Some questions are almost always asked in every interview I receive, so I thought it might be a good idea to include my viewpoints on these subjects here Ė to clear them up, once and for all.
WHY STRAIGHT EDGE?
For me, being sXe has three sides: a political side, a physical side and a spiritual side. The political side of sXe is that it is a clear Ďnoí against this capitalist society, with its focus on consuming and materialism - the tobacco and alcohol industries are the industries in which capitalism shows its ugly face most clearly: it tries to make money off people by selling them products that they donít need at all, and it doesnít care that those people will be destroyed by these products in the end, doesnít care about all the suffering that their products lead to. The physical side of sXe is that it is a very healthy lifestyle - everybody knows about the negative effects of drugs (including alcohol and tobacco) on your health, so I donít think this side of sXe needs further explanation. Finally, the spiritual side of sXe is that sXe will make it easier to develop yourself spiritually, as using mind-altering substances will make it more difficult to get the maximum learning effect out of life, will make it more difficult to develop yourself as a person and to learn to know your real self, as they distort your mind and distract you from the important aspects of life.
HOW GETS A BAND RELEASED ON COMMITMENT?
First, the band has to be straight edge, as Commitment is a straight edge label. Second, I must like the music of the band. As I am mainly in old style fast hardcore, so far all the bands on Commitment play that style of music. But it is not impossible that I will release a band that plays a different style of music: the most important thing is that I like it (Iím still eagerly waiting for all you electro, big band jazz and ska straight edge bands!). Third, I prefer to know the people in the band personally. Sometimes, thatís difficult, when a band is not from Holland or one of the surrounding countries, but then I try to find out more about the people in the band through e-mailing with them. I donít want to put out records by bands whose members have an attitude I donít like (intolerant, rightwing attitudes).
WHY ONLY RELEASING 7Ē RECORDS?
There are several reasons why I have decided to only put out 7Ēís on Commitment. First, Iím a 7Ē vinyl freak myself - I like the format, a 7Ē looks cool and I also think that the sound of vinyl is better than on CD, especially for HxC records - it puts more dynamics in the music. Second, I think the 7Ē is the perfect hardcore format - hardcore is high energy music, which is also shown at HxC shows, as most bands play only for 30 minutes. In this time the band gives all it got, and it is also enough - if the show lasts longer, it runs the risk of getting boring. Itís the same with hardcore records - in the 12 to 16 minutes that you can fit on a 7Ē, the band can put their best stuff, while on an album, most of the times there are a few songs that are not that good, that can be seen as filler. The album runs the risk of getting boring after 12-16 minutes, or you get the feeling itís Ďmore of the sameí. Third, the 7Ē is cheapest format to produce - I know tapes are even cheaper, but the sound quality of a tape is not nearly as good as that of vinyl. Fourth, I prefer to work with new bands, as they need the support and most of these bands are still fresh and full of energy and enthousiasm; most bands that are around for a longer time can also get a record on other labels, so donít need the support of Commitment, as new bands do - the 7Ē format is the perfect for a new band, because a full length will be too long for them, and besides, people will be more inclined to check out a rather cheap 7Ē of a new band that they never heard of before, than a far more expensive CD or LP. Finally, as I do the label besides a regular 9 to 5 job I also donít want the label to grow too big, because then it will be difficult for me to combine it with my job, and if youíre going to do full lengths, you have to put more time and money in it - and at the moment, I am already barely able to find enough time for the label. So, all in all it is a conscious choice to do only 7Ēís.
HOW ABOUT HOMOPHOBIA AND RELIGION?
Homophobia is as stupid as racism. People don't choose to be black or white, and people also donít choose to be homosexual or heterosexual - itís just something they are. So how can one blame someone for something they did not choose for themselves, for something they just are... ? Some people say homosexuality is not natural. Well, for homosexuals, homosexuality is natural, and it would be unnatural for them to love someone of a different sex. Thatís just the way things are, so there is no use to argue about it.
For me, religion is in the first place something personal - it is searching a personal bond with God. Religion is something you should not force upon others. All people should decide for themselves in which way they want to practice religion (or whether they want to practice religion in the first place), and no one should force any another person to behave in a certain way. It is okay to share your thoughts about religion with other people, as it always good to share something that you feel very strongly about with other people - but it should always be done with respect for the ideas of the other people, and without judging people that think different.
For me, Jesus is the perfect example how a religious person should try to live its life - to teach others, but always letting people decide if they want to follow these teachings or not. Jesus has never judged other people. His message was a message of love, not a message of condemnation. One should focus on loving people, not on condemning them.
I think that people who try to use religion to force their own ideas upon others donít understand anything about the true meaning of religion in the first place. Religion has been misused through the ages by leaders, to be able to get support of the people to stay in power. That is the most important reason why religion has such a bad name in the world now. The religion practiced by these leaders has nothing to do with the true meaning of religion - as religion is a personal bond with God and not with some kind of man-made institution that tells you how you should live.
Never let others tell you how to be religious - but find out your own religion for yourself !