12 QUESTIONS: Antibalas
speaks out on immorality of war
|FUN IN THE SUN.
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra bring their funky beats to The Forest
City this Thursday.
By Megan O'Toole
Martin Perna, baritone sax player of the Brooklyn-based Antibalas Afrobeat
Orchestra, took a few moments out of his busy schedule to answer The
Gazette's 12 Questions.
1) How would you describe your band in one sentence?
Joyous rhythms of funk and resistance.
2) Do you prefer playing music in the studio or rocking out live?
Live it's the difference between music and a musical product. An
essential element of our music is the crowd's energy.
3) Does the band ever fight while being on the road?
There aren't really any conflicts; it's just more making sure that everyone
is always 100 per cent there. As long as the music is there, everything's
4) What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
We're not a very crazy band, but crazy things happen to us. On the way
to a festival sponsored by the federal government in Canada, our entire
band was detained for four hours at the border and strip-searched.
5) Who is your favourite author and why?
David Rees he's the author of a book called Get Your War On.
It's a satire of current events and American complacency.
6) What is your view on the war in Iraq?
This war, like all violent wars, is immoral, and I think it's making the
situation worse for Americans in the short-term and in the long-term.
America's credibility in the world is dropping. It's a real disgrace because
America has so much potential, but it's moving away from the ideal. I
think about leaving every day.
7) What do you think about Michael Moore's attack on Bush at the
I didn't watch the Oscars, but I think [using that event as a forum for]
speaking out is completely necessary. It balances things out. Any opportunity
we have as creative people, we need to seize, and try to put forth the
8) What musician or artist do you have the most respect for right
Basically, anybody who's keeping their soul intact while sharing their
art. It doesn't matter if you're independent or a superstar, as long as
you can keep it together without losing hope.
9) How do you feel about the new wave of TV-manufactured bands
(eg. American Idol)?
It's more of a product than it is music. These people are looking for
money; they're not looking to make art. It's not the kind of music that
nurtures you, it's more like a quick fix of something new and sweet
it's kind of like going to the store and grabbing a Twinkie rather than
taking the time to make a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice.
10) What disappoints you the most about the music scene today?
There isn't that much that disappoints me. There's so much good music
in New York, and I see so much new talent, so it's pretty exciting. The
one thing that disappoints me, though, is that the industry doesn't want
to pay musicians what they need to live. Rock stars get ripped off all
the time, while corporations make millions of dollars.
11) What trend do you think is the most over-hyped in the entertainment
Materialism the focus status and name brands, and the idea that
image is everything.
12) Any last words for Western readers?
Get ready to dance! Also, I just want to add, there are millions of people
in New York who don't support this war and are looking for peace.
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra will be hitting Call the Office this Thursday
night. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.