noun – information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.
Listen to EzekieL OX while you read.
Such is the dictionary definition of the word which is featured alongside a spray can with the words PROPER GANDER emblazoned across the front which is also the title of Ezekiel Ox’s new solo project that takes some of the best parts of his musical career and spits them through the nozzle in a pounding barrage of riffs, venomous lyrics and drum blasts.
Ezekiel Ox is not just a man who sings about things political, he is the embodiment of a political musician who is not afraid to share his views and beliefs with the world via his music and a man who stands proudly behind every word that escapes his lips.
“The title is a pretty basic pun,” he pointed out. “A proper gander is having a real good look at something, as in the Australian vernacular of the word, or the actual meaning of the word which is on the cover. I think that in this modern age the connotations are strong and whilst we are forced to confront a lot of propaganda and quite negative stuff about homeless people or refugees there’s a lot of stories also in the paper about why it doesn’t matter that working people get their penalty rates cut but we have the power to put our own propaganda out. We can look at it from our point of view and put our incredibly biased, and in my case incredibly rock and funk propaganda out there.”
The project, featuring Steve Smith (Briggs and Caiti Baker) on drums/vocals, Sarox Martin on bass/vocals and Leigh Davies (Sleep Parade, Lunar Sea) on guitar is yet another extension of Ox’s personality, but one which he feels needs no title aside from being his solo outing.
“The big reason is because I’m playing Mammal, Full Scale and Nerve songs with some new arrangements of old classics with the band,” he explained. “When you see us play live we play the E.P but we’ll also be going back through my four piece rock band catalogue because that’s what the band is. In the case of Nerve and Mammal those bands no longer exist so this is the only place you can hear those songs. With Full Scale me and Jimmy talked about it – because Full Scale is currently writing a new album – and Jimmy thought it was a great idea. He said he would really enjoy watching someone else interpret his music. The show is pretty much my legacy. It’s a four piece rock band which is the line up people know me for through these bands and I think there’s a certain purity to that. The main reason is because I wanted to play Mammal songs again but I didn’t want to be in Mammal (laughs).”
In another display of bucking conventional methods, Ox says that the recording process for the E.P was unlike anything he has done previously, but the results still speak volumes for the eclectic methods.
“Steve Smith and I locked ourselves in the studio to do the E.P and he played drums and I did vocals so we just freestyled a click track of rhythms and voice. Then we’d go back over the ten minute freestyle session and we’d cut them up and put them in song structures and hooks and then we put the guitars and the bass over it. Steve played the lion’s share of the guitar and bass as well as the drums and I played some guitars so it came about from kind of bringing music back to the source which I imagine before we had technology and electricity was the way it was done. You would have people singing and dancing and it would have been drums and hitting things with sticks and there would have been singing and dancing and that would have been the beginning of music. We started these rock songs like that and then we put these monstrous riffs in and then just really went hard on the politics because it’s my solo stuff and I’ve got so much to say there.”
With so many current and former projects on the go, it would be difficult for Ox to put his whole self into each one, although he admits after deliberation that each outlet is an extension of his personality.
“That’s an interesting one,” he mused. “I think they’ve all got things that are similar about them. Obviously the main one is they all have the same vocalist (laughs). Anyone that listens to everything I put out will realize how different they are but having said that I guess there’s an inherent creative aggression in what I do and the volume itself… Over Reactor has got a new album coming out midyear, Full Scale is writing again, Superheist is back in the studio and we have three new ones and another debuting soon, and then you have the solo thing… so I think the volume says something and it all sounds like my intensity and my work ethic and my aggression for life. I want to change the world and like so many thousands of others around the world I want to be with people who think we can win. There’s so many great people out there and if you’re willing to have a crack and not just sit back and say she’ll be right mate you can make albums with them, you can shut down intersections with them and you can organize with them. You just have to be willing.”
Fans of Ox and all of his above music get the chance to see him in action in the coming weeks with a show in Sydney on March 24 and Melbourne on April 1, with the Sydney show also doubling as birthday celebrations.
“I always like to play on my birthday,” he laughed. “I’ve done it every year for about the last six years but I always ask my manager to book it on that day if he can. It’s always good to play for yourself on your birthday, I would hate to not have a gig for it.”
Presently, there is only the two dates booked for the solo project, but Ox promises other states are firmly on his to do list.
“We’ve got to take it elsewhere,” he promised. “We’re getting a lot of chatter from Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane so we’ve got to get there eventually. We’re introducing a new guitar player for this tour and we’re also currently building our studio so there’s a bit going on but the best thing about the Ezekiel Ox project is it can’t break up! (laughs) Whatever happens I’m still gonna be playing Mammal songs and I’m still gonna be playing the new solo stuff. I’m gonna have a kick ass four piece rock band and I’ve got some of the most amazing musicians that are interested already and that will be playing so it’s really exciting. People know what they’re gonna get when they come. They’re going to get a good punk rock show with me out the front finding the highest thing I can and jumping off it!”
Written by Kris Peters