|Photo: Karl Pierard|
From Pavement magazine, 1995, by Gemma Gracewood.
If there's a band that can preach passionately about the state of our society for hours on end, it's the Hallelujah Picassos. The five members have been key players on Auckland's music and social scene long enough to know what they're talking about when they call for unity in our community. With the release of their new EP, Gospel of the DNA Demon, a 13-track "genetic mix-up'' of styles and sounds, the Picassos manifesto is at the forefront again.
"lt's very important for us that the community that we live in right now shakes up and we start believing that the individual is worth something,'' says vocalist and guitarist Raudra Bayanaka, aka Harold aka Roland. "What we've seen in the last 15 years in the media and in the music is the deconstruction of the individual. For example, we had the grudge period where it was cool to be a loser, it was cool to be down and out, it was cool to talk about how fucked up your childhood was." Peter McLennan, keyboards and samples, picks up the thread.
"We've learnt that cynicism is a totally healthy way of thinking, which to me is extremely unconstructive.'' Johnny Pain, bass, agrees. ''It constrains people from solving problems. They wallow in trash culture and drown in self-pity. The thing is, no matter how bad you feel, there are ten million other people in exactly the same predicament, and you should take strength from the fact you're not alone,''
Continues Harold: "There's too much selfishness, too much 'fuck you, fuck you'. We've had enough of that. Evelybody's worth something again. We need unity. But the unity thing doesn't mean that everyone should be homogeneous. That's not the idea at all. You're supposed to salvage individuality. You can be wildly different and still be all pushing in the same direction.'' A bit like the Hallelujah Picassos, really.
[I remember the photographer for this article thought he had a great idea, of shooting us all with our shirts, off, then overlaying them. Catch was, Harold didn't want to take his shirt off.]