BEYOND ROCK’N’ROLL #2: Interview with Los Chicos de Molly from Madrid

‚The band was created to rescue stories of uprisings, revolts, examples of self-defense against the establishment and the state. We are specially interested in the magnicides of the beginning of the 20th century and the end of the 19th century.‘

In October this year, the first album of the anarchist streetpunk band Los Chicos de Molly from Madrid will finally be released on vinyl. Along with a number of other international labels, we as Fire and Flames have the pleasure of releasing the album. Reason enough to get to know the comrades in our Beyond Rock N Roll series and ask them about their musical and political backgrounds as well as the state of the political and countercultural movements in their hometown Madrid.

FF: Buenos días Chicos de Molly and welcome to the Fire and Flames-Family! Can you just introduce yourselves at the beginning: Who stands behind the Chicos? How long have you been around as a band and have you played in other bands before?

LCDM: Hi everyone! The band is formed by Cuevas at the guitar, Fran at the base, Graja at the drums and Hector scream at the mic. We were born as a band in September of 2019, but we could only play on three occasions before the pandemic. About playing in other bands before and in the present, yes, several of us do play in other bands. Graja (David) plays the drums for A Quemarropa (Streetpunk from Burgos in the north of Spain close to the Basque country) which has been active now for 15 years and he played for another band called Vostock (streetpunk Madrid). Hectór played in Graveyard Kids and recorded several songs alongside Cuevas with the band C.E.P.O.. Fran, our base player, played in Kalambrazo (punk Madrid), and we´ve also had several other projects that never got around to play live.

The only one from Madrid is Hector, Cuevas is from Segovia, Fran and Graja from Burgos. In Madrid, each one of us lives in different areas of the city, but we get together weekly at the CSO (Squatted Social Centre) La Enredadera to give it our all….

FF: How would you describe your music, both musically and in terms of content?

LCDM: We define our music as punk. Punk for us means autonomy, “do it yourself”, a tool to base political projects and spread “La idea”. As to the content of the lyrics, we can talk about anarchist punk content or antiestablishment/ antistate, although we think the band was created to rescue stories of uprisings, revolts, examples of self-defense against the establishment/state (Owners, bosses, fascists, police, abusers, those who exploit non-human animals or the earth). We are specially interested in the magnicides of the beginning of the 20th century and the end of the 19th century. People that risked their lives, who went to their limits because they believed that their lives were not as valuable as the possibility to demolish the structures of the state. The empowerment that came with looking in the eyes of power and taking a stab. We think we must rescue these stories of true heroes. They have never gotten a street name or a square and history has ignored them.

‚People that risked their lives because they believed that their lives were not as valuable as the possibility to demolish the structures of the state. The empowerment that came with looking in the eyes of power and taking a stab. We think we must rescue these stories of true heroes. They have never gotten a street name or a square and history has ignored them.‘

FF: What does the band name Los Chicos de Molly refer to?

LCDM: The Molly Maguires was an secret Irish society that existed in the mid-19th century and emigrated mainly to Pennsylvania in the USA towards the end of the century. A secret group formed for the sole purpose of defending themselves against the abuse of power by big landowners and mine bosses, which was one of the toughest jobs of the era. The story tells that a woman named Molly, who seemed to have some leadership within the group, sometimes did the work and other times sent the boys to do it, and so they were called the Molly Maguires. There were several owners killed, mutilated and living in fear due to the actions of the Molly Maguires. To us it was interesting to see how effectively they were able to defend themselves against these assaults.

FF: Two of our favorite songs from the album are Todo por la idea and Último tango en Barcelona. Can you briefly introduce the songs, what are they about?

LCDM: „Último tango in Barcelona“ speaks about Ramon Clemente I García, a mentally disturbed miner. During the “tragic week of Barcelona” while bodies of mummified nuns were laid at the doorsteps of clerical buildings, Ramon picked up one of the bodies and danced around with it. This incident led him to being arrested, incarcerated and executed by a military tribunal on October 4, 1909.

“Toda por la idea” is our memory of Severino Digiovanni. Worker, typographist, poet, teacher and Italian anarchist who decided to emigrate to Argentina after the rise of fascism in Italy. There he began to politicise himself and to act clandestinely. Severino alone, with his money and many hours of work, published the newspaper “Culmine”. He was responsible for numerous attacks with explosives against banks and properties owned by Italian fascists in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires.

FF: How did you actually come to Fire and Flames as a label?

LCDM: All of us knew about your antifascism and your support of music and we thought it was a great idea to start a relationship. We believe the record label is a reference in Europe and very in line with the music that we listen to. We are extremely happy to work together and get to know each other. We would like to organise a concert with you over there or even a tour through Europe when Covid is over.

FF: In the announcement of your album Dinamita, you quote a speech by the anarchist Albert Richard Parsons, who was an important figure in the American labor movement and was hanged in 1887 for alleged perpetration of a bombing in Chicago. Why is this an important historical reference point for you? What (other) historical struggles are still important to you today?

LCDM: We thought it was a great speech because it explains how important and decisive dynamite was at the end of the 19th century, contextualizing the name of the album. There were other interesting anarchist phrases speaking about dynamite, like the one said by the German Johann Most, which goes something like this “ when you provide dynamite to the millions of oppressed people around the world, science has done it´s greatest deed”. But the life lead by Albert Parsons and his wife Lucy (born the daughter of a slave) during the American Civil War, their exile afterwards and their political militancy was what determined to mention it. And lastly, the all too well-known incidents of May 1st in Chicago, which demonstrates once more the murderous character of the State(s), for those who dare to question the least bit their laws. They killed workers around several rallies being held that day, and afterwards the explosive that killed several policemen. It demonstrates how punitive and vindictive the state(s) are and how police montages are nothing new, without saying with this that we don´t have to use self-defense. This seems to be forgotten in many places and the 1st of May is a festive and just another ordinary day.

Another important historic reference is the “La canadiense” strike promoted by the CNT (Confederación Nacional del Trabajo: anarquist syndicate) which paralyzed 70% of Catalan industry and got the 8 hour work shift amongst other improvements.

Also, worth mentioning are the anarchist insurrection of January 1932, January and December 1933 during the second republic or the libertarian/anarchist communes around the Aragon and Valencia areas, that controlled and collectivized the means of production during the Spanish Civil War. At last, the Makhnovist Revolution of 1911 and other insurrectionist and anarchist practices in South America and Asia that extend until the present time still have an importance for us.

‚We as anarchists think the more ethical, healthy way is to work for ourselves, and that someone from the bourgeois cannot take the product of your work.‘

FF: How do you define the connection between anarchism and the working class? Following on from this, how do you see the current constitution of the working class and the associated adequate class struggle in the 21st century (from an anarchist perspective)?

LCDM: This topic for us can go a long way. We as anarchists think the more ethical, healthy way is to work for ourselves, and that someone from the bourgeois cannot take the product of your work. The ideal would be to be part of a collective, everyone works for everyone and decide about our work. Sadly, since many years ago, being an anarchist in a capitalist society is difficult not to work for a wage under a boss, those who have the means of production.

We support and encourage reclaiming better working conditions for workers through syndicates, unions or any other means of pressure that is effective in reaching our objectives. In relation to this, CNT in Spain is one of the few unions who do not receive government funding and their methods of pressure are very effective against those who hold the power, although right now unfortunately they are not that strong. It is sad to see how many affiliated members the CNT has, compared to the strength it had at the beginning of the last century, when it was the strongest working force. It is also sad to see how most of the working class in Spain, with the history of the country, they don´t even know what libertarian communism is. The adequate class struggle would be good strikes, sabotage and rallies. But those things seldom happen anymore, or at least not with the necessary support or strength.

FF: What is the current state of the countercultural and political movement in Madrid that you feel you belong to? Is there an overlap between politics and counterculture or are they rather separated?

LCDM: We think there are a lot of places where things are really complicated. We feel as if there are only a few of us, political spaces are harder and harder to maintain (changes in squatter´s law, more effective police methods to evict), some divisions amongst anarchists surrounding certain topics of debate, certain dogmatism and gang like mentalities which has made us isolate from society, and at the same time we feel that in this fucking city no one gives a shit.  

We have to see things in a positive way and we should mention the groups, collectives or associations of “living places” who are practicing mutual support, defending people so that police won’t leave them on the streets, giving them habitational solutions, informing and lending out material that they can use. People who support people who are economically and emotionally enslaved, up to those imprisoned in the CIES (prisons for immigrants), mutual aid and support groups that take in food for the most needy families, of which these families are also volunteers, without the presence of the state.

We think that in most cities, it is in the poor neighborhoods where the most needs exist and there are or develop more political groups or collectives. In the neighborhoods where the bourgeois is, there are few or none at all. At last, in Madrid the punk, oi! and hardcore scene is very politicized and there are very few bands that are openly apolitical. For the most part the movement is associated with anarchism, communism or to horizontal and self-organized collectives.

FF: How is Corona and the state’s Corona policy being handled? From the outside, the situation looked catastrophic. In addition to the high infection and mortality rates, the social consequences in the Spanish state seem to be much more acute than in Germany, for example regarding consequences like impoverishment, housing problems and energy poverty. Were there or are there broad progressive mobilizations against this and/or were self-defense networks built up or strengthened in neighborhoods to support each other?

LCDM: It is a really difficult situation with so many dead and affected a to tighten the grip of social control and divide us. When all of this is over we will have to make an extra effort to recover our social net, the neighborhood support groups, regain our lives through human contact.

Big multinationals and companies have made their power even stronger because of this. Maybe the problem is that in Spain Covid had a greater impact on the economy, since the economic restructuring led by the Social Democratic Party from 1982 onwards, tourism and the service sector became the main economic engine, even though we are for example, the vegetable plot of Europe. We depend on other capitalistic countries to survive because if they close the faucet of tourism the country will sink economically. We think that they made Spain into the bar of Europe where you have to smile at the tourist and build up walls for the migrant and our motto is clear: tourist go home, migrants are welcome. There has been some mobilization, but it is very hard to question the government mandates against something invisible and with which people seem to be more or less in tune with. Be as it may be, this situation has put into perspective how the capitalist system has forced the machinery creating something which we haven’t even been able to predict, which could scape its own gear, “ slowing down the wheel”, and waiting to save the machinery in detriment of those who make it work, trying to save time and time again an economic system in detriment of our freedoms.

FF: What should you do when you are in Madrid (Bars, bistros, social centers, memorials, concert places)? And what bands can you recommend from the area currently?

LCDM: Here in Madrid regarding bars and restaurants there are the “Chascarrillo” in Vallekas which is an awesome bar run by a friend or the B13 (vegan restaurant), the Label, Loukanikos, Achuri of Lavapies which are all anarchist bars. There are several social centers or squats with different characteristics. El Coko were we where born and where concerts take place on most of the weeks, La Enredadera a feminist squat where we rehearse now, el EKO in Carabanchel or la Atalaya amongst others. Sadly, lately we have lost many of these social spaces.

Regarding memorials, there is a plaque from where Mateo Morral threw the flower bouquet, some small monument to the International Brigades and that´s about it. Here the government doesn´t like those things. We re-named a square in honor of Xose Tarrio, anarchist prisoner, tortured and murdered by the state but the local council took the plaque that we put up.

In regard to the bands, we recommend are Golpe de Gracia, Antídoto, Lagrimas y rabia, La cruz, Barrenfields, Oxido, Accidente, Genderlexx, Mango Wood or Hard Life and in the state, Sewer Brigade, Facta, Blessure, Venganza, Arrest, Distrito 16 or Marmol. We could name thousands of bands who have played or are playing, but it’s a good start. All great people and always available to lend a hand for a good cause.

FF: Thanks so much for the interview and we’re really looking forward to the release as well. Do you want to say anything in closing?

LCDM: Thank you so much for the interview and the support you’ve shown in our project.  We´ve really enjoyed answering such thorough interview. We hope you the best in your project and that we can meet up soon and exchange opinions. Mutual aid does not know borders. Salud y Anarquía.

Los Chicos de Molly: Facebook | Spotify | Dinamita LP

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