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Wednesday, 24 June 2009 14:10

Steve Bug : Interview

A Cut Above The Rest

Berlin-based DJ/ producer Steve Bug has (almost) seen it all since emerging in the early 1990s as one of a handful of future-facing German deep, tech and minimal house producers.

With close to 20 years experience under his belt, the former hairdresser is now toasting the success of his fourth, and latest album, 'Collaboratory', released on his own Pokerflat Recordings label.

The aptly-named LP is heavy on collaborations, with Bug tapping his extensive global network to showcase the talents of vocalists and producers including New Zealand's Simon Flower, Ethiopian singer Gigi and long-time collaborator Paris The Black Fu.

“It was a very long process because I started working on the album in 2006,” Bug explains. “The more I thought about it the more I was thinking of asking other people to collaborate on tracks without vocals. I've always liked to be in the studio with people whose music I like. I was inviting pretty much everyone I had produced with in the past.”

The result is another polished offering from Bug. It’s also another impressive chapter in both his own discography and that of Pokerflat which has, along with Bug's other revered label Dessous, become a benchmark for the deep/ tech house and minimal scene.

Bug's own 'Bugnology' series is just one of these successes but, as he explains, the day-to-day running of an independent label has changed since Pokerflat launched just over ten years ago.

“It's definitely harder,” he says. “Back then when we started, you could of released whatever you wanted and you still would of sold 1,000 copies of vinyl. It's not a lot of money but you wouldn't lose money, even with bad vinyl.

“These days it's getting harder to sell vinyl all the time [and] of course digital sales are rising. When it comes to downloads the problem is you really have to have the tracks in the top ten to really make money off it. There are so many releases every week that people don't really find their way through all of them.”

‘Collaboratory’ is out now through Pokerflat/ Stomp.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009 13:15

Kevin Saunderson : Interview

From Detroit With Love

When talking Detroit techno, there are three names synonymous with its emergence in the 1980s and subsequent success worldwide. Kevin Saunderson is one of those three who, alongside fellow Motor City luminaries Derrick May and Juan Atkins, continues to champion the genre and remain relevant amid a constantly-changing musical environment.

Speaking from his home in Detroit, where he is promoting the release of his new retrospective compilation ‘History Elevate’ on his own KMS imprint in conjunction with Fabric Records, Saunderson’s smoky tones and relaxed nature reflect a true pioneer, who after 25 years in the business is still as fresh and relevant as when he burst out of Detroit in the 80s as one of the Belleville Three.

As Saunderson explains, ‘History Elevate’ - a double-disc release featuring some of his finest studio moments along with remixes of his own work by some of the scenes brightest sparks, is a special project and one he is very proud of. The only problem was deciding what to leave out, given Saunderson's extensive back catalogue.

“With the remix side it was more difficult because I wanted to put them all on there,” he says laughing. “But it seems to be going down very well. There’s a lot history there in the fact that you’ve got remixes that I’ve done and then you’ve got my stuff being remixed by guys who are still doing it right now, which is exactly how I’d envisioned it.”

The decision to link with Fabric was an easy one given Saunderson’s relationship with the club, its off-shoot label and management. “I’ve been looking at their history of compilations [and] they’re a little different from the norm,” he says. “They're one of the companies I thought would do it well and get behind it. I play at Fabric two or three times a year and I know them from when they first started the club. I thought it would be a perfect choice.”

What should please Australian fans is that among cuts by Saunderson completed under his own name and under his chart-topping Inner City moniker there is also a fresh remix of The Presets ‘This Boy’s In Love’, a collaboration that, as Saunderson explains, came about after the Australian duo got in contact.

“They said ‘hey, we know your history, we know your music; we have this song that we think could work for you. Could you check it out and let me know’,” Saunderson explains. “They called me at the right time ‘cause I was just starting to do a Claude VonStroke remix and I thought ‘let’s get in the flow and see how I feel with my remixes again’. I’ve heard they had some nice success over there so I thought I could do something for the record.”

Still a regular fixture on the global clubbing circuit, Saunderson routinely tours Europe and the US to rave reviews. But is the scene still as good as it was back in the 1980s? “I think it is because the world has become bigger and so the scene is bigger,” he says. “The quality of parties might not be as good because sometimes when you have quantity you lose quality but overall there are still many great venues, great clubs to play in and great fans who come out and support the music. It’s pleasant enough to inspire me and make me want to come back and make music too. It’s nice to see a young person, who you know wasn’t around back in the day, saying ‘your music inspired me’. That keeps me going.”

Saunderson reveals he is currently in talks to tour Australian this November. Along with a seven-date Inner City tour of Europe and plenty of studio work in the pipeline, 2009 is shaping up as one of Saunderson's busiest yet, not least for his own celebrated KMS imprint. “KMS today is more about my catalogue [and] anything I plan on releasing for myself and not so much into developing talent like I was back in the day,” he says. “A lot of my energy still needs to be put into touring and creating and using my company as a springboard to release my material.”

‘History Elevate’ is out now through KMS/Fabric. Stay tuned for confirmation of Kevin Saunderson's November tour!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009 15:24

Kid Kenobi : Interview

Bigger & Better

Few in Australia's dance music community have notched up as many tours, releases and received as many awards as Sydney's Kid Kenobi. Having just returned from a month-long tour in the US and Canada, the long-time Ministry Of Sound and Jam Music artist is now set to unleash his own label - Klub Kids - and a brand new compilation on the masses.

Speaking from his home in Sydney, where he’s catching up on “boring, day to day crap”, Jesse Desenberg is a busy chap at present. Having been bunkered down in the studio and on a voyage of musical self-discovery the last 12 months, Kid Kenobi has re-emerged and, as he explains, the “evolving beast” that is Klub Kids is a result of his searching for a new creative spark and an outlet through which to showcase his own ever-developing love of music. “It was just a personal thing for me, trying to find new music that I found inspiring,” he says of his sabbatical in 2007. “I was playing breaks for a very long time and there was a whole bunch of new music coming through … but I couldn't really find a sound that reflected me as an artist or the kind of music that I'd always loved.

“So I kind of struggled to find something I could identify with. I wasn't really feeling myself in a lot of this music. That kind of changed last year with a lot of the fidget stuff. I don't want to use that blanket term but things came back with more of that so-called black influence. More reggae coming back in, more hip hop influences, the old rave stuff coming back in.”

'Klub Kids', Desenberg's first compilation in two years is a double disc release broken up into  'The Club' and 'The Dub', is the result of Desenberg's musical re-awakening and features cuts from the likes of Armand Van Helden, Dizzee Rascal, Resin Dogs and Stanton Warriors. “Dub and reggae were always going to be massive influences,” he says, referring to the second dubbed-out disc. “That was the first music I was really exposed to as a child, so it's been pretty important to me. It was nice to take those new influences and have some dub-steppy stuff on there but not having them be run-of-the-mill stuff.”

Kid Kenobi's 'Klub Kids' is out now through, erm, Klub Kids.

Wednesday, 03 June 2009 16:33

Nathan Fake

The Real Deal

Since bursting onto the UK scene in 2003, with his superb 'Outhouse' EP, Reading-based DJ/ producer Nathan Fake has notched up a stellar collection of releases and remixes on a number of revered labels and his new LP - 'Hard Islands' - could be his best yet.

Speaking from his home in the UK, the fresh-faced young producer is upbeat when quizzed on his rapid rise to the top of the European tech-house and minimal scenes.  The release of his new LP follows 2006's successful debut album, 'Drowning In a Sea Of Love', and as Fake explains, the weight of expectation did factor in the production process of this new release.

“I think, with this record, compared with when I made my first album a few years ago, it's definitely a lot harder to write music when you know people are taking notice of what you're doing,” he says. “When I did the first album I wasn't really aware of people so I wrote freely and put it together. It's sort of harder work when you know people are listening but it kind of pushes you as well.”

'Hard Islands' is, in Fake's word, a more 'intense' effort than 'Drowning In A Sea Of Love'. Whereas the first album featured downtempo, synth-pop, ambient and leftfield influences, 'Hard Islands' is very much aimed at the dancefloor and tech-house and minimal fans in particular.

Released on Border Community, the label owned and operated by progressive house DJ/ producer James Holden, 'Hard Islands' is a continuation of the productive and encouraging working relationship that has seen Fake, Holden and the Border Community team strike up an enduring partnership.

“James and the guys at Border Community have given me total freedom; I can just do whatever I want,” explains Fake. “With this record they weren't telling me to do a certain style; they're really laidback and really encouraging. It's pretty cool to work with people who are nice and enthusiastic.”

Having toured Australia for the first time a few years back, Fake reveals he is currently in talks with the same promoters for a return to our shores later this year. For the moment though, he has a packed schedule that will see him play out and about throughout the European summer, in both Western and Eastern Europe, where he has attracted a mass following.

‘Hard Islands’ is out now through Border Community/Stomp.

Wednesday, 03 June 2009 16:30

Riva Starr


Peddling a brand of music best described as ‘beeping, burping tech-house’, Riva Starr is headed to Brisbane this week to help celebrate Monastery’s seventh birthday. We thought it best to have to have a chat to the dancefloor maestro.

You've had some slamming house releases showcased on some of the world's premier underground imprints; do you feel pressure to keep coming up with the goods?
Not at all, I’m a DJ not a hitmaker. In any case, if I don’t like a tune or if I don’t play it then I won’t release it.

Any special plans in between your appearances here in Australia? Planning on cuddling a koala at any stage?
Haha. This is my third time there, I’ve got some friends in every city and I wanna meet them and have some fun. Some nice people indeed. Last time I was in Perth I visited a Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition, so good, ate Japanese food all the time and got drunk 20 times a day hehehe.

Tell us a bit about your new label, Snatch!
Just slammin! Can’t say more for now. But you have to expect some raw house bits for sure. No compromises, just dancefloor shit.

You've got a packed touring schedule over the coming northern summer months; where have you enjoyed playing the most in recent months?
Well almost everywhere. Crap gigs sometimes happen but in general it’s been a really good season for me. Belgium has a massive scene (Forma T party for example), Social Club in Paris is very cool, Candelai in Palermo is a very cool club.. But I could keep talking about cool clubs for hours. The dance scene is alive and kickin’!

Everyone has a favourite track/remix, and for me, it can't get any better than 'La Conga' or your re-work of Rene Van Munster's 'Phonesmack'. Which productions are you most proud of?
Well I really like ‘Thizzle’ (my first release ever on Frontroom), ‘Maria’ on Kindisch because of its wider appeal to a whole range of DJs. And lately my ‘Praise You’ remix for Fatboy Slim that should be out soon.

Any pre-set rituals and or habits? What might we find you drinking while behind the decks?
No rituals, usually I’m very tired because of long travel and lack sleep. So I’m used to sleeping a bit before the gig to recover. Then tequila and beers, yo!

Riva Starr will be joined by Bongo Players for the Monastery’s Seventh Birthday celebrations Friday June 5.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009 15:14

Prins Thomas

Nordic Grooves

Those kooky Norwegians have been dancing like pisswrecks in the streets ever since winning Eurovision a few weeks back, but you won't find Oslo-based DJ-producer Prins Thomas taking much interest. Decks, dark clubs and bass-heavy, disco-infused, leftfield house rhythms are more to his taste.

Thirty four year-old Thomas Moen Hermansen has been a mainstay on the Norwegian club scene for over a decade, having released remixes and original productions on labels including Norway's Smalltown Supersound, Holland's Clone and Steve Bug's acclaimed Poker Flat Recordings.

It was in 2005 however, when he and fellow Nordic producer Hans-Peter Lindstrøm linked to release their self-titled LP 'Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas' on Belgian label Eskimo Recordings that the pair were hurtled into the global spotlight as the form purveyors of mashed up house, disco, electro and 'alternative' sounds.

Having just released their hugely-anticipated follow-up - aptly named 'II' - Thomas and Lindstrøm are again drawing rave reviews from industry press, but as Thomas explains, expectations did not weigh on the pair in the production of this sophomore release.
“I'm always happy with good reaction,” he says, “[but] it's nothing I really think about.

“We've been working on 'II' since we finished the first album; that's three and a half years on-and-off in between other projects. The main difference is that we tried to keep the whole recording process really organic and live and loose from the start, whereas the first album was a lot more structured.”

Both Europe and the US have latched onto the nu-disco and leftfield sub-genres in the past 12 months and Thomas is subsequently in great demand, routinely playing London's Fabric and clubs across mainland Europe and in New York and Chicago. Having his sound pigeonholed, however, is something that doesn't sit well with the family man, who refuses to tour for more than a week at a time because he is 'needed at home'.

“I'm never too happy about it when people squeeze you into labels but at the same time you soon realise that it's a necessary evil and people have a need to label music; it's just a shame!” he laughs.

“For me, it's actually a good thing because then you keep that idea of trying to change and experiment. If I were happy being labelled I would probably stick to doing the same thing over and over again but now it's actually more like you work harder at going in different directions.”

'II' is out now through Eskimo Recordings/Stomp.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009 14:48

Tom Middleton

Last Drinks!

Bursting onto the UK underground in the 1990s under several monikers, including Reload, Global Communication and the now infamous Jedi Knights outfit, featuring Mark Pritchard, Tom Middleton has carved an enviable niche for himself as a bonafide encyclopedia on ambient, world, techno and, of course, house music. In doing so, he’s established himself as one of music's most interesting personalities.

Compilations like 2004's 'The Trip' - where Middleton somehow managed to mix Tomtomclub's 'Wordy Rappinghood' with James Brown - have reinforced his ability to recognise and appreciate music, irrespective of cultural or historical boundaries. His new compilation, 'One More Tune', is set to continue this adventure by connecting with that moment of the night when there's only time for, ahhem, one more tune. “The project has been in development for a good five or six years,” Middleton explains. “If you think about it, a DJ has to select one piece of music to end the night. He's got to leave people smiling or dancing or singing along. Those tunes have to have really special anthemic properties.

“[So] this is research for me into what makes and defines an anthem. You have to have a sense of musicality to start with. Anthems are born out of strong melody, strong harmony and possibly lyrical content [so] an anthem to me has to be something both memorable and emotional; you derive some sort of emotive reaction from it.”

'One More Tune' has already received massive support since its release earlier this month on Renaissance. Middleton has whittled down a gargantuan original playlist of preferred ‘one more tunes' to include only the best in emotional, anthemic house.

Derrick May's 'Strings Of Life', Joe Smooth's 'Promised Land' and Akabu's 'Phuture Bound' sit side by side with Middleton's own tracks, including his timeless 1991effort 'One More Tune', making this both a nod to the past days of rave culture and a contemporary cram session on feel-good music. “There's an honesty about them that unites people on the dancefloor,” Middleton says in reference to the 'One More Tune' playlist.

“To me [they] represent absolutely timeless classics and the one thing that links them together is this sort of emotional integrity. Writing an anthem, you've got to tune into that. You've got to be feeling the people; you've got to be feeling one, if you like. I might sound like a hippie but you've got to be feeling the love!”

In such a saturated compilation market, Middleton was only too aware of the need on this project to provide more than just the standard mix. A second disc contains a selection of unmixed tracks and edits for the One More Tune project. But, as Middleton explains, the entire project called for a unique approach. “With anything these days you're obviously doing your best to give people some kind of fresh content. My prerogative was to remix - or what I call remodel - as many of the tracks as possible to give people a lot more than a compilation of classic hits. You've got my interpretation of these hits.”

Middleton has remixed everyone from Coldplay, Underworld and Kylie Minogue to Prince, Goldfrapp and Orbital (his new remix of the Hartnoll brothers' 'Halcyon' will surface soon), demonstrating a true love and respect for his craft as a musician. It's this love, he believes, that has seen him continue to remain relevant in such a fast-moving industry. “If you love what you're doing and put love into the music - care and attention - and really do what you feel is right and justified for the purpose of remixing, I think it's untouchable and I think people feel that,” the classically-trained pianist and cellist says.

“That's why certain artists cross-over as being more universally popular than others. They have an ability to connect with the masses on an emotional level. Eric Prydz makes great anthems; Deadmau5 makes great anthems because they're melodic and harmonic and you connect with them on that slightly subtle level; it's not just rhythms.”

‘One More Tune’ is out now through Renaissance/ Stomp.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010 14:06

Kazu Kimura Interview

Rolling Stone

Whether he’s kicking it in his current home in Valladolid in Spain, wowing crowds in his native Japan, or dropping in on his ‘second home’ in Brisbane, Kazu Kimura is always well-received.

A player on the international scene for over 20 years, Kimura’s love of and dedication to the darker, tougher sounds of techno, minimal and tech house is well known. Since starting his DJ career in 1987 - when he began playing at clubs in Tokyo and Nagano - Kimura has released EPs and remixes for labels including Evolution Records, London’s Mondo Records and Cr2.

Now based in Spain, Kimura is currently enjoying a two-month sojourn in Australia, where he will be playing a string of dates in addition to working on the launch of his anticipated own imprint, Conspira Records. “I’ve got some work to do now, so this trip can’t be just a holiday,” he says. “[Conspira’s] sound style will be tech but could be dub, house, minimal, tribal, Detroit and acid house as well.”

Kimura says being able to routinely play across continents affords him the opportunity to further build on his eclectic tastes. A set played in his hometown in Spain, then, is likely to be very different to the set he will lay down at the Earth Freq after party this Friday. “I do play some hard-groove tech stuff but that’s only in Spain when using vinyl,” he explains. “But everywhere else [the] BPMs slowed down lately; that seems more popular right now. “I do like all kind of sounds if it’s based on techno; I see that [the] percussive tribal tech house sounds are coming back again.”

Name-checking the likes of Paul Ritch, Berlin-based Swede Par Grundvik, Adam Beyer, Jerome Sydenham and Gary Beck as some his favourite producers, Kimura reveals that the coming months will see several fresh releases drop on Tokyo’s Plus Records, in addition to him finishing off some tracks from 2009. “I want to work in the studio a lot this year because I did stop working for about six months,” he says. “I needed to have a break actually so I did, and now I have good positive feeling back again.”

As for his appearance this Friday, Kimura has this message for all those who will be flocking to Soma: “I just want everyone to enjoy and feel special; let your body and mind be free to the sounds. When the DJ and the dancefloor become ‘ONE’ you will see the magic.”

Kazu Kimura plays the Earth Freq After Party at Barsoma this Friday February 19.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010 09:54

Ice Cube Interview

So West Coast

It's an uncompromising love for the West that makes Ice Cube the best.

Expressing love for one's home town is nothing new in music; Lynyrd Skynyrd love ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and Jay-Z and ‘New York’ are “like that”, as we've recently learned. Few artists, however, have used their roots to shape a career quite like Ice Cube has done with his beloved west coast of the United States.

Born in South Central Los Angeles, the acclaimed rapper was responsible for introducing gangsta rap to the world when, in the late 1980s, he founded Niggaz Wit Attitude (N.W.A) alongside Dr Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella.

NWA's 1988 classic debut LP ‘Straight Outta Compton' - and the several singles it spawned including 'Express Yourself’ and the controversial ‘Fuck Tha Police' - saw Ice Cube develop a reputation as one of the west coast's original hardmen, one he has since exploited to shape a successful, multi-faceted solo career which today sees him billed as a ‘rapper, actor, producer, director, screenwriter and committed father of four’.

While credits for television series ‘Are We There Yet’ and for films ‘Boyz In The Hood’, ‘Higher Learning’, ‘Three Kings’ and the ‘Friday’ and ‘Barbershop’ franchises have made him a bankable name on Hollywood hill, it's been Ice Cube's music that has continued to endear him to a wide international demographic. Early albums ‘AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted’ and ‘Death Certificate’ were two of the defining hip hop releases of the 1990s, while the ‘War And Peace’ albums and ‘Laugh Now, Cry Later’ continued to champion west-coast rap and hip hop to the world.

His newly-released ninth studio album - the aptly titled ‘I Am The West’ - takes this long-held love for everything west coast that little bit further and confirms his reputation as one of the United States' most socially-aware artists. The album is a homage to the west coast and contains all the bravado and fronting we've come to expect from Ice Cube, along with ubiquitous crisp production and playful, intelligent lyrics. While ‘Too West Coast’ sees him proudly proclaim his “Ego is as big as Heathrow” - and the entire album continues to propel the east-west rivalry - Ice Cube maintains it's a rivalry today played out only through music as opposed to on the streets, where such “beefs” resulted in the deaths of Tupac Shakur, the Notorious B.I.G and others throughout the mid 1990s.

“It's not the east-coast west-coast beef that everybody remember from the '90s,” he explains from his home in LA where he's just watched his beloved Oakland Raiders snatch a win in the NFL.

“I think everybody now can represent where they from without pissing anybody off. Those beefs are behind everybody; it's really not where you from, it’s where you're at. People represent where they from without offending nobody; it's cool.”

So, while poignant cracks at Kanye West and Jay-Z throughout ‘I Am The West’ could be seen as stirring the pot, Ice Cube maintains it's all very much tongue-in-cheek. “That's what we call 'style and grace', you know what I mean?” he says. “It's basically saying, you know, 'I'm not this one, I'm not that one', you know, but you gotta know who I am, so it ain't really dissin' nobody.”

‘I Am The West’ - released on Ice Cube's own Lench Mob Records - is a sharp social commentary on the problems facing the United States early in the 21st century but production-wise, as he explains, it's also a reflection of how the music industry has changed since the early days of NWA and Westside Connection. “A few things have changed but not a lot. [It's] still pretty much a process of kind of discovering what the song should be,” he explains. “I used to go to the studio back in the day with a crate full of records trying to figure out, you know, what could we use to enhance our record. Now we get musicians in the studio, so it's more of a traditional session.

“But I [still] approach it like I've always approached it, you know; I love to record pretty much with the studio clear of people; just me and my engineer. I go in there and then after that just try and build the best song, for what it is, that I can.”

Touching down in Australia this week alongside Dub C and Crazy Toones, Ice Cube promises Australian fans - for whom he is full of praise - are in store for a night of classic and upfront tunes. “We're just trying to come down there and bring some of this Californian love out there,” he says.

“I always plan on doing all my repertoire of hip hop, from NWA to Westside Connection to early solo years and some ‘I Am The West’; hopefully give people a nice dose of everything. The Australian audience is extremely sophisticated when it comes to hip hop; what's hot, what's not, what they like - I like - because they don't really take their lead from America. They just kinda figure out who they like.”

Rumours have swirled in recent months about plans to bring the NWA story to the big screen, an ironic development for Ice Cube, whose life has been played out on stage and on screen for over 20 years. While he confirms a biopic of the group Rolling Stone named number 83 in the 100 Greatest Artists Of All Time is “moving forward”, he is hesitant to say more at this stage other than that he “hopes” Dr Dre is involved. The movie business, as he explains, is one he continues to be wary of.

“I would love to act more, but I'm real picky about my movies 'cause Hollywood, you know, they'll try to play you,” he says. “Ultimately I want to always be proud of what I do (movies) [but] I … have hit a total comfort zone when it comes to acting, that I'm assuming some of my best work is ahead of me.”

Ice Cube plays The Tivoli on Saturday  October 30. ‘I Am The West’ is out now.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009 09:54

Gully Platoon : Interview

Bridging The Divide

Australian hip hop has come along in leaps and bounds over the past ten years and Obese Records' Gully Platoon crew is the most recent example of just how strong the genre has become.

Featuring a number of Australia's most gifted MCs and lyricists, including Obese Records' chief Pegz, DJ 2Buck and former Down Under Beats members Joe New and Dialectrix - and supported by producers including Plutonic Lab and Jase - Gully Platoon are set to release their debut album 'The Great Divide' on Obese Records on August 7.

If the first single 'Coat Of Paint' is anything to go by, fans of quality Aussie hip-hop have much to look forward to. As Gully Platoon member and red-hot MC Dialectrix explains, 'The Great Divide' will continue hip-hop's evolution in Australia and, like anything that pushes the envelope, is sure to stir debate.

“People who are familiar with what Obese do, what Pegz has done in the past and my previous work, might be a little bit surprised by some of the music that we have conjured together for this album,” the Blue Mountains-based Dialectrix explains.

“We've all done a fair bit of stuff between us; Pegz has had quite a long career and been very prolific with his releases [so] we really wanted to push a different sound. What people can expect is something high-quality … and something quite different for Australian hip-hop in terms of the way it sits sonically next to a lot of other crews in Australia.

“I think there's a few tracks on there that I don't think have ever been touched in Australian hip hop history in terms of their production. It's not a very conservative album in some aspects and I think we're trying to embrace that individualism and forge our own sound.”

Dialectrix is well qualified to comment on the Australian scene. While he broke out 'officially' in 2004 as a member of Triple J Unearthed-winning group Down Under Beats, the 22-year-old MC has been a supporter of the scene for nearly ten years, enjoying recent success contributing to Chasm's 'Beyond The Mix Tape' release and through the release of his own critically-acclaimed debut LP 'Cycles Of Survival' on Obese Records. As he explains, Gully Platoon was borne out of a mutual yearning to construct a forward-facing Australian hip-hop crew.

“After I left Down Under Beats it was always my plan to do a solo endeavour but at the same time [I wanted to] keep my crew-based roots and get on board with a few other like-minded hip hop heads,” he says.

“In the initial dream period of Gully Platoon we got together a few beats, sent them via email and had a really relaxed approach to see if there was any chemistry there. It started to come together really quickly [and] became more cohesive over time until we had the finished product.”

The strength of Gully Platoon lies in its members' own varied talents coming together as one. While all have enjoyed success either as solo artists or as members of other hip hop crews, it's the mixing together of these musical influences that distinguish Gully Platoon and make their first studio album such an anticipated release. First single 'Coat Of Paint' is straight-up organic Aussie hip-hop at its finest. There's no pretension, no bullshit, just well-produced beats over smooth, original and honest lyrics. As Dialectrix explains, Gully Platoon are happy to be breaking out at a time of great development and success within the Australian scene.

“I've been active in Australian hip hop for a pretty long time; not as long as other people obviously but … in that time period I've seen a lot of really positive things happen in terms of individual facets of the genre really embracing being original and being individuals,” he says.

“Right now it's a time where all these different groups and labels are really honing in on their key signature sound and it's blossoming out from the roots of what Aussie hip-hop started out as.

“It's really branching out into all these sub-genres [and] I think it's an awesome thing that you've got some really, really high-quality commercial sounding stuff, you've got some really dark underground stuff and all the shades of grey in between.”

'The Great Divide' is out August 7 on Obese Records. Gully Platoon will play alongside Muph & Plutonic, Drapht and others at The Tivoli on October 16 and at The Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay, on October 17 as part of the 2009 Obese Records Block Party tour.

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