When I set out to write the music that is Ecocide, I decided to create something anyone could listen to, enjoy and think about. It’s an album for our time – including doubters who might ask “what the hell is this bloke on about?”
The songs emerged over 12 months from that place songs come from. The first was ‘No More’and it wasn’t until I’d written three or four around the same theme that I fully realised there was something I had to say.
Without being preachy, I wanted to make a statement about our planet. The songs try to capture the challenges we face to say, “we’re all in it together and, if we’re not afraid to fight and cross a few lines, the struggle can be won”. Let’s face it, it has to be won.
Climate change is a big thing for me – I feel I want to warn, save and protect. Life matters. Sometimes what I see scares the fuck out of me. Such perceptions help create my music because music is something I’ve always turned to in times of crisis and trouble.
So my songs seek to build a bridge – to affirm and provide confidence and strength. As a musical form, they cross genres; but I felt the subject matter really lent itself to alternative pop/rock, so I guess that’s how I’d designate this album.
My sister and I were born in Papua New Guinea and I love the place. I still think of it as my homeland; there’s an intangible, spiritual connection. I started writing on my grandmother’s piano when we’d return to Australia on leave. I graduated to my grandfather’s finger stinging steel string guitar and then to mum’s nylon classical.
All I wanted to do was write music. Walking to school I’d construct songs in my head, doing the drums, adding bass, building the song into a chorus. I never thought of it as a hobby, just something I did – like breathing. Many years later, well into a corporate life, I picked up where I’d left off. And slowly, over hundreds of songs and frustrations and much learning, here I am. Just too dumb to quit.
Once I commit to a song, it’s a long road to finish it. Hours and hours of listening over and over, loving it, hating it, line after line written and thrown away, looking for something I can live with. It’s fucking torture, a really delicious torture.
I want you to enjoy Ecocide and I’d like to think that, through the joy and sometimes angst of its songs, it may make a difference.
I tried to not let pessimism infect the songs. Each one seeks to carry a positive message. I rewrote a couple to expel hopelessness. ‘Big Big Time’was one – it’s my favourite and best expresses how I see things.
Politics needs to wake the fuck up to reflect community concern about the fate of our planet. Typically, change in our system is generational, but that not enough now. We do not have time. Earth is burning. Right now. Before our eyes. Let’s get on with fixing it.