In The Ghetto

25 September 2012 | 5:00 am | Mark Hebblewhite

“Oscar Wilde said it best – if you want to tell the truth, make it funny, or they’ll kill you,”

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“The tag 'death hop' was actually a description a fan gave our music – we liked it and took it on as our genre,” explains Over-Reactor's vocalist Ezekiel Ox. “As to what 'death hop' actually is, I would say that conceptually it's like nu-metal – even though we don't sound anything like that genre and even though I am a child of the '90s who formed his musical opinions during that era. What I mean by that is that nu-metal saw artists blending diverse genres like hip hop and metal together to make something new. We're doing the same sort of thing except in our case it's the aggression and political stance of hardcore mixed with electronica. We're experimenting with sounds, we're experimenting with forms and we have those political roots you find in a genre like hardcore.”

Ox is just as passionate about politics as he is about music. Describing his views as 'radical', he freely admits that Over-Reactor's music has a very clear and defined political edge, as can be heard on their album Mouth Of The Ghetto. “The title for the latest album comes from the lyrics, but it works well in describing what we do,” says Ox. “In a sense we are the voice of the ghetto. We are making music for people grinding it out and working hard. The ghetto – in my opinion – is expanding; things are getting more expensive, people are feeling more pressure to hang onto their houses and pay the everyday bills they need to pay in order to survive. There really is a growing sense among a larger swathe of the community that they are slipping and our music is a vitriolic response to that feeling. It's us saying we see what's going on, we know what's going on and hopefully we can add some dialogue from the perspective of those who are oppressed.”

It's not just economic justice that sets Ox's heart racing. He also feels a keen commitment to a number of progressive social causes. “The federal politicians who just voted against marriage equality should be ashamed of themselves. If you can't take a stand for civil rights – that every human being should have the same right to pursue the same things that other human beings can – then you are seriously disconnected to what's important in life.”

Just because Over-Reactor are politically passionate doesn't mean they are po-faced, self-righteous ideologues. These guys like a laugh and never take themselves too seriously. “Oscar Wilde said it best – if you want to tell the truth, make it funny, or they'll kill you,” says Ox. “We're very aware of the fact that we are here to entertain and that this is show business. Life's pretty short, so you may as well laugh as much as possible. We have a nod and a wink to a whole range of genres; we use irony to get our point across – but most of all we just enjoy being able to perform for people. I think people see that in us and they know that we're not self-righteous people.”

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If ever there was a band you needed to see live to get their full impact, it's Over-Reactor. Ox is particularly keen to discuss the group's upcoming appearance at the Stamping Grounds Festival. “We are a completely live beast and we believe that we do it live like no other group. I want to say to people to come and check out the shows. Apart from getting to see our show, people will be able to check some amazing bands like Gay Paris, Cash Savage – she's amazing – and heaps of others. Don't miss it.”

Over-Reactor will be playing the following shows:

Friday 28 September - Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne VIC
Sunday 30 September - Manning Bar, Sydney NSW
Saturday 20 October - The Espy, Melbourne VIC