Ezekiel Ox

They took these deck chairs up onto the hill, sipping drinks, looking over the wall, cheering as Palestinians were being bombed. I found it quite disturbing so I put the lyric in a song, it seemed like such a powerful set of words.

Ezekiel Ox, frontman, actor, director, political activist, explains the title behind his new EP Cheering Bombs From Deckchairs.
It’s a lyric about video footage I saw of a Israelite Zionist, I’m not for one second saying all Israelis are like this, it’s the government, like the Australian government, which has some pretty big fucking issues like apartheid.

Zeke has never minced his words and despite the early start to proceedings, he’s not starting now.
We decided to name the EP after it. Every interviewer asks and unfortunately I have tell them that’s what some human beings have been doing. Its fucking unacceptable, disturbing, it’s not something we should be cheering. It’s such a indiscriminate way of waging war. As we know, we see a lot of civilian casualties.

On the subject of the sound of new EP Cheering Bombs From Deckchairs, the question of doing something consciously different to past work crops up.
It’s defining a solo sound, I’ve worked really hard with Steven Smith on that. That development. That’s what I really want to sound like. Funky, heavy, it rocks but it also has a bit of cabaret. We wanted it to sound original and fresh whilst leaning on our ‘90s influences. We weren’t thinking let’s make something different, we were just thinking of making it really fucking good.

Anyone who has seen any of Zeke’s other projects, mostly recently Superheist, know how much he puts into a show.
No matter the music, I try to make the crowd comfortable. The energy I try to bring across the board, no matter how challenging the music might be. I, as a front man, will make sure everyone is having a good time. We’ve got a hour long strong set of music to play. My band is extremely gifted and I’m very proud to bring them along and show them everywhere.

We have so much material to do. We are doing a Bob Dylan cover called Masters Of War which we’ve rearranged. I think it is working really as well as just playing my solo repertoire. Some of the stuff is from my first solo EP, which was in a hip hop style but we’ve updated that to a band environment. Go to Ezekielox.com and get the music there, its a great investment, go to my website, it’s cheap and helps me pay my rent!

While discussing support slots with Zeke, it becomes apparent looking after each other is important.
I’ll think they will suit, we are not going too left field. We are always looking at bringing in exciting artists. There are some arguments that diverse bills are not healthy but I disagree. Bringing Violet (Fresh Violet) over with Mammal, with her hip hop show, a very different hip hop show, was great. She got a great response, on top of that, Butterfingers have just taken her on tour because the booking agent on the Mammal tour spotted Violet on that and got her booked. She’s a legend. She’s gets the opportunity because she’s a great person, really talented and we wanted to take a hip hopper out. That opportunity creates another opportunity and that’s what we are about. It is helping out our mates.

This is a fantastic example of Ox the man, so when the mood turns serious you can be sure it’s been well thought through. Which brings us to Destroyer 666, a band who have recently had their tour cancelled due to their political leanings. I put it to Zeke, is this a case of censorship gone too far?
I don’t believe in censorship, I believe in parents having information made available to them so they can guide their children. I’m a parent myself. There are certainly things I don’t want my son to listen to, or watch or play, until he’s older, I understand the need for warnings for people with children so they can absorb that.

Having said that….with Destroyer 666 they haven’t been censored, they have had live appearances cancelled because of pressure placed on those venues by anti-fascists who don’t want those people in their towns and cities. The pressure came to bear on the touring company. I don’t see that as censorship. I see that as consequences being metered out in a free market to a band who have a history, quite clearly laid out in various articles, of preaching hate and intolerance. Preaching ideals that have proven to be extremist ideals.

My issue is with people who preach hate, be that the government or the people in the community. Destroyer 666 can get fucked, they can deal with the consequences of their language and the consequence is that they are no longer welcome in this community. That’s a free market decision. If they can organise a gig with some other venue and play some gigs, we’ll protest that. Hate speech is not free speech. They haven’t been censored. They said what they said on Facebook, on stage, and they have been cancelled due to a free market decision that venues are not wanting to be involved. People need to remind themselves, we’re talking about a guy who is doing a nazi salute and talking about the motherland. Fuck them…

Ox’s other great passion is AFL, his beloved Demons are struggling however that all ties in nicely with his view on politics.
Any club that plays to lose, which is organise your club to not seek victory, will experience karmic reaction. The only way to play sport is to try to win within the fair use of the rules. At least Essendon cheated to win. If you’re going to cheat, cheat to win. Actually don’t cheat I’m a umpire!

What I said about sport, it can be tied in politics. Don’t go down the path of racism, homophobia and sexism. You’re playing to lose. Go down the path of freeing refugees, stopping homophobia, smashing rape culture, cause while you may not win, at least trying for the right result. Don’t ever follow the loser mentality, it’s not how as humans we are wired and you will play the price. As Destroyer 666 has just found out.

With that we part ways after a highly entertaining and engaging conversation. The man is the performer. Intense, warming, talented. It’s promises to be a exceptional tour.

Interview By Iain McCallum

Catch Ezekiel Ox on tour on the following dates…