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Living The Good Life

2 April 2014 | 9:37 am | Kane Sutton

"Hip hop’s probably the genre I listen to the least."

"I've had this piece of toast sitting here for the last two hours and I haven't had time to eat it because the interviews keep overlapping,” Joel Chamaa laughs, sounding calm and composed. “I've always felt comfortable talking to and entertaining people. I'm not going out on stage and thinking, 'Oh shit, I'm in front of all these people, I'm shitting myself'. It's more like, 'Fucking get me out there, I wanna be on stage already, ahh!' you know? It's great.”

It's astounding to note that he's only this year embarking on his first headlining Australian tour. While taking the country by storm under the Bam Bam moniker is still a relatively new thing, Chamaa has in fact already been around the world performing in an entirely different manner and as such, possesses a veteran level of stage familiarity. “Breakdancing was my first passion,” Chamaa explains. “It was my introduction into the hip hop world and from a young age I put everything I had into it. Music was always in the background as a hobby – I was always doing it, but breaking was my main focus and that became my career – I mean, we went on to win the Australian Championships a bunch of times and represent Australia against the world a few times. It took me across the world and I was getting paid to do what I loved, which was great.” It wasn't until Australian hip hop began its build into the mainstream market that Chamaa realised it was something he desperately wanted to pursue: “I was always doing music on the side but back then, there never used to be a market for Australian hip hop anyway. Fast forward a few years and now it's massive. 360's one of my best mates and I saw him explode onto the scene and that got me thinking, 'Wow, it's a feasible career path, so I'm gonna have a crack at it' – so I did, and the ball's been rolling ever since. Without knowing, the music thing has become more busy than the breaking without even trying to or planning it. I guess I switched careers by accident,” he chuckles.

To coincide with his tour, Chamaa is releasing his debut EP, following up a couple of years' worth of mixtapes. As its name suggests, The Good Life EP is a celebration – elevating and irrepressibly alive, capturing the excitement and boundless promise of this first major step in his musical career with a collection of party tunes. Interestingly, despite being a hip hop artist, he draws his musical insights from other areas. “Hip hop's probably the genre I listen to the least. I love it, but I do have a wide variety of taste in music. I listen to everything and just try to draw my favourite things I hear in other genres into what I do. It may or may not translate, but there are hints of things that I've converted into a hip hop-esque sense. I'm enjoying what I'm doing and I just hope other people do too.”