Melbourne MC MAMMOTH. has just released his debut album, OPUS MAGNUM, and it's an insight into his innermost thoughts. Executive produced by Australian music mainstay Silentjay, the album brings together some of Melbourne's most exciting creative talents (some of whom are part of the Picked Last collective just like MAMMOTH.).
If you gravitate towards hip-hop that delivers intricate rhyme schemes and demands your full attention, then OPUS MAGNUM will be right up your alley. Tracks like Another Alibi and Damned If I Do see MAMMOTH. dropping bar after bar of wisdom, while High Saturation is more of a sonic shift into the world of R&B.
MAMMOTH. has put his heart and soul into OPUS MAGNUM, and the result is a project that will stand the test of time. We caught up with MAMMOTH. to learn more about the project, and his answers reveal more about an artist who isn't afraid to embrace his vulnerability every time he steps up to the mic.
Firstly, congratulations on the release of OPUS MAGNUM! I’d love to know about the moment that you realised the album was finished – where were you, and what did it feel like knowing that you’d completed your OPUS MAGNUM?
Thanks so much! It is such a good feeling having it out. So, in October last year, I invited Silentjay to stay in a cabin in the woods and disconnect from society so we could be our most creative selves. Silentjay and I had one goal: to make as many tracks as we could within a five-day period. We ended up with just over 20 songs, which we then compiled into OPUS MAGNUM.
OPUS MAGNUM is a bold title, but the project lives up to the claim, as it brings to the fore your ability to weave narratives that demand repeat listens. I’d love to know more about your thoughts on the title – did labelling this project your magnum opus inspire you to get more out of your art than ever before?
OPUS MAGNUM is not necessarily my most regarded piece of work, but rather a series of chapters of me trying to reach my magnum opus but failing through the struggle and hurdles life throws my way. The title of the album actually came after it was done. I felt that the path that I'm on still has a long way to go to reach the OPUS MAGNUM.
On Another Alibi you rap “only time heals, only time will tell”. I’d love to learn more about the catharsis that you experienced when making the album, as it is such a personal release?
All the songs on the album were written throughout our two-year lockdown, where I was forced into the deepest parts of myself. It was a heavy time of self-reflection, and all the stories told are true. They're a product of experiences and feelings that were lived out during this period. Everyone that knows me personally knows me as an over-thinker. The only way to release those thoughts is by putting a pen to paper.
Is there a moment on OPUS MAGNUM that you’re particularly proud of, but it's a moment that might be missed by those listening to the album?
A little easter egg. On Another Alibi, the hook of the song was written in the acronym of MAMMOTH - "Must Always Maintain Myself Only Time Heals" & "My Alibi Misled Men Of Their Homes".
You worked on the project with Melbourne producer Silentjay – I’d love to know more about the chemistry between you two, and what you’ve taken away from working with Silentjay?
I am a massive fan of Silentjay and look up to him as a pioneer of the Australian music scene. Man, I remember three months before I met the dude, I told my homies that I’m gonna work with him one day.
Fast forward and I’m in a room with him by pot of luck at 3K's house. I laid down a couple of verses, and from there we creatively clicked. Working with Silentjay has to be one of the most rewarding experiences to date. He has challenged me in ways that have forced me to grow and be more confident, and he gave me the opportunity to work on a full-length project with him.
The project features contributions from a range of wildly talented Melbourne-based creatives: CD, Chef Chung, Eleftherios and more (as well as the aforementioned Silentjay). What do you think sets Melbourne’s music scene apart from the rest of the country?
The beauty of Melbourne, I believe, comes from its multiculturalism. Most of us are first/second generation Australians that bring to the scene our values and inspirations from our upbringings. I think this has created a unique bunch of similarly driven creatives.
Closing track Tanjil Bren (Ray n Jay Outro) takes its name from the remote town Tanjil Bren, located near Mount Baw Baw. I’d love to know more about the town’s influence on the record – is this where OPUS MAGNUM was made?
That cabin I stayed at in the woods was in fact in Tanjil Bren. It's about four hours out from Melbourne with a population of only six people. Being in such a secluded environment allowed everyone that was a part of the album to feel a sense of vulnerability, which I think is very important when making music. Being connected to nature and our surroundings really helped to give OPUS MAGNUM the soundscape that it is.
You’re part of the Picked Last collective alongside CD, 3K, Agung Mango and more. I’d love to know more about how being part of Picked Last has inspired you creatively?
The thing I love most about Picked Last is that we are all chasing the same dream within our respective lanes. Not one person from the collective is the same creatively, nor are we representing one sound. We are always trying to challenge ourselves and give each other advice on how we can be our best.
I also wanted to ask about the listening party that preceded the release of OPUS MAGNUM. What was the energy like in the room, and what did it mean to have so many people in a physical space celebrating your artistry?
I honestly wanna re-live that night again. I can't even put into words the feeling of seeing a room full of people that you love and look up to celebrating your own success. It really felt like some rapper shit and made me realise that maybe I'm meant for this.
Sheered Sheep sums up your ambition for the album – the track talks about being proud of yourself, despite being knocked down in the past. Listening back to what you’ve achieved on OPUS MAGNUM, what stands out to you the most?
It trips me out that I actually have an album out there with none other than Silentjay. The way it came so naturally, it feels like it was all destined you know?
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Finally, what are you hoping people learn about you when they’re listening to OPUS MAGNUM?
I hope people feel a sense of relief, it eases all the weight we carry but first and foremost I hope they're inspired. Don't change for anyone. Believe in the vision so it can believe in you.