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Beats Working - Working For A Livin-

Author: Matt Unicomb
Monday, 21 July 2008
Sharing a well-earned breather with Beats Working’s MC James Branson, 3D’s Matt Unicomb develops a taste for the finer things in life; bring on the champagne, Cubans and hookers, these men are hungry.

First up, congratulations on the release of your debut album. It’s been a long road. It’s still very early days, but how is the feedback so far-
Feedback has been really good. Our mates love it at least, and somebody at Obese Records liked it enough to distribute it, so we’ve been pretty happy with the feedback so far. There are a few people who absolutely hate us, but they shall remain Nameless (capital intended), but that’s ok.  In reality the most important thing is that we’re happy with it – and we’re not.

You have a very diverse sound. How important do you feel diversity is in recording music-
I think it just stops you getting too bored with the music you’re making. We all come from very different musical backgrounds – I’m really into soul, pop and rock, Dan and Mullet are big hip hop heads, and Helmy loves his funk and reggae. We were quite conscious of having every track do something different… I don’t like to repeat myself musically – if I’m doing a track that sounds like something I’ve done before, I tend to try and change it.

How much of a role does digital production play in your music-
The whole album was done on a computer, basically. Besides recording of vocals and a few instruments here and there, it was done in a small, dank room in Coffs Harbour on Dan’s computer. So yeah, without digital production there probably wouldn’t have been an album.

How does your live show hold up- What’s the set-up instrument-wise-
Three MCs, one DJ. I think we’re pretty decent live… although in the future I’d really like to see the band expand with some more musicians involved – drums, bass, keys, guitar, horn section, etc. We make a lot of our music with an eye to the dancefloor, and the crowd usually gets into it pretty well. Of course, we have been plying them with drugs and alcohol, so that may have something to do with it.

James, you were previously a member of Kid Confucius, who are reportedly moving away from hip hop and more into rock n roll, did this change in musical direction affect your decision to concentrate in Beats Working-
No not at all – Beats Working actually started after I’d already left the Kid. I was basically sick of being in a band, and wanted to do something I had more control over. Kid Confucius are an ace group of guys and an amazing band, and the experience of doing a couple of albums and touring with them taught me more about creating music than anything. It was just time, really. I still chat to them and really like their new stuff, although I haven’t heard a whole lot of it.

Tell us about your label, Handsome Records.
Well, as the name would suggest, it’s a label designed specifically by good-looking people, making music exclusively for good-looking people. If you’re ugly, we don’t want you buying our records. Frankly, we’d prefer it if you switched off your radio if you hear any music released by Handsome Records on it. We are currently chasing Miranda Kerr and George Clooney to do some albums on our label. As long as it’s hip hop.

Why did you go with Obese for the album’s distribution-
They were bribed. You’d be surprised what 50 grand in a briefcase can get you.
In all seriousness though, Obese is, and has been, such a great home for Australian hip hop. It’s the label any artist would have at the top of their list. Plus Pegz can skull a schooner of vodka, which gets respect in anyone’s book.

What’s next for Beats Working- Are we going to see a tour-
Yeah it’s in the works at the moment. We’ve been playing heavily up the north coast, and dates should be available for shows in Sydney soon. It’s kind of hard to get going, ‘cause we all live in different cities (Sydney, Coffs Harbour, Newcastle). Plus we’re total prima donnas, and insist on limousines, champagne (not just sparkling white, thank-you) Cubans and hookers, so it’s pretty hard to find a booking agent willing to make those kind of commitments to a relatively unknown Oz hip hop group.

WHO: Beats Working
WHAT: Harbour Drive through Handsome Records/Obese
WHEN: Out now