"This is a new dawn, 3% is here. This is the Blak Era."
New First Nations collective 3%, the music supergroup starring triple j’s Blak Out host Nooky, Noongar rapper Dallas Woods, and talented Gumbaynggirr singer Angus Field, have come together to release their debut single, OUR PEOPLE, featuring a sample from an iconic Aussie electronic song: My People by The Presets.
OUR PEOPLE is now on streaming services, courtesy of 1788 Records and Virgin Music Australia, with a powerful music video you can watch below.
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The new trio will make their live debut and perform OUR PEOPLE for the first time at SXSW Sydney on Saturday (21 October), booked to play a showcase at Lord Gladstone with a string of talented First Nations artists, including Moss, Barkaa, Dobby, Yung Brother and father and son duo Bars Of Steel, comprising FLEWNT and 11-year-old Inkabee. You can find more information and tickets to the event here.
3% enjoyed studio time in 2022, coming together with a name and theme that outlines their experiences making up just 3% of the Australian population. The trio works to explore the real-world issues facing the country’s Indigenous population, including closing the gap, reclaiming stolen land and Indigenous deaths in custody.
“This track already had a feel of resilience and survival to it. To be able to have this strong and powerful chorus push home our stories was amazing,” Dallas Woods said in a press release. “I tried to portray my verse in the same way they portray their rules and regulations, through fairy tales. My messages come from a very staunch part of my heart. I hate that we still have to fight but love that we refuse to stop. ‘OUR PEOPLE’ means that to me.”
Angus Field added, “As a raw and emotional explanation of what youth in incarceration means to us as a group, ‘OUR PEOPLE’ from the start felt like a piece of me was being pushed into the lyrics. The chorus naturally came out as resilience and dominance from a staunch position. I wrote it from the point of view of my fellow band member Nooks, on the themes of changing the way for my future daughters.
“Overall, this song is written to punch the listener in the face with a strong message and to make you sit down and listen. I’m proud to say I have been a part of the writing process and that I can tell a story of my people in this way to the rest of the world.”
In a lengthy statement, Nooky commented that releasing OUR PEOPLE is “surreal”. “When I first started making music as a kid there were a few songs that I always had my eye on to sample. The Presets’ My People was at the top of the list. I still spin out that we actually got their blessing to do it and make it official,” he said.
“This song is filled with so many emotions from the time of making it. Black kids were being portrayed in a terrible light by the media (nothing new there) but the coverage on Alice Springs was f*cking shocking! There were white people calling for martial law,” Nooky continued. “One c*nt said he would ‘take the little f*ckers out bush and they won’t be coming back’.
“I was seeing that type of shit everywhere and it was weighing heavy on me. Early referendum conversations were beginning to happen and I didn’t know how I felt about it. I could see all the marketing money being poured into it and again, there was so much bullshit out there, it was hard to sit with it to take time and think about what it could mean for myself and my people.”
While Nooky was observing the disturbing commentary and attempting to figure out what the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum meant to him, he was working at a Juvenile Justice Centre delivering music workshops and witnessed an intake of ten and 11-year-old children.
Explaining that it was a “bit of a f*cking eye-opening moment,” Nooky continued, “You see the stats about 10-year-olds being locked up - but once you’re in there with ‘em and actually see it - you become inundated with thoughts, emotions and feelings.
“Anyways, I finished work on this day, and the boys [Dallas and Angus] happened to be in town. So I set up a little studio session, and I knew exactly what I was gunna do. I told Tasker to load up The Presets ‘My People’, and we went the f*ck in. We left the session and I had the bounce on repeat in the car, and I said to the boys, I think this is our first single… and here the f*ck we are. This is a new dawn, 3% is here. This is the Blak Era.”