Simplex is a well-known name on the Adelaide hip-hop circuit, having worked with the who’s who on the local and national scene. Having recently relocated to Brisbane this year, the Terra Firma man has been working on his sophomore album, the follow up to his successful debut release, Audio Biography. Simplex chats with me about the recent move, what he’s been focusing on for this record, and his upcoming show in Adelaide supporting Joelistics and Diafrix.
Thanks for chatting with me, how have you been?
Yeah it’s been good, I’ve just moved up to Brisbane from Adelaide. I’m just starting…I wouldn’t say a ‘new’ life, but in a new location which is pretty cool.
How has the move to Brisbane treated you; no doubt the hip-hop scene there is quite different to the one we have here…
Yeah it’s good! I haven’t really gotten out and amongst it fully yet, but yeah I’ve met up with a lot of dudes up here and everyone seems to be busy and on their grind and stuff. I think it’s a bit more disjointed than Adelaide, but I think that’s because it’s a little bit bigger and a bit more spread out than Adelaide.
The Adelaide live circuit is rather cosy to say the least, how would you describe the state of local hip-hop right now? To me, it seems like you have to look for a good hip-hop joint these days.
Yeah… Adelaide’s always been real productive, you know? It’s good to see the younger dudes like Prime and Purpose and K21 and Dialect…everyone’s making moves, you know what I mean? Everyone’s doing their thing and it’s good to see. They’re the next generation after us, or a couple of generations after us and they’re all on the right path and they’re making DJ clips…
Do you think it’s becoming easier for the younger MCs and producers to get in a foot in the door?
I don’t know if it’s easier, it might be a bit harder nowadays because there are so many more dudes doing stuff. It’s hard to jump on Facebook for a minute and then get hit up by 20 people wanting for you to hear their tracks, you know? A lot of the time you just go, “Oh nah…” unless you’ve heard something or seen another show or something like that; most people don’t check for it, you know? I’ll check some links but you could spend your whole night going through people’s music; there’s still a lot of shit out there, but there’s probably a lot of good shit out there as well. There’s only limited space too, you know; the punters can’t go out to a show every weekend, when there are shows every weekend, it won’t work. They’ve got to be spaced out.
It’s probably a little bit easier at the moment with the internet to get heard nowadays, to get your stuff out, and it’s a little bit easier recording-wise, you know? Everyone can buy a sound card now and record in their bedroom, whereas before, you’d have to hire out a studio or some dude that’s been buying gear for ages, you’d go around to his house. That’s what I used to do, go around Debris’ [Hilltop Hoods] house and record until I started saving up and getting a sound card and then started building my own sort of studio, you know?
Can you tell me about what you’re working on at the moment?
In Brisbane, just a bit of production stuff so far. I’ve started writing the new album, so I’ve pretty much got 80% of the beats there, but they’ll probably change from time to time, which happened last time when I was doing various other albums. I always change beats, I’ll go, “I can make a better one or a better sound” and go with that one instead.
Are you finding that you’re travelling along similar paths with this record, as the follow up to Audio Biography, or different directions?
I think different directions, because it’s been sitting there for a while, you know? Like, some of those tracks had been there for seven years or so, ages. Now, I was able to get those tracks I’ve been working on, that have been sitting there out of my life and now I can start with a fresh head and fresh ideas; because I recorded and mixed everything myself, I learned a bunch of lessons on mixing and recording myself. Hopefully the new album continues on from there or evolves on from there. I’ve been going back to the boom bap stuff as well again, I can’t get myself out of that! So far, all the beats I’m pretty happy with… there’ll be some different stuff in there…
You’re up to play with Joelistics and Diafrix this week – looking forward to coming back home?
Yeah for sure, I’ve only been away since the start of the year, so it’s pretty fresh in my mind, Adelaide and everything. Still, it’s good to get back and catch up with mates and play to the Adelaide crowd. Pretty much, out of Australia, Adelaide’s got the best crowd.
It’s at The Gov as well, which is a great venue to be at when it’s packed out for a gig.
Exactly, I love playing The Gov. I like the outside bit, you know, for the smokers…not like HQ, where they’re outside and around the corner so they can’t see anything. So the smokers can still see there and yeah, it’s a wicked venue.
The press information I was sent implies that you had no intention of performing live this year at all; why was that and what made you change your mind?
Um, not really. Moving up to Brisbane…I’m sitting in the studio all the time, you know, and you drive yourself a little bit crazy! So it’s good to get out there and see real people again, not just on emails or Facebook or Twitter, you know?
What can the hometown crowd expect from you then, because this is going to be quite a special one off show?
It’ll be a mix of everything, I think. It’s been a bit hard to practice…because Madcap DJs for me, he’s in Adelaide still, so it’s a bit hard to practice over Skype and stuff. We’ve got to figure something out for the new material, but yeah, hopefully we’ve got some new material to bring out there.
Catch Simplex at The Gov, Thursday 5 April with Joelistics and Diafrix. Details up at www.thegov.com.au.