7 questions with average rap band
I was honored to have a chat with newly formed New Zealand duo Average Rap Band which consists of Tom Scott & Lui Tuiasau, former members of the group @peace, about their first EP "Stream of Nonsenseness" ahead of their Melbourne and Sydney launches. Somehow the conversation turned to unsettled drug debts, recreational glue sticks, and Fraggle Rock. I'm sure there's something about the music in there somewhere too...
First there was Homebrew, then @peace, and now Average Rap Band who is what, and what’s going on? Can you lay it all out for those of us that get easily confused?
TOM: "Ummm. So remember how Dave Grohl was the drummer for Nirvana? Then he was in a group called The Foo Fighters. The Foo Fighters weren't the same group as Nirvana. It's like that."
LUI: "This is a new group. It has nothing to do with @Peace or Home Brew. They're different groups. But two of the dudes from @peace are in Average Rap Band. The skinny white dude. And the fat dread lock dude. That make sense?"
And so you’ve settled on the name Average Rap Band. Is that out of modesty or are you attempting to lower people’s expectations so that they are more easily impressed?
TOM: "For those that don't know, it's a homage to a Scottish funk band called The Average White Band. They're one of the most sampled groups ever so I don't think they'll mind us ripping off their name."
LUI: "Their drummer (Steve Ferrone) is QuestLove's favourite drummer of all time. Check them if you haven't already."
Also have you ever heard of the New Zealand man who changed his name to "Full Metal Havok More Sexy N Intelligent Than Spock And All The Superheroes Combined With Frostnova" after losing a poker bet?
TOM: "That was what he got for losing?"
To a lot of people’s surprise you guys have been hiding out in Melbourne for the last two years. What prompted the move and in what ways do you think Melbourne has influenced you artistically?
TOM: "The primary motivation for the move was the threat of bankruptcy."
LUI: "Then there were other things like unsettled drug debt with local motorcycle gangs,"
TOM: "an ongoing investigation with New Zealand's Gestapo,"
LUI: "better gas prices"
TOM: "and a hunger to live amongst deadlier wild life. Artistically... I don't really know, I guess you'd have to let the music tell that. "
You claim that this EP “Stream of Nonsenseness” was made with a budget of $42, do you think you spent more on the booze or the hookers? But seriously, why so extravagant?
TOM: "$42 might be an over exaggeration. It was more like $32"
LUI: "And once that was changed over to $AUD it worked out to be about $12. In today's age of economic instability it's hard to find a hooker for this price so most of the budget was spent on stationery."
TOM: "Pencils, pencil sharpeners, recreational glue sticks etc."
The structure of this EP is non-traditional in that over the course of the 6 tracks there are no choruses. At a time when most Hip Hop music and especially what’s coming out of Australia at the moment is all about big choruses, did you consciously set out to go against that norm from the beginning? Or is that just naturally the way the EP turned out as you laid out the tracks?
TOM: "Yeah, that song structure was intentional. I feel like our people are intelligent enough to digest the music without a chorus. I don't think we need to underestimate their musical understanding. It urkes me when my favourite lyricists conform to the popular format when that's not why we liked them to begin with."
LUI: "Some people just chuck a chorus in for the sake of it, but I don't think it necessarily adds to the song. If it's done right you can find variation within the verse that gives the same effect a chorus would. I don't know if we did it right on this EP, but that was our intention."
LUI: "The next EP will be no verses and 100% choruses."
TOM: "50 choruses back to back to back."
LUI: "Choruses forever. Choruses.com. This is the chorus x 16."
TOM: "Repeat chorus. Ad infinitum"
What first drew you towards making music and who were some of your early influences? Also do you think that where you grew up played an important part in the kind of music that you make now?
TOM: "Sesame street was a big one. They had some great bangers. Like 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-ELEVEN TWELVE. Which I later learnt was The Pointer Sisters. Vibraphones are heavy on that joint. Fraggle Rock theme song was my shit in the day."
LUI: "I liked Harry MaClary from Donaldson's Dairy. That was one of my first experiences of poetry."
TOM: "Where I grew up was a shit hole. I wish I never grew up there. Nah, jokes. It def influenced me in that everyone could rap in the neighbourhood. It was everywhere. So yeah, shout out Avondale."
Top 5 Hip Hop artists?
TOM: "No order... It changes everyday. This is a real disrespectful thing to do cause I'm gonna leave out so many greats. But today I feel like...
Jermaine Dupri (really tho)
LUI: "Today it's...
Stick from Dead Prez