There’s no doubt that any label boss is taking a rather large punt when they back a new artist.
Yet when Urthboy decided that Horrorshow ought to be signed to his Elefant Traks imprint, his risk was very well calculated.
Sitting back some years later after seeing 'The Grey Space' and 'Inside Story' albums hit the big time, he can rest assured that LP number three, 'King Amongst Many', is doing even bigger and better things. It's a milestone in the group’s career that Nick Bryant-Smith — aka Solo, who teams with Adit to form Horrorshow — has been working towards for as long as he can remember.
“I always loved music from a really early age,” he says. “I was in rock bands, jazz bands, playing the drums and things. I liked to sing as a kid and when I was about 13 years old and started high school, I got introduced into hip hop around year 7 and year 8.”
Taleb Kweli and Common were the flavours of the moment, but it was really when Bryant-Smith heard '1979' by Adelaide’s Hilltop Hoods that the die was cast.
“Right then, I realised that there was this whole local scene and identity in Australia that I didn’t know existed; I was hooked from that moment and fully immersed myself in the culture.
“I went to the record stores and bought all the latest music that was coming out; at the same time, Adit, who was in my year at high school — as well as some mates of mine – worked and backed each other and collaborated on some music and we sort of started to find our way.”
Fast forward a few years and the lads are flying high after performing a swag of dates around the country to launch the new album.
“'King Amongst Many' is the most forward thinking album that we’ve done,” Bryant-Smith suggests. “At least lyrically, I’ve come to a point where, having dealt with the introspective — the teenage years, the puberty and so on — I’ve now broadened my focus and interest and that’s been the focus on this new album.”
Admitting that he's always been into history, Bryant-Smith sees the LP as an opportunity to carry on a tradition.
“You’re a small part of a bigger thing,” he says. “We’re about gaining the respect of other hip hop heads and knowing where we sit amongst the world around us — as well as communicating all of that to your audience. The whole album fits into an ideology of tradition and freshness and originality.”
Unsurprisingly, the media has already welcomed their new material with open arms; punters have voted with their feet by quickly selling out shows in Melbourne and Sydney. Expect the Queensland gig — coming towards the end of the tour — to be the most hyped. The lads have had the chance to refine their performances and will want to go out with a bang.
“We’ve flipped things up a little bit for these sets,” explains Bryant-Smith. “We’ve played a lot of live shows in recent times; we’ve really cut our teeth on the live show format and with that we wanted to kick things up a notch and give people a new experience musically.”
So with Adit making a special effort with a whole swag of on-stage gear (yes, more than a set of turntables), expect transitions and live experiences not ordinarily associated with hip hop.
“We’re looking to really inject new life into this set,” explains Bryant-Smith. “Largely with a whole lot of new stuff, but also a few old favorites for our fans.”
'King Amonst Many' is out now. Horrorshow play The Zoo Friday November 1, SolBar Saturday November 2 and Byron Bay's Beach Hotel Sunday November 3.