INTERVIEW: “In a world that tries to censor Palestinian voices…” Hass Ta-Fa of TRIPSUN/IKHRAS

“We were both passionate about the idea of reclaiming our identities in the grand scheme of punk, instead of being stuck playing white washed music forever.”

Photo Credit: Zoe Smith Media

Today’s interview is an important one because living through the past 6 months has been part of an ongoing 75 year plus tragedy that we’ve seen unfold in real time right on our screens. Of course, even though we are all emotionally impacted by seeing 33,000 plus Palestinians being murdered in clear daylight with Western powers devoid of any speck of morality to act, it is those of us in our community OF Palestinian descent, especially, who are hurting the most as they literally have family in Palestine.

We spoke to the vocalist of London based hardcore band IKHRAS who is also the vocalist/guitarist of TRIPSUN about being a Palestinian within the UK scene. Please read through his immensely thoughtful answers…then go listen to IKHRAS/TRIPSUN…


Photo Credit: Yazan Abbas

Yo bud! Congrats on the demo release of your new band! Since most of our readers are out in Asia – can you give me a quick intro to yourself including ethnic background etc?
Yo! Thanks for having me, it’s a pleasure to be speaking with you. I’m Hass, I write lyrics and shout in Ikhras + I play guitar and sing in Tripsun.

Goddamn…I can’t imagine the conversations at your house right now. Please give my Salam to your family in this difficult time. I’m assuming that a lot of issues from that part of the world ended up in your lyrical content?
I appreciate your salamat. Here’s to our collective liberation one day, ameen. I’ve definitely written lyrics for IKHRAS as well as Tripsun based on the occupation and the issues we see happening back home, as well as the problems and generational trauma people like myself in the diaspora face as an organic domino effect of it all. It’s only natural that as a Palestinian that themes of our struggle and overall story would seep in to my art. In a world that tries to censor Palestinian voices and erase our identity, I am grateful for punk and hardcore music for allowing me a chance to vent this life-long frustration.

And besides Ikhras and the incredible Tripsun, what other bands are you in? Do Palestinian issues also seep into your other projects?
At the moment, I only play in Ikhras and Tripsun. I appreciate the love, thank you! But yeah, as mentioned those issues certainly tend to pop up in the music I make. Free Falasteen.

Tripsun’s debut album ‘Kill the Dream’ frickin’ rules.

So let’s go back to how you got into hardcore in the first place. Having been in London for half a year now I don’t actually see a lot of fellow brown/Asian people at shows. How’d you get into it?
I have to admit, I am grateful for my upbringing in London for the multiculturalism I was surrounded by. My friendship group in secondary school was very mixed. That same friendship group is the same one I started going to my first shows with. As I grew up and immersed myself in the scene more, I realised just how special that was. For a group of kids from Asian, Caribbean, African and Middle Eastern backgrounds to group together and experience punk music together for the first time in a live setting. I know people who would have dreamed of having that experience as teenagers going to shows, as so many of us have felt and still feel isolated to this day.

It was those early days of going to those shows with that friendship group that planted the idea in my head that this music -can- be for everyone. I understand though that even today, I could go to a show and be the only POC in the room. But I refuse to let it deter me or my confidence, as I know that there are still so many of us intertwined in the scene, at a worldwide scale.

As for getting in to punk and hardcore music, my older sister had her emo phase in year 9 while I was finishing year 6 and showed me The Chronicles of Life and Death by Good Charlotte. Yes it’s poser as fuck, but that was still my gateway!!

“Feeling outcasted as a Palestinian and learning about the occupation throughout my childhood, it only made sense I’d find comfort in punk and hardcore music, as at my young age I could recognise it was a space for the voiceless.”

Hahaha not poser at all – everyone has those gateway bands. The real ones who then start wanting to dig deeper. For me I heard punk bands when I was in Hong Kong but still didn’t really necessarily fall in love with hardcore and punk until I finally saw it on stage for the first time when I saw SOIA in ‘94. I was an instant convert that night. But here in London like you said, shows and music go hand in hand. What was your first experience at a “hardcore” show like? How soon after listening to good charlotte that you realize this is the shit for you…
So I was 10 years old when my sister shower me those Good Charlotte songs, from there I quickly found myself stuck right in. I found Green Day shortly after (it was the year American Idiot came out) which then lead me to find Rancid + Operation Ivy and very quickly I found myself trying to find out everything I can about this genre of music. I fell in love with it at an early age quite quickly. Feeling outcasted as a Palestinian and learning about the occupation throughout my childhood, it only made sense I’d find comfort in punk and hardcore music, as at my young age I could recognise it was a space for the voiceless.

Now, my first proper hardcore show was in 2009 at the Underworld in Camden. The line-up was Reagan Youth and Trash Talk + a couple locals. If I remember, there was a time when the Underworld would do something called “Camden Carnage” which took place in the first two weeks of August around festival season. The show wasn’t very well attended, which kinda made it even more fun at the time. I remember Trash Talk covered Bad Brains which was fun as fuck too. It def reeled me in quite quick as finally, I found a space in which I can let out all this rage I’ve pent up my whole life.

Woah! Trash Talk being your first live show would be quite the experience! 
Oh for sure! It was wild. It wasn’t the first show I got to see as I went to a lot of ska, emo and punk gigs at the time too, but it was certainly the first experience of hardcore that captured my interest.

There was a lot of trying to “find my place” in these sub-seats of punk so I’m grateful for how much I was able to soak in. To this day, I still got love for em all.

Sick! Woah! You mentioned about early punk and hardcore songs that helped you connect to your Palestinian roots – can you remember any particular songs whose lyrics you specially remember connecting to deeply?
As a Palestinian, there are a number of different explanations as to why I gravitated towards punk and hardcore music. When you hear a song like “Break Down The Walls” by Youth of Today after a childhood of learning about the separation wall and military checkpoints used to police your own people, restricting their freedom and limiting their movement, you can’t help but resonate with that sort of message and energy. Being a genre and scene that preaches fighting against oppression, equality + human rights, empathy and dismantling oppressive/corrupt systems, it’s only natural for anyone from a marginalised or historically disenfranchised background to want to immerse themselves in that sort of world, as it can also double up as an act of resistance. To say fuck societal norms and to live life however you want, to embrace who you are to the fullest, gaining that confidence to walk head held high in a world that has continuously tried to grind us down for over 7.5 decades. I think those are the surface level reasons as to why I found myself attracted to punk and hardcore music, given my place in this world as a falasteeni in exile.

Photo Credit: Fish Outta Water Media

So let’s get into how you got Ikhras together. Was it easy to find people who were down to allow you to let loose about the things you wanted to get off your chest? Both musically and lyrically.
I first had the idea for IKHRAS around 2018, but I didn’t think it was ever going to happen. In English, the name translates to “shut up”, and I knew from the start that I wanted that to be the band name, and that we were going to incorporate Arabic lyrics in the music. I knew I had to take my time and approach it delicately, as it is a sensitive project and one that’s close to my heart. I wanted it to be just right.

I met Karim (bassist and co-founder) when he was playing in Maisonette. Tripsun and Maisonette would play shows together, and quickly we bonded due to both being from a MENA background playing shows in the same circles. We both enjoyed bands like Haram and Taqbir, and we were both passionate about the idea of reclaiming our identities in the grand scheme of punk, instead of being stuck playing white washed music forever. When I told him about IKHRAS, he was on board right away.

From there (2019), it still took another 4 years for it to finally come together. Theo from Real Life Presents always knew about the concept of IKHRAS, so he offered us a really sick show back in June as a way to kick us in to action and finally get our shit together, which we did. Karim being Brighton based, he was able to bring Oscar (No Relief, Rhema) in on guitar and eventually Jordan (Burn it All, Blood Gutter) joined us on drums. Thankfully I have peace of mind that I can openly sing and talk about these topics without my band mates feeling ridiculed, and I appreciate them to no-end for allowing me that chance and privilege.

“We were both passionate about the idea of reclaiming our identities in the grand scheme of punk, instead of being stuck playing white washed music forever” – this is the quote of the century. Tell me more about why this is important? I’m sure MANY many non-white people involved in hardcore will resonate with this.
As I mentioned earlier in our conversation, punk was set up and presented to be a voice for the voiceless. It was an opportunity for outcasts alike to come together and vent their frustrations, to scream about what they feel is wrong in the world, and to offer different perspectives in learning how to tackle those problems in a productive and unified manner.

Somewhere down the line, it felt as if those ethos were hi-jacked, bastardized and commodified in to an escapist activity for your average person, looking for any way to forget about their office job and tap in to their inner youth by hanging out at Punk Rock Bowling for a weekend. In turn, this would breed apathy and complacency within the overall community. Suddenly, you get looked at like a crazy person for trying to challenge corrupt systems and wanting to tackle issues of injustice. For example in the UK, I remember a time when people would talk down on politically inclined bands by labelling them as “preachy” and “pretentious” as a way to belittle their stance, simply cos they’re too comfortable and set in their ways to try and understand what this band might be singing / talking about. At the end of the day, some of us are still dealing with oppression, we are living in austerity, we are withnessing fascist, genocidal government exert their corruption in real time. I don’t want to feel stuck in a space that presents itself as rebellious and anti-establishment but is nowhere to be seen when shit hits the fan. I refuse to walk on egg shells to appease a collective comfort zone. I can’t speak for all non-white people in hardcore and punk, but I guess this is my view of it and why I find myself feeling jaded towards it every now and again.

So as you jump into the world of Ikhras, and celebrate the release of your demo, what is your hope as people begin dig into your music and lyrics?
I have to say thank you to everyone that shown love for Ikhras and Jahanam Btistana so far. Those songs are a special thing, and it’s nice to see them be recieved for what they are.

I hope to see more and more bands of this nature pop up and express themselves how they please. Respect and power to bands like Zanjeer, Taqbir, Haram, Pure Terror, Khassarat, Inquirad, No Man, Khiis and countless more before who flew the flag for our people in these scenes. May future generations of SWANA kids look back on these bands and realise they can express themselves however they choose to.

However the listener chooses to interpret the songs on this demo, I can only hope it makes them think. is an underground Asian music news website created for the sole purpose of supporting our own world. We support all bands and genres HOWEVER we do not support nor have any sympathy for homophobic, racist, sexist rhetoric in lyrical content or band material. UNITE ASIA!