Hate5six Interview (Part 2 of 2)


Part 2 of 2 with the man, the myth, the legend: Sunny Singh. If you missed Part 1 you can read that HERE. Part 1 covered more of the history of Sunny/hate5six, while Part 2 will cover more opinions.

What does hardcore mean to you?

Well, it depends who you ask. For me it represents expression. That can mean different things for a lot of people, but for me I look for organic and unadulterated passion and energy. I find that in hardcore more so than anywhere else. At the same time I see a lot of pop culture in hardcore. There is a lot of touting that we are a subculture that is different from typical society. But is a lot of evidence that we are not and we are still tied to it. As much as I want to see hardcore as a progressive thing I see it as something that is constantly growing and changing and something that although it isn’t perfect it still leaves room for getting better. I see it as a space for not just me but for everyone to grow and to learn.

I’ve heard some people say that hardcore is an experience and shouldn’t be filmed/recorded live. How would you respond to the purists?

I think there’s an interesting discussion about hardcore being an experience and something that shouldn’t be documented. I remember when I asked Ian MacKaye if I could film The Evens a few years back he agreed but also expressed valid concern about how having a row of photographers that separates a crowd from an artist dilutes the experience for everyone involved. He mentioned that documentation is vital (I mean, look at the new Fugazi live series), but also noted that many of his cherished memories from shows weren’t captured. I certainly agree with his approach, but I think documentation can be done in a way that minimizes the the invasive factor.

People who hold up cellphones to film at shows are distracting, and I spend a lot of time thinking about that. I am part of and add to that dilemma, but I do think what I’m doing is intrinsically different but it’s unclear to what degree. These people are capturing a moment presumably because they want to share it; I do the same. Is the difference in the level of care that goes into ensuring interference is minimal? In treating it more of a journalistic endeavor than simply pointing and aiming a piece of metal, plastic, glass at a band? I’m not in a position to say who can and can’t document, but I’d like to think the actions and intent are not the same. I think those who have qualms with what I do blindly lump me into this category without giving much thought into what differences there are, if any. It’s 2013 and someone will always capture a show in some format. Fighting the technological growth is simpleminded, so what’s the point of preventing someone from doing it in a way that is consistent and at a higher quality? Obviously the debate changes if they have someone else on hand filming for a DVD or other special release and do not want anything floating around.

I’ve been spat on, flipped off and condescendingly told I “rely” on my camera too much to have fun at shows. I am documenting my environment and the people that are a part of it. I enjoy what I do and if I didn’t I wouldn’t film. I don’t need some punker than thou band to patronize and psychoanalyze what I do. Filming adds a layer between the person filming and the experience, so the idea that it separates someone from said experience is partially true. For me, filming allows me to engage with a set in a way that is different from me killing myself during 108 or Damnation AD. When I film I pay attention to details that I otherwise would miss. So to insinuate I’m diluting MY experience is incredibly condescending and laughable.

I think some bands don’t like the idea of having their mistakes out there, or want shows to be special, discrete moments in time. I appreciate those sentiments, but ultimately they stem from people who have the privilege to attend shows and see their favorite bands at a moment’s notice. The bulk of my viewers are people in other countries who do not have access or the means to see these bands. These people are the reason why I film even when I’m told not to. As soon as a band starts to play, that music–those acoustic vibrations and screams–no longer belong to the band. They belong to everyone in that room responding to it and to anyone who enjoys and finds value in it. A video will never replace the physical act of seeing a show, but if those feelings can be partially projected onto a 2D format for people separated by time or distance to enjoy, who in hardcore/punk is to say they can’t? A record captures a band’s polished sound while a video is meant to document the story that occurs at the interface of the band’s performance and people’s reaction to those sounds. The speeches about the songs, the addressing of current affairs. This is what we collectively tend to feel separates hardcore from all else.  It’s meant to be raw, organic, and fraught with sloppiness. That is the ultimate beauty of hardcore/punk.

I’m inclined to say fuck you to these bands that fail to acknowledge this value, but instead I say good riddance. I hope they are forgotten with the passage of time. And I think the fuck-you they are implicitly sending to their fans who aren’t as privileged speaks bigger volumes.

How have you seen hardcore progress since you have started filming?

Now, that’s a question. It has definitely grown. I guess I was getting into hardcore when the internet was starting to get big. So I kind of missed out on the whole finding out about shows through word of mouth or by finding records through scowering through record bins. You know nowadays it’s all ordering the record you want online and not having to worry about the actual search. And for a lot of people hat is the beauty of it: the search and the time you put into it. So hardcore has definitely changed in the way that people are connected and finding out about stuff. I think the videos certainly help connect people to music that they may have not seen or heard of. I think in some respects it is a positive thing, but in other respects it is a negative thing. Some people will say that stage moshing is starting to make a comeback more so than before. A lot of people are thinking that it can be attributed to just a popularity from the videos or seeing it in the videos and they kind of want to mimic it. I’m not going to say one thing or another whether it’s a good thing or not. Circle pitting was something new at one point and people didn’t like it and regular moshing was a transition from pogo mosh. So maybe this is where hardcore is headed. But certainly I feel like there is some media, and videos, and internet has made trends. It has made them circulate a lot faster than before.

What is your favorite release of 2013?

So, admittedly I haven’t had time to listen to a lot of new stuff this year. I really like new Incendiary. I typically get accused of being stuck in the 90’s because it is my favorite style of hardcore. I think what they are doing is great. It has that 90’s feel to it, but their doing it in a way that isn’t dated and they got a great reaction from This Is Hardcore. Every time they play, kids go off. And I think what they are doing is solid.

What is the farthest you have traveled for a show?

So I went to Europe this past winter to tour with Mindset. I filmed their entire tour. So we were in Germany, Poland, all over the place so I think that would technically be the furthest. But I also flew to Chicago for Los Crudos last year and i flew to Florida for, I guess a bunch of bands played. It was for the Orange Country Hardcore Scene documentary release. Culture played, Trial played. I think that is the furthest I have ever traveled, domestically at least. A lot of the traveling I do is just driving, but for Chicago I typically fly.

Where do you see hate5six going in the future?

So, for the longest time hate5six was just my personal site of videos that I have shot. Kind of like a portfolio of my work. This past year I have been getting archived tapes of people who have digitized. Hellfest stuff from 2004.2001 i got my hands on. So I have been spending a lot of time digitizing other peoples work and making them high quality. I really feel like hate5six is turning into a portal where people can find stuff that is not just my work but things that are beyond it as well. People have joked that I need to turn the site to the National Archive of Hardcore Videos. It is sort of seeming like it is becoming that because I am beginning to open it up to videos that I haven’t shot. I’m starting to work with other people who have collections of VHS tapes and they will start, hopefully within the year, and update the page themselves. I do think it is going to grow to the point where it is not just things that I have filmed from 2007 to the present. It is going to have things that people have acquired through trading what have you or things that they have filmed back in the day and have never did anything with. So I think it is going to become a one stop shop for people to find full sets of bands they might not otherwise find.


As always, be sure to support hate5six.com

One response to “Hate5six Interview (Part 2 of 2)”

  1. […] In Part 2 Sunny talks about the music scene and the future of hate5six. Read it HERE. […]

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