Triple One has never conformed to genre stereotypes. If you go back through their discography, you will find a buffet of different styles. You can hear the soulful harmonies of Lil Dijon on their fan favourite The Libertine cut ‘Lakes’. There are the in-your-face, amplified raps of Obi Ill Terrors and Marty Bugatti on tracks like ‘Redline Reaper’. And Billy Gunns gives you a trunk-knocking trap on ‘Doozy’, then shreds guitars later on ‘Snake Bite Betty’. It’s this melting pot of musical abilities that has seen the group go on to produce hits like ‘Showoff’, ‘Butter’, and the Matt Corby and Kwame-assisted ‘So Easy’, morphing them into a Power Rangers-like Australian supergroup.
Triple One’s genre-fluid creation process is a major factor in the development of their forthcoming debut album Panic Force. The project symbolises a unified pandemonium, the comfort in panicking together, and the energy of a Triple One live show. It almost feels like an allegory for today’s society living in a pandemic, with songs like ‘Loverose’ touching on themes of loneliness, and their forthcoming single ‘Salina’, which takes you away from the four corners of your home, with the feeling of a getaway destination. In celebration of the new single and album, Triple One has crafted a playlist covering the pillars of their artistry, including a wide array of influences from Weezer to Slipknot. I hopped on a Zoom call with Marty and Dijon to break it down, and talk writing retreats, growth, and more.
Hey guys, congratulations on the album, it’s been a long time coming. How are ya’ll feeling?
Marty Bugatti: Good. It’s scary but we’re very happy to be. It’s been a long time coming. We were just waiting to eventually build up enough songs that we were really happy with to put out together. It embodies who we’re trying to be.
What’s different about the Triple One who’s dropping their debut album, compared to the one who started in 2016?
Lil Dijon: I hope I’m a bit more mature [Laughs].
Marty: As far as sound goes, we’ve developed. We’re a lot more proficient in our workflow and work processes. You’re getting the same Triple One from 2016 but in much more of a refined way.
Dijon: On this new album, we tried to mix it up so it’s not just the same stuff all the time. But there’s still a lot of classic Triple One.
I’ve seen over the past few years that you guys go on retreats to help with your writing. How does that help you guys dial into making music?
Marty: Funny you say that because we’re away right now.
Dijon: The writing trips help us a lot just to get away in general, to be free of everything else in your life. Not just the stress, but the responsibilities you have. Then you can produce music to the best of your ability because that’s what you’re thinking about all the time. It changes your whole thought pattern towards making music or making a song.
Marty: Like when we’re in Sydney, we might get 2-3 times a week when we’re all in the studio at the same time, and even then we may all only be there for 2-3 hours together. But when we’re away, we’re together all the time. So I feel like it’s a lot easier to get into that flow state and connect because we’re not worrying about what’s going on or where we are going afterward. So it takes away the whole pressure of social life and family life, or watering your plants and hanging the washing. We’re here on a retreat specifically to write music and that’s when we make our best music.
The next single that is coming out from the album is ‘Salina’, do you remember a specific point in time when that song came about? Where did the influence and background for this song come from?
Dijon: Bill made that original melody line when we were overseas last year. We were in Europe and he went to Italy and was chilling on an island called Salina. Then over time, we’ve always wanted to use that song that he made, and we were waiting for the right thing and the right time to release it. We thought that the album would be the best time to release it.
The album title Panic Force is interesting to me, can you talk me through the meaning and concept behind it?
Dijon: The way I take it is like when people panic and they get distressed and run around like chickens with their heads chopped off. But if you force them together, it becomes a community of people panicking.
Marty: I feel like we all have different ideas of what it means. I like to think of it as a special task force for live music, for pandemonium, for chaos. If we’re playing a live show, we’d like to think of ourselves as the Panic Force, conducting the moshpit and stuff like that. Just this chaotic state of pandemonium that feels larger than life. It sounds big, we just liked how big it sounded.
You guys put together a playlist for us with a bunch of different stuff. I want to run through some of the music and how it symbolises the diversity and depth of Triple One. You’ve got songs like ‘Walk and Talk Pt. 3’ from Nerve, ‘Gassed Up from Wombat’, and ‘Lights Off’. What is it about the Australian scene and style that separates us from other places in the world?
Marty: Australian culture is something that no one can put their finger on. If you asked 20 different people this, most people won’t know or will shy away from that typical stereotype of what Australian people do when they get together. It’s such a blank canvas at the moment that artists are putting their own little finesse on it. You see it through all these different artists, including OneFour and Chillinit. They’re all doing their unique style and they’re trying to claim that as what we are. I think that’s what makes it interesting, because it’s up for grabs, and it’s like a melting pot of all the different cultures and diversity we have in Australia. It’s cool to see.
There’s another Australian veteran on the playlist in Gravy Baby. What has he meant to the evolution of you guys, coming from Sydney yourselves?
Marty: He came up on a Hustle Hard TV tip, that’s how we heard about him. We put that on there not only for him, but for the Huskii feature, and the whole scene that goes along with it. That style was some of the first music I heard that was uniquely Australian because it used Australian accents. That inspired us to go hard in that aspect, rather than lean towards an Americanised style that you hear sometimes. Which is completely fine, but we wanted to lean towards putting our twist on it. That’s what he represents for us, being unapologetically himself in his style and culture.
You guys are almost like a mixture of old and new Australian hip-hop, where there’s an emphasis on lyricism, told through modern devices. Why is it important to you to frame your music this way?
Dijon: For me, it’s about conveying meaning. When you can resonate with people who listen to your music, that’s a beautiful moment. People can understand what you’re saying, and maybe they’ve been through the same things. It may not even be about going through something, but they can enjoy what you’re saying.
Marty: I think that it also has a lot to do with our influences. My top 5 favourite artists compared to the others are completely different. So that draws out different elements of lyricism. Is it melodic lyricism? Is it wordplay? For some reason, it wasn’t really hard to find a middle ground when it comes to making music together. It just happens naturally.
That’s evident in the playlist as well, with picks like ‘Helena’ by My Chemical Romance, and ‘Say It Ain’t So’ by Weezer. They’re both bands who were pivotal in the evolution of the emo scene. Do you think they’ve made you more comfortable being vulnerable in your songwriting process?
Dijon: Yeah 100%. I love Weezer, that was one of the songs I chose to put on there. It taps into your emotions, rather than just spitting something out aggressively, or just saying something for the fun of it. It’s good to go to those sides of it, the emotional sides because they’re realistic themes.
Marty: Hitting those topics in our music to me doesn’t feel too vulnerable, because we’re in such a safe and comfortable environment. I’m not afraid, to be honest with my lyrics in front of other members of Triple One, or other people we’re collaborating with, because it’s such a safe space. That’s what sets us apart from a lot of other hip hop groups, the pressure to be somebody. With us, there’s no pressure, we don’t judge each other.
Being open and transparent is a great way to learn about your friends or colleagues. Exploring the concept of Panic Force and writing these songs together, do you think you have learned anything new about each other over the last year?
Dijon: I think we always are learning stuff about each other. That’s what happens when you have to be able to show your vulnerabilities through your lyrics, people understand you a bit more. I think that is a good way to learn about or understand someone rather than them saying it to you forwardly. You understand the way that they want to pronounce it in their own words through their lyrics.
There’s a post on your Instagram that alludes to Triple One being the group that brings the ‘Inner West Eshays’ and ‘Sad Boys’ together. Why do you think these contrasting styles of music work so well together?
Dijon: It’s just one of those things that happened. It wasn’t something that we purposely wanted to be. It just came out naturally.
Marty: It happened in reverse. It wasn’t something we had to think about. It just all comes together really.
I love the inclusion of bands like Silverchair, Bodyjar, and Frenzal Rhomb on the playlist. I kind of get that same punk vibe in your live shows. Is that something you channel purposely? What influences your stage presence?
Dijon: A lot of the time it’s the crowd. When the crowd is jumping around, you jump around with them. We try to bring that raw energy to the feeling of the crowd as well. Something nice and natural, not too out there.
One song that threw me off guard is ‘Before I Forget’ by Slipknot. How has Slipknot played a part in the evolution of Triple One?
Dijon: That’s mainly Billy. He used to listen to them quite a bit when he was younger. The drumming, heavy bass lines. I think they’ve influenced his production when it comes to adding the heavier, Nu-Metal side to some of our songs. They’ve also been an inspiration for our outfits, with the prospect of putting yourself out there, and being more outrageous.
Lastly, fellas, I think Panic Force is going to be a beacon of light in the world for music fans, and I think it’s needed in a world that is essentially forced into a panic right now. How have you guys been finding hope in a seemingly hopeless world?
Dijon: It’s so cliche, but through making music, I feel like I’m in a kind of solidarity, even in such a hopeless time. I think its also important to appreciate the small things, like eating a good meal.
Marty: Where we are, and where we live, it hasn’t affected us as much as other countries. So I try to stay off social media a bit more than I usually go on it. I’ve been seeing friends and doing wholesome things, doing exercise, little things like that have helped me out.
For more on Triple One, head to their website here and check out their essentials playlist below.
“A mix of hip-hop, punk and emo tunes that we love and definitely inform our sound.” — Triple One