The Opinion Industry – #Trending EP (Track-By-Track)

There is no other band like The Opinion Industry.

Combining light-hearted jests and on-point views of society around us, they provide a hard rock soundtrack with hilarious commentary for what we’re all thinking – bottled up in a 6-track debut EP titled #Trending.

But what’s the story behind the music? Where did the inspiration come from and what triggered the band to jump into the studio to make this release? We go deep with frontman (and self-confessed show pony) Benj Axwell who shines a light on what makes The Opinion Industry tick with an exclusive track-by-track origin story for us all…

1. No Comment (CHANT)

I was in Hercules Studios Sydney recording a real uplifting song I had written under the project name ‘Adult Themes‘ (pre-TOI). My engineer Tim McArtney and I were coming to the end of the vocal session to finish the track when I started hitting two notes on his piano in the corner of the room – now I cannot play the piano, but I needed a dark and dissonant palette cleanser after what we had just made. Thumping those two notes over and over created this loop and I had been thinking about the Oscars (hosted by Ricky Gervais) that had been on the day’s news which made some words spill out – ‘I can say whatever I want because I’m a loud-mouthed thespian – listen to me’.

Quick Tim – mic up the piano!

I laid down four lines and the last one ended up becoming the name of the band. We called it CHANT because that’s all it really was, but it was powerful I knew I had to use it somehow which leads us into…

2. Opinions

If you only listen to one song by us – this is probably the one. We had this CHANT and I wanted to incorporate it into a ‘proper’ song so on the EP – it bookends Opinions – which has uncomfortable tension in the verses and epic singalong release in the chorus. Mitta Norath – our producer for the EP deserves full credit for how well this song (and the others) came out.

The lyrics have this disguised/sinister vibe much like the subject matter phrased with a large dose of sarcasm – ‘Don’t let the hard evidence get in the way of opinions’.

Once the verse and choruses were there – Benny Mac and I sat down to write a bridge that I wanted to the feeling of an 80s Top Of The Charts melody – I referenced Starship‘s ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now‘ and Go West‘s ‘King Of Wishful Thinking‘ – just a bulletproof hooky style of an earworm.

We could have ended Opinions there with three verses, three choruses – job done – however CHANT had to come back in somehow as was the goal and the ending is a lot of people’s favourite part – as it comes out of nowhere and takes a dark path to a cliffhanger ending. It definitely works thematically – in truth, I think we got lucky it all worked, and now The Opinion Industry has an anthem.

3. Petitions and Protesters

This is a personal favourite in the band and I think it is our best video. This song is about the notion of ‘thoughts and prayers’, ‘signing a petition’, ‘herd protesting’ – get your selfie, tag your hashtag – and then going about your day as if you’ve made a change in the world. If you engage in these inner-city mindless activities and aren’t prepared to put your money or hands on the problem yourself – you are a white-noise hypocrite.

‘Get off your high horse and get to work’ – are the words that ring out in the ‘throwdown’ and the energy in that part of the video exhibits conveys this perfectly.

I knew when I wrote the main riff, the other pieces were going to really swing and the bass and drums provided the perfect mattress that allowed little surprises to pop and crackle. I probably listen to this track the most and it was rad that Shavo from System Of A Down really dug it as there’s a definite SOAD influence there.

4. They’re Recording This

Like Thom Yorke of Radiohead said – You are a target market.

The shortest and probably the catchiest track on the EP; it gets you three verses and three choruses in less than three minutes. If that sounded like a commercial? … that’s the point.

You’ll be on your phone texting or having a chat with a mate and next thing you know you’re being spammed with ads loosely related to your discussions. ‘One day we are going straight to the top’… next thing… Ladders now at Bunnings!

The repetition of the chorus lyric signifies the robots we are becoming – mindless consumers – less human and less person. We know it’s getting worse but we don’t do anything about it because we are too addicted at this point.

(Cue namedrop) I like to watch Mark McGrath from Sugar Ray‘s reaction to a Cameo request we sent him where he watches it in real-time, watching him be blown away is a real life highlight to me as an artist. Check our Instagram for that one.

5. No Clue

This song was different from the others in that it was born out of a jam rather than ‘by design’. More importantly, unlike the others, it doesn’t come in with the vocal right away – the droning guitar keeps you guessing which way is this going to go and then we crack the volume and you are strapped in for the ride.

I’m a HUGE Billy Talent fan and I love their first record and second records, I wanted that ‘yappy’ style vocal delivery that works so well on songs like ‘The Ex‘ or ‘Devil In A Midnight Mass‘. Cruisy (drummer) plays like an absolute weapon on this song and the gang vocals in the chorus provide something by us that is a different kind of ‘big’ from what we had done previously.

The lyrics make reference to all the types of issues that the media toy with us on, what feels like a cycle – you have no clue how to fix this. Our mate Rookie built a great video that went beyond our initial treatment by using us as computer game characters in 8-bit backdrops using Chat GPT.

6. Karen

We were laying down They’re Recording This and that Covid-avoidant woman from Brighton, Victoria was on the news, she went viral for a hot minute and ‘Karen’s reporting this’ came out of my mouth – the world stood still – I ran for my notepad and starting scribbling.

I took some liberties in the third verse and made it more about difficult people with blue hair (come on… you know the stereotype). So, it’s an alternate lyric version of TRT which we prefer to be honest but we knew it would give people a chuckle so it’s on #TRENDING.

The comic book video is outstanding however (thanks Fiverr) and can be viewed on YouTube, but not Twitter and Reddit because snowflakes banned it.

We pretty much have continued the energy into the next batch of songs we’re working on, so we know people who dig this stuff will have more to look forward to soon.

Written by Benj Axwell @benjaxwel

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Stream #Trending EP on Spotify

The Opinion Industry - #Trending EP review

The Opinion Industry – #Trending tracklisting

1. No Comment (Chant)
2. Opinions
3. Petitions & Protesters
4. They’re Recording This
5. No Clue
6. Karen

About Paul 'Browny' Brown (3695 Articles)
Dad, Wall of Sound Boss Man/Editorial Manager, Moshpit Enthusiast & Professional Beard Grower!