Brisbane’s own Signature Series bring a touch of 1950s film noir to the hip hop genre, with their single ‘Corner Of 4th And 58th’.
It’s a world away from frontman Chico Mendez’ classical roots. “I was a trombone player and then when I went to uni, about six months in, I sort of gave it all up to play guitar in bands, which was sort of an excellent career move,” muses Ryan Svarc, the man behind the Chico Mendez moniker.
Svarc handpicked his “all star” hip hop crew (Signature Series) following a trip to South America. “I was sort of stuck [in South America] and decided to book the studio when I got back and because I didn’t have a band, I sort of got to pick and choose some of my favourite musicians in Brisbane.”
The result is a collective of members from Laneous & The Family Yah, Dubmarine and Schoolfight. “It’s very soul and hip hop based, and all the genres that influenced hip hop like jazz, blues and all those foundation blocks.”
Inspired by the New York corner, ‘Corner Of 4th And 58th’ is the band’s new single that features the soulful vocals of Georgia Potter. “The song is sort of based around three characters in the 1950s, and I really like that era because on the surface everything seemed really proper and nice but underneath there were the same things going on now: corruption, crime and all that stuff.
“Georgia, who is the female vocalist in the choruses of that song, I’d never met before and I sort of demanded that she sound like a ‘50s soul singer, which is quite different to the styles she’s done,” Svarc jokes, “but she was really great at just letting go and having a really desperate quality to how she sung it.”
Svarc says the single, which was co-produced with Peet G [Laneous], has more punch than his previous work. “It’s always been sort of very polished in the past and I’ve always walked away a little disappointed, so this time I feel like I’ve hit the nail on the head with Peet. We said the song needs to sound a little bit nasty and a little bit dirty and we haven’t been afraid to make it sound that way.”
Signature Series’ single launch is at The Joynt Friday June 15.