This weekend atmospheric post hardcore band Fall of Efrafa play there last ever show in their hometown of Brighton. In recent years the band have had a seminal role in both UK and international hardcore. Their style is in some respects genre defining, taking elements of hardcore bands such as Catharsis and adding the epic moments of bands such as God Speed! You Black Emperor and Explosions in the Sky. As a final goodbye to the band we are republishing here an interview that first appeared in Last Hours 17.
Fall of Efrafa are an epic melodic crust band from Brighton. The band recently released their second album – ‘Elil’ – and the second part of their trilogy of records, ‘The Warren of Snares’. Their songs took original inspiration from Watership Down, and explore the struggle for self-determination and freedom against fascism, religion and authority. This is an interview that Isy Morgenmuffel conducted with George, the band’s drummer, discussing the bands thoughts and ideas, and the fact that after the trilogy is finished it will mark the end of the band.
LH: Owsla was focused on nature and its defence against human aggression. Elil means predator – what kind of predatory behaviour are you talking about?
George: Alex writes all of the lyrics, which we all read and comment on before we commit to using them in songs. The lyrics in Elil focus on the destructive nature of organised religion: systems that are used to exercise social control, whilst encouraging apathy and the destruction of the natural world. These systems force us to focus on a fictitious spiritual existence whilst creating a complete disregard for the physical (real) world. The bible tells us to “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28), thus teaching us to follow a rigid hierarchy, which is defined by violence being done by those on the top of the hierarchy to those below, making slaves out of all non-human life. Religion serves only to create a culture of fear and a hatred of non-humans, women, queers, people with differently coloured skin, the natural world and, above all, a hatred of ourselves. I’m not even sure if the word ‘predator’ is a strong enough word to describe the evils of religion, because, in the wild, a predator will never consume so much that it wipes out its life source and therefore, causes its own demise, which we seem to be doing pretty well!
LH: Man against nature is an antagonism that’s persisted throughout history, with the exploitation and destruction of nature being the basis of our civilisation. It is a struggle you have focused on with your music. What does it mean to you both as a band and personally, is this a struggle a part of your daily life too?
G: Until the rise of capitalism and industrial civilisation the concept of humans existing outside of the natural world would have been unthinkable. Since the beginnings of agriculture humanity has started to live outside of and in opposition to the ecosystems with which we once had symbiotic relationship. Once communities started to grow and form in to cities, humans started to exceed the carrying capacities of the ecosystems in which they lived. This meant that resources had to be sourced from other areas, which gave rise to war, slavery and the destruction of the natural world. I believe that we can’t sustain our current existence and that without significant changes being made to the way we structure our communities we’re going to be in even more trouble that we are now. However, I don’t necessarily believe that the destruction of the natural world should be our only reason to strive for radical social change. Even if capitalism wasn’t destroying the planet, it still serves to enslave humans and non-humans alike. This is something that is a part of all of our lives.
LH: The sound is incredibly good on this record. How and where was it recorded and is the production process something that you all get stuck into?
G: My brother, Peter Miles, has recorded all of our records. He is amazing at what he does and is incredibly adaptable. We recorded Elil at my mum’s house, which is in Devon on the southern border of Dartmoor. It was an incredibly inspiring location to make a record in. In the band, we all have very strong ideas about how we want the records to sound and Pete manages to bring all our opinions together and add some of his own experienced judgments.
LH: The last in the trilogy will then be Inlé – have you started writing for it, and what comes next, when the trilogy is finished?
G: We have started writing new songs, but they are all very far from completion. Inlé will be the end of Fall Of Efrafa, but there is a possibility that we will do a split LP with Icos from Sweden before we make Inlé. What comes next? I have no idea except that Fall Of Efrafa will be no more.
LH: What are some of the other projects band members are involved in, both musical and political?
G: Stevie and Neil have recently started a rock’n'roll band called Black Storm that will hopefully playing gigs soon. They’re very much influenced by bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. I heard a rehearsal tape a few days ago and all I can say is bring your ear plugs! As a band, our own political involvement and projects vary. My own interests lie in projects that are more focused on my close community, because I find it difficult to connect to anything on a larger scale. For example, I’m working on putting together a zine of writings by wimmin involved in punk, activist and DIY communities. This will focus on patriarchy/ sexism and the effect that has on wimmin in terms on self-esteem and insecurity. More specifically, it will address what they would like the men in their communities to do to help facilitate necessary changes, with a view to making a follow-up zine written by men. I guess the idea is to try and create some kind of dialogue. Also, Mikey and myself are working on Between The Lines 2008, which is a DIY Hardcore Punk Fest at the Cowley Club in Brighton with a focus on radical workshops and discussions.
Photo by Kim Ford. Illustration by Steve Larder