Michelle Grace Hunder, photographer behind the Australian Hip Hop photography book, RISE, has hand selected 10 artists to launch the new book around the country, yes, a National Tour for a book, pretty bloody epic. Already half way through the tour, we caught up with the whole crew, Briggs, Remi, Mantra, Grey Ghost, Mistress Of Ceremony, Alex Jones, Dylan Joel, Jaytee, Flagrant, & Sensible J, to see what antics happen when the posse go on the road and what a good selfie, – oops, we mean – photo, looks like..
What is the best thing about going on the road? The money? The Public Transport? The destruction of your body? Give us your favourite road story.
REMI: The best thing about being on the road is the fact that people give enough of a fuck about your music to allow you to travel to their town and perform. That, and the fact you’re getting paid (fuck all) to kick it with your homies interstate!
Best Road story: When Lance Rock from Yo Gabba Gabba came to one of our shows and was getting wild in the front row. Life made.
BRIGGS: The best thing about being on the road is spreading the good word of the one and true TrapGod. There is but one TrapGod and Gucci be thy mane.
One time on the road I took a pillow from the previous nights hotel and continued to use it in the tour van. To you it doesn’t sound like much, but ask another rapper and they’ll agree, I won.
MANTRA: Possibly the time Grey Ghost hid in a cupboard of our hotel room and waited in a meditation pose for ages just so I would shit myself when I opened the door and found him.
GREY GHOST: I love travelling with the sole purpose of playing music. Being surrounded by like minded peeps & just having a shit load of fun. There’s nothing quite like it.
So many tour stories, most of which are not to be shared, but let me think…
Some fkn classic shit went down when I was touring for 3 months straight with Seth Sentry & Mantra last year. I remember one of the funniest moments as far as gigs are concerned was when we were in Albany in WA at a venue called Studio 146. We’d been doing massive shows to sold out crowds but this particular crowd was fairly, shall we say, thin when I jumped on stage.
Every night I’d spit my Rapper Tag live & I say this particular line where I mention Mantra & he would run out on and stand lookin staunch next to me for a moment then leave the stage – a simple piece of choreography. However, Mantra decided on this particular evening to run out on stage at that moment & instead of standing lookin fresh with his arms crossed (as per the memo) he came out and did the most fkn ridiculous dance while looking me dead in the eye. I can’t explain to you how fucking funny he looked to me, the image of it is still etched in my brain; he looked like a little Leprechaun on crack doing the running man with a giant distorted smile. Anyway, the point is that I actually lost my shit, mid song. All out gut wrenching laughter right in the middle of my set. I couldn’t help myself – I literally lost it. Then, after I composed myself (long after he had left) I got the DJ to skip the track and I started the next joint. Trying to play it cool I launched into the next song only to get hit with an extreme case of the giggles once again and I spluttered through my single with extreme trouble. It was like that feeling in school assembly when you know you’ll get in mad trouble but you can’t help yourself from cracking the fuck up… Anyway, it fkd my whole shit up & since then I’ve tried many times (to varying success) to make Mantra lose his cool when I jump up with him. Well played Mantra, well played.
MISTRESS OF CEREMONY: Best thing about been on the road is; I lose weight shitting bricks the week before any tour commences! In all honesty though-I’m unsure what I can compare the feeling to.. It’s like If every day life was school, then touring would be camp!
Been able to travel with a group of people who share the same passion as you and be given the chance to mingle with interstate fans along the way, I mean that’s a very surreal feeling. The shit is hectic!
Fave rd story?? A lady never tells.
ALEX JONES: Destruction of my body is always fun, going up to Brisbane for Stand Up was crazy. Stumbled onto the main road for twenty minutes not knowing where the fuck I was and managed to find Tornts & Bunks eating kebabs on the side of the street in pretty good form. That night was wild.
DYLAN JOEL: The money. All about that fine ‘Australian Music’ cash money! (The money’s terrible ha).But meeting new people is unreal. Love how much the Hip Hop scene really unites people from all walks of life. So much community and everyone’s mad friendly. So all about meeting peeps!
JAYTEE: My favourite part is arriving for soundcheck and seeing what has been provided in the way of turntables.
Since the 1200’s have been discontinued and CDJ’s are now the industry standard for most Dj’s, It can sometimes be a real lucky dip when it comes to what is waiting for you at the venue.
FLAGRANT: One of the rappers I used to DJ for dropped a deuce in a McDonalds hot cakes tray, then gave it back to the guy behind the counter saying “I don’t want this, it’s shit”. True story.
SENSIBLE J: The best thing about “going on the road” is literally feeling like it’s a mini-holiday from the regular day job. A change of scenery does wonders. I don’t really have any crazy road stories, but for me, I enjoy visiting record shops around the country and checking their stash!
The person’s rider I’m most likely to steal from and why…
REMI: Briggs’s cause he’s got cigars and shit.
BRIGGS: They’re all my riders. Once they entered the realm of the god these mortals offer their riders as penance and I pick and choose what I like, coconut water, pineapple juice & Doritos etc.
MANTRA: I generally don’t drink much before a show, so I’m likely to steal whoever’s rider has the most left at the end of the night! Plus if anyone’s rider got food in it, that’s mine. I like to keep costs down on the road.
GREY GHOST: Probably mine – I’m quick picky you know.
Find an excerpt from my rider contract for your convenience:
“Grey Ghost’s rider. 2014 (no exceptions): 1 x Short Macchiatto upon arrival (stirred clock wise) 5 x bottles room temp White Rum, 12 x bottles ice cold imported Tequila, 4 x bottles Cointreau & 1 x garbage bag of caster sugar. 1 x platter of fruit salad with the melon cut into squares & the strawberries into triangles. 1 x fresh pair of black fishnet stockings (he likes to wear them under his jeans when performing – please find confidentiality clause for signing below). 1 x massage table, 2 x Swedish Masseuses, 10 x untra slim Trojans (please find confidentiality clause for signing below) 2 x B12 Vitamin shots, 1 x local Lobster with no legs. *Please Note that GG will not perform unlesss 3 walls of Greenroom are freshly painted Teal (Pantone 3272) & the final wall is painted with a mural of Grey Ghost in the likeness of Che Guevara.
MOC: I don’t care who you are- if there’s chicken in that rider- it’s game on!!
ALEX JONES: I’m only playing the Melbourne show so luck to everyone else….Noone
DYLAN JOEL: I don’t want to be biased, but I go way more gourmet on the sandwiches than any other rapper.. And Captain Morgan’s has done me super well in the past too.
JAYTEE: Hmmm. All depends on what’s in their rider, what’s left in mine, and how far into the night we are.
FLAGRANT: Briggs, because he’s off the booze which means I can take his rider without repercussions.
SENSIBLE J: Probably Dylan Joel’s rider…. Cos that guy gets WILD! So anything I can do to calm that down, probably will be best for everyone….
What makes a perfect picture, and more importantly, what do Michelle’s pictures convey that others don’t?
REMI: Photography is art. A lot of art is capturing a moment and portraying it in an interesting but truthful way. Michelle does this perfectly every time she gets on the camera. Whether it’s for an ad campaign, press shots, documenting our shows, or even a fucking wedding, she always makes the moment into art.
BRIGGS: Ima photogenic mahfkr – point and shoot gets it done. Michelle’s pictures often convey me, which is forever important.
MANTRA: I think my favourite photographic pictures are ones that capture something unexpected or spontaneous. Something unplanned. I think Michelle is really good at catching those candid, honest moments. Even when her shots are set up or prepared, she will often get something out of her subjects that conveys something real and genuine about their character.
GREY GHOST: That’s a flippin hard-ass question! I’m not sure if I know what makes the perfect picture… Maybe there’s no such thing as a perfect picture. I dunno. The thing about Michelle’s photographs though is that she has the ability to make the best of any situation, her camera is an extension of herself and she just seamlessly lands on beautiful & personal interpretations of her surroundings. She’s not going for perfect shots; she’s going for real moments in time, through her eyes. I think. Don’t quote me on that, oh wait you are quoting me on this…
MOC: Michelle Grace Hunder has a way with that bloody camera! I don’t know how she does it but she manages to capture vulnerability that each and every one of us has. She captures the subtlety that sneaks out as it’s happening and turns that scary raw thing into something comforting and beautiful. If that’s not a perfect picture…
ALEX JONES: It can all depend, the message behind a picture normally makes it for me…As for Michelle, I think she manages to capture emotion in her pictures and pull off a really clean style while still remaining sort of grimey, it’s dope. I want to get my hands on the finished Rise book.
DYLAN JOEL: Nate Flagrant. Him and also a really dope location and concept. I’m all about the theme of the pic. Man, Michelle’s just on her A game on every level.
She makes you feel super comfortable, never judged, and the fact that she get’s to know each artist and builds an understanding of what they’re about, means she has the ability to effortlessly incorporate the artists story. She dope!
JAYTEE: Perfect picture? Damn if i knew that i would be a photographer. I Guess if you know Michelle then you know how much she loves the music and the scene. You can tell from her pictures that she just wants to give people a glimpse of how awesome it looks through her eyes. I think that gives her an advantage.
FLAGRANT: Speaking from my own personal experience, Michelle’s skill is making me look handsome. Anyone that can do that is friggin’ awesome in my books!
SENSIBLE J: A perfect picture I guess, has to bring out some sort of emotion in the person who is viewing it (wanky answer I know!) Whether it’s a positive or negative or happy or sad feeling. Michelle’s pictures make me wish I was at some of the gigs she had captured images at. Energy!