Phatchance & Coptic Soldier

What started out as a bit of an experiment in hip hop has lead to a full-blown national tour for Phatchance & Coptic Soldier as they hit the road to spread some acoustic love this month. Following on from a capacity-filled, three-date residency at the Oxford Art Factory in Sydney, Chance Waters aka Phatchance and good mate Luke Girgis aka Coptic Soldier are still surprised at the overwhelming reception their project has garnered of late. “The residency back in February was amazing,” says Girgis. “To have the opportunity to do that at the Art Factory too, we were just very lucky. Reaching capacity on all three of the nights was also huge. We decided to do the full tour in response to how well the residency went because this is very much a side project for us at the moment, just something to tie people over before we start working on our next officially-distributed releases. Luke and I wanted to put together a project for a while, and our aim was always to ideally break some new ground if we were going to do that. We didn’t expect the residency to go as well as it did, so we got it in our head to rig up this tour.”


Besides, cross-pollination and collaboration is where it’s at especially as far as fiercely independent artists are concerned, according to Waters. In other words, if it’s possible to kill two birds with one stone, then why not do it? “I was going to do an acoustic EP, but I figured if Luke came on board and we did it together, we could get attention for both Phatchance and Coptic Soldier at the same time! Being indie artists it’s all about synergy and cross-promotion when it comes to product. We thought we could get the same amount of exposure for two artists at once. We’re both putting in like one-and-half times the effort instead of double the effort each, so it’s also about efficiency. We’ve been performing together, though, for about four years on and off. We’re fiercely independent artists so we’ve had to fight pretty hard for our little spot. Every expense is difficult because we’ve got limited resources – but we’ve come into the whole game in an extremely organic way!”


And perhaps even more surprisingly, according to Waters, radio has really taken to both Phatchance and Coptic Soldier, something that the pair never really saw coming either. Especially considering their fondness for sub-genres and experimentation, as Girgis points out. “’Chance was a featured artists on Triple J which was really exciting,” enthuses Waters’ mate Girgis. “And Luke recently got an amazing community radio response by having one of the most added tracks in the country.” adds Waters. “I Hate Sleep got number four in all genres country-wide which was awesome because he beat heaps of his idols, like Cloud Control and Sparkadia! I guess it’s surprising for people like us because as far as we’re concerned, we don’t feel that radio really responds that well to sub-genres or people trying something different. They want you to be either this or that, but if you’re meshing it up they don’t seem to be too interested, so that was a highlight for both of us. For me, it’s also been incredible to support Bliss N Eso – there is just something mind-blowing about their fans. They’ve really nailed it with what they do. Those shows that we got to play were by far the best experience that I’ve had on stage so far. Their fans are ravenous and committed and fantastic!”


But it’s their very own upcoming acoustic tour that’s getting the boys excited the most at the moment, as are plans for future albums for both Phatchance and Coptic Soldier, as a Girgis reveals. “The biggest focus will be this acoustic tour for now but we do have a couple of other big things that we’ll work on after that. Chance is going to work on his album, which I’m excited about – that will hopefully be late this year or early next year. Then I’m going to be doing my album late next year too. For me the acoustic EP is a sequel to my debut EP [The Sound Of Wings] with Miriam Waks and a guy from Adelaide called K21 who won the Hilltop Hoods initiative. Chance released his album Inkstains in 2009 and spent the bulk of 2010 promoting that record and touring extensively. We went onto our separate national tours then and pushed some singles to radio and went as far as we felt we could run with it. This acoustic tour now is kind of a way to take some of the songs we really like off Inkstains that weren’t singles, and expose them to the public eye, in particular the lead single Build It Up.”


Covering each other’s material, combining their songs and even belting out a possible Lupe Fiasco cover is basically what you get with the acoustic tour, according to Waters. “It’s basically two separate EPs but it’s a duel disc release. I’ve done mine and Luke’s got his so we cross over a bit on them and borrow songs from each other. We’re also whipping up some new material for people as well as covering a couple of different songs. We hope it sounds good to other people’s ears and I can tell you it definitely sounds very different to what people are used to. I don’t think it’s a sound that’s been done at all just because of the way we’ve approached it. There’s been acoustic hip-hop in the past but more in the MTV-unplugged kind of style. We’re incorporating little bits of everything and taking a different approach, though.”







Phatchance & Coptic Soldier [AUS] play The Empress on Saturday June 25.