The Best of GRReporter
flag_bg flag_gr flag_gb

Until you become the king of fools

20 April 2013 / 00:04:23  GRReporter
4929 reads

"To me, punk is more of a philosophy first and then music. As a musical genre, it has a political nuance by itself," says the young man. "Anyone who engages in this type of music wants to express a social position that is different from the established routine; to express his beliefs loudly and clearly and for his voice to be heard." The words of the director coincide with the view expressed by the main characters in his documentary.

Authenticity and lessons for life

The fact that the people, who have contributed to the development of the punk scene in Greece, have remained authentic makes the young man enthusiastic. They still really believe in what their songs say and their music expresses. "You never know what to expect when you interview a man who tells of the things related to the theme of the film 20 years ago."

However, it appears that for them punk remains a way of life rather than a stage. They may not be so angry at the world as they were at the age of 16 or 20 but their beliefs basically remain unchanged. "Every one of the people we talked to was extremely helpful. They gave us footage of amateur recordings of concerts as well as additional details, photographs and other materials."

"While I was making the film, I met with people whom I might never have met in person in my life if I had not got involved in this project. I met not only great people from the Greek scene, but also the vocalist of the legendary Dead Kennedys – Jello Biafra."

squat vs Club

Independent scenes that are most often housed in universities or abandoned public buildings that have been turned into places where young people gather (squats) are very popular in Greece. They are considered free autonomous spaces where young people, and not only, can watch different groups on an improvised scene.

"It is easier to perform live in the squats. Moreover, the music we are talking about can easily be accepted in political terms, you can express yourself without anyone putting restraints on you. There are people who believe that you shouldn’t pay to listen to punk music. There are others who are short of money and the free concerts are the only option for them. The basic idea is that squats provide a shelter for the music and the free expression of ideas."

However, punk as a movement and influence is not limited within the squats. More than a few underground clubs have been the scene of local and foreign bands and have supported the development of the movement. "The club, on the other hand, has its advantages. It offers a better sound, which is important for a band. You are able to play your music better. There is a sound technician, who can help you bring out the best sound of your music."

Vafiadis stresses that the place, where a band chooses to present its music, is not important as long as it has something to say and attracts the right people to absorb the energy flowing out from the scene.

The turning point

"I was probably 14 years old. I went to see a live performance at Villa Amalia for the first time. I don’t remember the band, but people danced pogo in front of the stage. The adrenaline was high and I mixed up. I stumbled and fell down. I thought that they would run over me. Nothing like that happened. Four people with piercings and mohawks rushed to help me. They picked me up, asked me if I was okay, patted me on the shoulder and we continued dancing. This was the moment when the taboo was broken and I realized that being a punk is not being a despicable person or a drug addict. It is to be free to express yourself."

Here today, gone tomorrow

In the middle of May, the young director will emigrate from Greece like many of his peers. He has been offered work in his speciality in Canada and he is eagerly awaiting the oppportunity to face new experiences. In parallel, he is planning his next project, which will be dedicated to the DIY music scene of New York.

We asked him to square accounts and to tell us what he has left behind in order to continue to chase his dreams. It proved a difficult task. We also asked him how he sees himself in the long term, but he preferred to focus on Greece.

"I would not like to be in this country. It seems that this would happen. I am going to leave soon," he said with a hint of irony. "I hope that things here will improve, that the economy will grow and more things will happen. I hope that people will be more open, will go to the cinema, will be interested in different things, in subcultures, that they will go to concerts, not only punk and grindcore (he is laughing)."

According to him, subcultures in Greece do not have the recognition they deserve. Even young people associate punk and hard music with drugs, dirt and other backward stereotypes. "We are all people. Old stereotypes do not apply any more. You can be a punk and have a degree in Applied Physics. We have to judge people on their merits instead of labelling them."


Tags: Nine musesMusicCinemaPunk sceneGreece
GRReporter’s content is brought to you for free 7 days a week by a team of highly professional journalists, translators, photographers, operators, software developers, designers. If you like and follow our work, consider whether you could support us financially with an amount at your choice.
You can support us only once as well.
blog comments powered by Disqus