SPOT: Punk Rock for Freedom
El Freegano interviews Bulgarian punk-rock band Spot
Spot was a melodic punk rock band from Bulgaria with a great message and solid attitude, one of our favorite local acts. It’s time for these amazing four-piece from Rouse to make it on the spotlight.
Hello! Let’s start with a few common questions. Who are you? Where are you from? When did you form the band?
We’re the band Spot. We’re a punk rock band from Ruse, Bulgaria. We formed the band 12 years ago and its name was Counterfit in the beginning, but somewhere among the years we’ve changed that name.
So you have a new bass player—Emo, would you say something about yourself? How did you join Spot?
Emo: Hey! I’m Emo, a secret and a huge fan of Spot. I’m from Ruse too! Honestly, among all the Bulgarian bands, Spot has always been my favorite one for its genre, sound and performances. Actually, I knew Radney , Dennis and Stilian for quite some time, but I don’t know why they have decided to ask me if I want to play in the band. But, of course, I agreed and that’s how I started playing in Spot. They are really cool, aren’t they?
Where do you get influences for the music and the lyrics you write?
Our main influence are our favorite punk bands. They are the best teachers the new musician can have. We also think that the easiest way to start playing an instrument is to learn to play the songs of your favorite bands. When we started out, for example, one of our main goals was to learn how to play more and to play faster. That’s why we’ve tried to play songs of Good Riddance’s “Ballads From The Revolution”. At that same time, we played our own songs, plus one or two covers a week.
Radney: As for the lyrics that I wrote, I’m influenced primarily by Chris Hannah (Propagandhi) and Cedric Bixter-Zavala (At The Drive-In), writers that I really admire. They both have really diverse style of writing and ways to express their ideas. I’ve never met better songwriters within the punk scene. Chris writes mainly political lyrics, while Cedric’s are more abstract in a way. I read the lyrics of every album I listen to. Although, I think that this is very important for every singer/songwriter, because it’ll improve your lexica and make you more expressive as a writer. So, learn by heart the songs of all your favorite bands!
Do you think punk is really connected to anarchism and the social themes of life, or it’s just an aimless rebellious music?
Radney: First, I need to say that as a child I didn’t have any idea what anarchy, social themes, Straight Edge and vegetarianism is. The thing that attracted me to punk in first place was the genuine youthful enthusiasm and energy that comes out from this music. That’s the exact thing I cannot find in any other genres. But among the years I got interested in the lyrics of my favorite songs. I was stunned the lyrics were even better than the music itself. But let’s get back to the question.
I think, punk is not necessary related to anarchism and the social themes of life. There are thousands of punk bands in the world. They all differ in their sound and lyrics, although I prefer bands carrying exactly with those kinds of message.
As to the second part of the question, even in the rise of punk it has stood up for political and social struggles. So I can say that only people who are not introduced to the scene and the movement.
What is missing in the Bulgarian punk and hardcore scene today and how in your opinion things would become better?
The lack of places for performing, the lack of bands and the very few albums released. In other words, the problem is that the scene is too little and underdeveloped. I guess, along with the raise of the life standard of the population, the situation here will get better. But actually, it’s not always about money.
What do you want to achieve as a band and as individuals?
We wanna make a better world for us and everyone else. We want less violence, hatred and misery. Music is a powerful instrument in our favor. Music can make people hear the message it brings. Music can change people’s consciousness. If we are not able to change the world we still can change ourselves.
Radney: I believe in Chris Hannah and Russ Rankin’s words that we can live in a world where no gender, race or class dominates over the others and that murder and exploitation of animals is not a natural law neither a privilege to the ‘civilized’ human. We also know that the social system we’ve made is full of crap. We hope that the generations after us will also believe in that because their consciousness will be unencumbered. Well, we realize that this is one long and difficult process which won’t end in the next 300 or 500 years, but have to begin with us, here and now.
You say, that you are influenced by skateboarding. How long have you been skateboarding and how has it influenced you?
Radney: I’ve been skateboarding for more than 17 years. The thing that skateboarding has given me is that it made me use my mind, and not only my legs. It gave me the feeling for adventure, which every growing kid needs, and the feeling that I can achieve something in my life. The skateboarding has also gotten me to the punk-rock, which is my other big love. The two scenes were tightly connected during the years when I was starting to skate. I won’t forget that the soundtracks of the old skateboard videos of H-Street and New Deal were only punk. I hope that the returning of punk in the skateboard scene now won’t be only a fashion.
Do you see progress in the Bulgarian skateboard scene?
Radney: Of course there is a progress. The elder skaters, like me, remember the times when we rode with “Perla” and “Lesko” (old Bulgarian skateboards). There was no skate shop in the whole country at that time. They remember a guy called Smolata, who made the first big import of skateboard stuff in Varna in 1990 and how all the decks were sold for a summer in spite of the prize of €250 for a board. Now there is everything and there is even a Bulgarian skateboard magazine. But for me those old years were magical. Skateboarding gave me wonderful childhood. Now everything is different and I hope it’s for good.
What else do you like to do besides the music and skateboarding?
Radney: Besides playing music and skateboarding, I also like reading books and watching skate videos. I love to be with my wife and my son, nothing unusual. I’d even say, that I am a boring person.
Thank you for this interview! Anything else?
Don’t take the things said in this interview too seriously. Think and live for yourself. Question everything, but believe in people.