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START BiH - 2006

Nothing Left to Conquer

33 Questions for Senad Hadzimusic Teno

(By Selvedin Avdic, translated by Rida Attarashany)

If there is an alternative musical scene in Bosnia and Herzegovina, then Senad Hadzimusic ĎTenoí is surely its driving force. He is the founding member of Bosnia sole authentic indigenous musical cult Ė SCH, a steadfast and unsoiled collective, even after all these years. Prolific after the war, the band recently released a compilation of SCH material dated 1983-1993. For Start BiH, Teno talks about dancing, bicycles, music, politics, football...

Youíve started dancing on stage at your gigs. Why?

Iíve been doing that for quite a while. I absolutely love dancing, although Iím perhaps too old to do it as well as I used to, but I love rhythmÖI used to spend entire nights at the Roxy club in Prague, until dawnÖ Not dancing all night perhaps, I wasnít into pills, but this is nothing new at any rateÖ

The media have branded your sound death disco, do you like this label?

I have no relationship to it. Perhaps itís the poverty of language that makes it necessary to invent such terminology in order to convey a certain sound to the readerÖ I donít see the point of this Ďdeathí part. SCH has been tagged with many labels, I donít think this one is closer to or farther from the essence of things.

Are you unable to put a larger band together or do you now prefer to perform solo, or with one associate?

To tell you the truth, itís no longer as easy to find the right collaborators, not it like it used to be. There are those whoíd jump at the chance to join the band, but it takes stamina, it takes workÖ On the other hand, theyíd also want money, and I cannot afford to pay them. This is simpler and cheaper. Basically there is no difference.

Your latest release is Only Cunts Donít Fear the Rain, a compilation of tracks from 1983-1993. Are you happy with SCHís past?

Yes, Iím pleased with what I had to offer. It couldíve been more possibly, I donít knowÖ But Iím not satisfied with what Iíve achieved. But it wasnít always up to me, there are many factors.

When are you going to make a radio hit?

Iíll never knowingly and deliberately write one. Although I think a couple of tracks of this album couldíve been radio hits. But there is no way SCH will get played on the radio here, since radio here is meant to be Ďlivelyí, so unless a serious stations makes an appearance, I donít see us getting rotation on radio.

How is it financially viable for you to release all these records?

Letís just say that I have a benefactorÖ which is quite different from a donor

You once said that the way out for Bosnia lay in an Islamic soul and a Germanic backbone. Got any other recipes?

People are constantly bringing up that phrase, but I donít even remember saying that such a recipe would save us. Mind you, Iíve said all sorts of things. What I meant perhaps that this could be a model for change. Germany is some sort of symbol of order. Iíve made better statements than that in my time.

Your latest gig was actually advertised on Federal TV. Is this you coming out of the underground?

We didnít pay for those, they offered it, I think thatís one up for the alternative scene.

You also once played in Aqua [a huge, crass commercial club in Sarajevo], which drew many different comments. Some saw it as sabotage tactics, others were confused, disappointed. How do you explain it?

There are always expectations but SCH does not play by established formulae. What harm can it do SCH to play in such a club? It can only harm the club. It certainly wasnít a show of support for them, god forbid.

Do you follow what goes in Bosniaís underground scene?

I donít really try. I see what I catch on TV or radio. I believe there could emerge an underground band that would be to my liking, perhaps it already exists, I just havenít heard of them. I no longer dig as deeply as I used to in my youth, when I rummaged through the undergroundÖ

Does the title of your latest album have anything to do with the flooding of New Orleans?

Rida Attarashany came up with that one. He could explain it better. I think it has to do with SCH surviving the great flood. That may sound arrogant but I concurred.

How come there is a homage to Karim Zaimovic on this album?

Darko Cvijanovic, who was close to Karim, wrote it. When I received the words, I was in a dilemma whether to put it to music or not. Itís quite demanding, like having to write a song about Srebrenica or similar. There are certain things you worry you could soil. In any case, judging by the reactions of others, I think itís a success.

Are you going to vote in the elections? Could you recommend a political option?

I donít think I will. I may decide on polling day. I couldnít even recommend any political option to myself. When, in late 1987, SCH dabbled in politics, we fully understood civic duty and the need to vote. However, I no longer think you can change anything through the poll, at least not for the time beingÖ

What are your views of the Dosta! [tr. Enough! Ė a civic political organisation] movement?

I became involved in politics at a time when the crisis in our country was so deep war loomed. It made sense then. I try to stay away from politics, I donít want to write songs about some moron in the presidency. I want to maintain an aesthetic bubble around me and not soil myself with politics. I think itís nicer, and certainly more humanistic as far as Iím concerned, to do something at the cultural level, rather than engage in political activism. [In the late eighties] we founded a political activist group, it was called "Phase One", and we were full of enthusiasm, just like "Dosta!" now. When we failed, I told myself I wouldnít do that again. Dosta! are ok as political groups go, the young should fight on. I donít want to be a downer, but theyíre tilting at windmills, a hippie sort of move.

How can things in BiH change then?

Radical solutions aside, you basically have to wait for all these negativities to die out, for those who foster them to die outÖ I think joining the EU would help considerably.

Do you see a solution for the middle-east crisis?

I hope that one day someone will thump Israel.

Why do you say that?

Iím sick of their policies whereby they think that only they can have nuclear weapons and wave them about. Theyíve obviously learnt what the Bosniacs here never have Ė that you must defend yourself by all available means. But it doesnít mean I support them in this. Itís been going on for far too long, stinks of a long war.

Do you have a tourist slogan for Bosnia?

No, and I donít like tourism. [Slovenian musician, artist and friend] Marko Brecelj heads the League Against Tourism. Iím not into tourism and I donít understand those who are, so no slogan from me.

Do you get song requests at gigs?

Weíve only played Sarajevo twice since reforming the band. In Zagreb we were asked for Kazumi and some others. Before the war it was always Romanija, a song Iíve since disowned.


Itís just not me. At the outset, SCH was more commercial, we then gradually got darker. Itís usually the other way around with bands. So Romanija was part of that, I got rid of it.

In my review of your latest CD, I compared you to Mark E. Smith, what was your reaction?

Iíve got one of their albums, theyíre ok. I donít know, no views either wayÖ

What have you been listening to lately?

Stuff that sound nothing like what I do. Muse, for example, slightly hard pop. Bach I listen to a lot. The other day I had Cakeís Never There on repeat, but thatís the only one of theirs I like. Also, Sparks.

You asked earlier whether there will be any questions about your favourite type of women. Go on thenÖ

Ha, ha, haÖ I was only joking, although you can learn more about a person from such questions than through the serious ones. Well, I used to be a fan of blondes but now I have a girlfriend who isnít one. Iím inclined to constantly change my mind. But I no longer think of women since I have a perfect fit of a girlfriend.

Recommend a book.

Junky, by Burroughs.

At one point you were fascinated by Vril, Atlantis, secret experimentsÖ

That was my inspiration for the Vril album. The problem is, when you talk about things like that, people are inclined not to take you seriously. I believe the Germans were capable of creating a new science. People like Schauberger, who experimented with water and sought to unearth a self-regenerating energy. Heís someone who couldíve set some new scientific principles. For things to be more humanist, ecologically more acceptable. He observed salmon swimming upstream to mate, overcoming great odds. Schauberger observed that the salmon do this without the use of any muscle, driven by some other energy. Heís not the only one of course.

How do you prefer to spend your time?

Working on my computer, cycling, walking with my girlfriend. So thatĎs spiritual, physical and emotional taken care of.

How long do you cycle for?

If the weather is good, three hours per day.

Do you like cars?

I wish there were no cars in Sarajevo. I wish theyíd go around the town. I donít like cars.

What film did you watch the most times?

I like Kubrick. Clockwork Orange and Space Odyssey 2001, there are others but I canít remember now.

Did you follow the world cup?

Only the Germans.

Do you think Zidane did the right thing in his altercation with Matterazzi?

No, particularly since this was his last game. And later when it transpired heíd insulted his mother/sister and that it wasnít racially based, that confirmed my view. Itís not like his mother was going to hear it. I donít really care frankly, itís all turbofolk, things like this are to be expected.

Are you for legalising marihuana?

I have subjective and objective views. Objectively, Iím not for banning anything. Subjectively, Iíd tell you not to do it.

Would you change anything in SCHís present?

Iíd change my surroundings. In the USA or Germany, a band like this would be successful, you could live off this. There are places to play there, thereís nothing left to conquer here.

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