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Meet Openside: Emotionally Driven Pop Punk from New Zealand

Meet Openside: Emotionally Driven Pop Punk from New Zealand

Openside is an up and coming collective from New Zealand ready to break out in nothing short of an epic way.  The band has opened for the likes of Fall Out Boy and 21 Pilots, and has gained quite a following with their vibrant, emotional driven pop punk entreaties.  Featured within the membership of Openside are Possum Plows on lead vocals, PJ Shepherd on guitar and vocals, Harry Carter on bass, and George Powell on drums. Highwire Daze Online recently caught up with Possum on a visit to Los Angeles to discuss their superbly memorable songs, the music scene in Zealand, coming out as gender non-binary, Style, donuts, and a whole lot more!  Read on…

Tell me a little bit about the band and how long have you been together?
We’ve been playing together for about three years, but yeah it’s taken a while for us to find our groove and find our sound and figure out what we’re doing. So, we’ve kind of had a good year of just experimenting and playing shows and learning how to not suck. And yeah, we play a lot of all-ages shows mostly in New Zealand because we’re trying to kind of get that scene going again because most of the shows that you get to play where we live are bars and clubs and our fans are mostly younger than that. So yeah, we’re very much a live focused band and we love to play shows for young people.

What brings you out here to Los Angeles, and what do you think of the city?
I’m just here visiting my sister because she moved here. We filmed a music video here last year actually, out in the desert which was awesome, so we did that in the summer last and it was ridiculously hot. We drove out and we visited the Mojave Desert and Joshua Tree and it was really hot and we were wearing these ridiculous rock and roll gears, carrying our instruments out into abandoned water parks.  It was quite an experience. We all sort of fell into LA then and we talked a lot about coming and moving here. We just try to come whenever we get a chance and write with whoever we can.  It’s such a cultural hub of people from all over the world coming here to be creative, so it’s a very exciting place in that way.  I want to spend more time here.

Your newest song is called “No Going Back.” Is there any overall story or concept behind the lyrics to that song?
That song was a really personal one for me. It’s basically about a breakup, but it’s about the moment you realize later on that you’re really done with it, and you’re really ready to move on. Especially, when it’s been a relationship that took up such a huge part of your life. So yeah, that was very much based on me coming to terms with what had happened, really ready to talk about it. Because a lot of the time when you first break up with someone, you first go through something really emotional, you’re not really in any frame of mind to actually understand it and approach it creatively.

I had a lot more perspective in that six months later and wrote that song partly for me just as a way at to acknowledge the relationship and then move forward from it. So it’s been a really cathartic experience just doing the promo for that song. I don’t know if he’s seen the video or heard the song or anything. I’d be scared to know if he’s seen it. [laughs]

Like little things. I was wearing an old t-shirt of his in the music video and the guy who made the video used to live with us. So he’s like a close friend of ours, and knew our relationship intimately, so he had a really close perspective on him and I working together on what to do for the video. It’s definitely very close to home,that song.

In your video for “I Feel Nothing,” you guys are waving a Trans Flag. What kind of reactions have you received worldwide from that particular video?
The first thing I notice is, when you look at the YouTube comments, there’s so many that are acknowledging and excited about seeing the Trans Flag there. I know our fans are younger and younger people tend to be more socially aware and open, and know about all the stuff. Most people would not recognize the Trans Flag. The average person, but looking at the average person in our fan base, they definitely are a lot of queer youth in our fan base. So – yeah, talking about it and putting it in the foreground of our music – so it’s been a little scary for me, but as time goes on and the world gets more progressive, I feel like I can relax into it more. It’s been mostly really positive and supportive. In New Zealand, it’s been good. It’s still a little scary but I can tell – I talk to a lot of our fans and I get messages all the time where they’re grateful and appreciative of us talking about queer stuff and being open and out.

 Suddenly it puts you in the position of almost role model…
100% – I get a lot of messages from young people that say I have felt comfortable to come out because I saw how out you were on socials and it made me feel more comfortable. And then it creates an entire community of them, where they come together at shows and they meet other people like them. That’s the main thing that gives you strength and understanding. When you’re coming to terms with sexuality and gender, having a support network and knowing other people you can talk to who are going through similar things. I really like feeling like the Openside fanbase is a community in that way. People that come to shows, they’ll just come to a show by themselves because they know that – waiting in line or hanging out, it’s such a supportive / open and embracing environment, that they’ll make friends. That’s one of my favorite things about doing i