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Straight Edge Interview: Aesop Mongo, 29, & she/her

In this interview, we feature Aesop Mongo, a 29-year-old graphic designer, and guitarist for No X Cure (Heavy Death/Dark/Metallic Hardcore Straight Edge out of Alabama). Keep reading to learn about her hobbies, how and when she claimed edge, and what currently driving her forward.

Keep up with Aesop on Instagram by following her here: @aesopmongo

Could you share a brief introduction about yourself?

Hi my names Aesop. I play guitar in No X Cure Straight Edge.

My hobbies are graphic design(@IronlordXBham on IG) and being in many bands. I spend my free time making show flyers, merch designs, and guitars, and recently I’m getting back into painting Warhammer 40k miniatures.

What’s currently on your playlist?

Thrash, Warmetal, and Straight Edge Hardcore are what I listen to most. Bands like Municipal Waste, Fugitive, Blasphemy, Antichrist Siege Machine, Arkangel, Contention.

Here’s a Spotify playlist for ya:

How do you define straight edge?

Refusing to be a victim of the industries of oppression.

How important is music to your relationship with straight edge?
I’m a strong believer that straight edge belongs to hardcore and my involvement with both has always gone hand in hand. I don’t pay any mind to people outside of hardcore and what they do

What’s your straight edge story?

I grew up surrounded by friends and family struggling with addiction, watching them be sick and miserable. The abuse I suffered as a result made me want no part of it. I wanted to claim edge at 13 but all the edge claimers I knew were not great people. So I stuck to following the rules without the claim to prove a point. I went to Foundation’s final show in Atlanta Georgia and came to the conclusion all those people when I was 13 weren’t around anymore and I had nothing to prove. Claimed edge that day, April 30th 2016.

How has straight edge influenced your relationships?

I’ve built strong bonds with other straight edgers and lost friends over my stance on drunk diving so it differs from person to person.

Looking back, is there anything you would do differently?

Nope. I’m exactly where I need to be

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

I believe if you’re not now you never were. I also don’t care what other people do or claim. Not my business. I’m straight edge for myself, no one else.

Have you encountered any challenges or misconceptions about being straight edge?

Almost every time someone learns I’m straight edge after offering me a drink or smoke they feel the need to apologize when I decline. I’m sure that’s partly due to past militant straight edge stories they’ve heard or experiences they’ve had.

I usually thank them for the gesture after I decline because I understand they aren’t trying to push addictive substances on me but offer a sign of goodwill in their minds.

Do you feel that your gender or age has influenced your experience within the straight edge and hardcore scenes?

I’m 29 so I grew up going to shows starting at 13 from 2007 onward. There was so many X’d up hands back then. The majority of those people I knew were rude, self centered, and unpleasant to be around. It had an effect on when I claimed edge for sure. I knew it was for me but I also knew those weren’t my people.

I think more kind straight edge people would have made some difference in my life As a transwoman I’ve not experienced much other than women telling me it’s nice to see a straight edge woman on stage. So that’s been nice

In your view, how inclusive is the straight edge movement?

I think it’s a lot more inclusive now than all previous years that’s for sure. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Have you observed any evolution in the straight edge scene regarding acceptance and diversity?

I see people from all different walks of life involved in straight edge. That’s cool and I hope it keeps being that way.

Mother, wife, small business owner.

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