LAB Co: Beat Science & Rhymeology Tour - CBR PIT STOP
26 April 2017 by Sancho Murphy
Lab Co are hitting the road and bringing a LARGE showcase set to shake up Canberra, Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Melbourne. A mix of rhymes and beats - this performance will be epic! Along with a stacked lineup, Context (LAB Co/Capslock Collective) has just released a free EP titled 'Rogue Astronaut'. The release is primarily self-produced under the guise of Joe Syzlak and showcases Context's skills as both a Producer and an MC. Raised in Canberra, landing in Melbourne, Context creates a Hip-Hop sound reminiscent to mid 90's New York. With cheeky lines, pocket flows and a heavy UK influence – a unique sound emerges. A man of many styles, Context shifts between comical and introspective concepts over a mix of self produced beats and those of like minded producers.
In anticipation of the LAB Co: Beat Science & Rhymeology Tour stopping at Lobrow Gallery & Bar this Thursday 29th April (!tomorrow!), we got an insight from Context into what LAB Co are all about, the creative & collaborative process that spawned Context's 'Rogue Astronaut' EP and what you all can expect at the show tomorrow night. With 17 performers - (a blend of CBR & MELB) MC's and beat makers, this is going to be one helluva fire-frenzy not to be missed! *hands around topical cream to soothe those forecasted burn-like symptoms*
So, you’re touring with LAB Co, quick keyboard crunch & jumping on the website, it sounds pretty dope! A collective based in Melbourne featuring Producers and Rappers. Can you talk about the earliest days - how did your involvement come to be?
Jimmy Flipshyt introduced me to Lab Co mid 2016. I’ve known Jimmy since way back and when he joined up, I followed shortly after. Lab Co was formed a few months before that by Clay Adams and Walla C – both talented Melbourne producers. The crew mainly focuses on beats but there are also a few of us rappertrons on board.. They’re a real dope crew and I love working with them.
Who have you collaborated with on the EP? Tell us a bit about the creative process and roles of each. With your music production, is that something you're doing yourself, or do you have someone who works on the beats for you?
For this release I wanted to make an almost completely solo project. It’s part of the whole “Rogue Astronaut” theme. I made five of the seven beats and I didn’t have any feature MCs on the tape. Jimmy and Boxtrumental helped out with producing two tracks and I had Jimmy and Buick doing the cuts. Though it was very much a solo release I did have a heap of good people helping me out. Hayds (Smithgrind) did his magic with mixing, L-Rox did my mastering, Mark One87 did the artwork and Inner Ocean Records made the cassettes. We all worked really well together and they were all down with the concept. Everything from the art to the mastering techniques were all done with the concept in mind.
'Rogue Astronaut' EP artwork done by Mark One87
Who would you like to collab with in the near future?
There are so many people I want to collaborate with.. Context & Jimmy Flipshyt will make a return at some point this year and I want to jump on some Lab Co beats. I’m also going to be organising some tracks with a UK rapper called Index who is living in Melbourne nowadays. Capslock is also high on the hit list and I’m wanting to get my vault of unused beats out to good MCs. After doing such a big solo project I’m really happy to be writing with other artists again.. It shall be grand.
Creatively (musically or otherwise), what are your biggest influences and who are your favourite musicians?
Musically, my biggest influences would be from UK Hip Hop, some older Australian Hip Hop and 90s US. I always get into boom bap so most of my musical influences are within that. Favourite artists would include Jehst, Phi Life Cypher, OGC and the High Focus roster. As I’ve been making a lot of beats I also listen to a heap of non-rap music nowadays. I sample and get down with a heap of exotica. Les Baxter and Martin Denny all day.
Sampled track on Context's 'The Landing'
In what ways has your newest music changed from when you first started?
I think I’ve really worked out my own sound and delivery. In my earlier tracks I hadn’t really found my voice so it’s all a bit deeper. I’ve worked out the exact kind of beats I get down with and I know my strong points concept wise. All my early early stuff was also recorded on a Singstar microphone so audio quality has improved as well haha I’ve also broken away from an annoying few months of writers block so I’m starting to not give fucks again (which is the kinda headspace I need to make my music).
You’re originally from Canberra now grinding in Melbourne, is there much that can be said about the difference in the Hip Hop scene, community and venues from the two?
Both places are very different. I think Melbourne has more variety and more venues. This is an awesome thing but the scene is a little separated, as there are a whole heap of different sub genres that different crews focus on. I think Canberra is more connected and every artist knows every artist. There is also a mad supportive vibe going on within CBR… In particular, I saw the Street Uni Cypher and that pretty much sums up the strong community within Canberra Hip Hop. You’ve got established artists like Hayds helping out the younger cats. At the same time, I’m having a great time in Melbourne and love being able to roll through some pretty incredible shows. I also dig the bars and venues here (shouts out to Grumpy’s).
Jumping on the ’Tube, having a look at your recent video releases ‘Route 11’ and ‘The Landing’ from the ‘Rogue Astronaut’ mixtape, there seems to be a bit of a narrative, what’s the story there? Who produced the videos and took the lead with creative direction?
These clips were put together by the mighty Dayne Edward who is also an ex-Canberran. I put the concept and basic storyline together but Dayne just took the whole thing to another level. To be honest... I sat down with Dayne with some pretty wild ideas and it’s amazing that he was able to bring it all to life. I remember his face when I was telling him that “I want to fly off in a space ship”... He must have thought I wanted Spielberg quality on a bootleg budget. He killed it though and I couldn’t be happier with the clips. He shot, edited and directed both clips.
The narrative behind the clips links to the songs and overall concept of the release. 'Route 11' was written just after a pretty big break up and though it only touches on that early in the song, it really is all about that. It’s like I broke up, flew off in my space ship and landed back on earth feeling stronger. Also - 'Route 11' and 'The Landing' are the evident pair in the release and hold a similar concept. This made it a lot to easier to create the linked videos/narrative. 'Route 11' was take off and 'The Landing' was the landing. We also wanted to make the two clips reflective of the overall EP concept. They capture the vibe perfectly.
What can Canberra kids expect from the 'Lab Co - Beat Science & Rhymeology Tour' stopping in the Nation’s Capital?
We plan to make this show as large as possible. We have some of Canberra’s best rappers/DJs on the night (Jedbrii, Jimmy Pike and ILL Gato to name a few), and we’ll be running a large open mic session. We’ve also got a heavy Lab Co showcase set to show you – it’ll focus on production and rhymes and all 9 of us will be jumping on the mic and SP404 through the night. I’m also really keen to introduce Lab Co to Canberra and vice versa. I know the whole crew will be blown away by the quality of support acts we have lined up. We’re all particularly hype for this show.
I want to make this a ‘thing’ on the blog, can you draw a self-portrait of yourself? (Just real quick pew-pew!).
*Limited 'Rogue Astronaut' Cassettes and T-Shirts are available to purchase and the full EP is available for free download. All downloads include exclusive art by Mark One87 and physical orders include Dropcards.
LAB CO: BEATS SCIENCE & RHYMEOLOGY TOUR (CBR)
Presented by LAB Co & The Next Movement
Thursday 27th April ~ 7PM
$5 on the door (limited capacity)
Facebook Event for more details.
LOBROW GALLERY & BAR
Upstairs, 181 City Walk,
Canberra, ACT, 2601