Words by Luke Death, Photos by Rod Hunt
Unbelievably Bad Contributors
When first confronted by Sydney’s Dispossessed, it’s clear they have a vigorous agenda.
Full of conviction and youthful enthusiasm, they’ve been around for less than a year but in that time have crafted a unique blackened doom grind rock sound, made a great record, and played a bunch of killer shows.
UB caught up with Serwah (guitar), Birrugan (guitar/vocals) and Harry (vocals) for brief yarn prior to their show on the undercard at Royal Headache at the Bald Faced Stag this Friday.
Tell us who’s in the band, and how Dispossessed started.
Harry: I’m the ‘vocalist’. I shout and jump up and down.
Serwah: I play guitar. That’s about it, though.
Birrugan: I play guitar with Serwah and sing in lingo occasionally. Dispossessed started probs nine months ago. How? I dunno – personally as an Indigenous man I felt disenfranchised that there was never a indigenous voice yarning about serious issues or even acknowledgement of that in alternative spheres of music. I was just sick of always seeing four straight white dudes playing music of any kind with nothing if not pissweak shit to say or nothing to stand at all for especially in punk or metal. At the time I was homeless, working at the Redfern Tent Embassy or squatting, it showed me what was important and a side to the city most people don’t see.
Have you guys done other bands before Dispossessed?
Harry: Nothing more than shitty high school punk bands. First band I’ve properly committed to.
Birrugan: Ye, I’ve been in a couple since I was about 15. I used to play bass in an indie rock band, too. I feel this is the first legit one.
Serwah: I was in a grunge band called Spiral. We only recorded demos but we never gigged when I was in the band.
Insurgency sounds really good. How did you guys hook up with Lachlan (Vercoe, Thorax), and what do you reckon he brought to your band with the recording?
Birrugan: Thank you very much! A mate of ours Stu from Unknown to God hooked us up with Lachie by chance; I am a big fan boy of his band Thorax. I reckon he brought a ridiculous level of quality and amazing gear (i.e. Sunn Model T) that a band’s first release can only dream of, really, and it was a pleasure to work with him. Lovely gentlemen that I respect and adore a lot.
Harry: Thank you, means a lot to hear that. I think Lachlan brought expertise and an attention to quality that really helped refine our sound and sharpen it into something cool. Was glad to work with him.
What do you guys do for fun?
Birrugan: I dunno, I hate fun. Play music, laugh/cry at memes.
Harry: Read, listen to music, haphazardly jump from hobby to hobby.
Serwah: I do oil paintings and complain about artists.
Has Sydney become more fucked over the last year?
Serwah: Fucken fuck yeah it’s fucked. Fuck oath.
Harry: Yep. Sydney has always been fucked (ALWAYS) but this new government is really enjoying the role of disciplinary patriarch. Sydney is sick to the core. Put it down.
Birrugan: Its been fucked since 1788, but yes I suppose it’s more visible. Since the  Olympics the city has been kicked into overdrive by the scramble money, wealth and power. I want it all to burn.
If you guys were contesting the next election, what would your five key policies be?
Serwah: Honestly, I would rather disappear than compete in any election or become a politician.
Harry: 1. Complete decolonisation. Hand decisions over to whose land it really is. Although if I had a say in anything else, they’d be: 2. Socialism and taking back the wealth from the capitalist class to be used for the benefit of the people. 3. Free all refugees. 4. Huge focus on arts and culture, so the people can communicate the unique condition of this continent to the rest of the world, and hopefully share some knowledge and insight. 5. Basic living wage.
Birrugan: 1. Free Hi-Tech trench coats that can turn into sleeping bags to every citizen, 2. Disband Australia; burn parliament, send politicians to offshore detention and formalise a confederacy of sovereign nations with Black Parliament. 3. Fully Automated Luxury Communism (Advanced Space Socialism). 4. Bio-regionalism and just transition. 5. Decriminalise all drugs.
Should dog owners who adhere to a vegan diet keep their dogs on a vegan diet?
Birrugan: Fuck no.
Harry: No, Jesus Christ! There’s so much out there that shows just how much it fucks up animals to mess with their diet like that. Don’t be a fuckwit.
Serwah: HellLLLLLLllllllLLLL nooooOOOOOooooOOOOOoooooOOOOO.
You guys are playing with Royal Headache this weekend – how do you reckon you’ll go over with the trendies?
Serwah: They usually stay and watch silently. Often gotten positive feedback from ’em but I think they only enjoy our music, ironically.
Birrugan: I dunno. If the trendies rock up early enough for our set I’d love to scare them. They are the culture bourgeois, they read Noisey, they are the tastemakers, I dunno if our tunes are avant garde enough. But in terms of political message I think it is imperative to reach out to that crowd if they wanna listen.
Harry: I hope they get thrown onto the backfoot for once, humbled and in a position to listen. At the same time, I haven’t been feeling the best recently and I really just wanna eat them alive.
Catch Dispossessed with Royal Headache, Whitney Houston’s Crypt and a handful of other bands at Reverse Charges, on this Friday, May 13, at the Bald Faced Stag, Parramatta Road, Leichhardt.
Listen to Dispossessed’s killer first record Insurgency here: