Editor’s Note: Recently, Australian hardcore band Speed released their 2 song EP entitled “2020 Flex”. They do what incredible hardcore bands do and that is effectively mesh groove and grind while punishing your earholes into oblivion. Fans of Madball and Biohazard will certainly appreciate Speed. In this mental health conversation with Madness To Creation, vocalist Jem Siow of Speed discusses mental health awareness, the bail project, racism in Australia and so much more. Fans can find Speed at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: Take us into 2020, how has it turned your world upside down?
Jem: I’m very lucky to be in a position of stability and good health. So largely, COVID has been an opportunity to think creatively and keep the wheels turning whilst restrictions are in place. It’s a time for reflection – putting into perspective what really matters in life and the way we want the world to move forward once this chapter is done.
Madness To Creation: I heard Covid-19 is practically eradicated in Australia, what’s the secret you want to share towards us Americans?
Jem: There’s just absolutely no secret here. The information is in front of you if you want to hear it. Put your fellow man before yourself. Listen to the scientists. Practice empathy. Wear a fucking mask.
Madness To Creation: Have live shows and gigs returned to Australia, what can fans expect from a Speed show?
Jem: Not yet. But when they do, it’s absolutely gonna be a new era for hardcore here. A Speed show is an inclusive zone for everyone who loves hardcore and the community.
Madness To Creation: You’ve released “2020 Flex”, take us into the writing and recording process of the EP, what were the most challenging and rewarding aspects in creating this album?
Jem: Personally, I write everything for SPEED so it was a pretty straight forward process creating 2020 FLEX. The band embodies everything that we are as people and what we want to see in hardcore. We’ve all been involved in bands for a long time, so starting SPEED at a later stage in life has been super rewarding because of the clarity in the mission and vision of the band. It was challenging approaching the release of the record due to the timing of COVID, but we were very lucky to partner with Flatspot Records at this time who have taken us under their wing.
https://flatspotrecords.bandcamp.com/album/fsr53-2020-flex <——- fans can check out the EP at that link!
Madness To Creation: You’re donating proceeds to The Bail Project in U.S. and Sisters Inside in Australia, why those organizations?
Jem: Well it was really important that the money raised directly contributed to the BLM movement in a way that immediately progresses the cause. Whilst the movement was instigated on American soil, the issue of systemic racial oppression of PoC and in particular, the unjust incarceration of black people, is hugely prominent in Australia. And so with this release being a joint collaboration between Last Ride (AUS) and Flatspot Records (USA) wen wanted to contribute to charities in both countries. Beyond advocating for the rights of these people, these are two charities who put the money directly towards bailing out unjustified incarceration of minorities and those fighting for this movement.
Madness To Creation: What is your perspective as an Australian native of the uprisings in America?
Jem: Racism is inherent in every society. While the rate of incarceration of Black or Indigenous Americans is 5x that of non-indigenous or white folk, that figure is 13x for Indigenous Australians. So, this is a deep-rooted and ongoing issue for Australians too. I can only speak from my experience as a first generation, Asian-Australian, but even then as a somewhat ’marginalized’ member of society, the many privileges I enjoy in life are far beyond those of the Black community. Culture and habits are instilled over generations. So, to create big change you need big action. That’s what is happening now and it needs to continue until enough people get the message to create true, meaningful shifts in society.
Madness To Creation: How do you find balance from a mental health perspective, and do you think mental health conversations need to be taken more seriously?
Jem: I aspire to be as transparent as possible with my family and friends. I’ve been empowered by the struggles of those in my circle which has given me a greater sense of compassion for what real life is like for many on a daily basis. Normalizing the conversation of mental health and seeking help is a huge factor in moving forward. Especially in male culture, vulnerability is something that needs to be embraced.
Madness To Creation: What are you planning to do to promote Flex 2020?
Jem: We got a few videos to come. But there’s a lot more important things happening in the world that people need to stay focused on too.
Madness To Creation: What else would you like to add in regards to Speed?
Jem: It’s cool to change your views and seek to be the best version of yourself. Look out for bands on Last Ride, Flatspot and Life.Lair.Regret Records.
And there you have it! Follow Speed on their social media pages for latest news and happenings! Also pick up a copy of “2020 Flex” via Flatspot Records at Bandcamp!
* Photo Credit: Jay Wennington