Queer artist Brendan Maclean never stops.
It’s been a minute since he dropped his now infamous and not safe for work music video for House of Air, and already he’s released a new EP and is gearing for both an acting stint on ABC and a national tour.
Matthew Wade caught up with him to chat about music, using his platform to champion queer rights, and the reactions he got to that video.
You’ve just released Solo – what was your inspiration behind the new EP?
Solo was the colours missing from my last release (funbang1). It’s got darker tones that, I suppose, I hadn’t figured out how to work into my love of pop music a few years ago. Also a desire to produce my own tracks too – I’d always palmed off my demos to be recreated but this EP is pretty much all me from start to finish.
Do you feel it’s important to use your platform to champion queer rights?
Oh, well, I suppose maybe it would have been fun to have been more mysterious as a musician. I mean, I’ve chosen a pretty “all out in the open” career style for myself. I regret that sometimes, only because I feel like I let people down if I don’t have a great answer or article or sound bite on a queer politics. That’s exhausting. I mostly just want to talk about my music these days.
What issue in the LGBTI community do you feel needs to be championed at the moment?
Your provocative music video for House of Air will now be screened at the Raindance Film Festival – how did you come up with the concept for the clip?
It’s a visualisation of Hal Fischer’s 1977 essay based on gay / BDSM communal code of semiotics. So, the hanky code: red hanky in the left pocket means you want to be the active participant in fisting, blue hanky in right pocket means you want to bottom, so on and so forth.
Brian Fairbairn and Karl Eccleston who directed Stupid a billion years ago live in London and I was over there touring with Amanda Palmer. It was only two weeks from conception to filming it. We flew in our cast from Berlin and across Europe and the rest is history.
What were the reactions to it like? From within and outside the LGBTI community?
Well, I can tell you not all of the queer community enjoyed it. I had some queer artist collective send me a message saying, “You have degraded the queer community, setting us back decades! You did not make art! Just attention seeking!” I thought that was pretty neat.
Like, who knew I had the power to do that? But mostly people are pretty fine, like beyond the death threats and all our emails being hacked every few weeks, most people were cool.
You’re slated to star in the upcoming ABC series F**cking Adelaide – what can you tell us about it?
OOOOOH HONEY! I am so excited for everyone to see this. Like, I don’t even get cut out of it like I did in The Great Gatsby! Isn’t that great! Anyway, Pamela Rabe (Wentworth) is my mum and Kate Box (Rake) is my sister so like, you at least know there will be some good acting in it.
It’s kinda like a more family sitcom version of Please Like Me? Yeah, that’ll do. But yes, look, it’s so beautiful, we’ve already sold out our screenings in the Adelaide Film Festival but everyone else will get to see it on ya screens October. And yes, I’m playing a homosexual.
Are there plans for a tour in the works?
East Coast tour with Adelaide is September / October so get your butts on my Facebook for details. It is my name.
Given LGBTI rights are a hot button topic at the moment around the country, what message do you have for our readers?
As Paul Mac always said to me, “It gets better, then it plateaus, then it gets a bit bad, then it evens out, then it gets better again.”