The Unflappable Optimist
Through all manner of afflictions, including swollen ankles and shoddy vocal chords, Urthboy is currently completing the stellar â€˜Spitshineâ€™ tour along with Horrorshow and Polo Club.
Urthboy, along with The Herd, recently attracted much castigation following their boycott of the Mackay Coal To Coast festival. Despite forgoing the event, partially supported by members of the coal industry, The Herd copped flak from green groups and fickle fans alike, quick to bandy about the 'sellout' tag.
So was playing shows in this area over the past week any different for Urthboy? "I was pleasantly surprised. Most people we spoke to were really understanding. The way the media portrayed that incident was very much in line with Mackay Council and the coal terminal's approach of patronising us because we didn't understand the issue."
One would also expect that the sell-out â€˜Spitshineâ€™ tour has been a constant stream of raucous festivities around the country, but as Urthboy explains, he has a newfound touring perspective. "There hasn't been that same sort of indulgent partying that goes on sometimes with tours and that's for the best I reckon. It means the quality of the shows is 100 percent and everyone has mad energy because we're not rocking up feeling like death."
Ever the innovator, Urthboy has begun selling 'musical t-shirts', a regular piece of clothing thatâ€™s coupled with a download code on the swing tag. Though the concept is relatively untested, even globally, punters are able to purchase the album off the Internet for a modest $10. "One thing is for sure, CDs are dying, it's no longer a crazy theory to balk at, it's happening. It's platforms like iTunes and mp3 players that have held peopleâ€™s hands through it. So these musical tees are a way of addressing that reality, you've got to come up with some sort of answers to it and you can't do that without experimenting."
Reality is a notion frequently morphing in Australian hip hop. Ten years ago, nobody would have envisaged a 20-something-date, sell-out national tours, platinum records and ARIA nominations for a hip hop artist. By virtue of this, the future is somewhat unpredictable. Though it is without doubt that Urthboy will remain at the forefront of the movement, both as an artist and label manager.
Urthboy plays the Cooly Hotel November 5 and Sands Tavern November 7. â€˜Spitshineâ€™ is available nationally through Elefant Traks/ Inertia.