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Pankhurst Reminds Us of the Power Words Hold in, "No One Wanna Read Tolstoj"

Residing in the belly of the beast, Washington, D.C., the punk-rock group Pankhurst reminds us that persuasive sentences are more effective than any bullet with their latest anti-war single and music video, "No One Wanna Read Tolstoj."

Named after Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters of the 20th-century suffragettes, Pankhurst embodies the same spirit and resilience that stands against imperialism, oppression, the proliferation of weapons, and exploitation. Pankhurst prides themselves on their performance abilities and lyricism that raises consciousness to add to the momentum needed for change.

Now releasing their louder than words music video for their anti-war single, "No One Wanna Read Tolstoj," Pankhurst elaborates on the mentality that ultimately leads to violence. Speaking on the single itself, the track explodes through our speakers with upbeat melodies and an irresistible punk-rock beat that enhances their needed and necessary message.

Directed by Alessandro Rocca and Martina Mele, the music video for "No One Wanna Read Tolstoj" opens with a bartender in a dog mask pouring drinks for two pigeon-masked men. As they clink their drinks, the two pigeons later scour through the bartender's bag only to come across the book they've been searching for.

As the book is clearly the dog-masked bartender's most prized possession, he later endures a chase scene where the pigeons take him to the ground and set his book ablaze. While the video comes to an end with three unmasked characters knocked out with booze in hand, we're left in a state of reflection that calls upon the engaging and conceptual experience we just witnessed.

Don't miss out on the stimulating and conceptual experience of Pankhurst's latest music video, "No One Wanna Read Tolstoj," now available on YouTube.

We're impressed with the thorough concept you've tied into your music video for "No One Wanna Read Tolstoj." What was the main message you wanted to get across with this stimulating music video?

The message is the importance of peace as a criterion that must govern relations between the governments of the world. We know that this does not happen in reality but we feel the need to say what our point of view is anyway. In recent years we are witnessing two wars that are mowing down the civilian population: the war in Syria and the war in Yemen. It's clear that there are then vast areas of the world where there is a constant trickle. It seems to us that the punk scene lacks the attention that on these issues a movement like ours must always be kept in the forefront.

What inspired the single itself, "No One Wanna Read Tolstoj"? Are you emphasizing the fact that books like "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy aren't as read and talked about during this day and age?

In some ways, yes. Tolstoy's book War and Peace was a declaration of love for peace and against war. So when we say No One Wanna Read Tolstoy, we are saying that no one is interested in peace anymore. We are not interested in promoting the sale of the book (laughter). Certainly, the idea of the song comes from a consideration we have... It seems to us that in the international debate and also in the punk movement, where you debate in songs, the theme of peace has become less important in recent years. Yet you only have to look at what has been happening in Syria and Yemen. Our fathers i.e. Clash, Exploited, Dead Kennedys taught us that the punk movement is often about very serious things - our uncles Fugazi, NOFX maybe did it a little less. We need to bring the debate on the importance of peace back to the center of the punk movement. In the meantime, we're trying with this song.

What was it like working with directors Alessandro Rocca and Martina Mele when creating the music video for "No One Wanna Read Tolstoj"? What was your collaborative experience like with them?

Making the video with Alessandro Rocca and Martina Mele was a unique experience. Alessandro and Martina are very young but they already have excellent international experience, so it was an honor for us to work with them. The lyrics of the song are a collection of small episodes and emotions that take place in a pub in an absolutely chaotic way. This chaos however is explained by the title of the song "No One Wanna Read Tolstoy." And since the concept behind the song is the lack of interest in peace, Alessandro and Martina have invented a "small war for the conquest of the book War and Peace". The dog is the keeper of the book, the pigeons steal the book after chasing and attacking it, they are drunk and therefore unable to focus on their intentions and the consequences of their actions. But then once they get the book they set it on fire. At the end of the video they are all on the ground because war leaves no winners and they are without masks because their uncovered faces embody the truth found in the defeat of all. So Alessandro and Martina have understood and above all put all this into a song of less than two minutes.

Could you expand on how songs like "No One Wanna Read Tolstoj" represent your group and what you aim to stand for? What sort of emotions or thoughts do you hope your music strikes in listeners?

We care that what we do is understood and loved. I guess that's how it is for everyone who tries to do anything that has to do with music. What we do like, though, is to try to discuss with the people who follow us the issues we talk about in our music. "No One Wanna Read Tolstoy", like all of our songs, allows us to have an ongoing dialogue with those who follow us. We are very lucky because we have an audience that is very attentive to the topics we are passionate about and if we can deepen this dialogue we are even happier.


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