[dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]ith promoters gettin’ slapped the fuck up by headliners, hip hop festivals being cancelled quicker than you can throw ya hands up, and the constant drone of the media telling us that the music industry is dead, or dying, or wheezing worse than a teen after their first bucket, there’s a shaft of light penetrating the smoke. Coming all the way from Queensland, Stand Up Hip Hop and the team behind have already secured their legacy, and now they are on the road bringing the show to Melbourne. We caught up with Dwizofoz to find about more about promoting Hip Hop in Australia and the story behind Stand Up.
As the man or at least one the men behind the now multi state Stand Up, tell us how you got into promoting? Was there a lack of people bringing heads to Brissy? Was it a want to get a different variety of acts, what made you move from someone rapping to someone putting acts together and making sure shit gets done?
Myself and Gil Goon have both been promoting shows locally for 5+ years now. I kinda fell into it just by helping out other promoters with their shows, then as they started to fall back and do it less I started to put on my own shows on a small scale locally more outta necessity than anything. Someone had to do it. Gil was also doing a few shows locally around the same time so it just made sense that he and I teamed up and since have been able to steadily build the scale of shows we’ve done under the 469 Underworld banner. We’d done shows for Bias B, Brad Strut, Tornts and the likes, as well as international artists such as Illmaculate and TheSaurus through Real talk, then I performed at a Horribly promoted and organised “mini-fest” that made me decide that we had to do it properly, which we’d initially planned to be all local but it all snowballed from there. Stand Up was definitely a big jump for us but we were confident in the experience we had and feedback from heads on how we handle our biz that we were the right blokes to do it. Brisbane has always ebbed and flowed for shows. Just when it seemed to have gone quiet we have AG, Premo n Pete Rock and Taskforce 3 days in a row, that’s kinda symbolic of how Brissy’s always been to me.
From the outside it almost looks like promoting is a bit of a drug, most promoters I’ve known over 15 or more years are a stressed out mess leading up to and at shows, then back on the horse the following week working the next one. What keeps you going? What keeps you pushing through the shows that lose, what makes you want to keep promoting? Have you ever thought fuck it I want to just be a rapper again?
I think that every week but I gotta keep goin til I make enough cash from it to get me a new tooth man! Haha. It is like a drug man, something that sometimes I hate myself for doing but can’t seem to break away from. Gives ya a rush while ya doin it but costs a fuckload o money n leaves ya broke n regretful at times… But when ya finish up a show like Stand Up in Brisbane, which was hardly profitable at all in the end, but get to look back at all the heads that were in the building, the pics of Trem bustin out throw-ups on stage, the footage of Trem and Lazy Grey on stage together for the first time ever smashing out Vet Clinic, how could you Not want to do it all again? Even just thinkin about it now gives me chills bro, That’s exactly what we keep doin it for. Moments like that.
How much work goes into putting together a show? How long do you plan it all out for? How many people are working on it from end to end? How many man hours go into a show? Further to that how much is that ramped up when you are putting together a massive show like Stand Up, and then packing up that whole experience and moving it across states?
Depending on the size of a show, we usually have lineups for local/interstater shows sorted in a week or so, try to get em advertised about 2 months out from the event n steadily ramp it up towards the event itself. Gil and I work make all the decisions together, I liason with artist, venues, press etc. He handles all the artwork that needs to be done, as well as merch etc so it’s really just him and myself until the gigs themselves where we have our team jump in n help. Typically just our mrs’s n cameraman Emjay and venue staff who aren’t cunts is all we really need for smaller gigs. A dependable, knowledgeable DJ is invaluable too. From experience it seems pretty easy these days but anybody who’s tried their hand at it knows it’s definitely not. For Stand Up it doesn’t differ too much really, except that the planning stage is more like a couple of months. For this year especially, I’d be speaking with Trem for at least 6 months before we were able to lock him in, once we were able to convince him we were able to handle everything that needed to be handled though, the rest kinda fell into place, no doubt how well last year went helped convince him, kickin a few goals n helping the Kings win the Hunter Cup probably didn’t hurt either… haha. We definitely felt the stress as it got closer, but funnily enough as the last few days came about and I got to prepping the venue n all the final touches were bein put in place the stress faded and manifested itself into excitement more than anything. The interstate thing is still up in the air as we haven’t got there yet but the amount of people reaching out to offer their help etc is definitely making it at least seem not too bad at this early stage. Couldn’t and kinda don’t want to count the man hours, the hourly rate would be too depressing.
How do you go about getting acts for shows like this together? Is it a case of kind of drawing up a wish list and then seeing who says yes and no? Do you put any thought into act A will bring more heads than act B or is it, these guys/girls are dope I need to have them on the bill? Do many people actually turn down an opportunity to play an event like this?
It’s exactly that. We have a wish list n work through. The wishlist has us covered for a few years yet, haha. This year we specifically tried to avoid booking the same acts as last year in Brisbane, just to keep it fresh. Lazy, Jake n DJ Dcide were the obvious exceptions, as Qld royalty it wouldn’t have felt right to me to not at least try get em on. Thankfully they said yes. This year early on we started thinking about trying to expand the reach a little but then we pretty soon found ourselves sayin “Fuck it” n just goin after who We wanted to see on the bill. With Trem on headline it would have cheapened the event to have gone after radio acts or popular acts just to sell more tickets n that’s not what we’re about. Only 1 or 2 said no, there were a few that we couldn’t get in contact with or maintain regular contact with and make the logistics work. There are more that wanted to be on the line-up and we would have loved to have on too, but unfortunately budgets only stretch so far n while we aren’t in it for the profit we’re not in it to lose money either.
How happy are you with the lineup for this years events? It was pretty much most peoples ideal Australian lineup. These days landing Trem is like capturing a picture of a Yetti, nobody thinks that shit can happen. How did you go about securing him to the event? Is there any act that you see on stage bobbing your head and thinking man I cant believe I have them playing my show?
Yeah we were stoked with it man. In Bris to have Trem, Brad Strut, Lazy Grey n Jake Biz, Hired Goons, Dialectrix on the same lineup… How can ya fuck with that?! Trem was a long process but worth the effort, the man is the undisputed King. I just kept in contact, tried not to get on his nerves too much while trying to be persistent at the same time until we were able to get the deal done. There were heaps that killed the stage, but I didn’t really get to take much in til the end. It was definitely like that for Trems whole set, hard to believe it was real type shit, and he brought the whole package too. New accapella verse, bombin on stage, sharin the stage with Strut briefly.. But when he introduced Lazy Grey… The introduction he gave him, how well they slaughtered Vet Clinic, Lazy seemingly lost for words at the end of it.. That was a Really special moment. Historic in every sense of the word.
You also always have some slots for people just making their name and starting to get a buzz on, is it important to you to give the next wave a chance to play alongside our scenes bug names? How do you get to know the younger people deserving a slot? Are people handing you demo CDs are you reaching out to wider community, what can someone trying to make a name do to get on a Stand Up, or even on a smaller show?
Definitely bro. I’m one o those blokes myself that would kill to perform on these line-ups, thankfully Gil lets me, haha. There’s a mix of acts that we’re fans of, to guys that just seem to fit with the line-up well, to blokes that are persistent enough without becoming annoying to not let us forget about or overlook them. We get heaps of applications for sets, more so via links on social network than cd’s, but that’s a refection of the age we’re in, so it’s always hard to knock some back. The best thing they can do is build a buzz of their own or reach out for other shows before Stand Up n make us familiar with them.
Is there any act you are still looking to get, wanna chuck some names into the universe and see who becomes available for any future shows?
We spoke to Bias, Clandestein n a few others in the lead up to this years shows but unfortunately couldn’t make it work. We would have loved to have Delta on the Melb line-up this year too and tried to make it happen but couldn’t get in touch unfortunately. Obviously names Prowla or Lyrical Commission all together are the dreams. After Hours, Downsyde, Brothers Stoney, Pegz, Muph would all be dope to have on a Stand Up line-up in future too. Imagine all o them on one massive show… haha. We’re allowed to have dreams right? We’ve been really lucky to have been able to get the names we have though, and everyone have been sick cunts to work with, even the ones that have kept us on out toes at times, haha.
What’s next for you and your team? You’ve gone from local shows and the successful Real Talk league, arguably the most successful league in the country, to what could be classed I guess a touring show in Stand Up, what’s going on longer term? Are you looking at national tours and international acts? What can we expect to hit our stages out of Brisbane this year and beyond?
Who knows man… Second half o this year after Stand Up Melbourne I’m definitely looking forward to a bit of a break from the shows and focusing back on my own music for a while, but we’ll definitely be back in 2015 with more Stand Up shows. This year we really only took it to Melbourne because the demand for the line-up there was obvious so we’ll see what happens next year. If Melbourne turns out to support this shit it’ll be hard to not want to come back again, but Brisbane is our home and that’s where we want to keep making good shit happen. But we’ll definitely be back!