You’d be hard pressed to find a band more important right now than The Muslims. Hell, we’ll put it on the record: There is no band more important right now.
Since 2018, with their debut, the band has been quickly but keenly chipping away at their sound and message – Planning their Normandy Invasion, and on July 9th of this year, their planes filled the sky following news of their signing to punk rock haven Epitaph Records.
Shift forward a few weeks, to Friday, 24th September, and The Muslims released their debut album on the label, the aptly titled Fuck These Fuckin Fascists. The record, by both name and nature, is volatile, aggressive, threatening and down right tasty. Indeed, the rapid turn around between signing and release is very much on par with the general ethos of The Muslims, who are making it very clear they aren’t here to fuck around.
BLUNT was told as much by vocalist / guitarist QADR.
One thing that is interesting to me, when you started this, when you had your ideas and your intention, did you ever think that hating Nazis would be your most contentious idea?
Honestly, no, bro.
Truly. So when we started, I think that we thought we would get most of our flack probably from other Muslims. Since we’re queer. Obviously with shitting on white supremacy and doing it in these really funny ways, we’re like, “It’s going to make some folks uncomfortable, but that’s what art is supposed to do, right?” That quote is like, “I’m trying to comfort the disturb and disturb the comfort.” If you’re too comfortable, we’re going to shake shit up. We’re going to try to get under your skin a little bit.
But no, I didn’t think that saying fuck fascists would be the most controversial thing. But I knew that it would have some fascist sympathizers outing themselves, which is definitely what we wanted to do. When you grow up looking like us, you just get used to a certain type of hate. I wish that people didn’t have to just grow up and have thick skin. I wish tender people could stay tender.
What was really great though, is to see so many folks across all backgrounds coming out the woodwork being like, “Fuck yeah.” Because it gave us the juice to be like, “Okay, these other folks, you’ve got people.” Granted, there’s going to be people that objectively don’t fucking like us and that is chill. That’s totally cool, but for everybody else, we’re like, “Fuck you. Eat ass. We’re having the best time of our lives.”
On paper when you’re writing, I imagine, of course, you’re going to say, “Yeah, let’s be fully ourselves. Let’s be a hundred percent ourselves.” But in practice, the world doesn’t really reward that.
Not at all.
The world kind of punishes that.
These are good questions. It’s a balancing act.
But I think when I was trying much harder to do the code switching, be more acceptable like, “How do I talk about politics without offending white people? How do I talk about racism without offending white people? How do I talk about immigration without…” That shit was so fucking exhausting. What I thought I was accomplishing, I actually really wasn’t because the people that are coming to our music already kind of get it. They already kind of get it and I don’t need to try to handle white people with soft gloves.
And if I’m actually true to my politics, which is that all of us are fucking equal and we’ve got to believe that and we got to fight for it and we got to treat people that way, then I should be able to talk to anybody the way I would talk to my close homies about problems. I shouldn’t have to change that and be like, “Oh yeah, different perspectives.” No, I’m just going to say it as it is, because if I really think that you’re a full human, I’m going to talk to you like a full human.
Another issue that gets brought up a lot is this kind of weird thing where the me’s of the world sort of leave it to the you’s of the world to educate us about how to act. Was that on your mind as well? Because the feedback I get from that is you guys are musicians, not teachers.
Exactly. No, for real. My thing is like, “Listen. We’re a punk band, okay? We’re not going to wipe your ass and change your diaper. We’re not going to chew your food first and then feed it to you. You’re not a fucking baby. You’re a grown ass person. We’re going to deal with you like grown ass people that have the ability to reason and have common sense.”
We’re actually just going to talk to you like normal people. I’m going to say the things that I know it’s not just resonating with me. I’m going to say the things that I know generations and generations of people have wanted to say, and I’m just going to do it in a really me way. We’re going to be goofy. We’re going to be ridiculous. We’re going to be crunchy and loud and fast and hard.
…Then we’re going to drop a pizza and plant emoji and be like, “Go drink some water, bitch. Free Palestine.”
We’ve focused a lot about the doom and gloom side of things, but to your point just then, that must have been sick to see all the love that you got.
It was crazy. You know why I wanted to do this band because I grew up on Blink-182. I grew up on Linkin Park. And I jammed out, loved it, really brought me into alt and rock and punk music. And also, I really wanted to find someone who had my identity, but I always felt like my identity was just so at the intersection and it was just too convoluted. It was too difficult or whatever, but I know a lot of people like me. I know a lot of people that have my experience. Why is it so hard to see? Not like, dig into the pits at some specific record store and maybe come across some gem of a band that resonates, but how come I can’t walk into a Target and pick up a CD or something of a band that I’m like, “Fuck yes. That resonates.”
I wanted to pull The Muslims together to be the band that I never had and I wanted to be that for other people. Whether they shared my identity or not, if there was anything that resonated, I wanted them to be able to have that.
To see everybody’s reaction, especially other folks in the scene with us, like white, black, Latinx, queer, trans folks, whatever. To see so many people being so supportive and so affirming and being like, “Fuck yeah. You deserve it. We have your back,” and feeling so deep in our soul that we’re like, “Bro, you deserve it. And we have your back.” It feels really fucking good.
It’s a great time to be a problematic punk band.
Fuck These Fucking Fascists is out now.