The last year i did this interview with the Canadian punk band Zex, the text was published in Spanish for the web site El Alebrije (link of the original post: https://elalebrije.net/2017/07/03/zex-no-te-dejes-atrapar-por-la-fiebre-nacionalista-y-la-xenofobia/).
-What’s the story of Zex?
Zex formed in November 2013 with Gab Hole on bass, Tasha Gobeil on drums (later to be replaced by Vassil Mester, RIP 2015, then Cody Dorman followed by Eiji Miyazaki and now Mark Useless), Gretchen Steel on vocals and Jo Capitalicide on guitar.
After rehearsing for a few months and releasing 2 singles, Zex started playing live and almost immediately embarked on the first tour.
-Which are your music influences?
Jo: Honestly there’s no specific influence or a band that we try to model ourselves after. Sometimes I’ll hear a melody while listening to Disco of Heavy metal and rework it into my own thing.
Gretchen: I too listen to many different types of music but I suppose you could say UK82 and 77 punk are largely the most influential to me.
-Have you recorded albums?
Jo: zex has released 6 vinyl singles and two vinyl albums, most of which has seen numerous pressings by various record labels. CD and cassette versions of releases also exist. Zex has self produced 4 music videos.
-Zex are a band with many things to say (or shout). What is your message to the world?
Jo: Don’t be afraid to express who you are! Life is too short to stay confined and play by the rules. Be a freak and don’t try to fit in anywhere. Live life to the fullest and make all your words and actions count for something! Be sensitive and kind to those around you; especially the broken, the beaten, the poor, the dispossessed, the marginalized, the oppressed. Have solidarity with your fellow human! Life is not a competition. Don’t be a fool and get caught up in nationalistic fever and xenophobic behavior.
Gretchen: I have a long history of being treated like absolutely garbage by others. What that has taught me is all you can really do in this shit world is do whats best for you. Do what you love to do, wear what you want to wear, express yourself in anyway you can and live for today because we could all die tomorrow. what others think of you is irrelevant and not important. what is important is you love yourself and do what you love doing. That is what ZEX is to me. I do this for me, I’m in this band because it’s what I was born to do and it’s what I love most.
-Well… In Mexico many punks don’t knowledge much about canadian punk, maybe they only know D.O.A..How is the canadian punk scene?
Jo: I can think of a few Mexican record nerds who know about all the good Canadian punk classics … I’m talking about bands like Modernettes, Pointed Sticks, Forgotten Rebels, Bureaucrats, Red Squares, 222’s, Teenage Head etc.
-I was reading a post on the Facebook fan page of Zex about his thinking of the 150 anniversary of Canada. Can you say me more about your disagree of this celebration?
Jo: Canada is quite possibly the place to live with the best quality of life to live in on this wretched planet. People here have a lot more privilege and opportunity than in most places in the world. The freedoms and liberties we enjoy are largely due to people who fought for things like labor rights, women’s suffrage movement, social programs and so on. My aberration towards nationalism goes beyond my anarchist standpoint on the idea of a world with borders, blind patriotism and xenophobia. Indigenous people are made to live in dis proportionally poor conditions to this day and have to flight to cling onto their own culture.Its the same situation through out the Americas, but here in Canada Indigenous culture hasn’t survived as much or made it into the mainstream as much as in Central and South America.
Instead of wearing red and getting drunk on the streets, i wish i could have seen there generally good people in this country have a discussion about accountability about the still ongoing cultural genocide here in Canada. A lot of people, my own friends even, would rather latch on to a flag and sweep this country’s history under the rug.
-Brazil, Turkey are some of the countries the band visited. This is the great moment of Zex?
In about three years ,Zex has played 155 concerts not only in native Canada, but also in the US, Mexico, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Brazil , Japan & Turkey by doing their own booking. We are privileged and also extremely grateful to those who have helped us!
Gretchen: The best part touring recently in Europe was Alpro vegan lemon lime yogurt!
-Time ago you visited Mexico… Talk me the experience.
Jo: We parked in the US at the border and walked into Tijuana. It was like going to an amusement park. Basically it felt like a third world Las Vegas with everyone trying to rip you off. I know that Tijuana doesn’t represent the majority of Mexico and i also understand the dynamics of US/Mexican border issues. Its such a stark contrast between one side where people have to work twice as hard for a fraction of the pay and living in a constant state of no hope and future and on the other side people aim to fulfill this notion of the American Dream. This place is so surreal to me, yet there is very genuine people that I’ve met from there.
Gretchen: I’m dying to tour mexico! so many fans and so much life! we are coming for you!
-Have you plans for back to Mexico coming soon?
Jo: ¡Tijuana again in October 2017!
-Which is the Zex’s future?
Jo: We really want to promote the new album “Uphill Battle”!
Gretchen: ¡SOUTH AFRICA! ¡MEXICO! ¡PERU! ¡CHILE! ¡ARGENTINA! ¡URUGUAY! ¡RUSSIA! AND ¡EASTERN EUROPE!.
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