Norte Cartel Interview

"It's deeper. It's about the music, but it's also about the values. It's about friendship, family, overcoming, self-esteem, staying true to what you are..."

"It's deeper. It's about the music, but it's also about the values. It's about friendship, family, overcoming, self-esteem, staying true to what you are..."
Would you like to introduce the band to the kids who may not have heard of you, as well as a brief history?

Well, Norte Cartel is a no frills hardcore band from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, dedicated to keep the oldschool torch burning in a respectable way, like it was done back in the 90's when we all got into the whole hardcore thing.

Could you please tell us about your new release called Loyal To Tradition? Why should kids give it a shot?

Loyal To Tradition is our first full lenght album and it has three long years of effort of ours in it. It's probably coming out on January of 2010 in Europe. Kids who like NYHC stuff like Breakdown, SOIA and Madball should really give it a try to get a picture of what's being done regarding latin and oldschool hardcore down here in South America.

Loyal To Tradition -- what does this title mean to you? Is it only about the music, which itself is indeed kept in old school spirit, or does it go deeper than that?

It's deeper. It's about the music, but it's also about the values. It's about friendship, family, overcoming, self-esteem, staying true to what you are... In short terms, it's about being loyal to these values we judge as essentials to hardcore and that perhaps are being neglected by some of the newer kids and newer bands nowadays. This is the tradition we talk about and that we feel everyone involved in hardcore these days should experience and not only hear about from the old jacks.

So what is your label situation? Who is releasing the new album? I've seen the record with the title both in Portuguese and in English so that's why I'm asking -- are there going to be two versions of it?

In fact there is going to be only one version of teh record itself, but it's gonna be released with different artwork. The "Loyal To Tradition" version is gonna be released through XBLDCLOTX Music from Bulgária. And the Portuguese version, "Fiel A` Tradiça~o" will be released by Caustic and Seven Eight Life Records, two of the best hardcore labels in Brazil nowadays.

Could you please give us a run down on your previous albums? What have you released before the Loyal To Tradition?

We only released a split CD with Otra Salida from Argentina in 2008 and a 3-song demo in 2006. We are pretty much a new band and our expectations regarding this first full lenght are very high.

What would you say is your best song, or is that yet to come?

I would guess it is Golpe De Sorte. But that's just my personal taste.

Could you tell us about the Skincore Fest experience? How this whole situation did come about?

In 2009 we are called to play a gig with some hardcore and Oi! bands. The event production told us it was going to be a totally apolitical and non-partisan one. Some time after that a few sites were publishing an e-flyer with the name of a German band on it: "Endstufe". None of us knew this band by that time, but we soon found out they have a song on the album "A Tribute To Ian Stuart And The Glory Of Skrewdriver". Based on this, we immediately got in touch with the event producer and cancelled our participation at this gig. We don't wanna have nothing to do with this kind of stuff and feel that the ideology behind it is absolutely incongruous to our view of hardcore.

So is white power or racist movement big in Brazil? Is it something strong enough to worry about?

I guess it really doesn't matter if it's big or small. Since there's a single person who believes in all the racial superiority crap we should already worry about it. Specially when they try to use our lifestyle and our kind of music to spread their ideas. It's simply unacceptable for the ones trully committed with the HC culture.

"Trends come and go when they are not profitable anymore" -- that's pretty sad but true mate. What do you think is the biggest misconception about hardcore? Do you think that kids who get into the whole thing through the mass media have a correct picture of it?

I would say it is the lack os passion. I mean, we all know that media grabs everything it can and turns it into mass culture. It's sad but true and we can do very little to avoid it. But it really bothers me when the contrary movement takes place. And by that I mean kids copying the so called "mass media hardcore" (if that term is possible) and trying to bring it into the underground. The problem is you can copy the look, you can copy the sound, you can copy the style. But never the passion! You really gotta feel it in your heart! And after some years doing this thing you start recognizing the ones who are in it for the passion and the ones who aren't. Lots of kids nowadays aren't.

You stated that Norte Cartel is strictly apolitical bands at the same standing strongly against nazism, fascism, racism and this type of crap. So what exactly does apolitical mean to you?

Apolitical means that our lyrics don't deal about political stuff. Our lyrics, essencially, talk about the values we judge as beneficial for an ever healthy interaction among individuals (in a way may also be considered as political depending on your concept of politics). Our proposal as a band is this one. Building values and ethics into our scene. Individually, however, all Norte Cartel members are extremely politicized and the posture of standing against this shit transcends the band. It's an obligation we have as citizens, as pieces of a community, and not only as members of a hardcore band.

What's the biggest struggle when running a band in Brazil?

To start it we are far away from Europe and USA, so there's a geographical issue that obstructs a stronger interaction among latin hardcore and these two scenes. The second issue regards the lack of structure and money that affects a so called "third world" country, specially an outcast musical scene such as hardcore. But, little by little, Brazilian scene is evolving. Brazil is a huge country and there is an infinity of great bands here. The scene still lacks a necessary professionalism that many times doesn't happen because of financial issues, but great bands and great labels are really starting to make a difference ang getting things flowing in here.

Is there a unity between hardcore bands and kids in Brazil nowadays? Do you ever play shows with bands that are from a whole different spectrum of hardcore, be it metalcore or crust.

Definitely. Back in the days we had a hardcore scene, a metal scene, a punk scene and a skinhead scene. Nowadays it's most likely that all of theses kids can have fun together in a concert without any trouble. Of course some fights still happen, but come on... We are talking about hardcore gigs, not a monastery. And we play with bands from not only different spectrum of hardcore but also hip hop groups etc. Underground

Ever wonder why there are so few girls at hardcore shows and what do you think we should do to change it?

Because generally hardcore guys are bald sweaty, fat troglodytes full of tattoos dressed in black! But it's a fact, there are few girls at the shows and there should be a lot more. Girls should be encouraged to come along and make our scenes something beautiful and wider. No space for sexism, then.

The year is slowly coming to an end so I can finally start asking this question: what's your type for the best hardcore release of 2009 so far?

I would have to say it is Wisdon In Chains -- Eveything You Know. What a great band!

What are some of the future goals and plans for the band?

Start the promotion of Loyal To Tradition, doing lots of gigs, going to places we never been before and, who knows, perharps an European tour sometime in the future. It would be great!

Thanks for taking your time to do this. Anything else you would like to say to the readers?

Thanks, for eveything, Dloogi & HARDBOILED! Thanx for the kids for taking their time and reading it and hope you guys take a chance and listen to the album Loyal To Tradition by the first month of 2010 if you like oldschool stuff. A preview is here at: You won't regret it. Peace!