Rocks Off often trolls through Craigslist looking for the very beginnings of some of Houston's next wave of notable musicians. Extremely prevalent throughout the Web site are requests for devout Christians to join together in a mission to glorify the love and word of God through the devil of rock and roll.
Imagine our surprise, then, when we ran across an ad by Aiton Etxea, formerly of Below the Water's Edge, asking for recruits in an Atheist band. But what the hell is Atheist music? The sound of random chance is already called jazz, and They Might Be Giants has already cornered the market on albums about science.
We sat down with Etxea to find out.
Note: He commonly referred to God, religions and the Easter Bunny without capitalization. While we respect what he was trying to accomplish through such an act, Grammar Imps yammered and whacked us in the head with tiny dictionaries until we fixed it. Our apologies to Etxea.
Rocks Off: What exactly is "Reason-based music"?
Aiton Etxea: In the ad I placed, I wrote "reason filled" musicians not "reason-based" music. Reason-filled alluding to musicians who, rather than being "spirit-filled" like so many of the Christian ads out there, are grounded with an understanding that Reason is the fundamental starting point to the bands' approach on the message we'd like to convey.
RO: What, if anything, do you have against religious music or musicians?
AE: I'm highly opposed to any kind of religious organization, institution and all of the people that represent them. Religion is utilized by man to evoke blind belief in the masses, allowing justification to some of the most horrendous atrocities we're capable of doing to each other.
What is worse, is that religion not only allows this to happen, but takes a proactive stance in propagating this behavior. All religion has an approach of, "I'm right, you're wrong. Believe what I say or my god (who is right at all times) will use me as an extension of his divine plan in killing your ass." I don't agree with this at all. I know a lot of people see it the same way and we're sick of it.
I do have something against religious musicians because they're utilizing music as a vehicle to spread this outdated, archaic, hate-filled message. Sure, it's got a cutesy little package, people holding hands and singing about love, but what you don't see is how far off they are when it comes to reality.
I'm sick of hearing these self-righteous people tell me how great their imaginary friend is, how this country was founded on their imaginary friend's words (which it wasn't, most founding fathers were staunch atheists) and then pretending to be full of God's love when it's just self-deluded bullshit. That and Creed sucks.
RO: Well, the Creed thing is easy to understand, but what is the overall message you hope to spread through your music?
AE: One of my main messages in all the art that I create is to question authority and think for yourself. Religion forces you to stop questioning in life, accept what the church authorities tell you and never think for yourself because that's how the "devil" gets your soul.
They create guilt and shame from the very nature of what it is to think outside of the group. By instilling these negative reactions to free thought early on in life, the church is able to control the congregation with ease and leverage followers' own emotions against themselves.
One of the only ways we can evolve and progress as a society is to continue asking questions, not only of the authorities but most importantly of ourselves. We can't be afraid of this either. A lot of people feel that it's wrong to ask questions or may fear the answers they'll get but you have to grow up and own those realizations.
Why do you believe what you do? Why do you live the way you do? Why do you listen to strangers tell you what God told them in a dream? Why do you have to give money to God, when he's so powerful? Why do you feel so guilty because you want to shag the hot Muslim girl in Stat class? Why is it OK for this nation to utilize Christianity in political agendas?
Why are corrupt, pedophile, child-molesting priests above the law? Why do I just sit back and ignore it? Why don't I say something? Why not pick up a guitar, a half-stack, find a live mic and scream at how pissed off I am we have to live in this shit?
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RO: Do you expect, or have you received, any backlash from your post?
AE: I haven't received any backlashes from the posts. No flame wars or anything. You know, a lot of people go for the whole "science vs. religion" thing or "Christian vs. Atheist" debate, but I don't like to waste my time. When I was younger, I'd argue but realized that it doesn't really matter what scripture a religious person brings to the table because science will disprove it.
I think of it like this: Why argue with someone over the Easter Bunny being real or not? Clearly, the Easter Bunny is not. End of debate. Besides, I could be practicing.
Musicians interested in joining Etxea's project should contact him through his Craigslist posting.