Driftwood talks South Sydney, sticking to your guns, and single ’20 Blocks’

Driftwood is an emerging artist with a thoughtful demeanour and undeniable flow. Here’s the story behind 20 Blocks.

Multidisciplinary artist Driftwood is moving from strength to strength, captivating fans with his unique sense of RnB/soul, and vivid music videos.

A storyteller with conviction, we couldn’t wait to chat with him about his latest offering, 20 Blocks. Take a look.


HAPPY: Hey Driftwood! Whereabouts do you find yourself today?

DRIFTWOOD: Aye Happy! I’ve been locked away studio writing and producing this past year and a half. I find myself growing and learning every day. When I’m not doing that and where COVID has legally allowed me to film, I have been directing and filming with my DOP Matt Scott Chow and editing and making sense of the work.

HAPPY: Massive congrats on the release of 20 Blocks, tell us a bit about the track!

DRIFTWOOD: Thank you, I’m grateful! The track is about parts of South Sydney, mainly working/lower social-economic class communities. I’ve grown up in this community and so have my mates. This song isn’t about me though. This is an ode to South Sydney – there are a lot of untold stories in these parts.


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HAPPY: The track is a tribute to your neighbourhood, South Sydney – how do the sounds and visuals represent the area? What about the neighbourhood inspired you to create a track/music video about it?

DRIFTWOOD: The visuals are a tribute to my community. I tried to capture the heart of South Sydney, the South Sydney I know. Not the pretty parts that you see in the media, but the parts that are more often than not overlooked. The beauty in the bricks. I have a lot of memories of these areas, a lot of good and bad and I cherish both. I have a lot of mates who have loved, lived and lost in these areas. A lot of untold stories. South Sydney is a very proud community.

HAPPY: What do you hope your audience takes away from 20 Blocks?

DRIFTWOOD: I’m not a poster boy for South Sydney, I just hope to shed some light on these areas and share my 2 cents. I hope that people know there is a conversation over here as well. I don’t think it’s being reflected on enough.

HAPPY: Who were some sonic references for the track?

DRIFTWOOD: Too many to mention. The beat was made by a producer called Cobra who is based in LA.


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HAPPY: You’ve mentioned that the music video was re-edited 8 times… how do you strike a compromise between creating something you’re happy with and works that are never ready?

DRIFTWOOD: The clip was a few steps away from my normal workflow. I had a lot of different frame rates, cameras, styles and techniques I was trying to combine into one moment. That’s a lot of energy to make sense of.

The first five edits felt completely wrong. I was going mad trying to edit it lol.

For me, my work is done when I have truly come to peace with it, but it’s different with every piece. Every video is a new process, a new understanding of the nuance of technique pertaining to the vision. Authenticity and a sense of self-help were guiding posts but fluidity is key as well. If you have to scrap it and start again it wasn’t a waste of time. It was a stepping stone – a shedding of energy to get you where you needed to be.

A friend told me The Beatles would re-record a song in every key sometimes. I remember seeing Kanye say it took literally 5000 hours to make. Those are my icons, those things help when I’m five edits deep and have to start again. How far are you willing to go I guess.


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HAPPY: What advice would you have for artists just starting their music career?

DRIFTWOOD: Work at your craft don’t talk about it don’t think about it, actively work at it. Create as often as you can, as consistently as you can. Protect your energy. Protect your space. Protect your vision.

Taste is important. Execution is important. Don’t let your thoughts fuck you up. Don’t be afraid to walk alone. Don’t be afraid to paint something that no one understands. Distinguish yourself a purpose. You are accountable to yourself in 60 years. It’s your work, make sure you paint a picture that you will be proud of.

HAPPY: What can we expect in the future for Driftwood?

DRIFTWOOD: I want to play live. There is a lot of work that I am yet to share and I want to continue to grow as an artist.

HAPPY: Cheers!

DRIFTWOOD: Thanks heaps, means a lot – never done an interview like this before.

Check out the immersive music video for 20 Blocks below:

Interview by Jasmine Kassis