Love him or hate him, it’s hard to ignore 360’s rise to success in the last 12 months. Off the back of his social media blitz, a debut album in 2008 and a solid freestyle battle reputation, 360 released his progressive sophomore effort Falling and Flying that isn’t bound by typical hip hop conventions. The music coming from the Australian hip hop community was starting to sound stagnant, so Sixty’s deeply-personal lyrics paired with Styalz Fuego’s production made Falling and Flying‘s refreshing palette of electronic, indie and pop an instant hit for the new generation of kids who were no longer bound by genre-specific tastes.
I went from booking Forthwrite (360 and Pez) to perform at my 19th birthday for fifty bucks to seeing the dude sell out back to back national tours in a matter of days (and Pez hit a home run with a little track called The Festival Song), it’s been great to see him grow from a rapper trying to find his feet into an established artist with a few platinum plaques under his belt. Now back in hometown Melbourne after a stint up in Queensland, I sat down with Matt for the first time in a while to discuss everything 360.
I saw on your beloved Facebook a picture of you receiving your platinum plaques. How does it feel to finally have all those accolades and awards?
It’s absolutely great. It’s all about figuring out where to hang them in the house now because I don’t think you can hang them in the lounge room ‘cause it’s a little bit too arrogant so I think I’m just gonna hang them in the studio room. There’s still another three or four to come. I’m pretty stoked to have a room just full of plaques.
It could be a worse situation, right?
Yeah, it’s gonna be sick.
Well the reason why you got all those plaques is because your music has got a big mass appeal to connect with fans who affectionately call you Uncle 60 which I think is kinda weird but you know whatever.
Same, it’s a bit of a crazy thing being called Uncle 60. It started by putting up posts on Facebook and I’d say ‘love Uncle 60’ at the end of it and it just caught on. And then everyone started calling me Uncle 60.
Why do you think your music has such a wide reach compared to other local hip hop artists?
I guess ‘cause I don’t really make straight up hip hop anymore. I used to make straight up hip hop with that old school sound, but now I’m branching out. I’ll put dance in there, electro and dub step and heaps of other different shit like indie as well. I think that’s what has made everyone so interested and love it so much.
Well we were part of the generation that grew up with Aussie hip hop as a regressive scene that was quite stuck in the past. Do you think that is changing off the back of a few artists like yourself or do you think we still have a fair way to go?
To be honest, I think it’s gonna change. I think hip hop has this formula about it that sounds kinda early 90’s American hip hop. That’s how I would describe Australian hip-hop, but the younger artists I hear coming up are doing completely different stuff and different things influence them as well. People who were into hip hop when we were growing up were listening to all the early 90’s stuff so that’s how it was going to sound. All the young kids coming up are listening to Lil Wayne and Drake which is not bad, I think it’s great, it’s just gonna show a lot of change in music. It’s gonna be good thing.
What’s also crazy to me is the resurgence of battle rap in this country, especially seeing a rapper like yourself who is on the ARIA charts as well as an active battle rapper. Why do you think that’s changed the perception of battle rap in Australia?
I think battle rap was never really noticed. Artists like Kerser and myself getting involved now and it’s suddenly become popular especially with younger kids; they love it. Everyone gets behind it; it’s almost like boxing the way the hype is built up before a match. There’s all this shit talk going on between the artists that are battling. And when the battle happens it ends up becoming huge. The battle we had was massive; there were 500,000 views in a night.
It’s like on 1.2 at the moment and growing.
Well Uncle 60, do you feel like you have a responsibility now when it comes to making music with all these 13, 14 and 15 year old kids listening to you on the other end of the radio? Do you consciously tone it down or not do this or not do that?
I do choose my words wisely with what I say on the internet. I turned down my use of the word ‘faggot’ a fair bit because I’ve grown to learn how offensive that is and how that’s not acceptable to use that word. Growing up I used that word a lot to make fun of people, but not knowing how offensive that word is. So I’ve stopped using that and hopefully that will make others stop as well. When it comes to music, I’m still just going to say whatever I want to say because in my opinion, it’s up to the parent to be the person who guides there kid in the right direction and it’s not what music they listen to that’s gonna guide kids. So I’m gonna say what I want to say and that’s it, but I do consciously watch what I say on social media these days.
As much as you draw influences from other genres of music you still are a hip hop artist. What are your thoughts on the current state of hip hop in general or even on a local scale?
I reckon it’s good. In Australia it’s become such a popular scene. It seems to be the trend as well. A lot of the young kids in high school love it and so many young kids are rappers these days. When I was coming up, if I said I was a rapper in high school I would have copped shit for days. Hip hop from Australia was looked down upon and everyone hated it, but now it’s become the most popular genre in Australia really. It’s actually dominating the charts; it’s dominating the ARIAS and all that so it’s really good to see.
What’s the current music that you’re listening to right now that you’re drawing influence from?
I’ve been listening to Lana del Rey and Adele and a whole bunch of different shit. I’ve been listening to no hip hop at all. Just basically those guys and the occasional stuff I download off the internet and iTunes and that’s it. I’m not really up to date with a lot of stuff.
I remember when Drake put out the So Far Gone mixtape that it was quite a big deal for you. It clearly had a big impact on your music as well. What made his sound stand out for you?
That’s actually one of my favourite releases of all time. I’m not a massive fan of his RnB where he just sings about love, but when he raps you can sense his actual personal feelings and that’s what I love the most. I love when artists do that. It’s just real and honest and baring their soul; that really influenced me a lot big time to do that. He’s mixing genres like he did that track with Lykke Li, I can’t remember what it’s called, but there’s one where he’s rapping over an indie track. It just sounds so much more refreshing than the typical hip hop sound that’s just been going on lately. So Drake’s been a massive influence of mine. I didn’t really like his first album. I like So Far Gone and his second album a lot.
So I remember you said that Boys Like You was written after an ex-girlfriend who fucked you over. Now you’ve got this beautiful missus and you’re all hitched up, where are you going to get that influence for your new platinum single?
I guess it’s gonna come from everything that I’m going through at the moment, like the sudden fame. The next album is just gonna be about a lot of shit I’ve been going through like one of my fiancé’s friends hung herself and the another tried to hang themselves too and I’ve got a song about that. There’s all this different content that I’ve got to write about people who expect me to come out writing very positive, crazy, happy music just because of what’s been happening musically, but have no idea what’s been happening behind the scenes. I think it’s gonna be quite a dark album in the long run. I can’t wait to get it out there; it’s gonna be good.
You moved up to Queensland. Was there a drastic change in how you approach music or life in general or was it quite easy to ease back into life down here?
I moved up there for a while Crystal (his fiancé) was working. That was good fun. And then I just said to her ‘let’s just go to Melbourne’ because we’d always had plans to move to Melbourne and I said and she didn’t have a job and I said ‘we’ll make it work out’ and we just did. Now we’re moving into an apartment next week and we should be in there by Friday.
Guess we have to talk about your tour that’s coming up too.
This Flying tour is going to be supported by Bam Bam and Hermitude who are both artists who are doing incredible things at the moment. Every tour we’re doing we’re slowly building the concert and slowly building every aspect of it. Now there’s a visual aspect and not just a DJ. Bam Bam’s gonna be rapping beside me doing my backups and we’ve got a guy doing crazy visuals on a projector screen. It’s going to be pretty epic and it’s going to be the last tour we do for a while. It’s going to go down I reckon.
Your last tour completely sold out right, nationwide. How was that as an experience?
It was nuts. For the Flying tour, 80% of tickets sold out in 24 hours so we sold thousands and then had to add two shows virtually everywhere we went and now the whole tour has sold out again. It’s just an incredible feeling.
When is the next album coming out?
Yeah I’ve started that. I went to London a couple of weeks ago and had a bunch of sessions lined up there with a guy called Jake Gosling who’s worked with plenty of international acts. I’m really excited to get it going!
Also is there a Forthwrite album in the works?
There’s not at the moment ‘cause Pez’s slowly working on his album. Once he gets his album finished then we’re gonna start working on one but we’re still writing tracks together, but we’re not actually working on an album yet.
Hopefully you’ll get onto that in the next year or so then.
Yeah, definitely man, I’m keen as. There’s this track we’re doing that’s not off an album or anything it’s just a track for the sake of doing it that we’re gonna release probably once all my touring settles down.
For more information about the upcoming Flying Tour head to 360’s website here.