The newest 'next big thing' in hip hop talks sudden success, newfound haters and going sober-ish
In 2002, Eminem promised us that 20 million other white rappers would one day emerge, and looking around ten years later, it seems he was on to something. But homegrown artist 360 is standing out among the crowd. With three singles in the 2011 Triple J Hottest 100 and the so-catchy-its-grating single 'Boys Like You' (featuring Gossling) reaching double platinum sales, it's been a huge year for Melbourne's Matt Colwell (AKA 360). Plus his sophomore album Falling & Flying came out, he proposed to his girlfriend, gave up booze and will headline all-Aussie hip hop festival Come Together in June. 'Sixty' recently spoke with Time Out's Emma Joyce about the 180 his life's taken of late.
What do you make of your recent success?
It feels kind of surreal at the moment. I’m just soaking it up. Nothing feels like it’s happened yet. Every time someone says “the album’s gone platinum” or “the single’s gone double platinum” it still doesn’t feel like it has. Post-‘100’, when everything just took off, it was crazy. I picked up like 100,000 Facebook fans in a week or something. It was nuts.
And now you have 220,000 Facebook fans and over 16,000 Twitter followers. How do you find time to tweet?
I make time for it. It’s good for keeping that connection, and I think it’s helped get me to where I am today… [But] I get a lot of hate mail. I get a lot of people telling me I’m a sell-out and that they want to kill me, it’s kind of full-on…[But] everything that I do is what I want to be doing; I’m not compromising my music for money at all.
Now that you’re famous, are there any places that you can’t go to?
The sudden jump to fame has been hard to handle. It’s strange not being able to go out without being recognised and asked for a photo. The thing is, I’ve stopped drinking recently, I’m just a homebody now, so it’s good timing I guess.
Did you stop drinking alcohol for health reasons?
I’ve had a drink here and there, but I’m not interested in getting drunk anymore. I was a real heavy drinker for a couple of years and then once I stopped on tour last year for a couple of days. I noticed I was having problems; I was getting the sweats and shakes and shit like that, having withdrawals.
Did you feel like you were becoming an alcoholic?
Even though I never was a day-to-day drinker – more of a four-to five-days-a-week-thing or whenever we played gigs. Trying to stop and go cold turkey was when I noticed [I had] a bit of a problem.
You worked with indie singer-songwriter Gossling on ‘Boys Like You’ – is there anyone else you’d like to collaborate with?
Anyone’s who’s talented; I just want to make good music. Working with Gossling was a good thing, she’s a great songwriter and a great singer. I’ve got a wish list, I guess. I’d love to do something with Cee Lo Green… but that’s a bit of a high hope [laughs]. And Julian [Hamilton] from the Presets – I really would love to do a song with him.
Who are your music heroes? Who would you say has influenced your music?
The Beatles. I’ve always loved all of the Beatles’ stuff. When I was growing up, it was rappers like Eminem, and stuff like that…just good music… Stevie Wonder…
That’s quite an eclectic mix. Do you think that’s why your music crosses so many genres?
When I made this album I was listening to a lot of different shit, like it wasn’t just rap music. I’ve always been a rapper but I don’t really listen to that much rap, you know what I mean?
What does that feel like to be headlining Come Together?
It’s going to be absolutely mental. Every act on the bill is going to be epic!
360 plays all-Aussie hip hop festival Come Together, Jun 9, Luna Park.