The fact that Australia has its own hip hop festival is no mean feat.
The fact that said festival features an enormous line-up of artists is even more impressive. And the fact that the entire thing takes place in Brisbane speaks volumes about the local hip hop scene, if you ask Spit Syndicate’s Nick Lupi.
In the lead up to the second annual Sprung Hip Hop Festival in November, the Sydney duo reveal their plans to release a brand new single as well as album number three.
“For most of this year we’ve been in studio-mode, working on the new album,” Lupi says. “We actually share a studio with Horrorshow so we’ve got Adit doing most of the beats and production, as well as M-Phazes and Styalz Fuego. The only way to describe it at this point is that it’s a step up in production and the rhymes are much better and more advanced because we know how to use our voices now and record vocals properly.
“There is some dabbling in interesting directions on the album too – some of the songs we’ve done, I just feel that style hasn’t really been done in Australian hip hop yet. Especially working with Adit – because it’s been three years since Horrorshow released an album – he’s been playing around with lots of different sounds production-wise. We’re also pretty keen on using more instrumentation, like guitars and keyboards and synths, and a bit less sampling.”
Not having an official producer within Spit Syndicate has proven to be both a blessing and curse for Lupi and fellow MC, Jimmy Nice. Although it allows the duo to collaborate with a wide range of beat-smiths, it also means having to depend on others to supply the backing tracks.
“I think if we had just one, permanent producer in Spit Syndicate it would dramatically impact the output – and I’m not sure if that would be a good or a bad thing,” Lupi claims. “At this stage we like having the option of being able to go out and work with different producers and not being tied down to any particular sound. We’ve been able to work with lots of different producers and that’s also led to friendships and strong relationships with people in the industry. On the other hand, it can mean that we don’t always have a steady supply of beats like some other crews do.”
This is partly the reason more than two years have passed since Spit Syndicate released sophomore effort, ‘Exile’. And while the 2010 album was yet another success for the hip hop duo, Lupi agrees that it was their 2008 debut record, ‘Towards The Light’, which really knocked down the doors with an unexpected ARIA nomination.
“We were definitely in shock about that!” Lupi recalls. “That album was written and made entirely by two 18-year-old kids! And you can really tell now, if you listen back to it. It really wasn’t even a high degree of quality control, which made it even more of a surprise... But it was awesome. Even though we didn’t take too much from it and we still don’t really feel like we ever got that nomination – it was a nice feeling and a good night at the ARIAS! It’s so funny, you actually know who’s going to win by looking at the seating arrangements when you show up.”
In 2012, Spit Syndicate is a different beast with Lupi claiming punters attending Sprung Festival will get a preview of the duo’s new material.
“We will definitely be playing some new songs in our set. We’re so keen to do that because we’ve been isolated and in complete studio-mode for so long now – listening to the same songs over and over again – that you just can’t tell anymore what’s good and what’s shit! It’s been so weird... But, basically, we think the best thing at this point is to give people a chance to hear the songs, and also for us to have a chance to hear these tracks on the big system – then we can get a good idea of how it’s going to go. It always helps to see how people react for the first time when they hear your new stuff.”
Spit Syndicate play Sprung Hip Hop Festival at the RNA Showgrounds Saturday November 10.