The Monthly speaks to writer and poet Shane Hollands from New Zealand Wordcore outfit, Freaky Meat – Part 2

Part one of this interview is here

How does Freaky Meat come about?

Freaky Meat almost runs in tandem with everything else. It came about because I had just released a book and I was looking to improve my performance skills. I went to one open mic and then was directed to another and at the second open mic there was me, some singers and a band.

I did my poems and then when the band got up to play they didn’t have a lead singer so they asked me to get up with them and Freaky Meat developed from there.

Freaky Meat

How long has the band been together?

Well, nearly 16 years and we have produced 1 album and 6 EP’s and we have another recording coming out shortly.

One of the things I think is worth mentioning is that if you are working in what really is the underground or outside of the mainstream, and what you do really isn’t radio friendly, then by any normal measurements you are not going to get famous and there are very few pressures on you.

Doing what we do means that we pretty much have the freedom to do whatever we want. We are not bound by genres or sounds. If we wanted to put out a metal sounding record with poetry we could do it, or a jazz influenced record with poetry we could do that as well. I am very happy that we have never been pigeon holed.

Freaky Meat does have an audience though; you are not completely isolated?

I would suggest that we don’t write specifically with the audience in mind but we do attract people who like what we do. So our audience buys into our approach rather than us having to tailor our approach to win an audience.

I also think that we do aim to entertain those people who find their way to our gigs. There is still an element of ensuring that people get a good show when they come to see us. To me that is very important.

How long do you think it took the group to develop to a point where you knew what you are doing?

The beginnings are always messy, so we had a few stops and starts. But we simply worked together and developed together. the grroup members are, John McNab on Guitar, Julian Pettit who plays Bass,and Rod Redgrave on Drums.

I work hard to merge the words with the music and the group works hard to allow the words to showcase themselves. That is a pretty good relationship to be working in.

It does require certain compromises with regards making sure that I can work my words and thoughts around the music that the band creates and the band needs to find space for me which doesn’t impact the performance of the band, but all in all we have developed our processes together over the years and that has allowed us to keep working and to keep improving what we do.

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