Thundamentals may be one of the most exciting hip hop acts in the country, but as Tone Deaf finds out, their MC Jeswon (Jesse Ferris) is a fan of pub-rock heroes Smith Street Band.
Ahead of triple j’s annual One Night Stand this Saturday (22 April) – where some of Australia’s best live acts will ascend on Mount Isa for a massive free party – Jeswon chats to his lineup comrade Wil Wagner, of The Smith Street Band.
Read the full transcript below:
Jeswon: From listening to your guys new album it seems to me that you are an artist who isn’t afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve. Are you the type of writer who feels most motivated to create when the chips are down? Or are you equally as compelled to write music when you are feeling happy and content with life? Do you feel like songwriting is therapeutic?
Wil Wagner: I absolutely use songwriting as a form of therapy, yeah. I’m more inclined to start writing if I am having a bad time but I enjoy writing when I’m enjoying life too! I sometimes worry that I’ve bought too much into the ‘tragic artist’ kind of idea where you have to be depressed to make art!
Jeswon: If you could change three things about Australia, what would they be?
Wil Wagner: I’d want Australians to be a lot more empathetic. I think that would help tackle the ingrained racism, and disrespect for so many of the things that make our country great, that still permeates our culture. I’d also make the country a bit smaller to cut down on travel time and I’d make the AFL season last all year!
Jeswon: I read somewhere that you have been working on music with Joelistics and that you would love to collaborate with artists such as Run The Jewels and A.B. Originals. It seems like you have a healthy appreciation for Hip Hop music. Are you working on a top secret Wil Wagner Hip Hop album? What are your top three Hip Hop joints of all time?
Wil Wagner: Hell yeah I love hip hop! I’ve recorded many top secret hip hop songs that NO ONE will ever hear haha, they’re all really bad.
I think my favourite hip hop records of the last few years are Chance the Rapper’s album Acidrap, Kendrick’s Good Kid Mad City and Run The Jewels 2. I also love what Jonwayne has been doing lately and I’m really excited about this band Ho99o9 who are kinda like a slightly more listenable Death Grips (who I also love). But I love MF Doom, Tribe, Wu Tang and lots of Wu Tang members post Wu Tang stuff. One of the best live music experiences I ever had was watching GZA play at a weird festival in Houston. I like how hip hop is constantly challenging and reinventing itself, it’s a lot more innovative than most genres.
Jeswon: I noticed in your clip ‘Get High, See No One’ that there is a cat 25 seconds into the clip who appears to be missing its left ear. Is your cat a hard ass who lost its ear in a cat fight or was it born with one ear?
Wil Wagner: Yeah that’s our cat Sinclair!! He was found in an alleyway in North Melbourne many years ago. He had been fucked up by someone and was missing an eye and an ear but we’ve had him for at least 5 years now and he’s a happy lil fella!
For the full triple j One Night Stand setlist times, maps and info head to the official site here.
If you can’t make it to the Isa you can listen to all the action on triple j. Tune in to from 4pm Sat 22 April.