Well we’re in Sydney and whilst there weren’t any fires in our part of town, back in November, December and early January there were days where it was like a smoky fog turning the sky brown and I know people further out of town who had embers falling. And just last weekend we had about a year’s rain in one day, the trains stopped running and roads were flooded everywhere, so we’ve been getting a bit of exposure to what extreme weather events might be like! Apart from that everything’s been fine.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Global Warning”?
We started working on Global Warning a couple of years ago and have been fine tuning the backing as we’ve been playing it live. The recording didn’t take that long as much of the backing is programmed and a lot of the work was just getting the vocals and the effects right, trying different synth sounds and playing around with the arrangement.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
It’s really just a reaction to the whole ongoing political debate in Australia, known here as “the climate wars” in which governments and leaders have been deposed with the primary objective of discrediting climate science and preventing action on climate change, though a particularly galling feature was the relentless campaign to overturn the Carbon Tax back in 2013.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
We already have one. It’s effectively just a slide show, but given that, it very graphically illustrates the themes of the song and people have commented how well the images correspond to the lyrics. You can check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E0P9HCI7uk but as you’ll see the new versión needs a lot more exposure!
How was the recording and writing process?
I’ll just address the writing process, but as a song with topical themes there was already a logic for its structure and it was more a matter of identifying the primary ideas and trying to express them in a spoken word, vernacular style.
What role does Australia play in your music?
Well we live here and as most of our songs have some sort of political theme, a lot of them relate to local identities and issues, even if the themes are of much wider relevance.
How did you go on blending the New Wave with Hip Hop on this song?
I don’t think there’s too much New Wave influence in this song, it’s more rap and electronic, but many of our earlier songs are somewhere in between punk, New Wave and post-punk. The things we’ve been writing recently have more of a Hip Hop direction as spoken word now seems a better vehicle to get our message across. Unfortunately people have now lost sight of how many of the early Hip Hop artists were first and foremost focused on political themes – think KRS-One, Gill Scott Heron, Michael Franti, Public Enemy!
How has Talking Heads and The Streets influenced your writing?
The Streets showed us how to create a form of white hip hop, commenting on everyday life and using the language of their own locality. We might be from Australia, but the Australian dialect derives originally from cockney, London, speech and the two are still closely related both in how they sound and the attitude they express. Talking Heads are a big background influence and I think even in this song you can hear the repetitive afro rhythms that came to dominate their later sound.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
Yes, we’re currently working on a song about the Adani coal mine project in Queensland, a massive new coal mine that’s intended to export billions of tons of coal to India and which has become a touchstone issue in the climate debate here.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
Yes, at least for the title – “Adani”
How much deep into politics would go on this record?
The “Adani” song will be very political. Many people tried to make the mine a central issue in the last election but unfortunately one of Australia’s richest miners, Clive Palmer, put up $80 million to swing the election. Even so, the Stop Adani movement here still hasn’t given up the struggle to halt the development.
Any plans to hit the road?
Yes, we’re always lining up new gigs and will be hitting the road between Newtown and Marrickville, our adjoining suburb, with the two now the heart of rock ‘n roll Sydney, and maybe even a couple of k’s into the city as well.
What else is happening next in New Fridge’s world?
We’re currently planning to expand our line-up, replacing our laptop with a live bass player and drummer and we’ve already got the guys learning thesongs.