We had the very talented and very local hip hop legend Skank MC in the 8CCC Studios the other week. Listen to the podcast below before hitting Bojangles Saturday night to see the man himself here
Here’s the transcription for your reading pleasure – minus all the great tunes you’ll have to catch in the podcast above.
CORINNE: I noticed at the end of the track [we just played] Skank N Flim Flam a bit of a shout out to Paul Kelly …
SKANK MC: [Laughs] I’ve grown up on Paul Kelly. I’ve modelled my kind of musical style on his approach inadvertently, through listening to all his songs. You know, he’s a storyteller, he tells a story about all sorts of different people, from all walks of life and I kind of want to base my kind of stuff around that as well.
CORINNE: You’ve grown up in Alice Skank MC and that runs pretty deep through your work…
SKANK MC: Yeah, well I’m 22 years old now and I’ve lived here all my life – just basically get away for a few months or so every year to keep the sanity [laughs] – but I’m born and bred in Alice Springs and my music is just a representation of that really.
I’ve been influenced by Alice so much and it just comes through in my work. I’m kind of going down this path of promoting myself as an NT hip hop artist as opposed to just an Aussie hip hop artist or just a hip hop artist, because my stories do relate a lot to the NT and there are stories on my EP which a lot of people haven’t heard before so I think it’s a really good thing.
CORINNE: And a bit of a prizewinner at that, in terms of NT music?
SKANK MC: Yeah, my song Northern Terrorstory is a six-minute story about a boy who’s in government care. I’m a youth carer myself. My wife and I work in youth care, we do residential care, look after a young fella who’s twelve years old so I wrote this song called Northern Terrorstory. It’s about what children in care go through and just the eventual outcome of the pretty bad situations those kids are in.
Yeah, the song won the NT Song of the Year award in the hip hop section so I was pretty chuffed with that. We drove up to Darwin to receive our award just a couple weeks back and we played a gig there running off no sleep [laughs]. It was pretty amazing…We found out on the Wednesday that we’d won. We had a gig to play in town on the Friday supporting Obie Trice at The Gap View so we played the gig with Obie Trice and then as soon as that gig was over, we jumped in the landie and drove through the night to Darwin.
We rocked into Darwin 5pm the next night, running off no sleep, had a shower, got to the awards, received the award from Bliss of Australian group Bliss n Esso, who’ve been kind of a big inspiration of mine for a few years now, so that was quite fitting I think. Received the award then played a gig, smashed the gig then went to sleep and drove back home the next day so. It was pretty epic but it was worth it I think.
CORINNE: And you’ve got a gig coming up very soon …
SKANK MC: Yeah. We’ve got some pretty big gigs coming up. I’m going up to Darwin again to support Drapht to the Discovery on the 25th July but on the 27th July I’ve organised a gig for Alice Springs in town at Bojangles.
I’ve managed to book a fella called The Tongue who’ll be on his national tour. He’s released three albums through Australian hip hop label Elefant Traks, so he’s a pretty big deal on the Australian hip hop scene. I managed to book him to come play for the last gig on his tour. It’s a free entry gig at Bojangles.
It’s all just to support the centralian music scene and really have a good mad hip hop night and it gives me the opportunity to play with these guys I wouldn’t normally have the chance to play with, so we’re gonna have a pretty awesome night of hip hop. I’m flying my mate Dan the Underdog down to do some supports as well so it’ll be me, Dan the Underdog and headlined by The Tongue…If anybody would like to come down, show us some support, we’ve spent quite a bit of money on all these gigs but we just want to continue putting them on because everyone has such a bloody good time and I do too, so it’s pretty awesome.
CORINNE: Can you tell us a bit about the title of your debut EP, ‘I’m Only Hugh Man’?
SKANK MC: Yeah, well … obviously I’m a fan of bad puns just like my mother – that’s my name, Hugh so ‘I’m Only Hugh, Man’ does represent my belief that I’m just the same as everybody else and I’m not any better than anyone else just because I can do a sort of certain skill. This is the only thing I can do really well so I focus all my energy onto this. So … I just don’t wanna be put on a pedestal or anything and I don’t wanna proclaim myself to be any better than anyone else. I just want people to know that I’m here with them living the same life, experiencing the same things but putting it on music for people to listen to and relate to cos that’s my medium of expression.
CORINNE: I think that’s an amazing practice in terms of creating that space where those stories can be heard and those stories can be listened to kind of on a platform on a shared understanding.
SKANK MC: Yeah, well like Northern Terrorstory it’s not really a conversation you’d have with anyone about kids in care. I don’t know people talk about it too much people in other states and other cities, and territories don’t really understand the situation of what’s happening with children in care. So I just thought, this is my best way of explaining things.
I started writing raps and poems when I was about fifteen, sixteen and it grew from there and always from the beginning I wanted to make it clear that I’m not better than anyone else, and I’m probably even worse off at all this living stuff than anyone else [laughs]. I’m just learning.
It’s just talking about stuff too. Lots of people are just scared to talk about stuff, – being good stuff, bad stuff- to talk about their feelings. I’m bad at talking about, letting my stuff, and my emotions out and this is how I’m able to do it you know, in a nice controlled environment.
CORINNE: Will you be selling that EP on the gig night at Bojangles?
SKANK MC: Yes, I will be bringing down heaps of copies to sell cos I just wanna try and make a bit of money back so I can put on more gigs like this one
CORINNE: And what are you up to at the moment in terms of writing …you told me you might be penning a few things?
SKANK MC: Yeah, I’ve been working on a few separate things. I haven’t kind of driven myself towards one certain project as I did with the EP. The EP was a big thing in my mind, which I kind of drove forward to and grabbed.
Right now I’m writing some different stuff. I wrote a spoken word poem about Alice Springs a while back which is a pretty fun way to write, cos you’re not constricted within the music and you can flow anywhere you’d like. I recently wrote an abstract song about suicide, called The Dance of the Moth and that’ll be released in September on a mix tape by some guys in NSW called The Suicide Watch and it’s songs about suicide awareness and stuff like that with all upcoming artists. So that’s the next thing I’m working towards.
Basically, with my writing process, it just strikes me at anytime, so I could be sitting at home, sitting at work in the car and I’ll just think of a little line and it’ll go from there. Anything can happen really – it’s all pretty exciting.
Check out Skank MC’s other works on SoundCloud here.
The Tongue – Surrender to Victory Tour
With Skank MC and Dan the Underdog
27th July – Bojangles – Alice Springs, NT
Tickets: Free Entry