Are Coming For You
It has been a busy few months for the Sydney rap crew Mind Over Matter, and now theyâ€™re really in the thick of it as they tour the country.
From the start when the duo of Smiles and Willow entered a â€˜Battle of the Bandsâ€™ contest in 2003, to their 2006 Mixtape nomination on ozhiphop.com, it has all added to the duoâ€™s cache, in turn helping them earn their stripes. â€œI guess those two things were career boosters, and it all adds up,â€ says Smiles. And from somewhat humble beginnings, the Sydney pair have come into their own, supporting current darling act of Australian hip hop, Bliss N Eso. â€œYeah, that really didnâ€™t hurt us.â€
Other big note developments for the crew were supporting Method Man and Redman on their last Australian tour, which was a surreal experience for Mind Over Matter. â€œMost of the time after a gig weâ€™re really professional, trying to sell CDs and move merchandise, but at that tour, we just grabbed two jugs of beer and went into the audience to enjoy the show.â€ A full circle Mind Over Matter it would seem. In stark contrast to the divisive and combative US hip hop market, the homegrown scene is much more of a community. â€œIn the US, there is a lot of fracturing, but here itâ€™s good. Local artists that are making waves are Phatchance, as well as big names such as Drapht.â€ Sydney and Melbourne seem to be the temperate climate for these sorts of goodies to grow, but overall it seems to be taking off everywhere. â€œEveryone who raps knows everybody else who raps; Iâ€™m a big fan of the local stuff.â€
But itâ€™s not all handholding and Kumbaya sing-a-longs â€“ â€œthereâ€™s still some competition, but itâ€™s definitely more supportive, itâ€™s just a smaller, humbler sceneâ€.
Attention turns to their new album, â€˜Just Like Fireworksâ€™, which is a creative leap for Mind Over Matter, with a greater focus on live instrumentation â€“ cellists, live drums, vocalists. â€œWeâ€™ve upped everything, we went through over 5,000 beats to choose which ones we wanted to use.â€
Itâ€™s this sort of professionalism and commitment to the craft that will increase both their local and international fanbase as well as earn the credibility so many local acts need. In the tradition of all the great hip hop albums of yesteryear, the album features collaborations with other artists. In particular is John Reichardt, who played guitar on the record - â€œheâ€™s a name to watchâ€. Other special guests will be well known amongst urban aficionados â€“ Vida-Sunshyne, Ernst Carter Jnr and Drakezilla to name a few.
The lead single, â€˜Rappers in Wonderlandâ€™ was recently been added to the rotation on Triple J: â€œThat didnâ€™t hurt,â€ laughs Smiles. Itâ€™s an upbeat number, and shows how much fun Willow and Smiles had recording the album. Another standout track is â€˜Hollow Eyesâ€™, which takes on serious issues such as the drug and slave industry of Kings Cross and Thailand.
The crew are now partway through their national tour, with a Brisbane stop scheduled for this weekend. Hopefully theyâ€™ll be able to recapture the magic they experienced in Brisbane last time. â€œIt was one of our favourite stops on the last tour; the Beetle Bar is really cosy and intimate.â€
When asked what local fans can expect from their show, Smiles is infectiously enthusiastic. â€œA wild night! We have a live band, and the drummer gees us up, which the crowd likes. Every night we set out to have an adventure, to create a new memory. We just want to party with the locals.â€
Mind Over Matter are also branching out into the corporate world, by lining up a few syncs (when a television show uses a bandâ€™s song as the background music). â€œItâ€™s just another way for us to get our name out there,â€ which suggests a strategic side to the creative process, handy if you are keen to take over the world.
Mind Over Matter are performing at the Beetle Bar on May 7. â€˜Just Like Fireworksâ€™ is available now.