You can’t stop Outright. You can barely even hope to contain them. The Melbourne hardcore band have spent the better part of the 2010s defying adversity, actively opposing fascism and injustice wherever they see it.
The obstacles faced by the band, however, have been both internal and external. On the latter front, they’ve gone through a half-dozen lineup changes and, at one stage last year, found themselves without any guitar players. “After we recorded the LP [2014’s Avalanche], our old drummer left and we got Rory [Kelaart] in,” begins Jelena Goluza, the band’s lead vocalist and founder.
“After a bit more touring, our guitarist Brad [Fulton] decided to pull out, and then Allan [Stacey] had to move on as well. Losing two guitarists in pretty quick succession obviously hindered things – it almost ended the band. It’s always a struggle to find the right fit, but I think we got pretty lucky with our new recruits.”
The band ended up recruiting guitarists Joel Cairns and Lincoln Le Fevre to join the fold. While Cairns has a history in hardcore and punk bands from around the traps, it was Le Fevre’s inclusion that raised eyebrows – normally an alt-country singer-songwriter, some thought that the band were joking when they announced his entry to the band.
“We thought he was joking when he asked to join,” Goluza says. “Rory was running a pub at the time, and Linc went there a lot. He was making small talk and asked about the band. Rory told him that we were still looking for a guitarist, and then Linc just went, ‘yeah, alright. I’ll do it.’ That was it. He ended up being great for the band – he’s got all the guitar skills required, and he’s a bloody sweetheart.”
With the new lineup – completed by long-time bassist Brett Eitzen – Outright got to work on their second 7-inch EP, Holler. Comprised of four brand-new songs, the EP is a long-awaited comeback from a band that has never minced words. Among the lyrical subject matter for Holler is accountability, harassment, political instability and the rise of neo-fascism. “It boggles my mind we’re at this point again – that we’ve become so complacent,” says Goluza of the latter, which is addressed in the song ‘Defeat/Repeat’.
“We had an entire fucking world war about this, and yet we’re at this point where we’re even entertaining these ideas again. Some of the images we’ve seen coming out of America, in particular, really angered and troubled me. I also wanted that song, in particular, to be a reflection on the left as a movement – how we have to remain vigilant. We can’t allow the normalisation of that sort of behaviour purely because time has passed and we think everyone knows better by now.”
If only by circumstance, Goluza is Outright’s only original member. The Wollongong-native formed the band in 2010 with I Exist’s Aaron Osborne and has overseen every incarnation of the band since then. When queried on what has motivated her to keep Outright going even with such a revolving door of members, she elaborates on the notion of art as a means of catharsis. “Having that avenue is something that has really kept me going, I see the potential realised when we connect with other people,” she says.
“I’m very connected to my community and my family and my relationships throughout my life, but there’s an essence to doing that through music that I can’t replicate through other parts of my life. Community building through sharing our experience and our hurt, all while empowering one another, has just been a really useful avenue for me to develop as a person. I feel like it’s how I contribute back to the people that inspire me and keep me going. There’s a real meaning in that, for me.”