All label bosses take a punt when backing a new artist, but when Urthboy signed Horrorshow to his Elefant Traks imprint, his risk paid off with the albums, The Grey Space and Inside Story hitting it big. Record number three, King Amongst Many, debuted at #2 on the ARIA Albums Chart and is set to do even better. RK talks to one half of Horrorshow, Nick Bryant-Smith, about their success.
“I go by the name Solo and with my man Adit, we are Horrorshow,” chimes a proud Bryant-Smith.
Describing how the MC first became infatuated with music, he says it was mostly a product of the band programs at the school he went to. “I always loved music from a really early age,” he explains. “I was in rock bands, jazz bands, playing the drums and things. I liked to sing as a kid and when I was about 13-years-old and started high school, I got introduced into hip hop around year 7 and year 8.”
Talib Kweli and Common were the flavours of the moment, but it was really when Bryant-Smith heard 1979 by Adelaide’s Hilltop Hoods that the cast was set. “Right then I realised there was this whole local scene and identity in Australia that I didn’t know existed. I was hooked from that moment and fully immersed myself in the culture,” he professes. “I went to the record stores and bought all the latest music… and at the same time Adit, who was in my year at high school – as well as some mates of mine – worked and backed each other and collaborated on some music and started to find our way.”
Fast forward a few years and the lads are performing a swag of dates around the country to bring album number three to life. “King Amongst Many will be the most forward thinking album we’ve done,” Bryant-Smith suggests. “At least lyrically, I’ve come to a point where, having dealt with the introspective – the teenage years, the puberty and so on – I’ve now broadened my interest and that’s been the focus on this new album.”
Admitting that he’s always been into history, Bryant-Smith sees this as an opportunity to carry on tradition. “You’re a small part of a bigger thing,” he says. “We’re about gaining the respect of other hip hop heads and knowing where we sit amongst the world around us – as well as communicating all of that to your audience. The whole album fits into an ideology of tradition, freshness and originality.”
The lads are pumped that they’re about to present their new sound at a series of upcoming gigs. “We’re flipping things up a little bit for this set,” Bryant-Smith explains. “We’re been playing a lot of live shows in recent times… and we wanted to kick things up a notch and give people a new experience”
And with his partner-in-crime making a special effort with on-stage gear (yes, more than a set of turntables) expect transitions and live experiences not ordinarily associated with hip hop. “We’re looking to inject new life into this set; largely with a whole lot of new stuff, but also a few old favorites for our fans.”