Troy Maguire

Artist interview: Blanc Verse and Roosh V

#SaturdaySatire: After a spate of artists being denied entry to Australia, Troy Maguire speaks to contentious “rap” duo Julien Blanc and Daryush Valizadeh.

 

Following in the footsteps of former pick-up artist Julien Blanc, a new trend has emerged where a number of tendentious public figures have ditched the lecture halls in favour of recording studios.

Shortly after having his visa cancelled in November of last year by then-Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, Blanc began performing and recording under the moniker Blanc Verse.

Once a social pariah with far more critics than fans, Blanc has since become a pop-culture icon, with his hip-hop masterpiece Fear of a Blanc Planet enjoying an unprecedented level of commercial success. Blanc’s meteoric rise to fame, which has been credited to a strong social media presence and an impeccable work ethic, seems to have inspired a wave of imitators. I managed to engage Julian Blanc, Roosh V and Troy Newman in conversation via email to discuss art, censorship and critics.

Known for his provocative and transgressive lyrics, which often deal with taboo subjects such as rape, Julien Blanc has also come under fire for his attitude towards his detractors both in real life and online.

“After having my visa cancelled by the notoriously censorious Australian Government, I was absolutely devastated. But I soon realised that unorthodox opinions are only ever socially unacceptable if they’re delivered in the form of a seminar. Then I had a thought: what better way to spread my message than through the medium of music? So I promptly opened Garageband, bought a rhyming dictionary and got to work,” Blanc said.

“I live and breathe it. The alter ego I’ve created for myself, whilst something of an anti-hero, is simply an extension of my music.”

In July of this year, a petition calling for Daryush Valizadeh (who recently adopted the stage-name Roosh V) to be blocked from entering Canada as a part of his “world tour” was posted on Change.org.

 “That these feminazis are taken seriously in any form of discourse is, frankly, beyond offensive,” Roosh lamented. “Their very existence is an affront to basic human decency.”

Despite the fact the petition garnered over 40,000 signatures, Roosh V was not denied entry into Canada by its Government. Whilst in Montreal, however, he was confronted by a mob of drunken misandrists, who hurled abuse at him and doused him with beer.

Upon hearing about the indignity Roosh suffered in Canada, Blanc reached out to him. This noble gesture of goodwill manifested as a proposal to collaborate on a horrorcore album with him. Roosh immediately accepted Blanc’s offer. Both parties were in agreement; this was the only way forward for them if they were to escape persecution and overcome the oppression they faced as public speakers.

The duo, who call themselves The Real DynaMics, have already started demoing tracks for their tentatively titled mixtape, R.A.P.E. Music, which they will self-produce and distribute.

The rap duo also recently announced that they plan to tour the East Coast of Australia in early 2016, with three major stops planned in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Although rebranding themselves as musicians appears to have worked wonders for Roosh and Blanc’s public image, The Real DynaMics aren’t without their critics – many of whom condemn them for their lyrics, which are often perceived as violent and misogynistic.

“Horror movies, horrorcore. What’s the difference? They’re just different forms of the same type of entertainment,” Blanc suggested. “In a film, the camera is the narrator. But that doesn’t mean it’s an objective one. I encourage my fans to fist-pump and sing along when watching a rape scene, just as they would when attending one of our live shows.”

“Freedom of speech should trump all other rights. How else can true artists be expected to flourish? My creativity will not be stifled,” wrote Blanc. “Critics love to quote the line ‘Choke a bitch ‘til the cunt submits,’ but they’re taking it out of its original context: that of a concept album wherein rape is legalised.”

“It’s all about world-building. What kind of impact would such a development have on society? What are the implications? Our lyrics are intentionally ambiguous, and therefore, open to interpretation. That’s the beauty of our art, and artistic expression in general,” said Roosh.

“I realise that these are inherently optimistic things to write about, like singing about a world without war or whatever. Obviously it’s pure escapism, a utopian fantasy. But I think at its heart it’s a message of hope.”

Since embarking on their musical journey together, Blanc and Roosh have quickly turned public opinion in their favour, with critics of their critics noting that it would be hypocritical of the Turnbull Government to ban the duo, as they have not banned every other controversial artist before or since.

Even more damning, however, is the fact that prior to taking power in September of this year, the Turnbull Government had failed to ban anyone from touring Australia.

It has also been pointed out that if The Real DynaMics were to be denied entry to Australia it would “set a dangerous precedent” as the Government is “yet to solve every other problem currently affecting Australian society.”

Then there’s folk revivalist Troy Newman, who writes from the perspective of a vast array of different (fictional) characters. This spectrum of imaginatively unique and compelling viewpoints ranges from “fundamentalist evangelical Christian” on one side, to “right-wing anti-abortion activist” on the other.

“They speak to me on a very personal level,” Newman said. “I try to make my protagonists as human and relatable as possible. Through me, they have a voice.”

Celebrated for his ironic juxtaposition of new-fashioned language with disturbing themes, Newman insisted that he “isn’t merely trying to elicit feelings of nostalgia in audience.

“Using the vernacular of that particular historical period is, like, a literary device. It allows me to write in a more allegorical, parabolic way. Like Jesus did when he wrote the Bible.

“Sure, some listeners will hear ohrwurms like Bloodguilt Expunged or Sacrifice to Demons and see them as nothing more than catchy tunes to which they can tap their feet and snap their fingers. For others, however, my songs act as portals through which they can be transported to another time and place. For others still, there’s a deeper, more profound meaning to be found beneath the surface of each song. For these listeners, my music will undoubtedly move them, but more importantly, it will also make them think.

“By personifying the views and values prevalent throughout 2015, with respect to birth control and bodily autonomy, I can explore, examine, provide commentary on and ultimately, address, the pressing issues of the 1950’s. That the present can be used to open a dialogue about the past never ceases to amaze and fascinate me. My lyrics are kinda like science-fiction in that way, y’know?”

When asked for his thoughts on the Australian Government’s outright refusal to act in accordance with the American Constitution, and Parliament’s recent enactment of Godwin’s Law, Newman’s disappointment was palpable.

“It’s tragic. It really saddens me to see what the Australian Government has become. It’s all just politics.”

Newman is currently tracking his debut album, Outcasts and Cutaways, which is set to be released on March 8, 2016, a date that holds no significance to Newman whatsoever. He hopes to play at Byron Bay Bluesfest in 2016.

Nevertheless, in a bid to have The Real DynaMics and Troy Newman barred from ever touring Australia, feminist group Collective Shout continues to run their racially motivated campaign of hate against these very talented individuals.

One can only hope that the Federal Government refuses to buckle to the pressure that’s being applied by a very small, and therefore unimportant, minority of the Australian public.

 

Troy Maguire

Troy Maguire is an aspiring writer and film-maker currently living in Melbourne and studying Screen and Media at RMIT. He enjoys deconstructing Hollywood blockbusters in long-winded rants, movie trivia and long walks on the beach at sunset.

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