Onwards And Upwards
Around the turn of the millennium, Perth MC Drapht was finding his feet amongst the legendary Perth crew Syllabolix. Come 2002 and fellow crew member Hunter put the young gun on his record, â€˜Done DLâ€™, with Dazastah.
These days, Hunter still isnâ€™t slowing down, somehow managing to record and release â€˜Fear And Loathingâ€™ with Mortar earlier this year despite receiving regular chemotherapy for cancer. As a result, he has had to curtail a number of vices. Intriguingly, Drapht has also decided to kick the bottle. Raising funds for his friend through Dry July provided the impetus for a profound epiphany. â€œFrom my side of things, itâ€™s more health issues. I struggle with a hereditary stomach issue that alcohol, and sugar in general, doesnâ€™t help. So itâ€™s more just trying to get to 100 percent health in my case. Itâ€™s one of those things I have been meaning to do for a while now but because our whole way of life in Australia is so based around alcohol and drinking each weekend, itâ€™s such a hard thing to hit on the head.â€
Naturally, sobriety has had a multifaceted impact on his day-to-day life, with Drapht experiencing a marked increase in productivity.
â€œI get so much more done now. Creatively, I have so many more ideas. I wake up at 7:30 as opposed to mid-afternoon if I had been drinking the night before. I think the next record will come a lot quicker because of it.â€
This newfound spirit of abstinence would have faced a formidable challenge when Drapht played a set at a little old festival called Splendour In The Grass a couple of weeks ago.
â€œIt was my second sober show. I did one in Mackay at the start of July. I was a ball of nerves for that show and I never get nervous before any show. Iâ€™ve been doing it for ten years, you would think Iâ€™d be comfortable with it by now.
â€œIâ€™m just so used to having four or five beers before I go on, it just got to me that I couldnâ€™t. I thought I had the nerves under control but when I stepped out there it was like â€˜holy fuckâ€™. I kept hearing my own voice in my head in the middle of songs saying I was going to make a mess of things. It was hard but it was an awesome show, I pulled through in the end.â€
Drinking and performing at the same time is obviously a fine line to walk. Drapht reflects on a â€˜wastedâ€™ youth.
â€œIâ€™ve been drinking since I was 13 so Iâ€™m a pretty good drunk at the best of times. In the past, I could have up to ten beers before I went on and still not be too affected by it. Iâ€™d slur a word or two, stumble a bit more than usual but I could still put on a show. It was just second nature really because I had rehearsed it so much beforehand.â€
The original inspiration for the Dry July escapades remains at the forefront of Draphtâ€™s mind; Hunterâ€™s battle with cancer.
â€œHeâ€™s just fighting everyday. Heâ€™s in really good spirits which is the main thing. Going from being an alcoholic to being told you have terminal cancer and can never drink again because itâ€™s life-threatening is not the easiest thing to deal with. Youâ€™ve gotta deal with chemo and chemo thoughts as well, not only does it affect your body, it influences your frame of mind as well.
â€œYour body rejects everything that goes into it from a certain point onwards. Heâ€™s fighting the fight of his life at the moment and heâ€™s winning but his body is telling him otherwise because of the amount of chemo heâ€™s getting. Heâ€™s trying to remain as positive as possible, leading a healthier lifestyle as well. Heâ€™s changed his diet to that of a vegetarian, organic and whatnot. Weâ€™re all just praying that he gets through it.â€
Drapht is preparing for a massive tour around the country next month. The ironically titled â€˜Party, Party, Partyâ€™ tour will see Drapht joined by Muph & Plutonic as well as Syllabolix crew members Dazastah and Layla. So whatâ€™s up with the title?
â€œIt was purely because I couldnâ€™t name the tour â€˜Bali Partyâ€™ because that track is going to be the next single. I just couldnâ€™t stomach the idea of naming the tour after the single so we just ended up with â€˜Party, Party, Partyâ€™ instead. Itâ€™s also because my birthday is in September so I wanted to pitch it as more of a huge birthday tour rather than just another tour I have to do. Iâ€™ve been touring non-stop since April and even before that I did the â€˜Rapunzelâ€™ tour in November. The next tour is just a celebration of everything that has happened, really.â€
Busy as ever, Drapht elaborates on the rejuvenated productivity he is currently in the midst of. â€œIâ€™ve just finished a track for an Australian MC whose album will be out in the next couple of months or so. Iâ€™m also finishing a track at the moment with Dazastah and Hunter for Hunterâ€™s canteen project. Iâ€™m still writing a heap and working with a producer on some new stuff as well. Itâ€™s more just formulating ideas at this stage. Iâ€™m not in a rush to delve too deep into the next record but Iâ€™m still working on it slowly.â€
Aside from the inspiration drawn from sobriety, Drapht tells of other significant events from recent times.
â€œI just got back from an overseas trip to Cambodia and Thailand. It was a real eye-opener for me, I came back with so many ideas despite the fact I was only gone for a week and a half. I came back with 20 song ideas. Spending that time by myself and not having conversations with anyone but locals really helped me out a heap.â€
Drapht will headline Sprung Festival at the Brisbane Riverstage Saturday October 15. sprunghiphop.com.au
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