Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fall of Efrafa - Interview

This is an interview I did with Fall of Efrafa before their latest album was released. So I guess you could say it's somewhat old...

First things first; give us some info on Fall of Efrafa.

Fall of Efrafa is an epic crust/hardcore/post rock band from Brighton, England. Lyrically and aesthetically we base our band upon the political and mythological undertones in the book “Watership Down“ by Richard Adams. It is a metaphorical tale about a group of refugee rabbits fleeing from a warren destroyed by man. Throughout the book, the rabbits encounter different political institutions. The final of which is “efrafa“ a fascist warren that oppresses its own people, with particular reference to women as second class citizens. When we formed the band, we took this idea and applied it to our own narrative, the “efrafa“ representing the encroachment of man, and “owsla“ representing the natural world.

You are releasing a new LP some time in the very near future, what can we expect?

Elil is the second part of a trilogy of records, compared to our first record we have matured a lot. We’ve taken the crust sound and spent a lot more time pacing the songs, giving them more time to build and create more of an atmosphere. The songs are all around 20 minutes long. We all have varying influences in the band, and we didn’t really want to do anything more than to create a record we would love to listen to, and to be about something we all cared about. “Elil” means “enemy” – in this case we apply this to the evils of organised religion and belief. We want each record to deal with something we all cared about and agree upon within the band. We’re all vegan and atheist, all very angry. I guess a band is a perfect avenue for that anger.

How did Watership Down come to have such a big influence on you as a band / your lyrics?

The book Is an amazing metaphorical journey through various human political situations. Its structured in a way that allows a view of a fantastical – yet visually stimulatingly believable world. It has an earthy resonance that evoked a feeling that we got from a lot of modern crust, secular pagan mythology and imagery. We used this both in the lyrics and the artwork, it was important to create something worthwhile – hence the trilogy of records, it was great to have this finite existence, three records and then split up. I guess that’s the great thing about having such a strong concept. It can sound a bit pretentious but its more to do with the fact that we’re all control freaks and geeks.

Apart from Watership Down, what else inspires you in writing songs?

Politically within the band we’re all very similar, I guess the only big difference is that some of us are very optimistic, where as others are not. I’m a pessimist so my lyrics can come across as a little hopeless. From the point of view of this record a big influence was the work of Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and atheist spokesman. His work has inspired us a great deal to find so much solace in atheism, something I felt alienated me a little through my life. We’ve used a fair few of his quotes on the record, he is a very eloquent man. We also of course applied the narrative from watership down to the last song on this record. Within the book there is a religious theme. The holy trinity is mirrored by three characters “Frith” their god, “El ehrairah” the Christ figure, and “inle” the holy spirit” The last song on this album, and the album artwork itself, attack these repugnant characters, its great to have this unique way of conveying ideas and such.

In 'A Soul to Bare' you talk about the distinction between human and non-human animals, as created by religion. Do you want to say anything more about this?

Homosapiens are a bizarre evolutionary twist. Aware of their own birth but most are too blind to see our own potential. The human race is quickly becoming nothing more than a disease. The song was aimed at those of us who have this superiority complex, to use such feeble ideologies as “the soul” to separate human and non humans animals. All this does is embarrasses us. We shouldn’t apply the term “civilised” to humanity until we have equality within all species. We are tackling every other primitive prejudice apart from speciesism. It even irritates me that many atheist people still see animals as only an avenue for improving the health of humans, butchering innocent lives for our own end. These are the practises of medieval torturers. I think that we need to really reconsider ourselves are “guardians” of this world. It appears we’ve done nothing more than squander it.

What do you think is the future for humanity, continuing in it's current path?

Personally, I don’t see a future for the human race. This is not an opinion shared by the whole band, I know that some of us will feel that there is hope for us in a post oil age, where community living and DIY agriculture will replace our dependency on oil and money. I hope that these routes will be chosen and we will create a more sustainable society. But these are huge steps away from what we are all used to. When we think of food, we think of going to the local supermarket for food, not the vegetable patch. This is so flawed. I think that in the next 20 years the world will go through some horrid upheavals, both politically and physically.

Have you guys played any interesting gigs or been on tour recently?

We toured Europe earlier this year, throughout france, spain and germany. We played with some amazing bands and met a lot of lovely people. From a century old mining town in the French mountains to the infamous Kopi in berlin, it was a great experience. We’ve been really lucky as a band, and got to meet and play with a lot of favourites bands. We have a good punk scene in brighton, UK, a lot of people working hard to create a vibrant scene. Some of us work in a co-operative anarchist centre called the Cowley Club, and this is a great focal point for DIY shows and touring bands. As for tours in the future, we have a mini UK, tour, a show with Envy from japan and hopefully sometime next year an east coast tour of America with the mighty Protestant.

Someone told me that you don't perform live with your cello player?

Our cello player left after the recording of our first record. Live it was a nightmare to get a good sound. He was either to high or too low and we drowned him out. You also need to be able to ear yourself play, and playing squat shows and touring was not going to make a cello easy. I know that other bands have managed to do this, but we felt like we were having to write songs to serve the cello, not the other way round. As a band we’e had to become better musicians to make up for the loss, and we all feel as though it isn’t needed any more.

What about plans after you've finished the 3 planned LP's?

I think we will tour Europe once more and maybe America, but after that we will break up. The last record will be very long and I think it will be time to call it quits. e may form another band after it, maybe not. We’re all involved in other projects, fall of efrafa has always come first. I think we’ll need to spend time apart by then or we’ll kill each other!

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