IVAN OOZE – Spinning Something Different, Just Like KFC In ’93

Ivan Ooze is a rapper driving his own lane, turnt up with a heightened sense of confidence after being encouraged by the biggest hip hop act the world has ever known. By Rip Nicholson.

IVAN OOZE interviewed May 3, 2016
For Street Press Australia [VIEW HERE]

Images by alteregovisuals.co.

“To just keep doing what I’m doing,” expresses Ben Townsend aka Ivan Ooze after his support for Wu-Tang Clan at Brisbane’s Riverstage had the Clan telling the Melbourne-based MC to stick to his guns, fuck the hate. “Don’t let anyone’s opinions fuck with your head. Stay on your own track because you never know, like, I never expected something like that to happen after the Wu-Tang set because I’ve been on other tour supports and that stuff never really happens.

“I remember when I was rapping I looked to my left and saw them all watching and that freaked me out. I was like, ‘Holy shit, I’ve never seen other artists watching me,’ and when I went back after the set they said that was dope and they liked what I was doing,” recalls Townsend. “They respected what I was doing because it was different and said to keep continuing that.”

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“In 1993, KFC were the first to serve rotisserie chicken and have it advertised on TV and it was known for being packed with heaps of flavour…”

In March, Townsend dropped his latest mixtape ’93 KFC Rotisserie GOLD, a volatile tracklisting of finger-lickin’, fast-paced raps over a selection of trap-style beat-downs that ends brilliantly on the Willy Wonka‘s Pure Imagination sample. Much like Townsend’s approach to his hip hop, you can either take it or leave it, a sentiment that’s all in the name, he explains.

“In 1993, KFC were the first to serve rotisserie chicken and have it advertised on TV and it was known for being packed with heaps of flavour, it was new and people would grow to love it. People who hadn’t tried it before went and tried it and they really liked it. I named my mixtape that because I wanted to be be like, ‘Ooh, you haven’t tried this shit yet,’ and if you don’t like it, pffft, but if you do like it then it’s sort of like a whole new and different style of rap that you’ve never heard in Australia before.”

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While on the Wu tour, aside from taking Ghostface Killah Ugg boot shopping, and co-recording a track Bills with the legendary rapper, Townsend observed the command RZA had on stage, leading the Wu-Tang experience with complete control.

“When I was watching how RZA commands most of their shows, the way he talks and interacts with the crowd and when you do that that’s what draws in their attention. So, when you talk to [the audience] you have to be confident and know what you’re saying and doing and they are going to respect you for it. So it sort of makes you the leader in what the fuck’s happening,” Townsend reckons. “So I’ve made that into my stage show now and working in what aspects we are going to involve in the set and making them as solid as you can. Pretty much everyone in my show has an input into what goes down. Plus, I have written out a game plan and practised how we go about shit and it’s looking pretty good. And I think that’s why the [Groovin The Moo] set was so good.”

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Conversation with Ivan Ooze

Oozi, what up, man. How’s ya day been?

Oh not too bad I’ve just been struttin’ around with my new kitten and it doesn’t wanna stop biting everything and so when you try and do something it just wants to keep fuckin’w ith your shit all the time.

I’d be more worried when they start to piss n shit everywhere.

It got toilet-trained so it knows the smell of where it should piss n shit but like, the other night it pissed on my bed, like right near my head. I cracked the shits.

You’re fresh off the Groovin The Moo… How was that?

It was great, awesome man. Like, everyone there, it was 11am set and everyone pretty much evolved into a huge crowd. Was so unexpected but it was so much fun, it was sick.

It probably ended up being one of the best sets we’ve ever played so I’m pretty stoked with it.

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Last time I saw you was in Brissy before Wu Tang. Fuck. You went on to ride with them, record in the studio with them, seeing how Ghost writes a verse. What was the big lesson you took away from that experience?

To just keep doing what I’m doing. Like, don’t let anyone’s opinions fuck with your head. Stay on your own track because you never know, like, I never expected something like that to happen after the Wu-Tang set because I’ve been on other tour supports and that stuff never really happens. I remember when I was rapping I looked to my left and saw them all watching and that freaked me out. I was like, ‘holy shit, I’ve never seen other artists watching me’ and when I went back after the set they said that was dope and they liked what I was doing and told me to continue with what I’m doing and they all came up and gave us props. They respected what I was doing because it was different and said to keep continuing that.

Was there ever a thought that maybe you could jump on a US tour with them?

Hopefully. That would actually be like, really, really cool. I had a good chat to Ghost when he was writing his verse I was like just chatting to him about heaps of shit and we might have some work stuff in the works but we will soon see.

And how was the Ugg Boot shopping with him?

Yeah. That was crazy, it was weird we picked him up from his hotel in Melbourne and he said he wanted to go shopping for Ugg Boots for his family back home. It was just cool to see him in an Ugg Boot shop checking out these ugg Boots in like pink and purple and shit. It was fuckin’ sick (laughs). Then he bought us Maccas and shit, I got like a Quarter Pounder meal from Ghost, that was dope.

Well if you get to go to New York on tour with him make him take you to a Wallabies shop, you know he loves those shoes.

Haha! Yeah bro, I definitely will.

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How did that collab come about and what’s the latest on ‘Bills’?

I have the track pretty much already done and when it came about I was like, I’ve got this one track with a fairly catchy hook and I thought Ghost would sound sick on it. And, because I’ve never heard Ghost go double time, on this track he goes double time so that was pretty sick. So, we got into the studio and I jumped onto the mic and he said I haven’t written to it yet  so we pretty much just sat down and talked. There was me, Dom Cork was in the studio and Cam Bluff and we just started chillin’ back and talking about it and he just sat there for about half an hour, kept listening to it and looped just the beat and within 30 to 45 minutes he laid it down and what came out from it was fuckin’ sick. But um, I think it will probably come out as a single release in around September.  

That ‘93 KFC shit is dope, bro. What the fuck is with that name?

In 1993, KFC were the first to serve rotisserie chicken and have it advertised on TV and it was known for being packed with heaps of flavour, it was new and people would grow to love it and that’s what it was advertised to be like. People who hadn’t tried it before went and tried it and they really liked it. I named my mixtape that because I wanted to be be like, ‘oh, you haven’t tried this shit yet and if you don’t like it, pffft but if you do like it then it’s sort of like a whole new and different style of rap that you’ve never heard in Australia before. So I related it to that and came up with that.

So much finger-licking, good shit in there – Music Therapy with Dylan Joel – smooth. And that Pure Imagination at the end (Willy Wonka) fucking brilliant. Makes the exploration through different beats all worth it.

Thanks, man! Yeah I love that sample a lot!

Every beat drop is a journey through different production. Like, is that an objective, to make sure every track is from a different producer?

No. Not at all, I was pretty much searching through – people would send me beat catalogues and I would look through them but I never really heard two that matched up and at the same time I sorta wanted it to be, because it’s a mixtape, you want to have a mixture of everything that you can sort of do that you can display so I sort of took all the producers and with the songs and tracklisting stuff tried to make it work so it flowed so, like, it started with an upbeat then it was like chilled then went back into deep shit and gradually progressed into turnt-up shit. That’s what I like doing with mixtapes. So as I was compiling everything together I realised I had 14-15 tracks from different producers but I still like mixing it up as well because you can just show what you are capable of doing instead of having the one producer who may have the same BPM or track layout, sort of thing. Mixing it up with different producers keeps people guessing but at the same time it keeps you doing different flows, everything.

So does any of what you do and how you play production in a mixtape ever carry over into your thoughts of how you’re going to record a studio album?

Well we don’t even really know where we wanna go with an album yet. I sorta wanna work with one or two producers just because I wanna do concepts with albums and I think if you stick with one, two or three producers I reckon it would a lot smoother, a lot cleaner because they’re all gonna be that same kinda feel whereas if you mixed it up again then it’s going to go back to a mixtape feel instead of an album feel.

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So after the whole Ghostface and Wu experience… their praise for your live show in Brissy – how has it changed or matured your process into both recording and performing?

When I was watching how RZA commands most of their shows, the way he talks and interacts with the crowd and when you do that that’s what draws in their attention. So, when you talk to [the audience] you have to be confident and know what you’re saying and doing and they are going to respect you for it. So it sort of makes you the leader in what the fuck’s happening. So I’ve made that into my stage show now and working in what aspects we are going to involve in the set and making them as solid as you can. Pretty much everyone in my show has an input into what goes down. Plus, I have written out a game plan and practised how we go about shit and it’s looking pretty good. And I think that’s why the set was so good (Groovin The Moo).

Ivan Ooze [May16]

 

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