Interview

  • Beers Beats & The Biz - Episode 35. Boomtown.. Represent, Represent! Ft The Optimen

    Beers Beats & The Biz - Episode 35. Boomtown.. Represent, Represent! Ft The Optimen

    Beers Beats & The Biz

    Episode 35. Boomtown.. Represent, Represent! featuring The Optimen

    It’s an honour to be joined by K-West, Samsonite and DJ Damage of The Optimen for the 35th instalment of Beers, Beats & The Biz.

    From their early incarnations gigging around Brisbane to the formation of The Optimen and on to where they’re all at now across various states and continents, this is a dope episode.

    We talk the come-up, the clubs, the radio shows, the albums, the music and the era. We talk Boomtown rivalries, a bit of graffiti, logos, Red Tape Renegades, where dudes are at today and almost signing to Obese Records.

    Between it all we get a history lesson from DJ Damage who joined Lazy Grey in the early 90’s to form Towering Inferno, we here about what was involved in making the Give It Up video and get a brief glimpse into the inner workings of some of Boomtown’s finest.

    Thanks to The Optimen for their time and contribution. We are live now on iTunes, Soundcloud and Spotify: download, rate, subscribe, comment, share and thank you for tuning in to Beers, Beats & The Biz.

     
  • Beers Beats & The Biz - Episode 26. Bedraggled Plankton featuring Tornts

    Beers Beats & The Biz - Episode 26. Bedraggled Plankton featuring Tornts

    Beers Beats & The Biz

    Episode 26. Bedraggled Plankton featuring Tornts

    We are honoured to be joined by the one and only, Tornts for this, the 26th instalment of Beers, Beats & The Biz.

    We caught the Melbourne stalwart via Skype from the sunny tropics of Fiji, and proceeded to do the knowledge on one of the countries longest-standing and most prolific and original hip hop artists.

    From his early days as a member of Improwise alongside Billy Bunks and Gargoyle, and on to the formation of Broken Tooth Entertainment and the Hired Goons - we chart his 9 solo releases and various individual songs.

    Between it all we speak on the legacy and loss of Murky and Gragoyle, the Booze Bastards, touring and travel, production techniques, early influences, how surroundings impact art and establishing an original voice.

    We can’t thank Tornts enough for his time and all his contributions - and many thanks also for persevering through a time delay and dodgy Skype setup.

    We are live now on iTunes, Soundcloud and Spotify: download, rate, subscribe, comment, share and thank you for tuning in to Beers, Beats & The Biz.

    Support The Podcast - www.patreon.com/BeersBeatsTheBiz

    Brought To You By The Beers Beats & The Biz Team
    Jake Biz
    Travis Broi
    Insideus

     
  • Interview: Brisbane's Crooked White Talks Music And Breaking Awards

    Interview: Brisbane's Crooked White Talks Music And Breaking Awards 

    Australian Hip Hop Artist Crooked White

    Ozhiphopshop was lucky enough to catch up with Brisbane rapper and recent QMA nominee Crooked White to chat about music and his newly released album "Confessions" and what we can expect from him in the future. 

    (T) Hey mate it’s good to catch up, How’s things been?

    (CW) Good thanks.

     

    We might start with the recent name change as some may not know you from your previous name or work. What was the reasoning behind it as a name change can be a pretty big thing?

    I’ve always been known as Whitey, and over the years that grew into many titles C.White, White dogg, Idiot boy...originally I was going to go with C.White, but after a little research I discovered an american dude running with the same name....so in order to avoid a clash...I went with Crooked, which is also the title of the first single off 'Confessions'

     

    You recently dropped your debut album Confessions under the new name Crooked White. Did releasing music as a solo artist differ to how you previously released music with your band?

    My history of releasing music has mostly been with my band Schoolfight, so this process was different for sure, with bands each individual instrument needs attention and tweaking, so the process takes longer, you also have alot more ideas and input, which to be honest I missed at times while making "Confessions"- saying that , I enjoyed the freedom of making the big decisions on things, working to my own time line and seeing it thru.

     

    Did the writing method differ as well?

    Yeah absolutely, working with Aussie made things pretty seamless, he would swing thru beats every few weeks, Ide go thru em, pick a few, jump in the booth over at GrotBox and demo them, swing em back, and we kinda built the record that way.

     

    Being an independent artist means you have to juggle a lot of roles, were there any that you found particularly challenging?

    The self promo..hands down, Im old school, and to be constantly spruiking,  posting and talking about yourself gives me the shits haha - its part of the beast I guess, but I always feel like my music sells me better than self hype and the 'look at me' gimmicky rubbish.

    But in order to get heads to listen, you gotta let em know about your product...and...the circle of pain continues...

     

    It must feel good to see your hard work and effort come to fruition.

    Couldn’t be happier man, a solo album was always on my "to do list" I’ve had great support from family and friends and my team also, I feel like people are enjoying the album, and that’s what matters, we set out to make something familiar, something new and classic, to bring something back that I felt has been missing, and I think we got it right, stoked.

     

    This isn’t your first time recording with Travesty at the Grotbox, how did you find the experience?

    7ravesty is my ace, without him, Confessions would not have happened. He is a humble guy with a shit ton of patience haha. I returned from holidays a few years back, and we made a plan, started the demos straight up, hours spent, zero dramas and bulk beers, good times.

     

     

    You’ve released three videos off the new album, how did they come about and why did you choose to release them?

    We released "Crooked Feat 7ravesty" first, I felt we needed to lay the foundation, an introduction if you will, the clip sees me and 7ravesty reppin' the high vis, just being shit kicking bastards, which isnt far from the truth..

    Second came "Put me on" I shot the clip up home with some help from my big bro, the track means alot to me, and I wanted to show peeps around my neck of the woods and also rep beautiful FNQ.

    And last but but not least "The 4th Beegee" The jewel in the crown haha, Beegees is the ladies jam, we shot it here in West End with a cast of awesome cats and a solid team behind the scenes the clip was directed and edited by my good mate Bobbi from Ninja factory, she did a ripping job.

     

    Can we expect a Brisbane album launch or a tour?

    We will be officially launching the Album 'Confessions' Friday the 13th Of July @ the Flaming Galah.

    Supports announced soon! Hard copies and merch available on the night! You heard it here first!

     

    You have recently been nominated for a QMA award for hip hop. That must have been some great news considering all the hard work you have been putting in. How do you feel about it?

    Always nice to be nominated, heaps of good music being made here in Queensland, and it’s nice to be mentioned and involved, I actually took one home many years ago with Schoolfight, it was a great moment and honour, annnnnd I dropped it, shattered it into 14 pieces...full grown man, just picking up the flakes of glass, salty tears...

    Be real nice to replace that one.

     

    Any advice for young people looking at getting into music or hip hop?

    Sell out, dress like everyone else, sound like everyone else - you’re up and away!

    Or, be yourself, write every day, respect your peers and those that came before you, be original, create your own scene, accept things aren’t always going to go your way

     

     

    Where can people see you live next?

    Flaming Galah Friday the 13th July!

     

    Any shout outs?

    Shouts to my friends and family! Everyone that has copped the Album, shared, liked and sent messages of support! It means heaps!

     

    Good luck with it all mate.

     

    Keep up to date with Crooked White here!

    Peep the new album here!

     

    Words By Travis Broi

     
  • Interview: Brisbane's Karsniogenics Label Mate Gaz Hazard Talks The Lower 42nd and A King.

    Interview: Gaz Hazard Talks The Lower 42nd and A King release.

    Interview: Gaz Hazard - “The Lower 42nd b/w A King”

     

    With the recent release of Gaz Hazard's 7" wax release and the drop of the brand new film clip, Ozhiphopshop caught up with the Brisbane local to chat about the recent release and whats on the cards regarding his sophomore album due out via Brisbane independent hip hop label Karsniogenics. Gaz is no stranger to the scene has been putting in the hard work with multiple shows and releases over the last few years including work with CRS.

    Hey Gaz, good to catch up with you again. Hope everything is good since last time we spoke?

    Yeah everything is good mate.

    You have just dropped the “The Lower 42nd b/w A King” 7” wax off the upcoming sophomore release ‘Welcome to Gullywood’ out through Brisbane label Karsniogenics soon, can you tell us a bit about this release and how it came together?

    Welcome to Gullywood actually came about while we were doing our first official recordings at the new studio at my old place in Acacia Ridge. We naturally called it Gullywood Studios and since then we had created about 18 tracks. For various reasons a few didn’t make the cut, then after joining the label I decided to turn it into another LP. #W2G was born.

    The first track that was produced by Sean B(The Statesman, Kold Heat) The Lower 42 features some heavy hitting features in a massive posse cut with the likes of Lazy Grey, Jake Biz, Overproof Pete and Simplex. What was it like working with them artists and getting everyone to lay down the heat?

    Its always incredible working with such veterans and truly talented people . I am lucky enough to call them all my brothers. The track came about very quick actually in the scheme of things, getting 6 dudes on a joint together can be hard sometimes but everyone came threw asap for the project. We are all label mates anyway so a posse cut was fitting.

    Did you all record at the same place or were different studios used?

    The Lower 42nd  was recorded completely at Simbiotic Studios by Simplex. The album #W2G was all recorded at Gullywood Studios by me.

    Gaz Hazard - Welcome To Gullywood

    Sean B is a brilliant beat maker and has been killing it in the scene for many years now with production credits on a range of local releases, what was it like working with him on this track?

    Seany is an incredible beat maker but I gotta be honest I didn’t see him or even talk to him about it. Jake showed me the beat and we both had that look in our eye like fucking bang..thats for a posse cut on the album. Dj Dcide co produced the track too so mixing and structure was created by him.

    You have teamed up with Director Dolan from Dfdes1n to produce a dope clip that has been well received by fans, can we expect to see another one drop soon for the second track?

    Yeah we have a new clip dropping soon for the Bezrock tribute track. A King shot and cut by Heethan Steelberg. Dolan did  an fucking rad job with the clip too.

    The second track “A King” is a very personal and touching story written about the sad passing of a Brisbane legend and fellow hip hop head, it’s a very emotional track and I’m sure it was very hard to write. Was this one of the toughest ones to pen or do you feel it has helped with the grieving process?

    Most Definitely.  The track began from a eulogy I didn’t get to say at his funeral and a week or so after he passed I found it on my phone and began writing instantly. Threw endless tears I just kept writing, it was hard but I felt it needed to be done. For Bez, and yeah for me it helped me vent and go threw those stages of grieving properly. Its still hard. I still tear up hearing the track and almost everyone who has listened to it with me has teared up too. So much of my heart and soul went into that track and with the production from Bigfoot and Heata it became a very powerful song. Cant thank them enough for creating it the way they did.

    Losing a friend can be very hard. It must feel good tho to be able to tell his story and allow his legacy to live on through music?

    I always had a vision of the song on Vinyl with his B logo on it so of course the B Side made so much sense. It's a very humbling thing to be told by his close mates and mine that they thanked me for writing it because they wouldn’t of been able to do it. To be honest his legacy is already set amongst those he was close to anyway. His impact on this life especially mine will never be forgotten.

    The track was produced by none other than Bigfoot along with Heata(Hired Goons) on the scratches. Did the beat selection come play a major role when it came to writing a track like this?

    I wrote the lyrics to no beat actually. It wasn’t until Biggie asked to produce it for me and with Heata's help A King was born. They did an incredible job.

    How would you describe this release to someone who is about to listen to this for the first time?

    The Lower 42nd is a bass heavy posse cut with a mash up of styles from Karsniogenics.

    A King is a heartfelt tribute to my old mate and CRS OG with production from Hired Goons finest.

    The new album “Welcome To Gullywood” and follow up to “Hazardous To Ya Health” is your first release through Brisbane label Karsniogenics. What has it been like working with them and has it been a lot easier to release music now instead of being an independent artist?

    These guys are true veterans of rap music in this country full stop. Lazy Grey and DjDcide who run the label have been dope to work with. We all come together on the project and aimed for next level every time, sonically, lyrically everything. Always trying to step our game up. You seriously cant fuck with the K TEAM.

    When can we expect to see the new album drop?

    The LP will be available on cd, digital and as a 12 inch record due on within a few months along with a new video for a solo track off the album that i'm hoping to have it ready soon.

    Gaz Hazard Drops "THE LOWER 42nd" feat. Lazy Grey, SussOne, Jake Biz, Overproof Pete & Simplex

    Is there a show or tour coming up to coincide with this release?

    Yes we have Brisbane ,Melbourne and Adelaide in our sites to launch the album. Hoping to do them all this year. I also have a couple big international support spots to be announce soon.

    Any advice for upcoming rappers looking to get into the game and release music professionally?

    Be yourself. Do You and focus on you. And yes exactly, make ya music professionally. Dont judge your value as an artist by the views or likes  you get. Judge it by how many people turn up to your shows and actually buy your music.

    Where can the fans check out more of your music?

    My last LP . Hazardous to ya health is on I tunes.

    It was good catching up mate, wish you all the best for this release and I’m sure we will speak soon.

    Words By Travis Broi

     

    Keep up to date with Gaz Hazard via Karsiniogenics

     
  • Interview: Ben Iota Talks Jazz, Family And Music

    Interview: Ben Iota Talks Music, Family And Jazz

    Australian Hip Hop Ben Iota Interview 2018

     

    We caught up with Australian hip hop artist Ben Iota for a chat about what has been going on music wise and what we can expect in 2018 from him.

     

    Hey mate, it's good to catch up hope all has been well?

    Life is great. Let us begin.

     

    You are based in Darwin and have just had a new member of the family arrive, how has that been going?

    Darwin has been good to me and mine for the past couple of years. We find it to be a relatively easy place to live. The pace of life is slow, the sun is usually shining and the people are generally neighbourly. These are the qualities of Australia that I cherish. I am in the right time of my life for it. The frosty big city rat race aint calling me no more. And yes, we were lucky to be blessed with the arrival of our second child recently, who were are wrapped with.

     

    Do you find it hard sometimes to find the balance to do music while raising a family?

    Yeah its a tricky balancing-act. Having children has changed my perception of time. It was only after becoming a parent of one that I realised I had ample free time when I didn't have a child. It was only after becoming a parent of two that I realised that I actually had a bit of time up my sleeve with only one child after all. Now I have two children, I am wondering if I can squeeze any more time out of my 'full' schedule. I probably could, but it is going to take some serious self-discipline, and understanding from the people around me. Releasing a single once or twice a year seems like a more realistic goal, but we'll see. I would love to continue this musical journey.

     

    I first started hearing your music with the album Born free that was released through Butterthief down in South Australia, Has the road from there till now been hard musically?

    Nah, it hasn't been hard at all. For a few years after 'Born Free' I didn't release anything, but still worked on music steadily. I did gigs, hit open mics and rapped on street corners around Sydney (where I was living). Shout outs to Tall Papi. I wrote lyrics, jammed with a band, and just enjoyed the musical experiences I was having. After Sydney I moved to Darwin and linked with local champions like TASK and Dan the Underdog. They have been welcoming and supportive of what I do, and we have gotten busy collaborating. It has been a fun time.

     

    Born Free seemed to be well received by the Australian hip hop community what would have been your favourite track from it?

    I was happy with the response to it. I sold all my personal copies, got a bunch of gigs off the back of it, had a few press opportunities, gotten some good support on radio, and have had more than a few people tell me the songs have impacted on them. This all amounts to a win in my book. My favourite track was and is 'Iota'. It sums up my worldview and where I see myself in it. It has aged relatively well.

     

     

     

    What is it like releasing music independently compared to when you were with the label, is it a lot harder now or is it good doing things at your own pace? Has working by yourself giving you a different outlook on the way you release music?

    Nothing has really changed in regards to the pace. I have always worked at my own pace. I am inspired by those I work with, but I am never pushed. Despite not being released on Butterthief I still work closely with other people, including Social Change. Its good being self- reliant because I am learning about the industry, understanding what fellow independent artists do to leverage themselves in the game, learning what they have been telling me for a little while: 'your album is your business card'. Get it out there and make sure you follow-up any connections. It seems that you can't be too cagey with your music anymore. Well, you probably could, but I think it would keep you in your corner. I have also learned about gatekeepers- labels, radio stations, promotors, cliques of artists, etc. I never had to deal directly with any of these people previously, in terms of attempting to squeeze opportunities out of them. However, I see it now and have had small breakthroughs on that front. If I had a bit more time up my sleeve I feel like I could unlock the secrets to this game. Getting older now I stay active for the joy of creating, and for performing. A lot of people don't have a craft or creative outlet in their lives. I feel fortunate I have one in mine, so I keep going forward with it.

     

    What made you fall in love with hip hop and the culture we love?

    Rebellion and non-conformity. I felt out of step with the mainstream when I was young. I was looking for an alternative to the lack of anything meaningful. I found graffiti first, which gave me a feeling that there was something magical here. Doing something that was so heavily stigmatised and misunderstood by the general populace (this was in the 90s in Adelaide), and was risky to do, gave me a rush and a sense of belonging. It was my middle-finger to the conservative forces and values that I was surrounded by. It was a different world. Hip Hop music was next and had a similar impact on me. It gave me a bigger purpose, it gave me an outlet, it gave me an identity and further validated my 'outsider' status. It formed me. Even now as person who may seem like every other bum on the bus, I know there is a point of difference that I got through Hip Hop. I recognise it when I randomly meet other old heads with Hip Hop in their DNA. Its an experience that stays for the long run, in some way.

     

    You have recently released a brand new 15 track album produced Dan The Underdog, How did this release come about? How did you select the beats for this project? Where did you record this album? What was working with Dan? Is this the first time working with him? Did you approach this release differently than you would normally when working on an album? Can the fans expect to hear similar style with this album compared to you last releases?

    At some point in late 2016 Dan suggested we do a 'joint' together. We started by doing a single song, which was never released, but we both liked. Around that time I was revisiting old A Tribe Called Quest albums and realised how much I still love that jazz Hip Hop style, vibe and attitude. Its just good, laid-back Hip Hop music that means something. Even in my mid-30s, it still resonates with me and is relevant to my life, and thats the type of  music I want to make for other people. Anyway, with a new child on the horizon and a bunch of lyrics up my sleeve, I stepped to Dan with the idea of doing an album of all jazz Hip Hop, and getting it done before my son-to-be arrived. Dan was down. I linked him with the first samples in late June and by early September we were releasing an album. It was all recorded in Dan's studio (apart from the two bonus tracks), and produced by Dan, with me playing basslines on a bass synth that gives the songs extra depth 'in da clurrrrb'.We had a good energy and finite time to finish the album in, so we went hard. I felt the stress of the looming deadline and the pressure to perform, but we had a lot of fun making it. Dan and I have a similar sense of humour, values and outlooks on the world, so we clicked. I hope we can work together again. He is a machine when it comes to making Hip Hop music, and a really good-hearted human to boot.


    Any advice for other upcoming independent artists that are thinking about releasing an album or are starting their hip hop journey?

    Everyone is on their own path, so I can only speak on the advice I would give a younger version of myself, with my limited knowledge on how this all works. Here goes:

    Speak from the heart- thats number one. Be true to yourself, but don't be afraid to change, because you inevitably will if you are living life. Don't go by the book. Allow your musical journey to unfold. Believe in your process and dedicate yourself to your craft. Don't listen to the scene and don't become bitter by all the setbacks. Create your own thing. Jump at the opportunity to perform and enjoy connecting with people through it. Get the experience. Be a martyr and do mad favours when you start out. Don't charge people for beats or verses. Don't decide that $400 is your going rate for gigs. Just do the gigs and get the feel for performing. Use features as opportunities to get your name out, but make sure you respect the artists you collaborate with. Be real with supporters and be humble when you succeed. Be real with the more decent industry people out there and look to create something with them. Put a bit of your hard-earned into your music. That means getting a publicist, travelling interstate if gig opportunities arrive and making your product quality. Vinyl and merch are worth the shell-out if you have disposable income. Connect with like-minded people, including musicians and artists of all sorts, and get busy. Don't become egotistical. Diverge from the path of the parasites, vultures and toxic people. Try not to belt them. Get knowledge. Study and travel help with that, as does living life and making mistakes. Get your mind right to navigate this unpredictable, confusing, and sometimes-demoralising journey through music and industry. If you stay balanced, you will look back at this time as a rewarding time in your life, even if you don't achieve all your goals. And you may be even be one of the few who strike it lucky. None of this will make sense until you get out there and start doing, so take the first step and keep it moving.

     

    What can the fans expect from you in 2018? Where can the fans catch you live next?

    A music video for 'Do Dat', from the 'Jazz' LP, should be released around the same time as this interview. Keep an eye out for that on Youtube. I plan to keep gigging around Darwin at random intervals when the opportunities arise, as I have been continually doing for the last year and a bit. A launch is in the works. I also hope to chip away at making new songs, in a similar vein to the last album, because I am still loving jazz beats, but made via a different studio method. It's all about the process for me. Its gotta be fun and interesting. I am excited to announce that I will be launching a music-based blog in April. It looks fill a void in the current industry landscape. I can't give too much away but I can promise it will be quality, with some awesome artists on board. The Ben Iota Facebook page will give notice when the blog is live.

     

    Was good to catch up mate, look forward to peeping some new music this year.

    Cheers! Thanks for the reaching-out

     

     

    Stay up to date with Ben Iota music and blog happenings at:

    www.beniota.com

    www.facebook.com/beniota

    Soundcloud, Bandcamp, YouTube, Instagram, Spotify, iTunes

     

     

    Words By Travis Broi

     
  • The Doppelgangaz Australian Tour Interview!

    The Doppelgangaz

    The Doppgangaz could be considered two of New York’s most underrated and hardest-working double threats in hip-hop. But really, they would most probably shrug off such an accolade.

    With this MC and producer pairing of EP and Matter Ov Fact there’s an air of kicked-back ease they bring to The Doppelgangaz style which seems a black cloak well-fitted to their infectious character. With a supposed cloaked-up vagrant lifestyle, they make conjuring up some of the most soul-searched and jazzed-soaked sampology in hip-hop to complement their antic-themed raps seem a lot more than supporting a depraved lifestyle of frequenting brothels, dollar-bin vinyl diving and getting their drank on. But, this is half their charm and formula to their apparent chemistry. Testament to this, with a reach of fans spread across the sphere, their vagrant life finds them jetsetting down for an Australian tour this coming week.

    For the duo out of Orange County, New York, who don’t know anybody outside of their immediate circle, they’ve made it happen with a strong Do-It-Yourself work ethic across a killer discography. Over five studio albums, four mixtapes and as many EPs, which includes the widely-acclaimed HARK! (2013) and Peace Kehd (2014) LPs, they’ve shared verse drops with just enough guests with which to puff-puff-pass a skinny joint, which includes their manager and a few close homies, (Brothels Series 3 and 3.5 with Thonio, PartyManThanks and Scooby). With all production being broke in, beat out and cooked up in-house, repurposed dusty-ass vinyls are brought back to life with a jolt of hardened East coast sampling. Plated and served together with a steaming side of bars from EP, it makes anything The Doppelgangaz have got bubbling on the stove a hot mess.

    Pen it, the vandals are demented /
    And for the last time, no the candle’s not scented.
    Panhandle, cause scandal up in the senate /
    Known to quote a rhyme, but he rambled when he read it...

    Ozhiphopshop got the chefs out of the kitchen and on the hook, where we cut the crap on that cloak-life mystique and dive back into the dollar-bins that bring them so much dope-ass beat work on record. We discuss their DIY work, done not by design but because they don’t know anybody, the current state of hip-hop and the effect the internet has had on the culture and lastly, coming to Australia and “cramming” flight attendants on their way over. This is some cards-on-the-table, open-book, out-in-the-open interview that only OHHS knows how to present. What that vagrant life like, kehd?

    RIP NICHOLSON for OHHS with EP & Matter Ov Fact from THE DOPPELGANGAZ

    RIP: What’s going on guys? How are we?

    EP: What’s happenin’ man. We’re good, we’re chillin.

    MOF: How you been man?

    Good! Do you enjoy these media jobs? Having to answer the same shit from guys like me?

    EP: Nah man, we’re chillin’.

    MOF: It’s awful. This is the worst part of the gig, you know? 

    Look, I would think so, man. You can be real.

    EP: Nah no lie. This is never a bother to us,

    MOF: We’re chillin’. We’re about to go to Australia! We’re hyped, very excited!

    What’s that black cloak life like, it’s got you two jetting to Australia for a couple shows. Can’t be all that bad?

    EP: Can’t be that bad, right?

    MOF: It ain’t too bad (in a New York Italian mobster accent).

    EP: We’re just speaking it into existence. We’re talking about something it happens. So, next day we’re gonna start talking about money.

    You both came from a bigger group, was there a plan from the outset on what you wanted to achieve as pair, where you wanted this to go, or even if there was a thought to anything further than let’s just make some music and maybe an album?

    MOF: Nah we always knew as little kids we wanted to go all-in. I think it’s just as you get older it’s kinda hard to figure out when and how. But the time came when it was just like, ‘yo, the time is now!’ We’re just gonna figure out as we go on, so let’s just do it. Because I think as time goes on you just understand you are put here for a reason. We figured we were meant to get it poppin’ so let’s just take a shot at it.

    Let’s rewind a lil’ to your older albums - Lone Sharks - devoid of any features. Was this a case of no-one knew who you were to jump on board or you wanted a solid project to show you two could stand alone?

    EP: Still nobody knows who we are. That’s pretty much the case.

    MOF: Still the same, nuttin’ has changed. Starting out we didn’t know anybody in the music industry whatsoever. So anybody we met was just us goin’ out and literally runnin’ into people and buildin’ relationships. But, we didn’t know anyone in the game at all. Especially at that time period, so it was just us two making stuff, you know? If we knew some heavy-hitters they’d be some on there, that’s definitely for sure.

    Well that DIY throughout has been a noticeable staple through your catalogue. I was going to ask if that was by design, but you’ve answered that. So, if Alchemist or Ski Beats rocks up are you giving up the boards to these beatheads?

    EP: Yo, if somebody better comes along we droppin’ everything. Someone dope comes along they producing for us, if a writer comes along, they writin’ for us. If a performer comes along then we’ll just do like the music video aspects, we’ll let them lay down the vocals.

    MOF: They just put the cloak on, with the same build - one white guy, one black guy.

    Get the fuck outta here, now I know you’re talking shit!

    MOF: We just started out doing everything by necessity, we didn’t know anybody. But to answer your question, we’re definitely down. We love Alchemist so we’re definitely down to work with other people, you know? It’s just that, thus far, we haven’t really come into contact with too many other people. But DIY-wise, I definitely think it helps to be self-sufficient in this game because anything can happen. People who you mess with cannot mess with you, label situation could fall through, so it’s always good to know how to put  two and two together by ya damn self just in case.

    EP: You never wanna get in a situation where you need such-and-such in order to do such-and-such.

    Now on Beats For Brothels Vol 3 & 3.5 the guests start jumpin’ off with the likes of Thonio / PartyManThanks / Scooby. What brought this about and what was it like sharing the booth with some outsiders?

    EP: These are our friends, these are people that we’ve known for years. Scoob, he manages us and he was just there. Thonio we’ve known for about ten-plus years now and we just think he’s a talented individual. He can rap, sing - he’s just really talented. The time was right that we had some stuff that we would fit on, so he was all over that album - he can sing better than us. So it’s a case of, like you said, falling back on somebody who’s got the skills to do it. ANd, PartyMan is just another talented producer and he’s our friend too, so it just makes sense for those situations.

    On the latest album, production is tight like prom night though!

    Hahahaha - Heeey!

    Them samples you let ride out on Nexium - they’re on some next level shit! [You’ve Got to Learn (Il Faut Savior) by Charles Aznavour (1974)]

    Beautiful, man! Glad you like it!

    My question is, who does that anymore? Seems like new kids haven’t got the patience to appreciate a nice vinyl tune.

    MOF: For us, we just like cool shit. We come across it and if it sounds good. We come across a lot of stuff that does nothin’ for us and we don’t see anything in, so when we come across some cool shit, we just try to manipulate it, fuck with it and use it to our advantage, you know? So, but a lot of it is luck of the draw and unplanned. It’s almost like the cards falling in our favour at times because you just happen to find some cool shit in a dollar bin or somebody’s grandma is gettin’ rid of some shit or whatever you never know man, so we just try to keep our ears and eyes open and always listenin’ to shit and seein’ what tickles the fancy and we see how we could fuck with it, you know?

    EP: A lot of it is just luck man, we could have easily not come across some of this shit, so I’m just glad we did.

    I imagine that’s half the sweat put into a record?

    EP: Yeah, luckily for us, if we didn’t get another record tomorrow, we’d still be making music, you know? But that’s something that we enjoy and I think that when it comes to production we like to attack from all angles whether sampling or playing some shit out or thinking of some shit so we like to combine all aspects and we have so many ways of arriving at the final product but sometimes something just sticks out and we’re like, ‘yo, we gotta use this!’

    Speaking of that process and the final product - most artists go into a full-length LP with a more careful approach to work than say a mixtape where they fuck around over any given beat they see fit and experiment, you know freestyle, ad-lib. What do you guys do for your Brothel series that you wouldn’t attempt on a studio LP like Peace Kehd or HARK! Where is the major difference in how you construct each?

    EP: The series, initially, was so we could showcase other beats. Because we wanted to make sure that people knew that we were producing, we’re not just rappers, we handle our production as well. So, at first it was kinda like a means to showcase that and also be like a talking point to mention it and just have another opportunity to work with other artists or get placements or you know,and  advertise in film whatever. So that’s what it initially started out as. Then it kind of became an outlet for anything creative that we wanted to do in the moment and maybe it’s more a spur of the moment feels. Like, sometimes on the album you make a real concentrated effort to keep to a theme or a sound and the Series just kinda gave us a chance to just do what we wanted. So, it’s just another good outlet for us. I dunno if we do anything necessarily different but sometimes our approach is a little more loose but it’s kinda hard for us to make music any other way than how we typically make it, so I don’t think it’s too much difference but it’s just another good outlet for us to be creative.

    Can you guys do me a favour and say the name of your album, Peace Kehd?

    Haha oh yea, Peace Keehd, but you can say ‘kid’, it’s all good.

    I wasn’t sure whether it’s some New York shit I didn’t have the accent for, you know?

    Haha course you do. It’s like, when you talk to someone around here they’re like, ‘what up keehd’

    OK, what up keehd, haha. So speaking of Peace Kehd, I’ve got a question for you guys and I want you to put your hand on the bible on this shit. Have you motherfuckers ever actually robbed a Hess gas station?

    Of course!

    Get the fuck outta here.

    Not at gun point but we took some candy haha.

    Oh shit, then we’re all some criminals in here then! It just popped out to me in the lyrics to Holla x2 - apart from where your homeboy describes the female.

    And we got your local Hess robbed /
    Cashier looking like she work a desk job.
    Natural looking like she got a breast job /
    Shorty had the shaved nape with the fresh bob.

    Brilliant. Fucking brilliant.

    EP: It sounds beautiful hearing it back.

    So, off topic now, I checked out the BET Hip Hop Awards couple weeks back... Do you guys watch it?

    EP: Yeah we try to catch it online or wherever.

    I mainly do it for the cyphers, but even they’re fabricated as fuck. My point being, seeing the acts they had perform, Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, Dae Dae, Desiigner... Desiigner, man what the fuck is he saying? Can you understand him?

    EP: We’re just fans of music, man. We just love music. But yea, we feel like music is back to being diverse again. Everybody’s doing their own thing and where you’re from doesn’t necessarily dictate your sound anymore and it’s just cool to see where it goes every year. Every year something new’s coming out and somebody’s doing something that’s breakthrough and someone else is doing somethin’ different and you hear somebody you think you know exactly where they’re from and you find out their story and it’s totally different. So it’s in a cool and interesting place.

    MOF: I’m waitin’ for that big, Australian act to infiltrate the US market, to take over. Anything’s possible, man..

    Doppelgangaz Interview Australian Tour

    That’s the life of the internet, though. It’s like you said, you can listen to someone and not know where they’re from because so many styles are influenced from the internet it gets harder to pinpoint a geographical sound to hip-hop.

    EP: I guess it’s what you gravitate towards, naturally.

    MOF: Word!

    If you two had to make new rap names starting with ‘Lil’, what are you going with?

    MOF: I might keep it basic and go with Lil Matty, you know? M-A-T-T-Y. E is easy ‘cause he is little in real life. It works perfectly.

    EP: Yeah, I just go with Lil’ E

    Four shows starting early November from Sydney to Perth. What’s the plan? Before you pack a suitcase, what is the must-do when you come down here?

    MOF: Our time is very limited, we got a lot of back-to-back shows. So, our goal is to cram... You know, we’re not trying to sleep at all. Our goal is to just cram as much we can in the short period of time that we’re there. That’s the goal. No sleep, I wanna see as much as we can, I wanna eat as much as we can and cram as many women as we can. We wanna come back, absolutely shot! Then sleep for like, two weeks straight.

    Well if you cram women the way you say you’re gonna do you’re gonna need that much sleep, right?

    EP: Hahaha.

    So Matty Van Rooy hasn’t got anything planned on an itinerary, hold a koala, kiss a kangaroo?

    EP: We’d love to, I just don’t think it’s gonna happen.

    MOF: This is our first time down so next time maybe, we can come down and experience a lot more of every city. We’ve made moves in the past where it’s short. We landed in, um, Greece for a show in Athens and we had no time to do anything. We just crammed as much as we could and saw as much as we could. So we’re not strangers to it so I think we’ll be able to make it happen.

    Just cram less woman, you’ll be fine.

    EP: Yeeah, that’s hard to give up though! They attack us! We be mindin’ our own business.

    Oh it ain’t your fault, huh?

    EP: Right!

    Long fucking flight to get here. What do you do for 20 plus hours in the clouds?

    MOF: We just hope that they got a good movie list.

    EP: Yeah!

    MOF: Good movie list and some beautiful flight attendants.

    You’re going to cram some fucking flight attendants now? Geez.

    EP: You know what’s funny man. I was watching, like, a murder doco and they were talking about a couple who died while hittin’ turbulence while they were taking part in the act to be a part of the Mile High club. The stewardess they had on the show said it’s not, like, illegal to have sex in the air. If they see two people go in the bathroom it’s like, no problem I didn’t realise that. I thought it was legal

    I woulda thought you’d hit max occupancy in a toilet or something.

    EP: For some reason, the way she broke it down, she said they can’t stop it. There’s no consequence for it. So I’m definitely gonna be up in that.

    Well boys, I hope you get some.

    EP: We hope so, too!

    I appreciate your time, have a safe trip. All the best for your shows when you get down here.

    EP:Nah we appreciate it, man!

    MOF: Thank you!

    Catch The Doppelgangaz live this week on their Australian tour.

    Tickets available now at www.mattvanrooy.com

    The doppelgangaz Australian Tour

     
  • URTHBOY – ON THE MAGIC OF PERFORMING, RAPPERS AND LETTING GO OF THE EGO

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    URTHBOY interviewed by Rip Nicholson
    Images supplied.

    “There are so many instances in my creative experiences where I’ve tried to do one thing and it’s ended up at another place. I’ve been in control of every aspect of this song along the way. Where it ends up is not where I had set for it,” says Sydney rapper and founding member of The Herd Tim Levinson, a sentiment that has never been more apparent to the artist than on his latest creative project, The Past Beats Inside Me Like A Second Heartbeat.

    “Some of that is just because I’m liking things and I’m responding to it and it takes me further down a path, which is not where I set out to go. That’s where you kind of have to acknowledge, even if you set out with a real particular plan, there’s a different compass inside you leading you where it wants to go and just accept that you are not this great, egotistical genius. You’re actually just a vehicle, and I really enjoy the fact that you can separate yourself as an artist from the ego that claims ownership of everything and allow the fact that the audience has ownership over this. We are engaged and participating but we don’t necessarily have to take credit for every single thing, we just accept that we’re all in this together now.”

    The project has led him a long way from its conception three years previous. Past Beats had the working title Decades and was initially planned as five lineal EPs, each representing a decade in Australian music between 1950 and the 2000s. Levinson has previously stated “I dreamt up a beast so daunting, that I spent three years trying to tame it” in relation to the process. However, the beast has changed in the breaking, partly from Levinson’s concerns that the project was going down too academic a route.

    FEATURE---Urthboy

    “I really enjoy the fact that you can separate yourself as an artist from the ego that claims ownership of everything and allow the fact that the audience has ownership over this.”

    “You don’t take the contents and circumstance to a song into account when you’re deciding whether you like it or not,” asserts Levinson. “You just like it or you don’t. So, I found the biggest challenge with it was working out where I had to put the brakes on this quite academic nature of the project, and how I would steer it back into something that felt like it had some sincerity and something personal that was very real and honest. And once I stopped trying to force all these elements and ideas into the music and let it happen more it really flowed more. So the beast was, I think, that the concept started as an academic exercise but it became clear that music isn’t academic. It’s visceral, it’s emotional.”

    Another shift in momentum from something strictly conceptual to something with a roaring pulse was the inclusion of several collaborators, such as Sampa The Great and Okenyo on track Second Heartbeat. Sampa in particular goes deep on her own family history in Zambia and Botswana. The resulting verse is indeed visceral.

    “With rappers you’re always going to have that because [they] are always writing their own lyrics,” says Levinson. “With singers it’s a little different, sometimes we collaborate and write, and other times it will all come down to the singer’s performance, which is a great thing in its own right. But it doesn’t take an expansion of the song’s theme into a new direction the way a rapper would. And Sampa absolutely nailed the theme that we were talking about and she brought a different expression of the same theme. So it’s not even that she took it off into a new direction, she expanded on it.”

    As Levinson gears up take his album on the road, the rapper opines that despite the distance and time already travelled with Past Beats, the most exciting part is still to come.

    “There is nothing like the loud nature and the visceral nature of live music. But, it’s not about trying to capture it on a phone and watching it later. It’s about the experience you have with friends at the gig and from me on my side of the fence it’s about diving into the songs and screaming our little hearts out,” he continues. “No matter what you walk into that gig with, you can have the flu and feel like death for the whole day, for that period of time, it’s a fucking weird thing, there’s something magical about performing. The adrenalin just goes, ‘you know what, body? Whatever it is that is currently preoccupying you and making you feel like a fucking deadshit, you’re going to be transported to somewhere else for this time,’ and I love performing for that. It’s a great thing and I can’t diminish that experience.”

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