Enjoying some quiet time before starting the biggest hip-hop tour in Australian history, Seth Sentry talks video games, defying expectations and pushing his rap into new territory.
This through provoking illustration of Seth is by Phoebe Paradise.
SETH: Hey man what’s going on?
HAPPY: Nothing much man, just chilling here*. You?
SETH: Yeah same, just chilling. I’ve got a week or two before we start this tour so I’m just trying to embrace being home as much as I can. Right now I’m playing The Witcher 3.
HAPPY: Oh cool, how is it?
SETH: It’s fucking awesome man, it’s fucking awesome. I’ve been messaging all my mates. Pretty much half the rappers in the country are playing the The Witcher 3 right now. It could be the end of Australian music (laughs).
HAPPY: Yeah, rap is gonna die out because of the game! Who else have you been chatting to about it?
SETH: Trials from The Funkoars is big on it right now.
HAPPY: Is that your favourite game?
SETH: Nah, my favourites are shooters and shit, I don’t know, sometimes it’s good to have a good RPG. Especially when you sink so much time into them and you do something like this monster tour you need something to occupy yourself when you’re on the road. The tour van we have has a TV in it, so I can play games while I travel around the country.
HAPPY: Cool! Did you ever play Fable?
SETH: Oh yeah, that was a sick game!
HAPPY: It seriously put your moral compass to the test.
SETH: That’s right, if you turned badass you’d look badass and people would be scared of you! You could evoke fear in the villagers!
HAPPY: Well that’s pretty cool you get to play the game while you’re on tour man. I believe this is the biggest hip-hop tour ever in Australia.
SETH: That’s right. There’s 47 dates, but then we had to fix up a festival so now it’s 48.
HAPPY: That’s crazy man. How do you prepare yourself for that?
SETH: Prepare? I don’t think you can really prepare. You’ve got to be kind of fit I guess. So I’m trying to do a bit of running and stuff, get my cardio up and just mentally prepare. Try spend as much time at home and playing games and sleeping in my own bed and just being normal. Just have a sense of normality because it all goes out the window once you hit tour life.
HAPPY: How so?
SETH: Well you’re just in a different town everyday, it’s constant movement.
HAPPY: At least you can take Witcher with you for some normalcy!
SETH: Yeah that’s it!
HAPPY: Well of course you’re heading out for your new one Strange New Past, and first off it’s a pretty sick album.
SETH: Thanks man.
HAPPY: Something that really stands out is the introspectiveness of it all and really focused.
SETH: Yeah. I didn’t set out to do that all. I just wanted to make something a little more serious and earnest I guess. And also make a more classic rap sounding album. I wanted to capture that nostalgia from when I was really getting into my rap shit in that mid to late 90s stuff. A lot of sample based stuff but still have it kind of contemporary. Ad just rap, I just wanted to really push myself lyrically and flow wise compared to the last album.
HAPPY: What inspired that drive?
SETH: I’m not sure. Definitely part of it was doing the last album and having such weird varied topics and I felt maybe – because rap is still such a competitive thing for me, I’m stuck in that open mic era, I still wana prove myself – and I felt the way I was rapping some of my flow was getting over looked for the topics. People were like “Oh yeah the hoverboard song” or “The share house song“, rather than looking at the way I was doing it. So I just wanted to put as much skills as I could to the forefront. So yeah, hopefully we achieved what we set out to do.
HAPPY: You definitely got those vibes for sure man. One line that really sticks out is in How Are You “I hate love, I’ll never break a heart again“, that really struck out and seems to carry on throughout the album. Like you’re speaking to a younger version of yourself at the same time building something new.
SETH: Yeah, kind of man. It was a weird album. It was one where I didn’t over think topics and stuff, I just went with my first instincts. That second verse in How Are You it actually references all the songs that are on the album. It ties in with the other songs. On 1969 I go back and re-do the moon landing but make it about the moon explosion, rather than landing on the moon we’ve blown it up in this alternate past. Throughout other songs I’ll reference that there’s no moon. In Rooftop Hooligans where I talk about having a seance in our house you can hear a Hellboy chant in the background like we’re summoning this hell boy to this share house. So that was really fun to do on this album; having little tie-ins and making it really cohesive with little easter eggs and shit.
HAPPY: That’s pretty cool. And you only worked with the one producer Stylaz Fuego, how was it working with him?
SETH: It was great. He did a few songs on the last album as well. It just felt right. It was the first time I had an executive producer as well and it made the whole process much easier and gave it so much more focus and direction.
HAPPY: What was it about your relationship that helped bring it all together?
SETH: Well it definitely helps that we are the same age and both had the same goal with the album. We just wanted to make a rap album. He’d been doing a lot of pop-y stuff and his heart wasn’t into making another pop-y rap album and I didn’t want to do that either. I felt that maybe it was kind of expected of me at this point in my career to do something a little more pop.
HAPPY: Oh really?
SETH: Yeah, which is understandable and it’s what people do. I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to make a rap album for me really, and my friends, and to put some fear into the other rappers (laughs). So we were both on the same page for that, it was one of the first things we did in that first session. We wanted a contemporary album that gives you that nostalgic feel. That was awesome.
HAPPY: There’s definitely that attitude and sense of direction. You talk about people expecting you to do a pop album, were people literally asking you or was that just the vibe?
SETH: Well both really. That’s just the progression. It’s weird because your softer songs are the ones that do the best. Ones like Float Away are the big ones. There’s a part of you that’s like “Maybe I’ll do a whole album full of that“, but my heart just wasn’t it. I obviously enjoy both writing and performing the harder stuff anyway. I’ll push myself lyrically. There’s no song on the album that I feel Kind of rested on the lyrics tip or the delivery tip. I felt on the last album I was a little bit lax on some of my deliveries. I listen back to it now and I’m not really rapping hard enough, I can’t really describe it. So I really wanted to push myself and be a little dynamic in the delivery. Get some emotion across you know?
HAPPY: Definitely man, and it’s great to hear it on the album. We’re almost out of time so we’ll go to out last question. At Happy we always talk about stuff that makes us happy, so Seth what makes you happy man?
SETH: At the moment my own bed. It makes me so happy! I get two more week more of happiness. And hot sauce, hot sauce make me happy really as well!
HAPPY: What kind of hot sauce are we talking about here?
SETH: I’ve got a ridiculous amount of hot sauce, I’ve got at least 40 bottles. Hang on, let me check (Seth walks over to his kitchen). At the moment my favourite is Green Amazon Hot Sauce. It’s not that hot. Sometimes my friends say it’s hot but I don’t push it, I don’t like the taste of pain. It’s just to accent the food.
HAPPY: Give it some character.
HAPPY: Just like your harder style rapping on the new album.
SETH: Oh hey! Nice segue bro! (laughs).
*Ed. Lol. You’re working. Working your fucking ass off.
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Check out our feature on the origins of the Mario theme song too!