This interview was supposed to be in the last issue (issue 5) of Rancid News but unfortunately we got it after the deadline. Anyhow Submission Hold play amazing lo-fi, experimental, female-fronted punk rock. Anyways without further ado this is Jen from Submission Hold answering questions…
RN: Does Submission Hold have any plans for 2004? Have you written any new songs, or have plans for any new tours? Are you going to be coming back to Europe any time soon?
Jen: We have a bunch of new songs and we’ll record a new record in may or thereabouts. Some tours after that, Europe being one of them.
RN: How was the US tour last year? Is it that more difficult now that you have a kid to look after/ worry about whilst on tour?
Jen: Things are different and difficult but the older Sam gets the easier the tours become. He loves being on tour, so it’s not like he’s in a foul mood the whole time or anything. We set up places to play and sleep that are kid-friendly and usually there’s no problem. We’ve been touring with Sam for longer than most punk bands exist for, so it’s sort of second nature by now.
RN: Have your ideas on feminism changed at all since having a child? Do you, or did you worry about bringing someone into this world considering the current situation that we’re all in? Has your perspective on politics changed by having a child?
Jen: My ideas on feminism have changed in the sense that I am now more pro-choice than I ever was and I’m more in awe of women being able to give birth and raise children, it’s an amazing and exhausting thing to do. I’ve also become more aware as to women’s rights as far as child care, going to work, etc. it’s almost as if before the birth of Sam I only paid lip service to the notion that women could do anything, it was sort of theoretical, now I know it for a fact to be true. I do and I did worry about bringing a child into this world, of course.
RN: Being a Canadian band do you ever have problems touring the US? It seems that you tour there more than Canada, is that for any reason?
Jen: There’s more places to play in the U.S. it’s really hard to tour Canada, typical drives are 12-14 hours between gigs.
RN: Is there a difference between touring the two countries? Is there as big a difference between the two countries as people make out, or do you think they’re cosmetic differences – one being only slightly worse than the other?
Jen: There’s a difference in the cultures of the two places. I think being from one of them, you’d notice the differences more than someone from a third location. There’s more of a conservative vibe in the U.S., a greater disparity between the rich and the poor, more guns and killing. The U.S. media is more about the show. Things like that.
RN: Do you ever worry that by being DIY, or by trying to only play non-commercial spaces, that you’re being exclusionary? Have you tried to counter this in any way?
Jen: Yes we feel that we are being exclusionary. Next month we are playing our first show in a bar (19 years of age and older) it’s an experiment that may succeed or may fail. We shall see.
RN: Related to that in Progress (as if survival mattered) there’s the line saying ‘Preach to the converted? I wish.’ Was that referencing to the DIY scene, or aimed more loosely? Do you feel that the DIY scene has become increasingly apolitical in the past few years?
Jen: It was aimed at the DIY scene at the time. In the past few years I have paid less and less attention to the scene, so I don’t really know what the prevailing ways of thinking are.
RN: Do you see a problem with fanzines doing ‘all girl issues’? Can it be alikened to the idea of having six days of all boy bands, and then a night of girls playing, and everyone then thinking that the scene is inclusive? Do you feel that sexism is still a problem in punk – is there anyway to eliminate it?
Jen: I have no problem with all-girl fanzine issues. Punk is full of human beings, of course sexism will be a problem in punk as long as it is a problem with humanity. what to do? Keep talking about it, screaming about it until something sinks in. Be a threat by example and raise feminist boys.
RN: I know it’s a problem in the US, but are Clear Channel beginning to get their teeth into Canada as well?
Jen: What’s clear channel? We remain happily oblivious.
RN: Are you ever conscious of the barrier that exists between audience and band? Does it ever worry you? Is there anyway to eliminate the barrier?
Jen: The only way to eliminate it is to show up at a gig with no instruments and no songs and the band would mill around in the crowd all night. Of course when the band is playing, people have come to see us and we’re up there yelling and jumping around and for the most part the audience is standing there watching. On a great night we’re all, the band and the audience, running around and yelling and that’s when the barrier comes down. We don’t have dressing rooms or things like booking agents or managers, perhaps that breaks down barriers as well.
RN: The layout on your records is pretty distinctive? Where do the ideas come from?
Jen: I just go into it with a basic idea and a sort of theme of the album and see what comes out.
RN: Where did the idea come to have the linear notes in other languages (Spanish, French and German)?
Jen: We did those because there’s people into us who’s first language is different than our own. It was just a little nod in their direction.
RN: Do you ever worry that English is such a dominant language in punk?
Jen: English is the language of imperialism, be it business or art or anything. It’s sad but I’ve also heard convincing arguments from people who’s first language isn’t English as to why it’s good to sing in English. what can you do? People will express themselves in the way that they feel most comfortable.
RN: And anything else you want to add…?
Jen: I don’t know, our sadly neglected website is