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This is Battletown

Author: Michelle Pirovich
Tuesday, May 13, 2003
Australian made hip-hop has a tendency to make people feel slightly awkward, almost to the point of embarrassment. Fortunately though, Melbourne hip-hop collective 'Battletown' don't suffer from any identity crisis, making a stylistic nod to the way hip-hop can and should be, 'Battletown' know exactly where they are at.

It's a horrid night outside, cold, wet and windy. Luckily though our meeting place has catered for our every need, it's warm, comfy and 'Metro Area' is playing on the stereo.

In its entirety 'Battletown' consists of many. Tonight Detect, Theory, Outbreak, Vee and Adverse have braved the weather to join me for a chat and my first impression is that I can't believe how young they all are.

Detect is the oldest at 26, the others are 20, 21ish. I feel the need to point this out because the level of talent present in their music had me automatically assuming they were older.

I discovered 'Battletown' a couple of months ago. Their latest album 'Battletown presents the EP's' landed on my desk for review, and I liked what I heard…a lot. Lyrically inventive and musically stimulating, the Battletown sound is 'like an epidural with bass' - something that you can't help but succumb to.

Detect formed Battletown in 1999, alongside Weapon X, Naps, Digga and Esteban. Under their label of the same name they released the highly acclaimed 'Kollab Mode'. Since then the crew has grown to include Bizzan, Theory, BVP, Outbreak, Vee, Ethic, Styalz, Adverse and DJ Jun.

From living out dreams of playing in the United States, to hosting hip-hop shows on community radio, initiating Melbourne's clubbers to hip-hop, being members of other groups and appearing on singles and albums, each Battletown member has experienced success in their own right.

Today Battletown are a totally self reliant entity, from their own studio Battletown write, produce, record, mix, master, release, and sell all their own material, all whilst juggling uni, and full time jobs.

"We do it all ourselves, we want to be able to do everything from mixing to the way it looks" says Detect.

Fuelled by passion for their craft the Battletown sound comes to life with the creation of a few beats, beats which are often supplied from Byron Bay Battletowner Styalz. From there comes the concept to which everyone adds their part and it's worked and reworked until each of them are satisfied.

Remarkably there are no battles of ego amongst this diversely talented group. Battletown are a laidback crew with deep respect for each others talent.

"Everything is really relaxed with us and I think it's because everyone gets surprised by what someone else will do, someone will come up with a rhyme and we'll all think shit that's great and we just feed off it and each other" says Adverse.

Vee adds "It's a healthy competitiveness. Personally I'll write something that I'm going to like and secondly something that everyone else will like."

One thing that is generally not agreed upon though is current music favourites, as artist names are mentioned a backlash ensues.

"We try to know what's going on everywhere; it's a good measure to see where we are at. On a commercial level we would agree that Eminem is it, if we go more underground I don't think we can get a consensus. We all have our personal faves and it's the one thing we fight over" laughs Outbreak.

I raise the point of Eminem and whether he has helped to elevate awareness about hip-hop in Australia amongst the masses. Everyone ultimately agrees that the younger generations are catching on to hip-hop as well as becoming more interested in music in general, but at the same time the numbers wanting to emulate their hero is rapidly rising.

"People don't realize how much is involved" says Adverse.

We delve into the subject of Australian hip-hop, the one thing you should not label Battletown and as Vee explains,

"We make music that's universal, when people listen to it they shouldn't be ab