Ep 12. I'm in Strife; I Like Low Life (...and Haram)
The final episode of Barely Human comes into the present day to look at two contemporary punk bands who caught the eye of the broader culture. In Low Life, we find a satirical punk band from Sydney, Australia who were mistakenly swept up in the #pizzagate scandal, while New York's Haram brings us full circle to Episode 1, with another run in with the misguided gaze of the FBI. Listen now below or in your favoured podcast app.
I'm in Strife; I Like Low Life
Apologies again for the difference in sound quality for this one compared to the rest of the series! All kinda went to shit here in Sydney (as it did everywhere) when the coronavirus pandemic hit, so this was all somewhat scrappier than usual. Hope everyone's keepin' healthy and looking after each other, it's been a time in Sydney and I'm sure it's everywhere else too.
This episode is the fourth that was part-based on a zine, this one was released in 2018 and was designed as the FINAL PART OF THIS ENTIRE PROJECT... but it was only a week after releasing it that I was asked if I wanted to do a podcast, so...here we are.
|Photo of the sold out I'm in Strife zine taken by Melbourne record store Lulu's|
|The album cover that started the tiny #pizzagate controversy|
|The scrapbooks. (from alowlife.tumblr.com)|
Sound the Alarm; I Like Haram
Haram's story is obviously incredibly unique and strange for the time, and for Barely Human, too important to not put in the same thread that started with the FBI in New York in 1968 with The Fugs. I feel like Haram were blanketed by the bigger names that came before them in a way though, the songs that band put together are bizarre, weird hardcore, strange structural elements, the 'New York sound' sure, but in hindsight there's a lot more going on than Haram ever got given credit for...and a lot of that is Nader's vocal. I'm no theorist when it comes to music, but there's definitely a way that he bends the Arabic language that just isn't there in other hardcore bands of New York. I was really lucky to see Haram in Montreal when I was living there, and again in NYC when I visited (supporting Mommy who I think are my fave of the NY hc intelligentsia), because both times they played in Sydney in 2019 I was playing a show at another venue which was a drag.
|The Where Were You on 9/11? 7" cover art|
|Nader Habbibi of Haram (Photo by Morten F)|
So that's Barely Human! The end! We only ever planned twelve episodes, so I've no idea if a second season is going to or is likely to happen but I suppose the chances of that would be increased if you shared the show around and tried to bump up the listens? I'll probably take a breather for a little while then get back to pitching a second season to some organisations to try and get some dosh to fund a second (this series took a little over a year to create, plan, design, research, write, edit, produce and release so hopefully future ones are a little simpler). I feel like I did my best to tie up a series arc and kinda get the messages across that I wanted to explore with in the event that a Series 2 didn't happen...but it still feels unfinished to me. There's obviously more to explore...threads that were missed, and an entire world of contemporary punk and hardcore that's only hinted at... hopefully can come back for more, but until then, thank you for comin along on the ride, and email me any time if you wanna chat more about it via firstname.lastname@example.org
Credits: Production, Guest Contributions, and More!
Barely Human was produced by Jason L'Ecuyer and Output Media. Sydney band Tim & The Boys created the show theme. The cast of this episode who played various characters in guest read form are below...
Cast of Barely Human, Episode 12
Youtube Comments - Scarlet Benson, Nellie Pearson, Dimity Kasz, Sabina Rysnik, Ben Warnock, Alex Oluk, Ben Fordree, Lyn Heazlewood,
LL Title - Toto Shorey
Sun and Suds - Ben Warnock
Why? - Nellie Pearson
DNA - Lyn Heazlewood
Cross over - Nellie Pearson
Funk Stick - Dimity Kasz
U2 - Nellie Pearson
Haram title / Not a Terrorist - Jerry El-Kahale
Sources & Further Reading
Some sources, interviews! For Haram section in particular I leaned heavily on Nader's response to interview questions to avoid telling the story for him (the approach of the show was to treat every band via reference to the archive, rather than reaching out for primary interviews... a decision I made early, so that now-dead members of the bands featured have the same say as those living). Here's where I got much of that from...I've likely left some out so will update as soon as I find and remember them!
Noise In My Head: Voices From The Ugly Australian Underground - Jimi Kritzler (2013)
Haram Interview w/ Bandcamp Daily - Patrick Lyons (2019)
The Struggle Goes on For Haram... - James Khubiar (CLRVYNT, 2016)
Haram Interview with ArabAmerica.com - David DeMaria (2017)
'This Punk Frontman Sings In Arabic, So The Joint Terrorism Task Force Knocked On His Door' - Circa, Directed by Reed Dunlia (2017)