HORRORSHOW – Q & A with MC Solo

“Adit makes all the beats., Solo talks all the shit.”

SOLO interviewed @ 12.00 AEST – 17th February, 2010
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press

Words by RIP NICHOLSON

RIP: What’s up man, how’s your day been?

SOLO: We just found our first Sydney gig sold out! So we’ve decided to add a second show to the tour. These shows are all-ages and on a show with Urthboy recently it became apparent that we’re selling shows due to the kids… These fucking kids man, 15-16 year olds, and I think when you’re that age you just love music so much. You can’t necessarily go to clubs on the weekend and thy get so passionate about gigs they can actually go to. They’re listening to us on their iPods, learn the lyrics, post songs on each other’s Myspace pages, and I think that base of people who are under 18 so rarely get the opportunity to come and see bands. Adit and myself are still 21, 22 and a lot of young people around our area really find something to connect and relate to with our music. We’re lucky we have that solid support base

At the Metro it was really evident that it was the army of kids that are so excited. They rock up at 8pm on the dot waiting for the action to start. So it’s really cool to have a few all-ages gigs coming up and to cater for them. It would be nice to pack the second show, but we’re just gonna take a bit of a gamble and see how the second night pans out.

Six months since I last spoke with Adit, you guys were preparing the release of Inside Story. How’s the reception and feedback been since, going to plan for Horrorshow?

I mean I dunno if we had a plan for this, but the whole period since the record came out its been amazing for us, the level of response. I guess the word that springs to mind is ‘unexpected.’ You just don’t know what to expect. Obviously you entertain both possibilities of people loving it or hating it. But the way we put the record out was to stream it on myspace for a week first, a week before it dropped. So that’s cool the way the label has been engaging the last few years, creating the “buzz” online and having a forum where you can actually see and read people’s reactions to the music and you make it easy for them to spread the world to each other about it.

I think that was a really important factor in releasing the album and how it played out. We just threw it up to the world and whoever wanted to check it out, could basically. I have to say, one big difference between this record compared to the last one is the record got leaked a week before the official release date. It was all over bittorrent so that was interesting and we figured there is nothing you can do about it. But it built from there and the tour started right at the same time so, we were in this situation playing in front of new people with this platform to grab their attention and ‘by the way we’ve got a new CD as well.’ We also actually really pushed the merch stands at shows and I really enjoyed selling the albums hand to hand.

First album for Spit Syndicate and bringing them along for your first tour?

The tour is going to be a great platform for that, we’ve never been able to do shows together. The five of us represent the One Day Crew here in Sydney and we’ve done countless shows together around our area in all kinds of situations but a lot of that was before our, “careers took off” and then Spit Syndicate put out their record and now we’ve put out our first one, and they supported us at our first album launch at the Annondale and that was two years ago. There hasn’t been a Horrorshow set and Spit Syndicate set on the same night so we’re really excited to bring the boys out on the road with us and take that vibe we all have when we’re together interstate and show off our skills nationally.

Must be fantastic to tour together with real friends, just hope you can get up for your next shows…

There will be some carnage along the way. We’ve toured with some amazing performers and I’m so glad to have met the people we’ve played with. Everytime we’ve gone on tour with Hermitude or Muph N Plutonic or whoever, these are people I have looked up to for years as a fan of this music in our country. It means a lot to me to be in those moments and have those experiences with those people, but at the same time what could be better than having such a great excuse to go on a month long bender / holiday with our best mates and do what we love to do together and have the label that believe in us enough to front up the cash to support it. Its a great little reward for the years of hard work.

So, Inside Story – one of last year’s freshest albums. ‘Thoughtcrime’ really sends out the right message at a time where in music we’re copying anything and everything, with lack of creative energy being put into original art… Is this the premise behind this track?

I think the idea behind that track is just sorta a call for some [thinking of the right words] quality control. A call to people to let them know we live in a world now where its very easy for anyone to make art. We’ve got so much technology and computer software, anybody can download Pro Tools and start making beats, anyone can get Adobe Photoshop and a ncie camera and all of a sudden they’re a professional photographer. Anybody can download those video editing suites and start making their own films. All that is so awesome, the way technology has progressed to kinda put back the power of creating art and culture back into ordinary peoples’ hands. Nowadays you don’t need money or a degree to do able to do these things that i’m talking about. Its great that now the average Joe Blogs is in a position where if he wants to be creative and express himself he can. At the same time what has to come with that is a bit of effort. This song is a call for people like ‘if this music is important to you and it’s important to you in the way that I love it,’ and so many people out there do.”

“’Then put some effort into it, make sure you hold yourself up to a higher standard and make sure that if you are gonna create something and put it out for the whole world to [appreciate] then make sure that it’s worthwhile, make sure there’s something about it that makes it work engagingly.’ Particularly in the music world you look at the majority of music that’s churned out on a global scale, particularly the music that’s given attention by the media mainstream channels of consumption – the Channels V’s of this world, Video Hits and things like that. The music that those things give attention to the lowest common denominator music. The music is designed on the level that, the beat’s phat and it will be fun to dance to. But the song isn’t about shit and the chorus is ripped off from some other song, you know what I mean. So much music is being churned out to be sold as a product, I guess. For us what we do with our music is so far away from that, so I guess this song is a shout out to everybody who feels the same. If you get the opportunity of being creative and getting up in front of people then you should make it worthwhile and make something that’s gonna mean something I guess.

Original thought like making ‘Walk You Home’ the track brings out a real melodic soul of sound, and with a banjo setting the pace. That was a beautiful performance.

The banjo was originally played by Justin Stevens and although we sampled it from a track we turned it into something else all together and I’m quite proud of that song purely on the level that I don’t think there are too many songs in the world like it. Heaps of people have described it to me as a hiphop ballad and I dunno what I think about that. But you don’t often hear that sorta vibe being touched on in Aussie hiphop and I guess thats one of the reasons why people have responded to that song. On the flip side it does upset some people especially the more staunch hip-hop hard-heads they can’t get down on it, it’s too soft for them.

There are moments on the album where we try to make up for that, catering to the boom-bap feel that we love so much. That’s one thing to the reaction to that record across the county in general has been that it is a bit different and has a bit more originality and flavour to it than a lot of stuff out there. A lot of credit has to go to Adit and his production. Obviously the way that me and him work on songs together,” adding the side note, Nick points out, “everything that you ever hear us put out is a true collaboration. We both get involved in both sides of things. One thing about our music and the reason why it’s made some people’s ears prick up over the last couple years is because of Adit and the original way that he’s approaching producing beats which I think is quite different to cats out there in the way he can incorporate his bass playing and guitar playing, stuff like that.

But yes, ‘Walk You Home’ is one of those things where originally was written for one person, you know. And in making that transition from being something private into something public that is appreciated by or experienced by complete strangers. So it made that interesting transition and yeah we’ve been happy with the response from it.

Nick as the poet of the group, do you open your heart in your verses, are the lyrics your issues, or do come at it speaking on social issues in general?

Yes it is man, and yes I do. I think I always have, even times when I would like to back off a little bit from that personal stuff it kinda creeps in there and there’s a lot of me in what I write and its always quite honest, even when I’m trying to be cool, I feel that you can still tell that I’m not really that cool. Even if I’m getting on my battle rap shit and I’m telling you that I’m better than you you can tell like ‘I don’t really think I’m better than you.’ I guess I write more about personal experiences or things that mean something to me outside of music.

Like off the new album obviously ‘Walk You Home’ is about a very personal relationship that I’ve been through There’s a song about coming home from overseas and what that’s like and a track about how I feel about ma and Adit and the progress that we’ve made. All the rappers and artists that I love whose lyrics I treasure, that’s the blueprint that they’re given me. Hiphop is gotten so big now that done by so many different kinds of people to express their stories. Gone from somewhere expressing ghetto new York, its a worldwide genre and so many rappers globally I guess and I sit back and take stock of what we do, there is a common thread between them all is that it’s honest music. The rappers are telling their story with no pretense. And I try to that with my lyrics and it’s interesting sometimes because you wind up putting something that’s deeply personal that you haven’t expressed even to the people around you but you put it in a song and you find yourself in a city on the other side of the country talking about it in front of total strangers. That’s been a weird experience for me.

Everything that we’ve done, it’s all happened very quickly and we’ve made it happen that way and I’m stoked it’s happened that way but there have been some minor, minor drawbacks to it and I guess one of them is readjusting to that experience I’ve been in Hobart and been talking to a bunch of kids and all of a sudden one of them will ask me a question about a line that’s in ‘Walk You Home’ and I can visualise the moment that happened two or three years ago that made me write the thing in the first place and I’ve put it out there in the world, somebody else has heard it and found their own meaning behind it and sometimes it can be strange when you get confronted with that face to face but ultimately that leads to the most rewarding part of what we do, in the music we make and the words I write, that can help people in the world.

When I meet people at shows they express to me that certain songs have helped them. That is the most special thing about what I’m doing at the moment because I’ve had that relationship with so many bands, I’ve loved music and in hiphop I’ve found so many bands that I’ve had that relationship with where I put on their music and I feel like they’re talking about me. And that’s made me feel better in whatever problem I was going through at the time. More than all the shit that we’ve accomplished in the last couple of years and I’m stoked about going on tour but at the end of the day that kinda thought that maybe what I’m doing here in my bedroom in Sydney is helping people around the country or around the world. That to me is the therapy, the thing you get to at the end and think everything I went through to write this song and everything that I went through to make the song good and everything that I went through to record it and out it out to the world, um that’s what makes it worthwhile you know. That is the end result to the process and that therapy makes me sort of just wanna keep going with what we’re doing and see how far we can take this thing because we are connecting with more people and as I said before, been given the opportunity to do something that means something to them, and that’s the illest shit ever for me!“

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