Interview with Bass from Djevara when they played the Garage in October 2002.
RN: OK I know absolutley nothing about Djevara (prouncing the ‘d’) – so could you give me a brief bio? Bass: Well first of all it’s dJevara.
RN: Oh ok…I’ve already made an idiot of myself!
B: Well that’s the thing that everyone gets wrong. Like we got played on Radio 1 and they were like, ‘they should change their name’! But the thing is the fact that they couldn’t pronounce the name meant that they spent twice as long talking about us…uhh…to be honest it’s a pretty standard kind of history. I came to university and I couldn’t play guitar, and my best friend played me Nirvana, and I’d never heard anything like it before, and I had all this stuff written down, I guess it was poetry – sortof, and I just thought that, ‘Shit man, you can put anything to chords and just play it man’. Then I saw the story of Iggy Pop and saw that basically they started out not being able to do anything and then were a band, and then I thought, ‘well yeah fuck it why can’t I be in a band’! Initially I didn’t really think of it as a real band to be honest. I just thought I could just mess around, so I called it ’suck!’, and I got some people together and they weren’t too into it to begin with, they were all like ‘ok, yeah that’d be ok’ type thing. So yeah we were called suck! at the time, and I guess it was about, noone turned up to rehearsals to begin with except the drummer, until about a year later before anything started to happen. And we just started playing some gigs and I guess it’s just gone from there
I just thought I’d put alot of stuff that I feel is really important, that’s really important to music, and I guess it’s just continued from there, and we got the band together. The spirit has always been about music that isn’t defined by boundaries and stuff, just in the spirit of bands that we really respect, and in the DIY punk ethos. I mean as we’ve devoloped I think we’ve lost a bit of the punk edge – and that’s no insult to punk bands – but we are still very much in that ethos. It’s all about the music for us, however naff that might sound, and also what we’re about our political ideas, and ideals!
RN: What do you think of the current UK metal/punk scene?
B: Well I don’t alot of things, I could talk for hours about it! I’m in two minds about a lot of things. I mean I can’t stand bands like Crazy Town and all of those bands, but I think we need to be realistic about what it’s done in terms of opening up the eyes of people. I mean people can now listen to heavy guitars again, and I mean there are all these fashions that go in and out and I kinda want to keep it at arms length. But one of the best things that has happened from it is that people are actually watching videos of bands that are live. They are obviously live bands, and I think that that is absolutely fantastic, I mean they vary in quality, I think that the Datsuns are wicked, whilst the Strokes are terrible, but they are all live and I think that it’s reminding people, ‘Shit man, people can actually get up onstage and stand behind their music!’. It’s more real.
I think it relates to the fact that the pop industry has got even more ridiculous. Because before everyone was always like, ‘well it’s just so manafactured’, and in a way it was pretending that it wasn’t by saying that. And now it’s even come out, I mean they now have Pop Stars the show, I couldn’t believe my eyes, when I first saw it. They were just saying, ‘OK, we are going to manafacture a band and you are going to buy it and make it number one!’ And people did it, and I was getting really pissed off about it but my friend pointed out to me that you shouldn’t get cross about it you should be happy because it’s the best thing that can happen because it makes the distinction so clearly between what we’re doing, and what they’re doing.
I think music is such an important method of communication, not just by lyrics, but when you actually listen to music it affects you. Every person has that song that really reminds them of something, and they can really feel something, and you might not even be able to explain how it effects you, and it will probably be different for you and me. But to see it wasted is really upsetting. I mean whats the point of being a band and going out there, and sell records, if you don’t really have any reason to be – and I want to be careful about that because your reason to be could be just to have fun – but if you don’t care about it then whats the point?
RN: How do you think today (scumfest – click here for review) is going to go?
B: Well…I don’t know. I think the bands are going to be great, I’m not sure how many people are going to turn up – I’m a little nervous about that to be honest! I think the atmosphere is going to be great. I already really like the atmosphere. There’s not many people here at the moment but everyone’s still being really supportive and optimistic about the whole thing, and all the bands are happy to be here. So yeah I think it’s going to go well. No short answers from over here! (laughs)
RN: Where do you see Djevara in a years time, six months time?
B: In the mirror, every day, looking at myself in the mirror, every day! (laughs) Uh no I don’t know. I mean you can’t really talk too much about what you are going to do in six months a years time. I have a lot of ambitions in what I want to do in music. Like everyone else selling some records would be nice, but we’re having such a great time at the moment so….I know it sounds so sell out but I would really love to play the Reading Festival, on the Radio One tent. Actually I’d rather make my own free festival because I think that free festivals are the best because you get better people, and you don’t get the posing middle class wankers that you do at Reading – but then again I’m one of them!
RN: Which celebrity would you most like to have a fight with?
B: Cameron Diaz. Because the thing is if you had a fight you’d start of hating each other but then in the end you’re going to end up loving each other. So I think I’m going to add Halle Berry to that list, along with Angelina Jolie. In fact I’ll happily take all three of them on.
RN: What records are you listening to all the time at the moment?
B: Boy Sets Fire – After the Eulogy…Refused – The Shape of Punk to Come…Tool – everything…umm…Hormone, an unsigned band, they’re great…actually I think I’m going through my record collection in order at the moment so literally the last thing I listened to was the Presidents of the USA last night. Loads of Alice in Chains at the moment, that’s pretty much…oh Sunny Day Real Estate, I’m listening to them alot at the moment, alot of bands that I know, all the bands that are playing today. Yeah I’m sure I’m going to kick myself later when I’ve forgotten someone….soundgarden, I’m always listening to them.
RN: So is it fair to say that Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Nirvana are possibly the biggest reason that you’re playing in a band?
B: I fucking love them….I mean Nirvana, I don’t care what anyone says, but Nirvana is the only reason that I started a band. It’s true that they were there at just the right time and in just the right place but…OH MY GOD, I forgot Fugazi! RN: Did you go see them last night?
B: Yeah it was amazing. That would have been awful I really would have kicked myself. What was I saying before that? Oh yeah Nirvan! Well yeah they may well have been there at the right time but people like me saw it and thought fuck it you don’t have to be perfect, it was just so real and so raw, and he wasn’t Mr Perfect and that’s not the point, he was real. You can feel it, and that’s it – it’s about expressing yourself, and he expressed himself best onstage, and I’ve always thought that thats it.
Jimi Hendrix – that’s it as well. That was punk rock, I don’t care what anyone says! Live, that was just so incredible. I mean he used to come onstage with a wall of white noise around him, and in the context, now it really isn’t that impressive, but back then things like that didn’t happen, people couldn’t believe that he was just making noise. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever saw.
I’ve only ever experienced that once, no twice, was once when we played in Virgin Megastores, and in a venue everyone knows what to expect, you’re going to be loud, and your going to growl blah blah blah, but in Virgin Megastores, it was like shit that really is quite heavy. It was like I was listening to Nirvana a little while ago, and I was thinking that it really wasn’t that heavy anymore, but then my aunt opened the door and it was suddenly like [pulls metal face] grrr grrr grrr! And it was because I knew it was effecting here, and that was what it felt like at Virgin Megastore, but even moreso when we played this University open stage thing, with a gospel choir and string quartet blah blah blah and then us. So the audience had no idea what to expect so we came on, in front of these old age pensioners, kids etc, and the Union had tried to ban us from playing a song called ‘Mother Fucker Cunt – Say It’, so I was like ’shit lets just play it!’ And we played it and the faces, it was like whats this. It managed to get some emotion from people – that’s punk rock, seriously! But the point I’m trying to get at is that people were genuinally more pissed off that I had said fuck than that 6,000 people had died in Africa because of preventable problems, that day. They were more upset that I had used a word than that 6,000 people had died. My favourite thing though about it was that there were these two little kids there, with their dad, and their dad had told them to cover their ears before our set, but at the end of the gig they were air guitaring in defiance – and it was just yes! That is my favourite memory of the band ever.
RN: So politics are a big part of the band?
B: What I’d say is that everyone should be true to themselves, and their beliefs, and everyone in the band has their own opinion and their own views. But yes as my band I’d say it’s political – but not as a gimmick – it’s just who I am. I wouldn’t be in this band, doing it if I didn’t think it was really important. My mums from Zimbabwe and I have relatives out there who are actually pysically suffering out there, and I feel in some ways quite guilty about that and I couldn’t actually just sit around doing nothing, if I’m able to do something to say something about the situation then that’s good!
RN: Cool….well do you have anything else to add to interview?
B: No not really….Actually no have you ever seen just how much chewing gum there is out there on the floor, why is there so much chewing gum, it’s incredible, I was looking off the bus the other day and saw it, so yeah! I mean it now sounds like I’m a fucking Roger raver, but it really pisses me off…