Rapper, singer, fashion icon. Whatever you want to call him, he’s the nonchalant Aussie on everybody’s lips.
Let’s go back to 2013. You know, when things felt a little less serious. The Harlem Shake adorned computer screens across the world. Wolf Of Wall Street howled into the box office, and Allday, a burgeoning rapper from South Australia, had just release his debut EP.
Loners Are Cool fantasised with contemporary hip-hop in a way that those down under had never heard before. For a first try it was nothing short of copacetic, and that resonated with everyone it graced.
With vulnerability and wry sass in hand, what followed was a bread crumb trail of brooding juvenescence, capturing the bright eyed and bushy tailed aura of youth culture. Allday always strived to be an open book, and a Marquez blockbuster at that; where magic and realism intertwine. From heart-throb to trusted confident, his sagacious persona tested the depths of the stream and dived head first, unperturbed by the fact that he’d just struck gold.
Everything that followed was fairy dust. The debut, Startup Cult, set the foundations and loosed the metaphorical jar, and the suitably named sophomore record Speeding, swiftly opened it.
Leading a cohort of devoted followers, the third instalment ‘Starry Night Over the Phone‘ was the product of a scenery change; LA to be pedantic. It carried both esteem and significance, yet still on a freight train towards consistent progression.
Throughout his career, the softly spoken outlier has explored every genre under the industry umbrella, juggling the maverick and councillor epithet with his trademark free spirited demeanor. Given his vehement following and prominent profile, the fourth record was always going to carry a weight of expectation, and ‘Drinking With My Smoking Friends’ doesn’t disappoint, not that it was ever in doubt.
From relative unknown to wunderkid in one project, Allday has always had a world of possibilities at the scuffed gums of his Adidas allstars, and eight years after his debut; he’s back with his most bodacious and vulnerable body of work to date.
It’s no secret that we’ve been wanting to sit down and talk to him for a number of years, so when the opportunity arose, we had to get the scoop.
Let’s start off with the moniker, ‘Allday’ or to your loyal fans ‘Chubby Boy’. Both equally intriguing and memorable. But Why?
I was a fat kid so that’s the Chubby Boy part. Allday is just a nickname I had.
It’s nearly 10 years on since your debut EP ‘loners are cool’, in which time you’ve signed a record deal, moved to LA and done a bit of growing up, well sort of. Is there anything you wished you’d told your younger self if you had the chance?
I think musically, I would stick to my guns more and always make the thing I want to make rather than trying to please everybody. There were times I tried to make songs in the style of artists I didn’t even like, just to try to fit into the music scene. Those are my biggest regrets. Back then I just wanted to make a living off music and quit my shitty job. So I can’t blame myself for making a few cheesy songs.
I guess hindsight is a beautiful thing, but be honest, when you started uploading your demos online way back when, did you think it was going to amount to this?
No I didn’t. Being from a smaller city and not having access to the music industry, it was a pretty far flung idea. I only made my first music video cos’ a friend of mine happened to be taking a film course and said “hey I could make you a video for that song.” When I realised that people were reacting positively to my music, I decided to follow it as far as I could.
Void has to be my favourite track of this year, and it represents a beautiful departure from the new school trap/garage of the OTT release, were you at all apprehensive about how your fans would react to this steady verge into pop?
Thank you! Void is special to me so I’m glad you like it. Honestly I didn’t think through the change enough. I was in the studio making the music and I thought “this feels good” so I did it. Only after it came out did I realise “people view you as a rapper and they may not have expected this.” To me, I feel comfortable in both areas of music. I hope people can roll with the change.
Now onto stolen cars, the latest instalment. It’s an unorthodox tale of love and adventure. Based on experience or more of an allegory?
I think it’s an allegory. Although again, somewhere small like Adelaide where I grew up, it’s a beautiful place, but there are certain psychic pressures and undercurrents. I grew up in a part of society that I didn’t always fit with, in fact dark characters magnetized to me. The young lovers running away film/song archetype always made sense to me.
Aside from the music you’ve embarked on a number of different ventures, including a foray into the world of stand-up and a brief stint as chef and host of your own vegan cooking show “24 Hour Discount Buffet”. What would you be doing if it wasn’t music?
I’m not sure, maybe still standup, although I wasn’t very good at it and I disliked going to comedy rooms every night. I’d probably be in big fucking trouble. I’m glad I have music.
In spite of your vehement following you’ve managed to maintain a free-spirited and humble demeanour, do you ever feel like you have to ground yourself?
Thanks. I come from a big Irish Catholic family, the way I was raised is to treat people with respect and be warm. No matter what happens in my career, if it burns out or whatever, I’m gonna be the same person. In terms of humbling myself, who knows, I might start acting like a twat if this album goes really well. I hope so!
You recently announced a short tour of your homeland in August and you’ve previously shared stages with the likes of Lilly Allen and Mallrat. If you could choose one artist
dead or alive to perform with who would it be?
Probably Paul McCartney or Prince. I’d love Drake to call me up and say “hey send me a verse.” Supporting Lily Allen was cool, that was when I was just starting out. She was very human and as down to earth as you’d expect her to be. It was inspiring to see that.
So the new album ‘Drinking With My Smoking Friends’ is out today. Honestly, and with total respect to the rest of your portfolio, I think it’s your best piece of work to date. There are so many gems and pockets of magic, do you have a favourite song on the album?
Thank you so much, I don’t think an artist would ever be unhappy with someone appreciating their newest work the most. I think it’s my best too. I worked my tits off on it. My favourite at the moment is Butterfly Sky. It was a song that kept changing. I actually added the outro vocals on the last day. Just quickly wrote them and recorded them while we were mixing. Finding the right words to take people away, that’s my favourite thing. I feel like I did that on this record more than in the past. I think I’m just beginning to find myself as a writer.
Now to the generic final question. What now for Allday? Will you kick back and enjoy the summer or is it straight back into the studio?
I’m in Melbourne at the moment so we’re heading into a grey winter spiral. I’ll be back in the studio ASAP. Thanks for the chat!