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The Optimen – Friends make better music than strangers

Written by Jason Strange on August 11, 2010

The Optimen haven’t just sat around soaking up the good times waiting to run off money before releasing their follow up album. During the five years since their debut record Boomtown the boys from Brisbane have been working hard in real jobs and on the mic.

“I have a shitty job. Just so happens that it pays pretty well.” says MC K-West,  “It doesn’t give me as much time to write the rap as I would like, but that’s the price you pay for the life you choose.  I used to be on the other side of the fissure: unemployed and getting up to not much good. That never gave me much fulfilment so now I’m aiming to fill the void with semi-expensive material possessions.”

The group have released their second album The Out Of Money Experience – eighteen tracks of beats, rhymes and samples that showcase the talents of the five guys within the Opees. “The album is essentially over an hour’s worth of our shortlisted selection of works from recent years. We actually cut several songs we really liked just because they didn’t suit the overall sound of the album well enough. It’s really a beginning-to-end listening experience. You get much more out of it by listening to it in its entirety.

Featuring a lot of the artists who they share their record label with, the group also enlisted the help of notorious talents in Phil The Agony and Jehst. “ You didn’t know? Friends make better music than strangers. I guess because we all came up in the same environment and were very much around each other, we can all relate to each other on some level.”

With the album and a national tour in place, the rest of 2010 looks to be a busy time for the Opees (as called by their fans). But when I quizzed MC K-West on why Perth was left out of the tour he put it quite bluntly. “Because not enough people bought our album!” The reality of making music is sometimes lost on fans who may not fully understand the process or the efforts involved in making music these days. “We don’t make our music for the masses or with the intention or aspiration of being ‘the next big thing’ but, at the same time, we invested a considerable sum into producing, manufacturing, packaging and advertising it. We can only give what we get back with the sort of sales figures we have.”

But the group is one to support the local scene and independent music wherever possible. Recently they performed at The FBi Radio Gala Ball with the likes of Ozi Batla and The Rivals. “That was a great gig. The spirit of truly independent media (especially radio) is a beautiful thing.” As is their connection to the fans. “ We sold an album to some kids who were about to head off on a road trip across the country and wanted our music to be the soundtrack for it – that was pretty cool. Unless they get caught up in some John Jarratt / Wolf Creek kind of scenario….”

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