Seth Sentry! Strange New Interview.
FOR SETH SENTRY, WHO WAXES NOSTALGIC ON WAITRESSES AND WAITS IMPATIENTLY FOR THE FUTURE, HIS NEW ALBUM IS RETROSPECTIVE WHILE LOOKING AHEAD. IN THE PRESENT, HE TELLS RIP NICHOLSON, HE’S JUST TRYING TO OUT RAP THE REST.
I’ve never had any lofty goals with rap,” admits Seth Marton, who travels as Seth Sentry. “I never wanted to be famous. I never necessarily wanted money. So all really I wanted to do was just rap better than everyone else. That’s all I wanted, was that competitive drive to keep going. But, I am very aware that I’m in a good position and very lucky to be able to do shit that I was gonna do any way. So to be able to do this as a fulltime job is pretty cool.”
Prior to this interview, Marton was in a meeting where, so far, the 48th show was being tacked onto his Strange New Past national tour. All this for a Frankston, Melbourne MC with only one studio album? “Yeah, I don’t know what it is.” Despite his modest response, Australia’s love affair with him has been strong. His first EP, out in 2008, sold us on his story, 2012’s This Was Tomorrow let loose on his fantasy future and new album, Strange New Past, finds the rapper reminiscing in his own rear view.
“That’s why I called it Strange New Past. I was doing a lot of looking back in retrospect and how that developed the person that I am. If you can process it and be at peace with your past then you can look back at yourself in a different and more positive way. You can look back and say ‘Ah, shit I wish I didn’t do that’ and live a life of regret or you can be, ‘Well if I didn’t do that shit then I wouldn’t be where I’m at now.’”
Right now, Marton’s only interest is in being in the competition of rap. On Nobody Like Me the MC goes to battle, pushing limits as a rapper. “I’m not in it for any other reason than to be a good rapper, to push myself and to own my craft. I’ve stepped it up a lot in terms of my rapping ability and I’ve worked hard to create new flows and be more dynamic in my delivery.
“This time, maybe it’s because I’m older or something, I started to do a lot of self-evaluation and going with my first instinct, I heard the beat and just went with it. It felt really good, it felt cathartic.”
Calls for Seth Sentry to stay the same are completely lost on Marton. “There’s no way I could write the same album again, doing it just for the sake of putting something out. That’s just not how I work. It’s a real competitive game you’ve got to push yourself. I feel like I was a lot more hungry on this album.”[caption id="attachment_1935" align="alignnone" width="475"] Seth Sentry Strange New Past Album Cover[/caption]
Hey man, how’s the day treating you?
Good. Good. I’m just in Sydney. Having a coffee, sitting out in the sun. It’s not bad.
I spoke to you last January for the Run tour. I caught the Brisbane show.
Was that for the Run tour?
Yeah, at the Hi-Fi.
Yeah, I think that was the one, man. We were still trying to figure out the nuts and bolts of it. But I’m glad you enjoyed it man. We go pretty hard. It’s my exercise.
You put so much energy forth in your performance. That was some Ninja Scroll shit, as you put it, balancing out on the bannisters to shake hands. That was some shit to see.
Haha, cheers man.
I just read your last input. 48 shows now? Is that what you’re staring down the barrel towards on your next tour?
It is now. It was 47 but we just added a festival to it so now it’s 48.
Yeah, I know, man. And that’s not even factoring in the summer festivals. Oh man, pretty heavy.
Well you must have known after the responses for ‘Run’ and ‘Hell Boy’ tracks that you were gonna have a big year on the tour circuit?
Kind of. I never had any lofty goals with rap. Like I never wanted to be especially, famous. I never necessarily wanted money. So all really I wanted to do was just rap better than everyone else. That’s all I wanted, was that competitive drive to keep going. So, it’s definitely weird when you’re doing that and you realise you have to keep going because it works, and then it becomes work and I have to work harder at this now. It’s interesting. But, I am very aware that I’m in a good position and very lucky to be able to do shit that I was gonna do any way. So to be able to do this as a fulltime job is pretty cool.
Heard the complete new album bro. Hard to believe it’s only your 2nd album. Why does it seem like you should be on your third or fourth?
Why, what do you mean?
Well you’ve been in the spotlight now for a while. You keep so busy in it that it seems like you are more the veteran than someone who is about to release his follow-up LP. And it’s crazy that you’re about to do 48 shows off of one album!
Yeah, I don’t know what it is. It definitely takes me ages to write. Fucking ages, when it comes to recording an album. Mixtape shit, i’ll write in an hour or something but for an album i tinker away slowly at it. The first album took me four years and that was just really the real songwriting and recording stages and some of those songs have been floating around for ten years before that. So, to be able to cut down this album to two years, really 18 months, that was fast for me. If I wasn’t working with Styalz who was keeping the pace, I could have easily worked another three years on this.
Well you’ve put a lot of yourself into this, and that must have taken time. Would you say that you were less the comic on this album and more revealing as Seth Marton, perhaps?
Yeah, I reckon. You know, I just didn’t overthink it this time. Last time I tried really hard to come up with interesting topics that hadn’t really been covered in rap music before. And, I was really looking at the world, more looking into the future and not so much around me at the time and try to work out interesting ways I can analyse it. This time, I don’t know maybe it’s because I’m older or something, I started to do a lot of self-evaluation and going with my first instinct I heard the beat and I didn’t resist it I kinda went with it, you know?
And it felt really good, it felt cathartic.
When I heard the album it really came off like this rapper was on the couch for an hour and we the listeners are the counsellors taking this in and not giving any feedback. It’s interesting that you likened it to the same thing.
Yeah, I do really try hard to find a balance there because, you don’t want a whole album’s worth of that so I tried to vary it. Yeah, it’s just came out, man. I think I just got to the age, that’s why I called it Strange New Past because I was doing a lot of looking back in retrospect and how that developed the person that I am.
There’s a trend there in your titles This Was Tomorrow and Strange New Past, both are a play on words of respecting the past that made you the person you are today.
And I think if you analyse it and can process it and be at peace with your past then you can look back yourself in a different and more positive way. You know, you can look back and say ‘Ah, shit I wish I didn’t do that’ and live a life of regret or you can well if I didn’t do that shit then I wouldn’t be where i’m at now.
Words by RIP NICHOLSON