Interview: Remi keeps moving forward
Remi is currently on a tour of Australia. We had a chat with him to find out what we can expect from the shows and the upcoming album, ‘Divas and Demons’:
Your first track from Divas and Demons ‘For Good’ featuring the talented Sampa the Great has been popping up all over the place, does Sampa make any more appearances on the album?
Ahh she doesn’t. She kept it pretty individual. She’s cool you know, I think that’s dope. We got quite a few different features on the record, we’re trying to showcase a lot of different Australian talent.
Can you drop the names of anyone else?
I’ll think we’ll just leave it how it is man, you know, everybody can find out at the same time.
What was it like working with Sampa the Great?
It was great man, she’s cool, she’s an awesome lass. She’s probably one of the best… I dunno, probably THE best rapper in this country and I guess one of the greatest rappers of the time, right now. She’s doing some really special shit, her and her producer Godriguez. They’re really taking music in general to new heights.
Sensible J’s catalogue of production with you seems to know no bounds in terms of genre and influence, what can people expect from Divas and Demons?
I think it’s probably a little more… I can’t say tame, it’s just more cohesive. If you’ve listened to Raw X Infinity, you would have heard a lot of different genres in one album. And I think that if you’re listening to this record, you’ll still hear a lot of genres but it just flows much better from song to song.
So Cohesive is the only word for it?
Yeah, I mean I’m still crazy impressed by what we’ve done to this album and how wild it is
Do you have a date it’s going to be out?
We’ve pushed it back to September because we wanted to do a little extra work to it, maybe late August, we’ll see.
You operate your own grassroots record label. What’s like to foster aspiring and established Australian musicians and creating a community?
Haha, well, it’s been pretty easy so far, cause you know the talents all there. Where we grew up in Melbourne, everyone’s been so amazing, all the people we’ve been working with are our friends, from the last four to five years to the ones we’ve just met. And now they’ve been working away at their own things and finally we can help put them out. It’s super exciting but I feel it’s super necessary. I just feel like a lot of people need to hear what, especially Melbourne because that’s where I’m from, have to offer.
I Imagine there’s still plenty of rocks to be turned over in Australian Hip Hop isn’t there?
Haha yeah man, well, I think there will be plenty everywhere, because Australia is so young, people don’t really look to us for anything, sort of, futuristic, or anything ground breaking, so it’s time for us to prove them wrong.
There’s a been a disparity of understanding on what hip hop represents between artists and what it means to their fans, especially in Australia. On Raw x Infinity you touched on the various racial stigmas prevalent in Australian society that make up this disparity, do you feel this gap is starting to close or is it worse than ever?
I think it depends where you are, man. There’s clearly still fucking racists out here, there’s no debating that. If you don’t feel that way than it’s mostly because you’re not dealing with it or you’re just stuck in your little bubble. Which I can understand. But at the same time, pouring positive messages, or at least making people aware, I feel that’s the only way we can move forward. Having an open dialogue with conversation between us, respecting each other I think that’s a big thing as well. A lot the time you’ll hear someone talking about someone else’s struggle. I was watching, I think it was the 7PM Project and some numpty was telling this indigenous guy what was and wasn’t racist when it came to blackface. Like, if I feel like I’ve offended someone and I don’t know why or I don’t understand, I will ask them why. You know what I mean, I’ll just ask them why they feel that way, and just talk about it. That’s one of the many little issues that we have as people is that we’re so quick to get defensive, Instead of turning around and saying “Why” and working through that problem with them and having that understanding. It’s just little shit like that will help us all. And this isn’t just an Australian problem, this is a global problem.
Having shared the stage with some of the biggest names in international hip hop, have you played alongside anyone who inspired you musically?
I dunno man, I suppose the closest we could go, was we played falls the same year as The Roots. The Roots are both a huge influence to both Sensible J and I, so I guess seeing them so close up was pretty crazy, and like just sharing the same bill, even if it was a festival bill. That was definitely some crazy shit.
You’ve just finished up your first Groovin the Moo tour, how was it? Did you get a positive response from new material?
We played a few new songs. We had some really short sets but it was heaps of fun man, the shows have been crazy. Probably one of the best festivals we played just in terms of acceptance, and the people having a good time and us having a great time and the staff and everything, yeah it’s been really great.
What do you prefer, your more intimate shows or festivals?
I think they all have their benefits. I think intimate shows, sound wise, they’re always better just because you’ve got contained sound and a lot of the time you’ll have a lot of your own fans there, it’s a different energy. Whereas you might play a festival and some people might have only heard you through the radio, so they might not know all of your songs, but that’s still cool ’cause your putting people on to your other music and creating new fans, so it’s all a mix bro.
What was it like to win the Australian Music Prize in 2014? What did it do for your music career?
It was very trippy, man. Very honoured to take that one home. People really showed love. You know it’s always weird when you work on something, like this album, which was just made with my homies in a spare bedroom, it’s always trippy and super appreciated. It gave us thirty thousand dollars to pour back into our music and we got a lot of great press but you know that’s about it. From the start we’ve just been about moving forward and this enabled us to keep moving forward.
What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
We’ll be touring the song For Good in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth. After that we’ll be chilling for a little bit then we’ll head off on tour with Seth Sentry, do a bunch of dates with him, got Splendour coming up, a few more festival dates coming up. But as far as the rest of the year goes I’m just excited to get this album out.
Are you going to try and feed any more new songs into your set?
On our own tour, definitely. We’ll probably have three or four joints off the new album. We have a lot of people who have seen us a few times so we wanna give them something new to go home with.
Catch Remi on tour at the following venues:
Friday, 20th May – Newtown Social, Sydney
Saturday, 21st May – Howler, Melbourne
Friday, 27th May – Jack Rabbit Slims, Perth
Saturday, 28th May – Fat Controller, Adelaide
Interview by Travis Jordan.