Deadbeat & Hazy
By Victoria Saule - Photography by MR OWL.
Hearing about the adventures of hip-hop duo Deadbeat & Hazy, you’d assume the Australian Government had already fast-forwarded plans to legalise marijuana. The pair makes no attempt to hide their love of herbal greens; writing songs like their latest single “Snacks”, clearly about blazing up and celebrating International 420 Day with a warehouse party - where a $15 ticket rewarded early-bird patrons with a free joint. However, Deadbeat and Hazy are a whole lot more than just two stoners. Ambitions high, these two are working harder than ever to carve their name onto the walls of Australia’s thriving hip-hop culture.
Now has never been a better time to be associated with Australian hip-hop, with international acts like Bliss n Eso and the Hilltop Hoods making Australia synonymous with hell-good hip hop as they tour around the globe.
Enter Deadbeat and Hazy – already well known locally for rapper Deadbeat’s theatrical live performance and the expertly produced beats of Hazy, dripping with bass more provocative than Kanye and Jay-Z in Paris. After a short hiatus from the scene, the duo have returned more driven than ever to amass an Australian fan-base and stand out from other local hip-hop acts. Meeting them on a lazy Sunday Afternoon, it was easy to see how the pair have worked so well together for so long; the boisterous energy of Deadbeat, aka Roy balanced out by the slightly more introverted Hazy (Josh).
“I love making music in the studio, and he loves rapping it so it works for us because we both get to do what we really want. We have so much fun playing gigs and we’ve made so many friends along the way and supported some big names and we’re getting better and better every gig.”
“We met over longies and joints,” said Hazy, reminiscing on the fateful night he first met Deadbeat at a house party in Bondi. At the time, Deadbeat had already written a number of his own raps and Hazy was in the process of saving up to buy his own music mixing gear.
“I finally got some gear and he (Deadbeat) would come over, and we’d get drunk and I’d just play some really basic beat and he’d just freestyle over it…and so we slowly started becoming homies.”
Their first organised gig was supported by none other than DJ Izm from Bliss n Eso - a sign the pair are destined for greatness.
“I was working with Izm’s best friend and he introduced me to him, and he (Izm) was just the sickest dude ever and we had a gig a couple of days later and he said: ‘I’ll come to your gig and spin 15 minutes before you guys go on …but don’t put it on the internet because I’ll get in trouble, just tell everyone.’
“He carried his decks on a train from out west somewhere to the gig… everyone knew who he was so the place was packed and then he just did this crazy spin for 15 minutes and then we came on and that was our first gig, and it was packed….that was the best thing ever.”
Since then, the duo has performed frequently in bars and hotels around Sydney while simultaneously recording and self-producing six film clips for their new EP Ghosts.
Both agree that the lengthy process helped them develop their unique sound. Trying to adequately describe this sound is like trying to explain the logic behind cronuts to someone that doesn’t know what either a doughnut or a croissant is. Predominately driven by Hazy’s “prolific” experiments with different genres of sounds – like funk and trap, the result sounds as good as a cronut tastes.
“I just don’t think I can do anything else, like I don’t really have any other hobbies or anything…It’s what I like to do”
“I just do it all from feel, all from what I hear.”
Before moving to Australia, Hazy spent his childhood in sound studios with his father in Ireland, who taught him everything he knows today. This inspired Hazy’s current preoccupation with creating and weaving together new beats for Deadbeat as well as other local hip-hop artists.
“Yeah, we’re trying to stay away from generic hip hop beats,” finished Deadbeat, emulating the duo’s obvious desire to stand out from the crowd.
Standing out from the crowd, Hazy is also unafraid to live-mix Deadbeat’s voice during performances. These performances are also more notably spiced up by Deadbeat’s theatrics – that seemingly require the amount of energy needed to run a half marathon, carried out during 3-song long rap-marathons.
“That’s why I love performing with him (Deadbeat)… He will literally run from one end of the stage to the other – I don’t know where he is half the time.”
Deadbeat thrives off the buzz of performing; “The skill is to let go, to not care– as soon as you are aware of yourself and you become conscious of yourself, then everything crumbles.”
As the duo’s lyrical genius, Deadbeat uses rapping not only to promote the effects of blazing up and re-tell weed-induced adventures, but as a means of critiquing issues prevalent in society. Like many rappers before him, Deadbeat’s lyrics are derived from uneasy middle-class guilt.
“We know we have all these issues yet we do nothing about them – pollution, war, starvation, disease - all these things that we could fix, or we could resolve, or we should be raising our voice and concerns about, but because we’re happy, and we’re comfortable, and we live these lives… we don’t.
The pair is in the process of producing yet another video clip ahead of their Halloween themed performance at Wasted Years on the 1st of November.
“We’re still working as hard as ever, still pumping out stuff.”
Catch the boys drop some ghoulish space jams this weekend at WASTED YEARS PRESENTS BLACK MASS 1999.
When: Saturday 1st 8pm
Where: 34- 44 Oxford St, Darlinghurst.