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 sch interviews                                                      In Bosnian
DEUTSCHE WELLE, July 2002. - online at
© Robert Šoko, Radio Deutsche Welle Sarajevo

We feel we're an international band - not measured in terms of success, but vocationally!

An interview with Senad Hadžimusić – Teno / SCH

(By: Robert Šoko)

For the past 20 years, Senad Hadžimusić – Teno has made the kind of music many can't fathom. Noise a lá SCH. Teno has left an indelible mark on the music scene of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Teno was and remains underground. Real underground!

· Why SCH?

SCH is short for schizophrenia, although we've not used that for a while, this full name. The point is that when we started out, we believed that our society was truly sick. Since not one of the day's leaders or leading intellectuals ever wanted to face the question of the society's health, or the responsibility of declaring "we are not well, something's wrong, we're either bad folk, or simply ailing", we basically decided to say: fine, we're going to declare ourselves sick. In due course, however, it transpired that we were right, since all that happened later was the consequence of this sickness, an effect of this undeveloped psycho-mental state of the Balkan nations.


· In your view, what afflicted this pre-war socialist society?

Society pre-war was in any event less sick than today's lot. There's nothing normal about the way things are following the war, which at least was not the case before it. In those days it was at least possible to compare oneself with other nations and say: okay, the entire world is a bit askew but we're not that much more "sick" than most others around us.


· In what way did the work of SCH point to this so-called sickness?

SCH cannot change anything, that's clear, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't do anything.


· Are you in any way a product of the "New Primitives" idea or is SCH something altogether different? 

It's nothing to do with New Primitivism. Even a cursory knowledge of NP and our music would clearly show there's no link. We are simply the alternative, everything that's destined to fail basically, something that's a reaction towards the state of society. Or art, if you prefer, or culture in general. 


· This suggests SCH is basically condemned to failure, which is not really the case.

Perhaps not, SCH is a success of sorts, but it's more a question of changing the model. SCH could be a part of this model, but SCH itself means nothing until the whole model changes. Our work will not change this model, ten such bands wouldn't do it. It can only happen through robust political action, one that's supported by many segments of society.


· What kind of change would you envisage?

Towards less hypocrisy, less selfishness, more organisation, less shoddiness. A change of all the things we deem and experience as negative. But you simply accept things and then, eventually, try to find from within, as an individual, to try and change things, in order not to sink completely, in order to survive.


· How accurate is it to describe SCH as a "Bosnian underground band", and what is that supposed to mean anyway? 

It's okay as tags go. Not sure about "Bosnian", we are more or less, although we feel like an international band, though obviously not in terms of success but vocationally. Underground is simply all that which has no chance – in subcultural terms – to become that model I mentioned earlier. No chance of breaking through and becoming the dominant current.


· How large is your audience? Does it even exist, what is made up of?

It was certainly larger before the war, but things were different then. Irrespective of all the negativity, it was more peaceful, we weren't as burdened. People could dabble in the so-called finer spheres, including our music, they weren't saddled with survival issues. A middle class was emerging, and in urban areas this also meant more "cultured" folk, so it all made more sense, more people out there could get what we're about, our gigs attracted more people, on average anything from 200-500. Only once did we have less than a 100 people come to see us, if memory serves. After the war, we were dormant, so I have no basis to talk about the situation today. It's only now with this new record that we've been re-activated, and we will play out so we'll see how it goes, but I'm rather sceptical.


· How do you go about convincing those who believe your music to be "heavy and alien" that it has nothing to do with drugs or such, but is rather an expression of a certain mental frame?
No idea. But I'm not encumbered by it all. I'm not an opponent of drugs, although I'm not a user. Basically I'm for the legalisation of all drugs. But that's a secondary issue and it's of no real interest to me. It's probably something to do with whatever chemical reaction takes place in my mind whenever I listen to music that turns me on. This means there are other things that help me understand and get into such music when I'm not in an altered state.


· What kind of music do you listen to?

Various, I like many things, from the Ramones to electronic stuff. I particularly love German bands. Always have.


· So "Neue Deutsche Welle " has left its mark on SCH?

Absolutely, I've been hooked on German music since the seventies, on Germanic musical tradition in general, not just rock music. I can say that my music and life in general is far more influenced by German music than anything Anglo-American.


· What's your opinion of music in Bosnia today?  

I think it's a lot worse than before the war. Things are simply not normal here. People are still struggling to just survive and in such conditions it's foolish to expect that people should be making "elitist" music. Although the opposite could also be true, it could well help move things forward towards a resolution of kind, some cultural and economic development. But I see music as being separate from the rest of life, and my music is not just music, it carries within some of one's views of things, although granted for most people it's just entertainment. Most musicians out there are in it for the cash, even if it's just enough to get by on. I try to understand them but quite frankly they disgust me. I'm also broke but I'm still going on, for I believe that's the only way to survive at the level of a human being, not that of a mouse.


· What are the creative conditions in Bosnia on the whole?

Terrible. Before the war, the band could afford rehearsal space, self-finance and record our albums etc. The old social structures that one could tap into for support are no more. You have to earn your instruments and that's impossible through music alone. I'm talking about SCH type bands of course. But here's an interesting item – I lived in Prague for a while and there I met many relevant social players and got to understand their reality through their eyes. In Prague, it's quite possible to get some organisation to finance the purchase of gear or the recording of a CD. But it's near impossible to get some individual to shell out from their pocket and finance your record, which is what happened in Sarajevo.


 · Who was this person?

Dževad Mujan. He was the main financial backer for this record, him and the "Obala" Art Centre Sarajevo. They found the money and also provided me with the computer gear on which I'm now recording. That's a rather Bosnian story for you. I don't know what it's like in Germany but I doubt someone there is willing to give their own cash to support a financially unviable project.


· Why unviable – aren't there enough people into your music over here?

People lap up what's served by TV. We are trained to eat what we eat at a young age. In another time and place, we would've been brought up to eat ants and that would've been normal. Culture is consumed through TV sets, anything that's served is gobbled up. Bosnia and Sarajevo are isolated isles with a sickening dearth of access to information. Individuals today can of course use the net and discover things, except most are docile. Young people here lack information about many things, about the dominant styles around the world, and especially in the area of alternative music. You just have to go virtually next door to Slovenia and you'll see the difference. I spent some time there working on sorting the archives of this club in Koper, a tiny town. Over the past ten years, they've had a stream of very bands through the club, bands it's impossible for us here to see or hear. And I don't mean huge names, just very talented alternative bands from Hungary, Switzerland or Slovenia etc.


· So Bosnian media have no ear for the alternative?

None whatsoever. Pre war, in the days when TV here was the bastion of communist ideology, we managed to get invited to appear and make some 7 or 8 videos. And this was by invitation. We never went knocking on their door. These days nothing. The reason is that even then you still had a couple of people on TV who were into stuff such as ours, but now such people are no longer here, not just in music, take any area – health, education. There's none there who can sense these impulses and think: ah, this is interesting, let's get this band on.


· Why Vril?

Vril is the name of a secret society in Germany, between 1919 and 1945. Vril is also the language spoken by the alleged inhabitants of Atlantis before it sank, a language composed of clicks and sounds. Furthermore, Vril is also the name of a type of energy, known as Vril magnetism, believed to exist in every living and inanimate object. I've read some books about this and it's quite interesting. It's a question of being able to master this energy, you are able to function more effectively as an organism. The essence of Vril is occultism, so basically occultism inspired this record, and the music is distanced from all things political, and all things society and politics, unlike our previous records.


· What's "new" about this records?

Essentially this is still SCH, the same "heaviness", the noise atmosphere, the dramatic elements, the mysticism, the so-called "darkness". Many see this as pessimism but not me. What's new is possibly the musical form it takes, that there's more electronic elements. This allowed me to be less limited, although I could have just as easily done it with classic instruments. But I opted to do it with loops. And singing. And for the first time I've also used someone else's lyrics, a poet friend of mine who lives in the US, a Bosnian, his name is Sasha Skenderija.


· What do you say to those who question your "sanity"?

Nothing. My music is not about being liked or not liked, it's a reflection of the mental state of people, or culture in general. Anyone who is compelled to question my sanity simply because they're unable to get the music, well I have nothing to say to them. Had it not been for the fucking war, perhaps I would've questioned my own sanity. It transpired, however, that even the most so-called pillars of society were just a bunch of cretins, the greatest of all in fact. The total dumbing down of the nation had affected everyone, leading many to succumb to the very aspects of themselves. I didn't start the war, I never killed or hated. I simply loathe those cretins who allowed themselves to be manipulated to the point where they went out and did terrible things. 


· Finally, perhaps a few more things we should know about Vril?

Well, I think this record is abstract enough to be considered a small artistic masterpiece. I don't think this is a CD you buy, listen to for a month then throw it somewhere. It's like getting a good book, and you keep it for life. I always do an honest job I think, as directed by my genes and hormones, and that's the most important thing. I have nothing to prove or fight for, I'm distanced enough, so welcome to all who venture. It's indicative that SCH has had some success. It's cause for optimism to know that in Sarajevo, perhaps less so in Bosnia, and in some other cities in the former Yugoslavia, SCH was relatively successful. We've had numerous reviews covering our work, videos on TV etc. When I reflect on other alternative bands who simply broke up after a year or two of being on a "down". We've still got that charisma or enigma, and that's good.


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