Words: Miljan Milekić
Dutch Ink Bomb is not your typical punk rock band. Sonically and lyrically unique, the four-piece tends to embrace their belief in written words, their love for reading and combine it with the most sociologically aware music. However, if you’re looking for simple, straight-forward punk anger, you’re at the wrong place. Ink Bomb want to make you think. And hopefully, they will succeed in doing it. Scroll below for the interview we just did with the guys (and girl).
Hey guys! First of all, congrats on your debut record. How does it feel to finally hold it in your hands?
Quirijn: Thank you very much! Making the record took quite some time as I recorded and produced the album myself, so being able to hold a physical product in our hands feels really good. We are really proud of the songs on the record, and the artwork turned out really great. Since the record came out, we received a lot of nice messages from all over the world, so that all that hard work hasn’t been in vain!
‘Fiction’ is a clear step forward compared to your early work, and it’s more serious in every aspect. How different was your approach to this record, and in what ways?
Quirijn: We were writing and recording our two EPs while we were doing a lot of shows as well. We realized that if we were going to make a full-length record, we should really focus on writing. So in 2018, we didn’t play that many shows, and we wrote for a full year. Writing ‘Fiction’ really became a collaborative effort. While our songs originate from ideas by our guitar player or singer, we all chimed in when creating the song. So a lot of the songs had a few iterations before landing on the final version. This made the songs better and better. We also just became better in writing, playing, and recording, so that helps.
In essence, you are a punk band, and you tackle sociopolitical topics, but not so much in a raw, obvious way. You try to dig deeper into the problem. How challenging is it to take that direction with songwriting?
Joost: It is less enticing to tackle these problems in this way because it doesn’t provide an immediate, direct answer. I am always doubtful about my own ability to do something about it. There are lots of big problems in the world that I would like to see taken care of, but I feel helpless in the face of such challenges at the same time. That is where the dichotomy in the songwriting plays a part. You recognize a problem and want to tackle it, but you don’t know exactly how. This makes for less militant songwriting but is more open for connection with others as I believe this sentiment is felt by many in different communities. I am not saying there is no merit in militant songwriting (there absolutely is), but it’s just not something we personally feel like doing.
I know that all of you love to read, and you look for inspiration in books. Can you possibly single out some titles, or authors that were especially influential during the ‘Fiction’ writing process?
Joost: Phew, to single out a couple of individuals, is very difficult, if not impossible. I’d say that the songs that I write are mostly not because of one specific book but rather are inspired by a lot of the stuff I read. For example, the book ‘Headscarves and Hymens’ by Mona Elthahawy I read during the writing process. There’s no song on ‘Fiction’ having specifically to do with the struggle of Islamic women against the patriarchy, but the underlying themes inspired songs on the album.
I guess that your name is enough of an answer, but do you still believe that the written word, whether it’s a novel, a poem, or a punk song, can influence society, or at least individual people, who are in the end, the part of society?
Arina: We’ve chosen our band name Ink Bomb after the attack on the editorial staff of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. The idea behind this name is that the free press and the written word are more powerful and more influential “weapons” than violence. Not every poem, book, or punk song will influence everyone who reads it, but nevertheless, we believe that the written word can make at least some people think. This could be an inspiration to change small aspects of their daily lives. Might sound a bit naive? Maybe, but this is how we deal with texts ourselves, so why not other people as well?
With the album finally out, what is next for Ink Bomb?
Joost: World domination, of course!
Paul: We just finished editing our new music video so that will be out soon. We are also preparing our yearly charity song – every year we record an acoustic cover song from which all proceeds go to a charity. This will be the fourth time we will be doing this.