‘Maturity’ ain’t normally the first word you’d think to associate with Adelaide hip-hop rascals Funkoars, but on new album The Quickening DJ Reflux aka Dan Yates insists the lads have had a lot of growing up to do and that it certainly shows. If first album Who’s Your Step Daddy was the endless party and second album ‘The Hangover’ was pretty self-explanatory, then think of The Quickening as the mid-week guilt-trip that comes back to bite you on the ass.
“Some people would say that maturity could never be the case with us, we’re not usually the ones who would get tagged with that line,” laughs Yates. “In terms of music and the way we make music, we’ve definitely matured, though. We know what we want to do and we know who we are and we know how we fit into our own brand of hip-hop. I think this album is a heaps more mature effort and the polish that’s gone into the songs and the depth is also much more than ever before. It’s not just quickly smashed out and moved on. We’ve had time to sit on the song a little bit. Even the lyrical content is more mature, I think. We’re all getting a little bit older and more cynical, maybe.”
Be that as it may, Yates is still quick to point out that he and Funkoars can’t wait to take this new show on the road. Listening back to the album with pride is one thing, but doing it all over again in front of crowds of fans is another thing altogether, explains Yates.
“Right now, I feel like I’m going crazy from being in the studio for so long. I just want to get the hell out of the house! We’ve chilled a lot just to be able to keep our health for when we’re going to really need it, which is on the road. Trials has also had a bad back so we didn’t want to aggravate that too much or jeopardise. The last six months of putting the album together have been especially intense and I’m so sick of hearing it now and talking about it, I just want to do it! It’s the start of a new album cycle and I just want to get the live show cracking again!”
Renowned for their out-of-control shows, rabid crowds and some of the biggest beats that Adelaide has to offer, Funkoars are bringing on board a crew of locals along for the road, some of which also feature on The Quickening. With Ciecmate, Vents and Mase & Mattic as supports, Yates explains that a tight-knit community is what defines Adelaide’s hip-hop scene.
“I think it gives us a different sound too, I think every area of the country has a different, unique sound. Well, I can hear it, anyway… I hear the difference between a Sydney MC and a Melbourne MC, and there are certain traits that Adelaide MCs carry as well. But it’s not a blanket rule because people influence each other too. Like, Drapht used to get bagged for his delivery and now people are mimicking him all the time! There’s also heaps more lanes of hip-hop now too, from the Illies to The Herds to Bliss N Esos. One thing I will say is that Adelaide has always had a good grounding in terms of the core of the Aussie hip hop culture, we don’t mess around with it.”
If the legacy of the Hilltop Hoods is anything to go by, there’s no mistaking that Adelaide does take its hip-hop very seriously, indeed. Initially a small crew of local hip-hop heads., Yates explains that the Certified Wise Crew – also featuring Hilltop Hoods – came about out of necessity more than anything over a decade ago.
“It’s not like a ‘crew’, it’s more like a ‘community’,” Yates explains. “It came out of the necessity of having to stick together all those years ago because the hip-hop scene back then had no fans the way it does now, it solely consisted of people who were making the music. In Australia hip-hop music was in the minority and was shunned by a lot of the media – how things change… I remember when we were all kids 15 years ago and I look around now at the people who have been successful, and it’s all the same people! This scene was born out of mateship and having to stick together because nobody else would give you the time of day.”
And while all the local crew Yates refers to – from the Hilltop Hoods to up-and-comers like Vents – have all found some form of success or another over the years, the mateship is still as strong as ever, with the recent announcement that Funkoars signed a record deal with Hilltop Hoods’ very own Golden Era imprint. Talk about keeping it in the family.
“It actually came about more out of the fact that we had nowhere else to go at the time this record was coming along. We were with Obese then we switched to Shogun but then they went belly-up and so it was quite a while there that our records weren’t even on the shelves. At the same time we were doing all these big festivals like Homebake and stuff but nobody was able to get access to our albums – it was stupid and ridiculous! So the ‘Hoods came to our rescue and said they’d pick us up which is fantastic to be able to work with them. Sometimes it can be difficult to mix business and friends, but the ‘Hoods are unbelievable, they’re so professional and dedicated and smart.
Funkoars [AUS] latest album The Quickening is out now through Golden Era Records.