If you haven’t already had your head slapped in by Ruff, Rug’d N Raw, the new EP from Arch The Rival, stop what you’re doing in and go listen to it now. The EP is a seven-track collection of unapologetic, blistering hip-hop, and we’ve had it spinning on repeat ever since we first laid ears on it.
So fresh off the EP’s release, we caught up with the artist himself to chat all about it, musical influences, and what the future holds.
With an epic new EP, Ruff Rud’d N Raw, fresh under his belt, we caught up with Melbourne MC Arch The Rival to chat all about it.
HAPPY: Hey, how’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?
ARCH THE RIVAL: Hey, good thanks and hope you’re good too! Currently, I am grinding like a crazy person. Pushing my music out into the world and pushing my musical boundaries to create something new and vibrant while working unthinkable hours to fund my projects and continue to hit the gym as much as I can. Then sleep and repeat haha.
HAPPY: We’ve been loving Ruff, Rug’d N Raw! How does it feel having the EP out there in the world?
ATR: Incredible! I was originally going to release it in 2019 with only 5 tracks but it feels good to release it in 2020 with 7. It’s awesome how much love it’s getting too so I appreciate everyone for their positive words.
HAPPY: I know it’s a tough question, but do you have a favourite track off the EP?
ATR: Definitely What’s the Word? Not only is writing politically driven, thought-provoking lyrics my forte but I feel the way I manipulate my voice throughout this particular song takes you on a bit of a journey. I first wrote it when I was seventeen as a seventy-four bar straight verse but revisited the lyrics last year then added, removed, and moved stuff around. It also took about 10 minutes to record, mix and master so that is something I also take pride in.
HAPPY: How did you approach the writing/recording of this new release differently to past material? If at all…
ATR: I knew what I wanted. I had only been in a few studios prior to Salt Studios in Brighton East where I record all of my material up to date and had never had a clear vision for what I wanted which lead to me getting played a bit. But I am now wiser and older. All I’m missing is a grey beard and a pointy hat. For the writing, I wanted to explore concepts that were more fun and relaxed. Since I started rapping I’ve always been about lyrical content but not too long ago it hit me, you don’t always have to be serious. Have some fun, show off some skills and crack a few puns.
HAPPY: It feels like you explore some pretty diverse sounds across the EP. Do you generally have pretty diverse musical tastes?
ATR: I grew up listening to EVERYTHING! My Father always played rock n roll. Elvis, Kiss, The Doors etc plus being Italian I never heard the end of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. My Mother, on the other hand, was more jazz, pop and classical. Always knew the words to Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart and more. I never got into classical though but apparently it was played to me while I was in the womb chillin’. My brothers showed me RnB, hip-hop and rap when I was probably 6 and ever since then I loved it. All I would listen to was Tupac after I heard him.
HAPPY: Were there any particular artists you were listening to during the making of the EP?
ATR: No one that had any direct influence. Whenever I work on something I mainly just listen to a lot of beats and try to find something that not only I vibe with but something different and interesting than what everyone else is doing.
HAPPY: And even though a lot of the songs have different vibes, it still feels like you’ve got a very concrete vision of your sound. Was this something it took some time to develop, or do you feel like you’ve always had that?
ATR: I’ve always had what you would call a pretty confrontational voice and personality. It’s that voice of “I have something to say and you better damn well bloody listen”. My mother says that I’ve been that way since I was a child. I call it a gift but she calls it a nightmare haha!
HAPPY: What’s next for Arch The Rival? Any other exciting plans in the works?
ATR: 2020 for me is A LOT of hustling and trying to build the foundations of my career as Arch the Rival. And yes I have plenty of projects in the works. You’ll hear plenty of collaborations from me this year, at least 1 BIG single and keep it on the hush hush but I’ve already started working on my debut album for next year ;).
HAPPY: Cheers for the chat!
ATR: No, thank you! It’s been a pleasure.
Ruff Rug’d N Raw is available now. Listen above.