Deep in the South of Australia, there’s a city called Adelaide. Heard of it? Nope.. I thought not.
When we think of Australia, the words Sydney, Bondi Beach and outback come to mind. We know the Aussies produce BBQs, beer and bikini clad beach babes – and boy, do they do it well. What most people don’t realise, is that Oz is also home to a city called Adelaide and a Hip-Hop group who’ve recently blown the nation away.
Introducing, Hilltop Hoods.
As a fellow Aussie, I have followed their progress with a keen eye (and ear). We share a love of Adelaide; our home city in South Australia. While I was finishing my final exams, three lads were hanging out in the Adelaide Hills as Hip-Hop loving youngsters. Since then, they’ve produced three full length albums. Wrap your ears around: A Matter of Time (1999), Left Foot, Right Foot (2001) and The Calling (2003).
Suffa, Pressure and DJ Debris went from skating to beats to creating them. Their lyrics drip with Australian flavours, the beats fly accross their turntables and the fans worship their straight talking Hip-Hop legends.
In true Australian spirit, there are no pretences, no gimmicks; just raw talent.
Now, the rest of the world in is their firing line. They’ve squared us all up, have taken aim and it’s only a matter of time until they fire. The question is, can the UK handle them? In the lead up to the release of their fourth LP “The Hard Road”, I put Pressure in my own firing line.
KS: First of all, for the British people who may not have been bowled over by
the Hilltop Hoods yet, can you fill me in on who makes up the group and how
you came about?
P: MC’s Suffa and myself Pressure along with DJ Debris make up Hilltop Hoods.
Me and Suffa met at high school in about 1990, formed HTH in ’93 and hooked
up with Debris a few years later through a guy in the local hip hop scene.
Debris joined in ’95 and we made our first real demo tape.
KS: You come from my home city Adelaide. What’s the music scene like there and
has it been supportive?
P: There wasn’t much of a hip hop scene in Adelaide when we started out, apart
from about 2 other crews doing stuff. Our manager PJ used to put on shows as
not many other promoters were, so we built from the ground up. These days
there’s a very strong and supportive scene from the number of heads that rock
to shows to the coverage from all avenues of media.
KS: As youngsters in the Adelaide Hills, how did you get into hiphop?
P: Hip hop was strong in the Blackwood area where we grew up, I got into it
from hanging out in shopping centres/car parks skating. Older people that I didnt
really know used to bring a beat box and pump music all Saturday and
Sunday ‘arvo and we’d hang out and skate to it.
KS: Do you spend much time in Adelaide anymore or are you jet setting across
P: Adelaide is still home, though we are on the road a lot at the moment. I
spend plenty of time here when we aren’t touring.
KS: Explain your music for me. what can punters expect?
P: Straight up hip hop with a local aussie flavour, honest lryics and slamming
KS: How would you best describe your live show?
P: I think the best show we have done would be a festival in Byron Bay called
Splendor in the Grass. We head lined one of the stages there last year and
it was full on. It was about 8 thousand people that had camped the whole
weekend to see live music and the vibe there was unbeatable.
KS: Do you have a favourite venue?
P: No not really, I like to play at different venues to avoid repeating the
past. If you play the same venues over and over, it all becomes a bit the
KS: What do you rate higher – the intimacy of an indoor gig or letting loose at
the big festivals?
P: Althought the festivals can be wicked, massive crowds, huge atmosphere and
stages, usually I prefer indoor gigs that are your own. I think the punters
appreciate them more and it shows in the reaction you get from them.
KS: Have you met any stars/idols etc along the way? Who would you love to perform to?
P: I’ve alot of artists that I grew up listening to, to be honest I’d rather
watch them, than perform to them. I’m still a massive fan of music.
KS: Have you had any embarrassing moments that you’d rather leave behind?
P: Plenty, tripping over a mic cord and falling face first. Being so exhausted
I threw up off the side of the stage. Forgetting plenty of verses,
the list goes on.
KS: Do your parents and grandparents listen to your music? What’s their take
on it all?
P: My parents love that I make music, my dad still plays in an old school rock
band with his mates. Though my grandmother is probably my biggest fan of
KS: You’ve got a cracking gig line-up coming up. how do you relax?
P: A beer or some footy and by not thinking about the massive amount of shows I
have coming up.
KS: ‘The Calling’ has the honour of being Australian Hip-Hop’s highest selling
release to date you are the undisputed leaders of the local scene. how has
the journey been so far? How have your lives changed?
P: The journey’s been a very long one. I guess our lives have changed quite a
bit over the last 4 years since The Calling came out, though it’s not so
sudden that everything got turned upside down. Giving up my 9 to 5 was one
of the biggest changes, it’s very rewarding making music for a living after
having worked so hard at it, for over a decade.
KS: Has your fourth LP “The Hard Road” taken off?
P: It has more so than any of us would have thought. It debuted at #1 on the
ARIA Australian charts, went gold after 2 weeks, is heading towards platinum
sales and has received great reveiws everywhere. I couldnt be happier.
KS: Fans can be pretty full on at times. have you had any crazy encounters?
P: I’ve had lots of crazy encounters at shows, but really most the time, its just
normal people caught up in the excitement of the moment.
KS: Your music tends to represent your world, your lives and your (our!)
country. Who writes your lyrics?
P: Me and Suffa write all the lyrics, they are very personal to us, so we would
never have anyone else write for us, it just isn’t done in hip hop (very
KS: How has the reception been from overseas?
P: We get a small but very positive amount of feedback from OS. We aren’t
distributed by any lables over there, so we don’t have the power to reach a
wider audience. This is somehting we are looking at fixing.
KS: Any chance of a UK tour anytime soon?
P: Hopefully we will be back in the UK early next year.
KS: For the Londoner’s out there, sell Australia for us. Why would you recommend a visit to Australia?
P: Lots of sunshine, great beer, tanned ladies, beautiful beaches. It sells
itself (is the tourism commision paying me for this?).
If you’d like to hear what all the fuss is about, visit their website listed below and click into the audio section.