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Monday
Sep182017

Going through Hip hop Portals with Perth MC Marksman

Perth MC Marksman Lloyd is climbing up the hip hop ladder here in Australia, 2017 saw him share the stage with hip hop heavyweights Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Drapht, Thundamentals and joining Seth Sentry on his 'Play It Safe' tour.  Marksman just dropped a new single dubbed ‘NOMO,’ a no bullshit jam that takes aim at our need for recognition and the psychological and substance issues we are plagued by as a result. 

He’s currently on tour promoting his EP “Portals’ and we catch up with him ahead of his Sydney show at The Brighton Up Bar on the 21st September to chat about why ‘NOMO’ is a song about anxiety, why he never eats before he hits the stage and why his fans are so loyal. 

You’ve shared the stage with some pretty big names, what would be your most memorable moment?

I'd have to say Atmosphere and Brother Ali. They were huge inspirations for me coming up as a young emcee so to share a show with them was a dream come true. That or jumping on stage with Peking Duk at Stereosonic. 15,000 people. Knees shaking like crazy. Awesome vibes though. 

You just released ‘NOMO,’ could you tell us what the track is about?

Put simply it's about anxiety. "Annie" in the chorus represents anxiety and I've personified it saying, "I ain't dancing with you" I'm not gonna be a slave to substance to get a hold of it. On another level it's about how that need for recognition that we're obsessed with in our generation is a big cause of that anxiety. In the second verse I'm talking to a girl who's trying to be an actor but it's killing her slowly because of her need for fame. I think a lot of people can get stuck in a pretty vicious cycle of that on a quest for validation. 

Your new EP ‘Portals’, could you tell us about it?

Yeah it's just an amalgamation of everything I've been inspired by over the past two years. It varies a lot sonically but so does my taste in music so it jumps around quite a bit. That's just us having fun with it I think. 'Gene Simmons' is probably the first "happy love song" I've ever written. 'Sugarman' is probably the realist thing I've written. I just wanted to lay myself bare without thinking too much about how things fitted together or what's popping off in the current music landscape. 

Favourite dish before heading on stage and why?

Never before heading on stage. Always after. Makes you look forward to the show more because eating is the best thing we as humans get to do, so looking forward to the meal afterwards is like the reward. My girl is Indonesian and cooks killer rendang. Got to go with that. 

How do you find the support for hip hop with your audiences and peers? 

I feel like the peeps who support my music and come to my shows are the most loyal and loving crew around. I'm blessed in that regard. In the age of disposable music and dwindling attention spans I feel like I'm supported by fam that will still listen to a song that is over four minutes. Hip hop in this country is expanding and it's incredible to see the wave that is currently coming through. Exciting times for sure. Cats are no longer scared to experiment and be different. 

What can people expect at your upcoming tour? Any surprises?

At the launch in Perth we have an acapella group called ‘Daring’ joining us on stage for a few songs. I'm going to get up everyone I collaborated with and make it something really special for the hometown.  Then for the rest of the tour I have my band with me. We are fam before we are a band so it's just a good time. I'm contending for the most energetic live set on the planet so crew will have to come through to see if that's true or not. 

After the EP, what’s next?

Continuing to grind. If I've learned any lesson doing this independently it's that you don't slow down or rest on your laurels. We are already working on new material and I feel like any creative who does it because deep down they know they have to will tell you that it doesn't stop. It can't. We have a new song we are working on with a gospel choir that is probably my favourite thing I've written to date. We just keep moving. 

What stimulates your soul? 

My girl runs a charity in Bali called ‘Love Thread Project’ so we are there quite a bit. It's like a second home. I'd say cruising along the coast in Uluwatu on a rented old school motorbike with Rodriguez in the headphones comes pretty close for me.

'Portals' EP is out now via Firestarter Distribution feat. 'NOMO', 'Seven Laps' and 'Pause'

Listen to NOMO on Spotify and Apple Music

Pre-order the ’Portals’ EP now via iTunes


Wednesday
Sep132017

Using humour to send a message with MC Matt Xander 

Emerging MC Matt Xander has came into the spotlight of Aussie hip hop with his latest release poking fun at politicians ‘Scraping the barrel.’ The MC uses humour and to-the-point lyrics to drill in his message, accompanied by some fresh rhymes that is reminiscent of R.A the Rugged Man. 

We sit down with Matt and chat about how he started in hip hop, what his latest EP ‘Fornicating Arachnids’ is about, and what he would do if he was in politics for a day.  

How did you start in hip hop?

I started making hip hop cos I didn't have enough friends (or at least talented ones) to form an actual band, so I had to do everything myself. But I did manage to trick my best friend into being my DJ and forced him to rehearse with me every night for like a year. 

How do you see the hip hop world progressing?

I really hope it progresses lyrically. Hip Hop seems to be the only genre you can get away with talking about how good you are. I can't imagine Bob Dylan writing a song called Folk God. Having said that, I have a track on this record called Gonads so I'm not sure I'm helping things progress.

You just released an EP could you tell us about it?

It's essentially an expression of my anger, energy and love for pop culture. There's duality between taking things seriously and having fun. You don't know whether to stop and think or do the funky chicken. 

If you were in politics for a day, what would you change?

I like the idea of building a wall. Can we build one around Canberra?

What's next for you?

I hope to make a couple more videos for this record then onto the next. I'd like to expand my universe and work with some diverse artists.

What Aussie artist would most like to work with and why?

Connie Mitchell from Sneaky Sound System. She has such power and energy. Her previous band Primary was the first band I ever saw. My parents were friends with the band and got me on the door. I would spend hours dreaming up schemes to convince them I should be in the band.

What stimulates your soul?

Slapstick comedy. That's probably an oxymoron for most people but I'm a sucker for it. I have a framed quote from Charlie Chaplin saying "A day without laughter is a day wasted".

Thursday
Sep072017

5 Things Ash Shakur Does To Never Feel Alone

MC Ash Shakur dropped his latest reflective jam ‘Never Alone.’ The track oozes shiny elastic synths and jingling percussion. The playful rapper is an experimental musician, illustrator and all round creative from South London with a strong DIY ethic which chimes through across all his content. Known for a soulful and positive approach to hip hop, musically he combines old and ‘nu skool' sounds with a lyricism that blends social commentary with personal goings on, often tackling sensitive topics in an uplifting manner. 

We sit down with Ash and find out what 5 things he does to never feel alone are. 

1. Making my mother draw stuff

I like to see her ideas and bring some of those drawings to life on fabric or a bag for her, she would love that. She's busy so it's fun to catch her and get her to do some art.

2. Hit the gallery 

I'm always going to galleries and exhibitions in London and when I travel aboard it's good to some new work that could inspire me to create something new and see things from a different perspective. 

3. Designing  

When you're up early in the morning and late in the night working on new designs the hours move every fast it keeps the mind occupied.

4. Good food and drink

Good food and drink will keep anyone busy haha but not to much as too much of anything isn't a good look. I do like cake!

5. Great music

Great music can make you dance, think and feel all types of different emotions. It's the answer to some of our issues we relate to the songs we listen too and have that connection too.  Sing the chorus of your favourite song and dance like nobody is watching that will never make you feel alone!


Wednesday
Sep062017

Phoebe Day on why she thinks Jazz is misunderstood in Australia

Phoebe Day is an emerging Jazz/Soul singer hailing from Sydney. She has just released a heart-felt track called ‘A place in time.’ The smooth and sultry artist effortlessly blends old and new music inspired by the greats of jazz, soul, RNB and blues. Her sultry manner is giving us of Amy Winehouse and Adele vibes.

We chat to Phoebe about her first jazz track she listened to, her inspirations and why she thinks jazz is misunderstood in Australia.  

What was the first jazz artist you listened to, and how did it make you feel?

It’s hard to think of the very first jazz artist I ever listened to. I was so young when my father introduced me to the genre that I can’t really recall a time when I wasn’t listening to jazz. It must have been John Coltrane – A Love Supreme. I remember feeling a strange infatuation and being completely drawn into the sound. I closed my eyes and imagined a story as the music played. I think maybe that’s what I loved about jazz – every solo and every melody tells a different story with a different mood. 

Who are your inspirations?
 
I’ve always been heavily influenced by the great jazz vocalists – Billie Holiday, Anita O’Day, Chet Baker, and Nina Simone to name a few. But I’ve also been greatly inspired by instrumentalist such as Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix. Any artist who plays with honesty and feeling will inspire me almost every time. At the moment one of my greatest inspirations is Melody Gardot. She is the perfect example of an artist who does so much with so little. It’s all about the detail and nuances in her vocal and her arrangements. She also blends classic jazz and soul sounds with contemporary production and songwriting. It’s a joy to listen to and a real inspiration.

What do you have coming up next?

It’s a very busy time at the moment! I’ll be releasing two more singles over September and early October. I’m feeling very excited about sharing these tunes. Together they tell one great story of my experiences while I was writing. We’ll be playing a show towards the end of October to launch these new tunes. I’ve also been working with saxophonist/producer Joel Sena. He’s releasing his second EP very soon and I was lucky enough to sing two of the songs on his recording.

How do you see the jazz industry in Australia?

That’s a very good question. I think the jazz industry is a little misunderstood in Australia. I think there’s a general misconception that all jazz artists are a little pretentious. I also feel like maybe the industry is slightly divided between jazz purists and more contemporary artists. Perhaps jazz in Australia isn’t really appreciated in the same way it once was and I would really love to see it flourish again in a new light. I’ve always felt that jazz is less about how “out” you play and more about how you connect with your audience and the musicians you’re playing with. It’s a language in itself that is based on connection. I hope that one day there’s a bigger audience for jazz in Australia.

Why ‘Day’ to the end of your name?

Phoebe Day was my family’s nickname for me while I was growing up. In fact, my Father still calls me Phoebe Day to this day! It’s also nice to pay homage to one of my greatest inspirations Billie Holiday, or Lady Day as she was often called.

What stimulates your soul?

My soul is stimulated by the creative arts. When I listen to music or view an artwork or see a show, I want to be moved. I think that’s what art is all about - or great art at least. I’m energised and inspired by artists who can communicate emotion through a single note or the single stroke of a paintbrush. It makes you feel alive. 

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Tuesday
Aug292017

5 Things You Didn't Know About Melbourne Soul Singer Kaiit

We’ve been crushing on Melbourne soul singer Kaiit for a while now, even more now that she released a delicious new track ‘Natural Women.’ While she’s relatively new to the scene she’s been making her mark and demanding the world’s attention through her sweet vocals and feminist vibes.

We sit down with Kaiit and find out what this star is really like.  

1. I love going Op (thrift) Shopping, I literally get all my things from there. It's a thing I love doing with my family on weekends and any chance we get together. I seem to be able to manifest the type of clothes I want and find them as we look around. You know I look be looking for those red threads. 

2. I have a twin brother that's 10 minutes younger than me. He was in my "Natural Women" video and the next project to come out as well "2000 n Somethin." I also have a baby sister who is 12 years-old that will be in the video too. You can find the video on my Facebook & YouTube channels soon

3. The first years of my life started in an Arts University in Port Moresby (the capital city of Papua New Guinea) where both my parents taught. My mum teaching photography and my father in the lino department. 

4. Certain words just don't tend to sit with me or just make me cringe super easily. A couple words I just can't stand are  "Hot Choccy." Like why can't people just say Chocolate? As well as Brekky.. UHHH yuckkkkk!

5. I’m scared my 12-year-old sister is probably going get her license before me. I've got legit like 4 hours in my driving log book, I don't really mind PTV (as long as I've got a seat and I'm not being touched) but a whip would be so much easier, I'm just like... Lazy?