KNOWN ASSOCIATES – Friendly Flow

ON TUESDAY NIGHTS MAGGOT MOUF AND CIECMATE WOULD HANG OUT, DRINK BEERS AND TALK SHIT. TWO YEARS LATER AND THESE EVENINGS HAVE LED TO KNOWN ASSOCIATES RELEASING ASHES TO DUST. CHRIS ‘CIECMATE’ MERCIECA EXPLAINS THE CHEMISTRY OF EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN TO RIP NICHOLSON.

CIECMATE interviewed @ 18:00 Tuesday 9th July, 2013
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press

Words by RIP NICHOLSON

[Full Q & A below]

“It may not work if we had a whole big group and have everyone rock up on one night and try to make an album. But, you know the saying‘Too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth?’ So with too many people in the studio it will just [turn into a] party,” he laughs. “I’ve found the less amount of people in the studio the more creative you can be.”

Maggot Mouf, of the Alikeminds Crew from the ACT battle scene, moved to Melbourne in 2005 and hooked up with the Hospice Crew’s Mercieca who has snapped off beats and bars with everyone on the Broken Tooth roster. Mercieca clicked early on with Mouf and produced his 2010 album You’re All Ears, so to hear them tag-teaming like jacked-up jocks on their new LP shouldn’t be a surprise.

“We worked together on my solo record and that started that back-and-forth style. I find that writing with someone is far better and it ends up feeling more like a song rather than just two people [trying] to make something,” says Mercieca. “So we’d write and record [at night] and sometime you’d be in there till 6am and Maggot would have to get up and go to work and he’d be dishevelled all day from being up all night. I think in general, each track was destined to that particular night and overall the energy of us being mates gave the album that consistent feel.”

Mercieca has always made his conscious efforts heard on his records, so it was natural for him to drop knowledge on the track Beware of Bio Chips. “I’m really into conscious rap and I’m all about learning about the world and the things we’re not being told. My missus says I make propaganda music but I’m giving you shit you haven’t read yet,”

In contrast,the summer friendly ’Short Shorts’ celebrates a lighter slice of life. “That was a culmination of months and months of us joking about wanting to make a song about that. As we’re out we’d see more and more short shorts everywhere and be like, ‘God damn, we’ve gotta do this’,”stresses Mercieca. “And I made the beat one day and it was just on! It was done about ten hours later.”

Maggot Mouf and Ciecmate will continue to work at their craft, but as Known Associates are they just one and done? “I hope not,” concludes Mercieca. “Maggot Mouf is about to have a kid so he’s embarking on a whole new journey there. Hopefully we’ll work on some music in the future but at this point we’ll see how this album goes. As long as we link up and make tracks together it will be Known Associates, 100 per cent.”

[Full Q & A below]

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Q & A with Ciecmate

So the album’s been out almost 2 months now, after so long in the making how is the end result?

I think it’s pretty consistent. We had a lot of fun doing the album. We both sat there wrote out the tracks in one night. We recorded them. And you know, we just a good a quality feel about the music with the both of us working together it has a really consistent feel in the overall sound of it. it really worked and we were really happy with the way it turned out.

Did you know before you went in that you both would click?

Yeah we worked together on my solo record a while ago and that started that back-and-forth style. I find that writing a song out with someone is far better and it ends up feeling more like a song rather than just two people coming together and try to make something.

Within Broken Tooth you have Tornts, Fraksha, Billy Bunks or Newsense or Scotty Hinds who jumped in well on their spots on the new album. You’re such an incenstrious label jumping in on each other’s projects. My question is how did you make Known Associates a threesome and keep it from becoming a bigger supergroup?

We set a day like, every Tuesday Maggot Mouf would come around and at first we were just like, hanging out, you know talk shit, drink a few beers and chill out to get away from the missus, you know? And we thought we may as well get more creative and do some stuff while we’re already hanging out and we started doing that. No Name Nathan, he wasn’t always there for our Tuesday night sessions. it was always towards the end we had the tracks and we’d give them to him and see what he could come up with. So if we did that with a whole big group, plan to come together on a Tuesday night and have everyone rock up and see if we can make an album. But, you know the saying? Too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth so with too many people in the studio it will just end up in a party and you’re talking over each other. So I’ve found the less amount of people in the studio the more creative you can be.

Two years in the making. Was there ever a concern for being able to hold onto the energy of the group, being that you stretched everything out over two years to get it all wrapped and ready?

It was very easy, pretty much most tracks were done on each night so we’d write and record it and sometime you’d be in there till 6 am and Maggot would have to get up and go to work and he’d be dishevelled all day from being up all night making these records. I think in general, each track was destined to that particular night and overall the energy of us being mates and linking up and we like each other’s music so our input together had that consistent feel and overall it worked out well but in the beginning it was just, ‘let’s just get together and see what we can come up with today and then next week see what we can do.’

In an old interview you both had expressed a great dislike toward the industry side of what you do because of how it overlooks decent art in favour of what’s selling. How do you guys balance both, being that you wanna make a decent living from your work as well?

I think you’ve just gotta be realistic about it. You’re not really a chance on making a living from underground hip-hop or anything with an anti-establishment edge to it because they’re not really about giving it a shot, you know.  It’s good hip-hop and people love good hip-hop they’re gonna find it and source it out but it’s not festival music. it’s not such a commercial product. So we know that it’s not really a money earner. It’s more like therapy, to go in and make music is very therapeutic for us. The most stressful part is getting distro and organising the shows. That’s the bit where the stress and business comes into. The music is all fun. We just write without that in mind and we just deal with that when the time comes.

‘Bio-Chips’ gets pretty gritty with the message it conveys. Is there always an effort to try and give the album some level consciousness or does it just happen as you create a rap?

I think that becomes an individual thing for an artist. Me, personally I’m really in conscious rap and I’m all about learning about the world around us and the things that we’re not being told. And i like to address those issues. My missus says I make propaganda music but to me it’s like ‘I’m giving you shit you haven’t read yet.’ So when we made the album i guess we had a concept that we want to put some of that in there so people understand.

‘Short Shorts’ dope jam. Some girls are now rocking shorts that jack their asses up like boobs. Even in the winter. May we live in interesting times, bro!

With that ‘Short Shorts’ track that was a culmination of months and months of us joking about wanting to make a song about that. As we’re out we’d see more and more short shorts everywhere and be like, ‘god damn we’ve gotta do this!’ And i made the beat one day and it was just on and it was done about 10 hours later.

All that research pays off man.

Putting that consciousness in the music is good for the kids anyway It’s how you and I grew up learning things about the world, through the music we listened to, the messages they passed on. Your music had always had that intention, i felt. You want to put something out there with your music.

For sure. I was actually reading an interview with Prodigy of Mobb Deep and he was talking exactly about this. And he realised that his music for years was promoting thuggery and all this. So when he got to prison he realised he was enslaving an entire population of archaic laws promoting crime and he realised the prison system is the United States is very privatised and how he’s helping this big business by G’ing up people and he said.. how did he put it. You kind of had to mix the antidote in with poison, you know? You’ve gotta give them what they want but you’ve gotta tell ‘em what you want them to hear also. You’ve gotta find that balance.

In music you’ve gotta make it fun, gotta make something the people wanna hear. They could turn it off if it gets too heavy like, ‘ah i’m sick of this big-mouthed shit.’

Both you and Ciec are decorated solo artists – is Known Associates one and done or can we expect more projects from you guys?

I hope to. We’ve been talking of working on some more music. Maggot Mouf is about have a kid so he’s embarking on a whole new journey there. He’s gotta make sure he’s taking care of that. So hopefully we’’ work on some music in the future but at this point we’ll see how this album goes and getting the feedback on it. We will always make music, you know? As long as we link up and make tracks together it will be Known Associates 100 percent.

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