Words by Jemah Finn.
One name springs to mind when talking about Australian rap, and that is Adelaide’s home-grown talent – Allday (Tom Gaynor).
This guy never fails to create a hit; his powerful lyrics and distinctive flair coupled together create one delicious soundtrack.
Allday burst onto the Australian music scene in 2011, and demanded everyone’s attention. What started as a long-haired kid releasing free demo’s on YouTube quickly morphed into a mountain of success. From being signed to Wind-Up Records in the US to performing on some of the most impressive music stages like Splendour in the Grass, Allday has accomplished a lot in the last few years.
With the fame, came controversy. Allday revealed he wasn’t a fan of much Australian rap, which resulted in backlash from the rap and hip-hop music scenes in Australia. Allday also struggled to shake the stereotype of being ‘just another stoner rapper’.
In his debut album that was released worldwide earlier this year, Startup Cult, he began to move away from the pop style of his early hits like Girl In The Sun to release an album with a newfound gravity and sense of authenticity. Allday admits that he had listened to his old stuff and realised he didn’t really like it, instead he had been trying to create another song for the Triple J hottest 100. So in his latest album, he wanted to write stuff he actually would want to listen to.
Behind the long hair and baggy clothes, there is a lot of raw talent. Listening to Allday’s lyrics, you realise that this Adelaide boy is a deep thinker and a very gifted and creative soul.
Just today, Allday and Tyne-James Organ teamed up to release an acoustic cover of Childish Gambino’s, Sober. Racking up almost 2,500 Facebook likes in the first 30 minutes speaks volumes alone. The cover is silky smooth and oozes a laidback summer vibe, but maintains Allday’s signature sound; a sound that DJ and past Triple J host Nina Las Vegas described as “raw and infectious”… and I have to agree.
Allday knows how to write a hit and truly understands music and the affects it can have on people. Aside from his talent in the recording studio, Allday is also a bloody nice guy, packed with charisma and genuinely good intentions.
I had a chat with Allday to find out how his new album is going and what it is like to be him…
To start off, how’s the album going? Stressful, fun or a bit of both?
I’m trying to make it fun, because last time I made myself really sick from getting stressed. Recording is like panning for gold, you might do it for day and days before you find anything. Then it might only be a small nugget. And you just go back down to the stream and keep panning for more.
Back in the day, when did you go, “yeah I can do this music thing”? Like when did it all click and you realised you could do it as a career?
I think when I was 21 and I’d just moved to Melbourne. I got a manager and he said “how far do you want to take this music thing because I think you can go all the way” and i started taking it more seriously. Basically because i didn’t have anything else going on.
Some musicians have a ‘special’ place they go to write. What gets you through writing new tunes? Is it a special place or a food or a person?
I just go to my bedroom and wait. Sometimes when it’s not too hot I might go sit in my car down by the park and write there. If I have 0 ideas I’ll watch a documentary on someone I look up to or read a book.
What would you say has been the pinnacle of your career so far?
Probably rapping on Sway. For anybody that grew up rapping, that is the shit.
You recently signed with wind-up records in the US which is massive! Do you think you’ll still do free mixtapes and shop at salvos when you’re a billionaire global rapping success?
Haha! I think I’ll always shop at op shops because it’s in my blood. I think ALL music is basically free now because of Spotify & Apple Music etc. so I will probably just put everything out on there? I don’t know.
Please tell us a quirky fact about yourself! Something not many people know! Like a fear or habit or obsession (or all 3 haha).
Ok a fear is just being a lonely old man one day who pushed the right girl away because I was focusing on rap. I have lots of weird habits, I drink probably 8 coffees a day, I also like to drink apple cider vinegar. Obsession, right now it’s Law & Order SVU but anyone who has me on Snapchat probably knows that.
So 2016! What’s happening? The album, tours, writing more great tunes??? We want to know it all!
Album (finally), tours, more songs! Everything good.
You’ve been pretty bloody successful over the past few years, like all of your songs have been received really well! How do you keep your feet on the ground?
Thank you. Well I don’t know if I ever had my feet on the ground, my family will tell you I’ve always had self-belief that borders on insane. But I also just refuse to accept to concept of celebrity making humans any different to other humans. When someone talks to me I just try to see their perspective like any human should when talking to another human. If someone makes a fuss of me I feel embarrassed. I see a lot of musicians who are very willing to accept being put on a pedestal that’s just gross.
Anything else you’d like to say to the people of the South of Aus?
The only reason I’m living in Melbourne is because I’m a spy on the ultimate secret “Kick a Vic” mission. Not really, I live here because I like it. But yeah, Adelaide is cool. You can do anything from Adelaide, there’s something magic in South Australia and anyone who doesn’t see that can suck a giant diseased dick.