Pushing the boundaries of punk with Paranoid Visions by John Robb
Dublin based Paranoid Visions seem to have been around for ever. Oddly, they have got better and better. In 2011 they maintain their fierce, iconclastic and very convincing anger but have added samples, films and strands of avant garde to their sound ending up totally original.
I first toured with them in 1987 when they supported the Membranes in Dublin and they were already Dublin legends even then.
In 2011 they have shifted a few gears and turned into an experiMENTAL punk band. Collages of sound and samples are mashed in with their punk rock really effectively. Frontman Deko is as charismatic as ever- a genuine, punk rock, vocal lunatic with a perceptive and dark vision and the band are real contenders.
Live they are an effective unit, there’s loads of them for a start effectively combing like a well drilled machine. Upfront the granite faced Deko looks like terrifying- all thousand yard stare and spittal stained vocals, he’s flanked by two equally fierce female vocalists in a three pronged vocal attack.
Organised and smart instead of desolute and drunk, Paranoid Visions are perhaps one of the best punk bands in the world right now and their playing with the form makes them worth investigating by anyone outside the punk genre claims John Robb
The interview is with PA and Deko from the band
Who the fuck are ya!
Paranoid Visions are an 8 piece punk rock band from Dublin in Ireland. The line up consists of:
Deko Dachau: Vocals
Sarah Bellum: Vocals
Aoife Destruction: Vocals
PA Y.E: Guitar
Paul Barer: Drums
The Master Switch: Bass
Steo Pain: samples and visuals
Paranoid Visions have been around a long time, gimme a history lesson
We formed as a 4 piece in 1981, out of the ashes of Insane Youth (the name became swiftly inappropriate as we weren’t youth anymore! but now we are old enough to pass comment on the youth it may have been reclaimable as a statement). Anyway the inital line up recorded a singular demo, before merging forces with Deko’s offshoot band, Defoetus Attitude, replacing our bassist with theirs (legendary Skinny Kelly RIP), losing their guitarist and adding the drummer as second vocalist (Brayo), Aisling and Greg joined as additional vocals and keyboards and the line up, in one form or another, recorded a further two demos (all tapes were released by Bluurg) and an EP for our own FOAD label. This we licensed to the Mob’s All the Madmen label (targeted primarily because we loved the Mob so much that we really wanted to get on the same label as them). Shortly after another shift in line ups we replaced the rhythm section with Caff and Dan D Lion and this line up recorded the Schizophrenia album, City of Screams mini album, The U2 parody “Yob” 10″ ep and the singles Autonomy and FOAD 2 You fascist American Contra Scum before splitting in the late 1980s (all of this is available on iTunes or on the Vinyl Years retrospective , Outside In) only to reform with yet another rhythm section and an extra guitarist. Throughout the beginning of the 90’s the band continued and released a number of cassette albums, basically it was a bad time for punk rock and vinyl was dying- yet CD’s were too expensive and weren’t very “underground”, so it wasnt the easiest of times, despite the production and writing of some really polished and powerful material (most of which can be found on the retrospective black operations in the red mist double CD).
Reforming with a revitalised attitude and a line up more akin to the aspirations of the original early 80’s line ups but with the ability to play the songs the way we always wanted to, the band has recorded the best materiaol of its career (in our humble opinions) in the form of the albums 40 Shades Of Gangreen, Beware of the God and EPs, Strobelight and Torture, Treasure On The Wasteland, I Am The One, 3r’s EP and the soon to come, Hail Tsunami EP (parts 1 and 2) and Dichotomy album
In the past few years the band has shifted a gear. Tell me what you are up to and about the experimental music you make alongside your punk
Well the thing was, Deko and myself have always been into the more exprimental and dark side of punk, and always dabbled in this aspect in the band’s history. By that I mean that some of our favourite bands would have been Crass, Poison Girls, Siouxsie, KIlling Joke, Gang of Four, PIL, Wire and Dead Kennedys- all bands prepared top push the limits.
The line up we have now is eclectic and has the ability to play music with a slightly different slant than normal. So in the early years we would have played something like Blood In The Snow- a song literally made up on the spot alongside the standard three chord punk rock, whereas we find all the lines blur these days and nothing is off the list in terms of musical styles. The new Hail Tsunami EP has along with six live track, the following examples of experimental punk.
1. All Sytems Go which is an angular jagged piece of musicÃÂ that has as much in common with Crass as it does with Gang Of Four
2. Politician- a re-recoding of an early track that is as musical as it is angry
3. The Recession Club, an 11 minute meandering PIL / early Stooges piece thats as ghostly as it is self indulgent!
Paranoid Visions are quite an operation with a lot more ideas than a usual band
Our ideas are FREEDOM! Freedom of expression. Freedom to co-exist as people first. We use Punk Rock/Rock`n Roll to express our feelings, opinions and opposition to what we see around us today and to do it as honestly and as easily as possible in the CRASS mode through D.I.Y and on our own terms both financially & physically. We`re not into long tours or road life ‘cos they, from experience, bring pressure and friction & burnout ‘cos we play every gig like its our first and last.
A celebration of Freedom and a glimpse at what could be and a kick back at the filth which impedes us all from living a full and positive LIFE,
A political punk band is rare these days. Tell us what you’re about and your relationship to ireland
We sing principally about what we see as wrong in this EMERALD ISLE, which has lots of good, ordinary, decent people living and working in it. But they are hindered by the vermin who control it and the idle rich who plundered it for their own ends and divided it so cruelly! We are only qualified to talk about that which we know and have no interest in myths, propaganda or hypothetical fiction- so we set ourselves up in Rebel Pose and agit-rock against the hypocrisy which cripples this Irish State from taking its rightful place among the forward thinking humane and Just nations of this world instead of being a backward, top-heavy, inward looking, money grabbing, human exporting, hellhole it is today! No apologies for the truth ever! We are Ireland`s CROWN OF THORNS ÃÂ and we will prick this Inbred nation into Noble and Moral correction or die trying!
Live Paranoid Visions is a great show, with women backing singers, films and a real sense of occasion
Well truth is we always wanted to be Crass!!!! In reality, we always wanted to set ourselves apart from other bands by having something different to see or hear. We have always had multiple vocals and the two girls add a softness and a different dimension to the harshness of a five piece male band. Visually, the more people on a stage- the more interesting and memorable the performance is. Also the extra dimension opens up the possibility of doing different styles of music. The samples act as links between tracks and when possible the films that Steo produces to accompany add an extra visual assault to the sonic abuse!
What are your plans for 2011
First up is the Der Election EP which will be followed by a second EP and a new studio album during the summer. We will be playing with Steve Ignorant in New York and following that with two other shows, then we are playing Glasgow, Rebellion in Amsterdam and Blackpool along with some other UK shows later in the year.