Success among musicians can be measured by the number of albums sold, or the size of the gigs they’re playing. Some might even rate themselves by the amount of free booze on their rider. For Aussie hip hop’s rising star 360, though, success has meant turning his back on those that thought he’d never find it. “There’s been no rappers who’ve really dissed me or anything like that. I mean, there have been but they’re just nobodies; no one I’d reply to. If I replied to them it’d give them a lot more to complain about. There’s people in the hip hop scene who told me my music is shit and stuff and once I started making more pop-influenced stuff, those people have hated it.”
In a genre often snubbed by the mainstream music industry, blazing a trail can feel more like wading through quick sand. “Yeah, it took fuckin’ ages. I first started rapping when I was 14 or 15 and I only really started getting my name in there with the mainstream music industry when we did “The Festival Song” with Pez. Even then it didn’t keep growing. Until I started doing my battles and stuff and there was a bit more buzz and then when the album dropped it just took off.”
Sixty, one of many names he’s affectionately known as by his fans, isn’t shy about his ambitions for this year. “I’ve got heaps of goals I want to achieve this year. One of them is for Falling and Flying (360’s second album) to go platinum this year and also for my first album (2008’s What You See Is What You Get), which was an independent one and didn’t do too well, to go gold. I wanna buy my own apartment too. And take out the ARIA for best urban, that’d be good.”
2011 was a landmark year for the Melbourne artist. Falling and Flying was flogged on high rotation on Triple J, and he picked up Channel [V]’s Oz Artist of the Year – trumping 50 of Australia’s most prolific musicians including fellow rappers Bliss n Eso, Drapht and Illy.
For his second album, he’s looked outside the box to create a more layered and textural LP; blurring the lines between himself and Aussie hip hop and further cementing his position in what could be the future of this much loved, albeit anti-establishment, culture.
“I don’t really go into it with any rules. With Falling and Flying, I wasn’t trying to make a hip hop album and I wasn’t trying to make a pop album. There was no actual specific direction I wanted to take it in. I just got with the producers and said let’s just make music. If we find a beat, we’ll let that beat take us wherever. We won’t try to make pop songs and we won’t try to make radio hits. We’ll just go with it and let it all happen naturally. It’s good, I really like making music that way, not going in with any set rules or standards; just whatever comes out and that’s what you go with.”
Collaborating with the likes of Josh Pyke and Gossling doesn’t hurt, either. “We didn’t know who to get for “Throw It Away” and Josh really liked the song, the sound and wanted to get on it so he got in on the chorus. Hopefully we’ve brought Gossling a bunch of new fans as well who’ve never heard of her, ’cause she’s talented as fuck; a really, really good singer and a really good songwriter,” he says. “I think I’m going to continue to make music with Gossling, we did such good stuff on “Boys Like You” and with “Miracle in a Costume”, I reckon she killed that, too. I really want to get her to keep singing on some songs, that’d be really great.”
So if the tables were turned and Gossling needed a hand on one of her sweet and tender pieces, would we see 360 come to the rescue?
He chuckles, “I don’t think she’s got much stuff that suits hip hop but if she’s got anything with the right tempo or wants a beat box vocal, I would jump at the opportunity for sure. I mean, I’ve written heaps of stuff that I wanna give to other artists. If I can sing the parts we write, I would do it, absolutely. I haven’t got a crazy vocal range but if I write within my range then I’d be able to do it.”
Keeping up to date with 360’s movements is easy when you’re a follower on his social networking sites. You’ll be the first to know when things like this come about: “I’m doing a song with The Living End on Sunday at the QLD Big Day Out. I have looked up to those guys since I was 10. Oh, by the way the song is tough. As. Fuck.” His Facebook page is treated like his own personal profile (he has a mere 134,000 friends) and his Twitter is a more intimate setting (with 11,000) for his constant stream of thoughts and photos.
For the rest of 2012, though? “After this tour, we got a festival tour coming up which I can’t actually announce the details for yet and then a bunch of festivals and I got a heap of new songs I wanna get recorded and put out on the internet and hopefully by the end of 2012 have an album ready, it’ll be sick!”
It’s going to be a good year.
You might catch 360 onstage with The Living End at the QLD Big Day Out next week but he’s shortly heading off on his own Boys Like You tour. Get on board!