4 July 2012 | 6:00 am | Aleksia Barron

Sydney’s Kid Mac has been surfing with the Bra Boys for years. Now he’s ready to make a splash in the Australian music scene. He spoke to Aleksia Barron about his new album, No Man’s Land.

There's no rest for the wicked, and there certainly isn't any for Macario De Souza, also known as Kid Mac. He's supposed to be on holiday in Bali, but he's gotten roped into a couple of gigs while he's over there. “I've done a couple of gigs in the past, and the venues knew that I was coming and asked if I wanted to play a gig while I was in town,” he explains. “So, now it's a bit of a working holiday.”

It's no surprise that De Souza is in demand – the Sydney-based artist is finally coming into his own musically. After years of touring in support slots and toiling away on his long, long-awaited debut album, he's finally released No Man's Land and is getting ready for a headline tour around the country. It's been a long slog, partly because of De Souza's own competing creative ambitions. “I took my time with [the album] – took a good three or four years,” he says. “I had other stuff going on – other music projects, a film project.” (That's his modest way of referencing Bra Boys: Blood Is Thicker Than Water, the successful documentary film that he co-directed with Sunny Abberton.)

Now, De Souza is ready to focus on his music for a while, which is good news for his many supporters. He's particularly happy with finally locking down a sound that he thinks suits him; a laid-back pop feel with influences from dance, hip hop and alternative rock. “I just wanted to get the sound right,” he says. “I've been experimenting with so many different sounds and doing a lot of touring. The touring, implementing a live element to my show, adding a guitarist and stuff, that played a bit of a role, bringing that back into the studio. Me and my producers would sort of tweak it over time.”

His new work is getting a good reception – De Souza recently won Artist of the Year and Best Video at the 2012 MusicOz Awards. He's glad to be recognized for his new work, especially when he's still trying to shake the “MC” reputation that follows him around from the days when he dabbled in rap. “To be honest, I'm not really comfortable with the tag 'MC',” he says quietly. “I never have been... I never really felt like I was the hip hop guy. I never felt like I'm part of the Australian hip hop scene, even though I love it and respect what those guys do. I'm a bit of an outcast, I suppose.” It's one of the reasons he named his album No Man's Land.

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Still, De Souza has a lot of love for hip hop artists, especially Mickey Avalon, his collaborator on the single She Goes Off. “Mickey's cool. I've been touring with him since 2009,” says De Souza. It's impressive, given that Avalon is regarded in some circles as one of the most difficult artists to get along with. However, he was so taken with De Souza, who had been supporting him on his Australian tours, that he invited him to support him across the USA. “I toured with him over there, and it really went off. While we were there, we just spent some time in the home studio, and that's how She Goes Off came about.” It's also how the now-famous video to that track came about – it features cameos from Snoop Dogg and Steve Aoki, and it was all filmed on the road. “While we were on that tour, I had a video camera, and that's how we got the video together for that.”

De Souza's focus is on his upcoming tour, which he hopes the fans will enjoy – “I get a lot of girls at my shows,” he says, laughing a little. As for the future – well, for this filmmaker-slash-musician with contacts and talent to spare, it's fair to say that anything could happen.