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Downsyde: Funked Up.

10 March 2003 | 1:00 am | Paul Rankin
Originally Appeared In

The Bright Syde Of Life.

More Downsyde More Downsyde

Land Of The Giants is in stores now.

Hailing from Perth and claiming a racial heritage that is truly reflective of Australia as a nation, Downsyde are finally making waves across the nation. They’ve been working together for six years now, through thick and thin (their press release is keen to inform of their time spent eating cornflakes and water due to artistic inspired financial restrictions), with their second album released through the Resin Dogs Hydrofunk record label.

Downsyde consists of six members, three MCs; Optamus, Dazastah and Dyna-Mikes, as well as DJ Armee on the decks, Salvatore on percussion and Cheeky on keys, loops and samples. They’re proud to be Australian and really do justice to the genre of Aussie hip-hop, avoiding the beer and bbq’s clichés and coming through with something a little more refined and yet still party style. The album Land Of The Giants is out now on both CD and a six-track sampler vinyl. I caught up with MC Optamus for the low-down on why we should be spending time with Downsyde.

“We’re all pretty amped about it. It’s been a really good year and a half for us. We’re just riding the tail end of it now. The labels have been great for us, EMI are wicked with the publicity, and Hydrofunk couldn’t really do much more.”

So how’d you get discovered by the Hydrofunk boys?

“The Doggies actually tour over to WA quite often, and more times than not we’d be on the bill with them. Every now and again we’d jump on stage with them and do some freestyling and stuff, just working together. So when we were shopping the album around they had a very similar vision to what we had, so that was that.”

The new album features some great street inspired aerosol art on the cover, with a huge boy dwarfing a cityscape. It’s very distinctive and caught my eye immediately.

“Yeah, that’s a WA guy called Dash. He’s local but quite renowned worldwide, he’s a spraycan artist. It was worked over a little on computer to smooth the colours and what-not, but he totally had a vision for what we wanted, with the idea being that the guy is either huge, or a really long way from the city, a bit like a small fish in a big pond.”

This ideology ties in with the lyrics on the album, displaying a lot of angst and dismay with the music industry at large. “It’s pretty hard were we come from to get noticed, and we always believe that if you’ve got something to say you might as well voice it on wax. There’s no point holding back really.”

“It’s a real double edged sword. I think the music industry can be the greatest thing or the worst thing. That angst and frustration just comes out in our tunes. Integrity is very important to us, you’ve got to say what you mean or why the hell are you saying it?”

So where did you record your album?

“It’s all done in bedrooms really, and then took elements to mix down in studio. We tried to stay away from them as much as possible, as we saved up all our live money and walked into a studio to record our first track. Paying $90 and hour, and all that extra pressure just threw us completely. So we just went back to our bedrooms and bashed it out there.”

How was touring Australia for the first time?

“The tour we just came off was awesome fun, I’m still in shell-shock. It’s our first big run through Australia, and it was totally fun. It was phenomenal to go to places like Byron and Lismore and to have people knowing the words everywhere. St Kilda festival we did the main stage in the time slot before Killing Heidi, which was totally cool.” So what was the best show? “ Either BDO at the Gold coast or Revolver Melbourne. Gold Coast was just rocking, it’s not the size of the crowd, it’s just the feeling you get off the crowd. And those kids on the Gold Coast were just vibing.”