Insurge combined samplers and audio loops with layers of acoustic and electronic drums and found percussion (such as old kitchen sinks and other scrap metal) mixed with punk influenced guitars. The sound was influenced by alternative, industrial, goth, punk, dance and Pub Rock (Australia).
The band was known for its outspoken political views which were particularly focused on global issues such as injustice in the developing world, the political influence of corporations and financial markets, and global environmental issues such as climate change. The bands politics were influenced by anarchism, environmentalism, anarcho-punk , political economy, and the anti-globalization movement. The band expressed their political views through their lyrics, interviews and live appearances.
The bands first E.P. was I.M.F (1994) coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the International Monetary Fund. The song criticised the I.M.F. based on its harsh economic measures that were having a detrimental effect on the developing world. Initially a demo, I.M.F attracted the attention of prominent Australian music manager John Woodruff (The Angels, Icehouse, Baby Animals, Savage Garden) who helped pull together a distribution deal through East West records (Warner music Australia). The original line up was then solidified with Monique Wakelin playing sampler, Mattieu McRoth on bass, Matt Richmond on electronic and acoustic Drums, and Paul Bianco (later Pauly B) on found Percussion joining Dubrow’s guitar and vocals.
Just prior to the release of the bands second EP there was a shift in the lineup with original percussionist Paul Bianco leaving the band to be replaced by Adam Logan.
The second E.P. ‘Political Prisoners’ (1995) saw Insurge begin to work with producer Kalju Tonuma, (The Mavis’s, 28 Days, Bodyjar, Killing Joke). The title track became the band’s breakthrough song, gaining considerable airplay from alternative radio across Australia and New Zealand. The lyrics discussed the inadequacy of modern criminal law, and the idea that most prisoners in western society were political prisoners because the concept of private property was an invention to protect the wealthy. The song went to No. 25 on the Triple J Hottest 100 in 1995.
The Speculator EP followed in 1996, which was lyrically based on the anti-democratic power of global currency speculation. This song reached No. 7 on the 4ZZZ Hot 100 chart and No. 69 on the Triple J Hottest 100, of that year. The debut album ‘Power to the Poison People’ was released in 1996, which reached No. 20 in the Australian charts. The singles ‘Soul 4 Sale’, “Time Bomb’ and ‘AK 47’ followed.
The band toured constantly across Australia (and once to New Zealand) including tours with Pop Will Eat Itself and White Zombie (band), and participated in many festivals such as Alternative Nation Festival (1995), the Livid Festival (5th Oct 1996 – the same night Insurge programmed ABC TV’s ‘rage’), and the Big Day Out (1996, 1997).
In 1998 singer Chris Dubrow went to London to record tracks with Ian Richardson and Nick Coler (known for their work with The KLF). Dubrow also became involved with the Reclaim the Streets movement in both London and Sydney. Over this period the line-up changed again, Mark ‘Milli’ Avery became the bass player and Daryl Sims (formerly Indecent Obsession) was on drums.
1999 saw the release of the single ‘I hate stupid people’ which achieved considerable national airplay on Triple J, this was followed by the album ‘Globalisation’ ultimately produced by Kalju Tonuma. The singles were ‘Feast or famine’ (1999) and ‘Images of London’ (2000) which was a dance version of the song written by Indigenous Australian singer-songwriter Kev Carmody. Midway through 1999 there was yet another change to the lineup with Sean Burnett taking the percussion role..
1994 I.M.F. (EP)
1995 Political Prisoners (EP)
1996 Speculator (EP)
1996 Power to the Poison People (LP)
1996 DMF (Remix EP)
1996 Soul 4 Sale (Single)
1996 Time bomb (Single)
1996 AK-47 (Single) 1999 I hate stupid people (Single)
1999 Feast or Famine (Single)
2000 Globalization. (LP)
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