Western Sydney artist SOLLYY is a producer, DJ, triple j presenter and more, so it's more than understandable that his newly released debut single has been a few years in the making. Thankfully, good things come to those who wait. SOLLYY's new track confirms why we all heard that particular idiom when we were young. He's just released NAHJOKES, a bouncy track that features a booming bassline, rattling percussion and infectious energy that'll have you busting out your best (or worst) dance moves. This one's an absolute heater.
NAHJOKES samples the acapella of fellow Western Sydney artist Jaecy's 2020 hit WHAT'S GOOD to great effect. SOLLYY's chopped up some of Jaecy's most potent bars to create the vocals for NAHJOKES, while the beat takes the energy of '00s dance music and updates it for the present day. In another life, NAHJOKES would be "a deep cut off of a So Fresh CD".
We caught up with SOLLYY to talk about NAHJOKES, as well as how Australian artists are continuing to make a name for themselves across the globe. SOLLYY's worked closely with artists like ONEFOUR, CD and PANIA, CG FEZ, Section60 and more, earning the moniker of "Sydney's best kept secret". However, the release of NAHJOKES is a further step into the limelight for SOLLYY, and it's an accomplished debut single that's been a long time coming.
Cool Accidents: Firstly, congrats on the release of your debut single NAHJOKES! It’s been a little while coming, having made a name for yourself in Australian music as a producer, DJ, triple j presenter and much more – how does it feel to finally have NAHJOKES out there in the world?
SOLLYY: It’s crazy bro! I definitely don’t have the biggest expectations (tryna stay realistic) but the buzz it’s been getting has sorta surprised me if anything! I’m just glad I have something out that I’m really proud of.
The track samples Australian rapper Jaecy’s WHAT’S GOOD, and you’ve previously released dubs of tracks by artists like Hamza, DXVNDRE and more. I’d love to know more about why you sampled Jaecy on this track, and your relationship with sampling more generally?
Man! I had that WHAT’S GOOD acapella sitting around for ages and actually flipped the song a while ago but I went through a big house phase at the end of 2020 and kept hearing rap vocals sampled. I thought it would be mad to use an Aussie acapella just because I’ve never heard it done.
Sampling in general is something I used to love doing. I've tended to shy away from it in recent times because of issues around clearing etc.. However, with local samples, I find that they’re just as excited to be sampled as I am to sample them! It’s made me feel a bit more confident in just reaching out and sorting business stuff out!
I wanted to ask about the music that you listened to while growing up. Was music a big part of your life when you were younger, and given that you’ve mentioned that NAHJOKES has the energy of “a deep cut off of a So Fresh CD”, how did you discover new music during that time?
Yes! I grew up around a lot of music. Mum’s playlist was full of Duran Duran and Heavy D, while my dad loved Craig David and plenty of Samoan reggae jams. So Fresh was just one of those things that I feel like every Aussie kid has a memory of, so I was exposed to it by default. I used to watch Channel V religiously growing up too, so the dance songs and videos from that era continue to resonate with me to this day!
As I mentioned before, you’re someone that produces music, DJs, presents on triple j, organises events and more. As someone that’s been part of the scene at a community level for a while now, what do you think has changed in Australian music over the last few years that’s meant more talented artists than ever are popping up all over the country?
I feel like what we’re starting to see is that more and more artists are becoming comfortable with being uniquely Australian in their own identity. Through that, the music being made becomes more and more interesting and unique. You can’t find any of that stuff elsewhere globally. I definitely see acts like ONEFOUR and Flume breaking down doors globally. They're showing us that ‘hey, we can do this’ while still being ourselves in the process!
A lot gets said about the success of Western Sydney’s music scene, but why do you think so many artists from the area have made a name on a national stage in recent times, and what sets the Western Sydney community apart from other music scenes?
They call Western Sydney a melting pot for good reason. It’s possibly one of the most ethnically diverse places in the world and with that you’re bound to get a crazy mix of ideals, cultures, influences, etc. mixed with that classic Aussie mentality that I think is slowly starting to take hold as an identity. My generation is mostly second gen, so I feel like we’re in the process of firmly planting our feet with the art out here.
On that note - for anyone reading this, what can they be doing to tap into the wealth of Australian talent that have popped up in different genres over the last few years?
Shows! Events! Learning to link with like-minded people. I say this with my friends all the time, but there’s a reason someone like Saba can come here and sell out the Opera House. There is an audience here for the music you like. With that comes artists from your own backyard that also make music of that calibre. Why can’t we sell out the Opera House? It’s our city!
It feels like producers are finally starting to get their dues in Australian music, which might not have been the case five years ago. As a producer, how do you ensure you’re getting the most out of both yourself and the artist/s you’re working with every time you sit down to make a track?
I think just getting artists out of their comfort zone. Getting an artist comfortable with the prospect that we are gonna make 20+ songs until we have the one we love. Also being upfront! As producers, you’re always led by the artist, but recently I’ve started taking a bit more of a central role in songs. I’m getting more and more confident in my ideas now.
Finally, what’s next for SOLLYY in 2022?
I've got some cool shows coming up. I’ll be supporting Jarreau Vandal in July, so that’s heaps cool. Some more songs too, and more production work that’s coming out as well. Other than that, I’m just tryna see where the wind takes me next!