Ziggy Ramo has shared a powerful statement to accompany the release of his new album ‘Sugar Coated Lies’.
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The singer pointedly released the record today on January 26 — a day known to some as “Australia Day” or Survival Day/Invasion Day to the First Nations community. Speaking about his decision for doing so in an Instagram post, Ramo wrote: “We don’t sugar coat the truth. We sugar coat lies. We lie about our history. We lie to each other. We lie to ourselves.”
“Everyday is invasion day on stolen land. I’m Blak all the time, not just on the 26th of January. I’ve never called myself political, I’ve never called myself an activist. I am a human being. I make music about my lived experience, which is inherently deemed political because I’m Blak.”
“This album isn’t for your protest, it’s for mine,” he continued. “My existence is resistance. I don’t want to change the date, I want to change the entire state. I want to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma. It stops with me.”
See Ramo’s post and listen to ‘Sugar Coated Lies’ below.
Speaking further about the album in a press statement, Ramo said: “On the surface, this album is made up of journal entries, starting and ending with my hospitalization after being on suicide watch.”
“Beneath that lies heavy intergenerational trauma that has sunk its hooks into my every thought and action. I had to go through a lot of therapy to deal with the all-encompassing weight of this intergeneration trauma, and putting it in an album became incredibly therapeutic.”
Ramo previewed ‘Sugar Coated Lies’ with its titular single back in December. The song features Wergaia/Wemba Wemba singer Alice Skye and is part of the soundtrack for Stan’s original series Black Snow, which is available to stream on the platform now.
Other collaborations on the album include ‘Present’ with Ladi6, ‘Better’ with Jantine and ‘Never’ with vonn. Its cover artwork — a skull made out of sugar — was designed by South Sea Islander artist Jasmine Togo-Brisby.
Earlier this month, the musician hit out at the City of Joondalup council after it booked him for a free outdoor event in Perth, then later shared an apology for the “language used” and “comments made” by him. Ramo criticised the local council in response, saying they were aware of his lyrics prior to the performance and that he had actively removed any coarse language.
“I’m not naive. Even when you remove the curse words, the subject is very explicit. It’s talking about genocide. It’s talking about oppression. It’s talking about violence,” he told ABC Radio Perth. “It’s deeply uncomfortable for people who maybe haven’t grappled with their own privilege, but it’s asking people to grapple with what is our understanding and our experience.”
“So, what part of me telling my lived experience was so offensive that it warranted an apology?” he continued. “It just feels quite backhanded,” Ramo said. “It’s like, diverse cultural performances, that means you’re going to have different viewpoints, but you’re saying, ‘We will only strive to offer diverse cultural performances that our community agrees with.’”
Ramo — who was born in Bellingen and raised between Western Australia, New South Wales and Gapuwiyak in East Arnhem Land — released his debut album ‘Black Thoughts’ in 2020. That album featured a track titled ‘Interlude: Survival Day’, comprising dialogue by Indigenous people explaining how they perceive the date. One describes it as “a celebration of survival of one of the oldest cultures, if not the oldest culture, on Earth.”