Gareth Bryant

Gareth Bryant

Gareth is Scene Magazine's editor.

Wednesday, 07 October 2009 14:06

Illy Interview

New On The Block

The latest prodigy out of the Obese stable, Illy is proving that, amidst an explosion of attention surrounding Australian hip hop’s many new faces, there’s real substance bustling through the crowd. And for Illy, it’s more than just getting your attention. â€œI try to say something that’s not big noting myself and not preaching to people. To have something that people will connect with, but at the same time just make it fun.”

It’s a concept that allows Illy to differ from other Aussie MC’s, who put more emphasis on lyrical flow or talking up their show. â€œStuff I don’t like in the Aussie hip hop scene is the really aggressive, multi-syllable after syllable rhyme that doesn’t really say much. I don’t really judge MCs on that kind of criteria.”

Illy’s songs travel across many varying terrain, but always maintain a steady hand at telling a story and bringing to life the quirks in the Australian character and culture. Although one song, ‘My Country’, was always set to sit on the nose of the shallow listener. At a time when a lot of Australian hip hop tends to extend the welcome shagpile to the yobbo sector of Australia, a song with the name ‘My Country’ was always going to be cast off by some critics as taking Aussie pride too far, even to the extent of inciting racism. "It’s been massively misinterpreted (but) I expected it, that’s why I really worked hard at wording it. I mean when you’ve got lyrics like ‘the sum of all nations, the sum of all creeds’; and to still have that reaction, I just thought ‘what do I have to do?”

Illy’s upbringing by Scottish parents and his love for travelling to new places overseas would seem to further strengthen his argument. It’s done nothing to damage his notoriety though, with high rotation on triple j coinciding with his billing on the national Obese Records Block Party as well as the ‘Clockwork Tour’ with Phrase. You could forgive him for not having the time to figure out his long term plans. â€œI’m actually most looking forward to finishing my new album. There’s three tracks already to go and I’m planning to finish my stuff around February/ March so look out for it mid next year.”

Illy plays The Tivoli, as part of the Obese Records Block Party, October 16. He then joins Phrase at the Step Inn October 23 and the Swell Tavern October 24.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009 13:28

Cross Bred Mongrels Interview

Thoroughbred Hip Hop

Not too many Australian hip hop artists have been around as long as Adelaide's Cross Bred Mongrels (CBM), and after a four-year hiatus, they're back with a new album, ‘Certified Wise’, and are once again on the scene to represent the roots of Adelaide hip hop.

Wednesday, 09 September 2009 15:13

Jumbledat Interview

Who Dat?

It's not often you see a ten-piece band so when one comes along it's a special occasion; enter Jumbledat. Hailing from the Blue Mountains, the jazz and hip hop ensemble have amassed quite the following with their big band cum blues and funk sound. â€œMost of us met in high school and the others we've picked up along the way,” laughs keyboardist Luke Saunders.

The group consists of two vocalists (Perrin Moss, Matthew Kirkis), two guitarists (Taylor ‘Chip’ Crawford, Josef Heks), two percussionists (Bobby Damelian, Jesse A'Hern), three in the brass section (Kevin Kerr, trumpet; Marc Brown, trombone; Eugene Baker, sax), plus Saunders on keys.  With a line-up this large you may wonder how they find time to practice. â€œGetting together at the same time is pretty hard but writing songs is a little easier because a few of us usually work on an idea and take it to the others and we all jam it out until we find something we like, that way we all have input into how our tracks turn out,” he says.

The group have recently relocated to Melbourne and replaced their drummer, which Luke says made the process more difficult for a while. â€œWhen our new drummer joined we spent quite a while teaching him our tunes and getting him on the same page but now we're organised we're planning bigger things.”

The group seamlessly fuse the two unlikely genres (jazz, hip hop) together and the end product is rather similar to the True Live sound. â€œAt the start we we're all into different styles, I was into jazz as was Kevin and Perrin and Matthew were more into hip hop and they came to us wanting to fuse the two styles so we all had our influence on each other and when we picked up Bobby who is a massive Latin head our sound just continued to develop.”

Whatever the beginnings, the sound these guys produce is as amazing and full as only a ten member band can achieve. The boys, who’ve just recorded two singles, hope to release an album within the next six months and are currently gearing up for the Bellingen Global Carnival. â€œOur shows are really high energy, we'll definitely be playing our new singles along with a few of the older tracks but we try not to plan too much, we're unpredictable and like to improvise during our sets.”

Catch Jumbledat at the Bellingen Global Carnival from October 2-4. If you can't make the trip south, they're also playing the QUT Spiegeltent on September 20.

Friday, 03 April 2009 15:30

Coolio: Interview

There Ain't No West, East Coast

If there was one word to describe Coolio's career, it would be turbulent. Spanning almost 20 years, the Californian local and G-Funk pioneer has traversed the globe countless times, smashed hip hop sales records and encountered the wrath of the law.

On a Saturday morning a “What's up Man?” breaks the silence over the international line. Within a millisecond it's followed by a zappy rhyme, “Right on, right on, gonna get down with the….” with a series of crackly cackles following on down the line.

Currently on a tour that has him traversing the UK countryside, before a two-date stop over in Russia and then a flight to Oz in the middle of March, Coolio is in an upbeat mood.

“It's going well man; every show's been sold out ... it's like playing anywhere else bro, great. You know I played, what was it, Barnsley. Barnsley was more rowdy than Manchester.”

Our conversation soon turns to the classic ‘Fantastic Voyage’. Arguably one of the greatest G-Funk based party tracks of the 90s. I enquire as to how Coolio created the undeniably catchy chorus. “LV (backing vocals) actually came up with the hook and I pretty much filled in the blanks. I've gotta give him credit.”

Never one for a flat tune, Coolio's talent has always been in his ability to unravel pertinent yet comedic lyrics into free-flowing vocals. So, how does he do it? “It depends on the song bro, some songs are easier than others. Like some songs I really have trouble with it taking a while, and some songs it's immediate. It depends on what mood I'm into as well.

“I listen to alternative, rock, classical, jazz. I've got lots of kids and family, and everybody's got different tastes, y’know what I'm saying? So I'll listen to what they listen to.”

Inheriting influences from a wide variety of styles, his last two albums; ‘Steal Hear’ (2008) and ‘Cool Magnifico’ (2002) have seen a change in Coolio's work to a more minimalist beat-based style.

This leads to a question I'd been itching to ask for a while. “Ten years on from the Biggie/Tupac conflict, how is the East/West Coast rivalry these days?” He expediently replies, “That was back then, now it's a whole different thing, man, there ain't no East Coast and West Coast: Don't nobody like nobody.

“The only people that really stick together, and a lot of them don't really like each other, is the South. They do a lot of songs together. But there's the saying; every man for himself.” Coolio pauses and continues, “this game is not for kids bro”.

Trying to touch back upon the music, I ask about the progression of traditional sounds from the opposite sides of the United States.

“There ain't no East Coast, West Coast, South, North, none of that shit. People are barely making it right now. Y’know the music business is doing so bad right now, that half these motherfuckas are selling dope again.”

Pausing once again, and catching his breath, Coolio reiterates, “half these cats in the game are back to doing illegal business man”.

Driving the conversation home, I finally touch upon Coolio’s upcoming Australia tour. “It's gonna be a really good show. It's gonna be one of the better hip hop acts that you'll see.”

And, as to spare time down under, any plans? “Y’know if I get some time, and if the weather's good enough, I might try to learn how to surf,” he admits, with a sense of excitement.

Continuing on, exhibiting his socially focused side, “I'm going to do some charity specials y’know, to help the people; y’know you guys have had the fires down there. We're gonna do a couple of charity events to try to help people rebuild their homes and what not.”

Concluding his plans, Coolio abruptly adds. “I might go on a few kangaroo rides or something.” This comment sends the man from Compton into a fit of riotous laughing. Regaining composure, Coolio then re-emphasises his need for his laughter. “Sorry I'm laughing. That's the kangaroo ride joke.”

 

Coolio plays Bedroom, Surfers Paradise, Sunday March 15.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009 09:36

Can You Bring It? Part II Winner

BRING A PLATE

You could argue that Brisbane’s own Wade Robson kick started the worldwide phenomenon that reality dancing shows have become over the last half-decade. Robson, who was invited by Michael Jackson to dance at his Brisbane show in 1987 (at the age of five), started it all with MTV’s ‘The Wade Robson Project’ in 2003. Since that time, reality television has been bombarded with all manner of quality, and not so quality shows, revolving around the artform of dance.

Over the last couple of weeks, the Original Mystique has been getting in on the act with the Can You Bring It? Part II dance-off. This weekend sees the final go down, and our dancefloor experts are predicting plenty of flares, swirls, flips, handstands and all number of body-contorting moves. One of the finalists is 19-year old Bekky Carter, who won her place into the final at the weekend. The Forest Lake resident is busily preparing her routine, as she battles it out with the other contestants for a bevy of prizes.

Now fess up, did you have some major nerves prior to the competition?
Yes, I was definitely nervous. Before the competition I danced with the crowd there to get comfortable with the environment.

So you got up on the night. The competition must have been fierce?
I was intimidated by a fair few of the, that was the thing that made me the most nervous. The quality of the competition was outstanding.

Did you feed off the crowd and the energy the room had?
Yes and no; some things on the night I had a great crowd response from, but there wasn’t many of my own supporters there, which I am sure would have helped me out.

Winning this comp, the bar has certainly been raised personally; what's the next step for you?
I’m not sure. I try and listen out to what’s on. I am always looking for challenges, but I guess I am just playing it by ear.

As Brisbane’s premier R&B club, you must see some pretty dope moves on the floor on a regular basis?
Yeah definitely, Mystique has some great dancers that turn up every week.

On the flipside, did anybody come a cropper?
No, I didn’t see many mistakes on the night. Everyone seemed really into it, which was great.

These kind of dance-offs are big business – do you have a hard time keeping it real? Or are you constantly checking the mirror prior to the competition?
I find it is a bit of both, it is always a challenge to do your own thing when there is so much out there, but at the end of the day the most important thing is to keep learning.

Did any of the runner-ups blow your mind?
Yeah, there were a few dancers there that I thought were going to win. There was a lot of good competition and they all have great potential.

Were the ladies representing on the night?
All the girls in the comp, all brought something different. Everyone had their own unique style, I was impressed with all of them.

With the glut of dancing reality shows on the box, we now expect people to bring the best of R&B and hip hop styles to these competitions – but did you have any classical dancing sessions?
I did as a kid, but this kind of dance definitely appeals to me more.

So what sort of goodies did you dance away with on the night?
I won a big cash prize, which I am hoping to add to this Friday with the ‘Dance Flick’ night, my friends will all be lining up for that one.

Make sure you have floor seats when the final of Can You Bring It? Part II shakes the timber at the Mystique Nightclub, 25 Warner St, this Friday August 14.

Wednesday, 06 May 2009 14:39

Castel

PUMPED!

Local rapper/producer Castel has just released his new EP 'Stories From the Bridge' and to celebrate he's holding a free launch gig with other local act, Truth Serum.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009 16:43

Champion Sound

Do You Have Talent?

The lads from Champion Sound are bringing the party to the people with a talent quest for aspiring local singers and musicians.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011 13:14

Drapht

 

Onwards And Upwards
Around the turn of the millennium, Perth MC Drapht was finding his feet amongst the legendary Perth crew Syllabolix. Come 2002 and fellow crew member Hunter put the young gun on his record, ‘Done DL’, with Dazastah.



These days, Hunter still isn’t slowing down, somehow managing to record and release ‘Fear And Loathing’ with Mortar earlier this year despite receiving regular chemotherapy for cancer. As a result, he has had to curtail a number of vices. Intriguingly, Drapht has also decided to kick the bottle. Raising funds for his friend through Dry July provided the impetus for a profound epiphany. “From my side of things, it’s more health issues. I struggle with a hereditary stomach issue that alcohol, and sugar in general, doesn’t help. So it’s more just trying to get to 100 percent health in my case. It’s one of those things I have been meaning to do for a while now but because our whole way of life in Australia is so based around alcohol and drinking each weekend, it’s such a hard thing to hit on the head.”



Naturally, sobriety has had a multifaceted impact on his day-to-day life, with Drapht experiencing a marked increase in productivity.
“I get so much more done now. Creatively, I have so many more ideas. I wake up at 7:30 as opposed to mid-afternoon if I had been drinking the night before. I think the next record will come a lot quicker because of it.”



This newfound spirit of abstinence would have faced a formidable challenge when Drapht played a set at a little old festival called Splendour In The Grass a couple of weeks ago.
“It was my second sober show. I did one in Mackay at the start of July. I was a ball of nerves for that show and I never get nervous before any show. I’ve been doing it for ten years, you would think I’d be comfortable with it by now.



“I’m just so used to having four or five beers before I go on, it just got to me that I couldn’t. I thought I had the nerves under control but when I stepped out there it was like ‘holy fuck’. I kept hearing my own voice in my head in the middle of songs saying I was going to make a mess of things. It was hard but it was an awesome show, I pulled through in the end.”
Drinking and performing at the same time is obviously a fine line to walk. Drapht reflects on a ‘wasted’ youth.



“I’ve been drinking since I was 13 so I’m a pretty good drunk at the best of times. In the past, I could have up to ten beers before I went on and still not be too affected by it. I’d slur a word or two, stumble a bit more than usual but I could still put on a show. It was just second nature really because I had rehearsed it so much beforehand.”



The original inspiration for the Dry July escapades remains at the forefront of Drapht’s mind; Hunter’s battle with cancer.
“He’s just fighting everyday. He’s in really good spirits which is the main thing. Going from being an alcoholic to being told you have terminal cancer and can never drink again because it’s life-threatening is not the easiest thing to deal with. You’ve gotta deal with chemo and chemo thoughts as well, not only does it affect your body, it influences your frame of mind as well.
“Your body rejects everything that goes into it from a certain point onwards. He’s fighting the fight of his life at the moment and he’s winning but his body is telling him otherwise because of the amount of chemo he’s getting. He’s trying to remain as positive as possible, leading a healthier lifestyle as well. He’s changed his diet to that of a vegetarian, organic and whatnot. We’re all just praying that he gets through it.”


Drapht is preparing for a massive tour around the country next month. The ironically titled ‘Party, Party, Party’ tour will see Drapht joined by Muph & Plutonic as well as Syllabolix crew members Dazastah and Layla. So what’s up with the title?
“It was purely because I couldn’t name the tour ‘Bali Party’ because that track is going to be the next single. I just couldn’t stomach the idea of naming the tour after the single so we just ended up with ‘Party, Party, Party’ instead. It’s also because my birthday is in September so I wanted to pitch it as more of a huge birthday tour rather than just another tour I have to do. I’ve been touring non-stop since April and even before that I did the ‘Rapunzel’ tour in November. The next tour is just a celebration of everything that has happened, really.”



Busy as ever, Drapht elaborates on the rejuvenated productivity he is currently in the midst of. “I’ve just finished a track for an Australian MC whose album will be out in the next couple of months or so. I’m also finishing a track at the moment with Dazastah and Hunter for Hunter’s canteen project. I’m still writing a heap and working with a producer on some new stuff as well. It’s more just formulating ideas at this stage. I’m not in a rush to delve too deep into the next record but I’m still working on it slowly.”



Aside from the inspiration drawn from sobriety, Drapht tells of other significant events from recent times.
“I just got back from an overseas trip to Cambodia and Thailand. It was a real eye-opener for me, I came back with so many ideas despite the fact I was only gone for a week and a half. I came back with 20 song ideas. Spending that time by myself and not having conversations with anyone but locals really helped me out a heap.”



Drapht will headline Sprung Festival at the Brisbane Riverstage Saturday October 15. sprunghiphop.com.au

To be in the running to score one of two double passes to Sprung Festival, Like Scene Magazine on Facebook (facebook.com/scene.streetpress) and keep an eye out for the Sprung status update.

Wednesday, 08 June 2011 13:10

Rainman

Pop Rockin’ Beats

No doubt a good number of Brisbane’s independent artists have heard about this in full already, but for those not in the know, UnConvention 2011 is coming to town.

The not-for-profit event features a series of forum discussions and networking activities focused around the highs and lows of careers within the local music industry. Ray Bourne, otherwise known as Rainman – Brisbane's DJ/ MC/ beat-maker extraordinaire – is the curator for their hip hop and electronica panel. â€œUnConvention is mostly about independent artists. I see it as an opportunity for people not within the scene to consult their curiosities,” Rainman shares, “for non-hip hop or electronic heads to have an opportunity to learn a bit more. I know when I started going to information sessions, networking things and panel discussions through organisations like Q Music when I was 18-19, I learned a lot of stuff.”

However, it wasn't all educational. Despite Australia's hip hop evolution over the past ten years, back in the day, it was a little less rockin' than it is now. â€œThere was rarely a speaker coming from a hip hop or electronic realm – it was all pop, rock, metal. You kinda felt excluded from the main concept of music in Brisbane.”

For Rainman, success is subjective. â€œFor me, success is being able to keep making music, and have it so that I’m not working my ass off unable to make music because I’m slaving away at a day job.”

He's excited to have an open discussion at UnConvention, ready to pass on what he knows to the next generation of Brisbane artists. â€œI think what’s really good about this session is that it's really trying to break down this idea that Brisbane equals pop/ rock. Brisbane music also equals hip hop, electronica, metal, punk, etc. It’s good to have a specific session to bring us all onto one page.”

To those who might be manoeuvring their way in the industry, Rainman has some words of wisdom to share: “Just remember it’s about the music first and foremost. Don’t get lost in the marketing and stuff. Everything connects to the music.”

UnConvention will be held at The Edge, South Bank, June 11-12. unconventionbrisbane.com

Wednesday, 01 June 2011 13:55

Cross-Stitch

Performance art in Preview

Showcasing new work as well as the process and development of performance works, ‘FreeRange’ is back in 2011, offering Brisbane audiences the opportunity to see the latest that Brisbane creatives have to offer.

 

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