TF Archives

Backstage with Ugly Duckling

Author: Chris Wheeldon
Saturday, July 19, 2003
U-G-L-Y. Ugly Duckling is a fun loving, down to earth hip-hop trio that loves the music they make and the benefits that spawn from it. MC's Andy 'Cat' Cooper and Dizzy Dustin along with gold chain wearing DJ, Young Einstein, make up the Ugly ones. Forming in 1993 during the dominance of West Coast Gangster Rap, Ugly Duckling went against the norm, producing uplifting beats and rhymes that became a definite throw back to happier days of Hip-Hop.

Touring Australia during July 2003 to promote their new album, 'Taste the Secret' I sat down with the boys in a back, back room of a club that they have managed to fill on their Perth leg of the tour. Having just arrived in the West a matter of hours ago, Young Einstein sits down and immediately delves into the assortment of food left for him on the table. Andy and Dizzy come in later and like their DJ go straight toward the food left out on the table. The pleasures of being a Hip-Hop star where a decent meal consists of a bag of a chips and a bar of chocolate.

Having just watched Einstein going through his routine during sound check, I knew the crowd below were in for a treat and was privileged to have a chat with a tired but eager Ugly Duckling.

Chris Wheeldon: Firstly congratulations on your new album, 'Taste the Secret', and secondly congratulations on returning to Australia. Do you guys enjoy the Australian crowds and your time when in Australia-

Young Einstein: Yeh, I wouldn't be here if I didn't want to be here, pretty obvious. The crowd was great last time so it's a pleasure to be back.

Chris: When you come over here do you feel a definite energy off the crowd due to the fact that we are starved of good, big name Hip-Hop acts-

Einstein: I don't know what goes on here. I don't know how many people come here or don't come here. All I know is that when we're here the crowds are good to us. That's all that matters to us.

Chris: Do you feel you've progressed with 'Taste the Secret' in relation to your previous albums- And was it a good experience making the album-

Einstein: I don't know if I would call it progressed but we've tried to simplify a lot so the average person can get into it even if they don't like Hip-hop. We tried to drum it down a little bit, let people really get into it. It was a great experience making this one.

Chris: Have you had a chance to catch any Aussie Hip-hop while over here-

Einstein: Um, last night a group called The Herd opened up for us, they seemed to be pretty popular. I want to hear a real mass MC while I'm here.

Chris: Do you hear much Aussie hip-hop in the States-

Einstein: No not at all. The closest thing to Australian Hip-hop that we would have heard would be The Avalanches and I don't even know what they have to do with Hip-hop at all. They have some elements of hip-hop and are called Hip-hop, strange.

Chris: Is it important to progress in Hip-hop as a form of Music- Or is it better to remain as is-

Einstein: Well, I don't really like to much new stuff so I think it's better to stay sort of old. But we've just been doing the same thing we do since we've been a group, its not like we make any attempt to be an old school group or anything like that. We just keep doing the same thing we've always been doing. Everyone else has progressed we've stayed the same and hopefully it's still good. We're trying to stay the same and progress at the same time. Keep doing the same thing but reach a larger audience.

Chris: Is live performing as important as making records or vice versa- Or are they on a par-

Einstein: I think for us it's more important but if you're a major group who is on TV all the time it doesn't really matter. For what we do, a lot of the people that come to our shows go out and buy the records; we depend on it a lot. I enjoy making records more but performing is good due to the energy you get off the crowd, that's the fun bit.