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Image for $20,000 government grant for “awful” death metal

$20,000 government grant for“awful” death metal

Death Metal isn’t something you expect to hear featured Neil Mitchell’s 3AW Morning show, but after the Sydney-based death metal band Ouroboros received a $20,000 government grant the controversy baiting shock jock wanted to know just why our tax dollars were supporting this “awful stuff”.

Mitchell compares Ouroboros to the sound of the Cookie Monster, however composer Matthew Hindson, chair of the Australia Council music board which approved the grant, has a very different view of the band. According to Hindson, Ouroboros “have a degree of technical virtuosity and musicianship. No matter what kind of music you are involved in, that comes through…The challenge is to try and ensure that music is still able to be represented in all its diversity without a (music) board.”

The grant to help Ouroboros write new songs for its next album that will include a symphony orchestra. “This is amazing for us,” drummer David Horgan told The Australian. “We couldn’t consider hiring an orchestra to do this without this kind of support.”

Responding to Mitchell’s criticism Horgan posted a comment on his band’s Facebook page thanking the shock-jock and 3AW for “promoting Ouroboros and stimulating an important and passionate debate about the great value of public funding for the arts in Australia and heavy metal music in general”.

This morning Mitchell invited Horgan on his show to discuss the issue leading to one of the more unusual conversations heard on 3AW. The Ouroboros drummer explained the differences between Death and Thrash Metal, conceded that Julia Gillard doesn’t approve of the grant, claimed that he was happy to teach his music students how to play One Direction, and asked Mitchell about his own artistic projects.

You can listen to the interview below:

Ouroboros statement in response to Neil Mitchell (from the band’s Facebook):

Thanks to our friend Neil Mitchell from 3AW radio in Melbourne for promoting Ouroboros and stimulating an important and passionate debate about the great value of public funding for the arts in Australia and heavy metal music in general. Australians are fortunate to live in a representative democracy with a rich and diverse artistic ecosystem. The Australia Council for the Arts is doing a fantastic and commendable job of recognising and fostering artistic diversity by supporting a broad range of artistic projects and initiatives, including Ouroboros.

Ouroboros has always been a labour of love for us as band members. We have put countless hours of our time and tens of thousands of dollars of our personal funds into creating original music and sharing it with our fans. The funding supplied by the Australia Council will not only help us create our next album, it will stimulate the wider economy by flowing to recording studios, engineers, studio techs, promoters, roadies, musicians, visual artists and many other businesses and arts workers.

Neil Mitchell admits that he does not see the value of death metal and relies on little more than his own emotional response to form his opinion. He goes on to use some of the lowest forms of rhetoric—specifically ridicule and sarcasm—to express his view that death metal is not art and is not “useful”.

Heavy metal fans and other open-minded music lovers clearly reject Mitchell’s opinion and are capable of seeing the artistic value of bands like Ouroboros. This is reflected in our success at the Australian Metal Awards; the torrent of positive reviews we received in magazines, websites and blogs; the number of people who attend our live shows; the financial support we receive from fans in the form of album and merchandise sales; and—of course—funding approval from knowledgeable panel of music-specialists at the Australia Council.

At the end of the day, Australian heavy metal fans are tax payers too. They deserve to have their artistic interests supported as much as anyone else.
– David Horgan (Drummer from Ouroboros)

Comments

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FunkyJ

FunkyJ said on the 22nd May, 2012

"not useful" is the exact same phrase i use for 3aw, which also gets funding from government in terms of indirect grants to all radio/media, and directly from government advertising dollars.

smyth_rj

smyth_rj said on the 22nd May, 2012

shouldn't $20,000 go to some sort of organisation/coalition/collective/bunch-o-peeps that will benefit more than just one band?

hazer

hazer said on the 22nd May, 2012

arts grants should be spread across the spectrum of the arts, not just what the rich enjoy..

tyler07

tyler07 said on the 22nd May, 2012

Rich people are avid death metal fans, you are right.

Balthazar B

Balthazar B said on the 22nd May, 2012

I cringe whenever I see this orchestral crossover with guitar-based muzak...

stop wanking off and stick to your own instruments.

Oflick

Oflick said on the 22nd May, 2012

Anything that pisses off shock jocks is a good thing in my book.

dj ian maiden

dj ian maiden said on the 22nd May, 2012

these kind of grants always upset people because it's like winning the lotto. it's never fair whoever wins it, unless it's you. i'd rather have some death metal band doing something (potentially) interesting than fostering the next john butler trio or powderfinger replacement. also sound like they did a valiant job in dealing with the simplistic shock jock on 3aw, if ever there was a waste of funds and people's time....

GEPETTO

GEPETTO said on the 22nd May, 2012

i do not enjoy death metal lyrics, but music and art is still music and art....i am f@#$%ing grateful for arts' grants...let the music reign, power to the arts ministry!!!!!!!

ThatDude123

ThatDude123 said on the 22nd May, 2012

I like the cut of this Gepetto's jib.

yavimaya

yavimaya said on the 22nd May, 2012

tyler, your an idiot yes? hazer is clearly on the bands side.
funnily enough mitchell is who introduced me to rammstein back just after columbine, he thought it was pretty good.
we all know that mitchells opinion is invalid, like that of most people of that generation, they cannot see the value in any music that isnt "oldies" or "very popular".
pity he doesnt call for sports grants to stop and the funding of the ais, then there woxuld be more money for more deathmetal and other more worthwhile things than people runningg after a ball.

crob

crob said on the 22nd May, 2012

I'm not a huge death metal fan, but i do think they deserve this, The Australian metal scene doesn't get much, most local metal bands play small venues with very little advertising, leading them struggling to find a audience, at the same time the biggest Australian metal orientated festival avoids local metal bands... its good to see a local metal act get some thing

northernbeachesHC

northernbeachesHC said on the 22nd May, 2012

These guys deserve it more. Lulz

http://kangarookebab.bandcamp.com

RAMONESelaar

RAMONESelaar said on the 22nd May, 2012

tyler, your an idiot yes? hazer is clearly on the bands side.
funnily enough mitchell is who introduced me to rammstein back just after columbine, he thought it was pretty good.
we all know that mitchells opinion is invalid, like that of most people of that generation, they cannot see the value in any music that isnt "oldies" or "very popular".
pity he doesnt call for sports grants to stop and the funding of the ais, then there woxuld be more money for more deathmetal and other more worthwhile things than people runningg after a ball.

So many hilarious and/or confusing things here.

"your an idiot" is a classic, as always. As is when people clearly misinterpret jokes.

Mitchell thought Rammstein was pretty good but then you say his opinion is invalid. Nice work.

How the fuck did you put an x into "would"?

Finally, "worthwhile" is entirely subjective. You're abusing Mitchell's opinion on something then giving your opinion with just as little to back it up or suggest that it's the result of logical thought.

2/10

borntohula

borntohula said on the 23rd May, 2012

i think it's neat to fund a band that's a little different compared to what i've heard of the australian metal scene. these guys have an obviously european, opeth style sound that i haven't heard much from australian musicians. they're being funded to target a new audience and i think that's pretty cool.

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 23rd May, 2012

I have no problem with an arts grants of $20,000 going to a death metal band.

What I have a problem with is that post Nothing Else Matters, someone is providing financial encouragement for a metal band to combine with an orchestra.

no_illuminati

no_illuminati said on the 24th May, 2012

20k is not that much when you consider how much the classical arts receive in funding every year ;)

crob

crob said on the 24th May, 2012




http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/500/35906621/Dethklok+nathan+explosion.png
GIVE IT 20 YEARS AND THIS BRUTAL MASTER PEACE WILL BE CONSIDER BY ALL AS A CLASSICAL WORK OF ART !!!

no_illuminati

no_illuminati said on the 24th May, 2012

metal and classical music do have a lot of common threads running through each other..

although.. if you wanted to buy a ticket to the opera for $200, the australian government contributes another $400 to the ticket. i for one would rather the aus govt subsidising my entry fees to death shows.

heh

crob

crob said on the 24th May, 2012

I don't see why you need subsidise entry to local death shows, its often only 10-15 bucks...

though i do think the government should give a bit of cash to these venues to help on the cost of equipment... how some of these metal venues work is pretty shit for the bands.... my mate told me that if they dont have a certain amount of people who say there here to see band 'x' when entering the door, then the band ends up having to pay for the PA rental

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 24th May, 2012

Most small venues are like that.

Part of playing small shows involves each band getting people through the door to contribute to the crowd. It isn't just something specific to metal venues.

no_illuminati

no_illuminati said on the 24th May, 2012

i was tongue-in-cheek ;)

but seriously, the australian govt wants to promote sydney as a city of "higher culture" (whatever that means) i think ;)

crob

crob said on the 24th May, 2012

thought it was tongue-in-cheek... though as i said, it does feel a a bit silly that a band pays to play

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 24th May, 2012

For a fledgling band, they are essentially renting a place to perform. Somewhat akin to renting a place to rehearse.

The rental is "bring X amount of people through the door." If you don't, we'll charge you.

I don't see how it is silly. It's not like a music venue can do much to promote a completely unheard of band. It's up to the band to promote themselves.

crob

crob said on the 24th May, 2012

good point... I'll retract my rant

no_illuminati

no_illuminati said on the 24th May, 2012

yeah these sorts of complains abound.

the music industry is all about bums on seats though. the merit of the music helps but isn't really determinative of anything..

gumbuoy

gumbuoy said on the 24th May, 2012





and yet



http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m15vn9YjYs1qztjn5o1_r1_500.gif

bonzo

bonzo said on the 24th May, 2012

i think that the grant is a wonderful idea. it's really hard for a bands/artists to make it in this day and age, without just becoming a one hit wonder. for an australian metal band to become truly successful, it must break the overseas market. $20,000 would go along way to help these guys finish their record and start a tour overseas. while i am all for the grant, and think that it should be offered to worthy acts, i do think that ouroboros should go back to the name dred. ouroboros just sounds wanky.

dalecooper

dalecooper said on the 29th May, 2012

maybe he's more of a black metal kinda guy..