PHATCHANCE & COPTIC SOLDIER – Inkstains

AVANT GARDE MCS CHANCE WATERS (AKA PHATCHANCE) AND LUKE GIRGIS (AKA COPTIC-SOLDIER) DISCUSS RE-FRAMING THEIR POETIC LICENCE INTO AN ACOUSTIC PORTRAIT AND THE REWARDS THEY’VE EARNED FROM TAPPING INTO A WEALTH OF UNPRECEDENTED MUSICALITY WITH RIP NICHOLSON.

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CHANCE & LUKE interviewed @ 09.00 AEST – May 11, 2011
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press

Words by RIP NICHOLSON

Two solo MCs from Sydney have hacked one step further into new fields of live Australian rap by cutting their music back to an unplugged session – just one MC and a travelling band making moves into the untrodden woods of folk band hip hop. Both Chance Waters (Phatchance) and Luke Girgil (Coptic Soldier) were rostered to Nurcha Records until the ship when down in 2009. Waters was part of the 2003 outfit Natural Causes and with over 70 live shows under their belt and their highly-regarded 2007 release, The Incidental Noise Demo,became the flagship act of the label. That same year Girgis joined Nurcha and released his début mixtape False Start and 2008’s Nobody Give Raph a Guest Spot EP with Phatchance as well as the independent solo EP The Past Three Years before joining Waters to headline the national tour behind Chance’s 2009 Instains LP released as part of the I Forget, Sorry! Collective. Then Girgis teamed up with Sydney songbird Miriam Waks and released his début EP The Sound of Wings, the fourth release fromI Forget, Sorry!

These jumped-up new jacks have thrown away the template on production – no chunking records onto MPC for one-button outputs and on-stage MC/DJ routines. On the eve of Mind Over Matter receiving top critique for their instrumental approach to their 2011 Just LikeFireworks LP, two more from the forgetful lot are back to re-issue their work through the gift and guidance of John Reichardt, the same multi-talented musical influence who shaped the rock-energisedMOM LP to produce.

“John would have to be a huge blessing for us,” admits Girgis who met the one-man band John Reichardt working at a youth refuge. “I had him work with me on The Sound Of Wings 1EP and I felt that in one day he made that thing ten times better.

“As Mind Over Matter are leaning towards making a more electro-rock album, Chance and I are moving towards the acoustic way and it just so happens that John can do anything,” laughs Girgis. “I haven’t done anything more enjoyable in music than working with John on the acoustic album and it’s influenced the way I may do all my music.”

“Both of us really like acoustic music,” Waters says, opening up on how the seed was sowed on going the unplugged route to deliver their hip hop. “Luke had already dabbled in basic acoustic stuff. He made a track with John Reichardt and I wanted to build on that idea and do a full EP. I had already played around with it and wasn’t happy with the results. So we sat down together and sorted out how to do the project properly and we brought in instrumentalists, started rigging it up and we approached it like, we wanted to do it in a more complex way and nobody else had done the acoustic thing before.”

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“We can really mark new territory, no-one had really developed any recordings of an acoustic rap so it really was new grounds for us,” Waters declares. “And the general approach to acoustic hip hop, as far as I’ve heard, is to have a guitarist, a singer and play a song that’s been written from the start on the one kind of structure and there you have the classic MTV Live album. We really wanted to approach it like we’re making live music and given the emergence of the new age folk theme, I thought there was really a market for folk production and people responded well to it really well which is what we had hoped for.

“We’ve all got a very strong desire to show that we are worth peoples time,” Waters stamps affirmatively about the I Forget, Sorry! Movement into these brave and unchallenged corners of genre fusion. “We’re not a traditional record label and we wanna prove that we are all interesting artists of our own merit and we’re willing to go the extra yard to put on an entertaining show.”

Through June and July the pair will take to the road with Reichardt and the acoustic band to play Inkstains and The Sound Of Wings on four nights out – only this time it may feel like a cosy night in with two masterful lyricists who can turn the house lights down and serenade the audience unlike any MCs have done before on the boldly-named Hey, Where’s Your DJ? tour. This was a change of environment and something these resilient MCs had to adapt to quickly as Waters explains.

“It’s been a learning curve actually. Performing acoustically is a whole different ballgame when it’s live,” Waters explains. “Coptic loves to jump around on-stage and we love to bring as much energy as we can but sometimes in the acoustic tracks it’s better to let the band kinda ride out.”

“We did a three night residency EP launch with Charlie Melfair,” Girgis recalls of a lesson learned on the job. “The first night we were jumping around – although the performance was different – we were still in the mind frame that we were performing at a hip hop show and I think by the third residency we found our groove and how we should be delivering the music with the band and we realised that we’re not necessarily Drapht anymore!”

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