Australia seems to love it’s hip hop like it’s remnants of weekends, grimy as fuck and keeping you coming back for more. A crew with an almost cult following on our shores La Coka Nostra are hitting stages across the country ready to leave minds and livers destroyed. We chatted with the crew about all things solo and group, getting a great insight into what they have cooking.
The fans are stoked to finally get you Down Under! Hopefully we can get you a good turnout. How did the tour originally come about? Have you always wanted to come down as a group or did Slaine just have enough of being harassed about it on twitter?
SLAINE: Nah I wouldn’t say it was harassment. I have been trying to get down under for a while. It is cool to know we have a lot of fans in Australia. I’ve never been. I’m excited it is finally happening.
Ill Bill you came to Australia in 2011 with Sabac Red, did you dig the hip hop scene in Australia last time you were down? Anything you’re keen to do this time you didn’t get to do last time out? Anything any of the other group members really want to do while they’re down here?
ILL BILL: The scene was sick. Met a lot of great people and had a blast, but I didn’t get to go record shopping last time, so this time I’m going in.
2014 looks like its about to be a big year for you dudes in terms of records – Ill break this question up for individual projects
Slaine, you’re putting out your third solo album The King of Everything Else on August 19th with the likes of Tech N9ne, Apathy, Vinnie Paz, Bishop Lamont, Termanology, Madchild and, of course, Ill Bill on there. Do you ever get a bit jittery this close to a record dropping or are you just excited to unleash it?
SLAINE: Is jittery irritable and manic? Yeah I get that. It is weird because I really enjoy the process of creating for the most part. Promoting an album and everything else that goes with it is a lot of stuff that I don’t really like doing too much. It is a pretty important process in getting the music heard though, so as an artist it is something you learn to live with. I figured at this stage of the game I’d be more calm and well adjusted but I am not.
Ill Bill, are you still dropping the new Heavy Metal Kings album Black God White Devil this year?
ILL BILL: Nah we decided to work on AOTP and La Coka instead so HMK is pushed back.
You also went back a bit and dropped the crazy Non Phixion boxsets, was that just something you wanted to do for the die-hard fans?
ILL BILL: Hell yea. It started with the guys at Get On Down really wanting to do it and it snowballed from there. We made it limited to 1000 copies and it’s a huge success so we’re psyched.
Finally, youre dropping a verse on one of Australia’s own big hip-hop releases for the year, Briggs Sheplife – out August 22nd. I reckon you two will absolutely kill the track, was it a good experience? Did it come together from Briggs being your support when you came down in 2011?
ILL BILL: Yea we met in 2011 on tour and been kool ever since. That’s the homie. We had a blast making it. Definite banger.
Danny Boy, The Delta Bravo Urban Exploration Team – check it out on Facebook- is a dope concept, are you still heavily involved in that?
DANNY BOY: Yes. The DBUET is something I do as a hobby of sorts but me, the Delta Bravo team go all out to find and uncover a location. We now have DBUET Chapters in over 5 US cities.
And last but not least, can we expect that new La Coka Nostra group record in 2014 or 2015?
DANNY BOY: Yes. Winter 2014 is a go.
Most of you have been putting out stuff for more than 20 years now and you do a heap of tours. The amount of work must get crazy at times. Do you still enjoy it as much as ever? Is there anything any of you haven’t accomplished yet musically that you want to before the bell tolls?
DANNY BOY: I consider myself a “HypeMan” so as long as the gang is still up for getting down, count me in.
Further to that, how do you keep your shows fresh after grinding for so long? Or has it always been something that just comes totally naturally?
SLAINE: Well it is always good to have new material to perform. That keeps shows fresh. It is good to mix things up and have a big catalogue to choose from too. Shows are very much an energy thing, so I think as long as your energy is high and you love what you do, you can bring it to the stage. Plus it is just what we do.
Slaine, I’ve gotta bring up the crazy little acting career you’ve put together. In a relatively short span of time you’ve managed to work with Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Jeremy Renner, Michelle Monaghan, Ed Harris and two of the chicks from Gossip Girl, haha. You’ve also got a part in God Only Knows with Harvey Keitel, which I believe comes out soon.
SLAINE: Yeah I have been lucky enough to work with a few people who know what they are doing. It is pretty crazy when you look at it on paper. I never would have thought my career would take that direction, but it is something I love to do and plan on doing a lot more of in the future. I love the art of storytelling and it is really kind of a reason to be for me. I’m looking forward to growing and expanding as an artist the rest of my life. Who knows what that will look like as time goes by, I just want to stay creative.
I thought you especially killed it in The Town and all of the films you’ve appeared in to date have received critical acclaim. Is it all a bit of a trip for you to work with Hollywood stars while putting out grimy hip-hop music? Is acting something you really enjoy?
SLAINE: Yes it has been a trip absolutely. I can’t say it wasn’t very surreal at times, especially in the beginning but once you kind of shake that feeling, you want to work hard and absorb as much savvy as you can. It’s funny because the movies I have been in are about the same things I rap about and nobody calls them “grimy” Seems like that style of storytelling is more acceptable on a mainstream level in the medium of film than it is in music.
We just had the five year anniversary of A Brand You Can Trust coming out, do you guys still love performing that material live? Can the fans expect any surprises when you come to Australia?
ILL BILL: Expect the unexpected. We always do a little bit of everything so of course we’ll do some joints from A Brand You Can Trust. Some of our favourite Coka joints are on that record so it’s a must.
Are you still on good terms with Everlast? Some people seem to think there’s bad blood there, but Slaine’s spoken of his respect for him and he’s obviously had some rough times with his family. Do you think there’s a chance hell jump on an LCN track in future or is your association musically done for good?
SLAINE: I certainly got a lot of love and respect for Everlast. If anything we are just tired of being asked about it all the time. There is no bad blood there. We are all grown men with families and have to do what is best for our respective families. I loved working with Everlast. It was a dream come true for me personally. But now we are making our third album as a group and the second one without him. I think everyone understands the situation and we all have moved forward.
This is one I really want to know personally. Any more stuff with DJ Premier in the works? Whether its Ill Bill, Special Teamz, Non Phixion or LCN as a whole you guys have always fucking killed it when you work together.
ILL BILL: Nothing planned at the moment but you never know.
Appreciate all the time you’ve given us guys. Anything final you want to let the Australian audiences know before you head down here?
ILL BILL: We can’t wait to get out there and rock for ya’ll. It’s long overduefor Coka and it’s gonna be sick.
SLAINE: We are coming to fuck shit up. Don’t sleep.
DANNY BOY: God Bless Bon Scott.
Interview by Part2