I’ve written a few things over the last couple of days but none of them are worth sharing here. Just all heavy handed and contrived. Wouldn’t want to waste your time. I’m currently in the process of trying to rebuild myself, I have a few irons in the fire and hopefully I’ll have something to share in the near future.
Just saying. I’m not dead yet and I didn’t forget about the blog. Not lazy just bad at writing.
For my residency this Thursday I’ll be performing with Gravity Champions instead of my usual solo thing, also playing will be Sweat Collectors, Soul Benefits and Maatzi (DJ Set). 4th of September at The Forresters, Surry Hills. Free entry.
Til next time.
#11: The Crow Goes Caw
The artificial glow of the streetlight makes everything appear unreal, dream-like and warmer than it is.
There’s a distant roar of traffic that reminds him of the ocean. It’s transporting. His mind flashes to another time and another place in the world. It’s all so much safer as a memory.
This town is completely deserted except for the neighborhood ghosts and a few stray cats. What time is it?
He doesn’t care anymore. Tomorrow never comes anyway. He continues to walk, for a moment the sound of a far away freight train is audible, but as it fades he can’t know for certain if he really heard anything or if it was just in his head. The feeling is a familiar one, he always heard his dreams before they manifested visually, when it passes it all sinks into the same foggy bank of memory, a place where the boundaries between reality and imagination dissolve.
Whether it’s real or not, he takes his direction like he should. He walks to the edge of the train tracks and waits, watching the world quiver under the moonlight.
Staring into space, wondering how anyone could be so self involved as to ignore the sky. His gaze drifts back to ant level and he notices what looks like a big black house cat, perched at the end of the platform. An immortal sphinx, watching over her corner of the universe.
He’s drawn to her. Hopelessly. As he gets closer and his eyes come into focus, he realises that it wasn’t a cat at all but a woman. Her dress billowed romantically like Bela Lugosi’s cloak, her eyes were covered by a long black veil and only her mouth was exposed. A cat? Really? His mind plays tricks in this darkness.
Without turning to look at him she spoke..
'Is everything ok?
You seem surprised’.
Slightly embarrassed, and coy he replied..
'It's just.. Well when I first saw you..
I thought you were a cat’.
'What makes you think that I wasn't?'
Confused he looked around and nervously asked..
'What are you doing here so late?'
She turned and lifted her veil to reveal a pair of dark yellow eyes..
'I am always here
and it’s not late,
you might try asking yourself the same question though,
I know exactly where I am’.
He turned away, dejected and started toward the exit. Just as he was approaching the base of the stairs he turned around to steal one last glance at that mysterious woman from the opposite end of the platform.
Shockingly she was staring right back at him, with those yellow eyes still clearly visible from so far away.. He was paralyzed by them, and what he saw next made no logical sense..
A speeding train came into view. The woman looked forward and stepped closer to the edge of the platform. Her lips moved and she spoke some words that he couldn’t make out.
She was going to jump. He knew it and he had to save her.
His adrenaline carried him faster than his legs ever could.
and he jumped right after her
directly into the path of the oncoming engine..
There was no time,
just the deafening roar,
the white light,
the screaming of breaks..
It was much too late to do anything more but accept it.
His fragile body collided with the full titantic force of that gigantic steel monster and he exploded into a murder of crows soaring high on the updraft, flapping their wings and vanishing into the night sky where two yellow stars shimmered, brighter than all the rest.
He shook his head, exhaled, and ascended the staircase.
Rebel Without A Crew - Robert Rodriguez
#10: Most Def Regrets - Guest Concert Review by Trillion
Mos Def in Seminyak (venue Warehouse 82) - Bali
Saturday 16th August 2014
Has his ego become so huge that he feels he can do whatever he wants
at his shows?
My first guess was that he is never going to release any more music
and is riding around the world on the coat tails of his past
successes, doing a last minute cash-in before he retires somewhere in
or was he making some kind of statement about the entertainment
industry that went over everyone’s heads?
I’m talking about the rapper Mos Def… after being booked for two
separate shows in Bali that he didn’t even turn up at, he gets booked
for a third and eventually turned up to basically piss on the
audience. The venue doors opened at 7pm with a DJ warming up the
building, then a great band reminiscent of a funky underground Lenny
Kravitz performed, followed by another DJ that played for three hours
until Mos Def and his entourage finally showed after midnight.
Apparently he was supposed to perform at about 10-11pm. He basically
missed the peak energy of the night and by the time he arrived the
crowd was fading. He then pissed around for about 15 minutes greeting
people on the balcony, before taking the stage with his DJ. A few
technical issues that would have been ironed out had he turned up for
his soundcheck delayed the start of his performance… the performance
was disappointing to say the least. He danced around on stage to James
Brown and Michael Jackson songs, occasionally chiming in over the top
like a sing-a-long. He told the audience to put away their iphones and
dance because only losers take photos. After 4 or 5 songs where he did
nothing but dance and do a few James Brown-esk grunts, some confused
and disappointed ‘customers’ started chanting ‘sing, sing, sing’ and
holding up their middle fingers. This seemed to upset Mos Def, so he
stopped the music and rattled out a rant… ‘I may or may not perform
any of my songs tonight, I’m here to have a good time and share with
you songs from my life that i love, and if you don’t like it, then
leave - the door is that way’. Well fair enough if it was a free gig,
but it was not, the tickets were $50US and $70US on the door. A
disgruntled punter left and he followed with ‘do any more suckers want
to leave? if so, now is the time!’
My thought at the time was: ‘No Mos Def, everyone who is pissed off
has a right to be, you are not providing the service people have paid
a lot of money for, and it is the audience who see you as a celebrity
that can do no wrong, who are the SUCKERS’
So, what is up with that?
was it an experiment, or a scam?
did he think he would be performing to Indonesians so it mattered only
that he turned up… and when he saw there were only two or three
Indonesians in the audience of 200+ he had to continue with his scam
because he hadn’t come prepared for anything else?
His performance moved from a funk/soul dance with his back to the
audience, to a classic rap karaoke, where he would rap-a-long to his
favourite rap songs, sometimes doing complete chunks of verses, and
other times chiming in RUN DMC style for the rhyming words.
Some punter comments as they were leaving the show early:
'weak sauce' - 'disappointing' - 'fucking shit' - 'we travelled an
hour and a half for this crap’ - ‘wasting my time and money’ - ‘rip
off’ - ‘he needs to keep his ego in check’ - ‘I’ve seen him twice
before and he was awesome, but this was shit’
So there you go, even with a hundred bad reviews, there will still be
people who will pay through the nose at the chance of getting close
to, and taking a photo of a B Grade celebrity. Interesting experiment…
Should musicians be obliged to deliver what is expected based on their past?
Was it a political statement about the entertainment industry performing monkey’s?
If so, who is the joke… the industry, the audience or him?
Sorry. No blog this week. Subsketch is currently out of order.
#9: With These Hands
She stopped me just as I was about to walk out the front door..
'Wait! Your skeleton is showing.'
There was a not so subtle hint of condescension in her tone.
She grabbed me by the back of the neck with one hand, and with the other tore out the rest of my spinal cord, whipped it with a flourish and just before I could drip through her fingers jammed it painfully back into the socket, dabbing at the bloody edges with a tissue before straightening my collar and buttoning the moment with a tilt of the head and the emptiest of smiles.
'Now what are we going to do about these horrible old things?'
She was staring down at my fingers with disgust. I’m not sure how it happened exactly, but the flesh on both of my hands had grown transparent and gelatinous. With skin like decaying latex, you could see the blood struggling through my veins but even more offensive were the creaking little bones underneath.
'You've really made a mess of yourself haven't you?'
She shook her head and crossed the room. Kneeling down by the bed and pulling out an old wooden sewing box from underneath.
She rummaged around in several of the compartments until she found what she felt was necessary.
'You're a very lucky boy'
With hands tucked behind her back she approached me, slow and deliberate, smiling like a little school girl.
'Close your eyes or no surprise!'
Nervously, I closed them and felt her pulling something very dry and coarse over my hyper sensitive digits. It sent a horrendous shiver up my freshly adjusted spine that was almost unbearable.
'You can open your eyes now'..
I looked down to discover I was wearing what seemed to be gloves, but made from the skin of somebody else’s hands. Much too nervous to appear ungrateful or rude. I faked my best smile.
'Wow. They are really awesome..
Thank you so much’.
Her eyes were wide and teary and so proud that she had to step backwards just to properly take in her handiwork.
'Those were your grandfathers'.
#8: A Conversation With Crixus
Crixus is a producer, MC, craft beer aficionado and a bunch of other things. He has been involved in the local Hip Hop scene for well over a decade, was one of many artists to gain exposure via the Culture of Kings 2 compilation in 2002 and has since independently released a slew of EPs and ‘Throwaway’ albums. As far as I know he now lives in a log cabin built into the side of a mountain nestled somewhere on the rugged outskirts of sleepy old Hobart. There he lives an almost Hemingway like existence, drinking pirate whisky, shooting a bow and arrow to ward off intruders and cultivating a very impressive beard likely to become self aware any day now.
That’s what I’ve heard anyway and in lieu of finding a detailed bio available online to prove me wrong, it’s what I choose to believe.
Subsketch: So, I was listening to Culture of Kings 2 this morning.. That was the first time I heard of you.
Crixus: I think that was the first time a lot of people heard of a lot of people
Subsketch: Haha, very true. It took me back to such a different, almost innocent period of Australian Hip Hop
Crixus: yeah, they were different times back then..
interesting to see how times have changed
Subsketch: Seems impossible that you could do something like that now..
Crixus: you mean a compilation of that size?
it’d probably cost a shitload to get half those names on it nowadays
Subsketch: yeah, something all encompassing like that.. I guess the closest we get to something like that is the Rattling the Keys Video, or the Rise book.. but there are so many people doing things now you’re always gonna have some people left out
Crixus: Well there were a lot of people who were left out of Culture of Kings 2, but they tried to get as wide a representation as they could. Looks like MGH has tried to do the same thing with RISE. But yeah, literally every single human being under 30 in Australia is a game changing rapper or DJ right now (according to facebook)
Subsketch: you’re talking about me right?
Crixus: nah.. you’ve been around long enough to know that there is no actual game
Subsketch: There isn’t?! You mean all this monopoly money is worthless? Oh no, I’ve wasted my life
Crixus: you’ve been getting monopoly money?
I don’t get monopoly money
looks like i’m the one that’s wasted their life
or spent their life getting wasted
Subsketch: Speaking of wasting a life.. How did you get started with this rapping thing? Were you always a creative type?
Crixus: I guess so, I always liked the escapism of stories, still do.
initially i wanted to be a dj though, but i couldn’t afford turntables, so i started rapping because you didn’t need to buy anything for that
Subsketch: hey me too!
Crixus: I think that’s probably a pretty common origin story
Subsketch: Who were the artists that first grabbed your attention and made you take Hip Hop seriously?
and which MC’s influenced you when you were starting out?
Crixus: Well, I was a fan of Hiphop from the U.S., really big Rakim & LL Cool J fan but for a long time there I’d just grab anything that looked like it could possibly be a hiphop album. There really wasn’t much to choose from in Tasmania back then, so I’d listen to any hiphop I could. Then the internet became a thing and I started looking for other hiphop fans on there, and found that there were Australian dudes already making and releasing music, that’s when I started taking it seriously (as a creative option).. dudes like Prowla, DWC, Bias B, Puah Hedz were already doing things, so I looked up to them a lot, still do.
It wasn’t until later on that I found particular avenues of lyricism where people were saying things that directly resonated with whatever angsty crap i was going through at the time (rhymesayers, anticon, etc etc)
Subsketch: yeah, there was kind of an explosion of that stuff in the early 2000s.. That was around when I first start really getting into Hip Hop. Napster exposed me to a lot of music. As well as mp3.com.au and Stealth Mag.. and you released Abstract Junk around that time right?
Crixus: Yeah that explosion was great.. I’m still finding stuff from that era that I missed.. & yep - Abstract Junk was end of 2001
Subsketch: Your identity on that release already seems fully formed when I listen to it.. were you already producing all your own beats at that time?
Crixus: I actually produced very little of that tape
FG did the lions share of the production work there.. I found a lot of the samples but really had no idea how to put them together properly to make a song (let alone mix a song).. I was living in his home studio at the time, i learned a lot from watching him work..
Subsketch: The almighty FG! Wow, I didn’t know that.
Were you living in Hobart at the time or no?
Crixus: Nah this was in the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne
I moved back to Hobart just after Abstract Junk was released
Subsketch: Ahh I see now.
What was the Hobart Hip Hop scene like back then?
Crixus: At the start of 2002 there were maybe 3 or 4 scratch dj’s and 6 or 7 MC’s..
Subsketch: those were the census results?
I like the sound of that
Crixus: those were the only people we could find to perform at gigs
Subsketch: feels manageable in my mind
Crixus: once the gigs started becoming more often there was a mini-explosion of people getting into it.. there seems to have been another explosion a few years ago while i was living over in Melbourne again… now there are too many mc’s to keep track of.. still not many dj’s or producers though..
Subsketch: Right.. and so when you got on Culture of Kings, did it change things in your world very much? Did it influence your local scene any?
Also, I just want to say.. That ‘speaking of wasting a life’ comment before, I was joking, but reading it back now, it sounds unnecessarily harsh
I’m such an asshole
Crixus: I don’t think it really changed anything for me.. I maybe got picked to be the support act a bit more often, but that’s about all.. But Culture of Kings changed every scene I think.. it expanded the awareness of Aus hiphop acts, more artists started touring (before that, there had only been one or two acts visit Tasmania - Koolism and maybe Hilltop Hoods?), aus hiphop started getting popular.. etc
dude don’t stress, i didn’t even pick up on it..
Subsketch: haha cool..
Crixus: I understand what you meant though (now that i’ve re-read it).. hah
Subsketch: I’m a big fan of the Throwaways series
Crixus: Thanks man!
Subsketch: they could all be official albums in my mind
Crixus: I guess they pretty much are official, they’re just done with no promotion or mastering or budget or sense of professionalism at all
There’s such a nice sample based gritty production style on there
Crixus: yeah i have a large collection of godawful dollar bin records to sample from
Subsketch: then on your Prototypecast EP, you expanded your sound with a lot of live instrumentation. It’s such a lush sounding record
can you talk a little about how your process differed on that one? and the challenges involved?
Crixus: The production on Prototypecast was an experiment in using instruments instead of samples.. The process didn’t really differ that much though, I just played something vaguely close to what I was looking for, and then chopped, rearranged, pitch shifted, effected the audio - the same way you would with samples from wax… I can’t actually play any instruments so that was all due to necessity (fixing mistakes) as well as being another way to be creative with the audio..
the drums were all still samples, obviously.. couldn’t really fit a drum kit in the tiny flat i was living in at the time, but if i could’ve done that, i would’ve.
Subsketch: well, the experiment paid off I think! and your words seemed to have ventured even deeper into the folk singer/songwriter territory. Would I be wrong in detecting a bit of a Leonard Cohen influence on there?
I mean obviously Modern Day Avalanche.
Crixus: Yep, his track Avalanche is one of the most amazing things i’ve heard.. i had to do something with it, but didn’t want to just sample it..
Seen Cohen play Avalanche live a couple times now.. so damn brilliant..
Subsketch: its a great idea and follows in the folk tradition of taking a song, and reinterpreting it.. making it your own and passing it on for the next person to do the same
yeah I saw him play in a vineyard in south australia. Amazing
Crixus: which is not a very hiphop thing to do at all.. i’m such a biter.
yeah the day on the green tour! i saw that in Victoria, his first live gig in 15 years or something..
Subsketch: very special
I think there’s more parallels between Hip Hop and folk music than some people like to acknowledge
Crixus: definitely in the lyricism
I think Hip Hop is folk music..
then again, I also think Comic Books are folk music
Ren & Stimpy is folk music too
Crixus: comics are folk as
Subsketch: and you released Prototypecast on vinyl, through your own label, Edge of the World.
Crixus: That’s actually a label run by Paddles
Subsketch: oh my bad.. for some reason I thought you ran it together
Crixus: I had input with how Prototypecast was released obviously, there was a lot of discussion etc.. but yeah, ETW is his baby, I can’t take any credit for that..
Subsketch: Nice.. and having your music pressed to vinyl is a dream for a lot of Hip Hop heads, it’s a pleasure i’m yet to experience. Was it something you’d always wanted to do?
Crixus: oh hell yeah, for sure.. years ago, before selling bazillions of copies and touring the world was a realistic dream for anyone, pressing something to vinyl was pretty much the biggest achievement you could hope to accomplish, it was the pinnacle. I don’t think people revere it as much as they did back then, but it’s still a big tick in the box in my eyes..
(and i pretty much give zero shits about what most people revere nowadays anyway)
Subsketch: Yeah, it has to be done before I bail on music completely and become an art making hermit
Crixus: Do a lot of research first, and only go with proven mastering engineers and pressing plants. Otherwise the whole process can be a complete pain in the ass.
Subsketch: Yeah I can imagine.. How long did it take for you to get yours how you wanted it?
Crixus: Too damn long. It was about 6 months behind schedule. So many setbacks. Rejected mastering, rejected test presses, test presses going missing in the mail, a goddamn hurricane halting everything for a few weeks, & general communication delays due to timezones etc. I was pretty sick of the whole thing by the time it eventually came out. Lives & learns though, eh.
Subsketch: ouch man!
Subsketch: So, recently you were included in photographer Michelle G Hunder’s super ambitious attempt to capture the entire Australian Hip Hop scene in her Rise book.
Crixus: yep yep
Subsketch: what did it mean to you to be included? What do you think of the project as a whole?
Crixus: To be honest, I try not to think about it too much, I appreciate being included and I’m thankful for any promo it may bring, but I’m not sure I would have included me if I were in their position. I think the project as a whole is quite interesting. Definitely very ambitious and encompassing..
It’s good to see that most of the photos don’t just look like stock-standard music press shots (I’ve seen some terrible press shots at work lately), there seems to be a bit of the subjects actual personality (as opposed to projected rapper/dj personality) captured in each shot.. they’re quite candid (from what I’ve seen so far, which admittedly, isn’t much).
Subsketch: Interesting.. why wouldn’t you have included yourself?
Crixus: I don’t think I’ve contributed nearly as much as others. And as much as I still love hiphop, I wouldn’t call what I make “hiphop” any more, I wouldn’t refer to myself as a “hiphop artist” any more, and I don’t really associate with the hiphop “scene” as a whole as much any more.
Subsketch: but you’ve been a mainstay for 13+ years. Grinding away. Doing your art, not chasing trends, just doing your thing. I think that’s important. Whether or not it’s still typical ‘Hip Hop’, I think is irrelevant. You’ve contributed plenty and it made me happy that you were acknowledged for what you do.
Crixus: haha cheers man
either way, i’m appreciative of it all
Crixus: plus i think i’m getting a free pair of shoes out of it
and that’s pretty sweet
i need a new pair
Subsketch: that’s nothing to sneeze at
After everything, Abstact Junk, all the Throwaway’s and Prototypecast. What chance do we have of a full length Crixus LP someday? What are you working on right now?
Crixus: Well I’m halfway through remixing an EP for a friends band, I’m just taking a break from it while I’m relocating the studio over the next couple weeks. But that’s coming along nicely. After that I think I’ll work on some kind of instrumental release. I’ve been obsessed with what you can say without using words lately. But I have a few albums worth of lyrics written, so I’d like to put out a full length LP at some point. I’d also really like to get a full length Crixinaka release out there at some point, but I’m not sure if that one will ever happen.
Subsketch: That’s great news man. When the LP’s ready, I’ll definitely buy one! So you can rest easy with that knowledge
Subsketch: and the Crixinaka stuff is amazing and definitely deserves a proper release
Would it be a collection of stuff you’ve already made together, or are you and Osinaka working on new songs?
Crixus: It’d have to be all new. We’ve put too much into the old songs already. We’ve spoken about working on new stuff, but haven’t started. The first 20ish songs took about 75 years to make. So next time, we’ll have to just get together and bash out an album in a week or something.
Subsketch: Do it!
Crixus: Yeah.. might see if we can do that over summer or something..
Subsketch: Sounds like the thing to do.
Subsketch:Well. I think we’ve done good today, how do you feel about this? Do you have anything else you want to talk about? Any public statements? Closing remarks?
Crixus: Nah I’m good. I’m sure we’ve given them more than enough to read already.. haha.. Look forward to catching up when you’re down here next week man!
Subsketch: Definitely man. It’s been too long
Thanks heaps for doing this!
Crixus: no worries, been good chatting
Subsketch: peace out
SYDNEY: Thursday (August 7) Live at the Forresters w/ Deadbeat & Hazy and Sleepwalkers - Free Entry.
HOBART: Saturday (August 9) Live at the Grand Poobah w/ The Cards, Alvy Singer and DJ Rola - $10
Well. Thanks for reading everybody. If you’re in Sydney or Hobart you should come to my upcoming shows coz it’ll make me feel good inside and isn’t that what you really want?
Lost in the Funhouse: The Life & Mind of Andy Kaufman - Bill Zehme
#7: A Conversation With Koolta
Koolta (Kultar Ahluwalia) is an MC, Producer and professional nice guy with a whole swarm of EPs, Mixtapes and one stellar debut Album under his belt. Hailing from the ever prodigious Hip Hop breeding ground of Adelaide, South Australia, Koolta is a former Hilltop Hoods Initiative recipent, a Triple J Parklife Comp Winner and has performed all over the country supporting the likes of Horrorshow, Brother Ali, Hilltop Hoods and Urthboy.
The first time I remember properly hanging out with Kultar was in Melbourne circa 2008. We were both performing at the same show at the Laundry, me promoting Cheaper Than Therapy and Koolts hype-manning for K21. I can’t recall exactly how it went down, but we were all invited back to some dodgy house that had the smell of murder in the air. Nobody could tell us exactly who owned the place, what was going on, or why we weren’t aloud in a certain room. Something wasn’t right. Maybe it was just paranoia but it seemed an impossibility that we could even make it through the night with our lives (or at the very least all our organs) intact.
Maybe we bonded over not dying that night or maybe I’m just saying that for the convenience of a segue but either way we’ve since collaborated a number of times. I appear on Koolta’s ‘All I Need’s A Heartbeat’ mixtape and he produced the banging instrumental for my song Messenger and currently he’s making all the music for my upcoming EP.
What follows is an unedited gmail chat where we discuss the creative process, balancing a music career with a full time job and our shared experiences as former Hoods Initiative Winners..
Subsketch: What’s been going on sir?
You’re working on an album at the moment yeah?
Koolta: That is correct. It’s my second album. It’s called “Revolutions Per Minute”. It’s near completion!
Subsketch: That’s exciting! Looking forward to hearing it, I gave ‘Extraordinary Average Joe’ a work out.
Is this one along the same vein?
Along the same vein? Is that even a thing?
Koolta: Thanks man, I appreciate that. You know I’m a big fan of your music too. There are some similarities, but this one is pretty different. The first album was almost like a personal diary of what I was experiencing around that time. This time around I am trying to touch on those same emotions but make things a bit more relate-able for the listener. The production, the lyrics, the guests on this one are all quite different to the first album. Personally, I think it’s just a big step up overall from my previous work. I think it’s going to surprise some people.
It’s about constant progression. You don’t want to become stagnant as an artist.
Subsketch: True. That’s good to hear. The first album definitely gave the impression that you were working through some stuff, but you’ve always had a bit of an introspective, story-telling vibe going as far back as the Deportation.. Songs like Wash Them Hands.. Thicker than Blood.
Are you still producing all your own beats?
Koolta: Yeah and that introspective vibe has not been lost on many of the songs on this one, I just also wanted to touch on some issues that are bigger than me. I think as you mature as a person your world view expands and that is reflected in the music.
And yep, still behind the boards on this one. When it comes to creating my music these days, being the MC and producer aren’t separate roles, they are intertwined. I find myself making beats around the vocals and vice versa. It’s just an in sync process.
Subsketch: Was it a conscious decision to move away from introspective writing? How did it feel to put yourself out there so much? I know for me, when I released Cheaper Than Therapy I felt so exposed I just wanted to bury myself under the ground for a while
Koolta: Yeah I totally know what your are saying there - my debut album was almost like my “Cheaper Than Therapy” (great album by the way homie). After my debut album came out I wasn’t ready to make an album again straight away so I decided to make a mixtape with PT and get friends in on the mix (like Subsketch!). Doing a more collaborative project makes it more difficult to do the really personal stuff. I guess I took the experience of creating the mixtape “All I Need’s A Heartbeat” into this upcoming album. I goes back to what I was saying - constant progression.
Subsketch: oh thanks. So I know from experience that producing all the beats, writing, mixing and then handling the business side of things can be a weeee bit draining. How do you go about balancing all those hats? How do you keep yourself from getting too fried and maintain some objectivity? It’s easy to get burnt out if you don’t give it some space to breathe. Probably why I don’t really make beats any more.. How do you do it? What’s your secret? Tell me!
Koolta: Look to be honest it is really hard to maintain that objectivity. I think a key to it is to sit on things for a while and come back to them and see how everything is sounding. I always want to get music out there to people straight away, but I have had to learn the hard way that it pays off to take time with records and let things evolve organically. I also call upon other people’s opinions I respect to listen to the music for honest feedback, because at a certain stage of the process I can get lost in the music and start over thinking things!
And as far as juggling all these roles, I’ve honestly had to start saying no to some things so I can focus on finishing this album. I love playing shows, but I’ve had to step back from the live scene a lot this year to get the time I need in the studio. I also have a life out of music, my wife, family, friends, work, study, oh and my cat haha. No time to procrastinate.
Subsketch: Yeah it’s a tricky balance huh? Especially the work thing. I still struggle with that coz you need time as an artist to keep working on stuff and stay sharp artistically. I try to write as much as possible, even if I throw it away (which I usually do), I just need to keep flexing that muscle so it’s there when I really need it.
Koolta: It’s a double edged sword. On the one hand, I think you can do so much more as an artist focusing on your art 100% of the time. And like you said you are constantly flexing that muscle like a sports person, practicing everyday. But on the other hand, I really feel you need those real life experiences to influence and inspire good art.
Koolta: So how is that EP going? I heard someone pretty handsome is producing it.
Handsomeness is a pre-requisite for all the producers I work with.
Some Koolta guy is producing it, he’s got potential to do some things maybe if he doesn’t become a crazy cat person
Koolta: Haha. For real though, I’m excited to see where that project goes.
Subsketch: It’s starting to come together now I think. I really didn’t know what it would be for a while, or if I even had another record in me..
Koolta: I can’t see you losing that creative bug any time soon man. It’s second nature. Any guests on the EP that we can expect?
Subsketch: I’m kind of in the reverse place to where you are at.. Maybe. I was hoping to make more of a fun record, but all the songs came out a lot darker and more introspective than I planned. Involuntarily.
Koolta: That’s probably the producer’s fault.
Subsketch: I really pushed away those kind of songs for a while.. After ‘Therapy’, I didn’t want to write diary entries any more.. but now when they do come, I have no choice
probably better like that.
It’s always the way though.. You have an initial idea that gets you through the door.. Then the creative process takes over and at the end you have something you didn’t plan on.. It took me a while to realise that that isn’t a bad thing
Koolta: I think just let things evolve organically man. I mean what you said “when they do come, I have no choice” sums it up really.
How you doing for time?
Koolta: Will probably need to bounce in ten
Is that going in the interview haha?
Subsketch: haha.. probably
I have an idea I should talk to you about.
Koolta: All ears
Subsketch: We are both former Hilltop Hoods Initiative winners.
Subsketch: I got it in 2006. What year did you win?
Koolta: Me 2011
Next year it will have been going for ten years, that’s pretty crazy huh?
Koolta: Far out
Subsketch: pretty huge thing.. the amount of artists that have got that leg up
Koolta: Pretty damn generous of the hoods across that whole time. Amazing to think they have just stayed at the top of their game for such a long time too.
Subsketch: I know right
Do you remember where you were, when you found out you’d got it?
Koolta: Yep. I was in my studio at home alone. Making a beat, feeling a bit down (assuming that I hadn’t won as the winner would be announced publicly that day). I was about to go to my shift at Hungry Jacks where I was working at the time haha. And then I got the call from Suffa and acted really calm and grateful on the phone. Soon as that convo ended I was fist pumping the air and running around the house. Amazing. How did you react?
Pretty much exactly the same except I actually found out about a week before the announcement. Like you, I was at home alone. Got a call from a woman that worked at Arts SA. I was shocked and calm. Then hung up and ran around the house until I fell into a heap on the floor, pressing my face into the floor boards laughing manically
Koolta: Hahahaha. Incredible. I think these must be similar reactions to winning the lottery.
Subsketch: Then I called my girlfriend at the time, acting all nonchalant
Koolta: That’s awesome man.
Subsketch: So the first thing.. I think we should have commemorative HHI Winner rings.
That part is just coz I’m selfish and want a cool ring.
Koolta: I think that’s a necessity.
Subsketch: The second thing.. We should do something to celebrate ten years of the Initiative, and to say thank you
get all the winners involved
like a big show.. or something
Koolta: Yeah that would be dope.
That’s a really cool idea man.
Subsketch: Yeah, have a think about it. We’ll throw some ideas back and forth and see if we can get something happening?
Koolta: I think we could do if for charity as well. If we could time it for next year when the next winner is announced.
If it’s for charity it could be our way of giving back when the Hoods gave us so much
Subsketch: was thinking the exact same thing, pay it forward..
Well in conclusion..
Do you have any shows, or things coming up you want to plug before we bounce?
Koolta: For now, check out my single “All Together” - free download at koolta.bandcamp.com
Will have some new music dropping very very soon.
And I will be the feature artist doing some spoken word at the Salisbury heats (SA) of the National Slam Poetry Championships on August 29th.
Subsketch: Awesome man. Thanks for doing this. It was fun! When your album and my EP is finished we should do it again
Sydney friends can see me holding down my Forresters residency on the 7th of August w/ Sleepwalkers and Deadbeat & Hazy.
Hobart friends will find me at The Grand Poobah on the 9th w/ The Cards, Alvy Singer, DJ Rola.
Adelaide friends can catch Koolta at the Salisbury heats of the National Slam Poetry Championships - August 29th.
Well there you have it folks. Keep up to date with all things Koolta related over at his official website http://www.koolta.com.au, or find him on all the relevant social medias. For your homework this week I leave you with a song from the ‘All I Need’s a Heartbeat’ Mixtape which just happens to feature ME. Purely coincidental I promise.
#6: Told You So
It’s happening again,
While I was working on ‘World’s Worst Rapper’, I thought it would be my last record, I was sure of it. There comes a point when you’ve been doing something this long, that you start to question your motives. Am I doing this because I want to do this? Or am I just doing it because I’ve been doing it for so long, it’s all I know and if I stop now I’ll feel like a failure?
The idea of ‘quitting’ subsketch, or more accurately ‘finishing’, is nothing new to me. I quit after my first EP in 2004, that was the end of the line. I also thought it was over after ‘Department of Human Services’ in 2010 and then again in 2013. So you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s just part of my natural cycle. Still. It was different than before, there was something way more final about my mindset.
When I started subsketch, it was never intended to be everything. It was one project of many. One path of a myriad of choices. At least that’s how it felt at the time. Ten years on, it’s safe to say it has consumed me. It feels like all I have now, the only thing that doesn’t make me feel like a complete failure. This has been my primary focus, the number one priority, the highest goal above everything, happiness included. I’ve sacrificed a lot, experience, education, relationships, money, comfort, all to get passably decent at this one very narrow skill set.
Life’s barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you get good at.
- Detective Rust Cohle (True Detective)
It’s been seven months since I released ‘World’s Worst Rapper’ and for a dead man, I’ve kept pretty busy. I’ve performed more in the last year than any before and it seems I’m honing in on yet another subsketch release; it’s either a long EP or a short album. I’m not sure yet.
I think it should be ok. If a little desolate. All the production is being handled by Koolta this time around. It feels sort of like a spiritual sequel to Cheaper Than Therapy, but fingers crossed this one won’t completely disgust me when I listen back to it.
Coming soon! Music to have a nervous breakdown to!
So. Looks like I’m not stopping just yet, but it’s still on my mind. If subsketch does continue, something drastic will have to change but we’ll see. You never know, maybe in ten years I’ll still be here saying the same thing. Grinding away to an audience of nobody.
Sydney friends can catch me at the Forresters for round 3 of my residency with Sleepwalkers and Deadbeat & Hazy on the 7th of August.
Then I’ll be flying to Hobart to sleep on your couch and perform at the Grand Poobah w/ The Cards, Alvy Singer and more on the 9th!
Thanks for reading
The Anthology Of American Folk Music