“Societies work by conforming to the same principles. If you don’t, you’re an outsider and no one wants to be that. Everyone wants to conform one way or another, to be a complete outsider and breaking the social dogma is hard. Even if you’re counter cultural, you still have your social clique and your own social dogma outside of the regular culture.”
Introduction by Adria Leeper-Sullivan
Interview & Photographs by Theo Constantinou
Special thank you to Mike Z of Making Time is Rad
Holograms is a band from Sweden. The group ruminated on personal exposures and their cultural upbringing to answer debates on morals, art, and the nature of perspective. Their insights are straightforward and honest, simple but experienced. The members’ journeys in travel and conversation reveal their talent in reading people and situations. They find a positive viewpoint to fuel new discoveries in life because they are also aware of negativity and embrace it. Their music has a rhythmic, collective function that pumps a subtle feel of rebellion into the listener, but there is a lot of artistic prowess that makes them more than a punk band. Holograms is a prime example of a happy medium and cooperation with spontaneity.
I always wanted to believe that people are intrinsically good by nature but last week disproved my theory. I was mugged a couple of blocks from my house, they blind-sided me and took all my belongings. I haven’t fully lost my faith in humanity yet. I was reading something by Werner Herzog, in which he says, “I believe the common denominator of the universe is not harmony, but chaos, hostility and murder.” I happen to agree with his statement. Do you? Why or why not?
I feel music hasn’t conformed to the idea of community sharing that internet has made easier. The only thing that music really does on the internet is use it as a PR tool. We don’t have a strong internet presence; we didn’t want to use it that much. The labels said that we had to get a Facebook, but that is about it. We aren’t really interested in the internet in that way. It’s interesting if you could use it as a tool to work together as a community on music, but I think it is hard because music is so personal. It’s a concentrated form of expression from personal expression. The best stuff usually comes from a, it’s like movies: Werner Herzog is an auteur and his movies are special because he writes them, he directs them, he’s done the whole process of the movie himself and the best music is that way, too. I don’t know how you can use the internet in that creative way to make better art.
For example, your music reached me because of the internet, but the idea of this is what I strive for, finding music and art. It’s one thing to see an image of a Picasso, or Dali, but going to the museum to see it in your face that is a whole other experience.
We probably wouldn’t have been here if it wasn’t for the internet.
I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the internet.
It’s amazing that this stuff happens because of the internet, but it’s still like a promotional tool. In a way it’s nothing more, which is pretty sad. We’re not smart enough to figure it out.
I was given this book by a Japanese author, Hagakure, called Hidden Leaves About Samurais. It says:
“Although it stands to reason that a samurai should be mindful of the Way of the Samurai, it would seem that we are all negligent.
Consequently, if someone were to ask, “What is the true meaning of the Way of the Samurai?” the person who would be able to answer promptly is rare. This is because it has not been established in one’s mind beforehand.
Negligence is an extreme thing.
The Way of the Samurai is found in death. When it comes to either/or, there is only the quick choice of death. It is not particularly difficult. Be determined and advance. To say that dying without reaching one’s aim is to die a dog’s death is the frivolous way of sophisticates. When pressed with the choice of life or death, it is not necessary to gain one’s aim.
We all want to live. And, in large part, we make our logic according to what we like. But not having attained our aim and continuing to live is cowardice. This is a thin dangerous line. To die without gaining one’s aim is a dog’s death and fanaticism. But there is no shame in this. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai. If by setting one’s heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he pains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling.”
I thought about this when I was beaten, all this death is more present in my mind. Do you agree that by setting your heart right every morning and evening this is the way you are truly able to live? And you will have succeeded in your life? Just waking up every day and being happy to be on the road with music, making other people happy?
If you can do that, it’s like a switch, then that’s great for you but it’s really hard. You have to do the best with your life situation, whatever that could be.
It’s hard to set your heart straight every day.
For example, I look at my situation from last week. Every day I get closer to dying. I was born and I will die. I interviewed Ian MacKaye of Fugazi who asked me a question, “Do you remember what it was like to be born?” I said no, and he said, “so you have no idea what it will be like to die, therefore all we have is this moment, that’s it.” It made me more aware. This is my reality; I know that I’m going to die but I will do as much as I can to set it straight. Kind of live pure and honest in that way ….
So what it comes down to is trying to be happy all of the time. That’s impossible, so what are you going to do?
We met this girl in London and she had—over her bed she had written—in the stars that glow at night, ‘Love Life’ so she could see it every time she fell asleep. She told me I should try it, don’t think any negative thoughts for 3 days. I can’t do it. It’s weird, it’s fascinating, in a way you can control your mind and in that way you control your environment and the way you think, it’s so powerful but it’s the hardest thing to control. I’d love to but I don’t have the patience to change the way I think though I find it fascinating.
…The thoughts of negativity, it’s easy for me to say fuck those dudes who beat me and completely lose my faith and be negative but if I think like that, eventually, if I have a kid, I’m going to teach him to think like that and it’s going to get completely distorted. I’m not trying to change the world in any way, I’m just trying to change one individual’s mind and that is my own, and then maybe translate it to something else. I don’t know if that girl is right, I don’t know if I’m right. I don’t want to think negatively but it’s a constant fight. It’s tough.
To be positive towards life is one of the hardest things.
Why do you think it’s difficult for yourself? Is it easier for you to resort to thinking negatively instead of knowing the situation’s fucked but it could be better and I’m going to make it better by thinking it? Let’s say, before you guys started doing this, I don’t know how your situation was, but maybe it was fucked but now it seems okay, it’s alright.
Things are absolutely going better and better.
Then what is negative?
I don’t know. I guess it’s nothing negative about this. Everyone has their own problems in their heads always. It makes things hard.
This is the last one. So when I interviewed Dirty Beaches and Iceage….
We just met them a few days ago.
So Alex was telling me to stop being so negative: you’re so heavy, lighten up. I said, alright, and started practicing that idea a little bit. He was telling me about original ideas and was like, I want to know what goes on in your head. A lot of what I base is on things I read, or experience, but a lot of these things happen to other people that are based off of other things: Einstein’s theory of relativity based off of Newton’s, etc. So, there’s this quote by John Cage, “I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.” It was interesting to hear that. I’m frightened of a lot of people’s ideas, especially those who are stuck in their way of thinking and also ideas that haven’t died for centuries: hate religion, supremacy of this or that, so what are your ideas of this fear of new and old ideas? Being Swedish? Growing up in the U.S., being white, people project on to you what happened 50 years ago when we had segregation.
Conservatism is fucked up. It will never win because the conservative idea is always to drag new ideas down, and conservative ideas will never win.
I think there are good and bad ideas all the time. There are a lot of good ideas from back in time, like democracy, but there are always good and bad things happening in the future and the past, so I don’t know if it’s one or the other.
It depends on the pressures.
People will always be afraid of changes, and things will always change. That’s why you can’t conserve things.
I don’t understand, why do people fear change? Change is good.
It’s not always good, though.
It can be bad.
I think of the Dark Ages, and the invention of monotheism; it kind of fucked up the western world for like 1000 years when before, it was high culture and then the collapse of the ancient world because Christianity fucked it up.
Well, Christianity slaughtered a lot of human beings…
If you’re thinking about people who don’t like homosexuals…
But we’re really talking about new ideas…
But homosexuals have been around since before Christ.
So if you’re against it, you’re always more liberal.
So I’ll pose this idea: all of these things have been around since the beginning of time. There has been homosexuality, blacks, whites, religion…You’re cool cats; why would I hate you? That’s how people are. They come into a situation and because you’re black, homosexual, Jewish, or Christian, they have to hate you. Fuck that. I was just talking to a guy from North Ireland last night. He grew up in a place where, because he was Protestant and his neighbors were Catholic, he was a mark. They wanted to kill each other, what is that?
That’s fucked up.
Heaven is going to be a pretty small place if all of these religions are claiming they’re right and if that even exists.
But it’s societal and cultural, in a way. Societies work by conforming to the same principles. If you don’t, you’re an outsider and no one wants to be that. Everyone wants to conform one way or another, to be a complete outsider and breaking the social dogma is hard. Even if you’re counter cultural, you still have your social clique and your own social dogma outside of the regular culture. That’s why in North Ireland they have Protestants, they have Catholics, they have two different dogmas and if they suddenly break from them by not hating Protestants if you’re Catholic, you get cast out. Maybe not cast out, but people will see you differently and you may not work out in society as well as if you hated Protestants. That’s why new ideas are hard, because they break social dogmas.