By Ren Kirk
Homebrew Crew have become well known for their fresh take on hip hop, delivering catchy beats, cheeky rhymes and plenty of humour.
All this is delightfully balanced with an exciting mix of fresh funk that results in a unique sound and perspective.
And live... their shows are just so much fun, you can’t help but have a good time!
They’ve had a busy 2010 and have plenty to look forward to in 2011, particularly getting to play their first Big Day Out.
I got to catch up with Tom Scott and find out a bit more about the music, morons and his mates.
What got you into music Tom?
My old man is a bass player so it was always in family, kind of stuck in my genes really, I had no choice. And growing up listening to the radio - taping things off the radio and making mix-tapes (sux you can’t do that anymore). Music got me into music
And how did Homebrew come about?
It started with me and Shaun (Hopkins), cause he lived just up the road from me. We were drinking and he played me some stuff and it was cool, so we started making some beats. We had a tiny Britney Spears microphone from Dick Smith. Then I met Haz and we started doing more stuff and it’s going pretty well now. I think it’s cause we appeal to morons. Not that our fans are morons, but just that our music is easy.
So how many of you are there in the Homebrew Crew?
Haz on vocals and he does almost all the production. Me (Tom Scott), I’m the lyricist. Lui Gumaka is also vocals and Glen Davison is our DJ. Ben McNicholl on sax, Chip Matthews plays bass and Tom Broome on drums. And Tugi (I don’t know how to spell his last name, it has about 17 letters in it) plays guitar.
And how would you describe your sound? Hip hop?
Yeah, definitely hip hop. Hip hop kinda got a bit of a bad name for a bit there, but underground hip hop is still really healthy. There’s a whole lot of people doing it and I’m proud to be making it now. I guess what separates us from other hip hop is the content, I don’t talk about what they normally talk about. But really it’s the same, its talking about our everyday lives but it just seems different because of what the music industry normally promotes in terms of hip hop. The media pushes all the gangster stuff and it’s just the same shit. So sometimes people don’t get to hear what’s really out there, they don’t give you the option. I don’t believe that people are stupid and don’t appreciate intelligent music, often just not given the chance.... especially if they listen to commercial radio!
You guys have had a busy year this year, VNZMA Critics’ Choice Awards, playing lots of gigs... what have you enjoyed most this year, what would be the highlights for you?
Running amok on tours. They’re all my best mates and we get to travel the country together. The Good Country Tour we went to all these tiny towns in NZ, like Oakune, Palmerston North and that was cool. It’s really good as performers to play people who’ve never heard you cause in Auckland the scene is so small so we’ve got to keep changing our shit all the time, forces creativity
Next year you’re straight into it with The Beaches & Hose Summer Tour, where you’ll be playing different beaches on the back of your Jagermeister tour bus, with hoses and a water slide. Sounds pretty awesome, how’d you guys come up with the idea?
We sat around thinking and someone said it’d be cool to have something to do with the beach and then someone else came up with the name, which is probably completely inappropriate. But we wanted it to be about the beach and getting outside and enjoying summer. And we thought the waterslide would be wicked - it’s kinda all about the waterslide and the music is just a bonus.
And straight after that Homebrew Crew is playing their first Big Day Out. Is that exciting, are you guys pretty happy to be asked to do it?
Hardout! We screamed like school girls when we found out, and then we were just like, “oh yeah, sweet”. I’ve always gone to it and always wanted to play at it. It’s pretty legendary and I wanna do a real good show!
So do you think it will be quite different being there as a performer?
Yeah it will definitely be a different vibe playing it. Have to try and take full advantage of our backstage passes, maybe try and steal Tool’s rider or something.
Are you nervous about it at all, it’s a pretty big deal isn’t it?
Yeah, but not nervous. The hardest kind of gigs are ones when there’s hardly any people there and we know there will be plenty of people at this one. So long as you’ve done your rehearsals and put the time in before then it’s sweet.
Who do you want to see at The Big Day Out?
I really wanna see Black Milk and M.I.A would be pretty cool too.
So is there an album in the works for Homebrew Crew?
Maybe next year sometime. But I don’t even know if that format is relevant at the moment. We try to make heaps of music so we’ve always got stuff to play live and that’s kinda where it’s at. I mean we have to make some money since we got kicked off the benefit – just don’t know if an albums worth it. These days your iPod’s just full of stuff and it’s not like when you used to get a new CD and you’d listen to it solid for a month and have it in your car and stuff. Now you can just constantly download new stuff and so many people are doing it and competing against each other. An album seems to sort of go against the grain. But maybe that idea’s wrong, we’ll see.
How do you guys make music? Is it a collaborative process?
I like working together with people much more and me and Haz hang out anyway. It’s cool when we just sorta spend the day doing whatever and making music. Especially cause we can’t help subliminally competing with each other and trying to impress each other so we do better stuff. I like working with other artists too, you get to see and be influenced by the what they’re up to. So yeah I definitely prefer working with other people but not always possible... I mean me and Haz live on different sides of Auckland so sometimes he just sends a beat through and we do it that way.
What’s the best gig you’ve been to lately?
Pharoahe Monch, who used to be in organised Confusion, changed the way people rhyme and is one of my favourite musicians. I went to his show earlier this year and I don’t remember anything! I’ve seen footage, I’m jumping around and look like the best night of my life, but yeah I don’t remember any of it which sux.
If you could share the stage with anyone (band or person) who would it be?
I wouldn’t want to share the stage with my idols, I’d just be bummed out. There’s no one I’d rather share the stage with then Team Dynamite and Nothing To Nobody really. We’re all really good friends and I love jumping on stage with them. Koru Licks are a means as band too, I’d be stoked to be with them. Friends and local acts are the best... although one time I did get to rhyme with Blu, and it blew my mind. They did a show in Auckland and my missus pushed me up there.
Most underrated NZ band / artist in your opinion?
Team Dynamite and Nothing To Nobody definitely, but it’s just a matter of time and them marketing themselves more. Electric Wire Hustle is probably the most underrated band in NZ, but they’re doing so well everywhere else so maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe that’s living the dream? They’d get to avoid all that stupid stuff, like, “You’re that EWH guy aren’t you?”... they’re probably doing it on purpose.We played with them at an AUT gig and the audience, well, it just went over their head. It’s like the crowd were 3rd form, we were 5th form, but EWH were 7th form. The crowd could mostly relate to us, but not to the 7th formers, it was just beyond them.
With Christmas so close what’s your best present idea?
Well last year I wrote my grand dad an invoice for everything I owed him. Just everything he’s ever done for me... which was a lot and it was a pretty big list. So like teaching me to ride a bike, ice cream money, the rate a councillor would get paid... I was a bit of a ratbag.
And what are your three favourite things about summer?
Sun, water, and walking outside with no shoes on; the feeling of grass on your bare feet.
The Big Day Out takes place at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium on January 21, 2011. For more information, visit the official Big Day Out website.
For your chance to win the ultimate Big Day Out experience, check out tv3.co.nz.