CU$$ D@T V!LL@!N 1
Photography by Belinda Gibson Design by Priscilla Yeow
Obese City – 6 The Community – 8 Sneaker freak – 16 konfucious designs – 18 the creative process – 20 taku – 22 Peche – 24 Chido – 26 rae – 28 Street basketball – 32
Publisher: Colosoul Group Inc. CEO.: Tricia Ray Magazine Editor: Lisa Morrison & Aleyna Martinez Assistant Editor: Kylie De Vos Editor in Chief: Graham Hansen Creative Director: Lilian Yeow Writers: Aleyna Martinez, Andrew Keys, David Coffey, FG, Jim Hall, Kylie De Vos, Lisa Morrison, Loukas Mexis. Photographers: Belinda Gibson, Daniel Craig, Erikson Nygaard, Jules Szoke. Graphic Designers: Rosie Button, Mellissa Chea, Nastaran Ghadiri, Sarah Hession, Brendon Vuntee Vuntarde, Priscilla Yeow Cover image supplied by Peche. Special thanks to Obese Records, Ellesha Bevilacqua, Brian Kruger, Mark Hutchins and Keysey Disclaimer: No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without the permission of the publisher. The views expressed in Wordplay Magazine are those of the respective writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organisation. Wordplay Magazine is a publication of Colosoul Group Inc.
OBESECITY 2 Released at the same time the record officially became a record label, the first Obesecity was a landmark album. Featuring artists such as The Hilltop Hoods, Hunter, Bias B and other big names of 2002, the compilation was a statement of what Obese Records represented. Ten years on and the impact is still being felt today in a new generation of artists. With her single ‘Ready’, Miss Karleena says of the compilation, ‘the first Obesecity opened my ears up to Australian hip hop. With that CD it was, “wow, Australia has a sound”. Ten years on, to be on this follow-up CD blows me away.’ The record not only features the music of female emcees but also Queensland, a state represented prominently by Miss Karleena and the likes of J Point and Tommy Illfigga. Miss Karleena says, ‘Tommy Ilfigga was the reason why I decided to take rap seriously. He was doing a series of workshops and shows at high school when I was in grade nine. To be on the same CD as him… I’m really humbled to be given this opportunity.’ Miss Karleena, who also does promotion and various other projects, runs the Australian Hip-Hop Network site that aims to connect and help foster creative talent. These contacts will surely be of use for Miss Karleena with her forthcoming EP due later this year. Its planned influences, like drum and bass, as well as reggae, are reflective of the sheer diversity of Obesecity 2.
“They had pit bulls and flamethrowers on stage. Think of a Batik wearing Wu-tang!” This diversity is also shown by the likes of duo MoneyKat, who worked with Candice Monique for ‘Eye of the Storm’. Omar Musa of MoneyKat raves tabout Candice Monique. ‘She is a genius…I don’t know why she just isn’t a super star in this country.’
Coincidentally, Candice Monique also contributed to Queensland-born beat extraordinaire M-phazes, another act signed to Obese Records. The story of how MoneyKat was formed demonstrates the ability of hip hop to cross international borders. After Omar Musa met Mighty Joe while studying in California, the collaboration kicked off. ‘We would play basketball, hang out. I found out he rapped and we did some stuff together and something... just clicked, there was something there’. Omar, knowing Mighty Joe had a desire to travel, asked him to tour in Indonesia due to their passionate scene. ‘They had pit bulls and flamethrowers on stage…. Think of a Batik wearing Wu-tang!’ MoneyKat’s formation was a statement of intent. ‘He (Mighty Joe) had people saying that he should be a ghost writer, saying that who wants to see a small Korean Dude on stage?’ Just by existing, the group is carving out their place in the scene. Omar believes the reason why it works is due to fact that both emcees are of Asian decent, which means they have a lot in common. When asked about the future of hip hop, Omar is pragmatic. ‘When Tony Abbot becomes prime minster, you’ll see a rise in the level of political, apocalyptic hip hop. It will be a terrible time but there is that silver lining.’
Speaking of the dark side of hip hop, Tornts’s contribution to the compilation, ‘Concrete Shores’, has it in spades. The track marks somewhat of an end of an era for the emcee. ‘That was probably the last sample based track, as I thought it would fit in with the rest of the compilation. I tend to favor the dirty south syths in my music going forward.’ Getting on Obesectiy was fairly easy for the emcee. ‘From what I can tell, Obese is now about distribution. It wasn’t difficult to get on this compilation, as they had distributed some of our stuff, Broken Tooth records in the past.’ ‘Trauma Cinema’ is reflective of Tornts’s new direction. Produced by Wik of Crate Cartel, fresh from ‘Zero’ by Maundz, the cinematic production from Zero combined with the harrowing film clip is an extraordinary work of art. Tornts believes that being on the Obesecity 2 compilation will only help people to check out his other work like ‘Trauma Cinema’, which is one of his personal favorites. The emcee’s desire to do more ‘story-like tracks’ would be a boon to not only Tornts career, but the scene in general. With the quality of the first two compilations, Obesecity stands out in Australian hip hop history. With the quality on display, a third compilation couldn’t come too soon. Written by David Coffey Images supplied by Obese Records Design by Rosie Button
‘Independence Through Collaboration’ Community /kəˈmjuːniti/ [noun] ‘The condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common’ - Oxford English Dictionary Interviews by Lisa Morrison Photography by Daniel Craig Photo shoot at Sweet Ginger Cafe, 308 South Street Hilton
” E K
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AN INTERVIEW with Thomas Spencer Mathieson ‘Mathas’
First music you owned? I was given Alice Cooper, Poison on cassette. When did you become a musician? I was in a band from 8 until 15. At 13 we were unearthed by Triple J and had a tiny glimpse of success, but my voice was breaking and the drummer left to start turn tabling. We started using drum machines and that’s when I first started producing. First live performance? I didn’t start performing my hip hop live until 2003 but I’d been writing lyrics that suited hip hop from a very early age. Worst ever show? My worst show was in Bunbury, supporting Urthboy and Mantra. I had a lot of respect for those guys and don’t feel like I represented on that tour. I decided not to do my stage gag-y stuff and did it with my DJ friend instead. I was trying to make it more hip hop-y and what I do doesn’t really work for that. Inspiration? Commenting on vices, including my
own. Witnessing things that go on in the world and in my country. I make a lot of comments but I keep it subtle… I don’t want to be too preachy or serious. Musical influences? With rappers, it’s the sound of their voice - how late they can sit in the pocket, if they can relax on the beat, where they place syllables. I like code – not being obvious about what your point is, like someone has to sit down and have a few listens to really get a message. Your opinion of hip hop in Perth? I think it’s really healthy and thriving. Who should we keep an ear out for? Wisdom 2th is one of the funniest performers and I think he’ll only become more entertaining. Vishnu is a textural ambient producer who does amazing field recordings. Cortext – I like how he delivers what he has to say with conviction. I dig Soma and I think Aero Dee will be someone to look out for. What do you do when you’re not making music? I eat. [Laughs]. I really like food. I
spend a lot of money on food. And I play handball against the wall. Your house is on fire. You can grab one bit of music. What do you choose? It would have to be my own or my mate’s old stuff we couldn’t get hold of again. You’re being banished and can take one book with you. It is… The Macmillan Visual Dictionary. Community: People Mathas: Me Independent: Collaboration Perth: Important Rap: Always Hip Hop: Sometimes Success: Secondary Respect: Optimum DESIGNED BY: SARAH HESSION
AN INTERVIEW WITH Ashley Hosken ‘Diger Rokwell’ First music you owned? REM Out of Time and KLF The White Room.
whole Community idea comes from – likeminded people supporting each other through art.
When did you transform from music listener to musician? I’ve been involved with music since age 7. At 14 I learnt the trumpet and joined a popular music program.
Musical influences? Beastie Boys – they didn’t care what people thought, they just did what they were into at the time. Madlibs, for being so prolific and diverse.
Describe your first live performance. It was at The Moon in 2004 with my mate who I was in a two-man street art project with called The Community. I explained the theory behind it to Mathas who said ‘why don’t we call everyone The Community and you call yourself something else?’ So I became Diger Rokwell.
Embarrassing CD in your collection? Digerbodia because it was rushed and wasn’t mastered as well as I thought it should have been.
Worst ever show? I played in front of my school and was really nervous to share my hobby and passion. I rushed it, was awkward and didn’t even pick up my guitar. Inspiration? My artistic pursuits were born out of losing my mum. That’s when the whole Diger Rokwell thing came to the forefront. That’s where the
Day job? I teach 12-15 year olds geography and Indonesian. Your opinion of Perth hip hop music at the moment? Per capita, Perth is really quite amazing. We only have 1.5 million people or so, but there are so many people involved in art and music linking up and vibing off each other’s work. Who should we keep an ear out for? Naik is relatively unknown, but is an amazing talent. Once he starts releasing stuff, people are going
to recognise him as next level. Mai Saraswati for her delivery on stage and being so self-contained. Mathas, as he makes all his own music, designs all his own covers. He’s awesome. When you’re not making music, what do you do? I could be at the beach, surfing, doing some art or hanging out with friends. Your house is on fire. You can grab one bit of music. What do you choose? The Beatles – Revolver because they have a big affiliation with my mum and ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ is one of the best psych tracks ever made. You’re being banished and can take one book with you. It is… Eckhart Tole’s The Power of Now because you’d have to be in the now to appreciate that situation. Community: Collectivism Diger Rokwell: Eclectic Independent: Worthwhile Perth: Potential Electronic: Diverse Hip Hop: Universal Success: Penultimate Respect: Egoist DESIGNED BY: SARAH HESSION
‘Soul samples Chopped’ 12
AN INTERVIEW WITH MARK HUTCHINS
First music you owned? I collected Bob Dylan’s entire collection when I was 13. When did you transform from music listener to musician? When I was about 15, I got Snoop’s Doggystyle and realised these are just other people’s songs that have been taken and had new drums or whatever put to them. And I thought, ‘I wonder if I can do something like that?’ So I used Windows 95 sound recorder and just put little bits of songs and pasted drums into them and got hooked from that experiment. First live performance? The after party for a Public Enemy show in Melbourne. It was me and Aetcix. We got put on and in the middle of the set some dude jumped up, tries to snatch Aetcix’s mic and a big fight broke out and we got kicked out before Public Enemy even got there. Worst ever show? All the shows I think are terrible shows are ones that I felt I could have done better.
Inspiration? Posdnuos from De La Soul and Slug from Atmosphere for their lyrics. Producer would be Prince Paul all the way. Musical influences? I don’t know if inspired is the right word, but I’m really, really interested in Karl Marx. Embarrassing CD in your collection? Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell. Day job? I don’t have one at the moment. I was teaching Year 11 and 12 Politics and Modern History at Shenton College, but I stopped at the end of 2011. Your opinion on Perth hip hop music at the moment? It’s ridiculously successful. Look at Drapht, he was the opening act at the ARIAs. And some of the best and most successful producers are located in Perth, like Dazastah. Who should we keep an ear out for? A guy who will blow up shortly is Kash
Kharizma. Complete is an amazing emcee. Aside from that, I’m a big supporter of Renz who is an amazing producer. When you’re not making music, what do you do? I work on music for leisure. It’s a compulsion! I might go to a café and write some prose sort of stuff, usually fiction. Your house is on fire. You can grab one bit of music. What do you choose? Good King Bad by George Benson. It’s an amazing album and it’s in mint condition and I’d cry if I lost it. You’re being banished and can take one book with you. It is… Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. DESIGNED BY: Sarah Hession
“PREACH TO MYSELF” AN INTERVIEW WITH BRIAN JAMES KRUGER
First music you owned? My first cassette was the Mendelssohn violin concerto.
pocket late, I love his flow. Mathas uses his voice as an instrument and takes the utmost care with his words.
When did you transform from listener to musician? I was a musician before I was a listener really. I played piano and sang at five.
Musical influences? My background is classical music; it took instrumental hip hop like DJ Shadow to get me into it. So all the rappers in Perth that I first rapped with, who have helped me in some way to appreciate where they are coming from.
First live performance? My first hip hop performance was with Lewis [Galaga] when I was 19. Lewis was doing raps and I was doing backing vocals and singing verses. I had my computer there, my fucking monitor! It was terrible. I was trying so hard and knew it wasn’t working. Worst ever show? I don’t think there’s been a worse one than that first gig. Inspiration? Before I started free styling, I didn’t have an understanding of it. Brother Ali swings and dances over the beat. His lyrical content is super personal, raw and honest. . Then you have Notorious B.I.G who tells stories – you listen past the gangster elements of the speech and just hear the narrative. Talib Kwali stays in the
Embarrassing CD in your collection? Footy Favourites record. Day job? I teach violin at Chisholm Catholic College. Your opinion of Perth hip hop music at the moment? I think it’s exciting, there’s so much good stuff happening. It’s at a tipping point. Who should we keep an ear out for? Mathas is one of the best. ASAP is on the verge of doing some incredible things. STATS is a bit rough, but honest and genuine and has an incredible sense of flow. I believe in all the
empty bars guys because I have seen them at their best, free-styling when they have done something amazing almost accidentally. When you’re not making music, what do you do? I’ve been watching old blues documentaries by Martin Scorsese lately. I read Bukowski for his poetry. I don’t mind computer games, Diablo 3 lately. Your house is on fire. You can grab one bit of music. What do you choose?? Let all my music burn? That’s tough. Cake – Fashion Nugget because I taped it from a CD at age ten with the volume turned down on the swear words so I could convince my parents to play it in the car on family holidays. You’re being banished and can take one book with you. It is… One of Bukowski’s earlier poem collections. DESIGNED BY: SARAH HESSION
AN INTERVIEW WITH Mark Daniel Lloyd ‘Marksman’
“PRETTY DARN OKAY” First music you owned? Peter Coombs. I remember going to bed every night listening to Peter Coombs. And then having to get up when the tape ended and started doing that clicking sound. [Laughs]. When did you transform from listener to musician? I wrote my first song when I was in year three, but it became serious in year 12. First live performance? It was at Joondalup Arena at the back of the swimming pool area. I played in a band called Artofact. Worst ever show? We went to Ohio in 2007 we were doing hip hop shows at schools. So from the get go, they were like ‘these guys are going to be crap’. I remember all the kids looking at me like ‘there is no way this guy can rap’. And the show went okay but I just got no love. Inspiration? A lot of books, a lot of poetry – my favourite writer is Hemingway. It used
to be Hunter S Thompson but that was a bandwagon thing. Musical influences? Bob Dylan because he was exactly who he was, no holds barred. He wrote the way he wanted to write even if he sounded horrible, he’d roll with it. He was a completely honest expression of who he was. Embarrassing CD in your collection? A Limp Bizkit album. Day job? At the moment I’m working with people with disabilities and running music workshops. Your opinion of Perth hip hop music at the moment? We have such a diverse scene. There are a lot of talented people doing what they do. Perth’s an awesome little hub, there are heaps of talented producers and emcees. Who should we keep an ear out for? Joshua Charles – he has about 100 projects he’s working on and when he finally drops one, it will be awesome.
When you’re not making music, what do you do? I recently got engaged, so all my spare time at the moment is wedding stuff. I like running, it’s a really therapeutic thing for me, and I read whenever I can. Your house is on fire. You can grab one bit of music. What do you choose? I’d grab my iPod! [Laughs]. I’d grab Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited. You’re being banished and can take one book with you. It is… The Old Man and the Sea. Community: Chevy Chase Marksman: Me Independent: Living Perth: Hip Hop Rap: Music Hip Hop: Rap Success: Money Respect: No Money and still doing it! DESIGNED BY: SARAH HESSION
From the moment I was born, hip hop has been ingrained in my soul. A look at today’s Australia shows a society utterly infected by this American subculture.
As a sneaker collector and street wear enthusiast, I constantly watch brands, inspiring icons and hip hop continually weave in and out of the collective ‘state of mind’. Ever since street wear became a ‘hip’ fashion subgenre, labels have been using celebrity endorsement to grow their public profile. A classic example is Run DMC dropping ‘My Adidas’ in ‘86. When the trio released that track, it launched the Adidas label from its German homeland to the Big Apple.
NB? New Balance? That’s for poor people yeah?’ Being the fashionminded boy I was, I changed the NB logo with the aid of whiteout and a permanent marker to ‘NF’, making it the coolest label in the yard, ‘No Friends’. New Balance is now my most collected label, as they’re innovative and creative in their marketing and delivery of product. Their price point is also second to none. For those unaware, models are differentiated by serial numbers. The main sneakers are 574, 576, 577 – these are all fairly similar in style, but vary in their ‘panels’ (the composition of colours and sections of the shoes). Other popular models are 420, 850, 999, 1300 and 1500.
A personal note – one of the hip hop quotes I love the most was made by Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest, on the track ‘Buggin’ Out’ – ‘I sport New Balance sneakers to avoid a narrow path…’ My connection to this quote comes from the reference to New Balance. My own history with that label dates back to my childhood, when my dad unknowingly bought me a ‘cheaper’ backpack, a NB (New Balance). I remember using the backpack the next day at school and getting asked, ‘What’s
I’ve been wearing and collecting New Balance for a few years now, but can’t really pinpoint the exact moment I noticed them as my ‘go to’ label. Their most popular model and all time classic, the 574, I’ve sported in the past, but once they became ‘cool’ among the hipsters, I turned to what all real sneaker-heads go for, Customs. I was working as a tradie at the time, so I took the steel toe out of my Dunlop K-26 steel caps and slotted them into my 574s with the aid of a podiatric innersole.
New Balance has been giving back to the culture – they sponsor an annual seminar in Melbourne, ‘Carbon’, where the leaders of streetwear discuss ideas and connect upand-coming labels with enthusiasts. With New Era (hats) and Acclaim (magazine) also involved in the sponsorship for this event, it’s great to see massive worldwide companies reaching out and communicating with their target market. Skaters have always been the bestdressed kids on the street. Since its founding in 1994, Supreme has been the skate label that only the ‘cool kids’ knew about and frothed over. When Odd Future Wolf Gang come out on stage, they always rock Supreme and American Apparel socks. I’ve been collecting the same calf-high socks since I laid eyes on them several years ago. Supreme has become popular through its iconic five panel hats – named after the five panels across the top and the peak. This style of hat originated from the Pizza-Boy delivery hat, hence the name ‘Supreme.’ Over the years, Ice Cube, Kermit the Frog and even Kate Moss have rocked the Supreme.
“Being the fashion-minded boy I was, I changed the NB logo with the aid of whiteout and a permanent marker to ‘NF’, making it the coolest label in the yard, ‘No Friends’.”
Living in the isolated city of Perth makes it harder to always have unique sneakers. eBay and Sneaker Freaker have changed the game beyond recognition, though I personally don’t believe in buying and trading goods online, as I like to support my local boutiques. Perth has a lot of up-and-coming street wear labels and I’m happy to report that they are going from strength to strength. Written by Keysey Photography by Belinda Gibson Design by Sarah Hession
AN INTERVIEW WITH
BEN WITHERICK Life hasn’t always been about graffiti for Ben Witherick, the man behind Konfucius Designs. Before getting his hands on spray cans, Ben was just another kid in the inner city suburbs of Perth who liked hip hop. ‘I always did draw, but only a little, like small stuff on the back of skateboards, but never any actual paintings. When I was at school I never got good marks or anything from the teachers. I guess my work back then was a bit more flat and dark, so I got really discouraged in school.’ Though school was not the last time Ben painted, he still remembers his first big wall back in high school during a school event. Now he’s 27 and has been an active street artist since 2008. That was the year he had a terrible quad bike accident, one that nearly claimed his life.
Some things “ in my subconscious
force me to keep working, I have to have something on the go all the time. It is like my medicine, really.”
Recovering from that accident stranded Ben in his house, leaving him with a tonne of spare time and many walls to paint. ‘The accident was in 2008 and definitely fueled all this. I guess it feels a little bit like living on borrowed time and if I was to go tomorrow or in five years time, I need to leave something to be remembered for. Some things in my subconscious force me to keep working, I have to have something on the go all the time. It is like my medicine, really. Who knows what would have been if I hadn’t had the accident?’ he says while doing some final touches to one of his latest works, a Michael Jordan piece. Ben has painted numerous portraits of African American athletes, including Muhammad Ali. ‘I grew up playing basketball and idolising NBA legends, so obviously you can see that in my works. I boxed quite a bit when I was younger.’ Ben inherited his love for boxing from his parents, was the same true of his love for art? ‘I didn’t inherit an artist gene; they are not painters. They encourage me, but also say, “stick to the day job”. I really
do try to make a living out of it,’ he says while holding a spray can above the canvas. It is difficult to picture Ben wearing a suit and working in an office environment. He did work in the mines for few years though, doing shipping scheduling. But as is the desire among most artists, he would like to one day see his art keep him afloat financially. Is there enough demand here in Perth to sustain him? ‘I am doing something that is not new to Melbourne, but Perth is the place to be because right now Perth is trying to be cooler, like Melbourne’s little brother or sister or whatever.’ Future plans for Konfucius Designs? He has a ticket booked to the United States, where he is hoping to gain more experience as a painter and collaborate with other great street artists. ‘I actually did the live art show last summer with Daek, he is following his dream and is in New York, so I am going there next month. I haven’t emailed him or anything, but [I] hope he remembers me.’ The last question we put to Ben, as he was collecting his cans, was what the name Konfucius means to him. He says, ‘One of my favorite songs by 1200 Techniques [is] called ‘Karma’ and it has a reference to Confucius, so that is what pumped into my head after I had the accident and it was then that I started finishing many works like these. This is my thing I guess.’
You can see Ben’s artwork on display in The Causeway and 399 bars, Soto Espresso and Peterson’s Boxing Gym. Be sure to check out his website: http://www.konfuciusdesigns.com.au/ and his Facebook page: http://www. facebook.com/konfuciusdesigns. Written by Loukas Mexis Photography by Belinda Gibson Design by Melissa Cheah
THE CREATIVE PROCESS It’s a Wednesday afternoon. The rain is falling in a half-hearted fashion. Despite the weather, I’m feeling hopeful; it’s not often that you get the chance to meet with and dig into the creative brain space of one of Perth’s brightest young music producers. A few minutes later, Perth-based beat maker Bob White is leading me into his studio. Music technology is laid out across his desk. He sits down and idly pushes buttons and turns various knobs. I’m struck by the fact that he looks quite different to his onstage persona – the Corinthianhelmeted Boost Hero Man. ‘My first wild, harebrained scheme was to have this helmet that the music got transferred into from the future – and then it would play’, he says. ‘Then I didn’t really bring that through because it didn’t allow me to focus enough on the music.’ Despite his attention to showmanship, Bob’s music always remains central. When asked about the importance of music technology in the shaping of his sounds, he thinks for a moment then replies. ‘The things that I do, even though I do them without the consideration of the technology – I’ll just be doing them without thinking “Oh my god, I’m creating sounds from microprocessors” But if I didn’t have that I wouldn’t be able to be doing anything that I’m doing now. I’d probably be doing something very different.’ As an accomplished saxophonist that regularly performs with the improvisational jazz/soul group, The Colab Jam Band, Bob is not limited to making computer-based music. He chooses to work with synthesisers and samples. When pressed on the issue of sampling, he is surprisingly conservative. ‘If I’m sampling something from the deep reaches of
Tuva... or Ancient Chinese music, how I treat the sample matters. Bit-crushing an Ancient Chinese sample seems like trashing it somehow.’ This sentiment is echoed the following day when speaking with Perth-based hip hop producer, Creed Birch. Creed says, ‘I almost always start with the sample. I listen through it and then I decide what kind of beat I want to make. I usually chop it up and construct a loop, then go from there with drums... and whatever it needs.’
‘Sometimes you come back to them and think “What was wrong with me? This beat is dope!”’ Creed, 22, has generated significant buzz in recent years. With him having won Beatdown 4 last year, I ask how he approached the competition. He replies, ‘I try to keep it simple... I try to start small and give people a taste of the original sample, then I drop the beat and show people how I’ve changed it.’ Bob also suggests that he shapes his beats to what people want to hear, but both producers are adamant that they first judge their beats personally. ‘For me, as an emcee, I always think firstly whether it’s the sort of beat that I would want to rap on,’ says Creed. ‘If I think it sounds good, then I’m usually pretty sure other people will like it too.’
Things don’t always go to plan however. Creed and Bob both point out that sometimes the sound they’re looking for can be hard to find. ‘Sometimes you have this idea in your head but when you get home and play it, it just doesn’t sound right. I usually just save it’, says Bob. Creed concurs. ‘I don’t delete anything. I just save it... Sometimes you come back to them and think “What was wrong with me? This beat is dope!”’ Both producers also work extensivelywith other musicians. Collaborating with other artists can present a challenge to the personal process of creation. Creed says, ‘I like to create an intro and a hook
section and a verse section and maybe a breakdown... I want emcees to listen to them and have an idea of how I want the song to sound. Sometimes emcees will want me to change things about the beat. Usually I will. But, if I really like something, I try to explain to them why I like it and the idea that I had. Usually they’re like “Yeah, cheers man”. But it can be hard.’
‘I heard someone say that musicians are like the sentinels for culture. Without music we would lose our humanity’, says Bob contemplatively. Perhaps it is these opinions that keep both Creed Birch and The Boost Hero Man at the forefront of beats music in Perth and Perth beats culture in trustworthy hands.
Bob expresses a similar sentiment. ‘I don’t like to provide a beat and then write myself out of the creative process. Usually, I’ll give an emcee a loop and let them write to it and then work with them on the arrangement. So there’s a fully developed song rather than just a beat with a rapper on it.’
Written by FG Photography by Daniel Craig Design by Rosie Button
Photography by Daniel Craig Design by Sarah Hession Written by Aleyna Martinez
‘Everyday I’m amazed and humbled by the Soundcloud followers. I’m not going to lie, I love it when I see more followers, it’s really inspiring.’
TA-KU BEATS “The way I was brought up was to never take yourself too seriously and never think you’re better than someone else. I just never understood why people get caught up in their egos because humans are so fragile and so…imperfect. I might make beats people like but I know there’s someone out there making better music,’ says well known beat maker, Regan ‘Ta-ku’ Mathews.” Currently Ta-ku has over one million plays on his Soundcloud page. ‘Everyday I’m amazed and humbled by the Soundcloud followers. I’m not going to lie, I love it when I see more followers, it’s really inspiring.’ Ta-ku’s, personal priorities are family, work, food and finally, ‘maybe a few hours before I go to bed’, music. ‘I don’t gauge my success by my music, I gauge my success by how comfortable or how happy I am with myself and my current life.’ Ta-ku began making beats on a Hitachi computer at age 12, after his parents split up. He suspects he used it as a means of therapy and says that he was just beat matching and doing what he calls ‘pretend DJ’. Despite having garnered critical acclaim for his work, Ta-Ku has a refreshing attitude to his creative pursuits. ‘My family and people I look up to, tell me “keep your head down and get it done”, so I take that with everything I do. There’s going to be good days, there’s going to be bad days, there’s going to be bad music, but it’s just music and I don’t ever wanna take it too seriously where it becomes a chore.’ From a Phillipino and Maori family, Ta-ku was raised in an environment where music was a form of release and happiness. His cousins introduced him to hip hop around 1999. ‘Those two cultures [Phillipino and Maori] already had adapted to hip hop. I had three cousins here at the time and that was enough because I looked up to them a lot… Just the way it makes me feel, hip hop has that driving force and that energy behind it that makes you just really inspired or have a love for life.’
Ta-ku’s sound crosses genres and eludes boundaries, merging from R&B, hip hop, soul, trap, pop or indie, but always smooth. He admits to respecting Drake and says that he admires people making money doing what they love. ‘Commercialism…you can take it two ways. You can say hip hop’s dead because these people are making money or you can say that hip hop died because the fans don’t like the fact that they’re making money. It really is up to the fans. Why would you blame an artist for making money off something they love?’ Being part owner of Los Angeles label HW&W and being distributed on LA’s Soulection and Germany’s Project Moon Circle, Ta-ku appreciates the business side of the music industry, as well as the art side of it. ‘Record labels have to be nimble, they have to be really smart with their money, therefore they get a bit conniving sometimes, but you have to because it’s a business.’ Ta-ku’s day job is working in corporate health insurance. With a lot of responsibility in his life, romanticising the idea of the ‘struggling artist’ is not one he entertains. ‘I look after my little sister like I’m her father… it’s almost been nine years bringing her up and its been… an experience, both happy and tough. But family plays a huge part because it’s the main part of my life and if that fell apart, everything else would too. Where if music fell apart, family would still be there and everything else would still be there, so family’s pretty essential.’ Ta-ku’s sound is ambient, soulful and often nostalgic, certainly progressive
and his beats always carry at their heart a hip hop kind of head nod – they’re mostly instrumental pieces, an increasingly popular genre of hip hop to which the internet has allowed people more access. Of this advent, Ta-ku says, ‘I love it, I’m not taking anything away from a vocalist or an emcee but without the beat they would be a poet or an a cappella artist. A lot of people think that production is important, but it’s essential… a lot of emcees take that for granted with the way they deal with… beat makers and producers. I love that beat makers are standing up and making success for themselves on their own.’ I track Ta-ku down at the farewell show for Paper Chain, which is the local label that first signed Ta-ku and pushed his music in Perth. We are out the back of a small bar in the city; people are drinking, smoking and socialising. As he is a Jehovah’s Witness, I ask Ta-ku if his faith ever clashes with his lifestyle. ‘Yes’, he says and looks to his right where a girl’s bum is on show ten centimeters from our faces and we laugh. Ever the humble gent, Ta-ku explains that he is actually shy and that sometimes people misinterpret that part of his character as arrogance or snobbery, but it is apparent that he is just reserved and gentle by nature. Clearly a deep thinker, he also lists projects he has done and has planned for the future, such as start a Perth record label. It seems that Perth hip hop is in safe hands with Ta-ku, someone who doesn’t care about fitting in if it means staying true to himself, and is truly passionate about Perth and high quality craftsmanship.
FOR THOSE YET TO HEAR OF THIS UP-AND-COMING PERTH NATIVE TURNED MELBOURNIAN, PECHE IS A LOWBROW ARTIST TURNING HEADS IN THE ART SCENE ON ACCOUNT OF HIS UNCOMPROMISING AND VIBRANT STYLE. PECHE DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS A GRAPHIC DESIGNER AND VISUAL ARTIST WHO ‘USES EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING’ AT HIS DISPOSAL. Looking at his works, it is apparent that Peche is a hip hop fan, with his portraits of rappers Wale, Frank Ocean and Lil Wayne reflecting the inner character of the celebrities beyond any superficial interpretation. He has also worked with Perth hip hop artists Coin and Taku. Like all artists, Peche’s inspiration comes from multiple sources. ‘I started off drawing Ninja Turtles and stuff heaps when I was little and Street Fighter, anything else I liked – games, cartoons, music… and all that stuff still translates in the shit I do now’, Peche said. ‘I like to do tongue in cheek… or something a bit quirky and always based on pop culture that’s relevant at the moment and sometimes mixing more then one genre together.’ An example of this practice was when Peche created the ‘That Shit’s Cray’ shirt design, following the release of Kanye West’s hit single ‘Niggas in Paris.’ The entire stock of shirts sold out in a mere two days. A fellow visual artist ‘who is probably [his] biggest art influence’ is Alex Pardee – a San Francisco local who’s style is noticeably laced throughout Peche’s work, often depicting gruesome features and decaying skin. Peche’s versatility of style is evident; he transitions between mediums seemingly effortlessly. This is a testament to the ambition of the young artist, as with each project comes a new, idiosyncratic approach to the medium. When pressed on his favourite medium, Peche says, ‘I love black and white stuff with a whole bunch of mediums… [I might] start off with pencil, then acrylic and cans if
I want to and work back into it with pencil or pen so they all blend into each other.’ As for Peche’s future, there is much to look forward to. ‘I’m getting geared up for my first solo show in six to eight months, which I’m really excited about. I have never settled on a theme before… that’s why I’ve never had a solo exhibition but now I have worked out a really cool theme which also reflects me personally which is really good,’ he said. ‘I’ve also got a few t-shirt collabs coming out with some dudes from Perth, like the Gfted guys and the Dotted Line guys. I just finished one with Upper Playground, which is really good but that’s probably it. My main concern at the moment is my first solo exhibition in Melbourne, hopefully around February.’ As for details on what will appear in the show, ‘at the moment it’s pretty under wraps, but it will be something real and personal to me, themed around stuff that I like, so even if I don’t sell one piece I will still be really happy… keeping every piece because I’m doing it for me, not working for someone else.
To check out Peche’s work, head to www.sofreshpeche.com and www.pechedesigns.com.au.
Written by Jim Hall Images supplied by the artist Design by Priscilla Yeow
“I like to do tongue in cheek… or something a bit quirky and always based on pop culture that’s relevant at the moment and sometimes mixing more then one genre together.”
Mamas Boyz Waht
Traditionally, hip hop is a male-dominated culture notorious for misogynistic lyrics and the objectification of women. But gradually hip hop is dropping those labels and women are forging to the forefront of the subculture. For Chido Mombeshora, the only female member of Perth hip hop dance crew Mamas Boyz Waht, gender is not an issue. ‘I don’t get special treatment or anything like that,’ Chido said. ‘It’s just cool knowing I can be one of the boys but still hold my own as the girl.’
Born in Zimbabwe, Chido moved to Australia eight years ago to study sports education and danced as a hobby. After attending classes and meeting an aspiring group, she realised she could build a dancing career. ‘About seven years ago, I hooked up with a group of girls and we started doing shows,’ she said. ‘It ended up being a paying hobby and here I am now.’ Chido has a long history of dancing – she was a rhythmic gymnast in Zimbabwe and danced in her spare time. ‘When I was a kid back home, my parents used to have parties and I used to dance around with my parents and their friends or for them,’ she laughs. Dancing with crew Mamas Boyz Waht has made people curious about the name.
‘Mamas Boyz Waht started off about four years ago and the common denominator was that they all were raised more by their mother than their fathers, so they are mama’s boys in terms of that.’ Chido been friends with ‘the boys’ – Rami Barz, Geoff the Chef, Ian Spades, Klymax and Edit – for years. ‘Roughly two years ago they asked me to join them, so the name and everything else is to do with them.’ Edit (Edward Maradona to his folks), is a man of many talents. A dancer with over ten years experience who is highly involved in the Perth hip hop dance scene.. Edit is also the owner of local clothing label, Alreis (featured in issue three) and currently dances for Zou Rock, with whom he has travelled the globe.
He first heard of Chido when he leaving his position as a dancer at Metro City and Chido was a newcomer. ‘Everyone was like ‘Chido, Chido, Chido’’, Edit said. ‘I was like, ‘who is this Chido?’ She was the ‘it’ girl of the time. You’ll probably understand Chido better when you see her dance and the way she just rocks the party.’ Edit admits that when he first met her he was impressed. ‘No other girl can dance like that in Australia, she can outshine a lot of guys who have been dancing for years. She’s really dope and that’s why we recruited her into Mamas Boyz. Seeing her is like, ‘whoa, she can dance better than the boys, we need her!’’ This year, Mamas Boyz Waht took part in Everybody Dance Now. Though the program was axed, it was an experience Chido enjoyed.
Interview by, Kylie de Vos Photographed by, Erikson Nygaard Designed by, Brendon Vuntee Vuntarde
Chido likes to try different dance styles and she’s been in the scene for a while.
‘I don’t think we thought we would go through,’ Chido said. ‘It was good for a small group like us, coming from Perth, in comparison to the amazing groups that are out here. It was really good for us.’ Though Chido is humble, even Everybody Dance Now host and former Destiny’s Child member, Kelly Rowland, was impressed by Chido’s skills, according to Edit. ‘Kelly Rowland was like, ‘whoa, you’re the only girl in the crew and you can keep up with everyone.’’ Everybody Dance Now was the crew’s first national commercial exposure, but Mamas Boyz Waht is well known in the WA community, thanks to their involvement with club nights and council workshops They were the opening act for the launch of the Dragon Fly club night at Villa last year, and on subsequent nights. ‘It was going on for a year
and it was great, something different for us to do,’ said Chido. They have also conducted hip hop dancing workshops for the City of Joondalup and local high schools. Discussing the current hip hop dance scene in Perth, Chido believes it’s growing but says she is wary of the influx of hip hop dance teachers. ‘Without sounding like a hater, there seems to be a lot more teachers, but [the] understanding of hip hop hasn’t got to the point where there should be that many,’ Chido explains. Though she is well versed in hip hop dance styles, Chido recognizes the importance of moving forward and learning. ‘There’s always more to learn, especially from the original hip hop heads,’ Chido says. ‘I’m still learning new styles too to have a growing vocabulary of style.
Though she is well versed in hip hop dance styles, Chido recognizes the importance of moving forward and learning. ‘There’s always more to learn, especially from the original hip hop heads,’ Chido says. ‘I’m still learning new styles too to have a growing vocabulary of style.’ Of Chido and her place in the hip hop dancing culture, Edit says, ‘Throughout the years I’ve seen so many girls go in and out of the dance scene because they get intimidated. The way we dance is aggressive, but Chido likes to try different dance styles and she’s been in the scene for a while. The fact that she’s stuck in that scene for ages shows she’s not intimidated by any pressures in dancing.’
rae Winning On A Whim After winning the 2004 Perth Rap Battle for Supremacy, Raymond Tanielu told his mother he was going back to New Zealand so he could compete in the finals. Though he says his win was a fluke, it was an achievement that opened up a new world of possibilities in music. ‘Why are you going to New Zealand?’ ‘Oh mum, I am just going there to play my guitar’ he answered. Too humble to explain to his mother he’d just defeated a horde of emcees by dissing them in rhyme, a concept foreign to their traditional Samoan background, this thing called hip hop had bought him a ticket back to his New Zealand birthplace, where people were actually paying to watch emcees ‘beat’ each other in rhyme. ‘At the time I wasn’t even listening to much hip hop, it was more R&B and slow jams’, Rae explains. ‘Then I heard this song called The Eternalist by Talib Kweli that changed everything.’ Unable to relate to the American hip hop messages of money, cars and hoes, he wanted to put a different message in his music. Hearing ‘The Eternalist’ made him realize there was a way he couldt tell kids to stay in school or sing/rap a tribute to his parents.
‘I think people find it cool that I would stand up on stage with my guitar at a hip hop show and sing about my mum and dad. I think they just find it cool, like oh man, who does that.’ It’s Rae’s presence on stage that gets him noticed around Perth’s music scene, whether he’s opening for a reggae band or an international hip hop show. Yes, he’s a big guy and he’ll openly joke about that, but it’s his personality that catches people’s attention. His band, Rae + The Public School Band, are releasing their own album in the coming months and he’s also in a band called Speekeasy with his two cousins Sam and Suzie. Every last Thursday of the month he hosts a gig at The Bird in Northbridge, changing up the sets and acts so that it’s fresh for everyone. One show he hosts is the Beat Lounge or Beat Down, where local beat makers and producers can show off their work that would otherwise only be heard within social circles and their bedrooms. ‘I’ve always wanted to do it for my community and give dudes the opportunities. I had opportunities coming up. And a lot of those guys up at the Beat Lounge don’t know I make beats. It feels good, especially in somewhere like Perth,
and a bit of it is to do with the Beat Down and the Beat Lounge that we’ve been putting on because of the networks that are created from each show.’ As a musician, he manages quality control for his band by judging character over skill. The Public School Band are made of some musicians he hadn’t heard play before he asked them to be join his band. ‘I want dudes I can kick it with,’ he explains. With the pressure to make music, tour, get in and be a part of the industry, Rae stays unrushed and true to a strong belief that things will fall into place for him at the right time. He’s the head of a team and knows he’s got a family to look out for. ‘Everything I’ve done, I’ve just kinda sussed out by trial and error.’ And I have had dudes hit me up that are doing big things, telling me to open up and not be afraid. It’s good to be reminded and encouraged on, but for me it’s about balance and motivating everyone beyond music.’ Written by Martinez Aleyna Martinez By Aleyna Photography by Daniel Criag Design by Nastaran Ghadiri Design by Nastaran Ghadiri
The Power to Dream All the Gear to make your musical dreams a reality Guitars & Basses
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style Models: Lisa Wackrow, Jim Hall, Cole Baxter, Key Nahan Photography by Jules Szoke & Brendon Vuntee Vuntarde Photography Assistant: Erikson Nygaard Apparel provided by Kickz101
Published on Nov 8, 2012