Adelaide rapper Allday (AKA Tom Gaynor) is known for his sardonic hip hop and Twitter feed, so it’s apt that this May he’s embarking on a tour called I Should Be Working On My Album But I’m Doing A Tour.
Gaynor, an art school dropout and onetime aspiring indie band frontman, launched his rap career in 2011, harnessing the Internet. Listeners fell for his clever lyrics and “loser” persona. Indeed, Gaynor’s image isn’t obviously “hip hop”: he has Nirvana-ry long hair and is vegan, while his sound is electro-pop – Drake-meets-Flume.
Last July Gaynor dropped his first album, Startup Cult, via Illy’s ONETWO – and it debuted at No. 3. His hooky singles Right Now and You Always Know The DJ even made triple j’s Hottest 100. (Then Kanye West possibly heard Wolves and borrowed its title.)
Gaynor recently offered a new free download, Coffin, on SoundCloud – and has cameo-ed on Hobart singer Asta’s funky dance Dynamite and Gill Bates’ illwave R&B She Knows. Both acts are his tour supports.
Gaynor, these days based in Melbourne, is slowly progressing on another album as international interest grows and Music Feeds got the chance to talk all this and more with Aussie hip hop’s wittiest newcomer.
Listen: Asta – Dynamite Ft. Allday
Music Feeds: I’ve been following your adventures on Twitter. You could almost be a stand-up comic on the side, you’re so funny.
Tom Gaynor: Oh, thank you. Actually, I tried stand-up comedy for a while. I don’t know if you know the RAW Comedy competition? I did that [he was runner-up in 2011!].
MF: You’re about to go on this tour, I Should Be Working On My Album But I’m Doing A Tour, which is almost self-explanatory. Why now for a tour? Did you need extra cash for the album maybe?
TG: Nah, I don’t know. I actually don’t know. I think I was saying that to my manager and my agent and they were like, “Well, because it sold-out last time and there’s people who wanna see you, so you should do it.” And I was like, “I kinda just wanna work on my album.”
But I guess we just wanna do these shows and make sure that people get to see the album before we replace it with another album.
MF: You’ve been going to the US a bit. Have you been recording a lot there?
TG: Yeah, a little bit. I’ve heard there’s some sort of idea that, if you go to LA to make your album, it’s gonna be amazing and so I’m one of those people who thinks, by going to Hollywood, you just suddenly make a good album.
But I think we’re just working on getting the stuff released over there, and in Europe as well, so we’re meeting with people and making those type of connections.
Watch: Allday – Wolves
MF: There’s so many good producers in Australia now, you could stay here. Is this just an excuse to go overseas?
TG: Well, you know what, when Kobe Bryant got injured, ’cause I’m a Lakers supporter, Los Angeles Lakers, my need to return to America reduced dramatically, I’ll tell you that much [laughs]. When he got injured this season, I stopped caring about going to LA. So I was definitely working recreation into work.
MF: The fact that the first album did so incredibly well, did that give you confidence? Did you have some expectation that it’d do that well?
TG: Um, I think it did what I wanted it to do. I guess I kind of had a goal with the album, what I wanted it to sound like and what I wanted to say and what direction I wanted to take myself in.
I wanted to be the first rapper in Australia to have a song on the radio where I sang the whole thing and I wanted to be the first guy to be changing the sound of Australian hip hop. And I felt like it did that. I feel like now I can set new goals for my new album and hopefully hit those.
MF: There’s an individualism now in Australian hip hop generally – you and Tkay Maidza both come from Adelaide. The ‘skip hop’, or ‘barbecue rap’, tag is really redundant. Do you feel that there’s more fluidity now?
TG: Totally. And it’s the result of people just doing good music and rapping. People like Tkay and Baro and myself, we didn’t really come out of any expectation of a sub-culture, we came out of just wanting to make music and that’s why it’s broadened, because we had to break the expectation of the sub-genre and the sub-culture.
A few years ago that was difficult ’cause nobody had done it. But now the floodgates have kinda opened, which is awesome.
MF: What do you think about the success of Iggy Azalea? Has that opened doors for artists here?
TG: Her success prompted NME to post a blog on ‘authentic’ Australian hip hop. Well, maybe, yeah. It’s hard for me to say if I would have had the same interest from labels in America if Iggy hadn’t come out and got big.
But, yeah, I’m sure that’s probably a reason why they’re looking over here now. Me and Iggy are pretty different, but, yeah, maybe they’re looking over here now! But I feel like definitely in recent times there’s all of a sudden been just an influx of people from America especially [online] saying, “Hey, come to some random American [city], come to Milwaukee.”
I’m like, “There’s literally only you who would have heard of me in Milwaukee, so it’s not on the cards, but thank you.”
Listen: Allday – Coffin
MF: You’ve had the new song Coffin on SoundCloud. Have you any plans as to when new singles will roll out – or even the album? Will it be this year?
TG: I want it to be this year but, as time goes on, I’m just becoming more and more of a perfectionist. I’m just getting more and more crazy. So, yeah, I really hope it’d be this year, but I’ve got next to nothing done.
But I’ve started a lot of ideas and I’ve got some really good stuff happening. So I have literally no idea of a time-plan. But I wanna be putting stuff out regularly, fast. Every year, basically.
MF: No one here has done one of those “stealth” albums where they just release it and the Internet goes crazy. You could be the first! It seems to be the new thing.
TG: It does seem to be the new thing but, as each person does it, its power decreases, you know what I mean? When Beyoncé did it, its power was massive. Then, as these other persons follow, it just gets a little less buzzy. So I think it’s a cool idea. I wish I had the content to release a stealth album but, yeah, not quite.
MF: Is there any chance of you sneaking new songs into the upcoming shows?
TG: I think I’ll sneak a few new ones in. Hopefully I’ve got some that are actually finished that I can test.
MF: Well, you’ve got over a month, so that’s hopeful.
TG: Yeah. Freak! It’s a month now. I hate the countdown. It’s always closer than I think! I better start preparing!
Catch Allday on his upcoming tour called ‘I Should Be Working On My Album But I’m Doing A Tour’
Gallery: Allday, Remi, Bara @ The Metro, Sydney 10/10/14 / Photos by Liam Cameron
Allday Chats Upcoming Tour, Iggy Azalea & 'Stealth' Albums - Music Feeds