Two of the biggest names in Aussie hip-hop — Thundamentals and Spit Syndicate — are colliding on the bill for this month’s epic A Weekend In The Gardens festival, going down at Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens on Saturday, 18th November.
And ahead of their big beat-dropping bro-down, we decided for shits n’ giggles (anddddd to give ourselves a well-deserved break because c’mon) to let them do the heavy lifting for us and interview each other.
The results were an illuminating chinwag (and low-key fan sesh) about the rap game, heaps of food-based banter and lots of getting-pumped-up about their forthcoming chance to rock-a-rhyme onstage together.
We may now be out of a job, but…
Catch what happened when Spit Syndicate’s Nick Lupi & Jimmy Nice and Thundamentals’ Tuka & Jeswon put each other in the hot seat, below.
Spit Syndicate Grill Thundamentals
SS: You boys have performed at basically every major festival over the past few years – what’s your favourite part about these larger scale festivals? Least favourite?
TUKA: Other than performing myself, my favourite part would defo be watching other musicians perform that I never get to see. Bit of an eye opener into their world and how they do their thang. Sometimes I get too focused on my own music so it’s nice to reconnect with the community at large.
I mean, I don’t think I have a least favourite part, it’s all pretty fun. Other then portaloos perhaps, I guess they can be a downer lol
SS: Pre-show ritual? Listen to an album in headphones, particular meal, etc?
TUKA: I drink scotch and I stretch my body a fair bit, we jump around a lot on stage lol… what else ummm, I think the band usually hug before we get on… *friends*
SS: I’m curious to know the best show or most memorable show you guys have ever seen – both within the genre of rap and outside of it.
TUKA: For me, watching Atmosphere after I got to interview [leader singer] Slug. I’ve learnt so much about songwriting from their music. To see that they are still doing it well into their 40’s is fkn rad. I heart hip-hop.
SS: What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming AWITG festival?
JESWON: I’m probably most looking forward to catching up with the homies Birdz, Illy and [you guys] Spit Syndicate. We have toured or collaborated with all of these artists at various times over the years but it is kind of rare that we get to play a hip-hop event to a big crowd altogether. It’s always a wave catching up with friends and peers whose art we respect so will be great to kick it with the boys.
SS: Lastly, where is the best bakery in the Blue Mountains?
JESWON: Hominy Bakery in Katoomba. Be sure to cop the pizza slice. You’re welcome.
Thundamentals Grill Spit Syndicate
THUNDAMENTALS: You guys released your new album One Good Shirt Had Us All Fly earlier this year. Congratulations on that! I have really been enjoying the release, I feel like it is your most polished, cohesive and accomplished work to date. Was the process of developing this album different in any way to previous efforts or is there a blueprint that you tend to follow for all of your releases?
SPIT SYNDICATE: First off, thank you – means a lot coming from you guys. I feel like each time we make and release a record, all aspects of the operation (from writing, recording, mixing, releasing, videos, release strategy, whatever) should getting sharper. We definitely poured everything we had into making One Good Shirt and we’re stoked that people are feeling it but tbh we’re already onto the next one. Gotta get sharper you know.
THUNDA: Spit Syndicate has been at the forefront of the Australian hip-hop scene for the past decade. In my opinion, you guys are just as relevant and cutting edge now as you were when you came in the game. Are there any words of wisdom you could share with younger artists who are looking to build a meaningful and long-lasting career in the music industry?
SS: Be careful not to feel yourself too hard too early. Surround yourself with creative, forward-thinking MFs who are going to push you. Build your own networks of engineers, videographers, designers, musicians, whoever — basically, try and be as self-sufficient as you can, because no label or manager or anyone else is ever going to go as hard for your music as you’ll need to.
THUNDA: SS are a big part of the wider collective known as ‘One Day’. As well as being a group of friends and musicians, you have converted ‘One Day Sundays’ into a national party promotion brand. Can you shed some light on the importance of expanding your business from recording/performance artists to promoters and beyond?
SS: We didn’t start putting on parties as a means of expanding our business, we did it because we thought it would be a fun and cool thing to do with our friends tbh. But it has grown into a business which has opened up new income streams for our crew, and yeah it’s a lot of fun, sometimes too much.
THUNDA: I’m really looking to performing alongside you guys, Illy, Birdz and Jesswar at ‘A Weekend In The Gardens’ in Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Gardens on the 18th of November. Despite growing up in inner-city Sydney, do you guys enjoy getting out among nature and, if so, are there any special spots you would recommend we check out close to Sydney?
SS: Well, the Blue Mountains are pretty GD special. We’re also massive fans of the South Coast, just outside of Sydney. Very tranquil and lush, perfect for making music too.
THUNDA: Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s my understanding that you guys value good food enormously. If you were on death row (actual death row, not the record label) what would be your last meal?
SS: This is a conversation we have very often – probably an Italian meal. Pasta, bruschetta, good wine, that sort of situation. Gotta carb-load for nirvana.
THUNDA: Can you tell us a bit about your latest venture ‘Barrio Nights’? Also, who would whip up the best Puttanesca, Jimmy or Nick?
SS: We wanted to put on a party where the music selection and food selection were given equal and top importance. It’s like a dinner party you’d throw at home; the music is background level at the beginning, but after a delicious meal, the volume creeps up, the plates are cleared and the vibe is turnt up a whole lot. Whether it’s the kitchen or the studio, Jimmy and I work best when we’re working together.
THUNDA: If you could collab with any artist in the world dead or alive, who would it be and why?
SS: Frank Ocean.
Catch Thundamentals & Spit Syndicate performing together at Melbourne’s A Weekend In The Gardens on Saturday, 18th November.