[Originally published: Issue #2, circa 1987]
LOOKING BACK: Scott Helig from Total Thrash fanzine turned us onto LARM: "Here's another band who should be in your zine. Write them, and they'll write you back!" Well, that was good enough for us, given that we didn't think we'd ever get enough content to flesh out even a single issue. In any case, we received a thoughful, in-depth handwritten responses to our question list. I ended up being a fan of LARM. What's remarkable is that more than 20 years later, the guys of LARM (well, three of 'em) are still keeping it real in SEEING RED. Pretty remarkable. -- Mickey
THREATENING SOCIETY: What is LARM's line-up?
PAUL: Our line-up is: Menno - vocals (22, a law student), Jos - bass (22, a teacher, but this summer will be fired), Olav -- drums (24, unemployed), and Paul - guitar (26, unemployed).
TS: What's LARM's history?
PAUL: Well, LARM was formed in January of 1983 out of the ruins of two bands: TOTAL CHAOS and SURVIVAL SQUAD. We were a file piece then (Dorien was the fifth member. She was also on vocals.) In that time, we were a real noise band in the DISORDER and CHAOS UK vein. Musically, we were untalented. In the summer of '83, we released ten songs on a Dutch hardcore compilation tape, and to our surprise, a lot of punks liked our raw, wild and noisy sound, and we got our first gigs. We got more and more influenced by US bands like MINOR THREAT, SOA, SSD, BLACK FLAG, DEAD KENNEDYS, JERRY'S KIDS, etc. Musically, we got a little better. In '84, Dorien left the band and because of our musical differences and disinterest in the band. Since then, we are a four piece. We got faster and tighter, and got lots of gigs. In '85, we released our split LP with STANX,; in '86, our EP, and in '87, a new LP.
TS: What other bands have you played in?
PAUL: As I said before, Jos, Olav, and I played in TOTAL CHAOS, and before that we also played in bands like THE SEXTONS and DISTURBERS. All of those bands were just jokes - I mean we never came out of the practice room… and in fact, we couldn't play our instruments at all! None of us knew how to play before we taught ourselves. Menno was the former singer of SURVIVAL SQUAD. But those very chaotic/unmusical bands were our first steps into fame. (Ha Ha Ha!)
TS: Are you satisfied with the way the "Straight On View" LP came out? What would you change?
PAUL: Yeah, we're very satisfied with it. Mike Rubinstein (One Step Ahead Records) did a great job! For us personally, it's the best thing we've done, especially the studio side. It's not perfect, but I think we're getting better, and the next time we hope to spend more time in the studio. (Until now, we have always had to record in one day and mix in one day because of money problems.) The live side of the LP could have been better, but that night we had some problems with the gear, so it doesn't sound that good. But the next time it'll be better. But in all, we are satisfied with the LP, really!!!
TS: What are your favorite songs on the album? Why?
PAUL: My favorite songs on the album are: "Dollars and Roebels," "Negative Approach," "MAS," "Puppets on a String," "Home, Broken Home," "Work/Mad," "Settled," and "Troubled Mind," because, in my opinion, they're the best songs musically. Lyrically, I like all the songs! But it depends on what mood I'm in, 'cause sometimes I like the aggressive songs the most.
TS: Have you ever been to the US?
PAUL: No, we have never been to the US before. We may never make the trip 'cause it would cost so much, but maybe we'll do a tour (I hope so!), and then we'll see what the US of A is really like.
TS: Unlike many other straight-edge bands, LARM covers many different topics, from heavy metal to drugs to war. Why do you concentrate on so many different topics? Aren't you worried that people will think you're just covering the "punk topics?"
PAUL: Well we are not writing lyrics because they are punk topics. We write about topics we are concerned about, or about what affects us in our daily life, or about things we're against. We all write lyrics, so you get a lot of topics, 'cause we all have our own ideas. And personally, we're not worried about what other people think. We have something to say, so we say it! It's more dangerous just to take one or two topics and just sing about that. You can easily get generic, or even naïve, in your lyrics then. A lot of straight-edge bands do only sing about straight edge, unity, friendship, etc. In the end, it sounds so naïve, cause, hey, there's a lot more happening in this world than
TS: Do you plan to tour here soon?
PAUL: Well, there are some plans to play this summer, but at this moment, nothing is sure. But let's say there's a chance we'll come (about a 75% chance), we would really like to tour the USA, 'cause we get tons of mail from the US, and we want to meet some of the people, if possible, and play out there. It would be great!
TS: Why are your lyrics in English?
PAUL: In the early days, we had Dutch lyrics, but Dutch is quite difficult to sing (sounds a bit crazy, but it's true, especially if you play fast music!). And because so many people couldn't understand it and asked for translations, we decided to sing in a more global language: English. And most people in Holland can understand English very well - it's a language you have to learn in school.
TS: How would you compare your music to other bands? In what ways do you think you're more original?
PAUL: Well, I think nowadays you can compare our music with bands like STARK RAVING MAD, early DRI, PANDEMONIUM, SEIGE, EXTREME NOISE TERROR, HERESY, etc., and I really don't know in what ways we're more original, 'cause a lot of these bands influence us, so maybe we are not all that original at all… but maybe our noisy sound is typical LARM. Some people say we have a typical LARM sound, but we ourselves don't know what that is. We don't make songs to be more original, or anything like that. We practice, someone comes up with a riff or something, and we make our songs. We're really not looking for an original sound.
your little scene. In a way, we don't want to be just another straight-edge band, 'cause you already have a lot of bands like UNIFORM CHOICE, YOUTH OF TODAY, VERBAL ASSAULT, CRIPPLED YOUTH (now BOLD - Ed.), etc., who all have lyrics in the same vein, and I think that the situation in Europe is a but different: we're into squatting, politics, the peace movement, anti-Fascism, etc. The political situation is more radical within the punk movement. Straight edge is important to us, but changing things, resistance, and taking a political stance, are more important to us.
Copyright 2007 ThreateningSociety.com/PhillyPunkRock.com