Although Remission has been around since 2008, the band might not be known to the majority out there. In 2010 they signed with React! Records and they’re about to tour the U.S. Time for a chat with frontman Philippe Arama.
Introduce yourselves. What and who is Remission?
Remission is a liberal hardcore band from Santiago, Chile. Some people like to classify us as melodic but I can assure you our songs are different from each other in rhythm, hardness and lyrical content. Some of our main influences are Verbal Assault, Dag Nasty and Endpoint. The band has been active for three years now and has been involved in several recordings on different labels like React! and Amendment. Daniel has always played the guitar while Cristian provides the beat. I sing and write all the lyrics and this year our friend Sebastian joined on bass. We are all straight edge which isn’t important to the band nucleus and some of us are vegetarian.
Where does the band name come from?
From the wonderful 7″ EP of the band One Step Ahead which came out in 1990.
What is the scene in Chile like? What bands should we need to take a listen to?
As big as Chile may be, there are only around five or six strong scenes, taking place in the major cities like the capital of Santiago for example. There’s tons of different styled bands playing all the time and there’s at least one hardcore/punk show per weekend. Things are good down here, very violent free, you still find zines, vegan food and different forms of counterculture. Bands I recommend from the past/present are Redencion 9.11, Silencio Absoluto, Illuminati, En Mi Defensa, Contra Todos Mis Miedos and Entrefuego.
Chileans aren’t as friendly as Carribeans or Brazilians but the people are ok in general
After hearing your demo in 2008, I instantly had to think of Verbal Assault. What’s the first memory you guys have of this band?
Yes, that always comes to mind since they are the primary influence on us. I remember early on listening to V.A. because they were on the Positive Force label and I thought to myself, 7 Seconds are so great, bands they play with (and sign) must be incredible. Turns out I was right and I was hooked on their originality, the vocals and everything about them really. In highschool I made my own V.A shirt out of a crappy plain white tee I stole from a supermarket and slowly started getting their records on vinyl after their volume one cd. For almost 10 years now, they have stayed in my top 5 of hardcore bands.
Let’s talk about your country. Chile is spread out over about 4000 km. So basically it ranges from the tropics to the polar circle. What would you recommend any outsider to visit? What are the most beautiful spots?
I would seriously recommend everything for its unique geography and flora/fauna. The San Pedro de Atacama up north is incredible, the Valparaiso port and Santiago near the middle and all the forests and ice regions down south that stretch out to Antarctica. Chileans aren’t as friendly as carribeans or brazilians but the people are ok in general.
I read the lyrics from for example ‘Controlled’ and ‘Burden Of Shame’. Do you have to deal with the violent past of your country a lot?
Now more than ever. The dictatorship period only ended 22 years ago so there’s still hatred in the air. Since a right-wing president was elected last year by barely half the population, the other half is outraged and there’s protests every month dealing against important subjects such as the private educational system, sexual discrimination, unjust company wages, etc. Chile is a roman-catholic country and the church likes to get involved in state affairs which is total bullshit. Though Chile is the 2nd country to have abolished slavery, I think it’s still culturally ignorant for the most part and we are the last country to have approved the right to divorce. I guess we’re gonna be third-world forever.
I guess we’re gonna be third-world forever
Since 1990 a lot has changed in your country. There have been major improvements in education and health care, but there’s still some unrest. How come?
Because no matter what political party is representing the nation, those in power are greedy and ineffective. Some make promises they don’t keep while others don’t even make them. I think the only thing that has improved is the dictator is dead and gone. The constitutional mess that was left couldn’t be fixed and there are still thousands of poor people that haven’t seen improvements in the last two decades.
You’re about to embark on a US tour. What are your expectations?
Yes, around 13 shows on the West/East coast during September. We all expect the trip to be unforgettable and something we can tell our grandchildren about with joy. Playing is important but I think it doesn’t compare to the sight-seeing, new friendships and general cultural exchange.
Fast forward 20 years. What do you want your band to be remembered by?
If we’re remembered as a passionate group that did their best on record and gave it their best playing live would be good. Being a unique, hard to classify, underground, simple and caring group of individuals are other things.
Photo credits Diego Figueroa, Paulo Reyes.