Def Wish Cast emerged out of Sydney’s Western Suburbs in 1990 with a completely new style of music – fast, aggressive, infectious, Australian hip-hop. In doing so they spawned a new genre that would act as the soundtrack for a booming sub-culture and the seed of inspiration for countless future artists.
Twenty years on, Def Wish are about to drop their diverse fourth album, Evolution Machine. Ser Reck (OG of DFC) told Time Out it was a title that meant a lot to the band. “We’ve always had a great fan-base of old fans and a lot of old friends. And now people’s kids are into our music. The young people can enjoy this group that’s been around for 20 years and not turn around and go: I’m not into that, Mum! I think it’s come full circle. The Evolution Machine.”
The new album also reveals an evolution of sound. There’s no doubting the Cast have held on to their old-school flavour, but thanks to input by a swathe of practiced producers including M-Phazes, Plutonic Lab (Muph n Plutonic) and DJ JS1 (Rocksteady Crew), this record reaches into in a fresh stylistic realm. The result is a rollicking, soul-tinged, space-age party album rich with rhymes, synths, horns, and – out on top – some seriously statement-making Vocoder, courtesy of Brisbane’s Tom Thum.
“A kid and a robot – we love it. Because back then that kind of sound we used to see as a real futuristic sound. And it still is. It’s like a spin on it. When everything’s more synth-based, we come from the days of a lot of record hunting, and going through the breaks, and stuff like that, and obviously we keep a lot of that through our music. It’s very important. It kind of keeps it together.”
DWC have inspired a bunch of current acts, but Ser Reck says he gets plenty of inspiration from his genre contemporaries. “In Australia, I’ve got a lot of respect for people like Koolism and Resin Dogs. The Hilltop Hoods. Delta. All the guys down there. And just all these people keeping it together for all these years.”
The guys will kick off a national tour in Sydney this month, which ought to more than satisfy old fans as well as new. “We’re bringing a show, which is kind of not your normal support-support-headline, old rock-mentality gig. It’s more of an experience. We’re trying to take people on the journey and show from start to finish a lot of our music.”
Admittedly, there have been some pregnant gaps in between releases from the Cast (12 years at most), but any fans harbouring doubts as to the group’s staying power can nip those in the bud now.
“Look, this is it. This is our stretch. We’re going for the long haul on this one. No gaps in between. It’s pretty exciting.”