ONEFOUR may have been the group that finally forced the Australian music industry to pay attention to the Australian drill movement, but once we did, we realised that Australia has been a breeding ground for a number of fresh new hip hop sub-genres for a few years now. A number of these acts are actually coming out of the suburbs of Brisbane - not Western Sydney, as many believed was the hub of the new generation of hip hop.
Enter 19-year-old Day1, the Pacific Islander rapper who has seen success on SoundCloud and YouTube from a series of uber-cool drops, including songs like Boss and My Time and most recently, Riding. Running with a crew that includes Creed Tha Kid, Youngn Lipz and Davey, Day1's part of The Area Movement, a collective that represents "any place where you, your culture and your people live".
"Every big city in the world has them outer suburbs where multi-cultural working-class people live. There are different names for these places. In West Sydney we call it THE AREA," their website explains.
You’re only 19 now, when did you start making music? What made you sit down and write your first song?
I started writing music at nine, because my dad used to be all musical. He’s Māori so he used to sing and play the guitar and all of that. When I was nine, I had situations in my life where I used to just sit down and write, really. Pretty much how it started out.
Nine is so early.
Yeah it’s SO early.
Do you remember what your first song was and do you still like it?
To be honest, I think it's one of my best because it means a lot to me.
You’ve been big on SoundCloud over the last year or so, which is absolutely heaving with fresh new hip hop before it really blows up. My Time is your oldest upload on there and then Boss really blew up – do you feel like your style has developed since then?
Yeah, definitely, definitely. I think when I first started releasing stuff on SoundCloud I was really influenced more by the American rappers, it sounded more American. Nowadays, like when I released Boss, it’s still an American style but it fits into the Australian scene, which is what I was going for. So yes, definitely developed, definitely developed.
You kind of found your own voice.
Yeah, exactly. I’m still finding my own voice, but you know.
You’re half-Colombian and half-Māori and you live in Australia, do you feel like your music is influenced by your three backgrounds?
Mostly just Māori and Australian. And to be honest, American rap. The singing in my Māori culture definitely had a big impact but another influence was definitely the Australian movement.
Do you remember which rappers you heard growing up that really made you go, "This is what I want to do with my life?" Who are your influences?
I used to look at like, 50 Cent, thinking that’s crazy. I looked up to him and I was like, “damn, I really want to do this sort of thing.” In terms of sound I grew up with a lot of the new music. Like Speaker Knockerz, PnB Rock, all the melodic sort of rappers, even A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, and all that sort of stuff. I did listen to Eminem growing up.
You dropped a video called One Time, which is a big shoutout to Brissy where you and your boys live! I heard you guys filmed that in one night, is that a real party your crew was throwing?
I wouldn't say party. It was kind of just like… if you're from Brisbane, you know, when you have kick ons you get an apartment. You know? It was natural so we got a camera and thought, might as well just shoot my video. But the song itself is actually two years old. It was a moral thing [to release it] because that song kind of got me to where I am now. Everyone thinks it's a new song but it's really not, it’s old!
Is it weird to drop a song two years later, do you still resonate with it?
I hate this song already! It’s played too many times. [laughs] But people do like it because it's new to them, whereas me I've heard it too many times.
You drop a lot of music first on YouTube, before platforms like Spotify or Apple Music. Why do you think you work that way?
It’s mainly for the video to gain people's attention online. They like seeing a video more than hearing audio, it’s like they discover who I am first and then later on go towards the platforms like Spotify and stuff like that.
We’ve been hearing a lot about The Area Movement, which Hooligan Hefs and HP Boyz are a part of too, can you explain to people who may not be familiar with who you are and what you guys do? Who are your boys in the collective that we gotta listen out for?
It’s like a culture, like how the UK developed their [grime] scene. So you got your area, you’re from Western Sydney or from Brisbane, but it’s area. It’s like hood, we call it area. There’s a lot of different races and stuff and we all get along – Australia itself is multicultural. Australian music used to be very frowned upon but now it’s relatable. Now people are starting to discover and they think it’s sick. This is cool, it’s something different.
You probably already know them but Hooks, Hooligan Skinny, Hooligan Hefs, Youngn Lipz, OTG, definitely. My boy Davey. They’re all my brothers – it’s bigger than music.
Speaking of, you, Youngn Lipz and Creed Tha Kid jumped up on A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s Mood Swings remix, what was getting that call up like?
It was like, just imagine your biggest dream come true. That's the best thing I can do. I’ll never forget it too – I remember my manager told me about it, I didn't believe him. But nah, it's crazy. And on the track too, Youngn Lipz and Creed, they’re my brothers. It's cool to rise up with them. It definitely brings a lot of attention to Australia, A Boogie’s definitely getting a lot of respect for that too.