Over time, we have seen many forms of the music world uniting and refusing to abide to the oppression of the government. Most noticeably the punk rock movement in the 1970s saw bands such as the Sex Pistols and The Clash spark a light within the youths of the world to encourage them to stand up and be noticed.
More recently, we have seen history repeat itself, albeit a far distant memory from the days of burning the streets of London. The election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, people of the world have united in voicing their concerns through the medium of music. More noticeably are the likes of The Gorillaz releasing track ‘Hallelujah Money’ and folk-punk artist Frank Turner’s ‘Sand In The Gears’, it’s clear the power of music is reflecting the voices of the public, offering a different approach to voicing concerns.
We spoke to three upcoming musicians from The Manchester area who voiced their concerns regarding how the world of music could combat the political impact on society in the world today.
Joe Stephenson, 21, is the frontman of Manchester rock band Disparity by Despair. As he sits in front of a wall of guitar amps perched on a stool, he chuckles at the thought of using music as a force of good. “As a band, I feel like you can divide your fans if they don’t have the same view points as you” he says “I think that if we did one, it would be a bit abstract and less obvious. It’d be about the state of things rather than vote this party or that party”.
It’s not something that Puppet Rebellion front man Oliver Davies shares. With his band known for heartfelt lyrics and powerful messages of triumph over tragedy a politically motivated track is a topic that may possibly be on the cards. As we talk in one of the many quirky bars Manchester’s Northern Quarter offers, he says “It’s not for me. People should make up their own minds and not be influenced by rock stars”. However, not to shut the door on the matter entirely shut, Davies then continues to add that band mate Craig Gibson might be able to swing the vote as he adds “It depends on Craig really, as he writes the majority of lyrics. He’s very much into his politics so I think it could potentially happen.
With history proving that musicians possess the power to influence the public in days gone by, today’s upcoming artists seem reluctant to take the reins for another musical revolution. The hesitation is obvious during a conversation with Grimsby indie rockers Mint vocalist and guitarist Zak Rashid. As we converse in a coffee shop in Rashid’s hometown he contemplates the idea.
“It’s something I’ve been thinking of for ages” he murmurs slowly “but as lame as it sounds we don’t want to be left wing band or a right wing band, we’ll leave that to The Smiths”.
As we chuckle and continue to discuss the works of Morrissey and co singing about politics, you can’t help but feel a collective understanding that upcoming musicians of today hold hesitation about such controversial subjects.
What do you think? Should artists write more politically motivated tracks? Or perhaps the subject should be left alone entirely? Let us know in the comments below!