OUTRIGHT interview with singer Jelena Goluza.
At what point did OUTRIGHT form and how did it all come together?
Outright jammed off and on for a bit but finally got its act together in late 2010 when Aaron moved down from Canberra and brought his drum kit and some riffs with him. We then scored an Arthouse show or two (just in time before it closed!) and the rest of the radness kept going from there with lots more shows in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane. We’ve been so lucky.
Would readers recognize the members from any other bands?
People would know Aaron (drums) from playing guitar in I Exist, Sex Wizard and Burn the Hostages, and drums in Slowburn and 4 Dead once upon a time. Brad is also playing guitar with the Gun Runners and Brenton might be remembered from his early stints on guitar in Bear Trap and Hold Up (who later became Iron Mind). Brett has recently joined us on bass. He played it in Samsara during their last few years and early on in Day of Contempt but he’s best known as frontman for Shotpointblank. I’ve done a few guest vocal spots over the years but this is my first band, so be nice.
Your partner Brett, (Samsara, DOC, ShotPointBlank) was recently confirmed as a replacement bassplayer for Melissa, despite filling in with you guys since October. What took so long for him to get officially accepted and what happened to Melissa?
When Outright first started to get itself together Brett and I both celebrated the fact that I finally had my own project after supporting all of his bands and goals for the last 10 years. He was stoked to be able to support me in return and I was thrilled to have an opportunity to challenge myself in a band and express myself in my own way, separate from everything else we share.
Melissa was overseas for an extended period of time and busy with other pursuits but we had a lot more progress to make while she was gone so Brett offered to fill in and help us out in time for some urgent shows. This continued while we talked to other friends about filling that spot more permanently to give us a better shot at achieving what we wanted to as far as our sound and cohesiveness was concerned. It turned out that with our packed show schedules combined with all of the other work, tour and personal commitments the rest of us are busy with, it just ended up easier and more efficient for us to continue with Brett as we had in October. Especially since in the space of a couple of weeks he had already written songs, contributed great bass lines, seamlessly took care of everything we needed from him and obviously fit in perfectly with the rest of us as existing friends. I guess I can put up with having him around some more!
In your own words how would you describe the sound of OUTRIGHT?
I would describe our sound as having a traditional base in heavy hardcore that draws its influences from bands of the 90s but keeps an energy and pace that stays current. Obviously, the vocal range differs from most other heavy hardcore bands so that’s a small point of difference to acknowledge.
What bands are influencing the sound of OUTRIGHT?
We do not discriminate between which bands we steal riffs from!
To date you’ve released a demo, lyrically what sort of issues do you tackle?
My lyrics tend to aim for positive empowerment and human rights. They come from personal experiences that lead to my thinking or frustrations on broader social or political issues. The thoughts that led to Barbarian began whilst following the conflict in the former Yugoslavia where Bosnians, Serbians and Croatians were all told that they were like cats and dogs and could never live together and share a nation, despite the fact that they had done so for centuries before. I watched my cousins have their lifelong relationships with neighbours and friends disintegrate into violent tensions and destitute struggles despite the fact that they had shared their lives and homes, and cared for each other's children for decades previously. Worst of all, that false sense of identity carried over to Australia to people who had never even experienced that reality in the first place. I even hear my parents make judgment on refugees when they weren’t that far from suffering a similar fate themselves! I think that nationalism is inappropriately used as political tool to justify divisiveness and domination, and legitimise invented notions of identity. When this racism is mobilized, oppression and torture result at every level from Parliament to the street, and that makes us fight against our own humanity.
The lyrics to Mine Alone came out as a result of a lot of contemplation on politics, philosophy and religion. I find when studying gender issues that the concept of "embodiment" is a common one, especially with regard to how men and women are judged, manipulated and controlled. "Show and tell" refers to how it all comes down to how we look rather than how functional, strong or healthy our bodies should be. "Humanity is hurled a stone" refers to fundamentalism's torture of women who simply reveal an ankle or an eyelash - the most unassuming and natural things that can happen just by being human. The “buy and sell” of our everyday tries to alienate us so we don’t even feel comfortable in our own skin. Being "choked with rosaries" refers to my own experience being raised in the Catholic church and how that alone has tried to control my own sense of self, guilt for the ownership and control of my own body, and also the negative, inhumane and absurd ramifications of such hardline views on sexual partners, sex out of wedlock, fertility rights etc. On a personal level, my "condition", my health and well-being, is always going to be a priority over long-held traditions, habits and routines. This body doesn't exist for any one else so it shouldn't be affected by them either.
Growing up and going to hardcore shows, how big an impact did seeing girls in bands like Ultimatum, Mugshot etc. have on you?
I grew up with hardcore from quite a young age, but it wasn’t until I saw women actively involved, sharing their own voice (and riffs!) and pushing the standard further that it really felt like I could actually be a part of something – and something that, because of their intelligent words, their passion and their independence, eventually started living up to its word. They represented a space that now belonged to me too simply because they were there, whilst also serving an amazing example of the fact that I didn’t have to live by anyone else’s standards or play anyone else’s game to share it. The voices in the scene at the time were loud and strong – but finally, I found some that sounded like my own.
PS. Mugshot’s Los Crudos cover still manages to have other impacts on me (and the floor haha).
Would you agree that nowadays there are more girls than ever before at shows and yet fewer seem to be in bands? It’s not just boy’s fun is it? Why do you think this is?
We all know for a fact that it’s not just boys fun at all and the growing number of women at shows is testament to that. Especially since it demonstrates that the spirit and energy of hardcore still appeals to women to the extent that they willingly keep coming despite the obstacles. I think there might be quite a wide range of reasons why fewer are joining bands though - some may not feel welcome or able to access it, or experience too much scrutiny or pressure to perform a certain way because they are the minority in a culture whose aggression and outspokenness is not synonymous with the stereotype of femininity. Sometimes women even judge and demean each other in competition for attention and praise.
It’s unfortunate because I see the refuge and rebellion of hardcore as the exact reason why women look to it to be themselves away from the mainstream’s expectations and demands. But I also know that the persistence, empowerment and independence that true hardcore ignites in us is enough to overcome these obstacles eventually when we have good, kind and enlightened people around us. We just need to make sure we make the right bridges and ropes to support each other.
“You sing pretty good for a girl”. How do you react to a statement like that and have you had it come your way?
I’ve heard similar phrases, or the always interesting “I don’t listen to female-fronted hardcore, but I like Outright” which makes me laugh. My instinctive response to it would be to jump down the speaker’s throat about how it shouldn’t matter who the vocalist is, or what their expectations are as to how the vocalist should be sounding in the first place, but I do understand that such comments are normally made to appreciate what they see as an exception, rather than to reinforce a rule. I just wish it wasn’t such a loaded assumption to begin with. If nothing else, it puts so much pressure on me and other women to sound a certain way or fit an image instead of just doing what feels natural and cathartic for us. Why should some of us be more entitled than others to express ourselves as we are in a scene where sincerity is paramount?
Covers by Inside Out and Integrity. Would they be a part of a dream line up of bands to play with? If not who?
YES. It’s safe to say we’d wet our pants at the thought haha. In equal or varied degrees, other key bands for each of us might be Trial, Judge, One King Down, Kid Dynamite, Eye Hate God, Cro-Mags, Indecision, Paint it Black, Tragedy, Trap Them and Warzone. Wouldn’t that be nice.
Oh and definitely Mindsnare, but that one is ACTUALLY happening in real life haha!
What’s in store for the foreseeable future of OUTRIGHT? 7 inch on the way?
We’re currently writing our first 7” to record in May. Considering it’s taken over a year since our demo I’m not sure if I can place any expectations on what comes next. Gotta keep it fun and fit in with the rest of life too.. But there will always be unreal shows with great friends, new acts and hopefully more with the world’s top notch hardcore bands of various styles. Our new songs have shown a bit more variety in pace and style too which we’re really enjoying. We’re playing with Marathon late April and at the Bendigo Hotel in Collingwood on May 19 with Mindsnare, Warbrain and Party Vibez. The rest isn’t foreseeable, but highly anticipated from the five of us.
How can people get in touch, hear OUTRIGHT or keep up with what’s happening in the band?
Our demo and lyrics are linked from our Facebook page for those so inclined. We also keep flyers and updates on shows there too: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Outright-HC/172188616160603
Some tracks are also featured on Allan Reid’s Worldwide Hardcore comp: http://www.mediafire.com/?i5bwbfgt1p4u6yp and the amazing Australian compilation getting put together by Adam Coyle. Otherwise, check out your local zines or please just come say hi and tell us about yourself.
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