STEVE TOWSON – The Shock&Awe Zine Interview – Part 1
Joe: From our point of view over here, locally, from what we heard before, it’s more like Queensland; that that’s where the so-called “racist rednecks” are…
Steve: Well, country areas get the reputation like being a redneck area but the more I’ve travelled round, like in Queensland, the more you got exposed to the diversity of ethnicity within the state. But like even in a country like Malaysia, you gonna find racist people who would like hate whites, blacks, or Chinese, like you would have in any country. It just depend whether that hatred is allowed to fester, like in certain issues internally unaddressed. Quite often it’s only the rich who can afford to travel and rich people also have a certain expectation of what they supposed to be provided with and how quickly… and “yes, sir – no, sir”, like a lot of Australian white people in Malaysia acting like pigs, treating… like saying, it’s okay, it said NOT to smoke here, but it’s Malaysia. Well, I don’t give a fuck! Like, it says no smoking, you can least be a bit respectful. So whether you’re Chinese, Malay, whatever…
Joe: Are you saying that to me?
Steve: Yeah, right now. NO SMOKING!
Steve: You see, as a retaliation, you could tell me, “Who the fuck are you to tell me no smoking? This is my country!”. That’s what can happen with people who are irrational with their understanding of society. Where I live, man… It’s considered a country town or redneck so people pay the shit out of where I live. But when you go to the train station, there’s Sudanese, Koreans, Chinese, fucken’ whole huge ethnicities.. because poor people who generally West in the Eastern states now, they are moving further West because the lower property value. My research in a lot of racism especially in Australia, rich people can say whatever they want academically and get away with it and teach people that shit. Where else if you’re poor you have to work with whoever you’re close to. My grandad’s brother was… his brothers were all white Australians but they grew up with Aboriginals. because his parents were too poor, sometimes they would go find work somewhere else and apparently let the Maori take care of the kids for a little bit. So when you’re poor, you work with what’s around you and when you rich, you get to select who you work with. That’s from my experience. So when I was sitting at the university, there were some utter shit was taught. And if you look at Darwin, y’know The Origins of Species and stuff, then the people went to the university level and start advocating; these people are poor, y’know, and bla, bla, bal, they’re inferior because we’re wealthier than them. From what I’ve seen, that’s what being projected from the university academic point of view.
Joe: Lets talk about the album that you’re recording. That one, so far how many songs have you recorded and what sort of instrumentation are being used?
Steve: The traditional album?
Steve: For the traditional stuff, it been, maybe about 20 songs recorded, maybe more. There’s at least 15 completed and there are like piano, accordion, mandolin, violin, cello…
Joe: Are you singing on them?
Steve: Yeah. But there’s one song where my friend sung on it. Double-bass, guitars, drums, flute, and i’ve got other people who have offered more Middle Eastern kinda stuff which I’m trying to put on them. I can’t remember what their names, but there’s a Turkish kinda violin. maybe Rebab.. can’t remember the name is now… So i’m looking at getting as much instrumentations from various aspects as I can, but at the same time, if I can’t then just doing it the best I can. From what’s seen, people from whatever culture or country you’re from, people would be interested in things from outside of their own world. So if you’re never been exposed to, like, Aghan music, then you might be interested in hearing one or two songs. Unless of course, if you;re a complete racist redneck, which you would be interested in hearing it so you can say how much you hate it.
Joe: Yeah, just laugh at it.
Steve: ‘Ya ha ha ha, that’s so stupid’ Alright. Fair enough. But there’s so many similarities in so many cultures like rhythms and notes and instrumentations. Like sometimes, i hear instruments that sound identical from one culture with another from the other side of the world.
(to be continued…)
Steve had just released a new CDEP featuring five songs comprising of traditional covers and an original. The EP is called “The Beginning, The Struggle, and The Reward”.
Here’s a short review by Don’t Mourn, Harmonize!
“If you’re looking for a blend of contemporary and traditional labor music, then check out folk-punker Steve Towson’s newest release “The Beginning, The Struggle, and The Reward.” It is a 5 song E.P. that includes such classics as Joe Hill, Preacher and the Slave and Florence Reece, Which Side Are You On?.
Hailing from Australia, Towson also presents the Ballad of 1891 by Helen Palmer and Doreen Jacobs (a song about the first great Australian shearer’s strike) and his own composition about labor martyr Tom Edwards.
The E.P. may be short, but it’s powerful. Highly recommended. Great guitar playing, too!”
more info: http://www.stevetowson.com
Listen to Which Side Are You On from the EP