Black Kites-intervju

<div class="field field-type-text field-field-zine-art-body"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item">Black Kites spiller hard og smart musikk, og styrer unna klisjeer og dyreprodukter.&nbsp; Nettzine for dyrs frihet tok en prat med Jay, Tom og Jeff om veganisme, kj&aelig;ledyr, kannibalisme og Propagandhi. What made you go veg(etari)an? JAY: I think I first became aware of vegetarianism when around the age of 14 or so. Motivated primarily by Propagandhi songs, I think, a number of my friends went vegetarian together, my younger brother included. I didn't &quot;get it&quot; at first; I didn't see any reason to stop consuming animals, and their arguments and complaints didn't resonate with me, for whatever reason. At the same time, a seed had been planted in my mind; I stopped eating at fast food restaurants altogether and my meat consumption slowly declined. I had started to date a girl who was vegetarian and this had a big impact on my diet. When I was 16 I read Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation primarily because I wanted to vindicate some of the feelings I already had about the evils of fast food. However, what ended up impacting me most in the book were the descriptions of where it is, exactly, that meat comes from. Reading about slaughter-house towns out in the midwest freaked me out so much that I gave up eating meat right then and there. I did it out of concern for how the animal's are treated, of course, but I was also motivated by my own anti-capitalist sentiments. I had never previously realized that the meat industry was just that; an industry. And it was an industry that profited directly from killing and death. It also exploited its workers to a degree that seems like something out of the 19th century. Anyway, I was vegetarian for almost six years before I went vegan. In 2009, while on tour with my band Zhenia Golov, our van got stuck behind a semi-truck carrying pigs in traffic. The smell was horrible and you could see the open wounds on some of the pigs' skin through the air-holes in the side of the trailer. I decided then that I could no longer justify consuming any animal products and stopped eating eggs and dairy. &nbsp; TOM: When I was 14 I got a job working in a kitchen of a local Italian restaruant. At the time I ate meat, but never took part in the preparation or understood the origins of my food.&nbsp; Like many people I followed the accepted conventions of eating meat/dairy/eggs without much reservation.&nbsp; After working at the restaruant for a year I found myself becoming increasingly disgusted with the smell, look and taste of meat.&nbsp; It was on one morning at work when I was taught to prepare tripe (the inner linning of a cow's stomach) that I finally connected the dots and decided to make a consious effort to stop consuming meat. At the time vegetarianism was not nearly as popular as it is now in the United States. I had some friends who were vegetarian and their diets mainly consisted of lots of dairy and egg products.&nbsp; This time of my life also coincided with my introduction the hardcore scene.&nbsp; This was around 1995 and the hardcore scene in the United States was still pretty politically potent.&nbsp; There was always literature about veganism and animal rights at shows.&nbsp; As novel as it may sound, this provided a very helpful and educational basis to begin changing my diet. By the time I was 16 I had gone vegan.&nbsp; I'm 33 now and have no reservations about my decision whatsoever.&nbsp; &nbsp; JEFF:&nbsp; Propagandhi. I was 15 years old and love that band. And with the fresh new invention of the internet and looking up websites for everything I ended up on their site where they had a section devoted to different issues that they were so well known for. I started reading all about vegetarian/veganism and it made a lot of sense so I went vegetarian. Seven years later I finally decided to give up pizza and have been vegan for slightly over two years now. Also, I just checked, still has that section up, &quot;resources.&quot; What made you write &quot;Sick Tradition&quot;? JAY: I don't personally write any of the lyrics or the songs, but I think we all thought it was important that Black Kites had a song that directly addressed issues of animal exploitation. I'll also say that the song is very simple; it's essentially two parts, both of which are uncomplicated. New Jersey loves to mosh, and that song is popular with a lot of crowds because it's easy to mosh to. Whether intentional or not, I think it's important that one of our popular, accessible songs is about animal rights. Jeff or I often introduced that song by saying something like, &quot;please consider not eating animals.&quot; or, &quot;this song is about animal rights.&quot; Just to remind all these people that are there just to mosh around or whatever that the song they like is about animal suffering and that they could, if they wanted to, choose to no longer be complicit in it. TOM: Jeff wrote the lyrics to Sick Tradition relatively early in the band's existence.&nbsp; When we started we didn't set out to be a vegan straight edge band persay, but by coincidence we found ourselves all subscribing to that lifestyle (almost, the beginning of the band Jay was still vegetarian). Perhaps we all gravitated toward one another because of our shared beliefs. Once people found out what the song was about word sort of spread.&nbsp; I remember a local music blog reviewing us and refering to us as a vegan straight edge band. It's been quite a while since then. Our band has written about various topics, but people seem to focus in on our dietary choices more than any other subject.&nbsp; I find this interesting because while veganism/animal rights is important part of our personal beliefs our band also speaks to issues of homophobia, sexism, drug addiction, consumerism and so much more. Do people view veganism as a more radical ideal than the others? Regardless, having some representation of veganism in a scene like this is nice.&nbsp; If anything it gets people asking questions (as Jay later mentions) and can encourage some self reflection, regardless if that carries all the way through in every person or not. JEFF:&nbsp; When we started the band we were all vegetarian or vegan (all vegan now) and straight edge but never decided to make that a clear issue in our music. Granted, I knew I'd end up writing at least one or two songs about either of those issues, it was never a set goal. But when Tom came to practice with the music to &quot;Sick Tradition&quot; and him and Jay finalized it I knew I had to make it about animal rights. The music was so hard and, as some would say, ignorant. I figured why not take the song that may appeal to the &quot;tough guy&quot; crowd and make it be about something a (I'm guessing) majority of them don't take into consideration? I saw a picture of you with a dog on, tell us about it. How do you feel about pets - man's best friend (love between species) or domesticated and exploited (&quot;modern court jesters or courtesans in the Western household&quot;, as a Crimethinc special report claims)? JAY: This is a complex issue and I'm glad that you asked the question.I guess I'll start off by saying that I, personally, am often amazed at the seeming disconnect a lot of vegans I know have regarding issues of domestication. People who are so outspoken about veganism and then totally fail in their obligations as pet owners. People who go the other way and dress their animals up in stupid costumes or make them perform stunts for a laughing audience. It's absurd. I guess, in a way, I don't think that Crimethinc. statement is too far off; we no longer co-habitate with animals for the practical reasons that lead our species and theirs into a symbiotic relationship of sorts; ie: the use of dogs as hunting companions and guards, the use of cats as killers of rodents, etc... Now we often purchase animals because we find them attractive and we value their company. Now, whether or not this is &quot;bad&quot; I can't and won't say. At this point, dogs and cats are not the wild versions of themselves. Their respective species have developed (and have been developed intentionally by humans in most cases) to work well as parts of the human household. I don't believe that this is a story of animal subjugation necessarily; living things evolve in ways that are efficacious; dogs have obviously done well as a species because of their domestication just as corn has done well as a species because of domestication. I'm getting away from any point here and will say, finally, that any discomfort that I have with pet ownership comes from peoples' inability to recognize that an animal is an animal. That goes two ways; on the one hand, that an animal is an animal and requires attention and care. On the other, that an animal is an animal and is not a human child or a toy. TOM: The term &quot;pets&quot; has never really set quite right with me.&nbsp; I've adopted a dog in the past and had her live with me for 7 years (until she passed away).&nbsp; She was part of my family.&nbsp; I considered her as such in that we helped each other out emotionally and physically through so many hard times.&nbsp; I live with two cats now and I find our relationship to be equally rewarding. Of course, I can't speak for them or say with any definitive confidence that they feel the exact same way as me.&nbsp; I rely on their body language and behavioral indicators. I'm a human and could possibly be totally misinterpreting them for all i know. As you indicated, I'm saying all this as a person who exists in a society post-domestication.&nbsp; I suppose I am repeating some of what Jay has stated, but I believe that my gripe is not necessarily the irreversible concept of domestication that has occurred over hundreds or thousands of years, as much as it is my disgust with people who take advantage of the human-canine or human-feline relationship in ways that disregard an animals well being and dignity.&nbsp; As a side note, the dog in the picture is a wonderful female named Diamond. She's vegan and is extremely friendly.&nbsp; My friend's Chris and Monica rescued her many years ago and she (along with another dog and two cats) has been a vital part of their family. With your other band Zhenia Golov you wrote a song about how it is more humane to eat human flesh than the flesh of a non-human animal. Tell us about it! JAY: I was the only member of Black Kites that played in Zhenia Golov, and it's incredible to me that you would have ever been aware of that band! I'll say that I don't even remember what the lyrics to that particular song were, but that I think hyperbole and &quot;tongue-in-cheek&quot; humor are effective ways to draw attention to issues you find important. When we would play that song live, Rob (the lead singer) would often introduce the song by saying, &quot;this song is about how you should stop eating animals and starting eating humans.&quot; Of course, such radical statements get a person's attention, which was probably the point. Because the first thing you're going to think is, &quot;that's crazy, why would anyone believe that?&quot; Whether or not someone experiencing the song ever takes the time or initiative to look further into the issue is out of our control, but at least they considered it for that second or minute or whatever. For the record, we had a really, really bad song in our early days about how zoos were animal prisons that existed for the sole purpose of entertaining laughing human oppressors. We existed as a band primarily in New Brunswick, New Jersey where issues of animal rights are, for the most part, unimportant to the punk scene. I think that, ultimately, we were just trying to shake people up and encourage some self-reflection. Whether we succeeded or not, I have no idea. TOM: I found myself for many years on the outskirts of the New Brunswick punk scene because I really didn't identify with many of the people and bands that it consisted of.&nbsp; Around 2006 I saw Zhenia Golov for the first time and thought to myself that this was a band who was invested in many of the same things I cared about. It was important to me, even if (as Jay said) much of it was tongue-in-cheek or over the top in terms of shock value.&nbsp; What's your favorite animal rights/liberation related song? JAY : The best songs about animal suffering and liberation have been written by the truly incredible Canadian punk band, Propagandhi. I'd say that many punks from my generation were introduced to the idea of veganism by listening to the song &quot;Nailing Descartes to the Wall/(Liquid) Meat is still Murder&quot;. &quot;Apparently I'm a PC Fascist&quot;, &quot;Purina Hall of Fame&quot;, &quot;Human(e) Meat&quot; are also all incredible songs. JEFF:&nbsp; Off the top of my head...since I've already mention them, I'll go with &quot;Human(e) Meat&quot; by Propagandhi. Or &quot;Girls Lie, Cops Lie, Dogs Love&quot; by Wisdom in Chains</div> </div> </div>