EP PREMIERE: ARSE Deliver A Heavy Hit Of Reality On New EP ‘Safe Word’

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While many of us are well aware that the future looks grim, we often walk around pretending that everything is going to be alright. Sydney noise trio ARSE do the opposite – they consistently offer a harsh wakeup call that demands your attention. It’s a very loud reminder of the warped social and political climate we exist in, with a hint of wit for good measure. Droning instrumentals, aggressive vocals and cutthroat guitars lay the foundations for a possessed brand of punk that’s designed to fill you with rage. Today we have the pleasure of igniting that very anger within you, with the premiere of their new EP Safe Word.

Dan Cunningham, Jonathan Boulet and Tim Watkins are the three brains behind this raw, rambunctious and oddly cathartic project. The trio have managed to sonically articulate the fury that many of us feel and are unable to express. Having already tackled similar themes on their excellent debut LP Primitive Species in 2017, they’re back to shake us yet again. From the opening and title track ‘Safe Word’ to the fuzz-fuelled ‘Who Comes Next?’ it’s a terrifying exploration of a generation of indulgence and greed. With drums exploding in every which direction it really is a ‘Pressure Test’ from start to finish. Intense vocal delivery and disordered instrumentals lead the way. And albeit dark, this new EP is a thing of beauty.

We had a mini catch with lead vocalist Dan Cunningham to chat about their new EP. Please enjoy your very first listen below.

Can you tell us a bit about the recording process for your new EP?

The recording process was kind of fucked, actually. It took far longer than expected due to some chronic health stuff I was experiencing at the time. I was diagnosed with a voice disorder as a direct result of bad technique — not warming up or down at shows, playing shows after yelling at my bar job for 8 hours, partying afterward etc. I had to go to surgeons, speech therapists, GP’s, get cameras up my nose. My voice was blowing out heaps, it was a cunt of a thing. Scary and expensive. But we had these tours booked, shows every weekend and I only had steam enough for that OR recording on top of work, not both. I went fucking nuts just hoping my voice would come back in time for a show, but I only missed one out of like twenty in the last year, which I just played guitar and Kirsty from Party Dozen filled in on vocals. At least I can go down knowing I put my mind and body on the line for rock. 

What's your favourite song on there and why?

Favourite song is the title track because I think we just about nailed everything in it. We wanted to try something different, but still keep it silly or whatever. People really read the fuck into the lyrics as well, which is cool. I’m still not sure what it’s about but people had all these fun ideas. The drums are cool. There’s a great bass lick in there. 

Can you tell us a bit about what the EP is about? Where there any particular events that inspired the process?

The EP is just about punk stuff you know, but just our take on it — how we’re the guineapig generation for all this big tech designed to optimise the human experience which is just royally fucking us up. Global politics being this absolute fucking train wreck you can’t avert your eyes from. The next record is going to be 10 songs about schnitzel or whatever.  There’s no particular event which inspired the record. If anything, we are compelled by the eternal pursuit of getting better at this shit. Breaking vital body parts so that they may become stronger. 

Is there a particular message you'd like people to take away from listening to it?

The only message is, be good to each other, especially to yourself if you choose screaming bloody murder as your artistic expression. 


ARSE play The Chippo Hotel on Friday 18th October. You know what to do.

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Deafen County