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Thundamentals’ MC Jewson isn’t afraid to tell it like it is: “There are a lot of talented artists in Australia speaking with an honesty that’s hard to find within hip hop culture in other countries. Particularly in the States, there’s a massive layer of bullshit that you’ve to scrape through to get to the genuine stuff.
“It’s homogenised rap-money bullshit. It just sounds ridiculous to hear an Aussie rapping about how much money they’ve got, because anyone who makes hip hop in Australia knows the financial reality! It doesn’t add up if you’re broke, boasting and bragging about how f*ckin’ baller you are when everyone knows we’re just scraping by. So you can’t get away with being so braggadocio here ’cause people see through it and say, ‘Yeah? Good onya mate!’”
I caught up with the engaging emcee ahead of the release of their third album, So We Can Remember (out May 2 on Obese Records).
“I feel stoked with the record – it’s the most honest reflection of us yet. I hope people get a real sense of who we are, what we think is important and what we don’t agree with as well. We’re happy with every song on it, just like we’ve always been with our previous releases.”
Featuring singles ‘Smiles Don’t Lie’ and ‘Something I Said (ft. Thom Crawford)’, the Thundamentals’ third offering is enlightened, consistent, original and evocative.
“One of the nicest pieces of feedback we’ve got is that the finished product shows a sense of restraint and was done with taste,” he explained. “We haven’t sold out in any way. Sometimes artists can go into the recording process trying too hard to make their music accessible to everyone and it can feel a little forced or a little played out.
“Hopefully it’s an album that a lot of people can get into, while we’ve maintained musical integrity. That’s what would make me the most happy.”
MC Jewson and his Thundamentals (DJ Morgs and MC Tuka) have a lot to be chuffed about at the moment. To celebrate the release of So We Can Remember they’re poised to begin a cross country tour, while completing the last shows of everyone’s favourite regional music odyssey, Groovin’ the Moo – and they’ll have some good friends in tow.
“I’m very happy with our touring party – Astronomy Class and a couple of young guys from Melbourne, Fozzey and Van C, though I haven’t met them yet. I can’t speak too much about them but I hear they’re doing great things. On the other hand, Astronomy Class are old friends of ours; in fact, we did our first national tour supporting them!” Jeswon laughed. “They’ve got an album coming out really soon as well.
“On a recent trip to Cambodia they fell in love with the place and the culture, so for their new record they’ve teamed up with a legend of Cambodian music, a woman called Srey Channthy [frontwoman of The Cambodian Space Project]. I’m really looking forward to hearing some of that stuff live. They’re fantastic musicians, absolute pros. We’ve learnt a lot from them.
“Now that we’re in the position to draw people in and play to larger crowds, I wanna say thanks for taking time to check out what we’re doing. We very much appreciate it. It’s a real blessing and we’re over the moon to have that response from people. We’re looking forward to playing the shows and making new friends along the way.”
When&Where: The Corner – May 1 & 2 (sold out)
Written by Natalie Rogers