FOR GEELONG MC FATTY PHEW THIS TIME COULD NOT HAVE COME SOONER. THE RELEASE OF BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE THREE EP HAS ARRIVED, THE FINAL TO ONE MC’S PERSONAL VOYAGE.
Blood, sweat and tears have poured into this explosive last chapter of a trilogy heavily-regarded among the hard heads of Australia’s hip-hop scene. With every beat, every bar, a footstep in the journey that has brought Fatty Phew to where he stands today, as one of the nation’s realist underground emcees. This is his story, in no uncertain terms, and what better way to introduce the trek than from the mouth of the man himself. This is his story. This is Fatty Phew.
FATTY PHEW interviewed @ Tuesday 25th February, 2014
For OHHS & Rip2Shredz Press
Words by RIP NICHOLSON
From Fatty Phew: I have been asked; Why don’t I just make a proper release and why am I doing a third installment and giving it for free again.. so I thought I would answer.
Over the past few months I have done nothing but live and breathe the creation of this release and everything around it. I wrote in my opinion the best bars and best tracks I have written to date. I have lived off around 4/5 hours sleep a night juggling my day job and fatherhood just so I could get this done. I have drained my entire bank dry with costs of everything from travel, mixing, recording, film and photos… and still I give you the option to pay nothing. I have put everything into making this as high quality as I am capable of making, and I believe I have succeeded. This is most certainly a proper release.
You might ask why do all this and then put it out on the internet for free then? Easy… its because I have to. If I didn’t do all this over the past couple of months I would of fallen into a hole and been nothing, I did it all for me and my own sanity and therapy.. and I give it to you as a repayment for everything you give to me. You give me the opportunity to do this. I don’t make it free because that’s the value of it to me is worth nothing, its because I value you all for giving me so much that I want to give you everything I can. The worth is in the music and not in the price tag.
RIP: Doing the hard graft independent. You’ve walked the long road alone. Given that your decision is always your own.. no compromise. Has it been easy?
FATTY: It’s never easy as an independent artist, especially a solo independent artist. Writing bars is only the smallest percentage of actually making the music. With things like; sourcing beats, recording, organising cuts and features, having a hand in the mixing and mastering, cover art, tour organisation, press photos, film clip, promotion, etc. It’s a lot of work to be doing solo. I think at the end I will be stronger and more equipped, because when someone else is doing this for me, I will have a great understanding of what it all means.
It’s always the journey we take, the mistakes we make that make us the rounded product we mature into. If you’re happy with where you’re at now, in hindsight, would you have ever taken a different path? Taken the ‘C word’ way.. Commercial?
There is certainly a combination of both happiness and dissatisfaction with where I am now. The happiness is when I was a young buck first scribbling lyrics down I just wanted to write my thoughts down, rap with my friends and be a part of a culture. I could never of imagined that I would have a following even remotely close to what I have now, and could never imagined doing some of the things I have been fortunate enough to do. The dissatisfaction is the starving artist that is always inside… I want more. I want to do more. I want to see more. I don’t think there is a different path I could of taken, people just journey and it takes to them to where they are going. I would love commercial success, though the music I make will always be what it is.
Has it been monastic for your art? knowing that your art is completely untainted by any label push or any angle to win votes?
I don’t think artists get tainted anymore, because the market is such a wide range now with the internet, that there is a market for even the most catered artists. I definitely try to win votes with those who follow me, I release what I do because of them and I am always conscious in trying to make it for them. In saying that, I wouldn’t call it tainted, I would call it inspired.
You are known to be held in high regard among older artists but not well known by the newer hip hop fans. Is this a hurdle, you feel? and if so, how do you bridge that gap?
I thought newer fans knew me too! Haha. I think the older heads in the scene hold me in high regard because I have stayed to who I have always been and stayed relevant, and that I was lucky enough to be around at such an important time of the scenes growth. The younger gen know inklings I hope, but its been a while since I put anything out I guess. I always treat it like I don’t have any fans, and I am doing things to gain new ones. I think the most important thing is to stay relevant and keep making the music I love.
Do you feel like a slept on artist? Where does Fatty see himself in the ranks of Australian hip-hop?
I used to feel slept on, definitely, I spent a lot of time building resentment and worrying about what other people were doing and thought of me. It took a long time to realise that I was never slept on, I just never went hard enough so I only have myself to blame. I guess I don’t rank myself, if I did I’m gonna say I am the best to ever do it haha.
So speaking of art, after Best Things In Life Are Three EP… Is there any advance to that on the cards?
I will be releasing the entire trilogy of Best Things in Life on to one disc. Most definitely now that this has been completed I will be moving onto a full length LP which I know to many people including myself is the long awaited. I have some amazing avenues to take with the LP and I am pumped to talk about that after Best Things in Life is done!
Alter Ego supplied a bag of good shit on the beats for that one. Is he a solid running mate of yours? Would it be cheating if you outsourced beats for a particular vibe, or can he provide anything and everything for you?
One of my best mates. Legend of a dude and amazing beat maker. Not at all a problem, that’s why I have several producers on Best Things in Life are Three. One part Three I have B Wiv fun vibin banger, 2 Dan Murphy throw back beats and an emotional charge from Spit. I think these are beats Ego could most definitely of catered for, but its good to work with other people definitely.
Dude, where did that Denzel snippet come from that opened ‘The Greatest’ come from? Is that close to how you see your situation in our local scene?
Its actually a sample from an interview with RA the Rugged Man, who is one of my favourite rapper of all time. I definitely see myself as that. To me, Rap is about confidence and competition in the same vein as another element of Hip Hop is, graffiti. I work hard, and I do what I do, and nobody can do me like I do, and I don’t care if the whole scene thought I was toy, I do me great.
The stories on your tracks seem not only real but close to the home. Is there any separation from you the person and Fatty Phew the artist?
I think there will always be a separation between a person public image and a person’s private life no doubt. There is certain thoughts I will not put on a piece of paper let alone a song, and a lot of those thoughts make me who I am. Who I am though is Fatty Phew. It is definitely one in the same. I have worn my heart on my sleeve since before I rapped, and I do the same as a artist… or well I hope I do!
‘Yes Or No’ with DJ Bogues & Alter Ego tells the story of the guy turning his life to the positive, from drug addiction to father and family man. Is it important for your music to read like a fable, with a message for listeners to take away?
‘Yes or No’ is more about choices that we make whether good or bad and the outcomes those choices may have, but regardless of the choice we started at the same point as each other. I think naturally as a person I am very passionate about my values and beliefs and conveying those to people. I try to take something away from every experience I have in life, so I would love it if listeners took something away after a listen, whether that be positive or negative.
How close is your own story to the narrative of that joint?
That particular song is completely about me. Both sides of the story. I grew up with people that made choices that lead them to a dark place, including myself, and I was also fortunate to make some choices that pushed me into the place I am now. Every song I make will always be written from experience and from a narrative of my own life, whether the song is fiction or non-fiction.
Trav tells me you’re a family man these days… how much has that impacted your grind in this harsh game of rap?
Definitely impacted heavily. There is a will and desire more than ever to make something of my music, for earn and for my daughter to be proud of her Dad. There is also the exact opposite because I don’t want to focus my time and energy anywhere else. It is definitely a balancing act that I need time to figure out, haha!
Is there ever a fear you will run out of stories, or material for a new track?
Never. Life goes on. My eyes are always open. My ears are always listening. My heart is always writing.
‘So The Fuck What!’ you said you like to release your rage. Is this the favoured outlet for therapy, getting shit off your chest?
I think it is for every rapper/artist. Whether it be; rage, sadness, happiness, anger, depression, excitement, apathy, confidence. It is all a release and a form of therapy. I think the part that separates me, is I definitely utilise it for all those emotions, haha.
So, how would it sit with you if someone bumped your shit and loved it but loved it for your flow and the beats rather than the message it carried?
Haha. If it doesn’t have the flow and beats than there ain’t no message. I certainly make hip-hop. I always have and always will. The flow, the bars, beats, delivery, the content and overall element is just as important as each other. A good emcee should be able to make it all gel. If people are listening to all my music they would know I always put battle bars with everything I do, and always try write intricate flows.
The long awaited tour is finally here, The Best Things In Life Australian tour… What will Fatty Phew bring?
I will be bringing a few changes of clothes, my iPad for reading and my laptop for gaming, haha. Nah I am excited to finally compact everything into such a short amount of time and see a few places I haven’t had the chance of seeing yet. I think Australia wide the people who have seen me perform know I bring a passionate one-on-one set, and this has only become more prevalent so I am pumped to bring this to the fans.