Hoods rap for re­gional fans

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY CLUBBING -

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.

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