Ivan Ooze – What He Thinks About People Saying His Rapping Style Is UnAustralian

While across the scene, his rapping style has been called unAustralian, rapper Ivan Ooze (in no uncertain terms) tells Rip Nicholson he couldn’t give a shit.

 

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IVAN OOZE interviewed @ 14:20 AEST Friday, November 20, 2015
For Street Press Australia [READ HERE]

“I’ve just always rapped like this, it’s not a voice I put on, it’s just my voice when it’s in a high pitch,” explains Ivan Ooze, aka Ben Townsend, whose vocals come off seemingly American in accent, rubbing some of the local scene’s hard heads the wrong way.

“I grew up on American hip hop during my upbringing and I hadn’t even heard an Australian hip hop artist until I was about 15. I do use some American slang but that’s just me. People definitely do say, ‘Your voice is wack, you’re not Aussie hip-hop’, but why the fuck do I care? I do this for myself and my fans, not to please them because they don’t like it. Shut the fuck up!”

Townsend dropped into the scene and into a new wave of hip hop in 2014. In less than 12 months he has released his Ringwood Rich EP as well as acclaimed mixtape The Social Alien — a fully-automatic, high pitched lyrical assault that went viral across Australia — and most recently new single, Fire. It’s a track miles away from the style he delivered on previous big hit Jimi Hendrix. So, finding his niche is achieved by not creating a niche.

“I just like being versatile and like to keep people guessing instead of producing the same shit over and over again. It’s also a lot more fun that way too, never a dull moment.”

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“I do this for myself and my fans, not to please them because they don’t like it. Shut the fuck up!”

He has performed with Allday, Illy and The Thundamentals with whom he also shares no distinct style. “Yeah I guess so,” agrees Townsend, to a degree. “But, everyone has their own certain style — that’s what makes them stand out in the Australian scene. My style is a product of a lot of aggression though so I try and turn it into constructive energy in a way. Rapping is basically my release.”

Quickly becoming regarded as one of the hardest working musicians in the scene, Townsend has matched his eclectic output with an equally astounding gig schedule; recently performing 45 shows straight with hip hop’s favourite storyteller Seth Sentry. As hectic as it was on his health, he insists the time was memorable.

“It was actually the best time, man. There were so many crazy moments that I’ll never forget,” he laughs. “But it definitely takes it toll performing every night health-wise. It was all worth it though, one of the best experiences of my life. Thanks Seth!”

Along with Sentry Townsend has been billed with legends Ice Cube and Cypress Hill, even Azealia Banks, all of whom he declares taught him how to present himself on stage and harness his audience.

“Especially watching the way Cypress and Cube control a crowd, as someone who is really energetic on stage and jumping around using the entire floor space, I learnt so much from those two tours and I feel it bettered me as an artist and as a person.”

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Conversation with Ivan Ooze

Oozie what up, how are you bruv?

Good brah, just been hustling dudes on CS:GO haha

What’s been going on, I know you’ve got the tour starting tomorrow, and we’ll talk about that. But after the Ringwood Rich EP – working on anything new?

Just some singles at the moment man. Nothing really set in stone yet but a lot of shit ready to record.

I’m a big fan of ‘Jimi Hendrix’ – dope single! Same with ‘Fire’ – but they couldn’t be more opposite in styles. How do you find your own niche?

Thanks man! I think i just like being versatile and like to keep people guessing instead of producing the same shit over and over again. It’s also a lot more fun that way too, never a dull moment.

Using a variety of producers give you that difference between tracks, for your album would you still chase beats from whoever supplies the best or knuckle down with a few chosen producers you like?

It really just depends on the producer for me i reckon but i really enjoy having production from various producers. Keeps the artist coming with fresh new sounds in my opinion.

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They’re calling you one of the hardest working emcees in Australia. A record breaking 45 shows with old mate Seth Sentry and Dylan Joel – that sounds hectic – how has that been?

It was actually the best time man. There were so many crazy moments that i’ll never forget haha but it definitely takes it toll performing every night healthwise. It was all worth it though, one of the best experiences of my life. Thanks Seth!

You’ve also supported Azealia Banks, Ice Cube and Cypress Hill nationally. Do you learn from sharing a gig with these type artists?

Most definitely man, especially watching the way Cypress and Cube control a crowd. I learnt so much from those 2 tours and i feel it bettered me as an artist and as a person.

Performed with locals Allday, Illy and the Thundamentals. Yet your style is quite different to theirs. Do you feel that separation from what you do and most from Australian hip-hop?

Yeah i guess so but everyone has their own certain style, that’s what makes them stand out in the Australian scene. My style is a product of a lot of aggression though so i try and turn it into constructive energy in a way. Rapping is basically my release.

Some in the scene have suggested your style carries an accent away from the Australian scene? Is that a creative style you’ve gone for?

I’ve just always rapped like this, it’s not a voice i put on, it’s just my voice when it’s in a high pitch. I grew up on American hip-hop during my upbringing and I hadn’t even heard an Australian hip hop artist until I was about 15 I reckon. I do use some American slang though but that’s just me and what i like. People definitely do say “You’re voice is wack, you’re not Aussie hip hop” but why the fuck do i care? I do this for myself and my fans, not to please them because they don’t like it. Shut the fuck up.

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I’d even go so far as liken your style to Danny Brown? How do you see that?

Yeah i can see that but i think it could be the pitch in my voice. My voice always gets compared to like Yelawolf, Danny, B-Real so i reckon it’s the voice haha but i do love trap so i can see where you’re coming from.

The tour start tomorrow at Cronulla. Looking forward to it?

Yeah man! It’s gonna be sick as. I’ve never played in Cronulla so I’m keen to check it out.

Beyond the Valley festival – What can fans expect from an Ivan Ooze show?

I have some cool as shit planned but a big amount of high energy and a fuck load of fun. Don’t want to give too much away but it’s gonna be dope as!

IvanOoze [15-12]

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