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Strength&Courage
Zine

Smashing Gender Roles

An interview with

Michelle

from Barcelona, Spain
/
Guayaquil, Ecuador


by Elke Zobl and Haydeé Jiménez

January 2007







"...
a revolutionary struggle for an equal society, social politics, hardcore-punk music and lifestyle..."

* * * * *



Michelle singing with her band DRAMA


Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? How old are you, where are you originally from and where do you reside now?

My name is Michelle. I'm 23 years old and I'm natural from Guayaquil-Ecuador (South-America). I have been living in Spain for almost 6 years. I live in Barcelona, I work as ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT. I run this zine, another one called CLITOCORE ZINE with another friend, and I sing in a band called DRAMA.

Can you tell our readers about xStrength&Couragex ?

Strength and Courage zine was born as a way to express what I believe and a way through which bands and people can express their opinions and points of views about things that really matter.

What topics do you discuss in your zines most often? What language are they written in?
The zine discusses topics like straight edge as a positive lifestyle, feminism as a revolutionary struggle for an equal society, social politics, hardcore-punk music and lifestyle, animal and human liberation; things matter in this sickened world and we think we can do something for changing it to make a world more just.

What inspired you to create this zine?

Well, I think one of the things that inspired me has been a way to show other people that straight edge, hardcore and feminism are compatible in fighting against injustice in this world; also, reading other fanzines which are very interesting in these topics.


How long has this zine been running? Is there a team involved in the production of xStrength&Couragex?

The zine came out this last September 2006. I'm the only one who runs the zine and I receive help from other people who wanna write articles or whatever. I'm trying my best to do a good job but sometimes it is hard to do all the things by yourself, you know? If you work, study and have other stuff to do, it is hard to also work on a zine. So, I try to work on it when I have some spare time.

You also have a band! Can you tell us a bit about Drama?
DRAMA is formed by 4 pieces, 3 ladies and 1 man. We started to play in 2004. We play hardcore with some metal and punk influences (cause we like these music-styles). We've recorded a demo with 7 songs. On December of 2005 we were playing in Germany and Poland (exactly in WARSAW) cause a friend invited us to play at LADY FEST there, it was a really good experience. This 2006 has been a really good year; we have played a lot with bands like NO TURNING BACK from Holland, bands from FRANCE and of course local bands. Now we are going to record 4 songs for a split with a local band from Barcelona called MESQUEODI. These songs will be record[ed] at a studio cause the demo was absolutely DIY and has a shitty quality. Our lyrics are focused on social issues, also a couple are about personal experience but always linked with social affairs. Our main goal is to express our rage against this society, mainly in things like sexism-chauvinism, racism and capitalism. If someone is interested in listening to or knowing more about DRAMA, you can check us out here:
www.dramahxc.cjb.net
www.myspace.com/dramabcnhc


Do you feel that zines and making music are inter-related (personally)?
If we count it into hardcore-punk, yes, I think so. However, there are people in this scene who make zines which are not about music, maybe about animal liberation, sexuality, recipes, poetry or whatever. In my case, it's a relationship between both cause they are two things that I love a lot and I like to work in it.

How did you become introduced to the culture of zines?
I don't know how to explain it exactly . I think it was cause I really wanted to do something that everybody can read and understand . Before starting with zines, I used to run a web site called mdm-hxc.cjb.net; there I posted interviews, news about bands, photo gallery, info about hardcore-punk bands. Maybe I got tired of the net; so, I decided to do something in print. [However], it is cheaper to make a webzine than a paper zine …hehehe.

Where/how is your zine distributed? Who are your readers? What kind of responses do you get from your zine’s audience?
Strength and Courage is distributed in Spain by CLITOCORE zine&distro and FIGHTBACK DISTRO, in CANADA by XTRUEX records, REVENGE OF NERDS distro in Poland. The response from people is good; there are people from Belgium, Germany, Colombia, Chile, (and) USA who have ordered the zine and they've liked it. I'm happy to see all the support, though there are people who don't like it a lot cause it's about sxe or feminism; but I don't care if they don't want read the zine just for that. They are showing prejudices.




What do you hope to accomplish by making and distributing your zine?
Uhm, I don’t know, maybe put my grain of sand to this scene, maybe make a change to get sexism-chauvinism to disappear, and to know more about people who we think are just unattainable, [even though] they are just people like us; also, to give a message which everybody can know.

What do you love and find challenging about zine making?

Doing something alternative by yourself from all the shitty “magazines” that society made. You know, there are magazines where there are just commercial bands trying to look cool and exposing “suicide girls” just to attract the readers. I saw an “alternative” music magazine called REVOLVER and on some of its issues, on the cover, there was the vocalist of LACUNA COIL and a headline said: “HOTTEST CHICKS IN METAL” and I know that on that report they were featuring some front-women of hardcore, too. I think that's absolutely ridiculous and awful cause that is to promote sexism and stereotypes. Women in hardcore, metal or punk should be seen as musicians, for what they do but not for how they look or if they are hottest or not. I think this is a challenge. I love to make zines like those I do, cause I'm doing something different and I hope to smash that fucking shit called sexism.

What do you think about zine-making today?
It's a little hard cause some people are not interested in it; they prefer spending their time in stupid message boards, web sites or whatever. In the same way, it is not so easy to find people who give support; there are some “alternative” or “DIY records” who don't want to support you just cause you don't have any “cool” band in your zine or just cause your stand is feminist.

Which role does Internet play for you?
It’s important cause through it I can get in contact with people, readers and collaborators. I use it to do the interviews via e-mail. Though, if I get the chance to do them personally, that is cool. For example, the interview with PATH OF RESISTANCE was made in Belgium when they played there. I got in contact with one of his guitarists via email and later we met there. I like this kind of interview cause you can have a more interesting interview than via e-mail; it's like if you are having a chat with that person and if they say something interesting, you can change your script and obtain something better.

What are some zines you have read lately that you would recommend to someone learning about the zine-making/reading world?

Uhmm, lately I haven't much spare time. Though, I could read zines like LINES OF THE SAND and DROP OUT zine, both from Poland. The first is about sxe and animal liberation and the other one is about TRASH-GRIND-DIS hardcore punk bands. DEFINE THE MEANING, from New Jersey -U$A. It has interesting interviews with 108, LIFETIME, IGNITE and good topics and questions.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start a zine?

Don't HESITATE TO MAKE ONE!!  We need more info and good zines. So, if you want to start one, just do it! Don't matter if it's about music or not... what matters is if you have something interesting and good to express and share.



Michelle singing with her band DRAMA

What does the zine scene look like in your area? Do you feel part of a (grrrl or general) zine community or network and what does it mean to you?
I don't know. Here in Spain, there are not many fanzines nowadays. Some people consider my zine for a general zine community others a grrrl-zine, but I don't care. I like people reading it and giving their opinions, bad or good, cause that way you learn to do things better.

Do you consider yourself as feminist?
Yes, I do. I considered myself feminist from the first time that I read about feminism and it said that it's a struggle for women’s rights, that we are not less than men and that it is a fight against the injustice women have suffered throughout all these ages. I've lived in first person the domestic-gender violence; my dad mistreated my mom when I was a child so I grew up with all the hate against sexism-chauvinism.

What are the most pressing issues you are confronted with in daily life (as a woman/feminist/…)?
It so hard to confront all those things that you are against, living in a society like where we are living. As woman and feminist, I have to face a lot of stupid issues. Just because of the fact that you have a pair of tits, people think you are weak and that you are just here to serve a man and be pretty. I really hate to see all those shitty magazines selling female images as a prize… just selling a false image, a material and superficial lifestyle that makes it seem you are a fucking Barbie [rather] than a human being.

What do you think about feminism today? How would you explain what feminism is to someone who has no idea what it is?
Well, I think feminism is complex. For me it's a social-political struggle against the patriarchal system in this world; feminism wants equality between gender and not supremacy, as some stupid and ignorant people use to say. I hate when people compare feminism and chauvinism, they are simply so different. FEMINISM is not about supremacy and mistreatment of the rights of man/woman, but chauvinism is.

What are some of your personal wishes/visions/ideas/plans for the future, if you like to share them?
I hope to continue making these zines, CLITOCORE and STRENGTH&COURAGE, play more shows with my band here in Spain or abroad, get a new job, cause what I have now is absolutely crap, and finish my studies.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just to say thanks a lot for your interest and support for this zine. I hope more ladies get motivated and start making new zines, bands or whatever. We need to make a strong and solid scene and mainly smash gender roles.




* * * * *


info:


hxcstillxlives [AT] yahoo.es

Michelle
xStrength&Couragex
Clitocore Zine-Distro

Barcelona, Spain



http://www.freewebs.com/xstrengthandcouragex/info.htm
(xStrength&Couragex Zine web site)

http://www.clitocorezine.cjb.net/

(Clitocore Zine and Distro web site)


www.dramahxc.cjb.net
(DRAMA band website)

www.myspace.com/dramabcnhc
(DRAMA at Myspace!)



Michelle singing with her band DRAMA

 


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