“You’ve got to keep fanning the flames” BRACT x BAYANG on REDBRICKGOTHIK and finding hope in Sydney’s concrete sprawl
March 22nd 2023
FBi Radio was lucky enough to preview REDBRICKGOTHIK, a new collaborative album by Sydney noise trio Bract and MC BAYANG (tha Bushranger) as Album of the Week at the beginning of March. BAYANG and Josh from Bract joined Lindsay Riley on Friday Mornings to chat about the record, ahead of the album launch concert at Pari.
REBRICKGOTHIK is a compellingly original musical collaboration; a turbo-charged ride into BAYANG (tha Bushranger’s) high energy industrial hip hop, complimenting the noisiness and waves of distortion of Bract’s instrumentals. Josh from Bract talked about how channeling experimentation and spontaneity between BAYANG and the band helped to capture the energy heard across the record.
“We sort of were just recording everything really quickly and not worrying about getting a nice recording or anything like that…. Anytime we had a session where we just came in and played straight away, they are generally the ones that ended up on the album.”
Hip hop albums can often paint a melancholic picture of a city, and the contradictions between their sprawling, concrete environments and the histories, conflicts and people within them. REDBRICKGOTHIK does this for Sydney, offering an alternate mythology to popular understandings of the city. He shared that it was a concept he had wished to previously explore using the “black metal epic,” with his previous band, DISPOSSESSED, but now was able to use hip hop for the same end.
“Coming into it, I just felt this huge urge to use the storytelling element of hip hop to paint a picture of what Sydney has looked like to me and what Sydney has looked like to people around me, and just try and say hey, its not all blonde people, Bondi beach and BBQs… There’s a horror to it. There’s a really quiet horror to this city.”
Whilst keen on exploring the darker underbellies of Sydney, BAYANG also spoke highly of the counterbalance that Bract’s music offered the project, and their ability to “put hopefulness in the face of dystopia.” Josh explained how the band are committed to overcoming the overwhelming sense of despair often present in industrial and noise music.
“I kind of get a little bit burnt out or bummed out on just all the endless nihilism that is present in so much of that music, where it’s just this really, really bleak message. Which is understandable at a lot of the times because things can be bleak, but a lot of it feels like its not actually connected to anything, it’s just bands trying to one up each other with just the most bleak and depressing outlook.”
REDBRICKGOTHIK is a nod to those in Sydney forgotten at the margins, unnoticed by the mainstream, surviving despite Sydney’s constant hostility to art and countercultural expression. BAYANG noted that many of these old forms of expression, which led him and Josh to the places they are now, no longer exist as they used to.
“Something that’s funny is that Josh and I are actually friends because when I was a teenager, I used to rock up to Black Wire Records on Parramatta Road, when it had a storefront, and just like be really annoying and he kind of like adopted me. I guess what’s funny is like we both owe so much to that space, but that space is long gone, you know. But I don’t think this record would have existed without it.”
REDBRICKGOTHIK is an essential release in the Sydney canon, defiant in the reign of the private property-driven urban sprawl that stifles creation in this city. Instead, Bract and BAYANG have stood their ground, confident in the diversity of artistry and community that the city has to offer. As BAYANG summed up:
“I guess the way I’ve always seen it is, you’ve got to kind of carry the touch, you’ve got to keep fanning the flames. If we believe in these undercurrents of these scenes so much, then let’s not pretend that it’s dead, when there’s clearly a lot of people out there that still feel tied to that. Let’s bring it into 2023.”
“These things are still alive. They might not look like they once did, but, you know, they’re here.”
Listen to REDBRICKGOTHIK down below or hear the full chat up top!