This interview is part of a series discussing mandates, restrictions and censorship with musicians and music fans—read more of these interviews here.
New Art Society are a Melbourne, Australia based three-piece band navigating what will likely end up being the harshest Covid restrictions in the world over the past years. Fortunately for us, they've still managing to write and record an excellent post-punk album.
Listen to their album spineless & mindless on Bandcamp:
Music For All: I'm assuming y'all are all somewhat likeminded about not complying with Covid restrictions with regards to live performance? Were you all in agreement right away or has there been some amount of agreeing to disagree on certain aspects?
Andrew of New Art Society: I'd love to say we are all on the same page as a band re: covid restrictions, but it hasn't been that way. It caused a bit of conflict. In the band there is currently myself, Andrew (vocals/guitar), Eddie (bass) and Aidan (guitar/vocals). I can't speak for my bandmates but personally, I haven't taken the covid jab and I never will. Of course, with all the bullshit restrictions, it looked as though I wasn't going to be able to play in any venue or even attend any live music due to the vax passport nonsense.
It caused conflict because my bandmates wanted to be able to play the most popular venues in Melbourne, all of whom were enforcing the vax passport. Thankfully it seems like most places started unofficially disregarding the pass early this year, and the system was officially dropped last month. So we are right back into it now with a lot of gigs coming up.
Your latest album spineless & mindless is great, I'm a huge post punk fan and it reminds me of a happier less dreary Eagulls, but I might be completely wrong. It's all I talk about but it has been such a bummer the lack of punk / indie musicians standing in defense of live music. What was y'alls experience writing and recording an album over the past two years?
Thanks, I do like Eagulls but haven't listened to them in a while. We are based in Melbourne, the most locked down city in the world, so it has been an absolute nightmare trying to do anything the last couple of years. It seemed like anytime we were getting some momentum going, another lockdown happened. Thankfully we found a renegade producer and we were able to do the album "in between" lockdowns... IYKWIM. haha.
In the United States you're branded as racist, anti-vax or "white trash" for standing up against covid restrictions. Are musicians speaking against mandates having the same backlash where you are? I've wondered if theres more resistance growing in Australia because the government overreach was so much harsher — what was your experience with lockdowns in Australia?
It's much the same here. In general people are pretty brainwashed and if you criticize the government you are considered a tin-foil hat wearer, antivaxxer etc.
There is a good community of musicians who are speaking out against the tyranny. It's small but committed. It can be hard having views that go against the norm in the music scene, because many musicians are "woke" and will not entertain any thought that goes against the mainstream narrative. I think there are a lot of people who don't like what's going on but are afraid to express their views for fear of being ostracized. I myself lost a lot of friends because I dared to say covid was a scam... you can't say anything these days!
There is definitely a growing resistance to the government here, the premier is known as "Dictator Dan". My personal experience with lockdown was.... I didn't care for it, not one bit! I was arrested at an anti-lockdown protest in 2020, and narrowly escaped arrest at a few others. I've been cuffed, capsicum-sprayed, hit with police batons the past 2 years, so I've had my free trial of Klaus Schwab's "great reset" and lets just say, I'm not a fan of it! That's what our song "Fuck 'em All" is about.
Australia is obviously being used as a testing ground for the new world order. It's kinda sad how people have been so compliant here, but I definitely think there is a growing resistance! Some of the freedom gatherings late last year were absolutely massive, 100,000 plus!
Thank you for reading!
Follow New Art Society on Instagram.