GOING ELBOW DEEP
Musician Brendan Maclean gets into some deep shit!
I knew it would upset conservatives and even people who think they’re quite liberal.
DNA: Where have you been hiding for these last few years? Brendan Maclean: Mostly in the inner-western suburbs of Sydney. I guess I’m a late bloomer when it comes to music. I’ve always been a cabaret performer. I helped create the show Velvet with Marcia Hines, grabbed a cameo in The Great Gatsby, bits and bobs, but you know what they say, it takes ten years to become an overnight success. What was the inspiration for House Of Air? The essay, Gay Semiotics by Hal Fischer. It was written in 1977 and still upsets people today. I love imagining people clutching their pearls while we’re delivering a pearl necklace. When did you decide to make a video that put the porn back into pop? My directors slipped it in… so to speak! I thought we were just going to do innuendo but suddenly I noticed Ashley Ryder, a worldfamous fist pig, was on the casting list and I was like, “Oh boy!” But now I wouldn’t have it any other way. Why fake it when real is so much more satisfying? Who came up with the concept? I took Gay Semiotics to the studio, but full credit to my directors Brian Fairbairn and Karl Eccleston for really going elbow deep for the concept. We’d worked together before on my clips for Stupid and Winner. They’re an Australian secret treasure. You describe the video as “an anthropological study of gay semiotics, taxonomies and sexual behaviours”. Explain. You know, usually I get the question, “Is it porn or art?” and the answer is both. You know what, I love porn! It’s always been a wet dream of mine to make one. There’s not much the video misses out. Were you worried YouTube would ban it? After 700,000 views it was banned! Luckily it lives on at www.HouseOfAir.info for all to lay their degenerate eyes on. We haven’t seen golden showers or fisting in a pop video. Madonna must be worried about the competition! It’s funny… nothing we’ve shown is new. Even the
essay is 40 years old. We simply decided pop and porn were a perfect match. I mean, what’s an orgy without a good soundtrack? In today’s turbulent political times what statement are you trying to make? For me, House Of Air is political, particularly the final scene [the “poop scene”]. I knew it would upset conservatives and even people who think they’re quite liberal. It was my way of punching a Nazi. It was my way of saying, fuck you Pauline Hanson [Australian rightwing politician], fuck you Malcolm Turnbull [Australia’s conservative PM], and fuck you Trump. I will not be told how to act! Well, Trump might enjoy the golden showers. What’s your fave sex indulgence? I’m cock feigned. Like, holy shit, I could spend all day sucking a good cock. Naturally, I’m a massive cum dumpster as well. Also, spooning. Are we likely to see more of this in future videos or was House Of Air a one-off? You know, I’ve made 15 music videos now and none of them are the same but they all learn from each other and advance. Perhaps nothing quite like this, but now I feel this sense of freedom. You can certainly expect me to keep pushing myself and pushing every video. Even if it’s decidedly PG next time, I know I have to make a point. I have to make a statement, or why make more? Who were the models in the video? Harry Clayton-Wright is a boyfriend of mine who I fell in love with at the fringe festival circuit in Edinburgh. He’s my leading man and was up for anything. Ashley Ryder and Rowland are both international porn stars who we cast just like you would any actor. That beautiful top, Drew Kingston, well, just find a dark room and a computer and enjoy the ride. Ashley certainly did. Was there anything they wouldn’t do onscreen? We chatted about if what we were doing was just for shock value, but when I explained the research that went into it the set really just became a joyful party. We explored their skills and really created a narrative with the hanky codes. Once they knew we weren’t doing some cheap PR stunt they were up for anything. Are you in the video? I am indeed! Which one are you? I got to experience my first round of submission and coprophilia [an interest in poop]… interesting. Not sure if I’ll tr y the second part again but who knows! Is there an album or more music to come? This is the opening track off funbang1. Yes, that is really the name and you can grab it just about everywhere. It’s a pop, dance explosion I didn’t even know I had hiding in me. Who was your musical hero when you were growing up? George Michael first and foremost, bless his soul. My local heroes were and still are Paul Mac and Daniel Johns who I’ve since had the delight of becoming dear friends with. Paul Mac also produced a few tunes on funbang1. What do you do when you’re not making music? Wank and get stoned mostly. I am also violently addicted to Twitter. Send nudes to @ macleanbrendan Are you pop’s next big superstar or the porn underground’s dirty little secret? I don’t know what I’ll be next. I’ve just been cast in a new ABC series called F*cking Adelaide, which kind of picks up where Please Like Me left off. I just follow the work and let it guide me. Are you romantically attached? I have a few people I call boyfriends. I’m not in a long-term relationship. It doesn’t really work with the touring thing. I certainly have a few guys I’m deeply in love with. As George sings in Freedom, “I don’t belong to you and you don’t belong to me.” What issues are closest to your heart? Right now I really want the queer community to think about who we are letting down. It’s a pretty scary world right now and if your festival, event, or magazine doesn’t have trans or lesbian representation at all, it’s probably time to ask why. How can we best go forward in the next few years with the world, seemingly, turning anti-gay at the moment? The world is leaning right, yes, we all feel that. Whether you’re reacting with art, a protest, or going into politics, I would just say don’t get hung up trying to please everyone. A lot of gay men loathe House Of Air. They think I’ve somehow spoken for the entire community. Newsflash: the people who hate gays purely for my video – which absolutely isn’t just queer, it’s kink, it’s fetish – already hated us. If you think I made it worse with a three-minute video you really need to consider how weak the fabric of your sexual identity is. Must-ask DNA question – speedos, board shorts or nude at the beach? When we shot the video in London the fellas took me to my first nude beach. I’m never looking back. Brighton Beach was great, except for the pebbles up your butt! What turns you on most in life? A confident, compassionate, stocky fella who wants to blow his load in my face daily. What turns you off? Waking up to up-close sphincter Snapchats in t he morning. Your best/worst feature? Best? My fabulous personality. Worst? My fabulous personality! Are you a gym whore, club kid, punk nerd or an app geek? More just an actual whore, to be honest.