THE ARRIVAL OF HIS DEBUT ALBUM IN LATE 2008 MARKS THE BEGINNING OF SCOTT BURNS’ CAREER FOR MOST, BUT FOR THOSE IN THE KNOW HE’S A VETERAN MC WHO’S JUST WARMING UP.
SCOTT BURNS interviewed @ 13.30 AEST – Thursday 28th January 2009
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press
Words by RIP NICHOLSON
A veteran on Sydney’s rap battleground, Scott Burns rose through the ranks in the battle arenas, spitting through ciphers and freestyles to earn his stripes. Holding down his place on the battle circuit while building his name in the recording studio has proven to be a battle of its own. With feet in both pastures, which does Burns find more rewarding?
“It’s Twenty20 versus a test match – each has it’s own rewards I guess,” Burns says. “At the moment it’s all about the subtleties and perseverance that goes into an album – I recognise that as its own battle in a way now, I can appreciate other people’s albums a lot more and I think that the art of album-making is an important part of recorded music that hopefully sticks around for some time to come.”
Many hands have made Burns’ debut Day 1 a fat release, with producers M-Phazes, Chasm, Jase, S-Dub and Regal (Wiseguys) and guest MCs Brass and Sereck and A-Love from LookUP getting a look-in, but the large number of collaborators didn’t conspire to rock the boat.
“It was great,” Burns says of the process. “I still got to steer the ship but I think collaborating with so many different producers helps you to bring out different aspects. For example, I might work with Jase over email whereas I might work with someone like Chasm face-to-face so there’s a lot more back and forth and different things that go on. Sometimes it’s hard to coordinate everyone and keep people happy, but at the same time it kept me accountable and on track too.”
With partner-in-crime DJ Mathmatics at his side, Burns first single off Day 1 is ‘Still Time’, considered to be an introspective glimpse of Burns. While many hip hop artists create a stage identity, Burns has kept to his given name. Is there separation between Scott Burns the rapper and Scott Burns the person?
“Yes and no,” Burns muses. “The music is me, I am the one making the music, it’s about me and my experiences and what I think about stuff. If you mean is there a separation from the Scott that people know through my music and the Scott that people know through meeting me and hanging out – then yeah, there are probably some differences there, the music is just one part of it!”
Burns’ street cred as one of Sydney’s most fierce freestyle hitters precedes him, however the songwriting quality across Day 1 seems a new skill added to his resume.
“Freestyles are great but don’t have much longevity or reach,” Burns explains. “With Day 1and even the songs I’m working on at the moment, I am trying to create something that is going to be around for a while, something that people can go back and listen to – or stumble upon in a few years time and still be digging it.
“I think Day 1 represents a new chapter – that’s a bit of the reason behind it being called Day 1. Not to say that I’ll never return to the freestyle or battle arena, but I had fun doing that and now I’m finding new challenges.”
Though Day 1 was released to largely favourable reviews, Burns jokes that he can “still walk down to the shops and grab a longneck without any additional attention”, and the record has no real crossover ambitions.
“I don’t view it as something that is heaps accessible for people that don’t like hiphop or want to listen to it,” Burns states. “It’s not ‘crossover’ or whatever the funky term for writing watered-down pop crap is these days. That said, I’ve spoken to some people that don’t listen to hip hop and have bought the album and really like it – maybe Day 1 is the gateway drug for them to a long and dangerous addiction to hip hop music.”