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Q&A with Maundz's worst enemy

28 Apr 2017 spotlight words by Terence Ill
Q&A with Maundz's worst enemy

I had been meaning to talk to Maundz for a long time. A few weeks ago, when I finally had the time and headspace to do it, I realised that my timing couldn’t have been worse.

After releasing his last album Nobody’s Business more than 18 months ago, it seemed the Melbourne rapper had gone back into writing mode. Being in between projects,
it seemed that there wasn’t going to be much to talk about. But hey, it’s not always about the destination, but about the journey, right? So I decided to check in with Maundz to see how he is going with his next album and to talk about a few milestones from the past.


The first time you popped up on my radar was probably your Rappertag clip. You had it all shot from different angles with multiple cameras - it was crazy. There was a little bit of controversy about that clip. I remember you released a "breakdown" clip that showed that it was actually one take and no camera tricks were used. Was that response, that some people thought you’re faking it, something you expected when you made the video? Or did it piss you off that you had to justify that your work was legit?

Maundz: I think people were sooking up mostly that we took a few days to put it up, after everyone previously had theirs up within 24 hours or whatever. We just figured, yo, you've got a platform here, why not do something a little left of field, just to mix it up a bit, ya know? Heata, Discourse and Josh Davis are all good at what they do, so I just ran with what they had in mind. As far as justifications go, I couldn't care less what people think of me. Everything I do is legit, and if people wanted to get all uppity over a rapper tag video that's on them, bro. No skin off my nose!

 

You have generally been very strong on the video front. The Zero clip was mad, so was Take It Back, and on Whiplash you had the mad CGI world thing going on - all strong visual concepts and all very well executed. You always had the cutting edge clips and, personally, I think that that made a big difference to how quickly you progressed in terms of your profile on a national stage. How important do you think nailing the visual side of things is these days?

Maundz: To be honest, I really don't think the visual side of things is as important as a lot of people may think. If the song bangs, then that's the main ingredient that brings people back for more. I always thought that the Maundzilla clip would pop off before it dropped, because nobody, especially in this scene, had ever done anything as outlandish as that. But it never really did. B wiv, WIK and myself put so much time into that clip, as with many others, it was crazy! But man we can always look back at these things as trophies on a mantle piece. I'm proud of the work that went into them and I'm very fortunate to have so many talented mates in the crew that want to step away from the norm and experiment.

 

Nobody's Business was released on Crate Cartel and Golden Era collaboratively. Can you see yourself releasing music outside of Crate Cartel in the future? Do you ever think about those kind of possibilities and what you would do if you were offered some cray-cray deal by someone else?

Maundz: I think about possibilities all the time! I'm still waiting to get my shine on via a larger spectrum, SIGN ME YO, LET'S GET THIS MONEY!!! Crate Cartel will always be fam, no matter what.

With the new album you are working on, is there more pressure this time around? If so, where does it come from? Yourself? Or is it more about meeting the expectations of others?

Maundz: Man, I'm my own worst enemy. The pressure I put myself under, especially for the next album, sucks. If I'm not happy with it, why should others be? Shit just ticks over and over through my head, every day of the week. There's a few artists in this country that have put some amazing albums together over the last few years, and shit like that always makes me second guess whether this verse or that track is album worthy. It's a good thing, because it makes you work harder, but it also takes it toll on the time thing.

Without putting you on the spot with album release dates, any indication when we might get a first glimpse? A single, a clip maybe?

Maundz: Nah I'd be lying if I said I had dates, but I am on five or so upcoming projects, that have all been recorded for various artists, so at least folks will get to hear my stank ass voice very shortly, as I believe they are all dropping very shortly. I actually think a new film clip featuring myself will be dropping in a few days [at the time of the interview].

 

Is there anything you’re doing differently this time, or are you sticking to a process that’s worked for you before?

Maundz: Working a full time job and having a long distance relationship at the moment is really taking its toll on my writing and creative outlet at the moment. So I'm finally cutting back my hours in a couple of months to look after the three important things in my life which is my girl, my family and my music. I don't know I've tackled it over the course of the last three album releases, there just ain't enough hours in the day, man. So I think… I know - that having a bit more freedom in my life will give me more time to put my back in to it come writing and pre-production time. The first track I wrote for the next album took me two months on and off to write. I've never had that shit happen ever, but I pushed myself out of the comfort zone with that one and wrote something that I've never heard another MC do before. I've searched high and low on Google as well and still came up with zero, so I'm very excited to get the ball rolling in that manner.

I noticed you gave a young rapper known as Mr Ruckman props on one of his Facebook videos recently. Are there any other up-and-coming artist that you tune into, especially in the local Melbourne circles?

Maundz: Yeah man that video was bananas! There's so much weak music coming out in this county at the moment from dudes that call themselves MC's, so to hear stuff like that is always very reassuring. Keeps you on your toes and keeps you on guard, don't wanna be caught slipping. As far as other up n comers, I'm a big fan of Sinks (Melb), Claz (ADL), and the work that Rahjconkas (Bris) puts into his beats.

I’m gonna pull a Sigmund Freud on you right now. I have this theory that you became as good a rapper as you are, because you knew you couldn’t compete with your brother in skateboarding. So you got good at something else, that’s equally cool. So, now you can just co-exist and be proud of each other without being in a competition all the time. Feel free to call bullshit on me on this one.

Maundz: Man, rapping is the only thing that I can outdo my brother in. Rapping, not music, just rapping. He has just begun his Honours course at Uni playing the harmonica. He's just one of those naturally born gifted kids that dominates anything he puts his mind to. I concede defeat!

Looking forward to hearing what you are cooking up for us on this album. Be sure to keep us in the loop.

Maundz: Most definite, thank you!