For those who are yet to hear of Nurcha Records, they’re an underground hip hop label based in Sydney. Originally started by Shrekk (or Shaun for those of you playing at home), Nurcha was founded with the vision to promote and encourage the next generation of Aussie talent. Chances are you’ve heard some of their bands without even realising it. Some of them are currently playing with the likes of Bliss n Eso as well as putting on hip hop nights all around the country.
They’re a tight-knit group and work together a great deal, be it through mix tape or live show or pretty much anything else. I had chats with a Smiles Again from Mind Over Matter, Phatchace from Natural Causes and Coptic Soldier.
Mind Over Matter
Mind Over Matter are a much talked about duo, recently mentioned in Jmag by Bliss N Eso as their choice for Best Australian Album for the J Awards. This cheeky pair, known as MCs Willow and Smiles Again, met in high school and have been powering away ever since.
“Well, both Willow and I fell into the same group at school (the skaties) because of our shared interests in skateboarding and rollerblading”. Smiles Again tells me. “Willow was a hip hop fan from an early age — he was bumping Eazy E in year two! I was into basically anything up until year eight or so where all I began to listen to was hip hop. Willow made me focus on what rappers were saying and not just to like them for the beats they were rapping over. This was a huge turning point in our lives once we both became focused on this.”
They’ve had a whirlwind journey so far, winning their high school battle of the bands over the clichéd high school rock bands and releasing their first mix tape which was very well received. They released their debut album Keepin’ it Breezy earlier this year.
“Our new album is going extremely well considering we haven’t been working on it for too long. Since dropping Keepin’ It Breezy in mid 2008, producers have been getting at us way more frequently than ever before which makes things a lot easier on the hunting tip. At the moment though we’re currently working our second mix tape titled Free The Wolves which we’re aiming to have finished by Christmas. The mix tape is designed to promote both Keepin’ It Breezy and our next album as well as get a few new tracks off our chest that we really want the fans to hear.”
So kids — keep an eye out on the sophomore mix tape from Mind Over Matter – available just in time for Christmas!
Natural Causes are an energetic MC trio featuring Phatchance, Raph and Physics. They take a different sort of approach and list Jeff Buckley and the Klaxons as their influences. Phatchance caught me up on the band and what they’ve been up to.
“We were lucky enough to go to school with a bunch of talented musicians. We attended Fort Street, a small school in the Inner West that’s produced acts like Horrorshow, Spit Syndicate, Third Estate, Josh Pyke and The Fuji Collective, so it was kind of natural for us to fall into the music making process. We all also grew up in music oriented families, which is always a real booster. Being surrounded by it, it’s hard not to want to get involved.”
The group places a strong emphasis on creative lyricism and believe that a varied musical background and knowledge are a necessity in this day an age.
“Our music tastes are really very eclectic, from a hip-hop perspective our biggest influences are probably The Hilltop Hoods and Atmosphere, but we listen to everything from Psychedelia, Electro, Ambient, Dub-Step and World Music to Acoustic and Folk, there’s even a dash of Soul, Jazz and Classical in there depending on who you’re talking to. I don’t think these days you can get by in the industry listening exclusively to any particular genre, you really need to draw creative energy from everything that’s going on if you want to put out something competitive and new.”
As for their first album, it’s well on the way. “We’ve got a fair few of the beats and verses done and have recorded drafts of a few of the tracks. It’s shaping up to be something we’re proud of and there’s already a lot of diversity on there. It’ll be ready some time next year and if all goes well, it should be something that gets people talking!”
Coptic Soldier was first introduced to hip hop by the likes of US bigwigs Eminem and Tupac, but has since drawn inspiration from artists closer to home. Born in Melbourne and raised in Sydney he offers a more lyrical approach.
“I have been writing and making music for just over three years now. I’m just about to release The Past Three Years diary, which is a street release that really reflects my life in the last three years.” Coptic tells me. “I write basically whatever is on my mind. Most recently I have been in huge reflection about my growth and fortune, so all the music I seem to be writing at the moment shows just that.”
Coptic has felt the need to contribute something to the scene and started www.hiphopsphere.com which promotes hip hop culture around the world. He’s been busy recording, having released a mix tape earlier in the year, False Start Mix Tape, as well as being busy working on The Past Three Years.
“I feel it’s a huge step up from the mix tape I released earlier this year and I am working with some incredibly talented musicians. The Diary features three amazing vocalists in Kye, Miriam Waks and Vanessa Powell as well as my close friends Mind Over Matter, Phatchance and Obese Records’ Torcha (from Hyjak n Torcha).”
For such a tight-knit group, I felt I had to ask the clichéd question about local talent and who to keep an eye out for.
“As biased as this may sound the first two names that come to mind are Mind Over Matter and Phatchance. Mind Over Matter are getting more and more fans with each passing day and Phatchance is about to drop an LP which will blow the scene out of the water, I know its all words and many people talk other people up but time will tell and you will know music feeds published it first!”