Ilse: When did you start working on this album? How long ago?
Layla: This album’s a reflection of the past few years and a lot of my adolescence I spose, a pretty fuelled part of my life. I had shit to get off my torso. Its got a collection of tracks, some written and recorded from just after I began say 4 years ago (yes you know I’m a pissfarting lady) so they’ve been majorly slept on by that lazy biatch. The others have been made sporadically since then.
Ilse: Tell me a bit about the guests on the album and what they bring to the finished product?
Layla: Arh my boys! SBX motherfucka!!! Haha yeah the album features the majority of my nuclear fam (unfortunately not my other brothers Matty B, Fdel or Figure 8) I also got my hospice boys Ciecmate and Newsense and another mate Knowledge, to crush the matador in Dazastah’s Lair.
Heretik wouldn’t be even half of what it is with out them. It gives heads yet another little taste of the bombs that have begun to detonate from the West.
Ilse: There are a lot of Australian hip hop samples in this album. It’s great to see how far the scene has come in such a short period of time. When did your interest in hip hop begin, and how (if at all) has your attitude to it changed?
Layla: Representing fo sure!!! Man, we say so much good shit within our music we don’t even need to go elsewhere (although a lot of other heads are speaking the wisdom too!). It’s always good to support mates and reinforce their words and messages as well, especially if you’re relating to it, you know.
I probably started listening to hip hop when I was about 12 or 13- the gangsta sheet, didn’t ever think back then about being an MC or nothing, just enjoyed it. Since then, I’d say my outlook on it has changed, I mean apart from being involved in it and making it, I’ve become more aware of everything from clever word play and the messages involved to delivery, quality of production, diversity of content, etc. All that you know.
Ilse: You mentioned wordplay: where did you get such a good sense of punning and playing with words and their meanings? Do you have a talkative family who you grew up with, for example? Were you a big reader/ a good student, or the total opposite?
Layla: Wasn’t a huge reader or an exceptionally great student, I spent most my years just wagging and choofing and doin other shit. My family’s great, and have listened to me babble shit for years, cheers and ar, sorry guys! Haha. As far as word play goes, I reckon I’m focussing on it a lot more with the new stuff I’m writing, there’s a bit on Heretik but honestly it could have been more thought out…
Ilse: Can you tell me a little bit more about the track ‘Shadowed Cavities’? What’s behind the words– what is the story?
Layla: Shadowed Cavities talks about a few different things ey, the first verse had to do with a dream I had- The casualties, phantoms and alley ways and shit, then it just warns to beware of what SBX has in store for you!!! Haha. Writing often acts as my anger therapy.
The second is about random things I’d observed, critics who diss ya who couldn’t do any better, a radio announcement claiming ‘that was Layla by Maverick’ (dickheads) or beeping out shit when I used a word to EMPHASISE what I was talking about! (Yes I’ve made no clean versions as yet, deal with it)
Also the hunger to out show the wack poppy hip hop knobs with the real ish.
The third’s reminiscing a bit, and realising I gotta chill out a bit! Being too hard on myself and others but still having certain feelings etc, as well as being able to speak your mind in this music whether people like it or not (the Heretikal fetish- and no its not that much of a obsessive fetish, and it doesn’t involve any weird ferrets or anything! My rectum is clean of weasels.)
In my dark times I can be heartless and harsh to people I love, as well as myself.
Ilse: Where do you find inspiration? When does a passing thought become an idea for a track? What does it take for it to crystallise into inspiration?
Layla: Oooo that’s a hard one, mate, sometimes I’ll be blocked for ages and I ask myself the same thing-where the fuck can I find her? The bitch is hiding from me again! I start thinking maybe I need to study again, read more etc but maybe it’s just a matter tapping into things you already feel passionate about and relate to.
It can be tough but ideas and thoughts come and go, I just gotta grasp ’em and realise “I can expand on that.”
Ilse: Would you describe yourself as an angry person? You have so much force and strength on the mic, and you certainly aren’t shy when it comes to telling it how it is. Is rhyming an outlet for that, or is it a reflection of how you lead your everyday life?
Layla: Man I have been an angry bitch in my time! Whether its being angry at the world, the way shit works, the system, life and death, or just being angry at myself . (Or the little sluts ARH!)
I’d say I’ve chilled out a bit though in day to day life over the past 2 years, or maybe just a tad more self control? Growing up you know, I realised I couldn’t carry on like that for ever. Rhymings definitely an outlet for that as I mentioned before…and my blood still reaches excessive temperatures!
Ilse: Token Female MC question, I’m sorry to have to ask you but it’s an issue that won’t rest and I figure you’re a big girl and can tell me to fuck off if you are sick of this topic! On your track on the COK2 compilation ‘It’s Only Me’ you establish a discussion about gender in hip hop, but in ‘Maverick’ you seem to have changed your approach a little– you say you aren’t going to “obsess over womanhood-ness”. Is that the case? Have you changed your opinion on this issue? Or has it become a tired issue that you’re sick of addressing?
Layla: ARH FUCK OFF! Nah just jokes, I still feel the same about wanting to be judged for my technique and not my gap (had to say it) but yeah it is a bit tiring and I thought I’d let heads know how I feel about it, then leave it. I wrote that line cos there was a fool on the net bragging on about how all female MCs talk about is womanly issues. Research your shit fuck face.
Ilse: Why do you think women get into hip hop? It is still a male dominated area– why do you think women have an interest in it when they are so consistently marginal?
Layla: I dunno, for me when I started I just loved the music, felt the beats loved writing, and fell into it. I presume other chickees feel the same, and I dunno if some feel they have something to prove or have a role to play to strengthen the stance of women. I do it for Chipper, not for every Ann, Pip and Sally.
Ilse: Why do you think Perth is such a breeding ground for hip hop at the moment? What is it about the place that creates Laylas, Dazastahs and Hunters? There are some committed people over there– is it because hip hop is one of the few things you have in such a small place? What are the crowds like?
Layla: It is because we are a special breed of superhumans injected as foetuses with powerful larynxs and phenomenal vision. Mutants motherfucka. Crowds are supportive yet secretly drawn to us by an extraterrestrial force. The truth is out there.
Ilse: What are you happiest with on this album? And what would you change, if you could? Is there anything you feel you wanted to do more on?
Layla: Happiest with? The killer production, and the fact that the tracks aren’t rotting on the computer anymore.
Hate to say it but I would’ve changed a lot on Heretik and could have probably kept working on it and rewriting shit for another 3 years (or longer). Nah its all good its a chapter, I reckon as I evolve ill constantly look back on old shit and think of where I could busted this better and added this there. There’s definitely parts I should have focused on more though…
Ilse: Can you tell me a bit of background about Inbetween the Lines? What was it like working with Porsah Laine? How did you end up working together?
Layla: Inbetween the Lines is a bit of a self analytical track, just the way I was feelin at the time. Porsah (I feel weird calling her that) is a good mate of mine and was taught singing by Dazastah’s mama from when she was a girl so she’s sorta like Dazza’s cousin. She fucken killer. Watch out for her cos she’s almost finished her own solo album and its incredible. Strong shit ya know, some real dark content too. And she’s an amazing lyricist! Keep those eyes open people.
Ilse: And what about Sugar Trails, that seems to be quite a different style of track compared to a lot of you other work. Did you and Daz come up with the concept together while watching Antz on the couch?? What’s the overriding message here?
Layla: Haha yeah me and Dazza were ripped one night and he made that beat and it made us feel like little marching ants. So we wrote about the ant kingdom as a bit of analogy to the hip hop scene and music industry. It’s also about speaking the truth through your art…not about crawling into the pants of others and biting that shit!
Our colony, our team, our missions and yes the one and only Queen!
Ilse: Finally, what do you have planned for the future? Are there any artists you are keen to collaborate with?
Layla: Yeah I’ve contacted Nelly and 50 Cent to do a collab, and I’m just waiting to hear back from them on that one. Also gettin a beat off Jwess soon.
This is only a taste of things to come, the wiccad witch of the west will be back…
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