“I understand that an artist is someone who in the midst of other’s silence, uses his own voice to say something and make sure that what he says is not useless, but something that is useful to mankind”
- Joan Miro
I have a confession. I started the first week of 2015 staring into the abyss of despondency. 2000 people from the homeland of (some of) my ancestors were brutally wiped off the face of the planet. It was a noisy week in Europe, and so barely anybody noticed. Even the president of that country himself still seems to have barely noticed (though he did find time to send his deepest regrets to Paris, the cad). It was a week in which I watched in stunned silence as powerful, hypocritical world “leaders” took it in turns to feign deep beliefs in human rights and civil liberties for ordinary people, many of whom had been responsible for the suffering of literally millions, while without skipping a beat simultaneously exercised and made claim to further their own government’s powers in order to assert ever more draconian state authority in their own countries. In our own country. We watched, powerless, as discredited ideas based on hatred and mistrust that we thought long consigned to history continued their menacing ascent in new guises across the continent, as if we were stuck in some weird re-run of the beginning of the previous century, now in omni-colour. All the while stuck in the madness of the age of the ‘War On Nouns’, in which we’re trained to be oblivious to reasoned analysis or science in favour of a never-ending onslaught of hyperbole, propaganda and outrage. We can’t keep up, so our minds have become tabloid-attuned processors of soundbites and precis arguments, our politics reduced to popularity polls, and we are so far beyond being able to discern or digest the irony thrown at us daily that we twirl about hopelessly like deep-sea divers no longer able to “see” the water. But worse, drowning. And everyday we are just a little more numb and resigned to it; the ever increasing absurdities melting into accepted reason in a time of nihilism and meaninglessness. And this was how the year started.
So what the hell has all this got to do with music and playing in a punk rock band? This is a question I ask myself almost every day. People make art for a lot of different reasons, though it usually takes the form of some unquantifiable need to find an expression of their inner selves, reflecting and interpreting a considered view on the world outside. It answers the call within all of us to communicate while we try to elicit beauty and meaning from that which stimulates us. In it’s purest form there are no rules; the only real obligation of the artist is to be true to him/herself. Thus it is necessary, from time to time, to review oneself in order to avoid becoming stagnant, arrogant, cliched or workaday. And so, among the din of the New Year spectacles, we have watched, listened to, absorbed and been inspired by so many brilliant artists playing every kind of music and expressing every kind of emotion and perspective. And we have reflected on who we are and where we fit into this mosaic.
So in 2015, Djevara will continue to make art wrapped up in strongly held belief in the power of this art-form to be an honest and free expression of hope and adversity, and as a means to bring us closer together as human beings in the midst of this maelstrom. We promise nothing more or less than to try our best, flawed and imperfect as we are, to be a bow in the fight for freedom and compassion, for reason and humility, for common humanity firmly aware of our place in the context of a world-wide family, for the value of life – and quality of life – way above any abstract man-made intellectual constructs on a planet we share not only with all those living now, but also – hopefully – with all those lives (human or otherwise) to come. No, not claiming to have the definitive final answers, but ever determined to not be afraid to ask the important questions and always seeking, searching, enquiring, hoping, trying. Not just forever crying, but also defying. Above all, to share truly valuable experiences through our music and art with all those open to listen – our friends and family across this beautiful world. In some small way to be part of the solution. Or at least one hell of a soundtrack to it.
So this is the gauntlet for 2015. The world is upside down. We knew it was thus. There’s everything to play for, and we won’t be backing down.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year on behalf of Team Djev’. and looking forward to seeing you all soon.