Myth Of Democracy are opening for Frank Turner in Auckland on Saturday April 6th at the Kings Arms. Mike O'Connor fired a few questions to Matt Billington - the brainchild of Myth of Democracy.
Your first album, 'Human's piss me off' came out last year. How did this come about?
It came about from a need to play punk rock in a simple way, and to embrace alienation. Any art is about giving validation to the feelings we all have that don't fit subservience to power, so therefore are not spoken in wider society. I wanted to capture some of that discontent, in a way that was a different from traditional punk, yet still holding all the things I love about it.
I have always enjoyed acoustic music, but found that it loses some energy. I wanted to bring the loud, fun, energy that you get from a full band. I met up with Dave Hine at the Dank and did some demos, then returned a few months later with Greg Judd (Killing Tones) on drums. I'm lucky to have been playing for long enough to know some very good actual musicians who could come in and add their brilliance- Jamie Douglas (Rabble) did some backing vocals, Rahpz (Prowler) added some guitar, Dave Hine (Murderchord) played bass, and of course, Greg Judd did the drums.
You toured the states last year with the new album. How was it?
I played shows down the west coast, from seattle to LA. I was fortunate to tap into the DIY network, which is community centres, bookstores, houses, anarchist info stores, pretty much any space that local musicians can utilise for a show. It was very cool to visit and play in areas where some of the most influential music of my life came from. It was also astounding to see the difference in the America that is on TV and the America that is actually there. The people are great, friendly and welcoming. Other than Fluer Jack in Seattle, we were going into each town with no idea where we were staying or who anyone was, and we were looked after the same as if someone came to NZ. Then there is the poverty and oppression. Empty lots razor wired off so homeless people can't live there, people with obvious mental health issues wandering the streets with no one to care for them, a police force which racially profiles and murders people.
And some of the greatest music you will ever hear. There are thousands of bands, and they tour all the time. A standard tour is 4-6 weeks, so bands get really good at what they do.
Myth are big on supporting community organisations. Why do you think this is important?
Helping others is rebellion. There seems to be this cliche punk attitude of 'I-don't-give-fuck-do-what-I-want', which translates as someone just be a selfish, privileged asshole in the quest to be the most punk Punk of all time, and shitting all over the very things they profess to be a part of. I know its different for everyone, but punk rock to me means challenging the systems of power that are leading us into oblivion. There isn't one way to do this, there are many. Supporting the vulnerable, listening to those who are facing the effects of injustice, questioning your own values and why you have them.
Kindness is strength, no act of it ever trivial.
Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls
Sat 6th April: Kings Arms, Auckland (R18) support from Will Wood & Myth Of Democracy
Sun 7th April: Bodega, Wellington (R18) support from Will Wood & D Burmester And The Blind
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