Wildheart on the urgent message behind ‘Backburner’


After releasing their powerful new single, ‘Backburner’ last month, we chat to Australian metalcore band, Wildheart about the pressing message behind it, how urgent change is needed and more.

Words: Renette van der merwe


Hey Axel, firstly congratulations on ‘Backburner’. It’s such a powerful track and it sends a pretty clear message. What pushed you to put pen to paper and what do you want people to take away from it?

Thank you. We were horrified seeing what was occurring, and then to see our Prime Minister go overseas, to only come back and offer handshakes it was disgusting. I just want people to think more about what they can do to help make a change. The brain is an extremely powerful tool and though our government is full of tools it seems to be the tool they’re missing.

It of course features a clip of Bruce Shillingworth’s speech on Q&A’s drought segment back in 2019 – why was it so important to incorporate part of that into the song?

I don’t know anyone who has watched that clip and hasn’t been moved by Bruce’s words. Uncle Bruce is a very important person. He speaks with clarity and is to the point. We share the same values and I was honoured that he let us use his voice.

We recently read an opinion piece from someone in the Rural Fire Service on the Australian government’s total denial of climate change. Why do you think they’re so ignorant?

I feel like I don’t need to answer this, it feels like each week we see something new from our government that makes you wonder how they are capable of making decisions and running a country, they’ve shown time and time again they don’t care about the common people and only care about lining there own pockets and the pockets of all their capitalists mates.

Apart from the wildfires, there’s also degradation to ecosystems, and the extinction of aquatic life that Bruce mentioned in his speech. Do you believe there’s still time to turn things around?

I want to be optimistic and say yes. But only by letting the original land owners take care of their land and by stopping people selling our waterways could we ever start to see a change.

Can you tell us more about the indiginous techniques that can be used to cultivate the land?

They burn at a lower flame, they look for invasive weeds that aren’t from the area and they burn them out too. It’s safer for our wildlife, because it burns slower.

Do you believe these techniques can restore the damage that’s been done?

It can’t bring back 3000 homes, the 34 people who lost their lives or the 3 billion animals. But it could be a good start to a safer future for all beings.

Finally, the addition of the indigenous dancer in the ‘Backburner’ video is so strong. What did it mean to you to have something so personal to you represented?

Thomas is a great guy, he is very active in my community and I really wanted him to be in the video. We gave him full freedom to come up with whatever he wanted and it came out so good. Check him out at Karul Projects!

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