Interview with Bram Presser of Yidcore
Jewish Community Radio: When I first heard your album I was excited because itís young and hip and Jewish at the same time. Is that what you intended it to be?
Bram Presser: Our intention wasnít to be anything, our intention was just to have a good laugh and have fun with the tradition. Just to play the songs that we kind of liked back in school but play them in a way we actually liked. And just have as much fun and hopefully entertain more then anything, get people laughing, get people enjoying it. If it has other things, thatís great to but for us itís all about just having fun and celebrating the culture.
Jewish Community Radio: What have some of the reactions been to the music?
Bram Presser: Mixed. Some people love it. A lot of punk kids both Jewish and non-Jewish have really taken to it. But weíve had some abusive emails saying that weíre destroying the culture. We had a teacher in school back in home who told her class that there was no place in heaven for people who listen to Yidcore. We thought that was pretty funny.
I was actually explaining it to this big rabbi back in Melbourne [Australia]. Heís like eighty, and he was saying, "You know, you donít have to make it any more modern! You know, Shlomo Carlebach, he made it modern. Itís modern enough!"
Jewish Community Radio: Thatís kind of interesting because I saw Shlomo Carlebach as traditional but when he first came out, he was controversial.
Bram Presser: Yeah I know. Someone once told me that and I was quite surprised.
Jewish Community Radio: So now that youíre in America performing what has that been like? Has the reaction been good? What kind of concerts have you been doing?
Bram Presser: Weíve been doing a mix of Jewish and punk shows. Itís been really good. People have been kind of taking it for what it is, having a good laugh, having a jump around. For us itís really weird watching people moshing to music we used to roll our eyes at back at school. We found that aspect kind of funny, but itís been really good.
Jewish Community Radio: Youíve been performing in New York?
Bram Presser: We did New York, Chicago, New Jersey, we go to Philadelphia on Sunday. Then we go home, and then we come back probably November for a coast to coast.
Jewish Community Radio: Why donít you talk about the September 11th song you did. Did you perform that in New York?
Bram Presser: I think weíve played it once. It was one of those gut reactions. It was a bit strange writing a song in a language that isnít your first language.
Jewish Community Radio: Itís in Hebrew.
Bram Presser: Yeah. We thought that if we wrote it in English it would be just like any other song that was written about it. I wrote it in Hebrew and it was strange. Iíve gotten emails from Israel telling me how grammatically incorrect it is. But it was very gut reactiony. We play it occasionally.
But it was a song or the moment and itís only available on the web site. So itís kind of like a special thing for people who log on and stuff. Itís just like, for us, looking back in a way it sounds like Iím standing waving an American flag and quoting George Bush which is very strange for me... Still, on September 11th in Australia, we had 24/7 coverage for like two weeks or something. Everyone as pretty shocked by it and I think the whole world was in shock and we wrote it in that state.
Jewish Community Radio: Unfortunately weíre almost out of time here on Jewish Community Radio, so is there anything you want to say about your message or your music or the fun?
Bram Presser: The only thing we have to say is Adam Sandler, if youíre listening, let us do your song or weíll take you up on a boxing match at Howard Sternís show. Howard Stern has offered to host the boxing match. One day weíre hoping to play The Channukah Song without getting sued for it and otherwise if you want to hear Jewish music quite differently, give us a go, have a laugh, I hope you come down to shows and have fun with us.
Copyright 2003 Jewish Community Radio