Heâ€™s amassed the biggest under-age army this side of Joseph Kony, and heâ€™s going to war. Step inside the world of 360.
â€œOh, it's just insane, man,â€ says the rapper â€” whose mum calls him Matt Colwell â€” about the response to his sophomore LP, â€˜Falling & Flyingâ€™. â€œIt's fucking insanity. I never, ever pictured it going double platinum. Even platinum had me nearly falling over and shit, but double platinum? And it's got a chance to go triple platinum as well? It's fucking surreal. It doesn't make sense, man. It's fucking crazy.â€
Not that the recordâ€™s success came as a complete surprise to anyone. 360â€™s fanbase, which he affectionately dubs his â€˜Armyâ€™, has skewed young since the release of his first mixtape in 2008. â€˜Falling &â€ˆFlyingâ€™, with its pop and electro flavours, is aimed right at the heart of that crowd, as well as older heads looking for something to push the genre forward.
â€œThat was the aim with this one,â€ he says, â€œbecause there are so many different genres and influences on this album, to get a different audience in there... the [producer] I was working with, Styalz Fuego, heâ€™s a really great songwriter and heâ€™s very up to date with current pop songs and shit like that. Working with him was great for the song structure and all that kind of shit. He was the perfect dude to work with for what I wanted to do.
â€œI told him I wanted to make a record that wasn't a straight-up hip hop album, a straight-ahead rap album. I wanted to do something that pushed the boundaries a little bit, something with no rules, where we just go in and make music, and wherever it takes us, that's where we go. Let's not try to make a pop album to sell records, let's not try and make a dance record, let's just make music. Whatever happens, happens. That's what 'Falling & Flying' is.â€
Singles â€˜Just Got Startedâ€™ and â€˜Throw It Awayâ€™ (featuring Josh Pyke) led the assault on the charts, but it was â€˜Boys Like Youâ€™, infused with a pop reggae vibe worthy of The Police and a gorgeous chorus from Gossling, that sent things into overdrive. He took out the Channel [V] Oz Artist of the Year award ahead of more traditional choices like Short Stack and Guy Sebastian, even starting a bizarre video feud with Short Stack in the process.
â€œThat was just a joke! It's definitely not a genuine beef,â€ he protests. â€œI've got no problems with them whatsoever. I'm sure they're good dudes. I just got told to make a video to get people to vote for the Channel [V] Oz Artist of the Year thing, and I thought, well, what better way than to take the piss out of Short Stack? So I did, and then I just copped fucking mayhem from all these crazy little kids. It was nuts... [Their response] was pretty funny, man. Good on â€˜em.â€
360â€™s under-age army missed out on his â€˜Boys Like Youâ€™ tour, and he caught hell for it. Having realised the importance of that crowd, heâ€™s not repeating that mistake on the â€˜Flyingâ€™ tour, with all-ages shows planned for most cities.
â€œYeah, they're definitely important, man,â€ he says of his younger fanbase. â€œThe under-ages missed out on this tour, and they were pretty pissed off about it. But we've got something special lined up for 'em for the 'Flying' tour. I think they're gonna love it. They're gonna flip for it. The under-age crowd loves every little bit of an under-age gig, so it's gonna be fun.â€
For all the record sales, 360â€™s greatest legacy might just be the Rapper Tag. He got the ball rolling on the Aussie phenomenon in 2010, and 46 of his peers have been â€˜taggedâ€™ since (each entry sees an MC record a freestyle rap to camera before nominating the next contender).
â€œMy favourite is Seth Sentryâ€™s, man,â€ he says without hesitation. â€œThatâ€™s definitely my favourite one. Look, I know him personally, and that's just totally him. Flat out, that's just who he is. He's just a dude who smokes weed and plays Xbox too much. But he's really, really witty and really smart with his lyrics, and that video just summed it up beautifully. I thought he smashed it, to be honest.â€
Before Rapper Tag, it was rap battling that made 360â€™s name, and he still keeps one foot in that scene. A recent showdown with Campbelltown MC Kerser ended with no clear victor, leaving their fans to debate the winner. But as his brand gets bigger, itâ€™s easy to imagine a point where it wonâ€™t be worth it for 360 to keep putting his reputation on the line.
â€œIt depends, man. It depends who I go againstâ€¦ I mean, I've had a lot of interest. We're talking about doing a battle in Toronto at the end of the year, and going to the UK to do battles... I love doing it. I've just gotta have enough time. I've got a battle on March 31 that I haven't really prepared for that I really, really need to prepare for. I've just gotta make sure I have the time to do it, you know?
â€œI want to battle people with big names. I'm not in it to battle up-and-comers and shit like that. I've gotta be smart about it. I'm not in it to battle the newest dude... it's like Kerser, back in the day. When he first wanted to battle, I didn't think he was at the point where he was ready to do it. When we got to the stage where we did decide to do the battle, I think it was perfect timing, because it built up so much hype. That's how I want to do it. Every opponent has to be smartly chosen.â€
If his spoils of war are any indication, heâ€™s picked his battles well so far.
'Falling & Flyingâ€™ is out now. 360 plays The Hi-Fi Sunday June 10 (18+) and Monday June 11 (U18 afternoon performance) - both shows are sold out. A second 18+ evening show has been announced for June 11.