads wordwide!
What's the story behind these 2 rave anthems 'Rush in The House' and 'The Wobbler' and how a 'punk influenced' mind could sort out such tunes with a successful result?

SID: I have always had music in my head and translating that into Rubella Ballet was a dream come true but as a drummer I always went home from gigs and rehearsals frustrated I couldn’t jam all night so working on a different project from Rubella Ballet kept me entertained at home as I always have a tune in my head and need to start getting them down on tape so I spent most of my spare time writing loads of songs.

‘Oh no not you again’ the catchy line in 'The Wobbler' was a slogan on my doormat so Scallywag used it and we kept it and we think it worked rather well. 'The Rush in the House' hook was Scallywag’s idea as he was already using it at Spiral Tribe raves so when we used it for 'Rush in the House' it fitted perfectly and became the song on everyone’s lips that summer and every summer from then on.

- Was there any kind of critisicm to the 'Rush In The House' lyrics?

SID: Not really.. Everyone loved it! People still stop me and sing the chorus to me even today and say what an anthem it is.

- Can you share your personal highlights of Xenophobia career? Your performance @ Rave World in 1992 was definitely a proper live blast.

Is this your top gig ever in your opinion?

SID: Yes! Rave World 2 was huge, it had nearly 3 thousand ravers going nuts. The reception we got was amazing everyone was dancing their nuts off and cheered like mad for us. We certainly brought the vibe from Spiral Tribe that night as advertised on the flyer. Devious D dropped 'Charly' by the Prodigy when we left the stage sending the place into a frenzy, you can check out the video’s on you tube.

The best times has to be playing all the live PA’s with Scallywag as part of the Spiral Tribe free parties. The other highlight for the band was making it onto Spiral Tribe’s Debut EP ‘Breach the Peace’ on Big Life Records with our banging hardcore tune ‘Doet’ that was track 2 on the A side.

- Bert Fuzz (aka MC Scallywag) is also an essential member of the act as been also one of the founder members of Spiral Tribe, infamous for putting on free underground warehouse parties, raves and festivals all over Uk and Europe!
Can you tell us how mad were the Spiral Tribe raves?

SID: Spiral Tribe raves/free parties were brilliant, you never knew what to expect, I would usually be waiting for a call from Scallywag on the mobile, could be in a field in the countryside, could be in a massive warehouse, could be in a car park, but where ever it was going to be it was always well organized with the best hardcore tunes, it was full on.

When Xenophobia started performing with Spiral Tribe we would attend meetings with Scallywag to organize the next free party.
It was a precision operation sending out decoy vans to confuse the DTI and Old Bill, making sure there were always enough amps to power the rigs, organizing the DJ line up and what time Xenophobia perform.

I remember one free party we had to meet on the M25 in a service station and wait for the destination address to be rung through.
We parked down a lane off the M25 and climbed through a couple of large hedges that eventually opened on to a large field with a 4 story derelict building, we had to get a ladder to get to the mixing desk on the 1st floor to perform. The rave had been going for a few hours before we got there and it had already got the attention of the Police and a single Patrol car was manning the main entrance to the free party.

By the time everything was running properly there was a crowd of about a thousand people on one side of the building with lights and lasers lighting up the night sky and on the other side there were the ubiquitous blue flashing lights and a line of police now guarding the entrance to stop anyone else getting in which was futile as everyone had the same message about getting around the Babylon through the hedges. We set up to play 2 or 3 songs, plug in the keyboard, sampler and off we go into ‘Rush in the House’, the place goes bonkers as we launch into 'The Wobbler’ and then ‘Easy Does It’ featured on the new album.

The best free party was of course Castlemorten where nearly 100,000 people went to rave it up big time for free thanx to the Spiral Tribe, Bedlam, DIY and so many more rigs that made 4 days of ecstasy for me and thousands of others. It was the closest thing to the free Stonehenge music festival Zillah and I used to go to, as in there were no authorities to stop you from doing what you want, no one to turn down the music.

Everyone was left to their own devices, there was no trouble, everyone was enjoying themselves and anyway we were all on common land for the people. It seems that every time youth culture creates something that empowers them the Government do their best to stop it but that has never stopped us defiantly continuing to do what we love doing.

BERT: Being part of the Tribe & Xenophobia was great, surrounded by creative, active and very political aware people. One moment I could be on site somewhere, kicking up some dust and then before I knew it, I was in East London, where I would get a proper history of Punk which had a big influence on me.

I remember being in a field somewhere in the West Country, partying hard for day's, no sleep of course and darting back to London to do a set at Rave World with Xenophobia. I was so tired but seeing Sid & Zillah, boom! Woke up straight away and that's the kind of effect both Xenophobia and Spiral Tribe had on people.

- Did you see the hardcore/rave scene as being a continuation of the punk attitude (DIY raves, home made music, rebelling against the system) ?

SID: Yes definetely, it was the youth being creative and continuing from Punk, protesting still at the way the Police and the Government want to stop you from dancing and listening to loud music at raves as if we are a threat to the system. So I jumped at the chance to rebel with my best mates Scallywag and Zillah just with electronic music this time.

We were still trying to reflect the feelings at the time, which was rebelling against the system, putting on free parties and living an alternative lifestyle.


- Lets go to your solo projects now as Bert Fuzz (aka MC Scallywag) is following a new direction, working on house vibes with a new release out on Movingdeep Music. Any details about that 'new aspect' of your career and any other forthcoming plans?

BERT: At the moment preparing EP for early 2016, on Movingdeep. I like deeper and tech house sound but, the label is vey diverse and next year we hope to introduce some new producers and vocalists.

We tend not to shut about the label to much, just enjoy making and putting out music. This seems to have worked for us, not that we planned it that way. This is in part because of the air play we get on pirate radio and dj's across the pond picking up on our stuff. We have talked about putting a live set together for next year but, we'll see how that pans out.

Finally, what I would really like to do next year is put out some vinyl. 

- Forthcoming personal plans for Sid and Zillah?

SID: I spend every day either writing new tunes for different projects or making video’s for the songs to go on YouTube. I started writing a new Xenophobia album with different styles of music not just hardcore and may be releasing a drum and bass album for digital release before Xmas.

Zillah Minx is always writing lyrics and recording in our home studio either for Xenophobia or Rubella Ballet. She also spends a lot of time designing and making clothes for her everyday & stage wear. Zillah Minx is infamous for bringing the day-glo into rave. She already had a name for herself on the punk scene defying the stereo type punk & Goth cliché of wearing black. 

Rubella Ballet started to use black lights and self designed & D.I.Y made neon clothes on stage as part of their live show since 1980’s. As neon became part of Zillah Minx signature clothes style it was taken with her into the rave scene. Acclaimed British fashion designer Louise Gray, who acknowledged Zillah’s influence upon her work: “She was one of the originators of punk in London,” Louise asserts. “She wore colours and ultra-violet paint to make her clothes and sets for gigs, so everything was illuminated – I love her!”
Rubella Ballet at The Marquee

- What are your thoughts on the current music styles, focusing more on hardcore related stuff. Do you see your influence in scenes nowadays?

SID: I have noticed new styles like Moombah, Complextro as a new style of electro that’s cool and I’m into some London Grime that’s been around a while, I’m a big psy trance fan, loved stuff by Cygnus X, Astrix, Infected Mushroom and many more to mention, loving hard electro like Far Too Loud smashing it with every release.

I like the harder side of deep house and love a bit of hardstyle. 'Hardstyle Revolution' by Abyss & Judge was my favorite for ages I sent it to my brother Scott who lives in Ohio now.
He plays it full blast on the way to work that raises a few eyebrows I bet it’s such a hardstyle classic song. As for influences it would be nice to think Xenophobia did influence some bands with our style.

- As you're clearly political guys and the latest Rubella Ballet album was maybe more political than ever, what are your thoughts on the world and society today?

SID: We are being manipulated more these days that ever before and were being fed negative news 24/7, wars here, deaths there, beheadings on YouTube W.T.F. Surveillance has gone crazy, now in the U.K there are cameras tracking people every couple on hundreds of feet. Food is making us ill more than we know it with processed food causing 60% of cancers. There is a new problem of legal highs causing more deaths than the illegal drugs especially to teenagers.

Then there is the topics we wrote about on 'Planet Punk' like how banks who go bankrupt just getting bailed out by the Government when people including single parents get sent to prison for not paying their television license and other menial things while the rich get away without paying millions. We can’t organize parties anymore and play our music out for free because of the Criminal Justice Bill, so that has killed off nearly every rig in the country that used to put all the free parties on. 

We just feel oppressed, forced not to have a good time and play our music anymore. They victimized and banned Punk music from the national charts and now they have criminalized free Raves and will arrest us for listening to music at free parties. What next? Ban Music? Ban youth culture?

- I'd like to thank you first of all for participating and accepting the invitation to get interviewed on the Strictly Nuskool Blog and wish you every success to your musical directions, remain strong and keep the spirit alive in every sense!
BIGUP and Massive Respect Sid, Zillah and Bert!
Thank you for the XENOPHOBIA buzz and the living rave memories! Looking forward to the album!

SID: Shouts out to The Strictly Nuskool Crew, Robin and Herman at Stay on Target that got the ball rolling and the album released. To Christian Larson for the re-license of ‘Rush in the House' & 'The Wobbler’. To every member of the Spiral Tribe massive, to Scallywag for the best lyrics ever, to Nicky Blackmarket for playing it to death and to everyone who bought Rush in the house the first time round. 

01. Rush In The House
02. Into Combat
03. Easy Does It
04. Feel The Fire
05. Tears Of Gladness
06. Subsoniq
07. Brothers & Sisters
08. Doet
09. Project 250
10. Battle Stations
11. The Wobbler
12. Syko DF
13. Emergency
14. One Step Beyond
15. The Wobbler (Remix)
16. Rush In The House (Remix)

(For more info/orders about the Album you can contact via Xenophobia's socials or Stay on Target here or the Hard Store here )

facebook - soundcloud  - youtube - discogs - Reverbnation - LastFM

GL0WKiD interview with Sid Truelove (DJ Terminator) & Bert Fuzz (MC Scallywag)

(All pictures featured on this interview are used & shared with the kind permission of Sid Truelove and you can find them on Xenophobia's facebook page)

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