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The Real Men

J D SamsonAs part of this year’s Perth International Arts Festival, Brooklyn-based band MEN are coming to our shores with their feminist, activist, disco punk tunes. MEN released their debut album, Talk About Body, last February but have become well regarded for their energetic and creative live shows. But it’s their ardent activism of feminism, human rights and corporate greed that have spiked the curiosity of audiences from around the world. MEN’s JD Samson, of Le Tigre fame, spoke to OUTinPerth last month about their debut album and fitting in activism into their touring schedule.

‘One thing that’s really interesting is when you tour all the time, you kind of lose touch as an activist in this way where you’re not on the streets protesting all the time because you’re not there at the right time and all this stuff,’ Samson said.

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‘One thing I realised through the Occupy movement was that part of our activism is putting out this music…In that sense, yeah, we really are activists.’

Their music screams of inequality on many fronts including queer/gay rights issues. Take the lyrics from their single, Who Am I To Feel So Free: ‘we built this world and we are asking your best, group group work and gay power, what’s the path to chose now is the hour’.

For the past year, the band has been riding the success of their debut album, touring Europe and the US while working steadily on a follow up album. Samson explains: ‘We’ve just been touring a lot. Basically once we released the record last February we went to Europe a couple of times, we did a couple of US tours and a tour with CSS where we opened for them in the states.’

‘We’ve been recording since then… and we wrote another record.’

The new album is in the works although Samson was not able to reveal too many details.

‘It’s been really interesting. We had a difficult time with the industry, you know, in general because I hadn’t put a record out since the internet had really taken over the industry. It was a really big shock to me because I didn’t realise how to do it.

‘[But] we got a lot of great reviews and we had a lot of awesome responses in terms of our live shows. That’s one thing we always seem to have, people coming to our shows and having a great time. I guess you could say it’s because we pay a lot of attention to our live show and we want to create a piece of performance art that people want to keep seeing.

‘Every show we do is different. We add new instrumentalists, we do the songs differently.

‘So it’s really fun for us to keep that alive.’

Catch MEN on February 25 at the Festival Gardens as part of the Perth International Arts Festival. Tickets available at www.perthfestival.com.au

Written By: Benn Dorrington

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