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Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:57

Sprung Festival 2013: Live Review

As the sun’s rays shone down from above, Brisbane’s Aussie hip hop massive descended on Victoria Park for the third incarnation of Sprung.

Arriving just in time for Melbourne’s Brad Strut I notice a crowd of hundreds gathered early, lapping up his every word while he fought the direct sunlight in his eyes. Rumours of Trem being there to take the stage for a Lyrical Commission reunion were proven unfounded but that didn’t stop the man they call Strutter putting in a heavy performance.

Thundamentals took to the second stage just as Horrorshow were finishing up on the main stage and were lucky enough to get a strong crowd for the majority of their set.

The Sydneysiders have carved out a nice little place for themselves, and from their relaxed but entertaining set it’s easy to see why. Playing tracks from both their albums as well as new single ‘Smiles Don’t Lie’ MCs Tuka and Jewson had the crowd flowing.

By this point the the sun had well and truly set and temperatures were quickly dropping. The punters enthusiasm was not dampened, though, with the appearance of Urthboy.

Fighting to keep his crowd against the popular Seth Sentry on the main stage, Urthboy pulled out all the stops for a highly entertaining and energetic show featuring lots of banter with the crowd and special guest Jane Tyrell, who arrived on stage during the second song to loud cheers from all over. Midway through, the set took an unexpected but special turn when Urthboy invited a friend out of the crowd, who took the mic and got down on one knee to propose to her boyfriend (he accepted)!

A small but enthusiastic crowd remained on the second stage in anticipation of Crate Cartel and were not disappointed as Maundz & Co proceeded to tear it up. The crowd increased dramatically during their show which only pumped them up even more, delivering probably the most intense set of the day. If the confidence and skill on display were any indication these guys won’t be on the second stages for much longer.

Lazy Grey and Jake Biz are Brisbane legends and the 750 Rebels put in another classic show that will only add to their reputation. Backed by DJ Lopsided they ran through tracks from both their careers with Lazy’s ‘That’s What Rap Is About’ and Jake’s vicious ‘Commercial Hell’ being standouts. Midway through the set they were joined by a pumped up Kings Konekted to the delight of the crowd who raised the bar with a stellar guest spot and opened the way for Jake to announce a new album from him and Lazy Grey called ‘Cold Heat’.

Some of the crowd made their way around to catch the end of a triumphant 360 who was headlining the main stage to a packed-out crowd hanging on his every word. Hip hop in Australia is showing no sign of slowing down.

Visit Scenestr for all the photos from the day!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 15:49

Masta Ace: Live Review

Brisbane was freezing on Saturday night as a modest crowd packed into the upstairs room at the Transcontinental to see legendary Brooklyn MC Masta Ace.

Up first were local supports Exit Strategy and Sus One, who entertained the small but vocal crowd and got things ready for Kings Konekted who were plugging their latest EP, ‘The Campaign’. KK have been making moves in recent months and this is not lost on the punters who give them a raucous reception. Coming up toward midnight DJ Marco Polo hits the stage before the headliner, playing tracks off his new LP including the Gangstarr tribute ‘G.U.R.U.’ that went down well.

Masta Ace hit the stage next and the intensity level was turned up a notch as people made the way to the floor. Ace, along with his rhyme partner Stricklin, made their mark early with tracks from his latest album, ‘Son Of Yvonne’, getting an early airing along with Ace’s classic verses from Marley Marl’s ‘The Symphony’ and Crooklyn Dodger’s ‘Crooklyn’. The night took a somewhat surreal turn in the middle of the set with a mystery mic being turned on somewhere and someone actually rapping inaudibly over the top.  DSC6583
It only took a couple of minutes for the show to restart with Ace joking about “The curse of the wack MC”, and going in to ‘Sitting On Chrome’ from 1995’s effort of the same name. The show was interactive with plenty of banter from Ace and Stricklin, who were happy to take requests throughout making sure Ace’s entire career was covered from ‘Take A Look Around’ all the way through to his MC work.

While the sound wasn’t the best due to the massive hole in the middle of the floor where the stairs are located, Masta Ace’s personality and skill shone through, creating a warm vibe to counter the chill coming from outside and giving Brisbane a solid night of hip hop we don’t get to see to often.

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Photos: Andrew Garden

Wednesday, 22 August 2012 14:32

Grandmaster Melle Mel: The Old School Way

Hip hop can be a fickle creature. Over the years there have been scores of MCs, too many to mention, who’ve come and gone in a heartbeat believing their own hype but failing to deliver.

For Grandmaster Melle Mel, who turned 51 in May, hip hop has had its ups and downs, however, as the lead rapper in Grandmaster Flash & Furious Five — who released the groundbreaking track ‘The Message’ in the early ‘80s — Melle Mel has endured as one of the most positive and recognisable hip hop voices.

The first rapper to label himself an ‘MC’, Melle Mel has watched the genre he helped foster become a global phenomenon. But as he explains down the phone from New York, at the time they were just trying to be creative. “When we started doing music or hip hop there was no real title for guys that talked on the mic, it was just DJs and they would actually do their own talking on the mic. So me and and my brother and all the other cats who couldn’t DJ were looking for a title. We were looking at ‘Master of Ceremonies’ thinking that would be our role, so we broke it down to ‘MC’.”

Hip hop is now a multi-billion dollar industry who’s presence is felt everywhere from the slums of Rio to fashion runways in Milan. As a pioneer of the artform, Melle Mel talks about what it was like watching hip hop become the corporate machine it now is.

“It feels good because it was a great accomplishment. From us just coming from the Bronx and then seeing something that you did go global the way it has. However, sometimes the message and the image that the industry put out was not the right look.”

Having been around for so long, Melle Mel isn’t shy in voicing his concerns when it comes to the present direction of hip hop culture.

“Two things would have to happen,” he says bluntly, “first the industry would have to let go of the whole gangster image, and the second thing is they would have to promote all aspects of what is really going on, instead of just promoting an image. Right now it’s Rick Ross’ image, before that it was 50 Cent or Jay-Z, which is good. But the bad part is the outcome won’t be the same for people who take the path of Rick Ross, 50 Cent or Jay-Z. All you will get are clones of those artists.”

Unlike a lot of his old school contemporaries, Melle Mel has not only stayed active in the rap game, he’s kept in great shape physically, with a body that would put most people in their 20s to shame.

“I first started to get into [bodybuilding] because a few of the guys in the group like Cowboy and another brother, Scorpio, were doing stuff like push-ups, so I would do push-ups. As time went on I started to take it more serious, reading up on it and going to the gym and now I’m a personal trainer as well. It’s just something that I added to my image years ago that stuck till today, just going in to the gym, being healthy and looking muscular which gives me a dominant presence on stage.”

With his Australian tour just around the corner, Melle Mel is promising his fans a straight-up, old school show.

“It’s dynamic original hip hop!” he booms. “On stage is basically our forte, because before records and everything you just had to have a good space and the main thing was for people to have a good time. That was the original concept of DJing and MCing anyway. It’s not about who has the biggest chain or let’s see who made the most money. It was about who had the best party! You were there to have a great time and make sure everyone else had a great time also!”

Grandmaster Melle Mel plays Coniston Lane Saturday October 6.


Wednesday, 08 August 2012 15:15

Melissa Tkautz: Read Her Lips

Soap stars becoming pop stars. The concept is nothing new.

In fact it has been done so many times you could be forgiven for forgetting the names of the countless faces that have tried a career in pop when the acting well dried up, hoping to become the next Kylie.

It’s not often a long and successful career is forged, but occasionally someone comes along and does just that. Enter Melissa Tkautz. With over 20 years in the industry she’s a veteran, having blessed our TV screens as Nikki Spencer in ‘E Street’ in the early ‘90s. After being nominated for the Best New Talent Logie in 1991, she took the unusual step of leaving a very successful acting role to take up a career in music.

“‘Read My Lips’ [Tkautz’ first single] was basically given to me and I had no idea what I was doing,” she laughs.

“I knew I loved singing and I had trained as a singer, but everything happened so quickly, it was just a crazy whirlwind. One minute I’m watching ‘E Street‘ in my lounge room, the next minute I’m starring in ‘E Street’ and I’ve got a number one single in the charts!”

In the years that followed, Melissa occasionally returned to acting with stints in ‘Paradise Beach’ and ‘Echo Point’, and more recently ‘Swift And Shift Couriers’ and ‘Houso’. But it was her role in the cult classic ‘Pacific Drive’ as HIV-positive character Bethany Daniels that had the most profound effect on her.

“It was huge at the time! I played the first HIV-positive character on Australian TV so I did a lot of research on the role and a lot of charity work with HIV [patients], especially young kids who had contracted the disease.

"No one really knew too much about it back then either. It was educating people that if you have HIV it doesn’t mean you are going to die tomorrow.”

After so many years in the industry and so much success I mention that she’s still relatively young for all that she has achieved.

“I’m very fortunate in my life at the moment, I’ve got a beautiful daughter and husband, I’m still able to do gigs, record music and that’s very important to me, and I’m just blessed with the most loyal fanbase!”

‘Melissa Tkautz: The Hits’ is out August 10. Melissa plays The Beat August 24.
Thursday, 26 April 2012 12:09

Band Of Skulls: On The Road Again

Band Of Skulls are a band on the up. Following their 2009 debut, ‘Baby Darling Doll Face Honey’, the Southampton trio have found their music used for TV commercials and Hollywood soundtracks, while they’ve toured the world with such luminaries as The Black Keys.

But as singer and guitarist Russell Marsden explains down the phone from Los Angeles, all the hype hasn’t affected the recording of their sophomore album, ‘Sweet Sour’.

“On our first album we didn’t have a big advertising campaign or a big launch or anything like that. We basically just went on tour for two years and a few things happened that introduced us to people that helped us get our music more out there,” he explains casually as he fights the droning noise of the LA traffic outside.

“Recording the second album was a brand new experience for us, which I think most bands will say when they hit this sort of level for the first time. At the time it was very unusual and weird and we had to sort of work hard just to decide what sort of record we wanted to make, but in the end we just made the music how we were feeling at the time and it seems to be the right way to go. It really has become a snapshot of how we felt at that time.”

With the release of ‘Sweet Sour’ in February, Band Of Skulls can expect a lot more time on the road, touring the new material. They’ve just wrapped up a US tour that included playing the massive twin Coachella weekends in the Californian desert alongside the likes of At The Drive-In and Arctic Monkeys.

“We were playing on the Sunday but we got there on the Friday so there was that element of pacing ourselves and not enjoying ourselves too much,” he laughs. “I saw Pulp for the first time, they were one of my favorite English bands from the ‘90s and we got to catch up with The Black Keys who we were on tour with earlier this year and of course I’m sure you heard about the whole Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre thing. It was so much more than just the 2Pac hologram, in the end with Eminem and 50 Cent coming out as well. It was a total hip hop extravaganza. It’s not the type of music we come too close to, but of course we love all their records and to see it all right there all at once made it feel like a one-off thing, but of course we’re doing it all again this weekend.”

On the subject of festivals, our chat quickly turns to the band’s upcoming appearance at Splendour In The Grass, an event Marsden reveals they’re very much looking forward to playing.

“We hoped the timing of the record this time around would really lend itself to coming back and we had a little inkling that it might, but we just found out as everybody else did that it has just been confirmed so we’re really happy. Last time was so good it’s going to be interesting to see if we can beat it because not only did we get to play Splendour but we also got to play Sydney and Melbourne as well. The audiences there are some of the best we have ever had.”
When it came to the Australian culture, Marsden found our way of life very similar to his British upbringing.

“It was very exciting ... what most Brits will tell you is it’s like a very strange version of home because the culture has all these similarities, but once you have been there for a while you realise it is such a different place.”

With a European tour booked before their Australian jaunt, which will then be followed by an appearance at the UK’s Reading and Leeds festivals, the rest of 2012 is going to be busy for Band Of Skulls.

“We envisioned bigger stages and hopefully bigger audiences as well, and she’s (the record) doing us proud!” he laughs.

Band Of Skulls play Splendour In The Grass, at Belongil Fields in Byron, July 27-29. ‘Sweet Sour’ is out now.
splendourinthegrass.com

Thursday, 26 April 2012 11:57

Bell Biv Devoe: Step Back In Time

It has been more than 20 years since new jack swing act Bell Biv Devoe stepped out of the shadows of Bobby Brown’s New Edition to release their groundbreaking debut, ‘Poison’. But for Ronnie Devoe, the memories of those times seem just like yesterday.

“Man it was incredible,” Ronnie says. “We already had success with New Edition and we were thinking that since the other two guys were pursuing solo careers, myself, Rick (Bell) and Mike (Bivins) were thinking maybe we could just sit back and wait until they had their run and then we could get back together and keep pushing things up the freeway.”

But as history shows, fate had other ideas.

“We were lucky enough to be dealing with two producers at the time, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who gave us the idea to form a group. Once they told us that, it was like a light went off in our heads and we just went with it. At the time we were dealing with a few people that wanted us to go in the same direction as New Edition but we were like ‘Nah. We got to do something different.’”

And different is certainly what they did. Although commonplace now, back in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, the idea of an R&B group working with hip hop producers was almost nonexistent. But that’s what Bell Biv Devoe did, collaborating with The Bomb Squad, who were known for their work with conscious rappers like Public Enemy.

“Yeah, I mean one of the reasons we went with The Bomb Squad is that we really wanted to have an edge. We really wanted to be separate and far apart from what we established as New Edition and we knew that they (The Bomb Squad) were putting out acts like Public Enemy and Ice Cube, who they had just finished working with.”

While it might sound strange now, the group’s signature song, ‘Poison’, almost didn’t make the cut.

“I think Ricky and Michael will tell you that they weren’t really too keen on ‘Poison’, and they were kind of just riding off my passion at the time for it being our first single. I didn’t know it was going to be a classic, but I felt like it was a groundbreaking song.”

Following the release of ‘Poison’ and their sophomore album ‘Hootie Mack’, which was released in 1993, there has only been one further studio effort from the BBD camp, 2001’s ‘BBD’. But as Devoe explains, the group hasn’t been dormant.

“Touring, touring, touring man!” he laughs. “Our albums were always few and far between because we were on the road so long! We were lucky enough to come out when entertaining was such a big thing, and it’s what we grew up on. We were bred to be entertainers, and whether or not we had a record in the top 20 or the top 1000 when people came to our show they got every penny’s worth. So it didn’t matter if we had a song in the charts or not. When tickets went on sale people knew they were going to see a great show!”

After all this time, Australian fans will have to wait just a little longer to catch BBD after their May tour was rescheduled to August to allow the boys to tour the US with New Edition, an experience Devoe is very much looking forward too.

“Everything is really beautiful right now. This is the first thing we have done (as New Edition)  since about 2007. We toured quite extensively before then from about 2003, so it was definitely a time for a break,” he says. “We did a couple of shows last year and now we are going to kill ‘em all the way up to July before we knock Australia out in August as BBD.”

And what can Australian BBD fans expect from the trio?

“All the dance moves, energy and classics. We are going to look like we stepped straight out of a time machine from 1990. I’m so looking forward to it, hopefully we can make it a yearly thing. I really want to apologise for taking so long to get down there, but this time we are definitely coming. August. Lock it in!”

Bell Biv Devoe play the Hi-Fi with Ginuwine August 12.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012 14:11

The Darkness: Brotherly Love

Cast your mind back to 2003. You couldn’t swing a cat or walk five steps without hearing The Darkness’ smash single, ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’.

The world seemed like it was theirs for the taking. Until it all got lost in the usual trappings of rock & roll cliche, with the band, and friendships, left in tatters.

Guitarist Dan Hawkins is in a reflective mood as he talks about the UK band’s decision to reform. “I fell out with my brother big time after the band broke up. I didn’t think we would speak again to be honest, but as the years rolled on things just thawed really.

Becoming a dad as well pushed the whole family together a bit more. We gradually became friends again, then became brothers again and then the same thing happened that has always happened with us since we were eight years old and that was us writing songs together!”

As the Hawkins brothers rekindled their friendship, the next natural step was to get the other original members back onboard. “The first few sessions were really great, I can’t remember what the first song we did but the nature of the beast that is The Darkness... we just write songs and then we play them, so I don’t know if you could call it a jam session, but it was really good. “We should have the new album out in June just in time for summer, well not your summer,” he laughs!

Australia has always been a happy hunting ground for The Darkness, but their first Australian tour (for Big Day Out or the ‘Big Day Off’ as Hawkins calls it) got pretty crazy. “I think it’s the greatest bit of touring you could ever do! You play on average one or two gigs a week, so you get a day off after each gig meaning it was party time! It’s carnage, like one massive party.

“We made friends with The Black Eyed Peas and The Dandy Warhols and sorted out a few differences with The Strokes. It was a really memorable tour but at the end of the day there was just so much fucking booze left around.”

The Darkness play Eatons Hill Hotel May 4.

Wednesday, 08 February 2012 12:29

Forever Evolving: Roots Manuva

UK emcee Roots Manuva has never been one to easily pin down. Not afraid of experimentation, his latest LP, ‘4everevolution’, proves that even after 18 years in the game Roots refuses to go stale.

“I guess I’ve been a bit lucky really and I’ve kind of thrived off breaking every rule. I just always pictured myself as being up against every establishment there was. If the rap style was all about catchy misogynist metaphors then my style would have been, say anti government or being a lovable, sensible human being,” he laughs heartily. “I always tried to picture myself as the complete opposite to what’s going on. I never tried to fit in.”

Throughout each of his albums, Roots Manuva has consistently been able to evolve and utilise diverse and unique influences, a trait he traces back to his days volunteering at studios around South London in the early ‘90s.

“I started off in a community recording studio in Brixton, South London, as an assistant and voluntary engineer to get access to the studio. I had to do all sorts of stuff like R&B, gospel, and rock. Being around such a wide variety of artists in the early days could be a real eye opener. I now have the situation where I have my own production company, so I don’t have to do that anymore. Back in the early days, I had to listen to a lot of music that I didn’t like at the time only to find that these production influences were creeping into my own style of what I called hip hop.”

Released late last year, ‘4everevolution’ was met by rave reviews once again praising his left field vision and bold exploration into new territory. Clearly one who enjoys working in the studio, Manuva is candid and seems enlivened in describing the recording process.
“Technically I recorded the album outside of a record deal so I didn’t have any preconceptions about how it was going to turn out or whether it would be accepted. I was off on my own thing, enjoying myself,” he says.

“Initially when I first started recording I wanted it to be kind of three individual albums. An alternative rock record, a dance record and a traditional hip hop record. Toward the end of recording I ran out of money and it just sort of became this big eclectic thing that all morphed into one,” he chuckles quietly.

Addressing the album title, Manuva is quick to dismiss any political connections. “It’s just me taking the piss out of myself taking forever to finish the record when it technically could have been handed in a year earlier.”
Australian audiences will be among the first in the world to see Roots Manuva’s new live offering, as he’s bringing a live band that he’s slowly been developing.

“I’m bringing a band, yes! I don’t know if you could call it a full band or not. We have drums, percussion, synth, guitar, and decks. There is no brass section and no string section. It is not like a traditional band,” he continues, describing how his live show has evolved over the years. “It’s just kind of more open ended. Back in the very, very early days it was me and the DJ, but that changed quite quickly really because by the second album I was touring with a string quartet and a drum machine, so I was always doing something quite out there for the live spectacle.”

Australia has been a touring destination on Roots Manuva’s travel itinerary for more than a decade now, and he is well versed in Australian music, having watched the hip hop and electronic music scene explode from a small grass roots movement to a national institution. “I’ve been coming down there for quite a long time now. The first time I came out was 2000. Literally everything was so underground and then all of a sudden some day everything seems to have blown up! Whether it’s domestic hip hop or domestic dance, everything has grown into your own sound and your own flavour.”

When pressed on his favorite Australian artist he remains deliberately vague. ”There’s a few, there’s a real thriving thing going on down there. My ex musical director now lives in Melbourne and he has played me quite a lot of things. I’ve heard all the local MCs and DJs and they’re all great so it really wouldn’t be fair to mention one person, although I’ve always liked 1200 Techniques ever since I worked with them and I like the latest Hilltop Hoods album. There’s a big antipodean flavour and feeling and there other things and influences coming from the South Pacific and New Zealand like Fat Freddy’s Drop.”

For some, the distance between the UK and Australia may seem daunting, but Australia is really like a second home for Roots Manuva.
“A lot of personal things have happened as well. Like a lot of people who were based in London have moved to Australia. It’s like there’s a corridor where people just move backward and forwards. Even though it’s a day and half away, it really feels like a secret part of the UK. It’s so weird but it really does feel like home. It works both ways because there are so many Australians in the UK just like there are so many relocated British people in Australia.”

When offered the last word Roots Manuva hesitates for a second. “Get the biggest fucking shrimp and throw it on the barbie! Roots Manuva is coming home!” His laughter is deafening.

Roots Manuva plays the Hi-Fi March 9. ‘4everevolution’ is out now.
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 14:01

750 Rebels

Making Moves

Fresh from a successful appearance at Sprung Festival, and with a coveted support slot this weekend with Jedi Mind Tricks, ‘enthusiastic’ is certainly a term one could describe 750 Rebel Jake Biz’s current mood.

Veterans of the Brisbane hip hop scene for nearly a decade, 750 Rebels have rocked crowds around these parts over and over again, sometimes alongside international acts like Raekwon and MF Doom. But it was the reaction they received at Sprung that surprised them most. "We were a bit skeptical coming into it playing alongside the likes of Drapht, 360 and Phrase, and to a real Triple J audience, but we got out there and just rocked it!”

Next up for 750 Rebels is the Jedi Mind Tricks show. "We're really looking forward to getting out there. Most of the crew will be there: Bigfoot, Ken, Proof and Lopsided on the decks. Unfortunately Lazy Grey has other commitments. It’s mostly going to be me and Bigfoot, who is coming back up from Melbourne for this, so we're pretty hyped for it!"

Jake’s also buzzing about the release of his upcoming solo album next year. "Yeah mate, we're just finalising my album at the moment, ‘Commercial Hell’, which will be coming out early next year, and getting the first single 'Duce Duce' ready which is coming out on 7" vinyl, hopefully on January 1."

To release the single on vinyl was a personal decision for Jake. "We all love records but vinyl in Brisbane is pretty much dead. Recently people have been getting back into it. I'm just helping to try and bring it back a little."

With such a long and defined local history, will a full length 750 Rebels album ever see the light of day? "There is no way I will say it won’t ever happen, but it’s a matter of getting everyone together, which can be a bit hard to do since we all have other commitments. At the moment we're just getting my album ready, and preparing for the Jedi Mind Tricks show as well as helping a few friends like Gaz Hazard. But never say never."

750 Rebels support Jedi Mind Tricks at the Hi-Fi December 3.

Wednesday, 05 October 2011 12:35

Aesop Rock

WORD PLAY

Coming out of New York, via San Francisco, versatile rapper Aesop Rock is no stranger to collaborating with others, as his side project Hail Mary Mallon shows.

Mary Mallon of course is Typhoid Mary, the first person in the United States identified as a carrier of Typhoid fever. Aesop Rock, who’s touring here next month with HMM and Kimya Dawson, goes on to explain the weird connection when they were recording their album, 'Are You Going To Eat That'. "It was just a strange set of images that already existed in (Mary Mallon’s) story and it was something to relate to even if your writing a song about something else. There was this constant backbone that ran through the whole record. It was something really interesting."

Consisting of Aesop, fellow NY MC Rob Sonic and DJ Wiz, HMM released their debut album in May, but they've known each other for much longer. "Yeah, we've been friends for a long time. We've been touring together for about six/ seven years. Given that we've always done solo projects me and Rob have always - well not always, but for the last few years been on the road doing tour duty together and we've been touring with DJ Wiz for the same amount of time.

“It's just one of those things that seemed like it would inevitably happen. We both sort of found ourselves at that point where it would be more fun to collaborate than do anything else, so we just worked on that record for a while and really just tried to bang it out and get it done."

Also coming out to Australia on this jaunt is American anti-folk singer Kimya Dawson. Aesop goes on to explain how this unlikely collaboration came about. "(Kimya and I) have known each other for a year or two. I've been a fan of her music for a long time and she was making her new solo record in the area where I am in California. We had spoken back and forth on email a couple of times over the years and she just invited me to help and be a part of a couple of songs on her solo record," he explains.

"From there we just sort of started working on a separate record, a more collaborative record and we just ended up doing a couple of tours out in the US together and, I don't know, we're taking this bitch out on the road!" he chuckles.

Although the two artists come from very different backgrounds, working together was never a problem. "We're both pretty wordy in general you know, it’s just a matter of finding that middle ground. I'm pretty comfortable rapping over anything with a semi rhythm to it, so acoustic guitar is totally fine. I think we just kind of have that similar sensibility even though we have somewhat different backgrounds."

So what can Australian audiences expect? "We have been doing the same line-up here for a while ... pretty much half the night is acoustic stuff with everything from me and Kimya doing a bunch of new stuff that's not out to her doing a long solo acoustic set, then it moves over to the turntables and we do a half Mary Mallon and half Aesop set and then Kimya comes back out to sing over the beats and turntable stuff. Everyone's coming and going over the course of a couple of hours, and we'll be playing some music that no one has ever heard before so it’s pretty fun."

A visitor to Australia a couple of times before, Aesop explains why he's happy to finally be doing a proper tour down under. "In the past it’s always been festival related so sometimes it’s difficult to get in touch with the people who really want to see you. I did the Big Day Out one year and we did one of those electronic festivals a couple of years ago, we were pretty out of place on it. “I love it, any chance I get to come there which isn't really as often as I like, but when ever I do I take the offer because it’s my favourite place to go outside the US. I don't really like travelling very much," he laughs.

Aesop Rock performs with Kimya Dawson and Hail Mary Mallon at the Hi-Fi October 16. ‘Are You Going To Eat That?’ is out now.

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