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Nominee spotlight: Funkoars

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Adelaide’s hip-hop foursome Funkoars are nominated for Best Independent Hip-Hop Album for The Quickening at the Jagermeister Independent Music Awards. After challenging them to a battle rap, we decided it was safer (and probably better for us) if we asked them to take part in a nominee spotlight Q&A. They discuss the hazards of crowd surfacing, strange fan requests and Russell Morris’s The Real Thing. Interview by Angela Allan.

Why do you think that Aussie hip-hop is regarded by some as having a “cringe factor”?
Well, I think it’s important to take the focus away from the genre a little bit and put it on the people who do rap fingers and air DJ. I think they are responsible for the majority of us looking like dickheads. Otherwise, probably us.

What’s the best show you’ve ever performed at and why?
Most of the memories that come to mind are of [band mate] Honz hurting himself somewhere. We did a double bill with Ash Grunwald in Sydney and it got pretty hectic. Honz did an entire verse crowd surfing, got dropped, surfaced, surfed again and ended in the ultimate scissor kick stack that almost ended him – that was fantastic. Oh, and with Vents at the National in Geelong, we heard Adalita from Magic Dirt was hanging off of the rafters a week earlier so Honz gave it a shot, hung upside down for a little while still rapping till his face was redder than usual, almost broke his neck – also fantastic.

What’s the weirdest thing a fan has ever said to you?
A lot of them want us to watch them have sex, but that’s not really weird as much as it is time consuming.

What does being “independent” mean to you?
Unadulterated freedom and the guarantee that everything you hear for better or worse on all of our albums is our fault, and we apologise, unreservedly, for everything pre-The Quickening – that one was good.

Any picks on great up-and-coming independent Australian artists?
K21 is up for many laps around this country, I’m sure of it. He’s a beast of a producer, MC and reasonably attractive. I’m also looking forward to Mr Hill & Rahjconkas’ second LP. Rahj is super nice on the production and Hilly has a deft delivery – wait, they both do – Rahj is also a dope rapper, woah!

What’s your favourite independent Australian record and why?
They are going to hate me for saying it, but Hilltop Hoods. Their EP Back Once Again is what personally put me on this roller coaster in the late ‘90s. It was the first Oz rap I heard without a faux accent – besides me and my mates’ appalling efforts, most of which went on to become our first album. The rhymes were tech, the production was perfect and cuts internationally top notch. Knowing it was produced in Adelaide and in-house definitely gave me the go to buy a Tandy mic and put a mattress in the corner. Outside of rap, Russell Morris’s The Real Thing. What up, Molly!

Favourite song lyric from that record?
From Back Once Again, there are so many favourites, but Debris verse on Shades of Grey is such a classic. His verse comes in mad distorted with this dangerous EQ and all sorts of effects, it’s his only appearance vocally on the record but always stood out as a deadly moment.
From The Real Thing, the “Ooo mama mow-mow” (repeat x 4).

Do you think an artist needs to sign to a major for better chances of success?
Not at all, good music will always get the audience it deserves sooner or later. In the age of the interwebz and instant access to a multitude of media instantly, I’ve never seen so many interesting ideas to get people involved directly and interacting. It’s few months’ work to set up a home studio these days, so on one hand, it’s a swamp of music, and on the other hand, Gotye.

Which famous musician/s would you bring back from the dead and why?
Hendrix and Delia Derbyshire to produce the ultimate psychedelic rock opera.

What’s the secret to being a successful indie artist?
Self-motivation and love for what you’re doing is invaluable. Make beats till you fall asleep, carry your own shit, don’t be a dickhead and knowing when Xbox is appropriate, that is crucial.

Who do you think will win big at the Jagermeister Independent Music Awards?
Jagermeister. The Golden Era table will be contributing heavily to their success.

Apart from yourselves, who do you think will win in your category of Best Independent Hip-Hop Album (nominees are: 360, Katalyst, The Herd, Yung Warriors)?
360 or I’ll eat my Donald Duck hat.

Out of the nominees in your category, who do you think would win against you in a freestyle rap battle?
Probably all of them. Every day just being us is a battle in itself.

What’s your best hangover cure post-awards night?
Early flight home, power through the pain, Call of Duty on the couch

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