In director Park Chan-wook’s 2003 neonoir thriller Oldboy, a person is held captive for 15 years earlier than being stuffed in a trunk and hauled out into an empty subject, left alone to resolve the thriller of how he obtained there and why.
20 years and eight,000km away, the members of high-octane hip-hop collective 1300 (pronounced one-three-hundred) easy down their collars, mess up their hair and do their finest impressions of the character Oh Dae-su and the goons terrorising him for his or her single, additionally named Oldboy. However the place Oh Dae-su stood alone, 1300 mob the digicam as a pack, grinning whereas rapping with a number of the most spectacular supply seen in an Australian outfit in years.
1300 producer and singer Nerdie describes the affect of the movie – and South Korean tradition broadly – on the music 1300 is now making within the suburbs of Sydney. “I watched a whole lot of fucked-up motion pictures after I was a child,” the 24-year-old says. “I had free rein. My grandpa had a DVD retailer within the storage the place you’d lease out, like, bootleg DVDs. I simply watched all of this loopy shit. I watched iRobot on repeat for like every week.”
He and rapper Rako, additionally 24, are talking to Guardian Australia on a break from a day within the studio. They move a vape backwards and forwards between them as they recall how they met their fellow band members – rappers Dali Hart, 23, and Goyo, 26, and producer Pokari.Sweat, 31 – in 2020, after noticing each other floating across the Korean music neighborhood in Sydney. “It’s not a giant scene,” Nerdie clarifies. “It’s similar to just a few individuals.”
In early 2021, once they launched their breakout single No Caller ID, it was clear 1300 had hit on a uncommon chemical response. “You don’t want to talk the tongue to know it is a banger,” Koolism’s Hau Latukefu, the host of Triple J’s devoted hip-hop present, wrote in a evaluation.
1300 bend and meld Korean and English into their lyrics, whereas their manufacturing attracts from each up to date references – from SoundCloud rap to accommodate and hardstyle – and the emo and punk-pop they consumed as youngsters.
“All of us grew up listening to what youngsters would hearken to in Australia,” Nerdie says, name-checking Fallout Boy, Panic! on the Disco and Linkin Park, alongside dance and US hip-hop. “Me and [Pokari.Sweat] are Australian, so there’s a particularly western affect on the manufacturing – I assume that’s why it’d really feel a bit completely different to Korean individuals making western sounds in Korea.”
Rako’s expertise was a bit completely different; he grew up in Perth, however virtually completely consumed music popping out of Korea. “Our 5 members’ music tastes [vary], and the quantity of publicity to Korean tradition can be completely different,” he says. Between them, they run the spectrum “from non-Korean tradition to very Korean tradition – and we meet within the center”.
On their debut mixtape International Language, 1300 actually flex their muscle groups, refusing to sit down in a single place for too lengthy. For each slick and good tune like Rocksta, there’s a monitor like Ralph – listening to it appears like sticking your head in a pinball machine. Like Oh Dae-su heaving himself out of the trunk, 1300 catapults you into the long run and leaves you to fill within the blanks of how you bought there.
They’re following up the discharge of the file with a string of dwell reveals, notably a spot at Splendour within the Grass and nationwide dates supporting Confidence Man, after a pitstop on the Sydney Opera Home as a part of Vivid.
It’s a major present for a band who weren’t certain, a yr in the past, whether or not Australia had the abdomen for what they have been getting ready.
“We by no means thought that Australian music individuals would choose our music up,” Rako says. “You understand, we write in Korean. We at all times thought, the language barrier is a fairly large fence to go over.”
“It simply doesn’t exist in your thoughts, like the likelihood that it may work,” Nerdie agrees. “Simply trigger you’re a Korean child. Making bizarre hip-hop music. In Australia. It simply doesn’t make any sense, like why would individuals like this? Come on!”
Over time, the boundaries round a style like Australian hip-hop – one which, for many years, solely sounded and appeared like one factor – have come down, and new voices have grown louder. “There’s two generations,” Nerdie says: “all of the classics” he adopted rising up, together with 360, Kerser and Hilltop Hoods, and “this kind of new era of extra various artists which can be doing afrobeat and all types of various stuff” – amongst them Genesis Owusu, whose dwell reveals 1300 have supported, Agung Mango and Raj Mahal, each of whom characteristic on International Language.
“It’s simply been such a shift in mindset,” Nerdie says, of how Australia’s love for 1300 has led him and his bandmates to take what they’re doing extra significantly. However he may simply as simply be speaking concerning the years of sluggish, incremental change which have led to the purpose the place 1300 are actually, rising as probably the most promising and dynamic act Australia has produced in years.
“We weren’t planning to be this large, to be this standard. We didn’t suppose anybody would really like it, to be sincere. However there’s no restrict to the place it might probably go now.”
1300 are performing as a part of Vivid at the Sydney Opera House on 27 May. International Language is out now (ADA)