Shal, proud Yugambeh/Bundjalung fulla and member of Gold Coast punk group Nerve Damage, has been playing music for half his life. He formed the band as a way to “have an outlet to say all the things [he] never could, and to let the music take over”. Not much has changed since.
“I would describe Nerve Damage's music as confrontational, energetic, abrasive and abrupt… Nine times out of ten, we are playing a small DIY room, most of the time on the floor. We play loud, through a lot of gear, and encourage everyone to do whatever the music makes them feel like doing.”
Shal wants “to write honest music forever, and collaborate with friends and outsiders. We write songs about oppression and mental illness and talk about these things during our set.” He’s passionate about the DIY scene and wants to grow the audience at local shows, “[shedding} some light on the amount of great bands who play small shows to minimal payers for the love of it, nothing more.”
As part of #TheBIGSOUND50, the band say they have no expectations - they’re just looking forward to talking to people they might not have met otherwise. It’s been a long time coming for Shal, who has been “looking forward to being a part of BIGSOUND after years of being in bands and watching [it] elevate other artists into different spotlights, furthering their reach and their opportunities to get in front of new people.”
“It means a great deal for us to be included, especially feeling like the outsiders.”
While 2020 has been challenging for the music industry, Shal has enjoyed the rise of online content and performances. “Artists are putting a lot more than just their music out there for people to see, and I hope it continues.” He’s also glad to see the increased agency artists are afforded by social media platforms, where they can speak out against mistreatment within the music industry. “There's a power shift that I'm excited to see!”