SETH AT HIS BEST

To a de­gree the past de­fines Seth Sen­try and through his songs he re­lives and shares the good and bad with self-deprecating hu­mour

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY | LIVE & LOUD - KATHY MCCABE

Seth Sen­try, 31, misses the mis­chief of his stoner youth; the days when his mates had their own rap cir­cle and bat­tled each other to de­liver the best rhymes.

He re­vis­its those days in Run, the lead sin­gle from his sec­ond al­bum Strange New Past.

“You reach this char­ac­ter­defin­ing age and start re­flect­ing and look­ing at your past and how that made you,” he says.

“Run is all real, but it’s also me be­ing, ‘Oh my mum is go­ing to hear this’. I was a bad kid. So I def­i­nitely held back. But then on the last song, Sorry, I ad­mit to a bunch of stuff – break­ing into a house when I was a kid ...

“Never went to jail, got ar­rested a bunch of times. I haven’t been ar­rested since the age of 18 though.”

It has been six years since Sen­try made the leap from the Mel­bourne un­der­ground hip hop scene to Triple J’s Un­earthed, then sealed his fate as Aus­tralia’s next big MC with break­through hit The Wait­ress Song.

His 2012 de­but al­bum This Was To­mor­row ex­em­pli­fied his style of con­fronting deeply per­sonal sub­jects with a splash of self-deprecating hu­mour.

Strange New Past seesaws be­tween poignant and the fun of Dumb and Rooftop.

On cen­tre­piece track Vi­o­lin, Sen­try spits out how he feels about his fa­ther aban­don­ing the fam­ily and re­fus­ing to es­tab­lish a re­la­tion­ship de­spite the grown-up rap­per reach­ing out.

The MC, who can spend six months re­draft­ing a song, says the process of writ­ing Vi­o­lin left him feel­ing de­stroyed.

“Do­ing all the rewrites kept putting me back in that place. Af­ter, it feels good. It’s like af­ter you’ve had a cheeky cry.”

Un­like the bad boys made good of Amer­i­can hip-hop, Sen­try has no de­sire for wealth and fame.

He shares sto­ries of a dis­ad­van­taged child­hood which would of­ten in­volve camp­ing on Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula beaches when the own­ers of the hol­i­day homes they rented re­turned.

And he doesn’t mea­sure suc­cess by chart po­si­tions or ticket sales.

Rather, Sen­try lives for the com­pe­ti­tion. While he is mates with most in the tight-knit Aussie hip-hop com­mu­nity, Sen­try is the first to ad­mit he wants to be the best.

“There’s ob­vi­ously a real team spirit be­cause rap in this coun­try is still pretty new,” he says. “Healthy com­pe­ti­tion is good – all push­ing each other and striv­ing to be the best.

“Even when I was younger with my friends and we were all freestyling, laugh­ing, drink­ing and smok­ing pot – though it was all fun and laughs, I wanted to be the best.”

Sen­try will at the very least be Aus­tralia’s hard­est work­ing live act this year, tak­ing on a mas­sive 48-date na­tional tour to sup­port Strange New Past.

His tal­is­man against home­sick­ness will be his Xbox.

“With the death of mu­sic sales, you have to tour. I got a big kick when a band would make the ef­fort to come out to my lit­tle town. The Liv­ing End came to Rose­bud and they were the first live band I had ever seen. It was sick.

“But I am not a trav­el­ling man. I’m very do­mes­tic. I like my bed, my things, my cave. I want sta­bil­ity so bad. The thought of roam­ing around, with a dif­fer­ent bed ev­ery night for five weeks, is in­tense for me.”

Seth Sen­try, Coolan­gatta Ho­tel, Sun­day

Aussie hip-hop artist Seth Sen­try heads to the Gold Coast.

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