MUSIC: Def Wish Cast
Featured in Freestyle Volume 01 2007. Interview by Jason Jaram. Photography by Phil Cooper.
The words legends, pioneers and originators get thrown around a lot these days (mostly by idiots that don’t know what they’re talking about), but if ever there were a group worthy of such accolades it would be this group right here. Hip hop to the bone marrow, Def Wish Cast has been a part of the Australian hip hop scene since its early inception and are still going strong to this very day. With their latest album ‘The Legacy Continues’ crushing eardrums across the country and beyond, Freestyle managed to catch up with the boys while chillin’ in the H2 Hummer.
You guys are often described as pioneers. How does that label sit with you?
Die-C: I suppose we have been labeled pioneers as we took things to another level in a time where the support for local music and the scene was in its infancy.
Def Wish: It’s good to know so many have recognized all the hard work.
Sereck: It sits highly of course. And to be classed as pioneers, I think that we are, but only in the field of setting up the scene as we know it today (Australian hip hop) with our accent being prominent and standards set in shows etc. But it’s a big word and we can start talking of hip hoppers in Australia and the world who painted the first trains/walls and our first DJ’s/MC’s and b-boys who conquered the basics.
Being pioneers was it hard to find inspiration for what you were doing?
Die-C: Not really as we just got it all from the old school b-boy culture.
Sereck: No not all, as we have so many friends who are very passionate for what they do and most were around the time (we started out) and are still to this date. I love how what we did is being challenged and we are very aware of what is the next shit. If you live this everyday in the true sense then it’s all around you.
Your album is called the Legacy Continues. When all is said and done what is the legacy you hope to leave behind?
Die-C: The spirit of Def Wish Cast and anyone who caught our energy can further it on.
Sereck: The fire and passion for something you love.
Enough about the past. What’s happening right now?
Die-C: We are about to drop the album on vinyl and organising the concurrent tour with our new management team. As you can see from the photos Murda 1 is an official member and a damn good DJ. Also check the latest edition of Stealth mag and the Bra Boys movie/soundtrack.
Sereck: Pushing the album into areas that can help us on the next release, for example getting play on Qantas international flights, and of course Freestyle mag. We are working close with our crew Basic Equipment and awesome artists like 13Th Son/ Brass (Celsius), Bingethinkers, Immune and Rivals, touring together and pushing Sydney as always. Hydrofunk Records has always got some plans up their sleeve too.
DefWish: Everything we do is part of a larger plan. ‘The Legacy Continues’ was very much about letting everyone know we have returned, getting the name back out there and displaying an original sound with big production. As we are still rocking alotta shows we are about to start recording the next album which will be a little more in the way of our first album ‘Knights of the Underground Table’ in that it will be faster with more complex lyrics as we enter the battlefields once more.
You managed to get featured on the Bra Boys soundtrack. How’d you get that hooked up?
DefWishCast: Sydney is a small place when you have been active for many years and these boys are all very progressive in their own field, just as we are and the whole street culture intertwines in funny ways.
What was the inspiration for the “All Stars” film clip?
DefWishCast: It was with the help of our close friend Allan Moore but it clearly shows the relation to our old theme of “Knights” with forest setting but still has us as B-Boy tongue in cheek superhero stylee.
You guys were doing your own thing for a while, how did the reunification process actually take place?
DefWishCast: It was always a thing that the 3 of us as MC’s had a presence when we were together on stage and recordings and that we could never find that anywhere else, it was inevitable. But around 2001 was the start of a new beginning, or continuation as we might as well put it.
I checked your Myspace page and under influences the majority was old school cats. Are there any new school dudes that inspire you musically?
DefWish: As far as lyrically, Edan, MF Doom and Pharoahe Monch.
Sereck: A lot! And in saying that you are always searching for inspiration. Anything from El-P (Def Jux), Madlib, Edan, to our own fellas from Basic Equipment. Two Dogs (Hydrofunk) as well. But inspiration can come from your kids too.
I remember seeing “New Def Wish Cast album in stores” tagged on the lines around Summerhill was that part of your guerilla marketing campaign?
Sereck: Haha… wasn’t me! Lets just say you seen it and it did its job. But I’d advise anyone to get into guerrilla campaigning as it’s cheap but not on the clothing… ha.
Speaking of graf you guys (Def Wish & Sereck) come from graf backgrounds what are your thoughts on these big companies getting dudes like Futura and Devious Doze to design their sneakers?
Sereck: I like it and I don’t. Congrats to pioneers like these artists and it’s great to see them get paid but over exposure can disappoint and you don’t know if the artist is taking the piss. It’s up to them and sometimes art can be a bit overrated and tacky. But we are not really concerned as its all business.
Continuing on with the sneaker question I noticed in the photo shoot with the Hummer you guys came prepared with fresh kicks. What is it with hip hop and sneakers?
Die-C: We got a love for kicks from the old school New York b-boys and graf writers. Clydes and shelltoes with fat laces to Air Max. It’s funny that what was once culturally defining (as in if you wore a certain pair of kicks you knew if someone was hip hop) has now become somewhat of a global phenomenon… What? Sneakers with fat laces! Ha… hip hop forever!!!!
DefWish: It’s very much a b-boy thing; breakers back in the days and still now wanna look fresh when they are displaying their skills on the floor with dope kicks! Puma Clydes were a classic b-boy shoe often sported by the Rock Steady Crew around the 80’s. I have a collection of 15 pairs of Clydes and baskets.
Sereck: Always gotta have good sneakers. Sneakers are like a soldier’s boots – The last thing that’ll stand after battle... ha. But it represents you and you can tell most times what someone is like by the kind of shoe they wear. It’s a part of the b-boy uniform.
What is the connection between you guys and Hip Hop fashion label One Leg Inc?
DWC: Were all old friends! Oneleginc.com (get’em quick as very limited range).
“Aus Down” has a lot of graf references I remember hearing about crews like KOA, RBS, PSK and they were like ghost stories to little toys. Was the beef really that bad back then?
Sereck: Die-C said K.O.C as KOA is a whole other crew with mega history. Most of the time it’s bad but then again it’s needed to sort shit out. But always a stress as it takes a lot of energy out of you. Nothing has changed from then to now but I do find back then it got sorted a little quicker as if you spoke shit then you got crunched.
Die-C: I drew from things that as a youth in a scene where it was about getting your name up.... We’re up! That’s what I saw and liked but by no means a history check/lesson.
You have a reputation for putting on an amped performance. So what can somone expect at a live DWC show?
DefWish: We are all about creating an atmosphere whether it is making music or performing a show, we want to take the person listening and watching to another place and time. The crowd will always feed off the energy coming from the stage! When we do a show we make sure nobody there will forget it.
Sereck: Always straight up mic annihilation and awesome sonics as you’re tampering with the human body and emotions.
Die-C: We have always focused on our energy/delivery and bringing the rawness.
You guys seem to have perfected your b-boy poses. Any advice for those young hopefuls wishing to emulate the DWC b-boy stance?
Defwish: Well it’s a natural thing for us as personally I have been snappin’ into the b-boy stances from 9 years of age in breakin’ battles.
Die-C: Do what you do and we do it as that’s the way we entered the scene.
Sereck: Yep! Get a copy of ‘Beat Street’ and check all Run DMC performances. When conducted right you will feel like a futuristic kid standing on top of the world with legs locked firmly (rocking dope sneakers of course) and your arms are ready to fire pulses from your palm’s. Now you’re ready to battle all planets and their armies. I think that’s right…
OK now finally, as we like to talk about cars, apart from this H2 behind you what would be the groups ultimate ride?
Die-C: I’m a fan of a lot of cars and mad machines and when it comes to handling speed you cant go past a 911 Porsche (Old and new) or a Ducati monster.
DefWish: Is there a H3?
Sereck: I’ve always been a fan of Bedford Vans. Not too much into new style V8’s but I will always turn my head to an old 50/60’s Ford. Maybe the Galaxie and Thunderbird range! Oh and the Chrysler 300C. If someone wants to give me one and I’ll do a swap with a shirt and put you up on my next guerilla campaign.
To find out more about Def Wish Cast, visit www.myspace.com/defwishcast
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