A lot seems to be said on multiple websites about the same old Punk personalities.. Ian Mackaye, Henry Rollins, Roger Miret, the list goes on. Though no doubt influential and seminal in creating the Punk/DIY culture we know today, what we end up doing when glorifying these personalities is that we lose touch of several more ‘local’ personalities who have helped sow the seeds in their various European, Asian, Sudamerican etc scenes. Mossen Robert is one such character from Barcelona, Catalonia, who has toiled much since the early 90’s in several different bands, touring the world and wreaking havoc everywhere. Today he is still involved in the Hardcore/Punk scenes with his bands ASSAC!, 24 Ideas and the latest addition Bacteria Forte, as well as having a killer now-defunct band called Unabomber along the way. We have a long and lengthy talk about his past and present, essential Catalan Hardcore bands, his touring experiences as well as his favorite Metal and Punk records. The interview is quite lengthy so make sure you have a cup of tea or something with you to keep you company, haha. Enjoy!
– Hello Mossen. How’s life for you currently?
My life kinda sucks currently. Ups and downs, too many quarrel around me with close people (feel kinda like the NIN’s song “Hurt” but the Johnny Cash’s version) and of course no money cuz there’s no jobs, not that I like jobs but money helps you out to do things and to move outside the country. I feel kinda trapped.
Luckily I’ve got some kind of creative input and this helps me to keep my mind busy doing new bands, projects and stuff and makes me rise above all problems.
Currently I´m involved too in the new metallic bastard child in town BACTERIA FORTE. I feel quite excited about being now a full member in that band .
– When, where and why was ASSAC formed? Who were the original members and what’s the lineup now? What does ASSAC mean?
Assac! was formed in late 2011, probably around November. Me and the bass player we´re doing the recording of another band which was a mixture of HC/NeoCrust (Which of course I only liked half of the songs, I felt it lacked punch and aggression). During a coffee break in the recording sessions I said “It would be cool to do a project a Boston HC inspired band but sung in Catalan .” Sergi the bass player and Jaume the guy behind the recording desk (and future guitar player) took me seriously and a few days after the disastrous recording session they urged me to do a first jammin´ session with the new project.
We asked a drummer I know he liked fast/old HC… et voilà! Chemistry worked out so well… that we decided to left our previous band and concentrate on ASSAC! After a month and a half of jammin we recorded the first demo and did our first two shows and even got time to do the infamous photosession of our future 12″
Since then we’ve been the same people in the band:
Sergi (4 strings)
Jaume (6 strings)
Xavi (Darboukas and cymbals )
Me (Human sounds )
Assac! it’s a game with slang works (A sac!: going straight to the point, Without mercy!)
– ASSAC plays in a very old school early 80s style punk/hardcore, reminiscent of old Boston bands. Are there other bands in your region doing that sort of stuff?
Not so much, maybe a few bands but got buried amongst the thousands of crust/ D-beat bands (I like most of them, my all time fave Human Bastard and old I.A.F), Neo-Crust (I don´t like it), Post-Punk, Iberian punk/Iberian d- beat style, Oi/ Punk.. too many to follow them, each days new bands are created, impossible to being aware of all of them. I get lost!
About HC it´s easier to name the bands:
MIND CRASH are great… they play more California inspired HC with a ‘lil crossover touch, nice people, good band…. Made of foreigner people plus one local and this will give you some clues about Barcelona´s scene:
- A) Lots of expatriate people in shows and in a few of bands, maybe not more than local but easily 50 % or close
- B) Local people prefer other styles than HC, they ´re into other things.
24 IDEAS, heheh
ZOMBI PUJOL, they mix HC with punk rock, excellent political lyrics dealing with local subjects and with the twisted humour touch like ASSAC! . nice and committed people.
ROT. Raw Punk Rock with HC touches, sung in Catalan
Then there´s that guy from Mallorca, relocated to Barcelona, Juan Carlos Riutort
Who was in NETWEIGHT and he does lots of HC/Powerviolence projects like:
X-TORSIÓN . POLLOS HERMANOS etc… He runs a recording studio and he is a Handcraft Beer fan like me! Cool!
PELIGRO were a unique band mixing HC/ Punk with Sabbathy riffs and some of them played in CESIO 157 which I also liked
ADDENDA play PowerViolence/ HC quite well,
EL PUNTO DEVIL and EXTENSITY, did the fast thing paying homage to HHH, which in my eyes is a very good thing. Sadly both are RIP.
HABITACIÓN 101 and ALATAK…. are good too… they do their RKL´s thing
COL.LAPSE.. plays Dag Nasty/Embrace style and yes they have some ASSAC /24 IDEAS members
And then the S.E. CREW with lotsa bands: APPRAISE, GOLEM, CONSTRICT are the ones who are active now as far I know… But they were a few bands more doing different styles from Youth Crew.. to nineties metallic SE..
Outside Catalonia :
In Mallorca Island we can find a collective of dudes fond of old HC, some of them members of the old HC heroes, Bad Taste.
CRASH and WASTED… are excellent bands with lots of American Hc influences from Negative Approach to Circle Jerks .
CEREBROS EXPRIMIDOS were an awesome punk–rock band with Boston HC, California and Old NY Hc influences. Jaime the main brain behind them has deep musical knowledge. Respect! The band has changed the name a ´lil bit and are like a renewed version but they still kick ass!
TRAU play fast Hc influenced by SSD, RAW POWER, good!
ÚSURA play D-beat but it ´s fair to mention them
In Valencia there is ALTERCADO ESPIRITUAL and PODER ABSOLUTO who share members and play some kind of NYHC youth crew style with Boston influences too. Good bands
In Euskadi/Basque Country doing that old style HC exists DICTADURA, they share members with the great crust band HELL DIVISION .
..And well that´s all I know…
Outside the HC / Punk scene I love ASSOT who play a mixture of ENTOMBED meets DOWN kind of thing, HEAVY stuff I love and sung in Catalan…. there are as well some Death Metal bands doing the old style which I also dig: A TOMBA OBERTA, CRUZ, MORBID FLESH, DISGRACER , etc ….. And some Grindcore, Power Violence, Fastcore acts I like: DISTURBANCE PROJECT, RAGEOUS INTENT, TEETHING, FINAL CUNT, 466 /64, SANG, etc
I also enjoyed a Catalan soul band named THE EXCITEMENTS and in a minor degree THE PEPPER POTS (playing soul too)
– Catalonia is a very intriguing region with a very unique political history. Does the socio-politics of Catalonia influence the lyrics of ASSAC?
Of course they do! We may sing about universal and personal issues but deal a lot with local subjects. We deal with many topics and facts happening here in Catalonia so it kinda fits to talk about them using Catalan .. same as if you sing about “favelas” and you ‘re doing it in Portuguese.
The band works quite good as an outlet for frustration about social and political issues surrounding and affecting us very close.. it works the same way also to talk about inner demons and skeletons in the closet.
Lyrics also got a lot of twisted humour and inner jokes but on the other hand we also speak about some universal subjects . We use Catalan in 90 % of the songs but we also used Arab, Spanish, English, Tagalog, German and Italian (In fact all our releases got a song in Italian)
We also feel inspired by many Old Hc international compilations with bands around the world who didn´t sing in English or Spanish. Some of us love languages, the more the better! We feel using our mother tongue comes very natural and fluent, we love our language and we´re not ashamed of our culture, identity or whatever you want to call it
– You were also in the Hardcore band 24 Ideas from the early 90’s and the Powerviolence band Unabomber in late 90’s. Both bands had substantial releases with their own legacies. Are you proud of what you’ve achieved in the underground DIY punk scene over the last 2 decades? How much has the Punk/Hardcore scene changed since the old days, according to you?
It ´s kinda 40% /50 % … I just accomplished half of the things or less. I would had love to do more tours outside the Spanish state and I think some of the bands deserved more recognition.
24 IDEAS was the best we can do at the time.. It´ s ok for their time and some songs stand the test of time.. So musically it was ok.. I’d love to tour more across Spain and perhaps Europe.. The band was decent and deserved it .. The band had success at the time .. and perhaps the best of it is knowing some people a few years younger than me that say the band left a mark in them. That´s the best thing! I think the band was a ‘lil bit overrated back in the days… And even knowing there´s hard work and good songs behind the band, we also got a lot of luck with labels, promos, acceptance, etc. A luck all the bands I ´ve been in after lacked.
Now the band is back but younger kids don´t get our stuff… so we´re not a lucky band anymore! I like the band how it sounds now, I like the new songs and above all I like keeping my friendship with the another founder member. Let´s see how much we can enjoy the second coming.
After 24 IDEAS I did a band with VIOLENT HEADACHE/I.A.F ´s members and it was killer one! That band was named UPRISING.
It was a very important band for me along with UNABOMBER I think this is the best stuff I ever done! Sadly the band get very unnoticed .
UPRISING was pushing further the stuff I´ve did with 24 IDEAS.. In 24 IDEAS we all liked different styles of HC however we had our preferences.. I was more the guy into fast HC INFEST, LARM, RIPCORD, CITIZENS ARREST, SIEGE, DEEP WOUND, HHH, SEPTIC DEATH , extreme, Japanese stuff.. and the other 3 guys were more into classic bands and the youth crew thing, 7 SECONDS, YOUTH OF TODAY, GORILLA BISCUITS. We all loved the Boston bands and the NYHC first wave bands.. plus some old good US HC. This made some sort of creative tension, some sort of balance that worked very well in the songs…
In UPRISING all the guys in the band were more into INFEST, DROPDEAD, Japanese stuff.. some grindcore bands, some Swedish bands.. We were more focused about playing extremely wild. So it worked out amazingly!
Imagine the harsh wild fastest japcore combined with INFEST and Swedish killer mid-tempos… A cross of the fast jap band and the best Swedish bands.
We did very wild shows… but only 8 in 2 years and a half… during this few wild shows we gained some diehard fans…two of them became UNABOMBER´s founder members. We recorded a couple of demos during 95 … but UPRISING demo mixing both recordings came out in 99.. when the band was dead and gone . We were a very unfocused, disorganized and lazy band.. We were in other bands at the time and focused in another stuff.. I think I was the first one who could have done way more for the band .. I think this band deserved more. We were alive since Easter 94 to November 96. And that´s all. When UPRISING broke up.. I and my closest friends can concentrate in…
What can I say about UNABOMBER? It was and still is the band of my life! The best thing I ever did! The band was 50 % a success (We played great music and we still have a beautiful friendship) but 50 % a failure .. we were very underrated , a very few people appreciated our music .. we had some problems about finding labels too we did not find a suitable label for us (the guy running the label is a great person but the roster of the label was more death / black oriented so their average customers and contacts didn´t work out well for us ).. we also didn´t tour very much.. and we didn´t managed the band very well when we had to take some steps further…
But in the end the good things are what remain.. We wrote music without screenplay. whether it was Hc , metal or whatever.. We expressed ourselves freely with rage.. the only limitation were our technical skills. I think we were a mix of RORSCHACH, BLACK SABBATH , BRUTAL TRUTH and early ROLLINS BAND drinking together in Japan… If you want to know more and listen to the band read in the link what our friend Hassan has to say about us:
The band was active from Easter 97 ´ til July 2005.. with lots of good and some bad moments too…. Due the fact the split up was a friendly one .. we missed each other in the band and by the end of 2006 we talked about burying the band with a tour … and what a tour a South east Asia one!
In February 2007 UNABOMBER started to jam again.. this time with a second guitar, Mike from the almighty ALL ILL.. the band was sounding incredible and we did a few awesome comeback shows in Spain… and then August 2007 the tour in Singapore and Indonesia. IT WAS A BLAST! We did two shows in Singapore… And I can assure that the second show we did in Singapore was one OF THE BEST in our career! And one of the bests in my life! We tried to play in Malaysia but it failed.. and then we did about 7 shows in Indonesia. Great people and friends we met along the way. Very humble and nice people there. We have those times carved in our hearts. A priceless trip.. :). Some awesome shows others not, great people, lots of adventure and funny situations. It was highlight for the band SURE!
After a tour.. bands usually sound in shape, with trained muscles .. and after the tour we sounded brutal as ever … So no wonder people called us for more shows in 2008/2009.. we wanted to quit after the tour.. but the tour went so good.. we decided to do a few shows more… .As a result one of the shows we did was an amazing one with BRUTAL TRUTH .. one of the highlights in band´s history, everyone who was there remembers the show for sure! Finally in January 2009 we did our last show with LOOKING FOR AN ANSWER and MAGRUDERGRIND… And that´s all ´til now.
UNABOMBER was a great experience and I´m proud of being part of it. Maybe not a successful band but each time a year.. when we the UNABOMBER´s friend meet.. I think “Yes, it was a success. and still is “ .. So now I´m waiting for my drinking x-mas sessions with my UNABOMBER´s mates …
– Have there been attempts to reunite the old bands for new shows?
Well, 24 IDEAS is back again.. we just reunited for a couple of shows with new blood… but the chemistry worked out good… and we´re keeping with it. I want to keep with it due to big friendship with the original guitar player… Bandmates should be friends too.. at least in my humble opinion ..Working this way is the best way.
We´ve recorded a new album, a 12 “ called “Fragments of a broken faith“ and we´re happy with it. It shows some evolution but still is loyal to the band ´s roots. And yes it ´s going to be released by H-Records next year.
UNABOMBER, you know bro, it’s the band of my life! My most beloved one… All UNABOMBER ´s members live in different cities and it´s quite difficult to organize to jam and doing some shows, also due to work and families. Many people is asking us to come back .. or at least to do some reunion shows. We can do it in any moment ´cuz we´re all still good friends after all these years. So expect one day a few shows.. and perhaps, re-recording some old stuff with better quality. Not to keep on with the band again writing new songs and doing new stuff… But a few shows.. Why not?
UPRISING, was an important band to me too, however a reunion is impossible.
– Back to ASSAC. So far you’ve done a series of EP’s and demos and some compilation appearances. Anything new coming soon?
Yes, a new record is coming soon.. The new 12 “ is already done, it ´s named “Suïcidi Social “ and it’s very catchy and has a few good surprises this time. We slowed down a lil bit in some songs and add some early Cro-Mags type parts… but I think the songs are catchier and few will become anthems! You’ll love the cover for sure!
Everything’s is almost done…. We´re only waiting for the final mix to send it to pressing plant!
After that we´ve planned a couple of splits:
A split tape with a local death metal band A TOMBA OBERTA, both bands will cover RIPCORD…
And a split EP with the masters of ZOMBI PUJOL
We also must enter the studio to record an HHH´s cover for a tribute compilation .. and that´s all….
– Are you planning to tour Europe or any place this year?
I´D LOVE TO! but due to lack of money it´s being a very hard thing to do!
A UK tour was semi- arranged… but lack of equipment, and lack of our own van… made it hard to play in UK.. with the few money we got from our thin savings.. Some of us didn´t have a job for years.. So we’ve got to make sure we can get the money we need to survive back… We just wanted to get the money from the airfares back.. but for a relatively unknown band like us it was very difficult.
Now we´re thinking in Norway and Sweden.. ´cuz a close friend of the band and longtime fan want to book us some shows in Norway.. plus one of the labels investing money in the new record is a Swedish one.. so we´ll try Sweden too.. We´re in the works, hope this time we can manage to do the thing without being a financial disaster.
We also talked about visiting Italy . And think also in another places during weekends using low cost flights.. So if you ´re interested in us.. Don´t hesitate to contact us! We´ll love to play in your town.
24 IDEAS, ASSAC!, BACTERIA FORTE… we´re all available to hit the lights!
– Your all time favorite records? Name 5 only.
HAHAHAHAHA, only five! Impossible!
- RORSCHACH “Protestant “. A unique band that inspired some friends and me to do our own band.
- HERESY “Face up to it!“ Awful production, one of the worst sounding records ever… But one of my faves too! Great and clever songwriting.. and awesome explanations on lyrics. These kind of records made me want to know more about the Ultra fast Hc than with Death Metal.. and I started to investigate with LARM, SIEGE, Boston Bands, Japanese bands.. (same I can say with NAPALM DEATH´S “ Scum “ When reading the Thanklist)
- RIPCORD. Any.. HERESY´s brother band
- BATHORY “Under the sign of a black mark“ Pure atmosphere, very evil recording.. nobody sounded like them in the day. I´m not a black metaller… but this record made a mark on me.. Even when listening HC bands I was looking for this atmosphere.
- CELTIC FROST “Morbid Tales“ Less is more! Perfect from start to finish!
- D.R.I “Dirty rotten LP /Violent Pacification EP“.. There´s one before and after this record found my turntable…. yeah !
- BLACK SABBATH, first 6 LP´s … BLACKS SABBATH it´s everything.. Apha-omega. And yes I love them with Dio and Guillan…. Mandatory ones!
- SLAYER.. From “Show no mercy“ to “Decade of Agression“…. Mandatory ones!
- INFEST “Slave“/CITIZENS ARREST everything/GO! everything —– I see it as pack of records that restored my faith in Hardcore in the youth crew, melodic hc and death metal era.
- CATHEDRAL “Forest of equilibrium “ this record made me to appreciate again the slow sounds.. it was a before and after this record… learned a lot about doom bands in the thanklist.
- 13 anything, GRIEF, CORRUPTED, early EYEHATEGOD, IRON MONKEY “Our Problem “ the whole sludge pack from the 90´s made a huge impact on me
- JUDAS PRIEST “Unleashed in the east“ It ´s fair to name a classic heavy metal band.. I liked them and MOTÓRHEAD since I was a kid… JUDAS PRIEST´S 70´s records were ahead of their time.
Other records that have been with me.. and influenced me deeply: VERBAL ASSAULT “Trial“ , BURN EP, SIEGE demo, LARM everything, MANLIFTINGBANNER 10 “, ACME EP, BLACK FLAG “My war “, BAD BRAINS “Rock for light “, ”I against I “, ANTIDOTE “Thou shall not kill“ EP, Cleanse the bacteria comp, POISON IDEA Any!, GISM “Detestation “ , GRAVE Any! But “You´ll never see“ it’s my fave one. UNLEASHED first 3 lp´s. DISMEMBER first 3 lp´s , ENTOMBED first 3 lp´s … NIHILIST demos.. ASPHYX every fuckin thing but “Last one on earth“ it ´s my fave. CIANIDE “Rage´s war“ demo and “Hell´s rebirth“ , OBITUARY “Cause of death“, AT THE GATES any but “The red in the Sky“ won me, the whole DNA of early death metal from late 80´s to early nineties. PARADISE LOST “Gothic“, JUDGE anything, CRO- MAGS “Age of quarrel“, INTEGRITY “Those who fear tomorrow“ and “Systems overload“, RINGWORM “The promise“ , G-ANX any, COLD WORLD any, EXTORTION “Loose screws “ , ANTI CIMEX any, DOOM lots of records, D.E.Z “Suck your soul“, WARHEAD “Cry of truth“, GAUZE any, SOB Any, OUTO any, STALIN “Stop jap“, COMES “Panic“ , SPAZZTIC BLURR “Befow“ that crazy record made an impact on me… NAKED CITY “torture garden“, NEGAZIONE “Condonatti“ “Lo spirit continua“, SAINT VITUS any, TROUBLE “Psalm 9“, PENTAGRAM any , CANDLEMASS first 3 records, CIRITH UNGOL “King of the dead“, MERCYFUL FATE “Nuns have no fun “ “Mellissa“, VOIVOD “Rrroooaaarrr“ “Killing Technology“, THIN LIZZY “Jailbreak “ “Fighting “ “Live and dangerous“, AC/DC.. Bon Scott´s era , MOTÓRHEAD, ANY ´til “Rocknroll “, MSG “Live at Budokan“, UFO any record with Michale schenker, SCORPIONS “Tokyo tapes “ , IRON MAIDEN “Soundhouse Tapes “ “Killers“ any from Dianno´s era, HELLACOPTERS, ORANGE GOBLIN, TURBONEGRO “ass Cobra “ “Scandinavian leather“, PORTISHEAD any, DENGGUE FEVER ANY, TERRIBLE FEELINGS any , BARON ROJO First 5 records, ANGELES DEL INFIERNO “Diabolicca“ , RUIDO DE RABIA any, HHH any, VENOM classic era , ETC, ETC ETC ETC
– Thanks for this interview Mossen. Best of luck for the future and thanks for the great music! .
Thanks to you and for your patience, and reading all the answers ehehheh.
Last day I’ve found a Indian/Pakistani store and I´ve bought a box of sweets.. AWESOME! And yes they had the best ANGRY SAMOSAS I´ve ever seen! Yeah!
If you want to contact me try my FB:
or better my bands :
See you all!