The new album Shadows and Shinings is a step into new territory for Drapht, but that’s no surprise – Drapht has proven album after album that he will always challenge himself as an artist and push the genre of Aussie hip-hop in exciting directions with every release. Shadows and Shinings is a fifteen-track adventure through the human psyche, contemplative and deep, but still full to bursting with addictive beats and clever production. Finished during the lockdowns of 2020. Drapht talks to Hi Fi Way about making the album.
How hard was it contemplating the thought of making an album given the year that we have had?
I think it’s always going to be a part of your thought, but I don’t know, for me first and foremost, music is always been just a form of therapy for me and an integral part of my evolution. Regardless of shows, I want to be releasing music anyway. Obviously I want to be able to play as many shows off the back of the album as possible, but I just want the album to be out and for people to hear it, and then continuing to work on future music once it’s released. So first and foremost, I just want music released and out and consumed, so I can keep chipping away at my end as well. We don’t really know how long this is all going to last, so I don’t know, I never want to be able to have to sit on a project and wait for the clouds to clear. I sort of still want to be able to steer the ship.
Did you kind of have a clear idea of what you wanted to do, and where you wanted to take it with this album?
That one was more so just to concentrate on the people that I’ve worked with in the past over the, I don’t know, what is it, twenty years now, and have it more as a family affair and keep it close, rather than going out and looking for big producers, or big acts to be on the record and just have my mates on this one. Just take it back to what I believe it’s meant to be about, and it is about for me as an artist. Having my loved ones and people that I look up to, on the record first and foremost. It’s a very personal record to me, and has a bunch of my closest mates involved, so I’m super proud of this one.
Do you think your kind of sound has sort of changed much over this twenty year period?
For sure, dramatically. I think within any human’s evolution, if you don’t change, I think there’s a problem. For me to be honest within my music, if I change as a person in terms of stuff that I learn over the course of those twenty years, and stuff that I want to change as an individual, I would hope that my music would follow too.
Is there anyone significant that stands out from influences for this album, or is there a particular moment or musical hero that you look up to?
There’s many musical heroes. I think in terms of influences that have inspired this record, it’s always inspired by past Beatles stuff. I put my daughter to sleep to the same Beatles playlist that I’ve had for the last ten years, so they’re a massive inspiration and always have been for me. In terms of locally, The Hoods, and it was amazing to have Pressure a part of this record, and just throwback inspirations from Eminem to a lot of U.K. hip hop with Task Force and Jest in mind. Some more stuff would be Rex Orange County, but it chops and changes with every week. But they’re probably my main inspirations when it comes to this body of work.
Did you have to work a lot differently making this album?
No, it’s been exactly the same. It’s an Internet’s world at the moment and bouncing back and forth from sessions online, is easy as pie. I’ve got a studio in my backyard at home in Perth, and it’s just seamless working over the internet with my mates. A lot of the people that I’ve worked on within this record, are local Perth crew anyway, so it’s easy enough for them just to come around and smash out a bunch of the tunes that you hear today.
What did you think when you played it back for the first time?
I still play it. I think it’s a record that I’m incredibly proud of, and from a listener’s perspective, it’s something that I would listen to on a day-to-day basis as well. And I think that’s always the goal. So yeah, it’s one of those things that if I’m going for a run, a lot of the time I will listen to my own album with this one in mind. Probably past work, I wouldn’t listen to as much. I think the last couple, once they’re out, they’re out and I probably don’t go and revisit them. But this one for some reason, I’m more drawn to and I kind of want to listen to it more and more. So I hope other people feel the same with that in mind.
Is that sometimes hard listening to it without sort of critiquing your own work, and wishing that you kind of did this, or did that, or adjusted this, or tweaked that?
Oh for sure, for sure. There’s always little bits and pieces, and I can think of maybe three or four things on this album that I would like to change. But I kind of just again, want to put it out, not dwell on it and know that other people won’t be hearing the same stuff that I hear, and just release it and get onto the next thing because I guess those are the things that hold you back as well. I know that I want to continue to write and release music, and I don’t want to lose time on those little one percenters.
Have you sort of kept that creative process going?
For sure. Yeah, I’m already onto the next one. I’m in a really good spot with my music, and I feel incredibly inspired and just want to keep creating. I’ve got a bunch of tracks and demos, and song ideas for the next one, and I can’t wait to jump in. I’m in a good spot with it all.
Do you start to feel a little bit more optimistic, or still a bit cautious about what might be with touring coming up?
No. Being in WA, we’ve kind of always got options. We can do a WA tour with fourteen dates, that’s bigger than most of my national tours anyway. So we are definitely within the fortunate bunch, in terms of the music industry and having the availability to tour locally. So yeah, I just try stay as optimistic as possible and just work out other plans if a spanner is thrown in the works.
Interview By Rob Lyon