Despite increasing pressure on artists just trying to survive the churn of independent music, Spit Syndicate’s Nick Lupi thinks Australia’s hip-hop scene is in better shape than ever.
With fifth album Orbit launched in May, the veteran duo who formed in Sydney in 2005 have lived through the genre’s maturation.
Ahead of an upcoming Ballarat gig, Lupi told The Courier higher “diversity of voices and stories being told” is an important change.
“When we first started making Australian hip-hop music, it was largely white males,” he said.
“Which when you think about it, it is very bizarre that that would kind of be the dominant story told, because that’s not where hip-hop comes from, but that’s sort of what was supported by radio and any press.”
“Now, there’s just a bunch of different voices and stories being told, so it is a more accurate representation of Australia.
“That’s one of the best things about where the hip-hop scene is at. The music is of a higher standard, it sounds more world-class.”
Naturally collaborative, Spit Syndicate previously created hip-hop supergroup the One Day Collective, with fellow artists Horrorshow, Joyride and Jackie Onassis. That same streak of collaborating continues on Orbit, with guest appearances by Tuka, Turquoise Prince, imbi the girl and Kai.
Lupi said the hectic production schedule for Orbit included “some songs started in October, finished by Christmas, mixed by January and they’re out in February”. Their fourth album One Good Shirt Had Us All Fly only came out in April last year.
“Previously we’ve had gaps of a few years between album releases for a variety of reasons. But we didn’t really like that. We felt like the immediacy was kind of missing from how we made and released music,” he said.
The band’s quick output was driven by them channeling “feelings of frustration” that come from releasing music independently, and stripping away unnecessary parts of the process.
“It’s really easy to be like the majority of musicians, to whinge and complain about how you’re not getting the love that you should be getting,” Lupi said.
“What we were trying to do is remove certain parts of the creative process, traps that you can fall into that stifle creativity … like overanalysing, overthinking, asking ‘what’s this song gonna be for? Is radio gonna like this? Is this gonna get played on Triple J?”
“But we really just wanted to kind of remove those, exist in the moment, catch a vibe, make some music and see what happens.”
Spit Syndicate play Karova Lounge on Jun 21. Doors open 8pm, tickets $20.