We all like to think, when we sit at home tapping away on the net, or when we are sitting in the pub having a discussion over a pint, that we have personal beliefs in something. Depending upon who you are that may be in liberalism, socialism, Christianity or Satanism. You may believe in individual freedom or in the dominance of the state or you may be a nihilist hell-bent (if you’ll excuse the term) upon worshipping nothing at all, but the key question that you have to consider is “what would you do for your beliefs?” In honesty, away from the pint and the comfort of your friends’ support, how far would you be willing to go to enact your own belief system? Would you write a letter, perhaps, protesting a perceived injustice? Would you march on a key city in your country holding a placard in order to make your beliefs known? Would you be willing to shed blood (either your own or others) in the name of your beliefs? Many of us, once again in honesty, would not. But then that is the price of many years of comfort and freedom. The frequent assertion by a multitude of observers that the West has become decadent is very much the truth and comfort inevitably breeds apathy. I do not consider myself apart from this, as the proverbial armchair pundit I am sitting here trying to make sense of these things but I am aware that my role as an analyst is too comfortable to leave without good reason and so I have to confess to a sincere admiration for those who are willing to take risks and make sacrifices for their cause even as I might not always agree with the cause in question.
Accused of ‘commercialism’ (that terrible epithet attached to any band who dare to become even moderately successful by those looking on), radical Christianity, image-over-content superficiality and worse, The Way Of Purity (henceforth shortened to TWOP to save my fingers) are the living embodiment of a group of people who have come together with the common goal of taking action. While being an activist involved with animal liberation can mean many things from breaking into research labs to targeting battery farms, TWOP have taken the rare step of forming a band with the specific purpose of promoting a message and with ‘Crosscore’, TWOP’s debut album, the band have managed to become one of the most interesting, not to mention one of the most misunderstood acts out there garnering a huge amount of interest and a devoted following in the process.
Fascinated by the band, and the mixture of reviews that they received; one website in particular attacking them for radical Christian beliefs which just goes to show how little about the band they even tried to understand, it seemed to me that the only way to really understand TWOP was to give them the opportunity to develop their points in their own words and to provide the band with a platform from which to clarify and spread their message, and whilst you may not agree with, or even like the bands radical views, understanding is the key to any dispute and the band deserve an audience.
Focusing not upon the band’s music but upon their belief structure and the elements that seem to have caused the most confusion amongst some elements of the press, the following interview was answered by the member of the band simply identified as Charly. Courteous throughout, Charly took the trouble to answer the questions thoughtfully and in detail, something that we very much appreciate, and the result is one of the most interesting interviews that we have hosted on these pages. Further information can be found on the band’s web-pages (see at the bottom of the interview) and the band’s remarkable debut ‘crosscore’ is available now via Wormhole Death.
What to you does ‘the way of purity’ represent as a name for the band and as a concept?
The Way Of Purity has a deep meaning: it’s the “path” that only few chose to “walk on”. Most of the people on this planet continuously try to choose the easy way if they have the chance, but some people want to prove themselves and always follow the difficult and painful way. Humans don’t want to see, because they try to keep their minds and hearts free from pain, sorrow and sadness. Humans are selfish. In that moment they make a choice and they become impure because the evil they create and try to leave behind is stronger than them. Here comes the fear of Death, Hell, Judgment. If you see a stray dog on the road, dirty, starving and sad, for instance, you have to do something because it’s too easy to run away and say “I cannot help, sorry”. Humans are not respecting animals and nature so they don’t respect their own kind either. The Way Of purity is the way that will make us suffer and will purify us in the name of GOD, that in our concept is Nature and not Christ or Satan like humans want it to be. We are like animals, our God is mother nature and the perfection of the creation. I read somewhere something like: “this band’s concept is wrong, because religion has nothing to do with nature”. What I would like to clear up here is that NATURE is GOD and this is our religion. We praise the strength of the SEA, not the weakness of Christ, we praise the balance between animals not the Evilness of Satan, we fear earthquakes and not the Devil…God is the NATURE and ANIMALS have been created to be part of it, not Humans. I also read: “How can Christ and Satan be the same thing?” Christ and Satan don’t exist so they are the same thing: NOTHING. Both are just created not to see the truth: The nature (they destroy everyday for economical interests) is just a landscape and cannot be a religion because they have to exploit. Turn people’s heads by a side not to see what our planet is becoming it’s the aim of those who make money with Petrol, Nuclear plants, Meat industry … Having Nature as humanity’s GOD is too dangerous for them, that’s why people don’t understand.
You have chosen to remain masked, as I understand it, to allow the music to speak exclusively for itself, is that correct?
We have chosen to remain without names, faces, identities because this project is created for one reason: to push a message and not to become famous or show people that we are cool. We play music and we promote our “band” to reach the more people we can and if one day TWOP will be a big thing we just want the crowd to listen what we have to say and not to praise us like rock stars. We will always be far from that shit and if we will make money with our music we’ll spend everything to save animals and to give (with our little help) this planet a real future with human scum not devastating it anymore. This is all done because we see that other people are joining our war and every little piece will make this action big. Once again, I read: “these masks are a marketing thing”. Ok, marketing or not marketing we are here to promote our message and we don’t give a fuck of how we reach our goal, we just do it. Think what you want, and talk about it motherfuckers.
Yet there are various critics out there who have lumped you in with bands such as Slipknot – you must find it frustrating that people can’t see beyond the (absence of) image?
We are not frustrated at all because we really don’t care about people’s opinion. Our project does not exist for humans. We are here to push the animal’s message, so humans are just our enemy. Slipknot are rocks tars, we are fucking nothing.
Speaking of imagery, the artwork that accompanies ‘crosscore’ is very powerful – to what extent was the band involved in the layout and production of the artwork and what do the various pieces represent for you?
The artwork has been created by me and Rhett Petersoo of Machine Room. The image with blood and cross represents the end of MEN (Humanity) killed by MEN (organized religion or whatever). A lot of people didn’t see any connection between our cover and our message. Religions like Christianity consider animals the property of humans and their gods. The pope and priests consider animals food for humans and nature a property of Jesus, mother Mary and their father, the so-called god. This is what we will always fight for: NATURE is GOD and this is the only possible and existing religion. Our aim, during our mission to save as many animals we can will be always united to the hate for different religions that don’t consider mother nature as the only possible divinity.
You have a powerful message that you want to spread – is it your intention to spread that message to as many people as possible? If yes, do you not consider that metal, as an intrinsically polarising form of music, might alienate people who might otherwise be sympathetic to your beliefs?
You are totally right with this question and in fact we will never connect our musical project to one scene. Our Debut album has a certain sound but the new songs are much different and one day we could write a new wave album, a pop album or just become a spoken work show. One day we could stop writing music and just do direct action again. We will always be the way of purity because we are a group of people that really believe in this message. A lot of guys and girls are part of TWOP without being on stage, because they support us in anyway…They can send us donations, they can help with accommodation after a show in their city, they could write lyrics or songs…Whatever. We are many and with this interview you are becoming part of our group because this is real support and you give us the opportunity to spread our message, yes, to as many people as possible. The big mistake that many did is to “see” us as a band. We are just a group of people that use arts to communicate something to the ones that understand. That’s it…Metal, hardcore, grind, metalcore… We leave that shit for music journalists and kids. We are the way of purity…That’s what we are.
When writing your music is there a balance that you strike between the message and the entertainment value of the music or is it more important to you to write from the heart and hope that your listeners stick with you?
Well, that’s a good question in the sense that we have been criticized for being “commercial”. Nice production, a melodic song, modern sound etc etc…Well, we are here to communicate with people but if we produce crappy music or really extreme music people will never listen to us, or, as you said in the previous question we’ll lose a lot of our potential crowd. We are in talks with some big labels and maybe they will sign us…The difference between us and others is that we told to the A&R’s “We need bigger audience to spread our message to more people.” All other bands are there begging for success, magazines covers, pussy, money ….Fuck off…That’s what I tell them. We write the songs we like and if someone likes them…Cool, otherwise they can all fuck off because we are not here for success. This is our musical point of view. Regarding our message EVERYONE should support ANIMAL LIBERATION, this is much more than a fucking band.
‘Crosscore’ is a name that could invite a variety of interpretations – would you explain the meaning that it has for you?
Cross means Jesus Christ which represents Humanity, Core is the push that makes humanity move. We see bands and people with Satanic symbolism on their bodies, web-pages or clothes, inverted crucifix, pentagrams etc…But this is not Evil. We wanted to give them the TRUE evil they are looking for. The Cross with Jesus Christ nailed on. Satanists never killed milions of people in the name of God, Satanists are not politicians like Priests, Satanists are not rich and do not have people kneeling in front of them begging for money or a piece of bread. This is the TRUE evil: controlling the masses that are even more corrupted than their religions. We hate religion because they did nothing to save this planet, they are just part of the money-making attitude that rules this shitty world. You want EVIL? Ok, explore the core of it and try to see what the cross represents.
You are closely aligned with concepts of God as nature and you have, in past interviews, referred to mankind as a disease infecting the planet – do you believe that a balance can be struck between mankind and nature and if so, in what way?
After everything will be destroyed here because of war (petrol, water and food will be over very soon and a big war will start for these reasons), nuclear explosions (people cannot even control what they do), diseases (Think of Haiti or the very fast human replication with millions of new individuals every year) I have just mentioned a few things…I could tell a hundred … This will drive this planet to an end. After that, some animals will survive because they are stronger than us and they can survive drastic climate changes, they have different diseases with insects making the difference. Then I hope and think that a new balance will start and if humanity will survive or rise again it will be different. We cannot even remember where we come from so how can we hope that humans could learn a lesson? We claim to be intelligent and we destroy the place where we live…How can we expect us to find a solution? The only lesson is violence. The ultra violent acts of wrath and judgement that nature will deliver on humanity with disasters will be the key for salvation. This is the only way. When humans will be totally devastated and fucked up will understand what being a drop of water in the ocean means…Until then, humans will continue thinking and acting like gods. That is completely ridiculous.
Is there room within such a radical philosophy for compromise at any juncture or would you consider compromise beside the point of the message you wish to spread?
There’s no room for compromise in our philosophy because we believe the “border” has been passed by humans long ago and if we want to push nature’s and animals’ message we have to be serious.
Despite your website fairly clearly stating that “The message about God intended as nature (animals and the perfection of their creation) is our faith, but the power for The Way Of Purity is a high level of inspiration, self control, and correction of human errors through the inspiration of the animal perfection.” there are still those who claim that you are a ‘Christian’ band in the vein of Evanesence – that must be exceptionally frustrating?
Those who claim that can just fuck off cause we really don’t care and as Isaid before there’s nothing frustrating because they just need labels and I feel sorry for them. I can easily show that I am not Christian (all the people that know me would be laughing now). It’s not that I am not Christian because I don’t pray…I am not Christian because if someone does something wrong to me I’ll have no mercy. If someone would touch something mine for example, my wife, I WOULD KILL, without thinking. If I see someone doing something wrong to a dog, for instance, I’ll do exactly the same things to him. The main reason why I am not Christian is that I DON’T KNOW WHAT FEAR IS. Believe me, I am not extreme, I am not cruel, I am not fanatic…I am just a low profile guy wearing crappy clothes with no dreams. When it comes to integrity I take inspiration from animals with everything included.
Can you elaborate upon what you mean by your power being drawn from “a high level of inspiration, self control, correction of human errors through the inspiration of the animal perfection”?
In a way you can read above. I mean, animals act in a precise way: they follow their instinct and this means that they are pure. They control themselves because they don’t act like us. You would never see an animal having sex for fun, you would never see an animal killing other animals for different reasons than survival and even if they kill, they would never kill many individuals “to store meat in a fridge”. This is what inspired us and the “correction of human errors” means that we really need to remember where we come from and how mother nature wanted us to act. All animals together with nature, with their individual imperfections create something perfect that was meant to last forever.
Do you, then, recognise human failings within yourselves but maybe what makes you different is that you seek to actively change your behaviour and mindset through the aforementioned self-control etc?
I can see human failings in myself of course. I drive a car, I go to the supermarket, I earn money…The only difference between me and many others is that I feel bad and I know that I am wrong. Most of the people see this as normal because they think that life is a gift. Life is a war and the only winners are the ones that try to change this shit we created to give something back to God. Are we so totally naive, to think that God would ever need to create a heaven just to please, blood thirsty humans that want to feed?
In saying that you’re “here to bring the animals’ message to liars, weak individuals, prostitutes, drug addicts, nymphomaniacs and many more” – what do you hope to achieve by doing so?
These human categories we mention in our manifesto are just words to represent human vices and weakness. What we want to express there is that these categories represent what is the farthest attitude from animals. Animals don’t even imagine what drugs are or what human perversion (when it comes to sex) is…This is too far from animals to be accepted by me. People could think I am racist….Ok so what about the people that treat animals like slaves? When EVERYONE will stop exploiting other species, then racism will be no more. Racists are the ones who treat humans like the majority of people treat animals.
Have you found using the TWOP blog site as a way of disseminating information about current crimes committed against animals has raised awareness about the subjects – in other words have you seen a definite correlation between the band and people finding out more about either the ALF or your own specific message?
Of course, otherwise we would have ended the project months ago. We receive a lot of messages from people that support our project and people that want to join our war. We meet them on tour, they buy our stuff to support us. We want to make this band bigger and bigger to reach more of those who understand. That’s our only aim. If thousands of people visit our page (we got almost 120,000 hits on our myspace page since march 2010) they can read what we post and that’s what we are looking for. The results are really exciting since we started one year ago.
In past interviews you have cited politics as a significant target for contempt – given the richness and diversity of political thought are you not conflating the frailty of politicians with the more pure ideals of a given political ideology and condemning the whole thing out of hand?
What, in your opinion, is the difference between advocating a specific path in life and a political ideology?
In my opinion there’s no purity in politics and there’s no wide “offer” since it’s all the same all the time. Advocating a specific path in life means to leave behind all the benefits that this “thing” could give you (money, fame, power) and fight for that with no compromise.
Even if money and fame will come you will have to USE THEM FOR THE INITIAL GOAL you wanted to reach and never change or use them for personal benefits and power.
When it comes to politics, money, fame, power are the most important thing and 99% of politicians forget where they come from or why they started the action. It’s like now I am saying this and I fight for animal liberation…If one day TWOP will become so famous that I take away the mask to work with a major label or I forget animals and begin cooperating with some shit like MacDonalds it would be the same. This is the difference you are talking about. Politicians are 1% idealists and 99% greedy…If you act like me, you must be 100% ready for total sacrifice.
One of the aspects of the band that really impressed me when reviewing the album was the obvious passion and commitment to your subject matter that really comes across on the disc – how do you go about writing the material and preparing a record?
Well, our song-writing is quite fast but it has been always different. ‘Crosscore’ (our debut album) has been created with a technical approach. We wanted to work on a “production” and not on something uncontrolled if you know what I mean…I am not saying that it was not heartfelt but the song-writing was much more part of the production (or vice-versa if you like). The new songs (we are going to record the new album between July, August and September ) it’s more introspective and it’s based on the concept of sadness/depression and final reaction. All the songs have a very dark and depressive mood in the first ¾ of the songs …This is meant to give space to a final liberation/explosion of violence. We liked the concept of growth used by bands such as Sigur Ros but with hardcore approach like Neurosis or Converge do in some of their compositions…Many bands try to reach this goal: make a song more and more emotional. We’ll see if we have been able to do it. At the moment we have got amazing reactions from insiders in the music business so we believe that we are running on the right way.
When not playing music what activities do TWOP like to indulge in? Do you have other roles within the activist community?
As I said many times, we are just people with a mission. You cannot recognise who we are and what we do…Keeping a low profile is our only rule, except for Tiril who is the face of our project and yes, she’s an artist. We are involved in the activist community and we fight for animals in music and in our daily routine. Our jobs are related to what we do so we are not people that work in a supermarket during the day and become different on stage … We are all part of a bigger project that is much more like a family than a band. In fact there are many people (you would never imagine) that are part of TWOP. TWOP is not a 6 pieces band but a bigger group of people that supports and believe in a project. Everyone can join TWOP and be part of it if the mission is our mission. You can send us songs, help us technically, push us in the business but we cannot promise or guarantee that TWOP will remain a musical entity. One day we may disappear and go back into the darkness of animal farms, become a spoken work show, just a studio project or whatever… We hate to be considered a band…It’s a limit if you know what I mean.
Given that you have many negative things to say about humanity, do you believe that there is any potential for change – for example within the community who take on board your message and choose to develop themselves away from a more selfish, hedonistic mindset?
There’s no space for change.. There’s a message of hope before the great darkness to come, that’s what we are doing but I don’t see any possibility to save this planet and humanity. Everything is so wrong that even people like you described will not find a way, and I am quite sure that people like us don’t want to find it. We will not be happy if the world “will be saved” we just want to see the same pain that we saw in the eyes of animals on the faces of humans. When humans will “see” and “understand” what animals have inside (their soul) the most violent punishment will take place. They will feel like you never felt and you will understand what they really are. You cannot imagine.
What is next for TWOP?
Next week we’ll work with Tiril on the last 5 songs, then the new album will be ready. During July we’ll record drums then bass, bla bla bla….Until the album will be ready. We’ll mix it in the US and then we’ll start again with never-ending mission…Tours, interviews…That’s what we do.
The more people join us, the more we spread our message. That’s next.