2017 Artist Survey: Nick Allbrook of POND | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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2017 Artist Survey: Nick Allbrook of POND

Allbrook on the "Me Too" Movement and Sexual Harassment, Donald Trump, and Professional Regrets

Jan 23, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

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For Under the Radar‘s 15th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to the last year. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2017 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions. Here are some answers from Nick Allbrook of Australian psych-rockers POND. POND released a new album, The Weather, in 2017 via Marathon Artists. The album was produced by Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker. Allbrook used to play bass in Tame Impala and the two bands have often shared members, including Parker.

For our annual Artist Surveys we emailed the same set of questions to musicians about the various sexual harassment and assault allegations, the “Me Too” movement, the chaotic first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, the Charlottesville alt-right rally and racism in America, embarrassing moments, professional regrets, which Breakfast Club character they are most like, the end of the world, and much more.

Top 10 Albums of 2017

1. Arca: Arca
2. Jay-Z: 4.44
3. Pierre Kwenders: MAKANDA at the End of Space, the Beginning of Time
4. Yaeji: EP2
5. Kirin J Callinan: Bravado
6. Methyl Ethel: Everything Is Forgotten
7. Björk: Utopia
8. Young Thug: Beautiful Thugger Girls
9. LCD Soundsystem: American Dream
10. J Hus: Common Sense

What was the highlight of 2017 for either you personally or for the band? What was the low point?

Lowpoint was being stuck in Jakarta. High was probably getting to know London and Pakka.

2017 saw sexual harassment and assault allegations against many men in the music industry, film industry, journalism, politics, and elsewhere (including Harvey Weinstein, Matt Mondanile of Ducktails and Real Estate, Brand New’s Jesse Lacey, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Charlie Rose, Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, Democratic Senator Al Franken, and others). Why do you think the floodgates opened in 2017 and do you think any meaningful change will come from it or will sexual harassment and assaults continue to be prevalent in certain industries?

I think the floodgates were absolutely bursting, and have been for a long, long time. I don’t know exactly what broke them, but I think it’ll have a positive impact-helping victims to share and heal and hopefully ousting cruel disrespectful fuckwits completely, making the world safer and happier for everyone.

In 2017 the “Me Too” and “It Was Me” social media hashtags further brought sexual assault and harassment to light. Have you ever been the victim of harassment or assault, or witnessed such behavior, or been the perpetrator? And what concrete steps can be taken to combat sexual harassment and assault in the music industry and make it a more welcoming place for women?

My friends have experienced it in the world of music promoters. Someone very cruel and psychopathic has been fired today and I’m over the fucking moon. I guess any moves towards public scrutiny need to be on the victim’s terms, keeping everyone safe and not open to something they aren’t ready to confront. People need support first.

It has been said that 2016 was the year your favorite artist died, and, because of the litany of sex scandals, 2017 is the year that your favorite artist became dead to you. Which artist did you stop being a fan of this year? Which public person would you be most devastated to learn had a history of abusive or predatory behavior?

Shit man, that is a real hard question! I don’t really wanna put anyone I love in that frame, even hypothetical, it’s far too gross to mess around with even in that sense. And, as far as people who have been found guilty, I dunno. It sucks every time I hear it, but not really because I wanna be their fan but can’t. I’m just not a fan anymore. I used to laugh at Louis C.K. but I truly don’t care to listen to him anymore. There’s no nostalgia in losing someone who you don’t know if they’re an offender.

Should we be able to separate an artist’s work from his or her actions? Or should an artist’s negative behaviors completely negate the quality of his or her work?

That may be too big and nuanced a question for little old Nick to answer, but I find it very bloody hard to separate. Depends what the behavior is, the artist, the victim, the contexteverything is delicate I suppose. But some things are unforgivable.

The first year of the Trump administration has been chaotic to say the least. What has President Donald Trump done so far that most concerns or angers you? Is there anything President Trump has done, proposed, or said that you actually agree with? Why do you think his base continues to support him?

I think proving that people don’t have long enough attention spans for truth, or don’t have enough time or energy to confront them. It’s such an evil thing, to capitalize on that realization.

Many predicted President Donald Trump wouldn’t last long in the White House and yet he’s still there. At this point how hopeful are you that he’ll be impeached? Barring that, how optimistic are you that he won’t win reelection? And although it’s still very early, is there already a potential candidate you would most like to see run for president in 2020?

I guess it’d have to be someone with mad celebrity, coz America… Michelle Obama? Of course I’m reeeeaaaaal hopeful that he’ll be impeached. Fuck that motherfucker.

The alt-right/neo-Nazi/KKK rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the ensuing violence, and President Trump’s reluctance to condemn such hate groups further showed that racism is alive and well in America. What concrete steps can we take to improve race relations in America and the world at large?

I am truly not the person to ask. I’m a cis white male aged between 25 and 55. But I think accepting that you are actually the face of a lot of very real suffering for a lot of people is a good start. Like, taking down your guard and not being so defensive, allowing conversation. You’re not being unfairly chastised, there’s no reverse racismdon’t say “Why do you hate men? What about Humanism?”all this shit. Just cop it on the chin and listen and learn. Accept that your ignorant and other people’s feelings matter, and actually learn how to change.

2017 saw several music festivals cancelled due to low ticket sales (not to mention the Fyre Festival debacle in the Bahamas). Are there too many music festivals right now?


Which Breakfast Club character are you most like and why?

Wait, what?? I’m still thinking about the last questions. Got me shook. Never seen it either.

Tell us about the best and worst dates you’ve ever been on.

Best date, me and my girlfriend went to the beach, then had a beer, then cooked a tortilla with tomato sauce and went to sleep. Worst… cbf.

What’s the most embarrassing (or funniest) thing that’s happened to you in front of your bandmates (or on stage)?

Once with Mink Mussel Creek I took an elegant leap onto the drum riser and ate shit. I had taken mushrooms earlier on that day I believe. So, yeah, very, very fucking embarrassing.

What’s your biggest professional regret?

Shoulda learnt to drive earlier.

If you heard that the world was ending in one week who would be the first person you’d call and what are some of the things you’d do in that week?

Pax. Tayo. Mum and Dad. Darrigah Watson. Just hang out and swim or fish and enjoy loving.


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