By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
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So positive, that a bystander could witness a kind of parental enthusiasm rarely seen as punk rock. "Our dad will come out of the kitchen and yell, 'Y'all guys better clap for my sons!'" Aaron says, laughing.
For Aaron, Akkolyte has become more than just a project with his little brother. "When we started, I felt like we were coming from the outside," Aaron says. "And I think coming from the outside made us stand out and gave us something to go on. I don't consider myself an outsider anymore. I've been able to express really so much through this."
"I don't want to treat punk like a profession," Stefan says wisely. But like many punk kids will say, making music is only part of the process. That's certainly the case for Akkolyte, especially Stefan; the duo has put out three 7-inch singles in the past two years, and it's only a start. Stefan's busy getting together two records at the moment: "The first one is a four-way split between Akkolyte, Total Dysentery, a woman named Davina who does feminist spoken word and a hardcore band from Colombia."
Akkolyte tours when it gets the chance--the band has played across the middle of the country over a few summer and spring breaks. "I'd like to really travel, maybe with a band," Stefan says. "I really like playing shows in places where there's not a real scene. It's so much crazier and much easier to connect with people." Stefan's main interest at the moment is connecting with kids from other areas, especially in Central and South America. "I'm planning to put out records from bands in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador," he says. "I think some of the best music is coming out of there. It's easy to say that they have more to speak out about, but it's true. They live with real injustice."
As "real injustice" becomes more of a tangible reality, punk ideals make more and more sense. "It freaks me out," Stefan says. "A lot of things we didn't experience are becoming relevant again."
"In September, it was kind of like, 'Oh, shit, our country is really going to war; oh, shit, they're really violating civil rights," Aaron says, with equal amounts of anger and joking. "People see us set up before we play, and they see two goofy brothers. But we write songs about politics--that's just what we do with our music. There's a lot to talk about right now."
Akkolyte's disarming goofiness is probably its saving grace, and it may be in our own best interest to take a better look. Somehow, the sound of two brothers making a racket about neo-fascists has become effective, to both the weathered veteran and the outsider. Grind and crust are the most out-there branches of punk, attracting dumb adjectives--"brutal" being the most moronic and overused--and even dumber archetypes, nerds and neo-hippies. Neither member of Akkolyte has much to say about surface culture--shallow or not. "I'm not involved with other music," Stefan says succinctly. "I'm involved with my community, and I mean that in a really great way."