Interview: Rednex

You may remember Rednex because ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ was everywhere in the 90s – still retaining its popularity today. A hillbilly tribute with dance-influenced beats, it’s a ridiculously fun song. But the band have returned with a new track, ‘Manly Man’, which also has a relentless energy. The track is the bands first new release in eight years. The video sees them challenge male stereotypes in a messy abandoned house in the countryside.

I spoke to them to find out more about the video.

The Indiependent: ‘Manly Man’ has a similar sound to both ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ and ‘Old Pop in an Oak’. What inspired the upbeat sound?

The sound of ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ is what started Rednex. It is our musical soul. Once in a while, we might venture off on some musical adventure, such as with ‘Spirit of the Hawk’ or ‘The End’, but our roots are in the sound of ‘Cotton’, so we will remain true to those dance beats with violin/banjo and a drunk 88-year-old hillbilly on vocals, as in ‘Manly Man.’

The Indiependent: I think it is great how the video pokes fun at male stereotypes. What made you challenge them, and what does it take to be a ‘Manly Man’?

Manly Man is equally a tribute to as well as mocking the male stereotypes. Rednex is an advocate of freedom, free expression and behaviour, such as being (or trying to be) as manly or sloppy as one prefers, or the opposite to that. And the freedom to not give a shit or the freedom to fully engage or oppose gender stereotypes. As for challenges, we love to challenge anything.

To be a “manly man” as in the video, it probably takes a great deal of integrity, since you know you will be opposed by the current popular ideas. To be opposed to most other people takes a lot of guts and you must be strong. As for the general idea of being a manly man, buying a few weapons and go out to kill a few animals might do it.

The Indiependent: What made you choose the abandoned house for the video?

We are rednecks. We are known to prioritize other things than cleanliness, such as not do anything at all or getting drunk while doing that. When doing the video, it was therefore an obvious request to have a super messy house. It didn’t have to be abandoned, this just happened by circumstance. It is probably easier to find a messy house that is abandoned than one that people actually live in. The house was perfect for our needs, it looked like the scene from our video had played there, in reality, every day for the past 7 years. Total carelessness.

The Indiependent: All 26 members of Rednex past and present make an appearance in the video. What was the decision behind this?

This year Rednex is celebrating 25 years. It has come to a point where we can look back on a beautiful and eventful history, filled with lots of awesome stories, success, and achievements as well as struggles (1000 gigs on 5 continents and so on). Our history has reached a point of being worth a chronicle or memoirs. This is something that we are immensely proud of. New performers coming into the band, will learn about the history and are being told to honour the ones who did the effort before them. So to include all band members in the video is a statement of pride, to honour them, and in the format of a type of chronicle.

The Indiependent: Finally what message do you hope people take away from this video?

 Whoever you are, be free to be it and stop bother what others think. All of us have a little redneck inside, give him some space once in a while – you are guaranteed to loosen up.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

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