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OMEGA TRIBE: Interview

Exclusive Interview with OMEGA TRIBE

omega-tribeOriginally founded in 1981, Omega Tribe were one of the original Anarcho-punk bands, releasing their first E.P. (‘Angry Songs’) on Crass Records the following year. Their more melodic style captured the imagination and coupled with some of the best lyric writing of the time they soon secured their place in anarcho-punk history.

The band eventually split in 1988 but in August this year original members Hugh Vivian (guitar and vocals) and Daryl Hardcastle (bass) along with Sonny Flint (drums) who originally joined in 1984, reformed the band and are currently in rehearsals.

In an exclusive interview with Punk Online we caught up with all three members to see where the land lies for Omega Tribe in 2016.

 

Answers are given by all band members.

PunkOnline (PO): So is this a full reform of the original band? If not who’s new?

Hugh(H) – Two of us are original members, but we’ve got this young kid on the drums

Sonny(S) – Young kid?!!

Daryl(D) – He’s new. (pointing at our very new band member, lead guitarist Keith Gilles)

 

PO: For many of us Omega Tribe took the anger of anarchist punk and introduced a more nuanced sound and some humour- how are the rehearsals going and how has your sound evolved?

D: We haven’t done anything for years and now we’ve reformed.

H: I am doing my best to inject some humour.

S: Rehearsals are going well and look forward to playing live. You will have to come and see us to see how we have evolved.

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PO: Are you still angry? Angrier? Or have you mellowed with middle age??

H: Angry B. Angrier C. [D: Fuckin’ Angry]. All of the above. Maybe our anger is better informed, I think life has confirmed that we were right to be angry as young people! It really was that bad!

S: Anger is a natural emotion which has evolved as a way of surviving and protecting yourself from what is considered a wrong-doing. So you don’t stop being angry when you get wrong done by unless you give in or give up.

D: When we were originally the Omega Tribe we were fighting against Margaret Thatcher, with the miners. Now people are getting barrel bombed all over the fucking middle east. It’s completely fucking different, it’s like horrendous now. Much worse.

H: Warfare has become remote. We got drones buzzing around the place. What’s happened to Aleppo (Syria) is absolutely on a par with Hiroshima.

D: Have you seen the pictures of Aleppo? It’s absolutely devastated. How can people live there?

H: Well they can’t, that’s the thing. No one can live there.

 

PO: Why reform now? What’s the catalyst? 

S: I contacted Daryl about 4 years ago for the first time in about 30 years in a FB private message with the idea of getting the band together again. He didn’t reply or respond to my friend request and message until a few weeks ago. Then it all happened quite fast.

H: Daryl asked me to come for a ‘jam’, next thing I know there’s an ‘official’ Facebook page … (looking at Sonny)

D: I was bored playing bass on my own in the flat and then when Sonny asked me, then it seemed right to start the band again.

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PO: We are seeing bands such as The Mob, Anti Pasti, Chron Gen and others reform and release new material that is as relevant and urgent as the early 1980’s – are you looking to release new material? 

H: Maybe, I’m not sure how or in what format though.

D: I love recording.

S: Maybe we could do a 7” single? We would need some funding.

 

PO: Will we be seeing you live in 2016/2017? 

H: Yes, definitely.

D: Yes, ‘cause we got three gigs!

S: So far we have 3rd December 2016 in Bradford. 19th February 2017 at AWOD17 in London. 24th March 2017 in Brighton. Details on our FB page.

 

PO: What have you all been up to the past couple of decades? 

S: It’s three decades isn’t it?

D: Children, work.

S: Yeah I suppose, life happens.

H: I have had a career trying to mitigate against the worst excesses of the education system on behalf of young people (I’ve been a teacher!).

D: We are not going to make up any bullshit about we’ve been protesting from the roofs and burning things down, are we? No. ‘cause we haven’t been.

H: Yeah not much, work and families. Daryl got into a bit of trouble and burnt down this nuclear reactor thing.  (Joke)

S: In and out of bands and working as a sound technician trying to earn a living.

 

PO: Given the state of world politics, is it time for the spirit of punk and anarcho punk to re energize the youth?

H: Punk, anarcho, freedom, peace whatever, so long as young people are agitating for change and being the change themselves – yes, it’s time!

D: Yeah I agree with that. There is all the bullshit music at the moment. Young people in particular are not interested in politics, and wars.

S: I think they are beginning to.

D: I hope so.

S: I think punk is an expressive way to get involved in politics to point out how disgusting some of the self-serving bastard politicians are by writing some home truths about them. We need punk and angry energy to challenge the fuckery the government try to impose on us on a daily basis. It’s a wake up call to people being anaesthetized by the oppression creating an unfair distribution of wealth and imposing cuts on the very poor and needy in our society.

 

PO: We are seeing punk alive and well across the world – are you looking at any global tours? 

H: That would be great – hopefully.

D: Yeah we’re gonna tour Australia next year and then the Antarctic the year after.

S: Hit us up with some gigs.

 

PO: The couple of comeback gigs you’ve recently done were very well received, what surprised you the most about this?

H: I think you must be thinking of someone else mate. What’s surprised us most is that we haven’t done any recent gigs.

D: We did one, Vi Subversa’s 60th Birthday bash.

H: That was twenty years ago! I’m surprised and happy that anyone is interested in what we did, and what we might do now, that’s great.

S: We have had a great response and kind words since reforming the band. Hope to see you all at the shows.

 

PO: So, Omega Tribe 2.0 – what should we expect?

H: Lots of people coming together.

 

A massive heartfelt thanks to Omega Tribe for taking time out to reply to our questions. I will definitely be catching them live – hope to see many more people support them too, they deserve it!

Pictures courtesy of Jennie Long

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