All posts tagged kenny

  • The Vine interview: Kenny Sabir of The Herd, April 2011

    An interview for The Vine. Excerpt below.

    Interview – The Herd

    After spending ten years at the forefront of Australian hip-hop, you could forgive The Herd if they became complacent. Ten years in anything is a long time, let alone the music business. Yet complacency is the furthest thing from the minds of this Sydney collective, whose eight members have earned a reputation for both their energetic live shows – owing equally to the live instrumentation and sheer number of bodies on stage – and their want to challenge Australian society and politics thereof. See: ‘77%’, whose chorus call of “These cunts need a shake-up” was directed at the ‘77%’ of Australians who (according to a poll) supported the then-Howard government’s response to refusing to allow a distressed fishing vessel, the Tampa, to enter Australian waters. See also: ‘The King Is Dead’, which celebrated Howard’s removal from office.

    This overt politicisation wasn’t always apparent in The Herd’s musical output, though. Their first single to achieve triple j attention, for instance, was an ode to ordering food at a take-away store (‘Scallops’). During their career, they’ve released four albums; over time, the quality of songwriting and production has steadily increased. Though they’ve got their eyes on release #5 later this year, The Herd are currently embarking on a short run of shows to celebrate their 10th anniversary (or birthday, depending on which way you look at it).

    The morning after the tour’s first show in Newcastle, TheVine connected with Kenny Sabir (a.k.a. Traksewt, who plays accordion, clarinet, and beats), a founding member of both The Herd and their associated label Elefant Traks.

    First things first, Kenny. How’d last night go?

    Last night was great. After not playing for two years, there was that nervous excitement of, “Oh, do the crowd still remember us?” But when you’re up on stage, it comes back to you about how it feels to be playing. The crowd were into it. We got to try out the new single (‘The Sum Of It All’; TheVine review here). It went down well.

    I take it you’re playing something similar to a ‘greatest hits’ set for these shows, since you don’t have a new record to promote.

    Yeah. We’ve got the new single, and we’ve got lots of new tracks, but we’re not thinking about [playing them] on this tour. We’re doing a new beat, but we might use it as an instrumental for freestyles. There’s a lot of stuff we’d love to play, but they’re not fully finished yet.

    I’m interested to know some of the differences between touring Australia now, versus when the band started in 2001.

    One thing is that, when we started, we were very Sydney-centric. The label wasn’t purely hip-hop back then; we were doing electronic stuff as well. Back then, a lot of the focus was on the label itself, The Herd were more unknown. We started to get dedicated fans. You’d see the same faces quite often. Once we started getting more radio play, we started venturing [outside Sydney]. The first gigs in other cities were hard. We started gigging around before the radio [play] really took off, too. But after that, it was a constant groundswell. We’d get a lot of love from Brisbane and Melbourne, and it kept ramping up. Some of our craziest shows have been in the other cities.

    It’s changed a lot. Getting into the festival circuit was very hard initially, as we were independent and we didn’t have the arrays of contacts that you need to get into that circuit. But it’s always been fun, and they’re great guys to be touring with. We still have the same problems that we had 10 years ago, of trying to organise eight or nine people to leave somewhere for breakfast [laughs].

    I’m guessing you take better care of your physical health nowadays, too.

    [Laughs] Yeah. It’s pretty diverse in the band, you could say. There are more things we’re aware of, that we have to worry about now. We’d like to think that we take better care of ourselves now, but when you’re in the mode of touring, you switch on your ‘touring brain’ and you start living how you used to live.

    For the full interview, visit The Vine. For more of The Herd, visit their label’s website. The audio for their new single, ‘The Sum Of It All‘, is embedded below.