New Academics at the Return of Onesight Acoustics
OneSight Acoustics is a music series brought to you by OneSight: a global public nonprofit organization which provides sustainable access to quality vision care and eye wear to those who cannot afford it or do not have access to it. Around the world, millions of people suffer from poor vision. An eye exam and a simple pair of glasses can help them reach their full potential. For over 27 years, OneSight has engaged thousands of skilled volunteers to hand-deliver the gift of sight to almost 9 million people in 40 countries.
Ahead of the gig on 16 October, Richard spoke with the New Academics who will be performing at the gig. They talk everything from #FeesMustFall to addressing the great debate of whether a frontman should play an instrument! Check it out!
Richard Chemaly (RC): Look ouens, I’ve got to ask, so let’s get the difficult elephant in the room question out of the way. As academics, and new ones at that, do you feel threatened that your jobs are on the line as a result of the #FeesMustFall issue?
New Academics (NA): Absolutely! Fortunately, as well as being New Academics we are also all tired old whores, and thus always have a means of putting a little food on the table.
RC: You’re one of the few bands to put all your music up on YouTube. What’s gotten you over the general musicians’ fear of piracy?
NA: We are very happy for anyone to listen to our music, and YouTube is the best channel for disseminating your ‘works’. We don’t expect to recoup much revenue from album/digital sales, but you need to be up everywhere. So that means being available both on free and paid platforms. I would much rather have someone listen to us for free on YouTube than for a fraction of cent on Spotify or Deezer, keeping those arguably exploitative services afloat. But we’re just very happy if people are listening to our music at all, regardless of the platform used.
RC: Over at our offices, we’re constantly debating whether a frontman should play an instrument. Sorry to put you in this position Joe, but what’re your thoughts on playing an instrument? ( No disrespect Joe…I know you also work hard managing the band *winks*).
NA: I work hard at as little as possible, and this lax approach is most definitely applied to my minimal management of the band. I was a professional musician for around ten years, my primary instrument being saxophone. I am also proficient on bass, guitar and piano, so I could play an instrument in New Academics if I wanted to. In fact, I have played both keys and saxophone for the band in the past. However, it does take away from the other aspects of our performance and also necessitates dragging more instruments to the shows (there’s that laziness again). So now I stick to the mic for New Academics shows. Anyhow, I think that the band will always been considered as the classic four piece, all other additions only providing unnecessary distractions and diversions from the core sound.
RC: I check you okes pretty often since you’ve made the “unpopular” move from Cape Town to Jozi…what I digg is that when you play indoors, you’re never wearing shades. I find people wearing shades indoors to be somewhat #problematic. Are you trying to escape every facet of Cape Town living? Since Ray-Ban is sponsoring this gig, would we be able to get you to be slightly more hipster?
NA: Most probably not, we are firmly stuck in the jeans and t-shirts ideology of the grunge era and I’m not sure we’d be able to make the jump to hipster at such short notice. I didn’t realise that Ray-Bans were hipster, I thought they were what traffic cops wore before they pulled you over and begged for a kiss. Maybe traffic cop is the new hipster, I’m not sure…it’s confusing.
RC: This will be my first New Academics gig since the release of your new album, Growler Front. I’m pretty excited about that! Since you haven’t been playing these songs that long, are you looking forward playing around with them live? Is Animals on the Altar on the setlist? *hopes hard*
NA: Let me just use this opportunity to say how great it is to do an interview where the interviewer actually knows the band and asks relevant questions. It’s fantastic, most interviewers don’t even take two minutes to Google the band beforehand if they are familiar with them. Good work. Right: We will be playing Animals at the Altar as well as Shadowlands, both off the new album. Maybe Seeds as well, the singles thus far. You better sing along then…we’ll be watching.
RC: Aweh thanks! I’ll come get the signed setlist if you’re happy with my singing along. Of course the gig is for an excellent cause. Being musicians, you get to touch lives through your music however in this instance, you’re effectively changing lives. How big of a deal is that to you?
NA: Well, it is great to be able to do a charity show that is a well organised event with clear objectives. We’ve done a few over the years, and we are always happy to be involved. In the greater philosophical context I must naturally recognise the inevitable futility of these sorts of charity events, given that all of humanity is doomed. However, we do really hope that some funds can be raised to assist some needy people in the meanwhile and thank all concerned for the opportunity to be able to contribute in our own small way.
See you at Onesight Acoustics:
The first of 4 events will be taking place on the 16th of October and the line-up will feature: