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Tzu - Digital Love

Author: Matt Unicomb
Monday, 30 June 2008
Indulging in a little Computer Love, 3D's Matt Unicomb talks to hip hop four-piece Tzu's Count Bounce about their third LP.

Tzu has been a name synonymous with Australian hip hop for the best part of the last five years. Come 28 June, the four Melbourne lads will drop their third full-length Computer Love. The release that may mark a step forward for not only Tzu, but the entire local hip hop collective is already turning heads.

The feedback so far has, 'actually been really good, even better than we expected. I think this time we got our ship together a bit better. Even in these early days it's the best reception we've had so far.'

Radio support is already taking off. 'Radio has been helping us a lot. Computer Love got pretty high rotation on triple j, which is about as good as you can hope for until you upgrade to Nova - but it's unlikely that they're gonna play us.'

The album has an underlying electro element. Where has it come from- 'All of us used to go to dance parties and clubs', Count Bounce replies. 'There was an element of us wanting to explore that. It actually ended up more hip hop than it was going to be. What was left was an element of electro on top. We've always loved it, we just thought now was a good time to pull it out.'

Production-wise the crew has found inspiration in the synth-heavy electronica gaining recent attention. 'I was really into the Justice record. I really love Daft Punk. We all really love this new wave of synth-driven hip hop', he says.

The album seems to have tried to find an ideal balance between synth melodies and thumping boom-bap. 'The thing that ties all the tracks on this album together is that it's hip hop. There are parts that have no electro at all, and there's parts that have heaps of it', he says.

There was no formula to follow. 'You go 'oh it's gotta be for this album, it's gotta have a big kick, a soul sample, an intelligent rap and a catchy hook', but you try that and you fail. Then you pull something out of your back closet and it ends up being one of the cooler tracks on the album. There's no formula. You'll try one thing out and it will work, then you try it again and it doesn't work.'

All this change has made the live show 'kinda hard', he laughs. 'We've got a bigger band now. We've got a drummer and a bass player. The keyboard player has a synth and Joel has a synth. We've really integrated electronic-acoustic kind of stuff.'

When Computer Love drops, it may just be a breath of fresh air for the Australian hip hop scene. Hoping to, 'simply bring the idea that hip hop in Australia is allowed to borrow from all sorts of music and make it contemporary and fresh. Just like listening to Justice and thinking 'fuck it, I'm going to put this in my music.' If it does well it should open up some doors for creativity, and that's great.'

WHO: Tzu
WHAT: Computer Love through Liberation
WHEN: Out now