Ever since the 2007 debut 'Hard To Kill', Australia’s been wondering whatever happened to Vents aka Joe Larnder. Well, four years on and the Adelaide-based rapper is returning to the spotlight with new album 'Marked For Death', a new record label and a brand new team in tow. Once a solo artist with additional production help from Funkoars’ Trials, in 2011 Vents has included fellow Adelaidean DJ/engineer Adfu who makes his mark on the sophomore record in a big way, indeed.
"This one's a bit different than Hard To Kill because Trials was a little less involved in it", says DJ Adfu. "He's got a bit more commitment now with Drapht and with Funkoars and Ash Grunwald and we've also got a psychedelic project together called Theory Of Face. So it's no longer just Joe and Trials anymore because Trials is overloaded with work, and I'll be even more involved on the album after this one, which we're looking at releasing in the next couple of years. It's exciting because we've all now found our place in the team and with Golden Era."
Formerly signed to Obese Records with Hard To Kill, Adfu says Vents made the switch to the Hilltop Hoods' very own imprint Golden Era mostly thanks to the friendship and personal history factor. Bros first and business partners second, Adfu says Vents has finally found their true home. "Golden Era is amazing because we all go way, way back," he explains. "We all live pretty much with a 20-minute drive radius of each other and we're good friends. It's so much different when you're working in that kind of environment because you get treated as an artist but you get treated as a friend first. They're a lot easier to deal with and they're a lot more understanding and there is no doubt in my mind that they will continue to push us a hundred percent. My best mate is actually DJ Debris from the Hilltop Hoods; we're all nerds of the scene."
Not surprisingly then, Marked For Death also features guest appearances from the Adelaide hip-hop legends themselves on the trackChaos - the song which Adfu claims is his personal standout on the entire album. "The other one I really love is the title-track Marked For Death, mostly because of the way that it came together," he states. "We are all at DJ Debris' house from the Hilltop Hoods and Trials sent through this beat. We had no idea what it was going to be but then as soon as the verses got dropped on it we knew that, yep, that's the title track - straight away! Within 15 minutes, we picked up the cuts, laid it out, wrote the hook, and gave it to Joe. He goes, 'yep, let's do it', and in three hours the whole song was created! The remembering how that track came to life makes it one of my favourites!"
According to Adfu, working with Golden Era has served as major motivation for all involved in Vents to step up their game and avoid procrastination at all costs. As Adfu jokes, it's certainly snapped Larnder right out of his bout with depression which saw the rapper retreat from the scene over the last few years. "Joe just wasn't motivated and he was doing his own thing," says Adfu. "Still, he did make about 35 songs throughout those few years but never with the intention of doing another album. Getting signed to Golden Era gave him the push that he needed and we've all now got a solid foundation to stand on and we've got friends supporting us."
Lyrically, Adfu says Larnder's four-year-long hiatus allowed him to soak in the state of the world, as a result inspiring some the hard-hitting yet typically humorous rhymes on Marked For Death. After simmering for four years, Larnder is back with a bang, according to his DJ. "I've been watching him simmer for four years and this is his thoughts on everything he saw happening in society. It's all the stuff that happened through the Howard era, with the class wars and the refugees and the war in Afghanistan. In was in a bit of a state of depression I think so this album is just about getting it all off his chest. Our biggest goal with this album was to make people realise that rap is not just about guns and drugs and stuff, there can be an intellectual side to it which can make you think about things. Since the album came out the other day we've got nothing but positive comments. Myself and Joe have been really surprised at how people are taking it because it's great to see them taking in Joe's rhymes but seeing them through their own perspective. That's exactly what we were trying to achieve with this record."
Vents’ [AUS] album Marked For Death is out now through Golden Era Records.