This weekend Sydney hip hop group Electric Elements return to Sydney’s Brighten Up Bar in Darlinghurst with ‘Hand That MC A Mic #2′. The high energy outfit take us through their new EP, No Place Like Home, taking time out to explain the music influences behind their EP and how it came to be.
“We wanted to write a little something to introduce our upcoming EP ‘No Place Like Home’. Perhaps even mention the lead single ‘Change Of Heart‘ that we have recently released and that can be found on Triple J Unearthed and YouTube. But we decided against it… Instead, we thought we would put something together on how we got to where we are musically. We have just spent the best part of 12 months writing and recording an EP and that kind of passion for something has to come from somewhere.
Well, as I (Pro MC) write this on behalf of Electric Elements, I realise that the passion most likely comes from my parents to start with, most notably my Dad. There was not a minute of the day he wasn’t playing something. Singing along to whatever came on. Schooling me to Creedence Clearwater Revival, Eric Clapton, BB King, The Beatles and about a thousand others. To this day my iPod is still half full of what he played me as a kid. I know deciBel is the same way. We have known each other long enough for me to tell you that he would not have the passion he does if his Mum wasn’t such a lover of music. Hell, we’ve even sampled vinyls she sourced for us in the past haha!
What we’ve done here, however, is put together a list of four albums that have been instrumental in shaping us, our music and the latest EP in any way. Obviously, there are countless we could have gone with, but we thought we’d pay homage to those Australian Hip Hop albums that have meant something. Enjoy the read.
The Calling – Hilltop Hoods
This is where it all started for me. I mean, of course I had been listening to some Koolism, 1200 Techniques, Def Wish Cast and the likes for a while but this album was a level above. I would almost say, in my opinion, this album was solely responsible for the evolution of Hip Hop in Australia. It bombarded Triple J and every personal playlist I knew of at the time. I think it is still the same now. From the story telling of The Sentinel and the clever punch lines in Dumb Enough to the crowd favourite The Nosebleed Section, this album was played on repeat time and time again. I can remember where I was sitting, listening to this album when I realised that this culture of ours had actually become something more. No longer was it just my friends and I maintaining our little part, it was something I could use to connect to people from all over Australia. Thanks to a few blokes from Adelaide of all places. This album was the push I needed to put pen to paper and start writing rhymes. I studied this album like I was going to sit an exam about it. Word for word, rhyme patterns, punch lines, themes and topics. I took it all in and formed my own style from what I had learned. I’m still learning every day, but this gave me the start that I needed.
Flying Colours – Bliss N Eso
For deciBel, Australian Hop Hop started here. To be more specific the lone track Bullet and A Target and its accompanying video clip. Like me he can also remember the exact place he was when he first heard it and the profound impact it had on his appreciation for this music and this culture. I have to agree with him that just like The Calling in earlier years, this album was another level above what was being done at the time. We love how different each song is, treating each song as a single song while somehow maintaining the direction of the album. The creative use of samples in each song is so unique, not that it hadn’t been done before, but Bliss N Eso found a way to do it, and do it their own way. This is music that could reach the masses, not just rap fans or hip hop heads. Speaking with deciBel about the album he said “I could relate to every song very easily, each song inspired so many of my ideas for tracks and production”. Most importantly, the album made our heads bounce. deciBel said “It got stuck in my head and it meant something to me. For me, that’s a hit every time. I will always strive to have those same feelings in our music”.
The Life Of Riley – Drapht
This is another one we both agreed on. However, I’ll let deciBel explain this one through. dB – After listening to so much hip hop and producing my own albums this album just blew my mind. I loved every song. Drapht had made something so unique. The samples, the guitars, the beats. Again every song is unique, every song is a song in itself and fits with the whole theme of the album. It again showed the possibilities of real live instruments in the music. There are imperfections in the playing, bad tuning and bad timing here and there, but that’s what makes this album so good, it feels real. Its not just an MPC or a midi keyboard, it has feel. Some awesome flows, beats and melodies found this CD in my car on repeat for 4 months. Still to this day I can listen to every song and not skip a single track. With all of the totally different music I record and mix on a regular basis, this album helped me realise I didn’t just want to make Hip Hop album. It’s got to have a little of everything. That’s why, with the ‘No Place Like Home’ EP, we made every song different, but maintained in some way, shape or form the overall theme. This album helped me realise that Pro and I were going to make music how we wanted to. No limitations! If you like our music, great. If not, that’s cool too. It’s just us. So take it as it is or feel free to find something else.
Round The World – Lowrider
This one may seem a little out of place amongst the three Hip Hop albums we have mentioned already, however, don’t think that this album doesn’t get the head nodding and the hands up. First of all, if you don’t believe me, go and see Lowrider play – HOLY SHIT! Secondly, the instrumentals on this album are insane. It is impossible to pick a favourite. Just as I think I can contradict that statement and make a choice, the next track comes on and its all over. Taking Control and Twenty Thirteen never fail to put me in a good mood while Hold On can lift anybody out of any state of depression at any given moment. This album, was a big driving force in my desire for more live instruments on our recorded material. We had always had live instruments during our shows but we finally realised we could capture and harness that same feeling on the recorded track. So we did! I will make an honourable mention to the remix of the title track Round The World that Lowrider did with Suffa MC of the Hilltop Hoods, maybe these Adelaide local’s all stick together. Anyway, it’s dope. They have never had a bad album, however, Round The World is Lowrider’s best work to date and one I will be listening to for a very long time.
On that note, now that we have come full circle, I would like to say one last thing. In the scheme of things, a lot of people will see these albums listed as staples in any “average” hip hop fan’s collection. While this may be the case, we wanted to give an idea on what albums have brought us to where we are today. What inspires us, for whatever reason, to write and keep writing. What albums have broken new ground and shown us that there are absolutely NO limitations when it comes to writing music. These albums have lifted us up, shown us something new and driven our passion for not only hip hop but for music. I could have mentioned the countless other albums in our collection, both well known and underground, that get plenty of playlist time as well, but maybe we’ll save that for next time.
Pro MC and deciBel
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