After a slew of mixtapes, Allday has a healthy back catalogue to reflect on as he preps his hotly anticipated debut LP Startup Cult. The Adelaide-to-Melbourne emcee is fresh off a sold out tour with Sydney act Jackie Onassis, admist the whirlwind that is his rapidly growing career we had a chat with Allday to discuss the new album, what he has learned from putting out so many mixtapes, his growth as an artist, and more.
How are you feeling about the album release?
Yeah I’m pretty nervous I guess. I guess because the music is a bit different from some of my other music that people know. So like I could have given them a bit of an easier pop tune but I just made an album that I really like, I did the best I could at the time. I’m pretty psyched. I just got to believe in it!
You’ve put out so many mixtapes in the past. Has all this experience with putting out constant material helped with the process of making Startup Cult?
I think it was a bit detrimental [laughs]. Even though I’ve been rapping for awhile and I know how to craft a song on paper and rap a verse into the microphone, I was kind of lacking in the area of perfectionism and my understanding about audio quality; all these things that you really have to start thinking about if you’re going to make an album that’s comparable to other artists who you want to rival in the industry, like successful ones. That was a process I had to learn when this album started, because there was a lot of stress getting there. I feel like towards the end of the album I started to understand it a lot better.
What are some of the main lessons you learned during the recording process that you feel is going to help you in your career?
Well I think number one is like it doesn’t matter how long it takes, as long as it sounds good. I would often get really stressed and go through all these stages of grief while I was recording, but by the end I was like ‘oh man, don’t get so bummed about it, just keep going.’
Another one I learned was that if you do something you hate and you know you don’t like it, don’t think that you’ll like it later – you’ll hate it forever and not let it go. Just go off instincts.
Also EVERYTHING is your responsibility; handle your shit!
Do you wish you knew all that before you started putting out mixtapes or are you happy with how everything has gone?
Yeah for sure, some people have like older people, who can help them in and school them, but I guess you can only learn at your own pace. I don’t regret anything, but part of me just wishes I could have put in the same effort into everything I’ve done.
What do you feel are some of the benefits from having had so many mixtapes? I know you’ve said in the past that there are a lot of tracks that you don’t like yourself, but do you see some positive in it?
Yeah, I mean there was a lot of tracks for people to grab from. Some people might like five or six of my songs, and all five or six of those would be songs which I fucking hate. But something about that group of songs has really appealed to them. So that could kind of go in the different kind of sub-genres that I mess around with. Hopefully with this album they can still like all the music though, but the mixtapes was definitely a way to draw people in. So that was kind of the cool thing, and not having to keep people waiting like three years for an album because people have a short attention span these days. I know that myself, like bands I listened to three years ago I’d tend to forget about.
What kind of bands are you listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to heaps of PARTYNEXTDOOR right now – I really like that dude. The new Ed Sheeran album is really cool. I just re-downloaded all The Vines stuff, I used to listen to them a lot when I was young. And Future as well; I really like his album!
You’ve said that you draw a lot of your influences from American artists. Has the evolution of your sound mirrored the changes in commercial music over there?
Right now I know what kind of sound I want to make, and I always listen to that type of music. Since I started recording rap, I still listen to the same things as I did back then, but I’d just rap on anything. Rapping to me was more about the experience of getting to write my stuff down and standing in front of a microphone because that was fun. Only now am I getting to take more control of it all, so I can control the sound I want to make. Hopefully I can make something that’s interesting in it’s own right and has it’s own sound.
What kind of topics do you deal with on the Startup Cult?
Just like adjusting to this life, and my current situations. I’m away a lot from home touring and all that kind of stuff. It’s a lot less about high school and all that now; just kind of the stage of life I’m in – early 20’s and all that.
You have a very honest and open approach to social media. How important do you feel it is for up and coming artists to be as involved with social media as you have been?
Sometimes my lack of mystery can work against me, and some artists use that mystery really well! But I guess, with being myself, it works because it’s good for people to get to know me, and I hope it helps them enjoy the music a bit more as well.
You recently had a mobile listening party in Sydney and Melbourne. How did you come up with the idea of having a listening party on a private bus?
I originally wanted to just like get a car and pick people up but then thought about how we could make it bigger. So then we just got some fans onto a bus and drove them around; we got a bunch of selfies and they would call their friends and all that. I just wanted to thank them all for being such legends.
I’ve never been someone who has been made super cool by all the scenester blogs and all that, so it’s always been the fans, it’s always been about the fans over everything. So let’s not do a small listening party with bloggers, let’s do a fan bus listening party!
At the time I was like ‘these guys didn’t have fun,’ but then I would go on instagram after and read people saying it was the best day of their life and all that. Giving people that really cool experience was great, hopefully for some people they can have that memory forever.
Your profile is growing at a tremendous rate. Do you feel that once you get bigger as an artist you’d still have time for intimate events like this?
I hope so man, I hope we can do it to some degree. There would definitely be a level when it would get too much. I spend a lot of hours everyday replying to fans, I’m really happy to do that, but I can’t reply to everyone. I have thousands of messages and I can’t get to everyone, it really breaks my heart. That’s why I’m trying to move onto things like the bus idea, like not everyone will get to go but some people will get the chance to have an experience way better than getting a reply.
So you said that you have learned to not stick with songs that you don’t really like as you have done in the past. Do you feel like we will be getting the same level of output from you in the future?
I don’t know if it’ll be as fast as I was going with the mixtapes. I like putting out a lot of free music, but now when I drop a new link on the internet you know it’ll be something worth playing; that’s what I want for my music now.
If I see like an artist who I like drop a song on their social media channel then I don’t want it to be a half-hearted song, I want it to be something I’d put on repeat.
I’ve got a bunch of songs that I’m sitting on at the moment that I want to put out for free but I’m not going to, not until I get one that I really like.
This interview can be found on the AU review.