Words by Caleb Sweeting
Photos by Dave Court
On the surface, Flamingo may appear to be an electronic outfit that know how to produce body-moving tunes – and while this is definitely true – there is more to the trio (+ drummer) than meets the eye.
In their latest single ‘At Sea’ they have been more than clear about their stance on Australia’s immigration policy. “We’ve always had a sort of protesty sort of vibe in a lot of the lyrics that Kacee and myself have written…” says guitarist Benny. “But nothing ever so poignant and to the point.”
This year has been busy for the Flamingo boys, with appearances at Blenheim, consistent gigging around Adelaide and working in the studio on their own work and other projects. After chatting with them behind the scenes of their latest film clip, it’s clear they want to use their voice to make a difference.
“It’s pretty hard for people like us, we’re just artists trying to make music at the end of the day, but even one little silly voice can be beneficial,” frontman Kacee says.
“But there’s a massive lack of conversation about this compared to how big this issue is and not just Australia,” Benny adds. “I mean there’s 60 million people seeking refuge and all we can do is throw them into detention centres because people are afraid of them taking our jobs?”
Without the lyrics though, ‘At Sea’ is a delicious pop-driven tune, with an addictive electro-beat. “We started writing this song as a little jam,” Benny says.
“I wanted to keep it pretty under wraps about the fact that it was political, I never really wanted it to be like this big political sort of message,” Kacee says.
The track is most definitely political; however, it is more about promoting empathy towards those who are searching for a better life.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people who have migrated to Australia you know after the Second World War, and you talk to most people and most people’s families migrated here after the Second World War – my family included – and they’re refugees,” says Kacee. “We just think about it differently now because we’ve got all these other idiots on the other side who are putting in all these scare campaigns and anti-Muslim campaigns and anti-fucking immigration – it’s bullshit. The reality is they are human beings.”
I ask the lads if they think this song will make a difference to the way we treat those seeking asylum. Benny believes it’s a start, but more needs to be done.
“It takes a massive cultural change that needs to happen across, not just Australia, but all wealthy nations… Like you don’t earn being Australian when you’re born here, you’re just lucky and for people who aren’t so lucky it’s sort of selfish to say ‘no we’re going to hold it all to ourselves’ and not open it up to other people who are less fortunate.”
Flamingo thinks it’s more important that we help new people to Australia, not with just charity – but open arms and a willingness to help those who don’t know how things work in this country.
“I’m big on charity, but I appreciate the idea of you know actually getting the hands dirty and there’s charity, then there’s big corporations… where does raising this money go?”
The main issue is really fitting into Australia, as Benny explains:
“It’s a culture shock as well, you know if you go to Cambodia you never really get in touch with how life really is like for people over there and you can sort of get a broad overview of it… but it is so drastically different, the culture is so different, everything is different… I find it hard to deal with Service SA sometimes, but imagine if you’d never even gone through any of that before,” he laughs.
For now Flamingo are continuing to create more music in the studio and have revealed to Yewth that there is definitely a debut album on the way.
“Let’s face it, we want to do an album,” says Oli. “We’re in the studio now with a bunch of other artists including Oisima and Kiah Gossner – whose in a bunch of other bands, like the Bearded Gypsys, Conchillia – which Miles, our drummer, is also a part of and we just built some vocal booths and stuff so we’re going to do it.”