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Adelaide/Tandanya based pop-punk band Down And Out have unleashed their most recent set of tracks, showcasing an ever-evolving musical repertoire on their ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ EP. Teaming up once again with ARIA nominated producer Stevie Knight (Stand Atlantic, Yours Truly, RedHook) and Grant Berry of Fader Mastering, the 5 track EP boasts high profile features from Kellin Quinn (Sleeping With Sirens), Emmy Mack (RedHook) and David Potter (Stand Atlantic). 

With three of the tracks having been released as singles throughout the year, the lads have managed to keep two absolute bops in their back pocket for the release of the full EP. Both Bloodclot and Livin’ The Dream! contain the classic Down And Out energy we’ve come to love and expect while also bringing something new and unique to the table. The band showcases their inability to conform to expectations, incorporating elements of hip/hop and trap into these magnetic songs. 

Frontman Luke Ganeo shares the themes and meaning of the EP with us, stating: “’Smoke and Mirrors’, is I guess my journey of self-discovery or liberation or whatever, as I try to discover and become who I really am. These songs are all about shedding all the bullshit that once held me back, breaking free of other’s expectations and social conventions, and being myself. We tried to make the songs all as unique and innovative as they could be so that the music itself becomes a reflection of our endeavour to create something new, something that is Down And Out and that only we could make. We wanted the music to push the boundaries of our pop/punk roots and reflect the journey of self-discovery and the process of individuation.”

The band seem particularly proud of the song Livin’ The Dream!, and with good reason! Sonically, the track is a standout, showcasing Luke’s emotional, gut-wrenching vocals soaring over fat, gritty guitars from Alec Ganeo and Blake-Lee Danher, thick, heavy basslines from Bradley Billing that simply will not quit and punchy drums from Henry Armstrong that’ll smack you into next week. It sounds like Luke (and the rest of the instrumental performances for that matter) are fighting for their lives throughout this track, and the meaning behind it may help to explain why that’s the case. Luke Ganeo addresses the subject matter of the song, expressing: “Livin’ The Dream! tries to capture the sense of insignificance I feel in daily working life, where I’m just another face in the crowd/cog in the machine/whatever cringe metaphor works for you. The song expresses my disillusionment with a society that prioritizes profit over people. Look, I’m just some idiot but it just seems to me that we’ve built an entire civilization – an entire planet, really – on the idea that some people own everything, and the rest of the world just works for them. I mean, things are kind of fucked, right? Climate change is happening, nobody in any sort of position of power is doing anything about it because it would harm corporate profits. We’ve been on the brink of WWIII all year. The divide between working people and corporations and financial institutions is worse than it’s ever been, especially since 2020. People can’t afford to buy groceries or put fuel in their cars, let alone buy a house. It all seems to be spiralling out of control at an ever-increasing rate and it seems to me that this is all the way it is because it’s profitable for a small group of people, and the rest of us just have to keep on working to make it all possible for them. So I suppose in a nutshell, these lyrics reflect my personal struggle to find meaning in a world that treats us as replaceable parts in a system of endless growth, exploitation and wars. But I’m not an expert on political science and I don’t wanna be preachy so it’s also just about my experience of the daily grind and my quest for authenticity and purpose in this hellscape.”

Following the release of ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, Down And Out will be performing a hometown show at What About Adelaide Festival on the 16 December in order to round out the year before taking a well earned couple of weeks off and launching head first into 2024. While they are unable to announce anything for 2024 currently, the band assures us that they have absolutely no intention of slowing down and that 2024 is going to be even bigger and better than 2023 so stay tuned!


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