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Straight Edge Interview Project: Adriana “Kiwi” Carneiro, 28 She/They

In our latest interview, we feature Adriana ‘Kiwi’ Carneiro, a 28-year-old graphic designer from Maracaibo, Venezuela, now based in Madrid. Vegan and straight edge, Kiwi brings their passion for music and DIY to their work with Asilo Records. Dedicated to the hardcore scene and community empowerment, Kiwi’s story showcases the impact of music, activism, and staying true. You can keep up with Kiwi on their Instagram here @kiwipunx

Could you share a brief introduction about yourself?
Hello! I’m Adriana, but everyone calls me Kiwi. I’m from Maracaibo, Venezuela, although I’ve been living in Madrid for the past 10 years. I’m a graphic designer, illustrator, punk enthusiast, vegan, and designated loud person in the room.

Tell us about your interests and passions. 
As I said, 80% of my brain is probably occupied by punk music. Hardcore, punk rock, pop punk, emo, all that good stuff. So my biggest passions have their roots in there. For example, as a graphic designer/illustrator (follow my work in @kiwipunx!) I absolutely love designing sick visuals for bands or just drawing stuff with punk references.

On my free time, I’m always searching for new bands to listen to, new punk zines to read, reading books about punk history, downloading old flyers and pictures from old punk shows to build my own little archive, following people from other punk scenes far away from me… all of this is just like a full-time job for me hahaha.

I’m part of Asilo Records (@asilorecords), a brand new DIY record label made by other Latino immigrants like myself with the goal of putting up shows, and music and making a positive impact on our community.

Apart from that, I’m also a huge gym rat: I love lifting weights, doing Muay Thai, and staying active overall.

What’s currently on your playlist?
This last year I’ve REALLY gotten into hardcore from Argentina. They have an amazing local scene going on there and I’m like their #1 hype man from across the globe.

I’m going to this hardcore fest called CKUD in Barcelona (@ckudxbcn) next week, so I’m listening to the bands I’m most excited to see: Magnitude and Golpe.

Apart from hardcore, tons of salsa as well, especially Héctor Lavoe. A lot of Tyler the Creator, Wu-Tang Clan and MF Doom too.

How do you personally define straight edge?
For me, straight edge is about trying to be the best version of yourself everyday and being a positive force for your community and loved ones.

How important is music to your relationship with straight edge?
For me, it’s impossible to have one without the other. But that’s me, I’m not here to police who can call themselves straight edge or not. However, to call yourself straight edge or part of the hardcore punk community and not being actively anti-fascist? Get the fuck out of here. Nazi straight edge punks, FUCK OFF.

What’s your straight edge story? 
Before I got into hardcore and punk rock, I was always that kid that didn’t like to drink or party. I’ve always hated it. I mean, I did try to have a drink or two to fit in as a teenager, but it all just felt so alien and fake to me. I grew up in a very heavy drinking/doing drugs environment and just seeing what it did to people just really put me off the whole thing.

Then I discovered Minor Threat, of course, and I was like… holy fucking shit, there’s more people like me… this is it! I DO have better things to do, I DO in fact feel out of step with the world, you know hahaha?

And then the rest is history. I gave a name to that feeling and moral compass that I’ve had since I was a kid and never looked back.

How has straight edge influenced your relationships?
Although straight edge is my own little personal world, I think there’s a part of it in everything I do. I try to bring that discipline, clear mind, PMA attitude to every area of my life: relationships, friendships, self-care, work ethic…

Thanks to straight edge I also found veganism, which is a huge part of myself and my everyday life, just as DIY ethics and straight edge are.

Looking back, is there anything about path into and through straight edge that you would do differently?
Honestly, no. And this question goes beyond straight edge. Everything I’ve been through, good shit, bad shit, SUPER bad shit, has made me the person I am today. You can’t have what you have today if you haven’t gone through that shit yesterday.

True or False: “If you’re not now, you never were”? 
I do believe that to some extent. For example, I really can’t understand how you can go from being straight edge or vegan to get absolutely shitfaced and eating tons of meat everyday and even mocking those past beliefs. It’s like… did you really believed in those things or were you just playing dress-up for shit and giggles?

I don’t want to be an asshole and play the holier-than-thou game. I do believe straight edge looks different in each person. You can’t expect everyone to live the same thing the same way, that’s fucking stupid. We all have a different ways to navigate these beliefs and cope with our own shit. But if you’re gonna talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.

Have you encountered any challenges or misconceptions about being straight edge? 
When you’re a person that doesn’t drink (and in my case, doesn’t eat animals), you’re always kind of a misfit. When I’m not hanging with people from the same punk background as me, I have to constantly explain myself and my decisions to everyone, it’s exhausting hahaha.

As how I adress that… I just don’t do shit I don’t want to do and I just keep being me, I guess. If you’re going to party until 6 am and get shitfaced, I’m not going to be there. If we go after work to have drinks, I’m ordering my water or orange juice and not making a big deal about it. I just like being myself. No explanations. You do you, but don’t ask me to do shit I don’t like.

Do you feel that your gender  or age has influenced your experience within the straight edge and hardcore scenes?
Luckily, I surround myself with really diverse, open-minded, kind people in the scene that instead of putting barriers in front of me they lift me up every day.

Being a queer immigrant (who is also perceived as a woman) is not easy. So you always have that fight or flight mode activated in case shit goes down or you have to stand up for yourself. But I’ve been very blessed and very lucky in my experience, and I know I have friends that have my back in case something (or someone) tries to deny me of my space in the punk scene.

In your view, how inclusive is the straight edge movement?
As I said, I’m lucky and smart enough to surround myself with kind, open minded people, and don’t bother myself with caring about what shitty people have to say. So I’ve kinda built myself my own little bubble in that sense.

However, I do believe we as a scene need to be very clear about where we stand. For example, the violence against trans people during the last couple of years and how much are they being targeted from all areas is just crazy. So it’s not just about what or who we’re welcoming into our scenes, but also about what we DON’T want in our spaces: homophobes, transphobes, sexists, bigots… if you’re not loud about these things and call out these hateful ideas, you’re playing in the oppressor’s team.

Have you observed any evolution in the straight edge scene regarding acceptance and diversity?
I want to believe that every day we’re better than yesterday.

Mother, wife, small business owner. www.justbuttons.org

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