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Guido of Good Intentions HC

I know Guido for quite some time now and when he mentioned doing a new project, called “Good Intentions HC” I was curious to see what that was all about…

Hey Guido, sorry for letting you wait so long. Busy times, busy times… Did you actually expect this interview to still happen at all?

Hey Pim, I never doubted this to happen. I know what it’s like being busy. My job changed a lot over the last two years which results in me being away from home for weeks at a time. Therefore I’m not able to do everything I’d like to and things keep piling up at home. So when I get back I have to deal with the things I couldn’t handle while being away. Good Intentions HC keeps me busy lately as well as booking shows (Stepdown) and of course also visiting other great shows. And then there are friends to hang out with and a wife I love to bits and try to spend as much time with as possible. So some things have to take a back seat sometimes whether I like that or not.

Yeah, you clearly understand how it is haha. So what’s on your mind at the moment?

The April release of the Minutes 12”. The two shows we have booked on March 22nd and 30th at AK47 in Düsseldorf. The Judge reunion I might see in May. The peanut butter curry I’m going to prepare for dinner when my wife gets back home from work. Starting a new band is always on my mind ever since my old band No Easy Run broke up in Jan. 2009. AND the bunch of Unbroken records that my man Dan is bringing back from the US. This pretty much finishes my Unbroken collection (40 records so far plus the 10 I’ll be getting tomorrow). So hopefully I can get back to working on that vinyl discography of theirs that I started a while ago. It’s crazy in here 😉

Guido Ritz

To this day (about 10 years later) listening to ‘life. love. regret.’ stirs up so much that I cannot listen to it without feeling that pain again.

50 Unbroken records? Holy shit. That’s insane haha. What makes Unbroken so special to you? I did just open the door for an essay on Unbroken didn’t I? Please tell me I didn’t haha.

Well, actually I have 53. Lost track there for a minute, haha. But don’t worry… no essay.

I first heard Unbroken in the like ‘93 and liked them right away. Then, I think it was ‘94 or ‘95, they did an euro-tour. I went to see them and Battery play at the BüZe in Cologne. At the time though, I have to admit I liked Battery better which was due to their lyrics being more accessible for me. Unbroken’s lyrics, especially those on ‘life. love. regret.’ are a lot more personal except for ‘Razor’ and ‘In the name of progression’, of course. This is probably where you’d expect something along the lines of ‘…after I saw them live they grew on me…’ but that’s not the case. It was about 8 years later that I went through some bad times and suddenly I felt what I couldn’t grasp before. And this is what makes them so special to me. To this day (about 10 years later) listening to ‘life. love. regret.’ stirs up so much that I cannot listen to it without feeling that pain again. Loads of bands can make you feel good but no other can touch me this way.

Lyrics and music on ‘llr’ are in perfect harmony. Add to that the personal writings on the extra insert and the cover artwork that is not only one of the most beautiful but also reflects the mood of the record perfectly. The whole thing is just marvelous. A perfect package. And then they managed to release two more 7”es that are again different yet totally awesome in their own respect. They didn’t rely on what worked and still, or probably because of that managed to impress people and gain a larger audience with every release without alienating any of their old fans. A rare quality in hc/punk. And if you don’t feel me on this there are three words that I will say….. haha.

You already mentioned it, but you just started this initiative called “Good Intentions”. Who’s behind it and what do you guys do exactly?

Good Intentions HC or GIHC is a label / distro run by Dan xAfricax of Punch and me. Dan moved next door to me a few years ago and we hit it off right away. From the beginning he did screenprints with two other friends of his. That got professional now and I can only urge everyone to check out Pressure & Ink Screenprinting. With this background it was easy for Dan to decide to help out his buddy Kurt by taking over the European distribution for xCatalystxRecordsx. The Shirts get printed and sold here, so the no- shipping thing helps with keeping the costs and therefore retail prices low.

After that decision was made Lifetime came over for a few shows and since Dan (xAfricax) knows Dan (Yemin) P&I printed their merch. The band wasn’t sure though how much they would sell and asked if P&I could take some of the shirts back. This brought up the idea of making merch from US bands available for kids over here so they don’t have to spend shitloads of money on postage and especially with the recent increase in postal rates it proved to be a good one. So far Dan got his friends in Loma Prieta on board which means we exclusively distro one of their designs in Europe and the same is agreed on with Dangers and Beau Navire but we’re still working on finally making that happen. Talk about being busy 😉 So if anyone reads this and thinks this is a good idea get in touch. We’re always looking for more bands.

So doing xCatalystxEuropex and the Merch idea plus the fact that I did a half assed distro for years led to us joining forces and starting an online shop.

We were already working on GIHC when friends of mine (Minutes) played me their first rehearsal recordings. I was stoked and so was Dan. At the same time Dan got sent rough recordings for a new band of one of his friends (xCounterx) and those who know that band know that liking them is an instant reaction when you hear them.

My old label Sandblaster Records wasn’t going anywhere after the dive we took by releasing the Grim 12” so Jaybeez of Hangin’ Tough fame and I decided to fold it. Yet I wanted to release the upcoming Minutes 12” and Dan was into helping his friends in xCounterx to get their Demo out to people in Europe. Total no brainer to use GIHC for that.

Guido Ritz

This brought up the idea of making merch from US bands available for kids over here so they don’t have to spend shitloads of money on postage and especially with the recent increase in postal rates it proved to be a good one.

The beginning of something new is always exciting. Will people pick it up, will they ignore it… How’s it doing so far?

Oh yes. Totally. So far it’s going pretty good. We don’t have the biggest stock to choose from and my distro has a few dated items in it but dusting the thing of, putting it online and actually taking it out to shows again proved to be a good idea. Seems the things I thought were dated are still on the want list of a few people, haha. Also we get a decent amount of orders through the webshop so people seem to be picking up on it. Always nice to get a few more likes on facebook though or people who follow our blog. Maybe even some more orders, haha.

How about future plans?

Well, the Minutes 12” is at the pressing plant right now and pre-orders will be online late march. Dan’s just back from his holidays so we can get to talk about printing the covers soon. Then we have to focus on the xCounterx release as well as making those Dangers and Beau Navire shirts happen.

Being open for more merch ‘licensing’ deals is a constant thing as well as taking the distro out for a spin whenever possible. On the distribution side we try to specialize in 2nd hand vinyl, classic vinyl re-issues and releases that are generally a little harder to come by. No need to get more of the same you can order from every other distro. Labelwise there are a few ideas for further releases with a 7” by Hangin’ Tough being the most likely of the possibilities but even that is only an idea so far. We’ll see. And you can too if you follow us on twitter, facebook or our blog 😉

Were you a salesman in a previous life? With all your linkdropping (about half of the links have been removed in the final article) haha?

Haha. I don’t think so but if I was it’s coming through pretty late, haha.

If you could recommend our readers anything from your distro, what would it be and why? Feel free to plug one of your own releases, but I want to hear about a non-”Good Intentions”- release too haha.

Haha. Of course the Minutes 12” will be a total ripper for any old folks like me being into 90’s ebullition stuff. The first thing that came to mind when I heard their rehearsal recordings was Struggle. How can you go wrong with that. Funny thing is previous to me mentioning Struggle and Ebullition no one in the band had ever heard of them. Young Guns 😉 So it’s definitely not a cheap rip off. Listen here. And of course the xCounterx demo is totally up to par. Raw youth crew is still one of the best things you can listen to and they are very good at it. What more can you say? Straight Edge! GO!!! haha

Other than that it’s pretty hard to choose between some of the 2nd hand stuff we got like Bad Brains, NFAA, Born Against, etc. but if my life depended on it I’d probably pick the Necros 7”. No need to get over excited though. No OG T&G pressing. Just the 2nd press of their demo on Alona’s Dream Records. That guy did an amazing job on this release working together with the band and Ambionic Sound where they originally recorded those songs. The original 1980’s recordings of the Necros demo on a 7” in good soundquality! How can anyone not be stoked on this. So, yeah. For me this is the cherry atop everything else.

When we talked about this interview you mentioned you wanted to talk about the increase of American national flags on merch, artwork and stage?

Haha. Yeah, well… I just don’t get it. Maybe it’s just me but I cannot remember anything like that from any HC band in the 90’s. I always thought HC was about getting over those stupid barriers (borders). It being a worldwide scene and all. Of course there are quite a few examples in the early days of (especially NY) hardcore but come on. Isn’t it time to get over that? Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s a totally different thing in Germany. But then again…. how can you be proud of something so arbitrary as the place you were born? Isn’t there a lot of bullshit every government is involved in? Waving a flag means promoting everything it stands for. Also the bad things. And that’s something I cannot get behind at all. Too much bullshit going on for me to wave any one of those flags and it seems that people don’t care anymore. Which is what mostly bums me out about it. A lot of bands are all about having fun instead of being critical towards things as, for example, patriotism and the direction it is a step in. Of course there’s nothing wrong with fun and I’m also not very fond of the preaching kind. When I’m at a show I want to have a good time but those kind of politics people were discussing in the 90’s sure need a resurgence in my opinion. Bands like Born Against or Chokehold for example had a lot to say (whether you agree with it or not) and I don’t see too many of that kind these days. We need a more vibrant culture of discussing things we feel are not going the right way. An attitude of “fuck life ‘cause life fucked me” is not getting us anywhere. And waving a flag certainly means having a blind eye on the bad things it represents. At least to me that’s what it is and it always leaves a sour note.

Guido Ritz

We need a more vibrant culture of discussing things we feel are not going the right way. An attitude of ‘fuck life ‘cause life fucked me’ is not getting us anywhere.

You’re making some interesting points. Not sure if I agree with everything though. Like waving a flag is promoting everything it stands for? Don’t you think people waving those flags (aside from the people who don’t think about it when they do it) do it because of those things they believe in / support? I mean, I don’t think a football (soccer) supporter waving the Dutch flag is promoting the slave trade past we have when he’s waving that flag? He’s totally supporting the team though.

Well, soccer is a whole topic on its own that I don’t want to touch here. It would probably blow the boundaries of the interview, haha.

I’m not saying that someone waving a flag wants to support the bad things it stands for yet it is a symbol for that too and does represent that. The years of slave trade are well behind us but only in a certain respect. Also there are a lot of other things going wrong because people cling to borders that are either arbitrary or have been drawn with a lot of blood through forceful displacement. It’s always them against us and international companies use that to play out countries against each other bleeding all of us dry. It’s the sentiment of ‘we’ are pope, ‘we’ won but ‘they’ lost, etc. People disregard the negative, focus on what they like and cheer on. I don’t think that’s a good thing to do. We have to work together and not against each other just because we’re on different sides of a line on a piece of paper. You and me probably have more in common than I have with a lot of the people in my hood so I really don’t understand why I should be waving the German flag but not that of the Netherlands.

Point taken! Another thing you said. “We need a more vibrant culture of discussing things”. In general, people seem to care less and less I agree. That’s just how people are these days. Might be information overkill. People get so much information thrown at them, all day long, that they’re getting more or less immune to it. But do you think this actually can be changed again? And if so, how?

Hm, not sure if but I definitely hope that we can get some more content back into the scene. I totally agree with you on the overkill part but I think there is another aspect that influenced politics in hardcore: Dogmatism. Or in other words, people taking their political correctness a little too far and therefore alienating people. I think that ‘trend’ in the 90’s got people pissed and taking an opposite stand just to annoy ‘those PC freaks’. Leading more or less to two different factions in HC today. Those are, polemically speaking, the ones who repeat slogans on one side and those who don’t give a shit on the other. So I’d say it’s quite a task to get a discussion going again. Maybe by stepping away from political slogans and adopting what I think might be the only slogan that’s hard to misinterpret: ‘the personal is the political’.

Anyone remember those columns in fanzines? People writing about their experiences. Reading about the troubles someone else is going through or what they are contemplating on has always helped me find my own approach to a certain topic more than anyone trying to convince me from the ‘truth’. So maybe less preaching and more sharing of ideas without having to fear being ridiculed for being too emotional, irrational or whatever might be a good way. Not everything about the original emo scene was bad, haha.

I’m going to totally disabuse that answer: I would love to feature columns like that on SWNK, so if anyone’s reading this and wants to contribute? Get in touch. But you’re right, that sounds like an idea.

Let’s lighten the mood a bit, time to bring back the debate that’s been around forever. Pirates or ninjas? I’ll give you a hint, the correct answer is ninjas.

hahaha. Of course it’s Ninjas. Pirates are cool but Ninjas got the PMA. So there’s no doubt about it!!

PMA killing machines that is haha. I think that’s it Guido, I’m out of questions. Anything else to add? Now’s your chance.

Haha. PMA killing machines… always look on the bright side, haha. Meanwhile we agreed to do a euro version of the demo by NY’s Crushed. Check them out. They’re great. And make sure to keep an eye on us. We’re moving. haha. Thanks for everything.

And another link.. Haha, good luck with it all Guido!

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