Some of Geelong’s finest paranoia-punk-preachers, Ausmuteants, have a new album out. “…Present The World In Handcuffs” delves into mind of a power-crazed man of the law; across ten tracks we get to know this characters unhinged perspective, given voice by Ausmuteants smart-arsed lyrics and skin-crawlin’ sounds. The album was written by guitarist Shaun Connor, and I got to ask him a few questions about the thought process behind the album.
You wrote the entirety of Present The World In Handcuffs, how does that differ from your normal writing process?
Ausmuteants rarely write collaboratively, so it wasn’t all that different for me. I usually record a draft using FL studio and my laptop microphone, and then we add new elements when we learn it as a band.
How did you find the challenge of the new album’s content being on your shoulders, as opposed to a more collaborative effort?
I think it’s fine. I spent a few minutes in my head being prepared to defend this album from people who might think we were out to glorify police brutality but luckily either nobody cares or the album hasn’t been received in that way.
‘We’re Cops’ appeared on Order Of Operation back in 2014, which was also sung from the perspective of some power-crazed officers of the law. Was that the original inspiration for this album? What inspired you to return to that idea and explore it across an album?
Absolutely, I thought it would be funny to write a sequel to “We’re Cops” and then I just kept writing songs focused around the same theme. I find it incredibly difficult to write “authentic”, personal lyrics, and I just found it really easy to rinse the concept.
Do you have any issues with police in Australia that you’re trying to bring attention to… or is it a more general piss-take of the systems of authority, and the mind-sets of the people in authority?
“Police in Australia” – Real quick – I think that a lot of Australians think that police brutality is an issue that’s specific to America. It’s not – look into Aboriginal deaths in custody, or talk to some random young Sudanese person or whatever. I think I’m more interested in exploiting the aesthetics of authority and power than doing anything explicitly critical.
Punk has a long (and pretty awesome) history of taking the piss out of authority figures, what are some albums before yours that you think have done it well?
Early industrial and adjacent genres probably have the most interesting kind of engagement with authority and power for me, and what I was biting from in a convoluted kind of way. I love Whitehouse. S.W.A.T. – Deep Inside the Mind of a Cop is kind of a smarter and better-realised version of The World in Handcuffs from the ’90s, but it’s not really musically memorable.
What’re a couple of bands you think everyone should be checking out at the moment?
Some stuff I’ve been listening to lately…
Triad God – Triad
Perfume – GAME
Paul Simon – Graceland
Airod – Focus EP (especially “System Connexion”)
G-Unit – Beg for Mercy
Ministry – In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up
Cut Copy – Zonoscope
The last “live” thing I saw and was blown away by was Umfang playing a set at Inner Varnika this year. Smashing. Discwoman is cool and important. Regarding Discwoman, the recent Ciel set I saw was also really good. At home, I chuck on a lot of Muslimgauze because it’s great reading music.
I really enjoy going out to techno and other dancefloor-focused stuff, and as a result, I’m not very knowledgeable about current Melbourne guitar music. If you’ve only ever been in rockdog scenarios, I’d recommend knocking back a few vodka redbulls and having a hoon on the dancefloor. It’s lots of fun.
Release: …Present The World In Handcuffs is out now via Anti Fade Records.
Written by Liam McNally
Photo sourced from Socials