Going In-Depth With Our Singles Club Rapper Mathas

  • Going In-Depth With Our Singles Club Rapper Mathas
    POSTED Apr 22 2016


     

    Perth rapper Mathas has been around for longer than most of your favourite Aussie rappers and yet he's still going from strength to strength. More than 10 years ago he pioneered WA collective The Community assisting the local scene with releasing music, organising festivals and putting on events.

    Still, in that time he’s only released two albums with the most recent being 2015’s Armwrestling Atlas. It seems that pace is going to change now though with Mathas stepping down on his career accelerator. New drop Bravo Troll is an experimental, colourful trip that may be the most ambitious things he’s ever done and is taken off an EP that will hopefully all follow suit.

    He’s also stepping out on his second headline tour, his first with a full band. The shows are part of our Cool Accidents' Singles Club series which means the first 100 that step through the door will be given a limited edition Mathas vinyl.

    We jumped on the phone and chatted with him ahead of the tour to get the low down on what to expect...


    Have you been living in Perth all your life?

    Yeah. Virtually in the same place all my life actually. I grew up in North Perth and I ended up in the suburb next to it. I have lived elsewhere but I generally end up back here.


    I’ve never been to Perth but you always hear about Perth’s great music scene. Do you feel like that’s correct or do we just get the best of Perth filtered to us?

    No, I think it is like that. I’m not going out as much as I once was because I’ve been so busy with life I guess but everyone still when we do see each other, throughout the whole music scene, there’s a great level of comrade. It’s just a small town thing I think. There’s no competitive nature about it. Hip-hop can be a little different but generally it’s a pretty thriving little.


    Do you think having a close-knit community was helpful starting out rapping?

    Not necessarily. We formed our own group and started putting on our own shows called The Community which we’ve been doing for 10 or 11 years. By putting on our own shows we created opportunities for ourselves. Starting out, in hip-hop for a long time there no one was taking me seriously. It’s only been the last few years, the last five to 10 years where hip-hop has been taken a little bit more seriously in the country. Starting out you weren’t taken that seriously until you put an album out that might’ve been ok.


    Do you have a reason for why hip-hop has gained respect?

    It’s probably the world’s most widespread cultural phenomenon. It’s everywhere. It’s managed to transcend boundaries and it basically makes a voice for, or gives any person a right to a voice. People argue over that right to your voice, there’s a lot of purism and that sort of thing. It’s kind of like telling a story over a beat and with Australia it was just eventually going to be a thing where you accepted the Australian acts and the Australian stories. It’s just the fanbase. The fanbase grew. And it’s only when there’s enough people paying attention that the industry started paying attention.


    No other genre house social and political innovation better than hip-hop does. Did that attract you to making music?

    I think the more my music has gone on the more it’s become more direct in the subject matter I’m talking about. My earlier stuff was a lot more coded. It was like that on purpose because I like subtlety. But I was still really talking about the same things. I think that’s what really attracted me to hip-hop in the first place. I always wrote poetry and over time as I started listening to these hip-hop beats I realised how much the stuff I was already writing fit to it. Then I started stumbling upon artists that blew my mind and realised what I was doing was worthy to some degree. But the success has only happened over the last four years. There was a lot of building.


    You’ve got a lot of messages to share. Do you often have to think about what things you want to target in case you dilute your message by having too many?

    Well I only ever write if I feel like I have the need to write about something. So if there’s something really bugging me at the time, it’s quite often what makes me start writing. If things are really bugging me in that moment then it’s releasing information from your brain like stopping you brain from feeling overloaded. It’s a bit of a cleansing process. I definitely exercise caution a little bit in talking about a particular subject too much or, there’s been a long time that I’ve been talking about things so I’m feeling now maybe I’d like to do songs that are a little more fun instead of talking about things that are too difficult and challenging to even make contact with them in your own head let alone exposing other people to them. I love writing songs with a message but I’ve been doing it for a really long time and standing on stage and basically talking to people about a lot of really heavy things, you’ve got to find ways to lighten it up a bit.


    Is that the vibe with Bravo Troll then? The instrumental is one of the funnest and wildest things you’ve rapped over.

    How that came about, I’ve got this really old wooden organ in my house from the ‘70s. It’s a Yamaha. It has a rhythm section on it and then it has the two levels of organ. I just started making this thing and I accidentally put a tango beat on really high tempo and a tango beat at really high tempo sounds just like a techno beat or house beat. I started really digging it and realised I could rap half time to it. I played around on it for ages and then moved it onto a computer and worked out how to piece it together as an actual song. But it was really organic. It was a nice feeling being back on an instrument that isn’t plugged into your computer. I’ve been spending a lot of time staring at computer screens.

     



    It must be exciting to be heading out on the road with a full band?

    Yeah I’m pretty psyched about the band. They’re all great players who play in a lot of different bands in Perth. They’re really clued in and it’s going to be a fun little trip.


    Is this the first time you’ve toured with a full band?
    It’s the only time ever. I’ve been rapping quite a long time. I’ve mainly been on tour in support of other people and I did one tour last year as a headliner. That was my first but that was all solo. This is definitely a scale up.


    Off the back of the second album things seem to be working in motion for you. Is it odd to have a career that’s been going on for a decade or more and then for it to be gaining momentum at this point?

    Yeah, it’s nice. It’s also circumnavigating new territory. It’s also the best time for me to be doing that. For a lot of my 20s we were trying to build something and it was more about Perth, creating an environment and trying to help younger guys out. That still exists but now I’m more prepared to head east and get a bit more immerses in the industry than I was when I was younger. It was more concentrating on building something in Perth.


    Would that have been difficult for you at a young age particularly when you’ve got to explain all your messages to journalists and people going in-depth?

    I think I probably would’ve managed. Like I said, I only write things when I feel like I have an opinion that’s worthy for me to talk on. I suppose the younger stuff it was a lot more coded and maybe it wasn’t as concise a message as I can deliver now as an adult. I still would’ve managed but at the same time I’ve built a really solid group of devout fans and really good friends in Perth based around this music. That was pretty important for a long time. It still is, it’s just now I’m a little more inside my own head trying to build something else.


    What happens off the back of this tour? Are you going to move onto an EP?
    Yeah there’s a plan for an EP later in the year. It’s called Gripes With The Human Mind. There’s a couple of songs that were half-finished on the way to finishing the last album and they’re still songs that I like so I wanted to make sure they got finished. They’ll go onto it and then Bravo Troll and there’s a couple of other new ones too.


    You can catch Mathas & his band live in action around the country in late April and May and get your mitts on a super duper limited 7" at the SYD & MEL dates if you're one of the first 100 peeps through the door!


     

    Interview conducted by The Interns' Sam Murphy for Cool Accidents.

     

    145781
Submitted by Site Factory admin on Fri, 22/04/2016 - 10:35


 

Perth rapper Mathas has been around for longer than most of your favourite Aussie rappers and yet he's still going from strength to strength. More than 10 years ago he pioneered WA collective The Community assisting the local scene with releasing music, organising festivals and putting on events.

Still, in that time he’s only released two albums with the most recent being 2015’s Armwrestling Atlas. It seems that pace is going to change now though with Mathas stepping down on his career accelerator. New drop Bravo Troll is an experimental, colourful trip that may be the most ambitious things he’s ever done and is taken off an EP that will hopefully all follow suit.

He’s also stepping out on his second headline tour, his first with a full band. The shows are part of our Cool Accidents' Singles Club series which means the first 100 that step through the door will be given a limited edition Mathas vinyl.

We jumped on the phone and chatted with him ahead of the tour to get the low down on what to expect...


Have you been living in Perth all your life?

Yeah. Virtually in the same place all my life actually. I grew up in North Perth and I ended up in the suburb next to it. I have lived elsewhere but I generally end up back here.


I’ve never been to Perth but you always hear about Perth’s great music scene. Do you feel like that’s correct or do we just get the best of Perth filtered to us?

No, I think it is like that. I’m not going out as much as I once was because I’ve been so busy with life I guess but everyone still when we do see each other, throughout the whole music scene, there’s a great level of comrade. It’s just a small town thing I think. There’s no competitive nature about it. Hip-hop can be a little different but generally it’s a pretty thriving little.


Do you think having a close-knit community was helpful starting out rapping?

Not necessarily. We formed our own group and started putting on our own shows called The Community which we’ve been doing for 10 or 11 years. By putting on our own shows we created opportunities for ourselves. Starting out, in hip-hop for a long time there no one was taking me seriously. It’s only been the last few years, the last five to 10 years where hip-hop has been taken a little bit more seriously in the country. Starting out you weren’t taken that seriously until you put an album out that might’ve been ok.


Do you have a reason for why hip-hop has gained respect?

It’s probably the world’s most widespread cultural phenomenon. It’s everywhere. It’s managed to transcend boundaries and it basically makes a voice for, or gives any person a right to a voice. People argue over that right to your voice, there’s a lot of purism and that sort of thing. It’s kind of like telling a story over a beat and with Australia it was just eventually going to be a thing where you accepted the Australian acts and the Australian stories. It’s just the fanbase. The fanbase grew. And it’s only when there’s enough people paying attention that the industry started paying attention.


No other genre house social and political innovation better than hip-hop does. Did that attract you to making music?

I think the more my music has gone on the more it’s become more direct in the subject matter I’m talking about. My earlier stuff was a lot more coded. It was like that on purpose because I like subtlety. But I was still really talking about the same things. I think that’s what really attracted me to hip-hop in the first place. I always wrote poetry and over time as I started listening to these hip-hop beats I realised how much the stuff I was already writing fit to it. Then I started stumbling upon artists that blew my mind and realised what I was doing was worthy to some degree. But the success has only happened over the last four years. There was a lot of building.


You’ve got a lot of messages to share. Do you often have to think about what things you want to target in case you dilute your message by having too many?

Well I only ever write if I feel like I have the need to write about something. So if there’s something really bugging me at the time, it’s quite often what makes me start writing. If things are really bugging me in that moment then it’s releasing information from your brain like stopping you brain from feeling overloaded. It’s a bit of a cleansing process. I definitely exercise caution a little bit in talking about a particular subject too much or, there’s been a long time that I’ve been talking about things so I’m feeling now maybe I’d like to do songs that are a little more fun instead of talking about things that are too difficult and challenging to even make contact with them in your own head let alone exposing other people to them. I love writing songs with a message but I’ve been doing it for a really long time and standing on stage and basically talking to people about a lot of really heavy things, you’ve got to find ways to lighten it up a bit.


Is that the vibe with Bravo Troll then? The instrumental is one of the funnest and wildest things you’ve rapped over.

How that came about, I’ve got this really old wooden organ in my house from the ‘70s. It’s a Yamaha. It has a rhythm section on it and then it has the two levels of organ. I just started making this thing and I accidentally put a tango beat on really high tempo and a tango beat at really high tempo sounds just like a techno beat or house beat. I started really digging it and realised I could rap half time to it. I played around on it for ages and then moved it onto a computer and worked out how to piece it together as an actual song. But it was really organic. It was a nice feeling being back on an instrument that isn’t plugged into your computer. I’ve been spending a lot of time staring at computer screens.

 



It must be exciting to be heading out on the road with a full band?

Yeah I’m pretty psyched about the band. They’re all great players who play in a lot of different bands in Perth. They’re really clued in and it’s going to be a fun little trip.


Is this the first time you’ve toured with a full band?
It’s the only time ever. I’ve been rapping quite a long time. I’ve mainly been on tour in support of other people and I did one tour last year as a headliner. That was my first but that was all solo. This is definitely a scale up.


Off the back of the second album things seem to be working in motion for you. Is it odd to have a career that’s been going on for a decade or more and then for it to be gaining momentum at this point?

Yeah, it’s nice. It’s also circumnavigating new territory. It’s also the best time for me to be doing that. For a lot of my 20s we were trying to build something and it was more about Perth, creating an environment and trying to help younger guys out. That still exists but now I’m more prepared to head east and get a bit more immerses in the industry than I was when I was younger. It was more concentrating on building something in Perth.


Would that have been difficult for you at a young age particularly when you’ve got to explain all your messages to journalists and people going in-depth?

I think I probably would’ve managed. Like I said, I only write things when I feel like I have an opinion that’s worthy for me to talk on. I suppose the younger stuff it was a lot more coded and maybe it wasn’t as concise a message as I can deliver now as an adult. I still would’ve managed but at the same time I’ve built a really solid group of devout fans and really good friends in Perth based around this music. That was pretty important for a long time. It still is, it’s just now I’m a little more inside my own head trying to build something else.


What happens off the back of this tour? Are you going to move onto an EP?
Yeah there’s a plan for an EP later in the year. It’s called Gripes With The Human Mind. There’s a couple of songs that were half-finished on the way to finishing the last album and they’re still songs that I like so I wanted to make sure they got finished. They’ll go onto it and then Bravo Troll and there’s a couple of other new ones too.


You can catch Mathas & his band live in action around the country in late April and May and get your mitts on a super duper limited 7" at the SYD & MEL dates if you're one of the first 100 peeps through the door!


 

Interview conducted by The Interns' Sam Murphy for Cool Accidents.

 

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