Austin Lucas’ new single, “Already Dead”—premiering below—is an anti-facist folk-punk anthem. It’s also the first look at his forthcoming album, Alive in the Hot Zone!, out later this fall.
“‘Already Dead’ [is about] American Fascism and my experiences in Germany during the pandemic,” explains Lucas, who’s been living in the latter country since March. “I like to think of this song as a radical, therapeutic dance party anthem for everyone who is finding themselves arguing succinctly and logically, under impossible circumstances, with the willfully ignorant. A playful but unlikely mixture of John Mellencamp and Against Me!.”
“‘Already Dead’ weaves an entirely frightening but all too common narrative about the private and sometimes public arguments that many of us are having in this day and age,” Lucas continues. “It’s an unfortunate number of times that I’ve personally had to sit down and try to compassionately explain how hurtful it is when an old friend or a family member has befriended fascists, lifted these new people up in their lives and began adopting their toxic ideologies. The first verse picks up towards the end of the last friendly interaction two old friends will have before they inevitably part ways. As the song moves, it’s through a period of frustration where one friend is realizing that the other is truly lost, after long hours of attempting to shed light on how fractured their ideologies are. They find themselves tearfully realizing that no amount of discussion will effectively draw their loved one away from the hate that they have not only embraced but clearly do not fully understand.”
Lucas is usually based in Bloomington, Indiana, but was visiting Germany when COVID-19 cases started to explode in the United States.
“March 16th was the date I was scheduled to fly home to Indiana from Germany,” he recalls. “Three days before on Friday the 13th, Trump tweeted out his presidential order, banning travel from European nations to the United States. This immediately threw my world and plans of returning home into a state of confusion and anxiety inducing fear. Forced to make a decision with limited knowledge about what this meant for my immediate future, I weighed both whether I’d be denied entry into the USA upon return, as well as the possibility that returning home could lead to an extended separation from my German Partner. Given that there were so many unknown factors, I made the decision to remain in Europe, at least until these issues had been resolved, though I never could have guessed that I’d still be sitting on this side of the Atlantic half a year later.”
Despite being so far from home, Lucas is actually glad to be in Europe right now: “Although it’s been completely gut wrenching to watch so many of my loved ones go through so much, especially while I have been so far away, it is important to acknowledge how incredibly lucky I am to have weathered this storm here,” he says. “Between European socialized medicine, heightened average level of education and overwhelming predisposition towards understanding the cost/benefit of collective human inaction/action, I’ve found myself existing in a far safer part of the world, during this pandemic.”
Alive in the Hot Zone!—out October 30 via Cornelius Chapel Records—comes after Lucas’ 2018 album Immortal Americans and his 2019 live album No One Is Immortal!. Check out the first glimpse of the album below.