Australian hip-hop in the last decade has come leaps and bounds in regards to popularity. Breaking into the mainstream through the likes of Adelaide’s Hilltop Hoods and Perth rapper Drapht, the Aussie form of the genre has topped the charts, national touring circuit and the ARIA Awards.
While these two aforementioned acts are household names when speaking in reference to the genre, another who are far too often overlooked is Sydney’s Def Wish Cast. They’ve been living and representing the Aussie hip hop for over twenty years and show no signs of slowing down.
Having just released their latest album Evolution Machine and now touring nationally, MC Sereck took some time to talk to Tone Deaf about the new album, the progression of Australian hip hop culture and what fans can expect from their tour.
“Evolution Machine,” begins Sereck, “It is a great start for much more to come. It is a nice completion of us kicking back off in a bigger way.” Their new album has been in the making for quite a number of years and the release is the culmination of both a very collaborative, but also solitary, style of creation. “We will all get together and have ideas but then we also go home and write in our own time. It’s you as individual MCs, you are still on your own thing.”
Looking back at their progression as artists, their growth their first EP (1993’s Mad as a Hatter), in regards to both style and content in their music, is very much evident to Sereck. “You can hear it in the first one,” says the MC, “we are much younger and while there was – not so much aggression… it was more forceful. We were just releasing everything. But out of that we created a style and I think we have grown through music. We still keep that passion.”
An act whose career spans such a length of time, the Def Wish Cast are no strangers to the importance of embracing the changes in musical genres and tastes with the masses. “When you have a 20-year-span,” explains Sereck, “you have gone through different genres and different changes as well. You have got to get excited about those changes in music. As soon as you lose the excitement, it is pretty much gone. You cannot just only listen to ‘90s shit, you have to appreciate what is going around now. The kids are moving on as well.’
Def Wish Cast head out on the road this month in support of their new album and they are excited about the format for these live shows. “We are trying to move away from the normal: Support, Support, Headline,” says the rapper.
“You can come and enjoy it as a funk night,” he continues, “enjoy yourself with music. We are trying to bring our anthology through. We describe it to people and then we do the album that we did in that period of time and then move onto the next period of time, DJs playing in-between to get everyone back up dancing. In the end we do the latest album.”
What else can punters expect? “We have an [Audio Visual] DJ set, the visuals are travelling around with us throughout the country,” says the MC. “We are taking a bit more on with us. It is a pretty cut even tour; there is no money to be made, it is to bring the enjoyment back to hip hop.”
Having opened for some prestigious names in the world of hip hop, such as the Beastie Boys, Blackalicious and Masta Ace, just to name a few, Def Wish Cast earned a new fan in March this year in rap legend KRS-One’s daughter.
“His wife said, ‘Our 13-year-old daughter is here’,” tells Sereck. “Apparently she really likes Def Wish Cast. She was like, ‘Mummy, Mummy, who was that group?’ She basically turned around and said, ‘My daughter loves you guys.’ KRS-One’s daughter is a fan of Def Wish Cast.”
What’s next for the hard-working group? “We are non-stop going to bring music from now on,” declares Sereck proudly. “Next album is next year. We are in it for the long haul now, which is why it has been a long preparation in-between albums,” he continues, “it is a good point in life for us all and all of us are on the ball and now we just want to get straight into the next album. This is it. This is our life. It is what you have to live.”
A group that has put in the hard-yards over their lengthy career, if there was ever a time to discover this influential Australian hip hop act, it is now. With new material from Evolution Machine that is both a throwback to old school hip hop and at the same time fresh and contemporary. As well as an original live show that breaks the mould of what we have come to expect from a gig, do not miss Def Wish Cast in 2012.