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Combat Wombat - Wombat Stew

Author: Daniel Crichton-Rouse
Thursday, 25 October 2007
They say you should never bring up politics in polite company, but it’s different with the savvy marsupial that is Combat Wombat. 3D’s Daniel Crichton-Rouse chatted to monkeymarc. 

First of all, do you think your sound/message has evolved over the years-
I feel that the message is a lot clearer on our second album [Unsound System] than our first. The album itself to me was kind of a summary of the last five years of our adventure across Australia and the world. We all witnessed a lot of injustice across the planet and felt the need to vocalise it on Unsound System. The sentiment from the first album is still there but the message is stronger.

You’ve been driving a vegetable oil-run van – is it still going strong-

Actually my van was stolen three weeks ago so I don’t have a van at all at the moment. So my clothes have been a lot cleaner.
The big project for me is my new solar-powered shipping container studio that I’ve been building since January. All solar- and wind-powered. I’m in the process of writing a new Combat Wombat album and my new solo monkeymarc project in it. The unit consists of a small scale studio in a shipping container paired with a massive battery bank plus a bunch of solar panels and a wind generator mounted on an old horse float. It looks very swish.

What other Australian or international acts are you digging at the moment, either for their music, or their politics, or both-

In Australia I love Curse ov Dialect because there is no one like them out there and we feed off each other, as we are all good mates. Miso are also another great band from the Melbourne area that have been tickling my fancy. I really like the new Braintax album Panorama - it’s a killer piece of political commentary. I’m also getting into Flying Lotus, Gang of Four, Talib Kweli, and lots of vintage dub.
I’m also really into the way Radiohead just released their new album, with a pay-as-you feel method. I feel it’s a positive step forward for artists that don’t want to be stuck in contracts with major labels.

Your upcoming shows in Sydney are part of the ‘Get Rid of the Howard Government’ Tour; are you confident that 24 November will signal the end of Liberal governance-
Who knows- I remember being shocked the last time he got in. This time though I feel he’s burnt too many bridges and he way out of touch with important issues to Australians. He seems to be jumping on the bandwagon with climate change but I distinctly remember this time last year him saying that global warming was a myth. I also feel that he has buggered up with his ‘Operation Land-Grab’ campaign in the NT. These last few months have really shown how racist and narrow-minded the Liberal government is. On the other hand who knows if Rudd’s going to offer anything different- If Peter Garrett sells out with the Tasmanian pulp mill then who knows what the rest of a Labor government can sell out on.

You’ve recently been in the outback recording and documenting Aboriginal elders; what plans do you have for this material-
A lot of the material I have recorded is for cultural archives or for individual communities. Some of the material though can be played around and there is an idea at the moment of setting up community-based indigenous record label. The idea would be that all the profits would get distributed across the communities that recorded the songs. A lot of organisations have become interested in the methods used as they are proving successful in preserving and transferring knowledge in areas where culture is disappearing at a frightening rate. There’s so much to do and so little time.

What’s on the agenda for Combat Wombat after your Sydney shows- New material, touring, activism-
After our Sydney shows Elf will be releasing his new solo album Ethereal Lotus Fleet and doing a nationwide tour with DJ Wasabi. Izzy is working on a bunch of political documentaries with her new one called ‘Operation Land Grab’ just being finished. And I am going to buckle down in my solar studio to record our third album. I am also working on my instrumental hip hop/dub solo monkeymarcalbum which should be finished by early next year.

WHO: Combat Wombat
WHAT: Play the Loft / Play Beach Road Hotel
WHEN: Thursday 1 November / Friday 1 November