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Straight Edge Interview Project: Chui Kanela, 36, Barcelona, She/Her

Meet Chui Kanela from Barcelona, Spain, who leads a life deeply embedded in creative expression. She is the owner of Thrash Hard Tattoo and the singer for the band Values Here. In this interview, we explore the myriad ways in which Chui’s passions intersect and influence each other. Her story reads as a narrative of self-respect, strong values, and a creative spirit. She shares her thoughts on music, art, and living a life true to one’s values.

You can catch up with Chui on her instagram: chuikanela

Tell us about yourself!

I’m a musician and tattoo artist, owner of @thrashhardtattoo, singer and songwriter in @valueshere. My life is music and art in all its forms, besides music and tattooing, I love to sew, upcycle and create clothes and accessories, healthy lifestyle, and fitness.

What are you listening to these days?  

My taste in music is very eclectic, I love hardcore and punk rock for sure, but I also listen to lots of pop, rock, and electronic music. I feel that if I name only a few bands it’s not cool for the other ones that I’m not naming 🙈🙈🙈 I tried to do a list but it won’t fit here 😅😅😅 I made a Spotify playlist:

What’s your straight edge story? 

When I was young, like 12, 13 years old smoking was the cool thing to do after school. I was the one that was always chasing my friends to throw away and destroy their cigarettes 😅😅. I always thought that it didn’t make sense to put smoke in your lungs, especially at a young age.

Later when I was 15 almost 16 the drummer of the band I was playing at that moment talked to me about the straight edge movement and at that moment I knew that was my thing.

I had tried alcohol a few times before and I hated that feeling of being numb, and not controlling the situation so on my 16th birthday I claimed edge and that’s it.

Never had the feeling of wanting to drink or smoke or whatever, when I think about it for me is the same thing as drinking paint 😅 I know it’s toxic for the body so I have no interest in ingesting it 🤷‍♀️

How do you define straight edge? 

For me (I know each one feels it differently) Straight Edge is about respect, respect towards yourself and others. So as I respect myself and my body I won’t try to harm it on purpose filling it with stuff that’s not good. Straight Edge is about having a moral and strong value too, so you won’t lie or take advantage of others. That’s why I think usually sxe people are also vegan. We respect animals too 💗💗💗

Someone can be sober but treat themselves and others like shit so for me it’s not the same as being SxE.

I feel I will be straight edge until I die, I don’t have the need to try drugs and I don’t like the alcohol taste anyway. I love living my life in my full existence, not being numb, I just don’t like that feeling. I know some people like that feeling of escaping reality, I don’t like it that’s it, we are all different!

I don’t need anything to keep me committed, as I said I don’t like the taste, the feeling, and anything that drugs or alcohol give you so I’m not interested in it.

True or False: “If you’re not now, you never were”? 

I don’t care if someone “breaks the edge” this is a personal choice I won’t judge others’ lives without being in their shoes. And if someone used to drink and do drugs and now they make the change and go sxe it’s fantastic!

Over the past decade or so individuals in recovery have stumbled upon straight edge, and it has spoken to them.  Do you feel that the straight edge community has been, and should be welcoming to those in recovery?    

Of course, for sure, we are an example of living a full life without the need to consume anything

Have you ever felt that your gender has influenced your experience in the scene?

Not really, in my hometown Barcelona, there weren’t a lot of girls in the scene but I never felt different for being a girl. I’m aware that sadly lots of other girls had negative experiences but this wasn’t my case, I just felt like part of the crew.

Maybe it was my confidence in doing what I wanted to do, playing in bands no matter if people liked them or not, playing in miniskirts, and knowing that if someone said something to me they would get a kick in the face 😅. I know that they criticized me, but never to my face so I lived in my pink glitter hardcore world.

Do you feel that the straight edge movement/scene is inclusive?

I think it’s inclusive and I love that feeling of being part of a community. You go in the street and see someone in a straight edge band t-shirt and you look at them like eeeeh you’re my buddy!!! We are automatically friends.

Has being straight edge had an impact on your relationships?

Not really, everyone has always respected my decisions. Nowadays it’s more common for people to take care of their health from a young age, this wasn’t the case in the early 2000s but I’m sure that something that made me stay was the people I was surrounded by. Not all of them were sxe but most of my friends when I was young didn’t drink (because they didn’t like the taste) and no one did drugs. We were all healthy kids.

There’s an ongoing debate on whether one can be straight edge without being a part of the music scene, what’s your thoughts on this?

I don’t really care, sxe is always a good thing.

Mother, wife, small business owner.

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