Tell us a bit about growing up – what were you like as a kid? Did you grow up in a musical household?
I was pretty weird. My dad was always in bands and stuff, he was a massive Kiss fan and we had Kiss memorabilia all over the house and the first concert I ever saw was Kiss when I was 9 years old. I was always in my head as a kid, I was thinking about the future. I was a fat kid dreaming about when I would be skinny. It used to stress me out, I got bullied a bunch and I remember the school holidays between primary and high school I went to the gym every single day and by the time I started year 7 I had a full six-pack. By the time I was 15 I was doing rowing, basketball, everything really — and then I found rap and pot. [Laughs]
What kind of music were you listening to from young?
From young it was a lot of pop-punk like Blink 182 on long car trips, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ By The Way album—I would thrash that with my dad. Then, when I started to find my own music it was all that 00’s shit like Usher. And then in my teens, I got really into punk rock and metal — I got really into Black Flag and I started playing bass in punk bands because my dad played bass and I always looked up to him. My brother and I didn’t get along until we were young adults and because he liked metal, I think I just tried not to like it but once we became closer I got really into metal bands like Tool—who to this day are one of my biggest inspirations. I loved people like Iggy Pop, Kurt Cobain, Biggie and 2pac.
How did you first get started rapping? Do you remember the first song you ever wrote or your first time in the studio?
I remember being 14 at school and my friend Eddie had learned how to beatbox and he used to say like “Someone needs to learn how to rap” so I used to just freestyle and try to make them all laugh and say shit to try and freak everybody out when we were stoned. Like Eminem shit that would 100% get you in trouble if you said these days. I remember one night before bed I wrote a 16 bar in my head because we didn’t have a computer at the time and got to school the next day and spat the written verse for everyone and they all lost it. Since then I knew I just had to rap.
I know there’s a crazy story about how you got discovered and signed to Def Jam AUNZ – can you tell us about that?
So at the time, I was managed by my two friends at Saint O’Donnel, shout out to those guys because they helped me a lot at the start. My homie Chin had helped me get this show at a strip club in Kings Cross — I had this idea to put a spin on the Atlanta strip club thing but bring my own dancers and have both male and female strippers, it was right at the time of the referendum for same-sex marriage in Australia so I wanted to support that. We got there and I asked where to set up for the show and the owner took one look at me and was like “You? Nah.” I’ll never forget it he goes “I don’t like the look of you, I don’t like the look of your mates, I’m just being honest but get the fuck out”.
I had given him $2500 to hire the venue so I told him to give me the money back and he’s saying nah, so I told him there are 80 kids out thee front who are here for a show — either give me the money back or I’ll bring them upstairs and they’ll do way more than $2500 worth of damage. He still says no so all the homies start rushing up the stairs into this venue and his security has to try and block them from entering. This guy ends up giving the money back right from the till. So then, me and my crew and 80 kids end up walking around Kings Cross with speakers and mic stands and everything— literally walking into venues and trying to find one that will let us set up and do this show. The first couple of venues say no but then we find this little dive bar that was like “If you can bring 80 people in here to drink at the bar you can start setting up right now”.
So we end up doing the show in this dive bar which happens to be a couple of blocks from the Universal head office, and the head of A&R for Def Jam AUNZ is walking home from work and sees all these kids outside this random bar — back in 2017 it wasn’t that common to see the punk rock shit with the rap shit so I guess he was curious enough to come check it out, he ended up giving me his card while I was still on stage and I called him a couple of days later so I didn’t seem too keen!