Rumpunch pack a wallop. They bring the big-band funk flava, stomp it out with all the classic ska and reggae hooks with rhymes and soul vibes thrown in for good measure. Music Feeds caught up with Tucker, vocalist and MC for the mutinous gypsies (yeah, they know their European folk too – fucken geniuses? We say yeah!), as the band readied themselves for the massive Halloween show last week at the Gaelic with The Bakery and Basslines. It was their first show there after selling the place out for the launch of their debut album a few months back. And anyone who was there will tell you what a monster dance party these guys bring.
Tucker told us tales of troubles in the snowier parts of the state, rapped with us on the enlightening experience of being part of a bigger live band and the newer, skewed angles of hip-hop.
The three week tour that the band embarked upon involved a little trip to the Snowy Mountains, which led to the unfortunate dropping of some van keys into the snow and some not so progressive local drivers.
Says Tucker: ‘The tour was really positive. I’ve spent a lot of time in Sydney building a scene here – helping to build a scene here, going out to different areas. We did a little ditty in Jindabyne and it was really interesting to see just how different the race of Australians really are. There are some nice people there, but there are some real fuckwits. There’s this hitchhiking culture there, you know. So I was getting a lift from the top of Perisher back down to Jindabyne. And, he was nice enough, out of all the people that were there he was the only one who picked me up. On our way down we were talking about music because obviously I wasn’t there to ski – that I was doing the music circuit. And it got to this point in the conversation where this guy sort of said, ‘Yeah, music was going really well until those African Americans came in and fucked it all up.’ And I just had to sit there biting my tongue. Like, what am I supposed to say to that?’
Of course these aren’t the people who are out at Rumpunch shows. Nor are they the clued in funk-soul lovers who are out there buying Aussie hip-hop records, supporting the local scene as it continues to grow and grow. On the benefits of the big band sound of Rumpunch, Tucker (who also busts for local crew Thundamentals) is appreciative of what he’s found.
‘Being in a live band has really opened my eyes to the world of music rather than just the perception I had of hip-hop.’
And although the creative elements can clash at times, the love for music always pulls the guys through.
‘I suppose we butt heads a little bit . . . I think the thing about Rumpunch is that there is a lot of character in each of us and that character can kind of manifest itself in an ego and that makes the music go in Rumpunch’s direction rather than any individual’s caper.’
There’s an element of the weirder elements of underground hip-hop that inform a lot of what Rumpunch are about. The quirkier side of rap music that some have termed “backpacker,” pieces of which make up artists like Pharcyde and Kool Keith, is something that Tucker is pretty big on.
‘I’ve got an appreciation for all sorts of hip-hop. Some songs come out a bit more “backpacker.” I’ve done lots of straight up shit too and when you’re trying to be yourself you just can’t help it.’
He says he’d be just as happy watching a Snoop Dogg show and grinding down in a basement somewhere in the city with some mad new crew. Which goes for most of us, I’d say. Any artist or group of talent can make their way into our sphere and once they’re there we can use them to fill up that tasty musical space in our lives. Which is exactly how Rumpunch go about their own freaky way: tumble everything you love into one giant pot, mix it up, let it stew and serve it on everyone’s ears with goddamned danceable jams.
Photo By Jim Skouras.