HIP HOP Walking the Hard Road with Mic's in Hand
Hilltop Hoods My nuts are quite large…
Arguably the biggest hip-hop act in Australia, the Hilltop Hoods have certainly made a name for themselves, and have developed a fierce reputation as one crew you shouldn’t miss live. Prior to the release of their new album “The Hard Road”, Pressure MC caught up with Dave Williams to tell him how it is… What have you been up to today? I got up at 8am and by 8:30am we were out the door. We did two photo shoots and checked our equipment in to the venue, had a quick lunch and then did two more radio interviews. Very soon we’ve got a soundcheck then one more interview! Apart from finalising the new album, have you had time to do anything else in the last month? What? Absolutely not. In between finishing and mastering the album, rehearsing and media any spare time that I’ve had has been spent sleeping. What has the feedback been so far on "The Hard Road" - not just whether people like it or not, but what comments are people making to you - critics, mates and the public? Feedback has been minimal so far as the album is not out yet. Everyone who has heard it so far says it’s our best work to date – the vocals are stronger and it’s a little darker than ‘The Calling.’ Let me say, first of all, I really like this new CD. I find that “The Hard Road” is a much tougher, harder album than “The Calling”, with some party tracks mixed in. What do you think of my impression? That’s pretty accurate I think. I would describe it in a similar way myself. That’s pretty much spot on. How much pressure do you think everyone in the group felt to live up to or exceed the expectations brought about by "The Calling"? To be honest, I think any pressure we felt was put on us by the media. We did feel it a little bit and the pressure that we were going gold with this but at the end of the day we tried to ignore it and I think we did a good job of ignoring the expectations. Your first single off the album, “Clown Prince,” opens with someone (one of the Hoods?) trying to back out of buying a round of drinks. Where did the inspiration come for this track? Being that it’s a party-style drinking track we wanted to open it with some humorous gesturing which often happens when we’re hanging out so we thought we’d open with a bit of a guest! Again, on “Clown Prince”, you give us this gem – “Typical MC, my nuts don’t match the size of my ego”. So how big are your nuts, and how big is your ego and why is there so much bravado in hip hop compared with other genres of music? Firstly, my nuts are quite large which makes my ego incredibly big and I think hip hop has so much bravado because a lot of hip hop is very battle-orientated so it’s a competitive nature. But you have to take it as tongue in cheek with a grain of salt. If everybody took things literally in hip hop it would just get ridiculous.
The Dog Is About To Have His Day For ...
Bliss n Eso Those in the audience for Launceston’s MS Fest last month will remember Bliss N Eso; the fiercely energetic hip-hop crew who set the crowd alight with, most notably, a hiphop rendition of The White Stripes’ “7 Nation Army”. Touring on the back of their new album “Day of the Dog”, American-born MC Bliss spoke to Dave Williams about the album, the MS Fest show, and…ahem…hiphop furniture… So you’re pretty busy at the moment? I’m just at work, yeah. But it’s okay; I’ve got a minute to talk. Generally, what are you up to at the moment? Pretty flat-out with the tour; we’re obviously on our national tour at the moment for our album “Day of the Dog”; just been heading up shows…The response has been great. How is everyone receiving “Day of the Dog”? Really well. I mean, we debuted at #45 on the ARIA charts; which is pretty much unheard of for Australian hip-hop, and we were really stoked with that; we didn’t expect that at all. The reviews have been great so far, and the feedback has just been really positive. So we’re really happy at the moment with the way everything’s going. The name “Day of the Dog” – is that a reference to “every dog has his day”? Yeah, yeah. The metaphor is; Australian hip-hop is like the underdog of the industry. Not so much now – it’s getting a lot more recognition, which is great – but over the past several
You’ve got some pretty vicious lyrics on this album; some could almost call them violent. How far should the listener read into what you’re saying? Firstly, I don’t think we have vicious and certainly not violent lyrics. As far as reading into what we’re saying it depends on the song and context that aggression is put into lyrics. ‘Stopping All Stations’ is a violent story but I think the morals in that track are fairly clear cut. The Hilltop Hoods have been together for over a decade now. How have you, personally, changed in that time? Got older, got smellier. I’m not sure how I’ve changed. I think that judgement should be given by an outsider ‘cos it’s hard to judge yourself. When I was younger I used to worry about the scene but now I do my own thing, don’t go out as much and I work a lot harder on my music and I guess I take it a lot more seriously. How has the group changed in that time? As a group we definitely take our music a lot more seriously. When we started making music it was for kicks and laughs, we never took ourselves too seriously but over the years we have dedicated more and more time to it. Now it’s our soul passion and driving force to get up in the morning. You’re returning to Tasmania this month to play in Hobart – what differences have you noticed, playing in Tasmania, compared with the rest of the country? We’ve played four gigs there and I think that Tasmanian crowds go just as hard as anywhere in country. In my experience Tassie crowds are wicked! What’s next for you? In the immediate future – a nap before the show tonight. In the long term – we have “The Hard Road” launch throughout April then we’re looking at going overseas for a month, then we’ll come back to Oz for a regional tour later in year hitting all the hard to get to spots. Hilltop Hoods play Hobart Uni on Friday the 21st of April, but if you needed me to tell you then you’re out of luck because it’s sold out.
By Dave Williams & Tom Wilson
TUU ACTIVITIES COUNCIL
HILLTOP HOODS SOLD OUT
There was a time at the festival where we got kicked out… years, it’s always been that underdog. The title, it’s like; every dog has his day, is like the culture and showing the industry that there’re a lot of crews doing it and there’s a lot of people here and it’s all building.
on their high horse or whatever; I’m not saying anyone in particular who was there. But it always happens. But for us, it’s like just a great chance to get out and meet people. If they’re fans of our stuff, I love to talk to them. It’s great to hear their feedback and have a chat with the locals, man. There was a time at the festival where we got kicked out because certain bands were coming, and their management [from Rogue Traders] was like, “Ah, we don’t want anyone backstage, blah-de-blah”. But that’s cool; everyone has their own style. And we were just happy to go out and party with the locals, man.
I was looking through a Freedom Furniture catalogue that I got in the mail, and they’ve released a range of furniture called their “hiphop” range. It just looks like regular furniture but they’re sticking the name “hip-hop” to it. (Laughs) Yeah! It’s eventually going to happen, man. It’s been happening in the States for a while; big conglomerates just jumping on hip-hop and exploiting it… That surprises me though; it’s pretty weird. For me it just means that hip-hop is penetrating the mainstream even further… Yeah. That kind of thing is cool and everything; I guess I was talking more about the industry…the music industry… It’s so much more receptive, and it’s growing all the time – to Australian hip-hop in particular. Obviously there’s been mainstream stuff from the States and internationally for a while, but with groups like The Hoods and other groups being brought in and getting proper commercial exposure… That’s what I was referring to, I guess. You played recently at the MS Fest. How did you feel about that? That was awesome! We were really happy with the way that it went…the show was great; it was a real buzz. There were kids in Launceston knowing who we were. We were expecting to be going in and being one of the smaller bands – obviously we were. But we really kinda felt that, “Yeah, we’ll just go in and do our thing and hopefully it will be cool”. And we did our thing, and the people were all in the front row knowing the words. We were really just stoked with how well it went; we were walking around
the festival meeting heaps of the kids and people who came out. It was great. You guys were one of the few performers who actually mingled with the public after the show. There seemed to be a bit of ego flying around backstage there. (Laughs) Yeah, I don’t know man… Certain bands might get
You’ve supported some pretty big international acts previously; Xzibit, Cypress Hill, Jurassic 5… Do you come away from those shows with some kind of awe of those guys, or is it really just a marketing machine that’s made those guys so big? Do you think there’s much difference in skill? Definitely with some of the acts. Not necessarily the recorded stuff; some of it is great, though. It’s more just live presence, really. Some of those groups we’ve supported, we really just sat back and went, “Wow, it’s incredible what they’re doing on stage.” It’s been great for us, because we’ve learned so much obviously, supporting so many acts and meeting them and having the chance to ask them questions and learn from them. So it’s been so beneficial for us as a live show. So I think that’s one of the reasons our live show is as solid as it is. From watching The Roots just take over the stage and show something that you really kind of see in hiphop; just this extravaganza of all kinds of crazy sounds coming at you. Obviously, not all the acts; some acts are just another hip-hop show. But definitely, a lot of them, you definitely take something away with you, which is good. Bliss n Eso’s “Day of the Dog” is out now.
By Dave Williams & Tom Wilson Page 3
HIP HOP The Philosopher Speaks
I challenge you to find another rapper who cut their teeth rhyming in a language they didn’t even speak. As a child growing up in Somalia, surrounded by the culture of violence and starvation perpetrated by warlords, K’naan’s affinity for the likes of Rakim laid the groundwork for the artist now touring with his debut album, “The Dusty Foot Philosopher”. He spoke to Dave Williams about rhyming, writing and memories of violence. First of all, how do you pronounce your name? “Kay-Naan”
On your album a lot of your songs deal with issues and references to life in Somalia, but you left Somalia when you were nine – is that correct? I left when I was thirteen or fourteen. I guess you’d still have a lot of memories of that age… Yeah. Those were some of the most memorable times of my life. I guess it was, and still is, a violent place and a violent time, and that’s been the main inspiration for your writing? Yes, it has been; it’s been a huge inspiration. But I haven’t forgotten to be inspired by all the beauty that I’ve seen in that country; the people. Your music is more in the style of Nas and to some extent Kanye West and Public Enemy, in that it’s more social commentary and political rap as opposed to gangsta rap. Why do you think you ended up in that style and not the other? Well, for me it’s not so much a style or even a pattern. For me it’s more about my own reflections
of things. It’s my own responsibility [towards] honesty. More than anything else, I wanted to be honest about my life, and I wanted my music to reflect my life. This is how I really see the world. As it turned out, I couldn’t have made a gangsta rap album or any of that stuff. And I think because I’ve known violence on such a huge scale, it doesn’t allow for you to be able to glorify it. When you know it in its true nature, there’s no way to glorify it. So I think gangsta rap is really for people who don’t know the reality of violence. So do you write on a constant basis, or do you sit down and go “today I’m going to write some lyrics”? I don’t do either of those actually. I write when I cannot write; when I’ve become frustrated. And it’s a strange thing to do, because I know that most artists that I know are really prolific in that they write almost everyday. They just find a page, pick up a pen and write. I don’t do that. I just kind of sit around and spend months not doing a thing, then I spend three months not doing anything but writing. When it comes, it comes. But I don’t really have a time or a process or a way; it just happens. What about all the beats and samples. Did you handle the production? We had these two guys called Track & Field which I worked with, and together we created this music. They’re incredible musicians. They did the production on this record. But then, we had to come up with a new way to do my sound…and this is what we came up with? Did you produce beats and things before that? No, I basically created ideas and that for music; I would get together with my musician friends and have them play parts that I could hear in my head.
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Bangers & Mash
I’ve known violence on such a huge scale
Unleash The Nugget Since forming in Rosny College in 2002, nine-piece hip-hop outfit Unleash the Nugget have commanded attention; their musical resume featuring Gone South and the 2003 Falls Festival in Marion Bay. With the band tuning up their instruments for “Bomb Diggity ‘06” at Hobart’s Republic Bar – which they themselves organised – Anton Heath spoke to Dave Williams about the new line-up and what promises to be a memorable occasion on the hiphop calendar. What have you been up to today? Not much, actually. I’m house-sitting my mum’s house; I’m living upstairs at Republic at the moment, so it’s kind of good to get away, have a bit of a house and stuff.
I understand that when you were young you used to recite rhymes from Nas and Rakim? Yeah. More Rakim than Nas; I was a little bit older when I got into Nas. But yeah; Rakim is obviously one of the most renowned legends of hip-hop. I kind of had fortune fall upon this record from my Dad sending me vinyl. And I would listen to it and be able to rhyme exactly like he was doing, and
So the line-up for Unleash the Nugget has changed? Not a whole lot. We’ve got another drummer coming in from Melbourne to play this gig with us, because as far as the long run goes, it’s probably going to be more viable, even though he’s living in Melbourne, because Gilly went to school with him, and they’re mates, and he’s pretty keen to do gigs. We’re in the process at the moment of booking some gigs in Victoria, and so if we’re going over there…because he’s already over there, and he can sort
K’naan’s debut album, “The Dusty Foot Philosopher” is out now.
By Dave Williams & Tom Wilson
us out with people if we need a fill-in if someone can’t do the touring. With this new drummer we’re getting – Aaron McKellar – it’s going to work out even better, because our other drummer, Paul; he’s awesome, but he’s got a full-time job and he’s also just started going to uni as well, so he doesn’t have that much spare time at the moment. And we want to start charging along, and he’s not really able to do that at the present time. Are there any plans for a CD at the moment? Yeah, yeah, definitely. That’s what the new songs are for. I think we’re going to have six new songs at this gig, or even seven. So we’ll have enough to do six new songs for an album. So first and foremost we’re going to do these shows in Victoria, and then through playing shows the songs will evolve, and after a couple more gigs, the new songs will feel like we’re at a position with them where we’re ready to record them. Every song that we’ve written pretty much has changed; the choruses have been rewritten, or verses have changed… We probably need this time to evolve the songs. We’re really keen to start recording, so in the next three months we’ll start making that happen.
…[It’s] like an epic hip-hop weekend… So what’s been happening in the world of the Nugget lately? Well the last gig we played was a thing we’d done with True Live, and since then we’ve been…for this gig we’re playing on the 22nd of April, we’re gonna have some new songs and stuff. Mainly we’ve been focusing on getting the line-up sorted for this gig; it’s been pretty hard to organise. And mainly focusing on writing new songs.
I would repeat his songs to the neighbourhood kids. Obviously I didn’t know any word of English, so it would take me ages!
What’s happening on the 22nd of April? You’ve organised this night yourself? Yeah; it’s Bomb Diggity 06 – it’s more of an event. It’s not just our gig; we want it to be something that people will remember as more than just a gig, you know? It’s Saturday April 22nd at the Republic Bar, and it’s going to be Unleash the Nugget, DJ Royal-B – he’s going to play a set… Where’s he from? He’s from Hobart. And we’re going to get a couple of special guests – I’m not sure who – to do a few different things, which aren’t the usual things to do supporting a hip-hop gig, something different to stand out. It’s the night after the Hilltop Hoods gig in Tassie, so it’s going to follow on from that; like an epic hip-hop weekend.
Unleash The Nugget play “Bomb Diggity 06” with DJ Royal-B at Hobart’s Republic Bar & Café on Saturday April 22nd.
By Dave Williams & Tom Wilson
HIP HOP Talking Crime & Compact Discs w i t h
Chopper A lot can be said about Mark Read. Love him or hate him, the former Tasmanian has entered the criminal mythology of Australia in the same way as Ned Kelly…. But unlike such contemporaries, “Chopper” is very much alive. Former standover man, convicted killer and best-selling author, Australia’s most notorious and famed criminal is becoming something no one expected…a rap star. Dave gave his old mate Chopper a call on his mobile ... Whereabouts are you today? I’m in Collingwood. What are you up to over there? I’m just sitting here watching TV. How long since you've been in Tassie? I lived in Tassie for nine years; nine years of my life in Tasmania…I left Tasmania about five years ago; I divorced my first wife and came back and married my old girlfriend Margaret. I’ve got a six-year-old boy in Tasmania.
How long have you been into hip-hop? Ah…last couple of years. What gave you the motivation to do this CD? Well they asked me to do a hip-hop song for the “Trojan Warrior” movie. It was a flop, but it was well put-together. Anyway, they asked me to do a hip-hop song, and I did it. And a young work experience kid called Jesse said, “Would you like to do a hip-hop song on a CD?” And I said, “Yeah, why not?” And then I found out that he was working at Pizza Hut and was paying for the whole thing from his work at Pizza Hut, plus going to school. So I wanted to help him; I admired his work ethic. And three years later we had a CD out. Are you going to be doing a live performance? Nah, I can’t perform hip-hop. I recorded the whole thing locked in a wardrobe surrounded with foam rubber, with a microphone, and that went out to a tape recorder and a computer in the lounge room. So I can’t write; there’s no use kidding yourself. I’m fifty-one years old – I can’t perform hip-hop. I guess it’s your background and the stories you’ve got to tell, I suppose… Well hip-hop…I don’t know what the hip-hop fascination with the criminal world is. A lot of hip-hoppers try to make themselves look like gangsters; they try to impersonate the American negro gang-bangers and drive-by-shooters. It’s the only branch of the music industry that is absolutely fascinated with guns and knives and violence and gangsters and crime. Especially all the white kids – they’re fascinated with how the American nergo gang-bangers get around… They all try to be gangsters from Los Angeles. I can’t understand the fascination.
You’ve got your “Interview With a Madman” CD – when is that being released? It just got launched yesterday – released in the shops today.
With this CD you’ve almost become the Australian 50 Cent… I’m not a 50 Cent. The real 50 Cent; he’s only worth about twenty-five cents, really. I mean, he’s an idiot. He’s got no criminal credibility whatsoever. He’s invented himself a criminal past to enhance his standing in the hip-hop world. I don’t understand it.
You got a lot of big names from the Aussie hip-hop scene helping you with that. It must have made you feel pretty good to have so much talent willing to work with you. Yeah. Fuckin’ oath.
You might get bigger than 50 Cent – you’re the real deal! Well I’ve got the criminal credibility, but I’ve got no musical credibility at all. I’m what 50 Cent would like to be.
50 Cent; he’s only worth about twentyfive cents, really. I mean, he’s an idiot. How do you write your tracks? Well most of it was written for me. I helped them out, you know? A lot of it was cut out of my books, my poems. I heard that you weren’t that happy with the Eric Bana depiction of yourself… (Laughs) Oh, I was happy with Eric Bana’s depiction of me. I was unhappy because they didn’t invite me to the premiere of the movie. They treated me very badly over that movie. I didn’t make any money out of that movie. I signed every penny over to charity. They said, “If Chopper Read gets a penny, they’re going to withdraw all government funding from the movie”. So I said, “Well, if I’m a fly in the ointment, I’m going to remove myself
from the ointment.” So I made no money out of that bloody movie whatsoever. Do you think this album’s just going to reinforce people’s image of yourself? I don’t know what people’s image of myself is; I don’t care. It’s got an anti-drug message in it. I don’t know what it’ll reinforce. I’m not trying to reinforce anything. Thanks very much for your time today. OK mate. Good on ya.
By Dave Williams & Tom Wilson
He’s the greatest, just ask him
Proof (D12) So often, the lively personalities of the hiphop world sound bored out of their brains when interviewed…so if there’s one thing to say about D-12’s Proof, it’s that he’s consistently outrageous. He spoke to Dave Williams about Eminem, the gangsta culture and Oz hip-hop. G’day, how are you? Well good day, man! How you doin’? Good man. Thanks for doing this now. It’s all good.
lyin’. When I met him, I met him rapping, you know what I’m saying? On the song “Yellow Brick Road”, we was rappin’ that stuff.
I eat an MC’s ass like R Kelly does to young girls!
Why do you think Eminem’s had so much success? Because he can rap, and he’s white. (Laughs) Okay. And you were the only guy out of D-12 to be in “8 Mile”. Is that because you’re the only one who can act, or was there some other reason? I was just in it ‘cause I can tear the motherfuckin’ ass out; I’m one of the greatest rappers to ever do it. That’s just what’s gonna happen. That’s why you never see me having a defeat; I am the alpha and the omega of battle rapping. I’m just a battle rapper; it’s what I can do. I eat an MC’s ass like R Kelly does to young girls! You know what I’m saying?
You obviously see your strengths as a battle rapper, but do you find you’re inspired by anything at the moment, artistically? Politics? Personal reflections? Nah, I’m keepin’ it the same man. I’m into girls with nice booties and nice faces and nice boobs. I’m into the things that God put on Earth before me. I just live a life like that, man; I’m not into politics, you know what I’m saying? I’m not trying to go there, man; I’m just trying to relax, chill out, get the vibe, Micheal Jackson can’t touch this… Just put this hip-hop shit on the map.
How much do you and Eminem have to do with each other these days? A lot. We work like that. It’s how it works.
I was doing an interview with one of Australia’s most notorious criminals, who’s just released a hip-hop CD, and he said that he doesn’t understand hip-hop’s fascination with the criminal life. What do you think it is? I think…hip-hop is a voice that’s come from poverty or struggle, that speaks for the streets. Even like American gangstas, like Al Capone… Back in the day, all the gangs-
Musically, what’s flicking your switch these days? What’s flicking my switch right now is…some Janis Joplin, some Jimi Hendrix, you know what I’m saying?
tas wanted to be the stars…stars wanted to be the gangstas. If you can put your mind right, and put your stream-ofthought into rhyme form, it’s no different or no worse than getting into it from the streets or from whatever walk of life they come from. Hip-hop is a very vast thing, you know? Your handle Proof – that’s got to come from somewhere. Is it like alcohol proof? It’s living proof; I’m living proof. I’m a testament, all day, every day. I’m living proof. Thank you very much. No problem, baby. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, okay? And yo, I wanna tell everyone in Tasmania, big up! D-12 coming! Third album on the way! It’s going down real big!
By Dave Williams & Tom Wilson
Hey, I just wanted to clear up something – we’re actually called “Sauce”, as in “tomato sauce”— The Sauce! The Sauce! This is the Sauce! [Unintelligible freestyling]. What’s up with ya baby? You good? Yeah, I’m having a great day. Where are you at the moment? Man, I’m in Australia! In Melbourne! [More unintelligible freestyling] Nice. Have you been able to listen to any Australian hip-hop? Y’know what? The last time I was here, the only Australian hip-hop that I got to be exposed to was a guy named FiggKidd. That’s the only thing I heard last time I was here. But I’ve made a return, and hopefully learn about more of the hip-hop culture here. I’m goin’ to an MC battle, which I was just told I wouldn’t be able to understand. I think he’s playing with me though. I’ll be able to understand everything. It’s just the pace, I think. Yeah. It’s gonna be good. They gonna battle. They know what time it is. They got the blueprint style; they MCin’. We gonna check it out and we gonna rate them on their skills. Now I’ve read that you encouraged or convinced Marshall Mathers to rap. How much truth is there to that? Ah, that’s not true, man – whoever told you that, they be
helps a lot that places are willing to give original bands a go, especially punk. Now we just need to start building a strong fan base for support.
Thanks to The Red Tracksuit We Have
Branded Left Handed Branded Left Handed are one of the many new punk bands coming out of Hobart at the moment. I caught up with the band in early January but due to other issues, we’re haven’t been able to run the interview. What have Branded Left Handed been up too lately? Basically, trying to get exposure by doing as many shows that come our way, and trying to practice as often as possible. We're still experimenting with different styles in order to ‘find our sound’, but with our debut EP coming out in, hopefully, March, people will be able to
make up their own minds!
How would you describe your style? Punk rock would describe us best, but with bits of scream, happy, fast and Emocore thrown in. Your myspace page lists bands like Blink 182, Matchbook Romance, Story of the Year, New Found Glory and NOFX as influences of the bands, who personally has influenced you and what are you currently digging? Me personally, I have been listening to a lot of Fallout Boy and Slick Shoes. Thomas, with a background in theater and singing in pub cover-bands enjoys anything from metal to pop, but currently his favorite band at the moment would be My Chemical Romance. My father is also a major influence for me, having sung and played guitar all his life. Brendan has been listening to a lot of Matchbook Romance and New Found Glory but his major influences are basically the same as everyone else. The Hobart punk scene has really taken off in the last few years; do you find it's easier to get a show due to your style? Yeah definitely, it
You have supported more established bands like Race the Fray, Ballpoint and Solvent Intake. What did you gain from playing with these guys? I think it’s fair to say we’ve been lucky to be mates with all those guys prior to BLH but every time we play with a new band, it helps us in one way or another plus gives us a chance to improve on different things. You have been working on an EP, when shall it see the light of day and do you think your fans will be happy with the end result? We’re looking at getting in some recording time during February. So, we’re hoping for a March release. Before we release anything though we want to be confident in it ourselves, so we are sure people will be getting quality. When a random punter comes to one of your shows, what should he expect to see? Equipment! Maybe the odd live animal sacrifice! Nah we’ve all said how we like energetic live shows so we usually try to put in as much as possible. Sometimes that means giving the guitarists a good smack in the head though. What does 2006 hold for Branded Left Handed? Well , getting our EP out is a priority! And we've just been up to Launceston on the 4th of February to support Ballpoint and Halfmast at the Gunners Arms, which was our first trip up north. We’re also in the middle of planning a small tour up to Gosford NSW, where Oxm is originally from. Other than that, we’re trying to get as many gigs in the Hobart area as possible. Who would you guys like to thank? Thomas’s housemates and neighbors for putting up with the noise of endless practice and the cops for not bothering to tell us about complaints. Cozzy and Kent, Amy, Ballpoint, Mischa Cacagno, Mayfair and Trout and everyone else that has helped us - you know who you are, we’re just too hopeless to remember you! Oh and also Jonno Thorp and the red tracksuit.
By Ryan Cooke
Lock n Load, it’s
BulletHead To paraphrase the title of their album, Sydney’s Bullethead know their enemy – and it’s cover bands. Formerly known as Rubicon, they were strong enough to pull more than eight hundred punters into a venue before they even released an album. And then came Bullethead – harder, and certainly louder. They’re about to use Tassie as the firing range for their upcoming national tour. What have you been doing? Just been sorting out… I think we’ve got a full national tour coming up; forty or fifty shows. We’ve got that coming up in June. There’s always…there’s something about the business; when you’re not playing, you’re even busier. So when you’re not busy, you’re getting busy? Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I don’t know what it’s like for international artists; they probably don’t even get to sleep, mate! The “Know Your Enemy” tour – you’re actually starting that in Tassie? Actually, we’re just going down to Tassie for a bit of a warmup; get the machine running a bit. The tour actually happens in June…then we’re hitting Tassie again. So this is like your testing ground? Yeah, it’s sort of like a testing ground. And Tassie rocks; it’s a bit of a warm-up…get in there and play some hard shows. And then you’re going to come back again? Yeah, then we’re coming back on the big tour; the “Get Head” tour. We’re going to call the tour the “Get Head” tour; “Get Head – Get Bullethead” (Laughs) The band was originally called Rubicon…
Well what Rubicon means is “point of no return”; in 49 B.C Julius Caesar crossed the river Rubicon…he took his armies across the point of no return. It’s sort of like a metaphor… But everyone uses “Rubicon” these days.
We don’t talk to cover bands
Is that why you changed the name? Not really – Rubicon was starting to get established, and we changed our sound; we sort of got heavier. Basically, the Rubicon audience won’t really like Bullethead at all. So we just thought, “Let’s have a clean slate”. And Rubicon was like a training ground; it was an education, and we had a certain audience. Bullethead’s going to have a different audience. It’s a lot heavier.
I’ve read things about you guys that have used terms like “just starting out” and “on their way to great things”. How do you feel about that? I don’t really think about it; I just think it’s all shit to me. [You] just get on with it… Get on with it; you are who you are, and you’re going to go as far as you’re going to go. If someone likes you, they like you; if they don’t, they don’t; and just move on. And if they say, “We’re just starting out” – well, we are just starting
By D.H Wheatley Tassie death metallers Psycroptic have secured another European tour this time alongside the likes of Nile, Cannibal Corpse and Kataklyism. The month long tour starting in April will take them around Germany, Hungary and Austria as they showcase tracks off their latest well produced cd titled ‘Symbols of Failure’ which was recorded late last year. Another Tassie band who are a little less in your face musically, but still manage to rock hard is Hammerhead who had their cd launch early March. Their aptly titled ‘Stiff’ with the complete rock n roll cliché lifestyle encapsulated and situated on the front cover, is a throw back to the 80’s and early 90’s hard rock that is seeing a re-emergence at the moment. These guys have become regulars around the Hobart scene for what a lot of people reckon is good solid rock and the live show to accompany it and secured the support slot for the vets of oz rock The Screaming Jets in Launceston late March. The album is available through local music supporters Tracks and also online and the tracks to look out for are ‘Animal’, ‘Peacefully’ and ‘Feel the Pain’ as the stand outs. April will see Melbourne’s Dreadnaught hit Tassie for a Southern show at the Republic on Friday night the 7th of April and a Northern equivalent at The James Hotel in Launceston on the 8th. They’re latest cd titled ‘Dirty Music’ was mixed by former Superheist guitarist DW Norton and sounds almost as good as the tremendous 2000 release ‘Down to Zero’. While Dreadnaught play in Launnie on the following Saturday night all the Hobartian fans of the rock should get along to the monthly Rock Club that takes part at the Trout. The line-up this time will be Children of the Damned (an Iron Maiden tribute band) and Solar Thorn. Entry is only $4 and the usual giveaways will be happening so not bad value. The trout will also be hosting Triple J Unearthed winners Highroad no. 28 from the mainland with up and coming local metallers Separatist and glam hard rockers Lady Crimson. The gig is on Tuesday night the 18th and all tickets are $ 7, whether you’re a poor uni student or a high flyer it’s all about equality, man. A report on how the show went will be included in next month's Sauce but don’t let that stop you from attending this and the other rock/metal gigs on offer in Tasmania.
How do you see the scene in Sydney at the moment? Ah, Sydney’s good. It’s a highly competitive scene; it’s probably the hardest state in all of Australia to crack. Sydney’s got a different vibe about it. It’s a different feel. If you can crack it in Sydney…it’s pretty difficult, mate. If you can survive in Sydney, and you can stay consistent in Sydney, you can take Australia, because Sydney’s just so tough. Do you think original bands still have to battle over cover bands? Or is it pretty accepted that there’s a strong music scene there? Well the industry, where I’m at, we don’t talk to cover bands; cover bands are a different world to me anyway. If you play in a covers band, you’re not going to have any credibility. A potential fan knows that if you’re playing covers, they’re not going to be interested, because they want to see you do it hard; they want to see you do it the real way. I don’t really see any competition with cover bands; covers play different venues. Cover bands are designed for when people are already in the venue, and originals are designed to bring people into the venues.
out. No one knows us. But we’ve got a nice team behind us…But I’m pretty much just “guitar, amp, get up there and give it a hundred-and-fifty percent.” And if you like what we do, you like what we do. I’m not fazed, and I’m not into the hype – because I know what hype is. We’ve got more of a down-to-earth approach I think. So how big are your plans for Bullethead? Well I mean Rubicon still holds the record for the biggest independent shows in Australia. Rubicon was pull eighthundred-and-fifty punters into the Metro Theatre without radio play. And we didn’t even have a record; that’s just from the live scene… Bullethead’s different – we’ve got “Know Your Enemy”, we’ve got the new album…we’re already working on the next EP… With the education that I have now, there’s no reason why I can’t be doing the Metro Theatre again; if I can pull a thousand people through the door, why can’t I pull five thousand? I’m not saying I’m going to pull a thousand, but the principle is there. If you can sell one, why can’t you sell ten? If you can sell ten, why can’t you sell a hundred? “Know Your Enemy” is out now .
By Dave Williams & Tom Wilson
Other metal news in closing Joey Jordison (the man who never seems to want to take a break) is set to work behind the desk and probably in front of it with thrash metal group 3 Inches of Blood on their upcoming album. Fellow Slipknot member Corey Taylor is also in the studio in LA working on Stone Sour’s follow up self titled cd. The album is set to be titled ‘Come What May’ and from all reports is more melodic and darker and of better production than its predecessor.
Recommended Karnivool – Themata Rob Zombie – Educated Horses Sevendust – Next
Now THIS is What I Call Oz Rock!
Five years ago, when I was in high school, I turned on â€œRageâ€? to see a band that became â€“ and has remained â€“ one of the few Australian rock bands Iâ€™ll listen to. That band was Dreadnaught. With a sound that would leave others in a pummelled, bloody heap, their latest release â€“ â€œDirty Musicâ€? â€“ is exactly what the name implies; rock played raw, loud and hard. And theyâ€™re coming back to the state that spawned themâ€Ś
couple of new songs for a new thing; we got stuck on that first couple of songs; itâ€™s always hard to do those
muchâ€? â€“ youâ€™re more appealed by that. I could say that about album reviews; I like to hear people say good things about the music. Iâ€™m glad people are into it. But if someone says a bad thingâ€Śwell, fuck â€˜em, I donâ€™t care. And thatâ€™s what â€œScenesterâ€? is all about. Thatâ€™s the music â€“ â€œfucking scenester!â€? You talk shit; if you had any credibility, you just got rid of it. And no matter what anyone says to you about what youâ€™re doing, you just ignore it. Run your own race â€“ that way youâ€™ll always win! The Tassie gigs â€“ what kind of set are you putting together for these shows? Ah, well! Iâ€™d be giving it all away, wouldnâ€™t I?
first couple of songs for a new record. Thatâ€™s always the hill to get over.
Well will it be focusing on the newer material? Ah, yes, yes. Youâ€™d be right there. The set focuses a hell
Youâ€™re re-releasing â€œDirty Musicâ€? with a bonus
of a lot on the new album; we do throw some sprinklings in from the older releases, just a track or two here and
discâ€Ś Whereâ€™d you hear that? (Laughs) Iâ€™m only jokingâ€Ś
there. But obviously the show revolves around the new album.
Thank Christ! I hate it when that happens in interviews! Itâ€™s got a bonus disc, but Iâ€™ve got to ask this
Youâ€™re not getting away without playing â€œThe Gameâ€?,
â€“ why do bands re-release albums? What have you been up to today?
Well this oneâ€Śit was an offer from Roadrunner; it wasnâ€™t
Wellâ€Śmowing the lawnâ€Śwatching Rose Tattoo DVDs
our decision. Itâ€™s got some fresh artwork too, just for the
and listening to Rose Tattoo CDs because Pete Welsh
hell of itâ€Ś They offered to re-release it, and said, â€œWould
you like to do some new art?â€? And â€œWhy donâ€™t we put something together as a bonus disc?â€? Itâ€™s no greatest
Oh, really? I didnâ€™t know.
hits thing, because weâ€™ve never had any fucking hits!
Y eah, Iâ€™m shattered. Pete Wells diedâ€Śnot last night, the
night before. So Iâ€™ve just been playing Rose Tattoo.
Itâ€™s no greatest hits thing, because weâ€™ve never had any fucking hits!
A lot of the tracks on â€œDirty Musicâ€? were pretty venIt was the same for me when Dimebag [Darrell,
omous â€“ â€œScenesterâ€? and stuff like that. Who were
Pantera guitarist] got shot; straight home and
some of the targets of that venom?
whacking on Pantera CDsâ€Ś
Well thereâ€™s no real targets. A song like â€œScenesterâ€?; that
Yeah; Iâ€™ve listened to nothing but in the last twenty-four
trackâ€™s basically about just running your own race; no
hours, thatâ€™s for sure. Theyâ€™re my favourite band, so
matter what bullshit anyone talks about you. Itâ€™s basical-
thatâ€™s the end of it, unfortunately. Without him, thereâ€™ll
ly irrelevant. The music industryâ€™s as bitchy as a fucking
be no more Rose Tattoo records. So yeah, pretty shat-
hairdressers, for fuckâ€™s sakeâ€Śand unfortunately some
people can open their mouths so wide that they swallow themselves; whatever youâ€™re doing. Some people might
Whatâ€™s the band been up to in the last month?
say to you, â€œTom, ah, youâ€™re a fucking shit journalist.â€?
Just off the touring; only just did a Geelong and Mel-
Other people might say, â€œOh, I love your writing, Tom.â€?
bourne show, then the next visit is down to TAS. Other
So youâ€™re not going to pay any attention to the guy who
than that, weâ€™ve just started to get the ball rolling on a
told you youâ€™re a shit journalist. But, â€œOh, thanks very
where it changes on the albumâ€?. Well, no it doesnâ€™t! you do realise thatâ€Ś Thatâ€™s in there. Weâ€™re actually running two sets on this
Dreadnaught play Hobartâ€™s Republic Bar & CafĂŠ
tour â€“ weâ€™ve got two separate sets. They do contain
on Friday the 7th of April and Launcestonâ€™s James
some of the same songs, but theyâ€™re in a different order.
Hotel on Saturday the 8th. Miss them at your own
For example; oneâ€™s got â€œGameâ€?, the otherâ€™s got â€œScum-
risk. â€œDirty Musicâ€? is out now through Roadrunner
bagâ€?. It depends what we play in Tassie; it depends on
the mood of the nightâ€Ś For a Dreadnaught show, man â€“ if youâ€™re just used to the record, you wonâ€™t be expecting what weâ€™re going to deliver, because we are a live band. And to us, our songs are there to do whatever the fuck
By & Tom Wilson
we want with them. If you were thinking, â€œOh yeah, this is
GET HEAD. GET BULLETHEAD
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