Anyway, I know you're all hungry for something relevant and mentally stimulating. I know you don't care about me and my inner turmoil, my increasing dependence on alcohol or decreasing sense of shame. And that's okay, I'm used to it. I'M FINE. Really. So to soothe your aforementioned existential yearn, here's my interview with Mickey Gloss' arresting front man, Daniel. We met at the Falconer on Oxford Street and talked politics. Have you been there before? It's like, waistcoat central. I kept asking stupid questions, Daniel made a salient point and then I asked another stupid question because I was blinded by all of the natty little waistcoats passing me by.
And Mickey Gloss' music is not unlike a natty little waistcoat (see what I did there?). It's timeless, with overtones of old school cool and a little bit of the blues. It's dangerous, but not so much that it turns you off entirely. So there you go, probably the dumbest musical analogy you'll ever read but it's all I've got right now.
But enough of that. Voil
Can't Sleep: What do you think the role of music is in politics? Do you think it's important?
Daniel: Yea, I think so. I think music can lead to political change, it can be a way of giving people political ideas. We (Mickey Gloss) always look in our playing to educate people about things but maybe not so much in a black and white way, because I think if you start being a preacher people kind of don't like that. I don't like that. I know people who like to be told what to do, but if you tell someone a story, or about the place where you come from, there's all these politics which involve themselves in that. I mean in the songs that I write, I kind of try to tell a story, set up places, background and stuff and there's politics in that but it's never black and white. I think music can be political, and I think the role of music in politics is valid, just as one form of expression.
CS: So do you think politics is inescapable in society?
D: Yea, I think so. Because if you think about music; it's either about sex, religion or politics and there's politics in sex, there's politics in religion, there's politics in someone telling a story. Even if you're writing about someone who broke your heart, there's politics in that. You know, you're just telling your side of the story.
CS: Do you think that politics has the ability to get us out of the mess that we're in?
D: I don't think so. I don't really think that change is the way... because the problem with politics is people. It's a great theory and stuff, but as soon as people get involved in it and try to make a decision... there's so many other factors that involve themselves in politics. There's so many different facets. Money, and you know...
CS: So you think politics is what got us into this mess, it won't get us out of it?
D: I think even if we didn't have politicians, (collapsing economies, wars etc.) would still be around, it would just be in a different way. There's always going to be good and bad in the world. People seem to love power, they just crave it.
CS: Is it human nature to just be like, “I'm the leader, you guys are the followers. This is how I'm going to run the world.”?
D: I think so. For some people. There's some people who are totally against that. But either way, if you're saying “political change” and all that, what's the alternative to a democracy? Even if you try Marxism, it's still a dictatorship. Everyone talks about these Marxist regimes, but the notion of Marxism where you've got people who all get paid the same for doing different jobs, you wouldn't have people who were musicians, you wouldn't have that... Like I'd want to say, “Oh, I'm a musician.” Who's going to say, “Hey, I'm a garbage man”, you know what I mean?
CS: Yea. It's like, every time somebody says, “I'm an artist” or “I'm a musician” or “I'm a poet”, people are always like, “Yea, but what do you do for money?” And they probably work full time at Coles or in an office or something.
D: Exactly. When people ask you what you do, they don't ask you what you actually do during the day, they want to know if you're a student, where you work, you know. All those things.
CS: What do you think, idealistically, politics' goal should be?
D: To bring people together and to help people. If we're talking about political change, that's what it should be about.
CS: Do you think a country's political system is really a reflection of the people who live in it?
D: It's a reflection of its history. If Captain Cook hadn't come to Australia when he did, then we wouldn't have the political structure that we have now, know what I mean?
CS: So if it's a reflection of country's history, where do you think it manifests itself? In the way people interacts with each other?
D: There's politics in everything. There's politics in this conversation. You know, you're the person who's recording this, later on you're going to critique what I say and that'll be based on insights that you have following the conversation. The world's never arbitrary, so to me politics is all just about vested interests. People have vested interests... so, we're a very Christian country now because that's where we came from but if you go over to countries with an Islamic state, they have totally different laws, totally different politics and totally different views on the world. And that's because of their vested interests.
CS: What do you think about the separation of church and state?
D: It doesn't exist. It's like the separation of man from emotions, it doesn't exist. We've got a huge Anglo-Saxon population in this country and I think it's (most represented) in the hegemonic discourse, and anything outside of that is a minority group. I just see that as the reality, I don't think it's a good thing, it's not something I'm happy about.
CS: Do you think religion should be separate from politics?
D: I think it should, idealistically. But it never is. We're only people, the way we've been brought up, whatever morals we've been taught, whatever culture we come from, totally influences our political views.
CS: What about money? Do you think money should be kept separate from politics or is it like religion, that it's just always going to be there?
D: It's always going to be there, but it shouldn't. Why would a company give money to whatever party is involved and then say that they expect that party to be totally arbitrary and not swing judgments in their favour?
CS: And what about the involvement of art? Do you think politics and art should stay away from each other?
D: No, I'm totally a fan of Dadaism and things like that. I think art's sort of turning into this thing where it's just all about the aesthetic, what something looks like, how it feels and stuff like like that. To me that's cool, that's fine, but you can you see how that's sort of a metaphor for the pop world where things are just pretty and shiny but they've got no substance to 'em. They don't say anything. I spend ages writing lyrics that to me reflect... I don't know, I try and have, like, three ideas in every line so it's got this kind substance about it. I think lyrically, a lot of bands don't have very much substance. But art to me, really is not about the aesthetic. If you're talking about art art, you look at it, and you either like it or you don't. You don't know why. You might want to know why, and you can spend your whole life trying to figure out this piece of work, but really...
CS: But you could say the same thing about politics, especially what's happening in America with Barack Obama, it's just about image. People fell in love with his image.
D: But who were you going to vote for if you didn't vote for him? McCain? Or Ron Paul?
CS: But again that's all about image. You know, McCain had this whole “I'm old, I'm a war veteran” thing going on...
D: And the thing about that is that Obama did win, but it wasn't a landslide. It was still pretty close in some states. He won a lot of seats, but he won by a pretty narrow margin which is scary, considering Sarah Palin and all of them. See, I don't see a difference between John Howard and Kevin Rudd. They're exactly the same, it's just a different image. The closest thing we've ever gotten to a left wing politician in Australia is Gough Whitlam. And he got fired. At the end of the day, people just worry about money, and their families and their home loans, stuff like that. That's what it seems to all boil down to. Social change, and things like that... it seems like people don't have the time or the energy to invest into things like that. Like, I live in Western Sydney, I teach in areas like Mt. Druitt and the way those kids live is ridiculous. And that's all political, people turn a blind eye to it. They build these low socio-economic housing estates in the middle of nowhere, people can't get public transport to actually go anywhere and then they expect them to get jobs? It's very hard.
Edit: Maybe should have mentioned this earlier, but Daniel recently moved to London so fans in the southern hemisphere probably won't be able to see Mickey Gloss play live any time soon. I know, it blows. It blows hard.