Picking Brains with Maundz /// Interview

Melbourne MC Maundz took out OHH’s Best up and Comer 2005 award in conjunction with AWBS, beating some highly respected artists in the process. We thought some of you would like some more background about this hungry young man, so we caught up with him and pumped him for info.

Q: First up, how old are you, and when did you start rhyming?

I’m 20 years old and I been rhymin’ for about four or five years. I started rhyming sometime in 2001 when I met Awbs, we’d just write verses and shit like that back then, it wasn’t really a formatted thing where we’d write a whole track or anything.
Then it got to about 2003 where us two started writing tracks to his beats. We started taking it a bit more seriously because we always seemed to be unemployed for long periods at the same time, so we needed something constructive to do hahaha.
We still do our thing now and have seen each other progress over the years, it’s always good for a laugh to hear your early shit and realise how far you’ve come

Q: Has winning OHH’s ‘Up and Comer 2005’ award swollen your head, or are your feet firmly on the ground?

Yeah, that was a trip taking that out when we were up against dudes like Robby Balboa, Mantra, and The Tongue, it was kinda unexpected. I’m stoked that we won it but I’m not gonna run around the pub screaming it out everywhere. It’s just good to know that people out there are digging what we’ve been putting out.
Cheers for anyone that voted for us.

Q: What are some aspects of your craft that you think you need to work on or improve? For example, do you find it difficult to write rhymes but easy to freestyle, or the other way round?

I’d be full of shit if I said that I don’t need to improve on all aspects of my craft, you can’t stop improving, you can only get better. I’m pretty happy with my writing steez, but wouldn’t mind improving on my freestyling a bit more.
I’m pretty inconsistent with free’s, I have my nights when I can spit some sheer fire, but then I have other nights when it just don’t happen at all.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration from? Does it mostly come from other music, or from your surroundings, movies…?

Seeing local cats that are on the same level as you releasing their shit and getting a good response for their hard work, that definitely inspires me to get out there and show people what I got.
Hearing smart word play and shit like that also motivates me to concentrate and pick my own brain, I dig listening to tracks where you really gotta focus on what’s being said, opposed to a lot of the shit that’s goin’ round these days, that’s just made to get you jiggy.
For me dudes like Canibus, Big Pun and Method Man are the sort of lyricists I listen out for.
More often than not, it’s a nice beat that inspires me more than the nice lyrics anyway, producers like Primo, Stoupe, Pete Rock and Plutonic always bring beats that make me wanna start spitten.

Q: Tell us about the first time you performed live. Were you terrified?

Haha yeah I was a bit nervous about it, but I wasn’t really terrified cause I had a crew of four up there with me. The first few sets I rocked I didn’t really get into it as much as I should have, I didn’t take much notice of the crowd cause I was too busy concentrating on not fucking my lines up haha.

But yeah, a few shots of tequila before a set these days is a sure remedy to keep the nerves under wraps, fire in the belly means fire for the mic, or vomit on the stage if you over do it, hasn’t happened yet and I plan to keep it that way hahaha.

Q: What do you do when you’re not making hip hop? Do you go to school or uni, do you work…?

I got a job about three months ago working for the council. I plan on sticking with this one as well cause it’s a cruisy job, and my resume looks bad enough as it is. Now that I’m working again I can start putting my money into getting better equipment to work with.

Q: What’s your first memory of something hip hop related? For example, a lot of people can clearly recall the first time they saw graffiti while travelling on a train…

Salt ‘n’ Pepa was the shit back in primary school, they were probably my earliest memory of hip hop, but I was too young to really appreciate it.
94 was the year I got into hip hop and started listening to it flat out, I was 10 and my mate bought a copy of Snoop Dogg‘s “Doggy Style” to school, that shit blew my mind, so then I’d beg him to lend me all his other CDs but he got sick of it in the end. Then I went out looking for hip hop myself, the first CD I bought was “Slam” by Onyx (fucking classic!!) at a Cash Converters for $4.

Q: Does your family support what you do, or don’t get really ‘get it’?

Yeah my family supports any shit that I do, my brother comes out often to see us rock sets but usually gets too plastered to remember the night hahaha.

Q: Who do you look up to in terms of Australian artists, and why?

I got respect for any Australian artist that has put in the hard yards to represent for their country, while still keeping the foundation of their music Australian, even people like Missy Higgins hahaha. Like majority of Melbourne lads I love that LC shit, Trem owns. There’s so much good shit that’s come out of this country that I dig, every state has got their killers. Drapht is another fella that I been getting into as well, the dude’s got a lethal flow.
I’m also looking forward to hearing more of the younger cats, there’s a lot of slept on talent going around at the moment.

Q: What’s an album you keep coming back to, to listen to again and again?

Don Cartagena – Fat Joe
The Future is Now – Non Phixion
Supreme Clientele – Ghostface Killah

Canibus is my favourite MC but I don’t think any of his albums compare to the ones that I said.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on my debut album at the moment that should be out real soon. I was meant to be dropping a 6 track EP that was gonna come out on wax at the start of the year. MASS and me got speaking and decided to extend on that and bring out a 15 track CD instead, since I talk so much shit hahaha.

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