GETTING SPRUNG SOLO
When Joel Ma gets on the phone to Scene HQ heâ€™s rubbing the jetlag from his eyes.
Such is life when youâ€™ve just returned from touring a highly successful debut solo album throughout Europe. â€˜Voyagerâ€™ turned plenty of heads about Australia during the winter, but the recordâ€™s also been attracting its fair share of European fans since its mid-May release. â€œI went overseas for six weeks and did a bunch of shows in Europe,â€ explains Ma, a man better known by his stage name, Joelistics. â€œIt was really cool, and I just got back two days ago.
â€œIâ€™ve always been a bit sceptical about Australian hip hop in non-English speaking countries in Europe. But Iâ€™ve built up a lot of contacts now, and I had some great shows in Berlin, Hamburg and Amsterdam. Itâ€™s just like anything: you need to build an audience and do the gigs. I would have stayed longer but I had to come back for a gig this weekend at the Espy.â€
Ma made his name with TZU, the Melbourne-based hip hop collective known for a party-starting, crowd capturing brand of rap music. The weight of numbers and inclusion of a regular backing band meant their shows have always packed plenty of instrumentation, so Ma has had to rethink things significantly for his solo shows.
â€œFor the first tour I was with a DJ and just rocking it over instrumentals, but I soon realised thereâ€™s a part of me that always wants to tinker with instruments and make something more capable of having a little bit of chaos to it, so unless I know I can possibly make mistakes it doesnâ€™t feel exciting. I want music to be something thatâ€™s happening but has required rehearsals and has attention to detail â€“ not just a rapper spitting over beats that have already been recorded.â€
It means Ma will be stretching to the limit what two people can manage when hits the stage for Sprung Festival. â€œWeâ€™ve put together a show thatâ€™s part electronica and part band. Itâ€™s a lot of cables and things hooked up to other things,â€ Ma laughs. â€œBut yeah, weâ€™re ready to absolutely murder Sprung. Iâ€™m really excited by this festival. Itâ€™s the first proper Australian hip hop festival and it really sounds like theyâ€™re trying to put on something original.â€
JOELISTICS HITS THE BRISBANE RIVERSTAGE FOR SPRUNG FESTIVAL OCTOBER 15. SPRUNGHIPHOP.COM.AU