Horrorshow’s Nick Bryant-Smith may possibly be the most down-to-earth hip hop MC you’ll meet.
Behind the veil of MC Solo is a hard-working, gutsy guy who turned a high school hobby into one of the country’s most promising hip hop duos.
With best mate and producer Adit Gauchan beside him, Bryant-Smith’s humble bedroom project began as an outlet for his pent-up teenage angst. Now, Horrorshow are plying their hip hop beats to crowds across the country, with a loyal following in tow.
“I’ve always appreciated stories and books that could convey a bigger message than just the story itself,” Bryant-Smith says. “A lot of that has kind of rubbed off in what I do with my lyrics and I definitely think that’s a big part of what drew me to hip hop in the first place.”
The dynamic Sydney duo burst onto the scene in 2008 with ‘The Grey Space’, a debut record that Bryant-Smith describes as “lyrically indulgent”. “People didn't even really know that I rapped,” he reveals openly, “so the first record is almost like a diary in a way because it wasn't written with anybody else in mind other than what I wanted to get off my chest at the time.
“As we've grown as a band and now have an audience around the country — and even overseas — you start to be aware of that and think of ways you can approach writing songs that are going to connect with the audience.”
With album number three in the works, Horrorshow are feeling the pressure from their expanding fanbase to deliver more signature beats. But as Bryant-Smith reveals, it’s all about timing.
“It’s been two and a half years since our last record and I just want to make sure whatever we come back with is absolutely the best thing that we could have produced.”
A recent European tour support slot with the Hilltop Hoods opened Bryant-Smith’s eyes to power of Australian hip hop on a global scale. “We played a show in Amsterdam and I met people along the way who had caught an eight-hour bus from Warsaw in Poland just to come to a gig. These people could barely speak English but they love Australian hip hop.
“The amount of attention and support that artists like the Hilltop Hoods and Drapht have been getting I think really testifies to just how strong the support base is there amongst those kids. It’s a funny thought to think of little old Aussie hip hop sticking it to the masses overseas, but I really think that it’s on its way to happening.”
Horrorshow play The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent at Brisbane Festival Tuesday September 11. brisbanefestival.com.au