Perth hip hop artist, Drapht is no stranger to success. The platinum selling, two-times ARIA winning musician has released new single, ‘Summer They Say’, just in time for, well, summer and is headed on the road for a national tour that will bring him to Bunbury’s Prince of Wales Hotel on 7 November and Perth’s Rosemount Hotel on 13 December. Around The Sound spoke to Drapht to find out what’s going on.
Drapht is an artist who has undeniably perfected the ability to write hit after hit. We have all heard ‘Rapunzel’, ‘Sing It’ and we’ve definitely all sung along to and maybe even lived the party anthem ‘Drink Drank Drunk’, but what does it take to be able to create songs like this? With the announcement of a national tour and release of a new single that is guaranteed to be the soundtrack of your summer, Around the Sound had a chat to the rapper to find out how he does it.
I thanked him for it later, but in that moment I fucking hated him.Drapht
“Behind the scenes a lot of my singles are somewhat a little soul destroying. I have this way of working where I need to be broken to actually write a song that I really love. I rewrote this song (‘Summer They Say’) about four times, and rerecorded it a whole bunch of times as well. Originally this track had like an Arabian synth thing and the song was finished but one of my buddies planted this seed when he said, ‘Oh, are you gonna leave that Arabian synth thing in there?’ and I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ And he said, ‘Well it’s just a little bit annoying,’ and I could not move on from that point so I had to get back into the studio and rewrite and re-record the main lead line. I thanked him for it later, but in that moment I fucking hated him. This happens with all of my singles though. I remember writing ‘Sing it’ and I just couldn’t finish it. My management at the time were pressuring me about how I needed another single to back up ‘Rapunzel’ so I rewrote it like 10 times and it literally broke me until I sorta surrendered and the next day, I woke up and wrote the hook for sing it but it is never an easy process.”
The industry that Drapht had dedicated his life to and succeeded in, ultimately broke him and he took a lengthy and much needed hiatus.
“I didn’t see my life continuing with that level of stress, it wasn’t good for my mental health. I didn’t want to keep working around the clock and being on the road. People have this opinion of the music industry thinking you’re in this amazing position, which you are but you’re constantly working. When you’re on the road you’re away from your family and friends for months on end and it can be really lonely. There was a lot of other stuff I was going through in terms of my health and I got to a point where I didn’t feel like it was worth it. I wasn’t as passionate about it from when I was 17 and writing purely because I was in love with the process, I loved writing music but then it got to a point where my stuff was being played on the radio, I’d tell myself and others that I wasn’t feeling the pressure but I was and it gets the better of you. The industry is one thing but it’s also your fans and the expectations they hold on you as well. It’s hard in Australia to divert and rap something that’s left field and push yourself as an artist because you’re pigeonholed and people really hold you to one particular sound but for me regardless of what other people think I like flipping my sound on its head and pushing myself to do something no one else is writing.”
Ending the five year hiatus Drapht returned with his most personal release “Seven Mirrors” that had a sound confirming he does indeed like flipping his sound on its head. It seemed as though he had undergone a transformation, in comparison to earlier releases and there was a newfound maturity coming from the musician.
“I appreciate that and I really do hope other people understood that. For me music is a massive part of my life, it’s a part of my evolution so if I evolve my music will evolve too and that is what I have always focused on. Personal evolution first and foremost.”
Five years is a long time to be inactive in music, so how did fans receive Drapht’s return?
“I was lucky to enter the music industry like I had never left. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to have a break, come back and still have people listening to what I’m putting out. It was a little bit harder the second time around to have people engaged, you guys would know with energy just solely focused on social media and not so much the tangibility of what the industry stood for in the past, it’s a completely different world.”
The music world is hard to keep up with, the importance of social media has played a massive part in this and perpetuates the difficulties artists face in maintaining relevancy, especially within an ever-changing genre like hip hop. However in saying that, Perth is home to a healthy and vibrant scene not only for OGs like Drapht and even Downsyde but the streets of the 6k are producing some of the most impressive new wave of MCs
“There’s a bunch of young crew with this surge of new energy within the industry, especially artists like Bitter Belief and Complete, I don’t think there is anyone locally writing music like them. They keep me on my toes, I’m like holy shit this is the first time in a few years I’ve heard something that I’m really inspired by locally. It’s a really exciting time to be in this genre and to be pushed to be better. Part of the problem for me in the past 6 years was that it was just boring, a lot of the stuff coming out of Australia was completely boring and uninspiring and much the same but now, especially with my latest tune, it’s come off the back of being inspired by these young guys. There are little sub-genres coming out of every part of the scene and it is hard to keep up but in my opinion, good always floats to the top. It is hard here because you’re so far from the rest of the country but a part of me really likes that. I guess it’s the underdog within me, I like standing alone and making a wave without anyone else’s backing and just really believing in myself. Being from Perth that’s how you achieve the things you want to achieve, you just fill yourself with the confidence that it takes to be able to be heard. Thee only downfall is fucking paying for flights every time you go over east.”
Speaking of flights, with his passion and love of hip-hop reignited, Drapht is embarking on a massive national tour that kicks off in November
“I have things in store before the actual tour and more new music coming out. We haven’t confirmed supports or anything yet but for me it’s just about touring with good people and keeping the energy high, not so much about getting the best support acts. I have to spend a month on the road with these people as well so I was good people and a high morale within the group. I have always kept my friends pretty close, all the people in the band are some of my best mates so I’m super grateful I get to tour the country again with my friends and bring the show to places I haven’t been in a while like Newcastle, some regional spots and then we get to finish at home here in Perth.”
We can’t wait to catch a show and don’t worry, you’ll get the chance to hear all of your favourite tracks with Drapht adding, “Whenever I announce a tour people are like “are you just gonna be playing new stuff and are you gonna be playing your old stuff?” Of course I’m going to be playing my old stuff, people get so confused about the touring process for artists and assume any time you announce a tour you’re purely doing new material which is never the case like maybe if you’re Pearl Jam or something but for me as an artist I want everyone to have a good time I want people to know my songs and hear the stuff they appreciate or have a nostalgic connection to.”
For tour dates and ticketing, click here.