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Written by Michael Carr on December 2, 2009

Having supported almost every local hip hop act under the sun as well as working with numerous other artists on releases and recordings, Chance Waters, otherwise known as Phatchance is one of the local hip hop scene’s most prolific quiet achievers. But he won’t be staying quiet that much longer.

With his debut album Inkstains out now, a litany of singles that got played all over triple j and FBi and a tour in the works, Phatchance is getting pretty damn loud as the days roll on.

Throwing in some earplugs I caught up with the man himself to see how things are shaping up for him.

Music Feeds: So you’ve been touring a bit as I Forget, Sorry! a collective including Mind Over Matter, Yourself and Coptic Soldier, how’s that been?

Phatchance: Yeah, most of my touring these days occurs with I Forget, Sorry! We’ve put on a few shows together and also jumped on support for a few tours here and there. Next year we have plans to play some festival slots together but for now it’s all about the spot shows.

MF: So how did that all come together?

PC: Basically we’ve all been really good friends for a long time, I’ve worked as executive producer on their albums for a while now and we’ve always had a strong bond as friends and musicians. It seemed natural to formalise that somewhat and short of forming some kind of super group this seemed the smartest way to cross promote and help each other out. Coming from an indie background you really need a support network that can help get the ball rolling, whether that’s something like publicity work or even driving each other to shows it’s all about the leg up.

MF: Do you perform your own songs or are there I Forget, Sorry tracks written exclusively for the collective?

PC: There are a few I Forget, Sorry! tracks kicking around, but generally we play our own material and make the show flow together. Sometimes we play totally separate sets, other times a conjoined performance, it depends entirely on the when and where.

MF: So Mind Over Matter and Coptic Soldier, have they helped you at all with your music, and you theirs? Does it help to have similar minded artists to work with?

PC: Surrounding yourself with talented and motivated people can only be a positive influence, both musically and personally. Those guys are definitely some of my closest friends and musically they’ve had a huge influence on me and taught me a lot, hopefully they would say the same of me. I also work really closely with a lot of other acts. It’s really about developing a good circle of friends and contacts; you can’t help but influence and direct each other.

MF: You also toured with the vast majority of Aussie Hip Hop artists, who jumps out as the wildest touring partners? I heard the Funkoars were well wild

PC: The Funkoars definitely know how to drink. They’re pretty fun guys too. I am a bit of a shark when it comes to poker and Honz is the same, there’s been many talks of organising a game but it’s never eventuated. That might be lucky for me. 360 is a pretty fun dude to play shows with too, I don’t think he really has a bed time so anytime we’re on the same bill I seem to find myself walking out of some seedy bar as the sun’s coming up.

MF: So Inkstains is now done and dusted how does it fell for it to be out of your control now? Are you excited about the release on Friday?

PC: Just having the project finished feels amazing but there’s still so much work to go, everything from publicity to liaising with distributors and manufacturers to scheduling and booking the tour. It’s keeping me insanely busy. I’m so excited to have it in stores though. It’s something I’ve worked on so hard for so long that it kind of hasn’t sunk in that my album is going to be on shelves shortly.

MF: Tell me about the album. Is there an underlying theme at all?

PC: Inkstains is sort of a conceptual album. I knew it was going to be a very personal release and I wanted to set about trying to illustrate the mark that music, and specifically writing music, has had on my life.

MF: What was it like making your debut? Was this your first real go at a full release?

PC: I’ve actually started and never completed at least three releases before this, either as solo projects or during my work with Natural Causes. I’m kind of glad this is my public debut though. I think it’s important to make a strong first impression and I hope this album does that.

MF: Have you worked much in studio before this?

PC: I operate a studio out of my home and I’ve recorded for quite a lot of bands so it’s surprising I’ve never actually finished a project of my own, I handled the recording and mixing on this album as well as coordinating the bulk of the instrumentation, so it was a very full on learning experience.

MF: I’m assuming most of the songs were heavily road tested live. Was it difficult to take them out of that context to put them on the record?

PC: Some of the tracks I’ve been performing for years, others were quite recent editions, and a few of the songs have never seen the stage. I guess one of the difficulties of making a fairly melancholy album is that not all of the music is going to be appropriate for the live scenario, particularly in terms of support slots on a major artists tour. A lot of that material I’ll be breaking out once people are familiarised with it.

MF: Would you say you have a preference between performing and recording?

PC: I love the thrill of performing and I love the touring experience but I don’t think I ever feel quite as good as when I’m in the middle of writing music. There’s something about the writing process that’s almost spiritual for me, as melodramatic as that sounds.

MF: With Aussie Hip Hop flourishing the way it is do you then feel a need to separate yourself from the crowd?

PC: Definitely. There are so many great acts and so many new guys working really hard that it’s important to feel you’re offering something different. It can be difficult pushing a new sound on to the public though, I think a lot of listeners and media have a tendency to lean towards songs that are accessible for their familiarity, and sometimes you need a little bit of that music to operate as a gateway to your more original content.

MF: Being part of this next wave of local hip hop alongside artists like Horrorshow, Spit Syndicate, Thundamentals, Illy, Skyptcha etc are you finding the older guys are eager to help or are they greedy with their wisdom?

PC: There’ll always be some level of protectiveness over hard won knowledge, but most people have been great. I honestly could not be in the same position I’m in if a lot of more educated and influential people hadn’t given me the time of day out of the kindness of their hearts. It’s great that so many of the older, more successful musicians in the scene have a lot of time for the younger generation.

MF: What’s happening over the next few months? What should we be keeping an eye out for?

PC: Well, obviously the album drops on November 27th. The first single is rolling out to radio at the moment and is currently getting a bit of play on the J’s/FBi etc. which is really positive. I was lucky enough to score feature artist on Triple J Unearthed a little bit back, so hopefully I can use some of that momentum to open up a few doors leading into the release. I should be heading off on tour early next year, until then I’ll be playing spot shows all around the place, and I’ve just launched my website

Inkstains is out now. The full album is streaming on Phatchance’s Myspace page for a limited time. Music Feeds has an exclusive mp3 download of one of the tracks, entitled Invisible Queen. Click here to check it out.

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