563 – Interview

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Another Englishman to make to move to Melbourne, 563 has been putting in work in the London scene for many years now and since moving over here has been busy playing shows around the place as well as working at Obese, so I felt it would be good to see what he had to say about his time in Melbourne

563 decksState your name and occupation

My name is Mark 563, often referred to as 563, DJ 563 or DJ Mark 563. Musically, my occupation is DJ. Primarily a mix-tape and club DJ, but since moving to Melbourne, I’ve taken the position of touring DJ for Obese artist and Australian Hip Hop veteran, Reason. And in the last year or so, along with local emcee, Briggs, Rea’ and I have set up the group First Class.

So first up, what prompted the move to Melbourne?

I hooked up with an Australian girl in London, and things got serious. We both decided that moving to Australia was the sensible choice, as far as quality of life and weather were concerned, so we moved out here and got married.

How have you found it so far?

It’s been good for the most part. There’s been quite an adjustment period, but we’re settling in. Obviously it’s hard to leave all your friends and family behind, but I’ve made some good friends out here, who’ve made me feel really welcome.

What differences and similarities, if any, have you noticed between the two country’s scenes?

Personally, I guess I notice the differences more easily than the similarities, and would suggest that, while it’s all Hip Hop music, the scenes are pretty dissimilar.

I’ve noticed out here how patriotic Australian’s tend to be, and that is certainly noticeable within the Hip Hop scene. While the scene and population is much smaller than the UK, artists out here get an incredible amount of support from fans, and it seems that the support is very much due to the Hip Hop being homegrown, and wanting to get behind local product. I guess it’s visible everywhere here, with constant reminders to ‘Support Australian Products’, you know? There’s a strong ethic out here to maintain the economy, so by default, you end up with die-hard Australian Hip Hop fans who really don’t check for much outside of their own country. It works out real well for the artists, I mean, take Hilltop Hoods as an obvious example. In the UK there just isn’t a comparable Hip Hop act, when it comes to their success. The Hoods are big out here, and not just on a Hip Hop level, but on a music level, winning ARIA’s, hitting number 1 in the charts, selling out tours, etc. We haven’t seen anywhere near that level of success with British Hip Hop, and I struggle to believe that we ever will.

Also, the general culture and multi-culturalism is very different out here, and I think that’s reflected in the Hip Hop scene. We all know that Hip Hop has it’s roots in Black culture, but to come out here and see audiences of almost exclusively White heads is a bit of a trip at first.

What do you miss about back in England, musically and non-musically?

Loads… Obviously, I miss my family and friends. That’s one of the weird things about emigrating – I never anticipated how, at the age of 30, I’d have to begin making friends. It’s bizarre. Other than that, I miss the quality of record shopping back home. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a record shopping addiction that verges on anally retentive or obsessive compulsive, where I need to buy original press copies of the records I’m after, and while London accommodated that for me, the record shops in Australia just aren’t able to service my needs. So I’m hitting Ebay more frequently and dealing online, but it’s not the same as digging through the crates and racks of a good used-records store and finding some gems.

” artists out here get an incredible amount of support from fans …”

So what have you been up to musically while you’ve been here?

Well, like I said, I linked up with Reason pretty soon after moving out here, and he was looking for a new tour DJ so I was happy to fill that spot. So, since then, we’ve toured most of Australia, playing some great shows – we were the Adelaide and Melbourne support for Funkoars on their album launch tour, and we played support for the Queensland leg of Bias B’s album launch tour. We played a charity gig in the Sydney Opera House, and have supported Souls Of Mischief, Arrested Development, Omni, and Yungun amongst others, here in Melbourne.

Currently we’re working on the First Class project, with Reason & Briggs. The plan is to release a joint album with Adelaide’s Cross Bred Mongrels. So, we’re recording half of the tracks for the album, and they’re recording the other half, and there will be a couple of First Class & Cross Bred Mongrels collaboration tracks. We’re almost done with that. Just a few bits and pieces to tie up, but so far we’re happy with what we’ve got recorded.

Other than that, I’m trying to get another Mix-CD done, but it’s been proving to be a pain in the arse. It’s been a few years since I released the ‘What’s Real?’ Mix-CD, and I always intended on following it up, but with the move out here, and getting settled, etc, it’s been put on the back burner. The ideas are there, I just haven’t got around o recording it. Hopefully before the year is out, I’ll have something in the works with that.

What in your opinion would be the ultimate AUS/UK collaboration? Pick one beatmaker, one DJ and four mc’s

That’s a hard call, but off the top of my head I’d suggest Trials of Funkoars on production, rhymes courtesy of Rodney P, Klashnekoff, Vents and Pegz and I’d throw myself on the cuts.

” I notice the differences more easily than the similarities …”

What would you recommend any UK heads reading this to check out?

Obviously peep the First Class / Cross Bred Mongrels release when it drops, and I have to mention Reason’s solo material and Briggs’ impending solo stuff. Other than that, I’d recommend Funkoars for the dirty, drunken raps. Those guys really know how to put on a live show, and Trials’ beats are top quality. I’d say Vents, who has just dropped his debut album, “Hard To Kill”, which also has some banging Trials production. Pegz is at the top of his game, and we’re all looking forward to his new LP, and Muph has consistently put out solid material that I think the UK crowd could get open to.

So how have you taken to AFL compared with the premiership back home?

Ha… I’ve not even sat through an entire game yet. Reason and the boys keep threatening to take me to a game, but it hasn’t happened yet, and from what I’ve seen, I’m not entirely convinced that I’ll enjoy AFL as much as I do the Premiership – although, as a West Ham supporter, there’s not been too much for me to enjoy there either.

Finally, any shouts?

Yeah, biggup the UK crew – all the regular heads I haven’t seen in ages and am too slack to email or text often enough – I miss you guys. And shout to my new Australian fam – you all know who you are – thanks for making me feel welcome. And of course, my wife, Corrie

– Fraksha

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