Saturday, November 10, 2012 will mark the second edition of the all Oz hip hop Sprung Festival. Taking place at Brisbane RNA Showgrounds, Sprung Festival represents the depth offered on a national level from local hip hop artists and the acceptance and appreciation the scene now enjoys from Australian fans.
One of the more familiar names on the bill is that of Pez, the man behind the runaway hit single The Festival Song, which came in at number 7 on triple j’s Hottest 100 list for 2008 and will no doubt be one of the highlights at this year’s Sprung Festival, (provided he and 360 remember the verses).
Since the release of Pez’s debut record A Mind of My Own four years ago, fans have been eagerly awaiting a follow-up from the promising rapper. However, for Perry Chapman (the real name behind the public Pez persona) the rapid success earned from his first LP came with perhaps more pressure then pleasure.
Having publicly touched on some of the personal obstacles faced over the last few years via his YouTube-released track 100 Bars, Chapman is once again ready to put his mic where his mouth is. Featuring on fellow Aussie hip hop artist Illy’s current single Where Ya Been and with a new album finally on the horizon, it seems only a matter of time until Chapman is once again overtaking the airwaves with this smooth flow and lucid lyrics.
Music Feeds: The YouTube vid Pez – 100 bars opens up about the personal struggles you’ve faced since gaining national notoriety with your debut record A Mind of My Own. What was the most surprising emotional impact from your success?
Pez: I guess that I didn’t really like it all as much as I thought I would, haha… Things went from zero to a hundred really quickly and instead of embracing that I became more and more introverted to try and deal with it, which didn’t really work so well, haha. But, hey you live and learn, I’ve come a long way since then.
MF: Your 100 bars also touches on the pressures of expectation that came with your increasing popularity. How has your life become more accountable to the public?
Pez: Well I try to keep my private life as separate as possible, but I guess my professional life now has a lot of people watching and judging what I do. So there’s definitely a perceived pressure to live up to what people expect out of me now, and the fear of what might happen if I don’t. It’s all in your head, but it took me a while to let go of it and move beyond it.
MF: Someone commented on the clip about ‘Graves’ disease’. How much have physical health issues played a part in your hiatus from releasing music?
Pez: A pretty big part. I started getting all of the symptoms of Graves’ disease as we were filming ‘The Festival Song’ film clip, so I guess that’s why I always had mixed emotions about everything along the ride, coz at the same time as I was excited that things were going well, I was scared that something was going wrong physically. So once I finally got a chance to take a break and realised how bad things had gotten, I needed to take a big step back and make sure everything was right before I even thought about starting up all the madness again, haha.
MF: Will the themes mentioned in your 100 bars form the subject matter for your next record?
Pez: Only a little bit. I didn’t want to just make a therapy record, haha. It was good to write little things along the way like the 100 bars to vent and clear my head a bit, but once I sat down to do the album, I knew I wanted to make a well-rounded album with music for every mood, that talks about a lot more than myself, haha.
MF: Was being part of Illy’s latest upbeat single Where Ya Been a type of catharsis for you and did it help you become reacquainted with the positive side of releasing music?
Pez: Yeah, it was great to do something light and fun again coz it had been a while. It helped push me in that direction for a few songs on my own album.
MF: Last month you participated in a chat conducted by the government initiative ‘The Line’. Can you explain the feeling and experience of using the respect you’ve gained via your music to help others through their personal issues?
Pez: It’s fun; it’s very natural to me because that’s what I actually care about, that’s what I’d like to use my public persona for.
Music Feeds: Given your public success and your personal struggles, what advice would you give to local hip hop artists trying to break through?
Pez: Just to follow their heart and make music for themselves not everybody else. If they do that then the fans will come and music will be a truly fulfilling part of their life. That’s something I’ve had to re-learn through this hiatus. I had to strip back all the pressure and outside interference because I simply couldn’t write. Once I got back to me and remembered why I started making music in the first place, the songs started to naturally flow again.
MF: Shifting gears, any word on when fans can expect a follow-up to A Mind of My Own?
Pez: Early to mid 2013, with a few sneaky singles in between.
Do you have plans to play some new material during your set at Sprung Festival in November?
Pez: Yeah, I think I’ll break out a few newies!
MF: It seems as though almost everybody on the Sprung Festival lineup have collaborated with eachother in some form or fashion. Are Australian hip hop artists as closely knit as they seem?
Pez: For the most yeah, I think they are, that’s the beauty of it. It’s a big part of what separates Australian hip hop from hip hop around the world.
MF: As an Australian hip hop artist, what does ‘Sprung Festival’ represent to you?
Pez: How far we’ve come in 5-10 years. It wasn’t that long ago you used to cop shit for saying you’re an Aussie rapper, now you’re a hero haha. It’s a beautiful thing.
MF: Australia has always been dominated by rock festivals; is Sprung Festival a sign that there’s a changing of the guard?
Pez: Definitely. Hip hop acts are starting to make up a huge part of the lineup for festivals around the country, so proving that we can hold down a hugely successful event on our own is a pretty massive statement.
Watch: Pez – 100 Bars
Watch: Illy feat. Pez – Where Ya Been