You Say Party's Stephen O'Shea Discusses His Move to Politics as a BC Green Party Candidate: "I wanted to stay here and give back"

You Say Party's Stephen O'Shea Discusses His Move to Politics as a BC Green Party Candidate: 'I wanted to stay here and give back'
While You Say Party announced their return earlier this year via the release of new song "Friend," bassist Stephen O'Shea also has grand plans outside of the band, having recently announced he'll be running as a Green Party candidate in BC's upcoming provincial election (May 14).

The musician announced his candidacy for the Abbotsford West riding late last month, and told Exclaim! that while this will be his first attempt at being in office, his punk rock past already had him homing in on political issues.

"I was thinking about how You Say Party got its start, with songs like 'The Gap (Between the Rich and the Poor)' and 'GMO-Uh-Oh,' it reminded me 'well, I really do have kind of a political background and I do really like civic politics,'" he tells Exclaim!

O'Shea also noted his active role in his community as an organizer for Abbotsford's annual outdoor concert series Jam in Jubilee in Jubilee Park and as a member of the board of directors for the Devon R.B. Clifford Memorial Foundation, which helps fund music education for underprivileged youth.

"I did get my start here with the band, and it felt like I wanted to stay here and give back to the city, and give back to the next generation of youth that are growing up here," he said, adding, "The decision to run is a culmination of all of that coming together."

Beyond culturally minded issues, O'Shea said that he aligned himself with the Green Party because of its environmental stance. Concerns he'd like to address during his candidacy include protecting the city's agricultural land reserve, acknowledging air quality issues, and looking at how to handle urban sprawl in an ever-growing community.

"Abbotsford's at a place where it has to really look at itself and what it wants for its representation in Victoria and Ottawa and even in our own city hall. What kind of Abbotsford do we want to be? I really felt that at the beginning of my 30th year, this would be a great time to put my vision forward."

As for You Say Party, O'Shea notes that the band are still rehearsing weekly, and are currently putting the finishing touches on a pair of newly recorded tunes. While one track is a cover of OMD's "The Misunderstanding," the other is an original called "Heading in the Direction of the Rising Sun," which apparently fields the same territory as last January's atmospheric tribute to late You Say Party drummer Devon Clifford, "Friend."

"We wrote a lot of three-minute pop songs for a lot of years. We're exploring what it's like to be a band without a drummer and second of all what it's like as songwriters to no put the constraints of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus, three minutes and be done."

O'Shea didn't offer a due date for the songs, but hinted that they'll pop up shortly online and may also appear on a 7-inch, along with "Friend," at a later date.