The Smoke Trees are a crazy bunch of lads with a love of hip hop who decided to form an almighty rap group. The group produces sound that is low key and cool, without over-thinking. Reminiscent of Golden Era Boom Bap hip hop times, The Smoke Trees are showing the Aussie scene hip hop can kick it old school in Australia.
We chat to The Smoke Trees about their latest track ‘Security!,’ how the group came together, and more about their upcoming mixtape releases. Margaret Tra writes.
How did you guys link together?
We're all just dudes with a mutual love of hip-hop, combined with a complete lack of organisation and marketing skills. We came together to make cool music and build a name, because otherwise the world will miss out on our sweet contribution. Kinda like The Avengers of arrogant budget hip-hop.
The new video is quite dope, how did you guys come about with the concept?
Musicians have got it pretty sweet now that we live in Futurama there's so many resources easily available. You're not limited by expensive studio time or complex editing equipment or whatever, so really the only thing you have to figure out is something creative and cool, and how to do it within your likely cheap-ass budget. (Laughs) We just wanted to do something cool and fun. So there wasn't a whole lot of think-tank brainstorms and market research campaigns. Once we'd figured out how to make the screen-splice effect work, we just acted like dicks on a couch for an hour. Came to us quite naturally, turns out.
If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?
Steven Spielberg. he never answers my texts unfortunately. It could be so beautiful. Jurassic Park I'd call it. Honestly probably a producer just outside of hip hop. Maybe Robert Glasper or Roy Hargrove? Maybe Bonobo. Hip hop wise I'd say Boots Riley of The Coup or Chance The Rapper. But if our next music video has dinosaurs in it, you'll know what happened.
You are dropping a mixtape, what can we expect?
It's called "Sydney Kingz (Not The Basketball Team)" and is a collaborative project with a mismatched crew of international Sydney hip hop dudes. The sound is a throwback project to the mid 90's, but we've all built on the music we've heard since then, so it feels contemporary too. The sound I guess is low key and cool, without over-thinking anything. All of the songs were written and recorded in one sitting so it’s really just what came naturally. The best songs write themselves!
How did you come up with the name 'The Smoke Trees’?
So there's the weed reference, which I think people who listen to rap will identify with. The other interpretation is of trees growing smoke. Which feels like what a caveman or a naive onlooker might think looking at a big, dirty industrial city for the first time. I just found out it's also the common name of Psorothamnus spinosus, which apparently looks like it's smoking when seen from a distance. What is it smoking? We may never know.
What other projects are you guys working on?
Sydney Kingz is the first in a series of EPs we putting out in quick succession. The next one "Nostalgia Just Ain't What It Used To Be" is due out in February, with the third to follow in April/ May.
Aside from that, Dewis plays with Coda Conduct, Luni is an architect, Sonny and Soup DJ in London and Melbourne, I'm a doctor in ED and Cory has 2 kids so makes fat stacks of cash to feed them with!
What stimulates your soul?
Good music, good people, whiskey, chicken wings and blahzay attitudes.