When it comes to drawing you in, an artist may have to do a lot or do a little to capture your attention. Or in the case of Djarmbi Supreme, you just have to do it different.
Two years after the release of his killer Tyrannosaurus Fonzarelli EP, Djarmbi has linked up with Down for the Count records to put out his debut full-length, Djarmbi Supreme Goes To Hell. Paradox provides the ominous and sharp backdrops on the boards, all sampled from Alice Cooper’s 1976 classic Alice Cooper Goes To Hell.
Putting new life into the source material through his jagged bars, acerbic humour and cultural commentary, Djarmbi’s quite literally dropping knowledge. We caught up with him to discuss the record – how it came together, how he came to link up with DFTC, working with Ras Kass and how lowlifes crawl out of the woodwork when an aboriginal man speaks his mind.
Your debut full-length Djarmbi Supreme Goes To Hell isn’t far off. Has it been something you’ve been steadily working on since the Tyrannosaurus Fonzarelli EP or did you put it together in a shorter time frame?
haha yeah… “isn’t far off”… that’s been the case for a while now. I pretty much started looking into the concept seriously straight after T-Rex Fonz. It’s been on the cards for a long time though.
Go to Hell is a great track but it did make me curious. For an artist such as yourself, how do you go about choosing a ‘single’ for an album? Did you just go for what you felt best represented what you were putting together?
It’s the same track that was the single off the Alice Cooper original, so i just kept it in line with the concept. I’m trying to follow the pattern of the original as closely as possible. That being said, the track is a pretty good introduction to the album.
How’d you end up working with Down For the Count for the release? Like minded individuals?
well, all the other labels i like already have a Black guy (Briggs/Trials, Bunks, Flu), so i just asked Fork if he’d support me. Just trying to find a place that appreciates lazy artistic fuckwits too. DFTC is a great place for me. Especially seeing as i don’t make any money, and I’ve only got like 230 Twitter followers. Slow n low, bruh…
Paradox is producing the whole record and you’re basing it off Alice Cooper Goes To Hell (the 1976 Alice Cooper album), sampling the tracklist and all. Did you want to do something special personally basing it off that record or was it more “fuck it, this seems like fun?”
I’ve been thinking about doing this concept album for years. It was a toss up between this and Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs (which i might still do, one day). I chose this album for several reasons, but mainly; It fucking rocks. This is a classic fucking metal record. It’s well-rounded, and travels a journey. It’s a start to finish player that bashes so many other rock albums in the nuts with leopard-spotted boots. If you haven’t listened to it, you’re a fucking idiot that can’t talk about classic music yet. It’s a concept too, which is cool. It’s a story about a character (Steven/Alice) who’s life fucks up and he gets taken to Hell, where he has a party and argues his way back home.
This is exactly what my life has been like, so the whole thing is based on truth. Battles with alcoholism (Just like Alice Cooper had during the making of the original), Fucked relationships, and the drudgery of existence in a world that appears to exist solely for the development of shit-cunts and imbeciles. But yeah, fuck it, it seemed fun. Paradox is a wizard. He’s been great to work with. Also, I should say Geko has been a good cunt too. but i won’t.
You work as an Education Officer in Aboriginal Health – is the Djarmbi Supreme persona and musical endeavour an outlet for you to say some of the things you otherwise might not be able to given those who look up to you in your personal life?
I say the same things in my work as i do in my art, just through a different vehicle. I condemn the fuckwits of the world on all platforms, but i save the aggressive shit for the music. Having a separate persona for each of my endeavours is just a way of keeping things clear. I have several other identities too, but at the end of the day, they all combine to create one singular fucked up handsome legend with a dead heart and philosopher’s mind.
You’ve said in the past you use the ochre paint to try to bring an element of mystery and theatre to your music. Do you want to differentiate yourself from a lot of the hip-hop put out in this country or is it just one of the ways you show your heritage? Bit of both even?
It’s war paint. These are the colours of South East QLD warriors. It’s my Culture, and identity, which i wear fervently and with great pride. I fuck about all the time, and crack jokes, but i’m 100% serious about this shit. I’m a Quandamooka man, a Salt Water Murri, an Aboriginal Man that will fight for his family’s rights.
I do think local rappers lack a shit-tonne of originality though. Like cunts are scared to be different, or step into new light.
One thing I love that you do is let some dark humour shine through along with making some pretty ignorant people lose their heads when you challenge their ideals. Do articles like this one have any effect on you? I felt my blood boiling a bit reading it but going off your music I can imagine you getting a kick out of it. Is that the case or is it something else?
hahahahaaaaa oh man… Those fucking peanuts made me laugh so hard. I was getting so-called “threats” from the dumbest cunts, and just pissing myself at the lack of intelligence in the messages. bad spelling, grammar, facts… the whole spectrum of ignorance was traversed and conquered by the Bolt-Ons (Andy Davros’s Daleks). look, I’m not gonna say that all the racism doesn’t make a mark, i mean, The last couple of years in Australia has been a nightmare on that front (technically, being anything other than White has always been a nightmare in Australia, but lately things have been disgusting). I just take comfort in the fact that i’m a way better human than them. All these rednecks, Protectionists, patriots, and reclaim Australia cock suckers are just lost souls with no blessings. I’m a self-actualised Black man, and that fucking kills them to see. So, if you’re one of them, and you’re reading this… haha, shit cunt.
Social commentary is obviously a huge part of your music. Do you find it easier and easier to get inspired in that sense nowadays given the ever growing amount of people given a voice via the likes of social media and reality TV? Do you find the behaviour of people (especially many in this country) fascinating as well as infuriating?
I don’t give a flying fuck bat what the status quo is saying, to be honest. Colonialism and white supremacy are a disease that have got this society zombified and united against justice. so as an individual outside that army of the damned, i choose to describe the problems in all their detail. The fact is, this system we are forced to exist in was designed specifically for the advancement of white culture, which is based on specific industry and ethics. Unfortunately, The majority of non-white cultures have different ethical and industrial traditions and beliefs. Bottom line: This system is fucking unfair. So, yes, i’m fascinated and infuriated by it every day, but i choose to take advantage of it by harnessing the rage and depression, and converting it into activism and strategy, across all my arenas. Some days it’s like pissing into the ocean and waiting for the tide, but i come from a long line of fighters, and i fucking love fighting.
Here’s a free tip. Call a family meeting with whoever you call “family”. sit around and have an open discussion about politics and world views. That’s it. Everyone in the world used to do that.
Tell us a bit about the features, I’ve heard you’re working with the likes of Ras Kass and Big Twinz on this album. Was it something you planned a while back or just something you jumped on when the opportunity arose?
Yeah, pretty stoked with the features. The Rasy/Twins joint was kinda funny the way it came about. I was pestering Ras on social media and just joked about doing a track. He said he was down, so I sent him a brief and he nailed it. When he sent me the reference he was like, “Yo. Big Twins from Infamous Mobb did a hot hook for you too!” So it was a total surprise. The whole song is just on some Black strength type shit, and it’s probably my favourite on the album.
The total list of features is decent. (Briggs, Billy Bunks, Provocalz, Mr Wrighty, Paradox, Old Mate and of course Ras Kass and Twins) I wanted to get a bunch of friends on it, because the last three drops had no features at all. So, this was a different process. All the collabs were actual collaborations. Everybody contributed more than just a verse, which is important.
Check out the first single Go To Hell here
Djarmbi Supreme Goes To Hell is slated for release late 2015 through Down For The Count Records