Benj Axwel – The Opinion Industry ‘We’ve Been Banned from Twitter and Reddit Because of ‘KAREN”

The Opinion Industry #Trending EP interview

Every so often, something crosses your path and that hyper-fixation takes control. You become obsessed with every aspect and want to immerse yourself in that ‘thing’ and all that comes with it…

The Opinion Industry was that ‘thing’ for me. Unlike anything I’ve seen before and pretty removed from the heavy music scene – but their songs and riffs were too good to not talk about – plus, the whole premise of punk is to go against the grain and what’s expected of you, so why not!?

Fresh from the release of their debut EP #Trending, which takes a satirical look at the world around us with selected themes and situations we come across in our everyday life – only with this band, they’ve been given a hard rocking soundtrack – to make it more palatable or accessible to the average listener.

We caught up with frontman Benj Axwell to discuss their new release, the struggles they faced along the way (they actually got banned from social media for their music) and what the future holds for the thought-provoking, music making comedic rock outfit…

Benj! Massive congrats on the release of #Trending – how does it feel to have the entire EP out in the wild?

Thanks mate, obviously we’ve been drip-feeding this thing for a little while now but as The Opinion Industry is as much ‘project’ as it is ‘band’, to have it put out as a playlist with a deliberate running order is very satisfying as songwriters. We wrote the songs as a batch and to have them released in that way is a palette cleanser for the next set of songs/topics.

We got the pressed CD version the other week and it’s amazing to hear the difference there as well – very proud of #TRENDING. Definitely my best work so far – personally.

For those that are still unfamiliar with The Opinion Industry – I’ve been describing you guys as a cross between comedic acts like Aunty Donna, The Chaser, and Lano and Woodley meets a PG version of Steel Panther and Rise Against – is that a fair assumption or would you have it differently?

I love that you’ve seen it as comedic because I don’t listen to much new music, but I listen to and watch A LOT of new comedy – story arcs, timing and punchlines are something I agonise over when writing for The Opinion Industry.

I approach all our lyric writing through a satirical lens and our songs are supposed to be provocative – much of it has to do with me relieving the tension that lives in my head as I see in society and culture – new or changing issues constantly being addressed the wrong way – people’s motivations are grossly misplaced and it affects everyone (particularly children).

We’ve been banned from Twitter and Reddit because of our song KAREN – cancelling is a massive cop out whereas people like you Browny are ‘in on the joke’. So it’s not so much that I’m only taking the piss – I’m trying to provide perspective as well.

The term ‘You can’t say that’, doesn’t apply here – stand tall Homo-erectus and throw caution to the wind, Steel Panther are a massive influence in this sense. Musically – it’s hard rock with spicy bitey bits here and there and so Rise Against/Billy Talent/SOAD – I hear that for sure.

You got banned? hahahaha holy shit! It means you left an impression on someone. Talking about that song, it’s an anthem for Karens worldwide – I’ve seen so many Karens Gone Wild videos on TikTok and I just can’t help but imagine remixing them with that song underneath it – have you spotted one post-release?

Ha! No I haven’t actually but obviously, that would make a natural and funny fit. KAREN was an alternate lyric version to THEY’RE RECORDING THIS that happened by accident.

TikTok is an absolute bitch when it comes to using music, paid promotions and such and so if anyone out there reading this – I could do with some pointers on how to cut through the Chinese Overlord Behemoth that is that platform.

Like I said though, Twitter did ban us because of KAREN – reasons being incitement and harassment – board up your windows people… the big bad rock song is coming for you!!!

The planning process for #Trending dates back to the COVID era when we first met – how has the reception been for the band with the release of each track (especially ‘Opinions’)?

Well everything that we have done for The Opinion Industry has been completely on the three of us, we don’t have a label or anything like that, so it’s been a completely self-pushed internet vehicle up until this point.

We develop, create and release all our own videos and content but with each release, the picture of what TOI is has become a bit more realised for other people. When people have found it, had it referred to them and it’s been on their wavelength – they want to hear everything we have to offer because I don’t believe there’s anything like us – on a conceptual level – appealing to that thinking person.

If you listen to #TRENDING or watch the full video playlist (bottom of page) – you should be able to get what we are doing. Anyone, outside the band, feels that Opinions is our best song, so being the first video obviously made an immediate impact – we got lucky with that one.

What you do is unlike anything I’ve come across before (personally) and you do it with precision and a light-hearted way that is political punk but not as in your face – would you consider going harder with your topics and statements on future releases?

The next batch of songs is darker, and more aggressive and addresses a new range of topics considered completely off-limits and taboo in 2023. I’m not purposefully going for more controversy necessarily – more so that they started it.

The title of the next EP that will be finished in May will sum up your sentiment quite nicely (not nicely). Thanks for putting that out there Browny, good to hear people that like us want that from us.

What about live aspects? When and where can we see this EP live in the flesh?

We’ve had the worst luck when it comes to shows, either Covid, venues, lineups pulling out or personal emergencies means we’ve only played once live as a band and that was before Benny Mac joined – so most of our focus has been in the studio and making video content, for this project at least.

We would be keen to jump on some lineups if the right ones are going, we love being performers and if the mouth cannon is loose on recordings you can imagine what the stage will do to us!

We’ll finish the second EP and then revisit playing shows later in 2023 – booking agents reach out.

Meet The Opinion Industry: Cruisy, Benj and Ben

Would you consider approaching something like a Comedy Festival where you perform a few songs and tell the story behind them?

Yes – different concept for a band but then again, we are different… and hilarious 🙂

Looking ahead, this new release encapsulates all the hard work the band has delivered over the past 3 years – what’s next for The Opinion Industry?

Thanks – the work has been huge but we like what we have done. The next batch of songs has been described as even better again, so finishing this second EP. It features a cover song from a classic all-time great rock band and we are very lucky to have a special guest playing the guitar on it – fingers crossed that gives us a boost because it sounds incredible with him on it.

I’ve started blueprinting an album also and want to marinade in that – always writing. We’d love to get out into the Aus Live Music Scene and start playing some shows to get in front of crowds and see if what we do translates for them.

Taking a look at current affairs – what’s circulating the news at the moment that you think would make a perfect new track?

Oh man, there’s heaps – pending war in the Pacific, breaking the glass ceiling of AI, the militarisation of sexual preference, governments’ use of anything to divide us, silicon valley incorporated, breakdown of moral and community, unchecked powers of the elite, overuse of natural colours and flavours in lollies – I can’t turn this shit off, thank God I have The Opinion Industry.

It’s a great platform for the insanity in your head. Before we wrap up, any final thoughts?

*sigh* my thoughts are never final. Thanks for all the support – me and the boys really appreciate it. Check out Spotify and Youtube for all the triggering!

Interview by Paul ‘Browny’ Brown @brownypaul

Follow The Opinion Industry via Facebook | Instagram | TikTok | Website

Stream #Trending EP via Spotify or watch the playlist in order below!

The Opinion Industry - #Trending EP

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 (3765 Articles)
Dad, Wall of Sound Boss Man/Editorial Manager, Moshpit Enthusiast & Professional Beard Grower!