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Barb Yuhas (of I Object) Interview

Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

The openly pro-choice, anti-war I Object is a band which looks to perservere within the DIY East Bay scene fueled by the recent release Teaching Revenge. After a bit of a line-up change the band has settled on a solid four piece and are about to embark on a two month tour of Europe. I had the opportunity to ask lead singer Barb a few questions about the European hardcore scene, self-censorship and more.

What is the significance behind the name “I Object?”

Barb: The name I object came from a song but also the significance of the name is that we are a band that is very vocal and outgoing about issues we find important by addressing them thru lyrics and at our shows.

As you’re heading overseas for your upcoming tour, do you have any preconceived perceptions about how the hardcore scene overseas differs from that of your East Coast scene?

Barb: We are unsure what to expect from the hardcore punk scene in Europe. We have heard only great things about the treatment and respect of bands visiting there. I’ve heard there is more of a focus on taking care of bands through preparing vegan food and other ways of appreciation that I think the USA needs to start focusing on more.

The I Object website has a link supportive of Indymedia.com which seems to acknowledge a lot of non-mainstream news stories and your songs have overlying statements confronting and questioning apathy. What differences are there between that of the punk community and others when it comes to activism and voicing personal opinions?

Barb: The DIY scene, be it punk or any other, needs to focus more on communication. The way I was introduced to the DIY punk scene was through activism and punk being intertwined. As I get older I notice mostly they are not connected at all, which is a sad thing. Also I think lyrics sheets are very important and bands are finding less importance in including them in releases. A lot of bands I know who write great meaningful lyrics never speak of them while playing and I think most of that is because of how hard it is to open up to a huge crowd for fear that someone will shoot you down or just talk over you. Public speaking for anyone takes time and it’s such an important fear to overcome because music is about the message.

The message touched on in “Lay It Out” explains the album cover in my opinion. Could you explain a little further the statement taken from the I Object website “I have wasted far too much time trying to get my point across without stepping on people’s toes and crossing the line?”

Barb: When confronting issues at a show or in a ‘zine I have always thought of a way to address it without upsetting anyone directly. And I have become so fed up with dumbing down my point to cater to those people. Stating a problem and saying this is screwed up and how it shouldn’t be tolerated and ways to keep that crap out of our lives isn’t an opportunity to put it nicely. The album cover is a great example of it. It’s gory, potentially inappropriate, and has a strong point about bad learned behaviors and how people act how they were taught. And it’s about negative reinforcement. I am sure there will be people who miss the point and thought we were just trying to be ‘extra punk’ by having a cop being stabbed on the back cover. It’s not that at all.

From a musical standpoint, the album squeezes 16 songs into 19 minutes and completely encompasses a traditional hardcore blueprint. Are there any bands currently in the scene that are experimenting with this recipe and finding success by breaking the “mold?” Furthermore, have I Object ever tried to step outside of the conventional sound?

Barb: We definitely end up disregarding how a song should be written part for part. I think as a result of this we appeal to more than just the ‘punk scene’ and cross over into hardcore elements as well. I find myself relating more to bands lyrically than musically. We tour with bands all the time and the last one was a power violence band which is funny because we were so musically different. We are compared to bands of today sometimes but it’s usually on a female vocalist level.