Koolism Interview /// 2004

G FORCE (G): Congratulations on the new album. To start it off, how did you go about making and completing Part Three with reference to inspirations, time frames and the process in general?

H: Maaan! A lot of late nights, endless studio sessions, near murders and suicidal tendencies. I’m sure nuff groups out there know what I’m talking about? haha. It was hard work. Especially for Daniel. Not only does he handle the cuts and production, but you know he does the artwork for the album, flyers etc. But you know, when we had fun we had fun. The Koolism vibe will always be in there. Keeping it funky, honest and positive.

Usually we make music quite leisurely. But this time around we worked to a time frame. We’re not used to that as we try not to push the creative process to happen when it’s not ready to. You know what I mean? But we’re approaching things on a professional level now, so you gotta incorporate these things into your working ethic.

G: Has this differed from past Koolism works?

H: In terms of music, yeah maybe a little. But the mentality, no! We have always tried to think outside of the square in our approach to making music. How easy is it to make that middle-of-the-road type hip hop that will appeal to everyone? Nah, man. We’re about setting ourselves apart from other hip hop groups. Our whole style, flow, all that.

G: Beatswise, the album has a pretty dance floor friendly vibe, heaps of bass from the intro to the end, synthesizer riffs and a general funky feeling. Was this the direction from the kick off for the album or did it become present a few tracks in?

H: You know we love our bass. The music we grew up listening to was heavily bass driven. Hip hop, reggae, electro, Miami bass, jungle, garage, R’n’B, they all had that bumping bass line and that has transferred into our music.

But you know we never set out for any track to turn out the way it does. We make music. Period. If it ends up sounding reggae-influenced or if the track has a jungle or electro tinge to it, it’s because that’s just the way it is. We don’t say, “Oh, let’s make a jungle sounding track”. We have so many moods and differ in inspiration and that is why our music is so diverse as opposed to having that standard hip hop sound.

G: With relation to the beats and the album as a whole, you have enjoyed a fair bit of commercial success and admiration when compared to a lot of other Aussie hip hop acts. Does this effect the way you do things, such as a radio friendly sound or similar things?

H: Nah, man. Hell no. Like I said, we just make music. It just so happens that our music can be appreciated by people outside the hip hop scene as well. They warm to our sound, we don’t set out to purposely try to cross over.

But you know with our diversity, we can rip up a hip hop show one night then back up the very next night and murder a rave. We love music. Good music. So we create, play, and perform the music WE like and fortunately people get into it.

G: Guests on the album include Mnemonic Ascent, Nfa of 1200 and Rodney P. How did all of these come about in particularly Rodney P, being that he is an overseas artist?

H: Don’t forget my bro, Axe Acklins. He kills his verse on “Control”. He’s my mate from around the way who grew up very similar to me having passion for both hip hop and football. Stay tuned for that kid.

Mnemonic Ascent are our boys. We love their music. I think “Outside Inn” is my favourite Aus hip hop release. Those guys share the same mentality in their approach to making music. We had to get them on the album. It’s family.

Nfa and them boys are family too. He’s one cool mofo, man, haha. Nuff kids out there try talk nonsense about them for whatever reasons but I don’t listen to that crap. They will forever be my mates. So you know, I had to get Nfa on there.

As for Rodney, shucks, man. It was a blessing to work with him. I grew up listening to London Posse so it was a dream come true to work with that guy. We met him and Skitz on their first tour in Aus and we got along great. Rodney was feeling our vibes so it was no thing to lay down some vocals for us. It was a cool session, man.

G: Speaking of guest appearances, you recently appeared on the new Nubreed album, how did that come about and how much of that genre do you listen to and does it inspire or influence your own music?

H: For sure. Like I was saying I listen to all sorts of music. You gotta be a pretty boring and ignorant person in order to JUST listen to hip hop. It goes without saying that these different genres we listen to in someway inspire and influence the way we make or perform our music.

Any collaboration we are involved in is because we think who ever the collaboration is with are good people. I’ve always said that I’d rather work with a cool person that is OK with their craft, than someone who is excellent at it but is an arsehole. Nubreed are cool peoples. But not only that, both teams respect each others work. Plus it introduces us to a whole different audience that might never have heard of us otherwise. So it was natural for us to lay something down with them.

G: You obviously enjoyed recording this album and it comes across well on both the cd and your live shows. Any surprises for the upcoming launches around the country?

H: If you know us or have been to a live show of ours, you will know we are guys that love to have fun. We keep our live shows as spontaneous as possible, keeping the energy high and the people hype. No real surprises, just come to the show expecting to party hard and have a good time. No bullshit, just positive vibes.

G: Hau, you always come across as a pretty chilled out dude, especially on tracks such as “Self Portrait”, do you use this relaxed flow on purpose to give each track that feel or is it simply just how you spit?

H: Yeah, I’m a pretty laid back sort of a person. I’m from the islands. In Tonga it’s casual as. So I think that’s why I tend to get into the groove of things rather than be overly aggressive. But I can get hype. At the raves I rap over beats that are 140bpm and up. I got good breath control. I don’t smoke and I train a fair bit so I can go on and on without losing my voice or composure, haha.

I think also because I am a big fan of having style and flow. I tend to take my time in saying things with funk and finesse rather than cramming 1000 words into once sentence. That’s why I never got into groups like Company Flow and the likes.

G: Where do you believe Koolism sits in our ever expanding scene and is this where you aimed to be at when you first touched the mic or decks and what is next for you?

H: Hmmm, I think Koolism will always be one of those groups people will mention as being in the forefront of Australian hip hop. Alongside people like 1200 Techniques, Hilltop Hoods, Downsyde, The Herd, Lyrical Commission. I believe that we will always be known to be that group that tried to push the boundaries of hip hop but always stayed true to the essence. The lads that made good music.

Now getting off my own tip! haha. You have many dreams you want to fulfill. I’m very lucky to have achieved a few of those. I consider myself very fortunate. However, once those dreams are achieved, you set new goals to try and reach. So I think that’s what keeps you hungry in order to succeed further.

But in saying that, you gotta stop and smell the roses every once in while, as they say. I’ve been asked to perform in places I probably would have never been able to go to. So I’m like, Man, these guys are gonna pay me to do something I love to do AND pay for me to get there? Crazy!!! haha. I count my blessings every night, man. Honestly.

G: With regards to the formation of tracks in general, we have heard many times from our country and overseas when a group consists of one emcee and a producer/deejay that the emcee tries to put across the feelings of the usually unspoken deejay. Such as the case is between Guru and Premier. Do you share this characteristic?

H: I write what I feel. I’ve never been scared to express myself and be open about emotions and things. Daniel appreciates that. Even though I might not write exactly what he feels or wants to say, we share this same sort of expression. However, if there is something he strongly wants to put across or if there is something he disagrees with me saying, I accommodate.

G: You have some upcoming album launches, what can people expect from these shows, what do you aim to deliver to the audience?

H: Yes sir, the tour is coming up. It’s not too hard to find where and when we are playing. You can find the dates here on ozhiphop.com or at our website, www.koolism.com. Like I said, just come to have a good time cos we are going to sho nuff party! Hope to see the hip hop massive at the shows.

G: Well, thank-you very much for your time and I look forward to catching the Melbourne launch, any shout outs, final words, plugs anything?

H: For sure, bro, thanks for the opportunity to say a few things. We greatly appreciate your interest in Koolism. Hope to see you at the launch, mate.

I would also like to send a massive shout to all those who have been supporting our music over the years. Can’t thank you enough. Love and respect! See you at the launch!

G: Cheers


55 DSL & the Triple J Hip Hop Show Present the ‘Random Thoughts’ National Tour

Fri 25th June Brisbane – The Rev with Geoff Blunted

Sat 26th June Newcastle – Newcastle Leagues Club with TZU & DUB Crew

Fri 9th of July Sydney – Gaelic Club with Katalyst

Sat 10th of July Katoomba – Tries Elies with DUB Crew

Fri 16th of July Wollongong – Cooney’s Tavern*

Sat 17th of July Canberra – ANU Bar with Present Tense

Fri 30th of July Melbourne – Revolver with Bias B

Sat 31st of July Hobart – Halo with Robbery, Cerberus & Grotesque.

Fri 6th of Aug Geelong – National Hotel*

Sat 7th of Aug Adelaide – Jive with BVA & Red Monka

Fri 13th Aug Bunbury – Prince of Wales*

Sat 14th of Aug Perth – B Boy Royale*

Sat 21st Aug Jindabyne – Station Resort with Hilltop Hoods

check www.koolism.com for more info

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