ARIA winner Seth Sentry kicks off his national ‘1969 Campaign Trail’ tour next week and hits Darwin at Discovery on July 29. Foldback magazine spoke with Seth about the tour, the imagery behind the ‘1969’ video and maturing as a hip-hop artist.
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy media schedule to talk to us today Seth. You are coming up to Darwin to play Discovery on July 29 – you’ve been up here before.
I have yeah. This would be my third or fourth time.
So you know what to expect then. Will you have time to do the touristy stuff before the gig?
A lot of times we don’t have time because we play so many back-to-back shows. A lot of the time it’s flying in and flying out and seeing the inside of a hotel room and a venue. But we always try to. Few times ago we had a bit of a look around. We didn’t get to swim with the crocodiles or anything but yeah.
Now you’re touring with REMI. I had the pleasure of meeting him last year when he was up here. Do you have any local acts on your support?
Yeah, Requiem. He’s supported us the last couple times.
Looking at the ‘1969’ song off the ‘Strange New Past’ album in particular, very impressive is the imagery on that video clip. That arms race, Nixon-era style thing, where did that come from?
The song was written as an alternate history I guess, whereas instead of trying to land on the moon, the race was to be the first to destroy the moon, which really actually doesn’t seem that far fetched.
It doesn’t and I like the line about ‘the height of human achievement’ – the height of human achievement being blowing shit up because we can.
Because we can yeah. We love destroying shit, us humans. So yeah we had this song and the clip, we had to work within a budget and yeah it would have been cool to have some sweet CGI effects and blow shit up but we did it in the most practical way we could and couched it as a Presidential address. Which worked out pretty cool especially considering the timing of the story as well, we could tie in the political side of it.
I’m surprised you didn’t put a reddy-blonde wig on.
Do a Trump wig? (laughs)
You’ve been around for a while now and you’ve helped take hip-hop to a level in this country. I read somewhere though that you are keen to get back to the roots of hip–hop as well. Is that because you think that hip-hop has evolved to such a point, that we’ve reached ‘peak hip-hop’ so to speak, in Australia? Or do you think it still can go in either direction?
I don’t know if we’ve peaked. It’s more for personal reasons. When I come to the end of writing an album, the joy of making music can sometimes go out the window a little bit and it becomes a bit of work to stick to deadlines, it becomes a job. Choosing the right single, marketing strategies, all the kinds of shit that isn’t conducive to being creative. I kinda like to take a step back and find why I am even doing the thing in the first place. Because it certainly wasn’t for money or any other reasons, it’s just for the fact that I love rap music and I like writing music so, just trying to capture that again.
Going back? I could get away with saying stuff then that I couldn’t get away with now, because of the times and because of who I was then, angry teenager.
You’re in your 30s now.
That’s right yeah.
The rhymes you’re writing now and the beats you’re producing now are more mature? They would have to be.
Yeah for sure. Well you can’t stay angry forever.
You are using a live drummer this time?
Yeah our first tour with a new drummer and its been really cool and been a great chance for us to shake the set up a little bit and someone else coming in with a different perspective. It can be hard sometimes after playing so many shows to see the set going any other way, songs performed another way. To restructure it, it seems kinda daunting but to have someone come in with fresh eyes and ears and go “well how come you’re doing it that way, why don’t you change this bit or change that bit” or “how come we play those songs, why don’t you play these?’” We’ve cut a lot of songs from the set and we’re playing a lot of songs for the first time ever. He’s a fantastic drummer as well, he used to drum for Kimbra back in the day. He’s a crazy good drummer, almost overqualified for the job.
(laughs) Nah man, its too hot for that.
Was there anything else you wanted to tell our readers?
Nah man I guess just the details, they can get their tickets and information from www.sethsentry.com and the album ‘Strange New Past’ at the online merch store.
Cool. Thanks Seth, we look forward to seeing you up here.