Sydney MC Urthboy is about to begin another nationwide tour after playing around the country on the â€˜Spitshineâ€™ tour last year. 2010â€™s incarnation; the â€˜Sneakquelâ€™ tour is set to pass through 19 venues around Australia this April and May. Along with regular compadres Elgusto and Jane Tyrell, Mantra will also be supporting.
In addition to this, Urthboy has been invited to play several European festivals later this year. He will be appearing at Splash in Germany as well as Open Air Festival in Switzerland. Urthboy describes his perspective on the development.
â€œWeâ€™re still quite fortunate to get a spot on those festivals because we donâ€™t have a massive profile over there. Itâ€™s a bit of a combination of luck and more and more people becoming familiar with what weâ€™re doing. We donâ€™t have all the normal ways of getting over there like rock and pop artists do; there arenâ€™t booking agents that speak to each other. Weâ€™re a completely new frontier in a strange way so weâ€™re just finding out as we go along. But the two festivals weâ€™ve got are really awesome and Iâ€™m really excited to be playing alongside some of the artists.â€
Indeed, Urthboyâ€™s name will be appearing alongside some definite heavyweights on the respective bills. Wu-Tang Clan, Nas and Damien Marley spearhead the affair in Germany whilst Jay-Z and Eminem are headlining at Open Air Festival. However, local fans can expect a typically vibrant set from the acclaimed MC. Urthboy details the preparation for â€˜Sneakquelâ€™.
â€œWeâ€™re trying to mix up the songs again but weâ€™ve also written a couple new songs that we will definitely be playing. Thatâ€™s some new songs we wanted to get out for the tour but they had to go through the sample-clearing process. Theyâ€™re not ready yet but the samples are all cleared. That involved two multinational publishers so those things take a bit of time. We have re-worked the set. I think itâ€™s important to keep that innovation up. A few of the songs where we have some choreography happening, weâ€™ve flipped it again. It keeps it interesting for us.â€
Joining Urthboy will be Mantra who recently dropped his debut LP â€˜Power Of The Spokenâ€™. The pair also blessed a track together on Urthboyâ€™s most recent LP â€˜Spitshineâ€™. Urthboy explains the rationale behind the choice.
â€œMantra has mad respect in the hip hop scene but more importantly, heâ€™s got mad respect from the music scene in general. Iâ€™ve worked with Mantra for years and he supported us in Melbourne last year for our â€˜Hellsongâ€™ launch and heâ€™s just a great performer. Heâ€™s not just a rapper who can spit mad multis, heâ€™s got showmanship and presence on stage. I love the dude as a person and revere him as an artist. Itâ€™s mad to have the platform to invite people like that on tour.â€
In his capacity at the head of Elefant Traks, the delicate task of self-promotion come tour time can be a difficult process to navigate effectively. Urthboy recently enlisted the services of Umbrella Management to offload the work.
â€œThere are a lot of jobs to do with running the label Iâ€™ve got to relinquish from sometimes. Having Umbrella manage me as a solo artist helps me a huge amount because I can put that management hat on when Iâ€™m working for Horrorshow for example but itâ€™s very difficult in my own solo capacity. This management allows me to concentrate more objectively on the business side of Elefant Traks.
â€œI try to minimise that conflict of interest of representing myself. Most of the time if any opportunities come up for myself as a solo artist, they go through Umbrella. Quite often, thatâ€™s the straw that breaks the camelâ€™s back; the self-managed artist situation. I think itâ€™s important for artists to experience that capacity but as far as a long-term arrangement, it does break you down.â€
Itâ€™s very much apparent Urthboy has a calculated approach to the dynamic of artist/ label ownership. Under Urthboy, Elefant Traks continues to excel as one of the countryâ€™s most vibrant hip hop imprints.
Urthboy plays the Great Northern April 29, Step Inn April 30 and Never Land Bar May 1. â€˜Spitshineâ€™ is available through Elefant Traks.