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Interview: Karl (Born From Pain)

Originally Published: Thursday, March 10, 2005
Written by: Tiger  

Interview with Karl  (Born From Pain)

This was done for my thesis, so some questions obviously assume the reader has no knowledge of SxE…

What were your reasons for becoming straight edge?

For me straight edge was a natural step as I have never wanted to smoke or do drugs and I never really liked consuming alcohol, so once I found myself within a scene where it was brought forward to my attention it seemed like a logical step. I believe that I would be straight edge now regardless of whether I was involved within the Hardcore scene or any music scene and it would have been a natural evolution for myself at some point whilst growing up.

Do you see yourself as part of a scene, and if so how would you describe that scene? Is it exclusive? Is it a large scene?

I do see myself as being part of a scene without a doubt, but I think the word scene can vary between just the music scene or point to something as precise as the Hardcore scene. I don’t think that the Hardcore scene is exclusive at all, but like any movement there are groups and people within it that could view it as being exclusive, in the same way that someone who isn’t accepted by some people will view it as exclusive. Personally, I don’t think it is, but can be at times, like anything else, depending on the individual(s) concerned. The Hardcore scene specifically, is huge. Why, it covers the whole globe, not just one area, not just one race and not just one music style within the term Hardcore. The music has grown a lot in the 25 years or so that the term Hardcore has been flying around and that’s the way it should be.

What is your definition of straight edge? What are the beliefs surrounding it, and the rules of sxe life?

The term Straight Edge has a few definitions I think depending on the individual. For myself straight edge is the way I live my life and the way I believe I would be living if I had nothing to do with hardcore. To me it is about not consuming alcohol, not smoking or taking drugs. Some people believe that vegetarianism or veganism is included in the so called rule book, some people believe that not having sex or one night stands is included. In the end, straight edge is what you make of it and you live it for yourself, not to what someone else says, but the fundamentals of the movement would have to be not getting drunk, smoking or abusing drugs.

How have these principals changed from the time when sxe first existed, and are you aware of the history and beginnings of sxe?
Well, like I mentioned in the earlier question, the principals are somewhat objective in that some people believe some things are straight edge and some believe them not to be so in way the principals have changed in way and to me, there is no true definition. The term straight edge originally came from a guy called Ian Mckaye who sang for a band called Minor Threat. He wrote a song called Straight Edge which was basically about drug abuse and also a song called Out Of Step which was more specific to what many people who are straight edge take their stand point from. It was all about having a clear mind and being able to think for yourself instead of being fucked up on drink, drugs etc and not having control over your own actions, so many people take the lyrics as written in stone.

“(I) Don’t smoke

Don't drink
Don't fuck
At least I can fucking think”

For example, many people believe that the “don’t fuck” line refers to not having promiscuous sex, others believe it is to do with not fucking with drugs. As far as I’m aware Ian Mckaye doesn’t talk about this anymore and probably hates the fact that he coined a phrase that shaped a movement / genre and thousands of kids worldwide in a way, when in fact he was just venting his own frustrations with life.

Do you encourage others to become straight edge, and in what ways?

I believe in encouraging people to make their own decisions that are correct for themselves whether it be somebody deciding that straight edge is what they need or whether it be someone straight edge deciding that it isn’t the lifestyle for them to lead anymore. The only thing that matters to me is that you’re true to yourself and the way you want to live. If that means you want to drink and get fucked up on drugs thats fine. Same if you don’t. Respect is the key. Some people share the same ideals as myself, some don’t, but at the end of the day it’s an individual’s choice what they do. If someone is fucking themselves up health wise, their life such as a career or family or somebody else’s life up that I care about then obviously I’d talk about it with them and try to advise them to do things in moderation or quit, but at the end of the day it all comes down to yourself and the choices you make. No one can make them for you.

How much does sxe revolve around hardcore music?
I think straight edge revolves very much around HC as that was the initial genre it was born into, but it is known to be within punk, metal and hip-hop too and of course there are many people around the world that lead the lifestyle that have no affiliation with a music genre as such, so in the end it has nothing to do with anything but the individual involved. The term was conceived within HC and that’s where it will stay no doubt. I bet there are more straight edge people around the world who know nothing about the movement than people who label themselves that and do know about it. Just a thought. Like I said, if I had nothing to do with HC, then I would still be living the way I am today.

If you are not sxe at the moment, what are your opinions on the scene, looking from the outside?


What do you think should happen to people who break edge?

Nothing, it’s the individual’s choice on how he/she lives their life. Their should be no consequences or whatever. It’s the dumbest thing in the world that people would say they should be beat up or outcast etc. Pure stupidity. I’d rather someone be true to themselves than live with something they don’t believe in or are not comfortable with.

Is it a right that people can change their minds later on, and choose to break edge, or is it possible to remain edge for life?
Of course it’s a right that people change their minds. People change, that’s a fact of life and that will never ever change as long as people are around on the earth. It would be absolutely absurd for someone to say that they don’t have the right to change their mind. At the same time people can be true to their convictions too, so it is entirely possible to remain straight edge for life and I’m sure that there are many people around the world that will be until the day they die.

Would you stop supporting bands you liked who broke edge and why?
Personally if a band decides to stop being straight edge that’s fine, but at the same time, if the band was an out and out publicly straight edge band, then the band name and songs should die with the loss of straight edge too, because how can you sing lyrics about something you felt so passionately about when you don’t believe in it anymore? It’s impossible. I’m not sure if I’d stop supporting a band who broke edge, but I’d certainly lose some respect for them if they kept playing the same songs etc etc. On the other hand, if a band have all straight edge members and they all broke edge but are not publicly a straight edge band and don’t sing about it then I wouldn’t lose any respect for them, because it was something that was never used to promote the band in a way.

Why have punishments been given in the past and sometimes now to those who break edge?
Because like anything and everything in life there are a minority of people who just don’t get it and are completely retarded. It’s as dumb as beating somebody up because they’re black, White, Chinese, Jewish, a Christian, Gay or anything else that you’re not. Just plain stupidity really. Thankfully, it IS only a minority of people who behave that way. Even if it was just one person it would still be bad.

Have your own definitions of what sxe is changed from when you first became edge?
No. I still believe in not drinking, smoking, doing drugs and losing the ability to think for myself and I’ve had these views for 10 years. I think its pretty hard to change the definitions of something that is pretty black and white. The only thing that changes are a couple of things in the sense of whether someone believes that eating meat isn’t straight edge or having promiscuous sex .

What are the bands you most closely associate with the scene that began sxe?

Well, there are a few bands that I associate with straight edge, although some aren’t bands began it. I think there were bands at specific moments in time that were very important for the movement. For example, in the early 80’s it was all about Minor threat. In the late 80’s you had NY bands such as Youth Of Today, Judge and Gorilla Biscuits at the forefront, in the early to mid 90’s it was all about bands such as Earth Crisis, Unbroken and Chokehold who were at the frontline and in the late 90’s the only band that I really think about is still Earth Crisis. These days Throwdown are the only band that I can think of who are out and out very public about straight edge. There will be others and no doubt many others, even some that are high profile, but these are the initial names that spring to mind. Some of these bands had a very strong message about vegetarianism and veganism too, so in some ways they do go hand in hand.

What are the bands you most closely associate with the scene now?
I guess like I said in the above question, I’d say Throwdown from the USA, The Promise from the USA and The Break In from the UK. They are bands that immediately spring to mind when I think of straight edge Hardcore.

How old are you?

How long have you been sxe, or how long were you sxe?

I have been straight edge for 10 years and will be until the day I die.

What genre of music do you listen to predominantly?

Hardcore, Metal, 80’s pop.

Where do you live?

I’m English, but live in Holland as I play in a band out here.

Mother, wife, small business owner.

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