Formed three decades ago Dublin’s Paranoid Visions have been pulling off some remarkable neo situationist pranks like charting their last three singles into the Irish top ten.
Inspired by ‘the Crass model’ they have retained that influential band’s sense of adventure and DIY spirit and have remarkably just recorded their best album yet, ‘Escape From Austerity Complex’ an ambitious and huge, thought provoking work.
What’s the concept of new album?
Deko (Paranoid Visions singer):
Escape from the austerity complex is an alternative look at what most people take as their lot in life and the restrictions they accept as normal. It is a declaration that there is something badly flawed in our country, continent, world and society that props up the lie of capitalism and enslaves millions of people in the hands of a few. Its a diatribe and rant against inequality and ignorance and a spark for individuality, justice and self empowerment in a bound and shackled world crippled by greed ignorance and helplessness which is teetering on the brink of self destruction and a call to arms for intelligence, vision and resistance to the lies and manipulation of those mindless, soulless loveless vermin who rule our world through misinformation, propaganda and deception and control us all by fear. There are no definites. But anything has got to be better than inaction, blind obedience and apathy. Its our world too.
P.A (Paranoid Visions bass and conceptualist) :
The album is an eclectic mix of musical styles and ideas. Its best listened to as a 69 minute piece in one sitting as your first listen! From a musical point of view we wanted to make the first album we have ever done without any comprimises at all. We now have our own portastudio for recording backing tracks and we spent a long time recording, re recording, overdubbing and altering before the mix stage. We also felt that the time was right to try to make an album that embraced diversity, and the punk rock ethos. We invited numerous friends to contribute and were delighted to have TV Smith on “Outsider Artist”, the Shend on “Statement of intent”, Zillah Minx on “Poles Apart” and Steve Ignorant on “Split Personality”, all of these grasped the ideas we operate with and subscribe to and are a terrific addition to the feel and concept of the album .
How do you manage to have those top 10 hits in ireland
Paranoid Visions are a highly political and serious punk rock band, we have operated autonomously for 30 years and fully subscribe to the DIY ethos of true punk rock”Â¦that being said we also have a wicked sense of hunmour and an desire to mess with the system and subvert the music industry if only to highlight the stupidity of it all. Its well know that the charts are all a scam and are designed to perpetuate careers as well as launching careers. After a lot of research, I managed to suss the game out and operated the two releases in the same way as the major labels do, but with zero budget. Its all about stacking the odds in your favour and ensuring that people buy your product in the right shops, that being said you still have to shift a decent volume of product, but we played the game and won. I would have sold my right arm to be at the meeting in universal records that morning when the question was asked “who the fuck are these and why are they one place ahead of Take That”Â. If anything the chart success served to prove to the industry that punk rock was a viable source and should be taken seriously (50 copies our der eletion ep was in HMV in the chart stand underneath jedward and above lady gaga for a week), but primarily it was a scam to show the charts up for what they are!! We did it twice, once with der election and once with outsider artist (the single with TV Smith), it was particularly gratifying to have TV Smith in the Irish top 10
Is there space in punk to do something different
My concept of punk is to always strive to do something different. The whole ethos is to make music on your own terms, using the best of your abilities and the best resources you have at your disposal and to transend the norms of what is expected. There has been a culture of bands just banging out 3 chords and sounding like everyone else, thats not to say I lovbe a lot of those bands, but I have always believed that there are no constraints or standards that need to be conformed to. Paranoid Visions, having an eclectic taste in music from an eclectic bunch of people will tackle any musical style and alwasys strive to sound like nothing else, and even is we do sound like a particular genre of punk on one song, tghe next one will be different altogether. For example on teh new album we have a hardcore grindy amebix influenced track (Nuclear Victims) adjacent to the 11 minute ambient wandering looped depressing piece “Recession Club”, and the poppy punk of “politician” coupled with the 54 second hardcore of “Problem”. Its all about expression and playing whatever music seems appropriate to the song style. Adding Steve Ignorant as lead vocal onto what essentially sounded like a motorhead song is another example of genre swapping. As is the opening orchestral track “Austerity Crusade” with synth strings and choral samples! Lyrically, Deko has never been stuck in a rut and will write about anythuing that makes hium angry. He shouts at the television and radio daily and vents his frustrations about anythiung that annoys him into lyrics. For every song that we write, he will have at least 10 sets of lyrics. There are literally hunderds of books and bags of lyrics in his flat. One of these days we will get round to digitising them into a poetry book!
Can you explain the concept of Paranoid Visions
The concept of Paranoid Visions is one of collective and individual freedom beyond the confines of the herd mentality and responsibility to challenge question and subvert if necessary in order to live a full life without fear of prison, ridicule and restriction and to find alternatives musically socially and personally to the deadweight of human conformity, exploitation and selfdestruction. It’s an umbrella for expression, fun, subversion, creativity and alternatives. It’s the antiband. Industry and trends fashions and pigeonholes font fit and wont be accepted or tolerated and will be opposed to show the world that you dont have to be a hopeless romantic or an idiot to play music you like and make it a vehicle for controversy. Expression and freedom whatever the odds or constrictions. We are and will stay free young and progressive not dead shackled or afraid. In two words abstract art. Real life and two fingers.
Can you give me some of the history of the band…Who is the enigmatic Deko and how you met him
In about 1981, there were a load of punks who used to hang around base x records in Dublin. I met Deko there one afternoon, just hanging around, I think he spotted my poison girls logo sprayed on my jacket and if memory serves me right he was inspecting his copy of the new single by The Dark, and we just got chatting about music. I’d been messing with a band of my own, and Deko’s band, Insane Youth were having line up issues, so a few weeks later when he said they had lost the bassist and the guitarist was switching to bass and they were changing name and direction I volunteered my services. Throughout the 80’s we had a wonderful time but struggled getting gigs in a city that had shut its doors to punk after someone got stabbed at a Radiators gig. Knowing we had no chance of getting anywhere with other people’s help we studied the Crass model and started recording cassettes and releasing them. We embraced the fanzine and DIY culture as our own and ended up selling hundreds of cassettes. Later on Bluurg released them also and we decided to record a single that came out via All The Madmen (although FOAD, our label monicker, held ownership). After a few other releases on ATM we went our own way with Revolver distributing, then following the demise of vinyl and the exclusivity of cd we reverted to a few cassette releases again. Calling it a day in early 90’s we reformed to release a back catalogue cd and for slots on the Sex Pistols filthy lucre tour. Then put it on ice while Deko concentrated on Striknein DC. In 2001 we did a short couple of gigs including Holidays In The Sun and a gig with the Dickies and the Damned, then retired again until 2005 since then we have released 3 studio albums, 8 singles, 2 back catalogue albums, a live album and an Xmas album! The new album, like our last compilation “black operations in the red mist” has come out via Overground records outside of Ireland!
These days FOAD has expanded into releasing material by other artists too, Setting Off Sirens and Liz Is Evil already have releases on the label and the lee Harveys and Jobseekers are also due albums out. FOAD also has become one of the main alternative promotors in Ireland putting on shows for the likes of GBH, Subhumans, Steve Ignorant, Zounds, Menace, Lurkers, Restarts, Goldblade and TV Smith to name but a few along with at least one local show a month!