The long-running Norwegian black metal band Taake are a respected force within the metal world; we posted one of their songs in 2014. But like at least a few artists within that world, they have a history of showing some seriously fucked-up beliefs. At a 2007 show in Germany, for instance, Hoest, the driving force behind the band, performed with a swastika painted on his chest.
As Billboard points out, Hoest denied being a Nazi, later telling the magazine Terrorizer, “We only used that symbol as another symbol for evil. The usual symbols, the pentagram and inverted cross, don’t invoke reactions anymore.” Hoest has also sang explicitly anti-Islam lyrics, claiming that Taake are against all religion.
Taake were planning on coming to the US for a tour in the coming months, but now that tour won’t happen. Venues in cities like New York responded to social-media outcry by cancelling shows, and King Dude, the tour’s planned opener, dropped off of the tour, telling Brooklyn Vegan, “The banner under which people enter a King Dude concert must be welcoming to all people of all walks of life, race, religion, gender etc.” Talib Kweli cancelled his own show in Kansas City when the venue, the Riot Room, refused to apologize for booking Taake.
In response to all the individual show cancellations, the band has called off the entire US tour. In a long statement on Facebook, they reiterate that they are not a Nazi band, and they blame the cancellations on “left wing agitators”: “If this reminds you of the McCarthy witch hunts, it is because that is EXACTLY what it is like.” Here’s an excerpt from the statement:
Whilst none of us blame venues for cancelling because they are afraid of violence, we do deplore the excuses presented by some of them. The desire to “protect” their audience and staff, to create “safe spaces” is not a need brought about by the bands involved, nor their fans. It is the masked thugs hiding behind the banner of Antifa and other organisations like them, who are doing all the threatening. And maybe we should also remind these venues that so many of the musical genres today exist due to those other small venues back in the day who dared stand up to threats and gave a voice to those musicians who brought us Blues and Jazz – the basis of so much of today’s music.
We would also like to speak out about celebrities like Talib Kweli, who was unfortunate enough to have allowed himself to be played by the lies spread by Antifa and who, as a result, issued statements that are libellous and slanderous. His heart may have misguidedly been in the right place, but his brain, and his legal advisors, were not. Had he bothered to check the facts he would have realised that he had put himself in a position of looking like someone who doesn’t know, or understand, or even care about, all the facts, and who is easily manipulated by others to dance to their tune…
You, my friends, do not need to apologise for the lies and actions of a fringe group. You are the majority, you are the ones who refuse to bow your heads to those who would dictate how you live your lives, and who attempt to restrict your freedoms – you are the ones who can do something about it.
If you like, you can read the full statement here.