The songs for this 7 inch vinyl record were recorded in Gainesville, Florida, USA and released by Good Life Recordings in 1997. It contains two songs, one on each side. The first song ‘Oath’ describes the ethics of Damien Moyal and the band Culture. It might be argued that the ethics that are described are personal ethics or that they represent the ethics of more that one individual, in extension the 90’s Hardcore scene as a whole. This text is about the lyrics of the song ‘Oath’.
Question: Do you see this text as personal lyrics? Or do you see it rather as a time capsule for the ethics established in the 90s decade in general?
Answer by Damien Moyal: ‘Oath’ was quite personal. For a couple of years, following my departure from Culture in early 1995 through all of 1996, I’d sworn off singing about veganism or straight edge entirely. I felt at odds with the “militant” Vegan Straight-Edge scene, viewing it as short sighted, dogmatic and — worse — devoid of creativity. This is why I went to great lengths on early Morning Again material to explore unrelated topics, even though all members were vegan and straight edge. By the time I returned to Culture in late 1996, the break had run its course and I decided to double down on the topics I’d been avoiding. I made ‘Oath’ a brief manifesto, proudly owning the lifestyles and reasserting the benefits.
Vegan. Straight-Edge. Terms that seem stupid to you. But these are the terms that that separate me from the destruction you refuse to attempt to undo.
One side of the ethics can be classified under Veganist ethics. Another side of the ethics are to be seen in the light of Straight-Edge ethics. And there are other ethics described in the text as well, that vary. Let me elaborate them.
I put the air you’ve stolen back into your lungs and the water you blacken back into your blood…
The term “Vegan” is explicitly used and stand in this text for respecting other life, animals and the life support systems like plants and trees, water, air and the earth as a whole.
love, life, reform, redirect, rebuild, reassess, relearn, reinstate, repeal, relive, renounce all acclamations, renounce indoctrination, renounce intoxication
Also the term “Straight-Edge” is explicitly used is the same breath. And stands for clean and pure living of a person. The referral to the poisons like smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and consuming drugs, isn’t explicitly mentioned but can be derived from “intoxication”.
Straight-Edge stands for interpersonal clean living as well.
Another facet is education and self-developement. And the realisation that you can only change yourself. And that by this education and self-development, the revolution starts.
My goal is liberation, my goal is integration, self determination, my goal is revolution. Revolt.
Liberation of the individual within a society. But also integrating these values and ethics into a society.
I can’t hold it completely against you. You’ve been conditioned by tradition, like so many before.
For sure, also the insubordination and the criticism towards established truths are in the text as well. The same insubordination and criticism can be found in Punk from decades ago as well.
Another important aspect is the renunciation of indoctrination. The awareness of the dangers of indoctrination. In this case also religious indoctrination is targeted.
This is my manifest function, altruistic, systematic. I will sacrifice for the good of the whole…
Other ethics are altruism.
Last but not least, this text is like it’s title suggests, an oath. A pledge to stay true to all these ethics and live up to them. Knowing that this won’t be easy.
We can conclude that in this text, despite the personal character, many ethics of the 90’s Hardcore Punk scene are reflected.