A Point Of Protest: interview

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Hi guys, introduce your band to our readers, and tell us more about the moniker of your band “A Point Of Protest”, please.
A Point Of Protest goes way back and when we say way back, we really mean way back. It started off with a bunch of 16 year olds that weren’t even able to play an instrument, that decided to “start a band”. This band, inspired by bands like Rage Against The Machine, System Of A Down and .Calibre, needed a name that represented the incentive of this band and that was being A Point Of Protest.

We, as individuals, musicians and band, have definitely grown a lot since, but the name and the idea behind it remain. Up until this day, music, to us, is still a medium to reach people, to take a stand, to voice an opinion. And that’s what makes us A Point Of Protest. We know that not everyone is going to appreciate a band having an opinion on non-musical topics. We know that some people believe that every craftsman should stick to his craft and that musicians should stick to playing music, but we actually could not care less. We still believe we have to do this and believe we have to speak up, for those who are being denied a voice.

Would you consider your band “political”?
We definitely don’t consider our band political, although the question of course is what it means to be “political”? Some philosophers would argue that everything is politics and that it’s bullocks to claim that you’re not political. We experience the influence of politics in all domains of our everyday life and so it goes without saying, that we have an opinion on those topics and the way they’re being “governed”.

Even as a band. If our government decides to install a sound limit for youth houses, concert venues, festivals and bars, then that affects us directly. When they decided to decrease the amount of money for small, social and alternative initiatives, then that affects our chances to play and spread our message. Not even to speak about the effects of the lack of policy on our living environment, on the air we breathe, the products we consume, the jobs we’re doing.

But does that mean that we as a band affiliate with a certain political ideology, party or organization? Not really. All band members have their own opinions, when it comes down to politics and we’re cool with that. It actually leads to some very interesting discussions and conversations, the kind of conversations we also love to have when we’re playing shows. Although there are of course some limits. Within this band there’s no room whatsoever for racism, sexism, homophobia, fascism and so on. To keep things short: we’re a band with a strong opinion when it comes down to certain social and economic topics and we’re definitely outspoken about that, but that doesn’t mean we’re not open for different opinions and conversation. That is actually the whole point of this band: we want people to take a stand for what they believe in, instead of just standing by silent and indifferent.

How’s your life going after Brussels attacks? Of course, this facts are going to change forever our lives and our way of living. Paris attacks were a direct hit on music fans too.
Without denying that these events have affected us and have hit really close to home, life around here actually returned to normal rather quickly. Yes, there are still tons of soldiers and police men in the streets, and politicians make it their duty to remind us every day how scared we need to be, but all that was already the case before the attacks, so that’s actually not that different either. It’s in fact almost scary how fast people just go on with their lives and go back to worrying about what color iPhone they’re going to get.

A lot can be said and should be said about all this, but that would probably lead us too far off. There’s two things that we like to say though and that is, first, that it’s completely unacceptable that innocent people have to die over this, no matter what the reason is. But then again a lot of innocent people die worldwide on a daily basis, for the clothes we want to wear, for the products we want to consume, by bullets from guns that our country exports and many couldn’t care less. Only when tragedy strikes this close at home, all of a sudden human lives seem to have more value, which is understandable, but questionable at the same time. Second it’s sad to see that all this is causing more disunity, more tension and more xenophobic and anti-Islamic thoughts, forcing people to think in terms of us versus them, although we truly believe there’s only us. If there’s one thing we should learn from this, then it is that we’re stronger together.

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After Brussels bombings how are you managing your gigs?
Are you guys scared when you’re on stage?
After the attacks in both Paris and Brussels a lot of big events, especially around Brussels and here in Antwerp, got cancelled, simply because it was considered dangerous to have large amounts of people gathered at one place. But since we’re not the kind of band that plays these kinds of events, it actually doesn’t affect us playing shows.

For that same reason there’s also no treat whatsoever at the shows that we play. There’s no use whatsoever in targeting small venues and bars like the ones we play, they’re far too small to make “decent targets”. Doesn’t mean we and the people around us are not somewhat afraid and careful, but at the same time we need to remain realistic and need to believe in the good of man.

Let’s spend some words about “Lost Voices”: how did you get in touch with Acuity Music?
Do you know them personally? Did you ever met them?
We’ve actually known Acuity.Music (and Let it Burn Records) for quite some time, since some of our favorite bands have released their music there. Our vocalist Bart has also been doing graphic designs and a lot of other cool stuff for both Let it Burn Records and Acuity.Music and so he definitely knew who to talk to. And they were more than happy to be a part of all this, which is really beyond cool!

We’re also big fans of the bands the guys behind Acuity.Music (used to) play in, The Blackout Argument, The Haverbrook Disaster, GWLT, Human Touch, Paint The Town Red, Hollow Sons, to name a few, and so we were really stoked to be a part of this! If you don’t know these bands or these labels, you should definitely check them out, because they’ve been doing some amazing stuff…

Your music expresses lots of strength, power and of course, protest.
Describe your style with a few words.
To be honest, that description actually describes our music way better than we could have done ourselves. It’s actually, even for us, kind of hard to describe our music. People fairly often ask us “what bands we sound like”, “what genre of music we play”, but we actually don’t know and might not really care. All of us have very different sources of inspiration, books, movies, games, movements, and listen to a lot of different genres of music, from letlive. and Code Orange Kids to Stromae and Tyler, The Creator, and so it’s all of that combined that makes what A Point Of Protest sounds like.

If we could add one thing to your description, it would be ‘emotion’ though. A lot of what we do is based on emotions we experience. We talk about things that affect us, that make us angry or sad, that make us want to hit the streets and storm the barricades. That’s maybe the best description to what APOP actually sounds like: it’s the soundtrack to protest anno 2016.

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What are your lyrics about?
Our lyrics touch different social topics that affect us one way or another. ‘Lost Voices’ for example, is about the negative impact that the school system had on some of us. Overall the educational system in Belgium is pretty okay, but for some, too many to be acceptable, it’s a living hell. It doesn’t fit their interest or social background, it doesn’t offer them gratification, and it actually rather loses them than to put in some extra effort. Schools try to fit in students, instead of offering education that fits their students and their needs… Like the lyrics of ‘Lost Voices’ say: “And maybe we misfit, your system and were nothing, never wanted to be like them.” It’s about being rejected, feeling unwelcome and having people look down on you for being different and having another opinion.

Apart from that we also touch topics like poverty, social justice, child abuse, growing up, emotions, death, (in)equality, war, rebellion and protest of course. The general purpose is probably to try and wake people up, to try and make them think and form an opinion themselves. Because if there’s something we’re really sick of, it’s so called “innocent” bystanders. People that rather take pictures than act, claiming they did not know…

Summer is almost here: do you have anything special going on that time?
We’re trying hard to get to play some festivals, but so far no luck. The festival we were actually supposed to play got completely cancelled, so for now we’re just working hard on trying to get ourselves some cool shows in Belgium and around Europe, to play this Summer. We have three pretty cool shows lined up in June though. On June 3 and 4 we will be supporting none other than Napoleon in Hessen, Germany and Tessenderlo, Belgium. That’s not only an amazing band to support, but will also be our very first show in Germany, ever. Also we’ll be supporting Harms Way in Innocent, a legendary venue in the Netherlands, which will be great as well!

What are your plans for the upcoming future?
Our main plan for the future is definitely more of what we’ve been doing the past two years, which is playing tons of shows, hopefully touring and recording music. There’s still a lot of countries that we haven’t been to and would love to go to, so playing more shows and doing some (European) weekenders and tours would be amazing.

Apart from that we’re working hard on writing new music, that we’re looking to release somewhere in early 2017. Can’t say much about it yet, except that all of us are really excited about the new material and we promise: the new record is going to be angry as fuck!

Thank you very much, take care!
Thank you!