Amongst the most prolific bands of our times, SELF DEFENSE FAMILY is also the weirdest one. I don’t know how many names they went through, nor why they change that much. Made as a collective of many members, they’ve released tons of records and toured a bunch worldwide. Honestly, they’re quite a mystery. And as much as I’d love to pierce through it, the work that it implies affraid me a bit. But one day, I’ll do it.
Anyway, the first time I saw them, it was at Fluff 3 years ago more or less. A great show indeed and I’m still impressed by their singer, who’s stage presence was crazy. Kaila was also playing bass in the band and I remember them covering a bunch of old school hardcore tunes on the free stage tent, where they played a unexpected show.
Last year, she played at Fluff again, but with GOODTIMES BOYS and was doing the merch for MEAN SEASON. It’s the first time that we spoke, and where this interview started kind of. Most of this was done through e-mail though, because at that time I wasn’t taking my voice recorder everywhere. She was on tour with Self Defense Family in the United State when she answered those questions.
It was a relatively sunny day in Rokycany, not to hot, but anyway, I ripped off my shorts while stage during TORSO set. As a friend told me, I looked like shit from afar, super dirty with my destroyed pant, while I was waiting for BARREN to start their gig. I was stuck in front of the stage, I didn’t want to miss this out. On stage side, a safe spot, Kaila was chillin here.
DxR : “How did you end up doing the merch girl at the Mean Season show at the Fluff Fest last year ? Did you follow them on more gigs ?”
Kaila Stone : “Oh I didn’t really do merch for them. I was just with my friend who offered to stay by their table for 20 minutes while they did something. Goodtime Boys played with them in Budapest like a week later I think. I’m usually a bit sceptical of unexpected reunions but they were really good. Despite not playing Lesser Man.”
Kaila hails from London and she is a devoted Arsenal Football Club supporter.
KxS : “I have lived in North London my entire life, specifically an area called Highbury which is home to the most beautiful club in the world, Arsenal. I was also honoured to play for the ladies youth team for two years which is the highlight of my life so far.
It is amazing to see women’s football pushing on and getting some well deserved recognition these days but it’s still a rough gig. I would love to get into coaching one day. My Mum trained to be a coach around the same time that I was playing and it just seemed like the coolest thing. Even on the small scale she was doing it on you know? Youth clubs. But I’ve got a bit of a tactical mind. I spend about 30 minutes before every game on FIFA getting that shit just right only to lose by a 90th minute scripted goal. Thanks EA.
Thierry Henry is my favourite player. Grew up adoring his skill and demeanour. He could be really tongue in cheek and loved winding people up but also took the game so seriously. At the time some said a little too seriously but since his recent retirement and growing status as a club legend he’s let his emotions through a little. I recommend watching the video of him unveiling the statue of him at the Emirates Stadium where he has a little cry.
Second favourite player has got to be Patrick Viera. He was terrifying to watch. I grew up just being glad that he played for my team because I would hate to oppose him. Carried himself so strongly and just imposed himself, worked so hard for the team all the time. That smile too.”
DxR : “How many arsenale related things do you own ? The most expensive ? Would you put more money into a hardcore merch piece or Arsenal merch ?”
KxS : “I haven’t spent a lot of money on any Arsenal stuff that I have…I just never threw it out and it still fits. The 98/99, 00/02, 02/04 home kits, 99/2001 away kit, some other bits and bobs that I’ve seen go for a fair few quid on eBay but I don’t think I’ll ever sell any of it. I was at a flea market in Berlin last year and found the 92/94 home kit in a stall that sold old football shirts. I almost died. I was borin in 92 and have memories of my Mum wearing that kit. 6 euros well spent!!”
DxR : “Are you satisfied with Arsène Wenger ? And Thierry Henry ? And Samir Nasri ?”
KxS : “I fluctuate but I’ve been solidly on team Wenger for the past two years. Arsenal is a frustrating team to support but it’s not all his fault. The past decade has been rough, paying off the stadium and having to compensate by letting some of our best players go. The fact that we’ve remained in the Top 4 of English football and continued to play in the Champions League despite that says enough. Thierry forever, Nasri never.”
DxR : “First match you ever went to/saw ? Favortie one ?”
KxS : “I can’t remember the first match I ever went to but I went to the Liverpool Home game during the Invincibles season when we won 4-2 is a highlight. Henry putting Carragher on his arse and going on to score was incredible to witness. It must be on Youtube.”
DxR : “How does it feel to support the same team as the Queen or John Lydon ?”
KxS : “No comment.”
DxR : “Do you practice any other sports ?”
KxS : “When I get home I’m gonna start playing badminton on a regular basis. I’ve never really played any other sports than football and badminton. I have some whack health stuff that limits how much I can exert myself physically but I reckon I can manage a couple of games of badminton.”
I would lie if I said it wasn’t SELF DEFENSE FAMILY that brung me to do the interview. This band is such a deep mess, whenever I come across people that live this experience I don’t want to miss my chance. Actually, I didn’t went where I wanted, but instead I got an interesting piece of human life, and it’s an important part I’m sometime missing when I talk about and with bands. Even more important than the habitual interview gibberish maybe.
DxR : “Can you tell me more about how you met the people from SELF DEFENSE FAMILY and GOODTIME BOYS and how did you end up playing with them ?”
KxS : “I was good friends with two members of SELF DEFENSE FAMILY before joining the band. Actually before one of them was even in the band. Benny and Mary. Long story short, bad weather happened on their 2010 tour with TIGERS JAW and BASEMENT and restricted the person playing bass for them to make the first couple of shows. Benny knew I played bass and asked me to fill in. And once you’re in, you’re in as much or as little as you want to be.
GOODTIME BOYS…I met Pennie at fluff fear the year SELF DEFENSE FAMILY played (2012 I think) and we became friends. Later did a split 7″ with GTB and they just asked me to fill in for Leigh on their last euro tour in 2014 while he was on his honeymoon. Lovely bunch of lads and a cool band that will be missed.
The first show I ever played I legitimately jumped off the stage at the end of the last song and refused to jam because it made me so anxious. I was like, who does that anymore? But now it’s my favourite part of performing with the band. Every night is different and someone else will bring something new to the table and you’ll just be really vibing off each other in a way that I don’t often get to experience musically. Ofcourse you have some bum nights but when it’s good it’s really fulfilling.
I have recorded bass and sung on a few songs on various releases and things [Of SELF DEFENSE FAMILY] that are yet to be released (The Corrections Officer In Me, Try Me, BBC session, Scotland 7″) we just recorded 2 songs in NY with Jon Markson and 2 in Baltimore with J Robbins which will hopefully see the light of day soon.”
The real reason of our encouter was more than the said band. I know I’m bragging about this, but you know my passion for 90’s Hardcore, and it seems that we got a common ground on this. Aside the fact she was doing the merch for MEAN SEASON somehow, at the end of the SELF DEFENSE FAMILY set in 2012 at Fluff Fest she did a spoken word on EARTH CRISIS lyrics.
DxR : “What’s your favorite band of that era ?”
KxS : “Hard to pick just one…108 would definitely be up there by default. Undertow, Groundwork, One King Down…I’ll throw Hatebreed on the list because SITDOD is still one of my favourite albums and I think it came out in ’96 or ’97. I also love all the softer stuff of that time though like Farside and Split Lip.”
DxR : “What do you think about this revival happening the last few years ?”
KxS : “I’ve seen Repentance once and dug it. Definitely good at what they’re doing. I think Abolition really set the bar with that scene though. Was awesome watching their trajectory from being outcast youngsters in our scene to playing in almost every London hardcore band at a point and making really top notch records.”
DxR : “Were you at the last Abolition show ? Isn’t it a sad news ? Since when do you know Charlie and do you have funny thing you can and want to share about him ?”
KxS : “I was on holiday and missed it which is a regret I’ll have forever. But I think I saw them enough times to make up for it haha. I actually put out their first demo cd when they were still called “Waste Away”. Pretty radically different sound and approach but a cool band aswell! I met Charlie when I was like 15 or 16? I’d been talking to some straight edge kids on MySpace and we all met up in Hyde Park one day and began hanging out from there. Well, that was my introduction to that group of people. Who I think you know too, Danny, Nick etc. All the London Straight Edge faces. Charlie played in my first band, Can’t Relate for a little while. As did Nick who now plays in like 50 bands.”
DxR : “Between Discipline, Ultramilitance and Firestorm, which of these Earth Crisis song would you choose as your favortie and why ?”
KxS : “The Discipline is my favourite Earth Crisis song. I’ve never really analysed why. Karl’s phrasing is pretty on point but I mean opening a song with “STRAIGHT EDGE” automatically puts you at the top of the pile right?”
And there end our interview, for now. If you have the opportunity to catch SELF DEFENSE FAMILY live and never saw it before, give it a try. It’s a great live band, and a great band overall.
Thank you for your time and patience Kaila.
DxR : “On a scale from 1 to 10, how much can’t you stand Chelsea ?”
KxS : “1069. Gross team. North London forever. Sorry Marco.”
It’s only the link I could gather, and I think everyday there’s more, good luck then.