It’s been exactly ten years since The Herd dropped their debut, self-titled album; ushering in a new era of Australian hip-hop and kick-starting a career that would spawn five more records, including their most recent release Future Shade.
When describing Future Shade our FL reviewer noted: “The group have moved past hip-hop, while still using it to do their bidding, and created a diverse sounding record that is virtually flawless showing that this band can bend and flex with not only the current musical climate, but the political one as well.”
And it is in this musical and political climate that The Herd has recently opted, along with Powderfinger, Jimmy Barnes, Boy & Bear and Art Vs Science, to be a part of this year’s Legacy campaign to help raise money for the families of fallen soldiers. Never ones to shy away from issues of political and cultural importance, the band has donated their re-working of Redgum’s I Was Only 19 to the Legacy Songs Badge – a modern take on the traditional pin sold to raise funds for the Legacy welfare programs.
Currently somewhere between Brisbane and Fremantle on their Future Shades tour, The Herd took some time out to talk about what Legacy means to them, how 77% is more relevant than ever and making an album with eight people.
Why did you choose to get involved in the Legacy campaign?
It is a massive commitment sending a country to war, and dealing with the following aftermath once the explosions and excitement wear off is something that may fall off the radar – given our often short-sighted electoral priorities and transient news cycles. Legacy have been around for a long time dealing with the permanent results that occur after our leaders decide to enter a war. Legacy have supported the families and friends of members of our label.
You originally covered I Was Only 19 for triple j Like A Version – what made you choose this song?
The original Red Gum song had an enormous impact on members of the band while growing up. I distinctly remember the emotional impact of lines in the song when hearing it as a young kid, even when not understanding the context of the Vietnam war. It provided a dose of reality regarding the whole spectrum of war, how it doesn’t just revolve around Top Gun bravado and glory.
Did covering the song inspire you to write an original tune that dealt with war from a contemporary view point at all?
Previously to Only 19 we did cover a few war scenarios with, Apocalypta (covering Srebrenica, African continental fighting, East Timor), Starship Troopers (Afganistan) and The Metres Gained (Gallipoli). Since then we have done Kids Learn Quick (Israel/Palestine), and I can’t say it was directly influenced by Only19 as sub-consciously we seem to be drawn to cover whatever issues are challenging to us at the time.