Actor, author, record label owner, comedian, Australian music great and self-described Senator, Briggs is set to drop new music on August 21.

Briggs’ new EP, Always Was, is the artist’s first solo collection since Sheplife in 2014. The six-track EP is a “taste test for the upcoming album”, which is set to be released by the end of the year.

“It’s always good to have music out, to be back in the wheelhouse where I belong,” said the Yorta Yorta rapper.

Briggs’ new EP, Always Was, is out August 21. Photo supplied by Mad Dog Publicity.

Whilst most of the EP was made previous to lockdown, Briggs and his team are located across the country so were well prepared for the COVID-19 lifestyle.

“Most of it was already made a while ago, there was only a few things that we did in lockdown,” Briggs said.

“We do things so much via satellite anyway so it wasn’t such a big difference for us … given that’s how we operate …we just get in and get it done.”

“Blackfullas are like the kings of adaptation you know what I mean, we’ve been having to adapt to different lifestyles for so long.”

“It’s in our DNA to be able to survive, so coming into COVID it was like, ‘Okay, how do we do it?’ It was never a case of, ‘We can’t do it’, it was always, ‘How do we do it?’”

One of the tracks for the new album is newly released tune, Go to War, which saw the rapper collaborate with Gamilaraay artist, Thelma Plum. The song and film clip were released the same day, with appearances from Bad Apples Crew and Muggera Dancers in the clip.

“That was my favourite part, I love the boys and what they represent. They are so staunch and so proud and they dance so hard,” said Briggs.

“I could see it and I knew what it had to be, I had two great directors, Tristan Edouard and Selina Miles, who are phenomenal. They could see my vision too.”

The Go to War video delivers a powerful message.

“I always want to tell a story … and really sell a bigger idea in my videos. To tell that story of blackfullas having to exist in two worlds was something I’ve always wanted to talk about because it is so exhausting.”

“I don’t think it’s spoken about enough and I don’t think people realise it enough.”

“The idea of the blackfulla that Australia might look down their nose at in the street, is the blackfulla that they would applaud for being a ‘true Aboriginal’. Because they don’t associate a blackfulla from the city as being connected with their culture or connecting with their identity and their heritage because they aren’t ochred up,” said Briggs.

“That was the idea behind it, to dispel those myths [that] you have to go to the far remote outback to have an Aboriginal experience, which tries to minimalise the experience of the blackfulla in the city.”

 

Briggs added children’s book author to his already impressive resume in May this year, releasing Our Home, Our Heartbeat. The book was adapted from his song, The Children Came Back.

“It was something I always wanted to do, and I did it … I didn’t expect it to end up being the best-selling kids’ book in the country,” he said.

“I just thought it was a cool thing for the mob and for kids.

“A number of people have made kids’ books, and maybe we all have the same idea that we didn’t have them when we were kids. I’m just trying to make the book that I thought I needed.

“I just wanted to normalise Indigenous achievement, so they are in the same breath as another person, and also remind [everyone of] the strength of our families and communities.”

Briggs will make first his livestream performance debut since COVID-19 on Thursday August 20, the day before the EP release. He will be performing as part of Inside Sets, an interactive gig series. Tickets are available with a tiered pricing system.

By Rachael Knowles