Daily Meds don’t believe in taboos. Sure, the Sydney four-piece have supported the likes of the Wu-Tang Clan, DJ Premier and Rahzel, but that doesn’t make them hip hop traditionalists.
Their new LP 'Happy Daze' pushes the genre in the direction of dubstep, and they don't care who knows it.
“Of course we understand there are purists who are automatically going to be against change,” MC P.Smurf explains, “but it's not going to affect how we make music. We're not making music to suit other people; it's just how we want it to sound... if people don't like it, they don't have to listen to it. That's cool. They can go buy a Hilltop Hoods CD if they want.
“I've got absolutely nothing but love for Hilltops, all the Golden Era guys are great, but there are so many different styles of music... I know the Sydney purists. I know the old school heads who have been performing for years. They're not hating on us. They're loving that we can adapt this music for new audiences.
“You know, [Sydney veterans] Def Wish Cast are constantly adapting their music to reflect what's happening without losing their integrity. They still love what they're doing, but they're using vocoders now. They're not saying, 'hey, we love Lil Wayne', but they're just appealing to suit fresh audiences. Haters can hate, man. Let 'em do it. They're not going to be having as much fun as us.”
There aren't many people having as much fun as P.Smurf, fellow MC Mikoen, vocalist Billie Rose and producer Roleo right now. Their 'Happy Daze' LP was recorded while three of them were living together, and released through their own label, Big Village Records (also home to their friends Tuka (Thundamentals), Ellesquire, True Vibenation and Loose Change).
They write their own press releases and book their own tours. The tight-knit group is in charge of their own destiny, and so far, that's working out just fine.
“We just sold out of the first 500 CDs,” P.Smurf exclaims, “which is awesome. It means people are definitely buying it... I wanted it to be distributed physically, because my parents have been a huge influence on me and when I was growing up they had a record store on King St. I want to make records you can hold and look at.”
That might be the group's only concession to the old ways of the industry. Though they'll always be indebted to mid-'90s American hip hop (the era P.Smurf calls the “pinnacle” of the genre), their own work has gone off on a tangent all their own.
Roleo has found his niche within the “wobbly future dubstep realm of beatmaking”, while P.Smurf and Mikoen lay down the sort of dexterous double-time raps you just don't hear from Australian MCs.
“I don't think it's necessarily about skill,” P.Smurf says, “because Australian rappers are as skilled as anyone else. But when you look at how commercially viable [double-time raps] are... I don't think it's that viable in Australia, and that's why you see 360 rapping not-so-technical rhymes with pretty straight-out flow structures, but with some catchy hooks and beats that kids are gonna dig.
“That's gonna blow up and get millions of views, but then you see someone like Dialectrix spitting some of the most technical, amazing raps you've ever heard in your fucking life, and that's not what you're going to hear on Triple J or Today FM or whatever.”
Having said that, Daily Meds' new single 'Insane' is on high rotation on Triple J. Looks like there's something to be said for doing things your own way.
‘Happy Daze’ is available now. Daily Meds play Coniston Lane on Saturday August 11.