Hoods rap for regional fans
HE Hilltop Hoods have always made it look easy. The bouncing festival mosh pits overflowing into the stands, the boundless energy exchange as Suffa and Pressure stalk the stage while DJ Debris keeps it all chugging along; the dizzying, dazzling visuals which add that bit of extra eye candy that hip-hop fans love so much.
Pressure is hardly about to call it hard work. It’s their life and the Hoods are very happy to be living it, thank you very much.
But it sure takes time to pull it all together. Just days before they leave for another European tour, Australia’s most successful hiphop act are racing to finish a new video and all the filming for their Speaking In Tongues toure.
‘‘We’ve been in the studio rehearsing lots . . . and doing fancy things for our fancy show,’’ Pressure says.
‘‘We hired out a local Freemasons hall and climbed to the roof to film Adelaide as the backdrop for the backdrop.’’
The Hoods appear to prefer to make mini-movies as music videos rather than going for the straight-out performance clip.
‘‘We are far too bad as actors and too ugly for that to happen. But yeah, there’s a bit of the big boys with big toys thing to it all,’’ Pressure says.
Their multi-faceted approach is somewhat born out of necessity by the nature of being a hip-hop act in Australia.
While American rappers might get away with posturing in front of a DJ and a couple of bootylicious dancers, here in the land where pub rock defined musical culture for more than three decades, two MCs and a microphone aren’t going to cut it.
‘‘People do not want to hear you perform a CD. We have been performing now for more than a decade, so people have seen most of our songs and have come to expect a certain level of showmanship when they come,’’ Pressure says.
‘‘For that reason alone, we have to push ourselves further. In Australia you have to bring something – new, cooler, bigger, better.’’
The Hoods don’t set their benchmark by hip-hop standards. Pressure says they go to see most big tours which pass through their hometown and now aspire to matching Metallica. ‘‘I want giant coffins lowered from the ceiling!’’ he says. ‘‘You go and see a show like that or Eminem, which was also amazing, and you see that full-on production and it makes you realise we have a way to go. There’s room for improvement . . . and more toys.’’
The Hoods have the same attitude to their upcoming gigs throughout Europe, which include sets on the T In The Park and Wireless festivals.
‘‘Five years ago, we set off on this campaign for things to happen in Switzerland, Germany and the UK,’’ Pressure says. ‘‘It’s got to the point we can put our own shows on and get a decent crowd.’’
When they get back home, the Hoods won’t be indulging in a major cities’ victory lap for the huge success of their latest record Drinking From The Sun, one of a clutch of local releases to debut at No.1 on the Australian charts this year.
Like anyone who invests in cultivating a far-flung audience, the Hoods are going regional, playing everywhere from Mildura to Coffs Harbour, Ballarat to Port Hedland.
‘‘Ask any touring act and they will tell you how awesome it is getting out there,’’ Pressure says.
‘‘They are so up for it and most fans will have driven forever to get there to see you. They’re probably the best audiences you’re going to get on a tour.’’
The Hilltop Hoods play Sprung Hip Hop Festival, at the RNA Showgrounds, on November 10 and the Big Day out, at Parklands Showgrounds, on January 20.
Fresh from Splendour, The Hilltop Hoods will bring their
tour to the Sprung Hip Hop Festival and the Big Day Out.