THE THUNDAMENTALS ARE SUSTAINING HIP-HOP A THOUSAND METRES ABOVE SEA LEVEL.
JESWON interviewed @ 10:00 AEST – Monday 31st May, 2009
For Drum Media / TheMusic.com.au
Words by RIP NICHOLSON
The Blue Mountains may weather strong seasonal rains – wet, cold and stormy. Rapping on thin air, The Thundamentals two emcees Jeswon and MC Tuka front the mountainous four piece while DJ Morgs and Tommy Fiasko reign thunderous beats down the mountain gorge drops into the Sydney soundscape. Their purpose, to overhaul the fundamental same-ole Aussie hip-hop, to fly the pigeon-couped genre into the 21st century audio-sphere. With a new EP out under the Obese Crew banner, introducing the new school of Thundamental thought.
“Well, I guess, we are trying to make hip hop that is kinda challenging. Trying to steer clear of some of the clichés that kinda Australian hip hop traditionally suffers from, I think the name is more like we are trying to present something new and maybe shocking to other people’s mental states. Kinda the removal from what people are use to with a lot of Australian hip hop.” Giving credo to the name, Jeswon continues “Just shaking the status quo a little bit, bringing something to people’s attention that is a little bit left of the centre. “
Life atop the N.S.W. Plateau can be harsh. Storms and heavy downfalls of over 1000mm a year. Jeswon echoes through the blue haze, a yearning culture’s survival away from the city.
“There is not much for the kids to do up there, except getting into music or arts or whatever. It’s kinda comes from like a brainstorm. Four young guys in the Blue Mountains, not too much to do up there. We all loved hip hop and hip hop culture and why not come together and create something.”
The primarily Sydney based outfit have held down hip-hop for over four years together with an aesthetic of combining sampology and live elements seeded from the ‘Golden Era’ of late-eighties cassette tape hip-hop. They recently pushed their self-titled EP produced by Syd-siders Down Under Beats Crew and Chasm and mixed by Thunda’s own Fiasko and Morgs who have worked with the international likes of Dr Octagon and Arrested Development, Two Toes, Mc Immune and Lotek. The seasoned emcees, Tuka and Jeswon have appeared on Triple J’s Hip Hop Show, showcasing their freestyle flair and their live run over the past two years has seen them share stages with international acts such as Jungle Brothers, Qbert, DJ Revolution, MC Soup and some of Australia’s premier artists in The Herd, Bliss and Eso, TZU, Koolism, Muph ‘n Plutonic and Delta to drop only a few.
However humbling this esteemed line-up has Thundamentals feeling, they received affirmation for their place in hip-hop through Jungle Brother’s Mike G. While on tour, the Thunda crew threw their current EP on stage, only to be overwhelmed at the outcome of such a shot in the dark attempt to be heard in the circle of those from a higher field of play.
“He probably gets millions of CDs all the time. The only contact detail left on the CD was our Myspace address. A couple of weeks later, we get this message from Mike G.” Jess proudly retells “he had created a Myspace profile just to get in touch with us, tell us how much he was enjoying the CD and that he was really impressed. So our bio starts with a quote that Mike G gave us: “Thundamentals show that Aussie hip hop is heading in the right direction.” For us to have made an impression on someone who would have undoubtedly, listened to a good many demos over his 20 years, it has really meant a lot to us. That kinda shows the humility that I really appreciate in people and in artists, as well.”
Regardless, the point and purpose is not lost. Always down for the love of hip-hop music, The Thundamentals put it down hard for the voice of a new generation, live from the Blue Mountains.
“We are hip hoppers and it’s not going to stop regardless of whether you get paid. It would be awesome to get to the stage where we could live of of it, but it that doesn’t happen – then we’re not going to loose any sleep over it. Just been enjoying the ride, at the moment, and just being able to put out music is just a blessing. We Feel so lucky.”