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British Queer Band Shopping Are Embracing Defiant Optimism


“Imagine if all the stuff made by queer people and people of color was no longer here. The world would be rubbish.” 

The British postpunk band Shopping have always used their spry, laconic tunes to tackle big issues (identity politics, consumerism), but when they started writing their third album, The Official Body, they found themselves in the midst of two game-changing events: Brexit and Trump's election. The queer trio--singer-guitarist Rachel Aggs, singer-bassist Billy Easter, and singer-drummer Andrew Milk--were suddenly met with a daunting sense of obligation. "There was this incredible opportunity to say something, but it was also pressurizing, and it was coming through in the songs," says Aggs. "Some were a bit depressing."

Their solution: Scrap the heavy stuff, enlist new-wave icon Edwyn Collins (of Orange Juice fame) as a producer, and release the most shimmy-inducing music they've ever made. "If you stop laughing and doing the thing you love, you've let them win," says Aggs. "It feels defiant to carry on creating something danceable and uplifting, because that's what people need." By people, she means anyone who's ever felt oppressed by the bureaucratic, patriarchal, mostly white body of the record's title. "Imagine if all the stuff made by queer people and people of color was no longer here," says Aggs. "The world would be rubbish."

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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