The Agitators

1. Cheers can you introduce the band, members and how you know each other?

Oi!, The Agitators are a streetpunk band from Belgium. We combine Oi!, punk and folk into a mixture of hard-hitting, sing-a-long anthems. We’ve got Markus (the oldest and ugliest one, LOL) on drums, Marc (my brother) on vocals, Dave (the metal dude) on bass and myself (Bart) on guitar. We all knew each other (especially Marc and myself, haha) before we became band members. It’s important to us to have a group of friends in the first place, more important than having the best possible musicians in one band!


2. When and why came decision to start Agitators? Have members experience with some other bands?

Markus (drums) and myself (Bart, guitar) frequented the same pub in Antwerp. Both our bands had split up so we decided to start a new punk/Oi band. Our main goal was (and still is) to have loads of fun on stage and play songs that make you put your fist in the air and start to sing along. We all have been in bands before we started The Agitators. Markus played bass/vocals in Zyklome A and Eardamage, Marc and myself had a punk/hardcore band (Wheeping Shitheads / Double U.S.) and Dave had been fooling around in some obscure metal band.
3. I know you have some CD´s Meating the Lads, Salute to All and split 7´´ . How was the recording and cooperation with the labels?

We’ve recorded everything in my own studio (High Lake Hill Studio). Back then I had a very basic recording system. The split 7” was actually one of the first recordings I had ever done. You can hear a big difference in sound quality from the 7” up to the last album (Salute To All) because I gained more experience. A while ago I upgraded my studio to ProTools HD and became full-time recording engineer. In the beginning we recorded a 4 song demo, burnt it on CD-R’s and gave tons of them away for free at shows. After a while Jason from Street Anthem Records (USA) contacted us, he had heard the demo and wanted to release our album. We’re still very grateful to them for giving us a chance!!! The split 7” was released by friends of us, Marcel & Ludo from Rock’n’Roll Radio. In 2005 we went on a US-tour with Funeral Dress. Their label, SOS Records, organized the tour. Our mates from Funeral Dress put in a few good words for us, and when Ezzat (SOS Records) saw some of our shows, he offered us a deal for “Salute To All”.


4.What about the gigs in Belgium? Is it difficult to find a place for oi/punk band to have a gig??

Nowadays we play more abroad than in Belgium. Due to leftwing/rightwing fights at gigs a lot of promoters stopped putting on punk/oi! bands. We had a couple of good oi/punk years in the past. I guess, when everything calms down again, we’re gonna have more oi/punk gigs again.
5. How it is with drugs in Belgium? Is it big problem?

Other than beer, I don’t do drugs. The drug politics in Belgium is a joke to me. You’re allowed to smoke weed and have some in your pocket for personal use, BUT you’re NOT allowed to buy or sell it in Belgium! So all the hippies have to get their stuff in the Netherlands, hahaha!
6.How often do you play gigs in Belgium or abroad? Do you like it?

I prefer playing abroad because it’s more adventurous. Always looking forward to play festivals like Rebellion (HITS) and Concrete Jungle!
7.Can you describe the best and the worst gig ever?

Best gig was the first time we played Holidays In The Sun in Morecambe. We headlined on Thursday, the place was packed and everyone was having a blast! The year before I was at that same festival, dreaming of once playing HITS with my own band… Worst gig…hmm, would be some squat. We don’t play in Belgian squats no more. Most of the time they nag about politics, let you play at 3 ‘o clock in the morning on some shitty p.a. system and at the end of the day tell you there’s no money to pay you.
8.I really like your sound, whuch bands influence you?

I guess all the bands I listen to, influence me in some way. Let’s say, Cock Sparrer, Argy Bargy, Beerzone, Cockney Rejects, Hard Skin, Pogues, The Crack, Last Resort, Evil Conduct,…


9.Can you describe the Belgish scene? I know many good bands like Pride etc. Can you told us something about some new breed bands and give us the webs or myspace?

We played at the Pride farewell-gig a couple of years ago ;-) Bands worth checking out: Unite Against Society: The Jesters: The Neglected Wood Pigeons: The Nipples: 2 Fatties And The Bloody Beerboys:
10.What is your opinion on political extrems in scene? Have you got problems with those wankers? ?

It’s like you’re saying, they’re a bunch of wankers. Everyone is entitled to have his own opinion but at gigs etc. you should leave your politics at the door. In 2005 I helped organizing a local festival (Goorrock). We had The Hotknives, The Kids, Deadline, Evil Conduct and many more on the bill! One of the bands performing that day were The Porters but their singer was on holiday so they brought along Olaf from the Stage Bottles. We had “NO POLITCS” posters at the entrance. 10 minutes after he arrived at the festival, Olaf was ordering us to remove people from the festival because they were wearing a celtic cross and a Kastelein (skinhead pub in Brugges) shirt. We refused to do that and told him that they would be removed IF they started trouble. But Olaf couldn’t stop and called them nazi’s when he was on stage. A small fight broke out, but nothing big. After the show, Olaf went back to them and confronted them again and again and again…the rest of the day was a disaster! Few days later, he started a hate campaign against The Agitators, accusing us of being rightwing etc… Those political extremists remind me a lot of the football hooligans: “Oh look, he’s from another team…let’s go smash his head in!”


11.What about football? Are you interested in hools/ultra thing?

My brother is a fanatic Royal Antwerp FC fan. They’re in second division now. That’s why he wrote “We’ll be back” (Salute To All). I’m not really interested in the hools/ultra thing although it’s a fascinating thing to see. Few years back I went to all the Antwerp matches and they had (and still have, I guess) some tough hooligans. It’s crazy to see how many fans follow them when things get rough.
12.Do you know anything about Czech Scene??

No not really, maybe you could introduce me to some bands?
13.Plans for the future?

We’re working on new material and hope to release a new album later this year…
14.Words on the end?

Many thanks for the interview, hope we can come over someday to play and meet the Czech scene! CHEERS & BEERS, Bart