Downtown Boys on American politics, productive anger & punk rock
October 4th 2017
- Downtown Boys :: Interview with Tanya Ali
Ahead of their first trip to Australia later this year, Rhode Island’s Downtown Boys chat with Tanya Ali about industry labels, their album ‘Cost Of Living’ and the difficulties of being political – particularly in America’s current climate.
Lead singer Victoria Ruiz and guitarist Joey La Neve DeFrancesco discuss the hostility they experience at live shows, spurred on by industry labels that are thrown at the band.
“People kind of pick and choose when they want to put us on a pedestal: as an ‘exciting rock band,’ or as people who speak about political issues. Then once we’re put there, instead of actually engaging with us, there’s a lot of critique about why we’re doing it wrong, or why we’re not self-aware. I think while we’re really supported and we have a lot of people and institutions that support us, we end up facing a lot of racism and homophobia.”
Above all else, Downtown Boys use punk rock as their way of getting their voices heard.
“The genre we’re working in is some kind of rock genre that lends itself to expressing a certain kind of anger and defiance… Not a hopeless anger, but anger because you know it can be better. I don’t think the message is specific to the genre or style we’re playing, but I think on some subconscious level, that’s how it works.”
Industry labels aside, it’s safe to say the band’s first Australian gigs will be some of the most exciting, progressive and political punk shows of the year.
“I think one of the things that people can expect is we don’t have any expectations – we’re just really excited. We’ll bring our best selves, and want to bring something we hope people can relate to and will feel accessible. Even though our country is doing a really awful job at being a country, right now, there are a lot of people doing a really good job at fighting the disease that our country is representing in the world right now, and we want to be part of fighting that disease.”
Get stuck into the full chat above, as Ruiz and DeFrancesco chat sample clearing, the current state of American politics and being the hero of your own story.