Melbourne’s Outright are one of my favourite Australian hardcore bands ever, frontwoman Jelena Goluza also happens to be one of my favourite people I’ve ever connected with in the hardcore community. I interviewed her last year: Outright’s Jelena Goluza: DIY, Confronting Sexist Behaviour & Baking Down The Walls. Jelena is a beautiful light that shines in the hardcore underground, her kindness, compassion, sincerity and strength manifests in all that she does and her smile totally lights up a room; she even smiles when yelling her heartfelt lyrics on stage. She is a true inspiration!

I caught up with Jelena recently to chat about Outright’s new release Dedication (which is mastered by legendary hardcore producer Don Fury!). Outright are about to hit the road to support the release (dates below). I wholeheartedly recommend that you get along to a show if you can…there’ll be a mixtape swap even:

Being the “Dedication” tour we’re introducing a special concept at our launch shows to celebrate the music, ideas and DIY community spirit that defines our scene: A ‘MIX TAPE/CD LUCKY DIP’ will be at the door or merch desk each night! Make a compilation to add to the box when you arrive then take a random pick for another in return. You might come across your next favourite band, hear something new or different, find an unreleased song or B-side, get a gift to share with a mate or just be stoked to know you are offering all of the above to a stranger in the room just by sharing what you love. Who’s in?! ~Outright

Outright have released a 7 inch titled Dedication; what’s your favourite thing about it?

JELENA GOLUZA: My favourite thing about this release is finally getting some new songs out in an official capacity as it’s been over a year since our demo – it feels like there is actually something solid to show for all our time and effort now. And we have a great excuse to travel the country and share the stage with our friends and favourite local bands. The fact that we got to release it all ourselves feels good too!

What’s your fondest memory from recording it?

JG: Just spending the time together and creating something with each other in a supportive environment. This was my first time recording so I’m grateful for the challenging new experience and the encouragement we each gave to get the best out of each track but not get too worked up about it. The satisfaction of getting it all done (and a spare track as well) in 2 short days makes me pretty proud.

On your FB in regards to the record you mentioned: Months of hard work/fun/stress/reward the Outright Records have arrived; what were some of the pieces of the process that was stressful?

JG: There is always a little bit of stress in getting things done on time (which was very important to us, given the very limited gap in our conflicting schedules in order to launch the record on tour), making sure each element works and is delivered as expected, and managing all the mistakes, muck ups, and delays as they occur. This is all just part of the process though and definitely worth it in the end. It would be worse if we didn’t care at all!

Do you do anything to look after/prepare your voice for recording?

JG: It’s hard when we spend all day sharing stories and laughing our guts up but my best preparation so far has been vocal rest. Steam therapy, chamomile tea, humming warm ups and face and neck stretches all help too, but I am no expert in the area. I’m still very much a novice, learning every day what works best for me.

Dedication is out through Reason and Rage Records, your new label. How did it come into being? What was the thought behind your label’s name?

JG: We had some very kind offers from labels around the country to release the 7 inch but decided that we might just do it ourselves and see how it goes. It’s worked out really well since we’ve been able to manage our own time and touring schedule to launch the release, recoup our own costs where possible, stay true to our independent ethics and, best of all, keep directly involved with the final product and its audience. Personally, I’ve always wanted to learn more about what’s involved in pressing and putting out a release and to try my hand at a new challenge – this was the perfect opportunity. The fact that this experiment opens up the doors to supporting other bands and projects in the future is a wonderful bonus and I’ll be grateful if I can give back to others in this way.

The label name came from my intention to represent what I am most proud of and inspired by within the hardcore community – music that is aggressive, energetic and passionate with ideas to match, which are also based on progressive intent and are backed up by logical argument (with a reason, and supported by reason). I think ‘Reason and Rage’ is an interesting juxtaposition between what is seen as control vs. chaos, hope vs. anger, thought vs. feeling, and I love celebrating just how perfectly we balance this dichotomy in our culture to make it this interesting, complex and lively scene that empowers us.

The 7 inch comes in three coloured vinyl options. Do you collect vinyl yourself?

JG: Since it’s a 4-song release limited to a short pressing, we thought it might be fun to make it a bit more special and personal by offering colour and style options to choose from – a splatter design to match the cover’s colours, a half and half concept, and a transparent option for those into creative wax. While I’m not necessarily one to hunt all over the world for every single press and colour of every release I love (I’m just not rich or motivated enough for that sort of commitment!), there is a lot to be said for the feeling of getting something “extra” or “special” when you open up the sleeve and find vinyl that is more than just the stock standard black. I like to see it as a gift to our friends for supporting the release in the first place, too. With the resurgence of vinyl however, I’m afraid that “black” might be the new rarity anyway ha!

There are four tracks on it: Dedication, Severed Hands, Only One and State of Denial; give us a little insight on each please. Do they have a story behind them? Do the lyrics or ideas in the songs have a special significance for you?

JG: Conceptually, the lyrics across the record try to capture a range of some different personal and political viewpoints. I feel that the personal and political are just as meaningful as each other.

‘Dedication’ is a tribute to the friends, family, activists and support figures in our lives (local and global) whose courage and commitment to justice and compassion have changed our lives for the better, and the fact that the best way we can show our gratitude to them and the significance of their efforts is to keep up their fight and continue improving the lives of others around us.

‘Severed Hands’ speaks of how, we still manage to be our own saboteurs when personal doubt and fear debilitate our progress. But, because it all comes down to us, that is really one just ONE thing we can control and overcome to reach our goals. There’s enough bullshit in life dragging us down. It’s unfair to let ourselves be another weight.

‘Only One’ is a celebration of individuality in response to the pressure and expectations of others to live our lives like everyone before us. This expectation has complete disregard for the fact that we are each new, unique, creative and theoretically free from what ties others to their lifestyle choices, and these lyrics resent the fact that we are obliged to follow others’ footsteps despite the fact that they were muddy and miserable to begin with.

Finally, ‘State of Denial’ is a gay rights/marriage equality song to express the inconsistencies and injustices in such poor social policy which denies gay family rights, and to assert the fundamental truth that love is never wrong and government has no place to sanction divisions and denial brought about by hatred and ignorance.

Dedication was mastered by the legendary Don Fury; what inspired Outright to collaborate with Don? Did you learn anything from the way he mastered your release or just in general from him?

JG: As if his discography over the last 20 years isn’t inspiration enough (name 100 of the best and most inspiring hardcore bands that have defined your history – he’s probably worked with them), we were chatting with our friends from Brisbane, Thick Skin, who had worked with Don on their recent 7 inch as well. More than just the quality of the final product, the feedback they gave on his helpfulness, positive attitude and support for independent bands was outstanding. When we enquired as to his availability, we got to appreciate all that and more as he willingly prioritised our record in his schedule to help us meet our timelines, provided simple, clear advice, gave excellent feedback and offered amazing indie rates. I think we learnt that there ARE still people in the industry that stay true to their ethics and don’t burn out on new acts, even when their careers are longer than the lives of the people they work with!

I love the 7 inch sleeve artwork. Who did it? What meaning/symbolism does it have to you?

JG: The cover illustration was done by a family friend of mine, Shane Kenning from Longhound Studio, based on concept direction we gave in line with the title track. We tried to play on the idea of the older lady passing on the “torch” to the younger generation, but replacing the flame with a Molotov cocktail to represent the responsibility handed down to continue destroying oppression and injustice as it arises. The younger figure accepts that responsibility with thanks and honour.

I know Outright are all about PMA; is there anything you do that helps you maintain/nurture a positive outlook?

JG: I think PMA for us has been all about connection, self-care, perspective, gratitude and optimism. Some of us are empowered by the catharsis of exercise, relaxation, creativity and service to others. Others are reminded of the better things in life simply by having a beer or juice while hanging out with friends or making new ones. Reminders of joy and potential are in all the books, records, and experiences we take in from others, and, overall, self-acceptance gives us the strength to overcome our mistakes or shortfalls and get through each day. If you don’t count on yourself then you’ve already been knocked down at the knees before you’ve even come across anyone/anything else. Most of all, we desperately grab on to any opportunity for fun, silliness and laughter – nothing is perpetual if it’s not enjoyed and self-fulfilling.

And lastly, how’s everything going with your Bake Down The Walls project?

JG: Bake Down The Walls has been pretty quiet over the last few months while I have thrown all my energy into our release, the launch tour and other personal commitments. However, it all kicked up about a million notches over 2 nights at the Poison City Weekender in Melbourne recently, raising $1,100 for the Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service of Victoria and Edgar’s Mission, a rescue farm for neglected and abused animals. My thanks go to everyone for their wonderful support and encouragement.

For more Outright. To get your very own copy of Dedication.

Photo credits: 1 – Nicole Goodwin /3 – Lachlan Hicks

PMA all day!