INFINITE PAST TIMES
Time is inexorable. It sneaks up on you, with ageless fingers that meticulously add minute details to your body and mind every second of every day. Years are flexible – they can stretch on and on, or the weeks can stumble over themselves in youth’s exuberance – but time is always in control, quietly judgmental and forever changing. It will make you forget who you were 42,075,904 heartbeats ago, and bring it all back in a moment of clarity 13,062,812 heartbeats later.
D’OPUS AND ROSHAMBO know what it is. A formidable producer and ferocious emcee respectively, they are stalwarts of the Australian hip-hop scene, the toast of our fair capital city.
Roshambo was immediately personable, warmly welcoming and witty, whereas D’Opus stayed more restrained – still friendly, but decidedly set on delivering insightful comments in a quietly authoritative manner. Both are highly respected in the Canberran musical community.
Past Time is their newest record, and it explores what it means to live and grow, to battle inevitable frustrations and to move on, and define yourself by what is happening all around you. It’s already been critically well received, turning up in unlikely places like Marie Clare with emphatic reviews.
“I reckon [Past Time] is just a really good aural representation of Ross [D’Opus] and I. I think the most important thing with music is that you should be representing who you are and where you’re at, at any given point in time,” says Roshambo, pausing every so often to glance at D’Opus.
D’Opus pauses and weighs up his words before saying anything.
“It’s 360 degrees us. It’s got funk in there, it’s got honesty, and it’s got real stories from our lives, new production… some stupid humour, and our realities. Everything we like and are into.”
In terms of what’s different and special about it – we’re pretty different and unique people, I like to think. So the sound is going to be reflective of that. We try something new, not just Aussie hip-hop. I think the guys that are doing really well in Aussie hip-hop are the ones that aren’t necessarily just doing hip-hop. We didn’t try to make it sound like anything, so in doing that, it’s sort of outgrown us. We’re just happy to have it out.”
When asked about their feelings on the current hyper-musical state, Roshambo responds incisively. “It’s just the nature of the business. There’s so much music now; there’s so much access to music. Every week, there’s new blogs going out, with people downloading their albums. It’s harder to stay relevant. You just have to use the interwebs to promote. That’s the sort of things that artists have to do themselves; there’s more reach if people can see that the artist has a presence rather than just being an entity. That’s why Kanye West is on Twitter.”
D’Opus agrees, with an addendum - “It’s like the blink of an eye. To think that three year’s work comes and goes just like that… [We’re] finding it difficult to do everything ourselves. It’s just us two doing this!
“What I’m saying is that we don’t have a major label looking after us. We don’t have any financial backing. We’ve got our own label. We’re the CEOs of the label, we’re the typists and the publicists and the bookkeepers and we book our own shows and we’re the musicians. On top of the fact that we have jobs and lives outside of this… sometimes it’s just like ‘How the fuck do we manage to do this?’”
Despite the critical reception Past Time has garnered in a very short release time, D’Opus had some reservations about their own efforts to spread it.
“It seems that it hasn’t sunk in yet. I don’t think everyone knows that it’s out. We have been holding back a bit before opening the floodgates, so to speak, for a few cogs to click in before we go nuts, but it’s going through a few cracks already.”
Some of the press it’s been in, we previously hadn’t had a chance to target. If two people see it in Marie Clare and buy it, that’s two more people that might not otherwise have heard it. But sometimes we just have to stop and think… We’re doing really well for just two guys doing this.”
Keeping true to their album’s theme, D’Opus and Roshambo reflected on their status in the musical scene. “We’ve learnt a lot of lessons in the past, where we’ve spent too much on one thing and not enough on the other. So we’re hedging our bets, waiting to see what happens, but because we don’t have a marketing budget or a plan, we’ve just got to roll with the punches.”
We are still always learning about how we can work better and more efficiently, but we've definitely got a process locked down and always work together very collaboratively. When we first started out we were still getting to know one another, testing the waters and it was more just about putting raps to beats. Nowadays we are more into writing songs, which extend beyond the simple verse-chorus-verse structure. We've spent over six years together in the studio, so we understand how the other works, and push each other to try new ideas and step outside of our comfort zones. We just try to be ready to react. We’re not lucky, but there’s a lot of other people that aren’t as lucky.”
D’Opus and Roshambo will be launching Past Time at Transit Bar on Saturday June 4. It’s $10 on the door, and doors open at 8pm.