I came to be talking to Drapht aka Paul Ridge, a hip hop artist hailing from Perth, on a lazy Tuesday afternoon before he plays a gig that night in Adelaide. I'm his thousandth interview for the day, and he sounds a little weary. But being a truly nice guy, I have to say that he was a pleasure to talk to about all things music past and present, and what else might be in store for this much talked about artist.


RockChic: Your new studio album Life of Riley has been released on your own label, The AYEMS Records, and is out to the masses. How does it feel to have greater creative control over your art, as it's been a long time coming?


Drapht: Everyone keeps asking me that very question, but you know, nothing has really changed in that respect. My previous releases have all been recorded in my home studio in Perth and, as they have all been released previously through independent label OBESESE Records, nothing creatively too much has really changed.


RockChic: You say that The Life Of Riley is about living your life the way you really want to live it, not working for the man anymore, which in turn I guess inspired you to take the journey of your life by taking the plunge, quitting your day job to follow your dreams in music and starting your own label. You're quite the inspiration to a lot of people out there, Paul, so how does it make you feel to be such an inspiration? And what would you say to those struggling to take that "leap of faith?"


Drapht: I think it all comes down to just being totally true to yourself, always. We all have pressures in our lives, your parents wanting things for you that are different than what you want, friends who doubt that you will achieve what you want to . . . It took me doing a job that I hated, as a courier in Perth, to finally jump off the deep end and follow my dream. I have people in my life that to this day live week to week, not living the life that they truly want and just doing what they have to to get by. I truly believe that being true to yourself and not listening to the doubters in your life is hard, and even harder to take that "leap of faith," but you certainly reap the rewards of it through hard work and the like. Life is what you make it, why not try and make it the life you truly truly wish to have?


RockChic: Now "Rapunzel" has become quite the hit with audiences, lots of airplay on the J's and mainstream stations, number twelve in the Hottest 100 this year, and it hadn't really been released that long before voting started. So you must be pretty rapt with how well recieved the new album has been. What were you doing for Australia Day, and Hottest 100 day? Partying it up, or was it a low key kind of day?


Drapht: Yeah, I'm stoked with how the album and "Rapunzel" have been received, the audiences on tour at the moment are fantastic, and it's so humbling to me that so many are interested in what I have to say . . . We released "Rapunzel" around two and a half months before the Hottest 100 voting started, and on Australia Day I spent the day in Kings Park in Perth at a barbeque with close friends. They were all sure I'd get into the top ten, so during the countdown when I got to number twelve with "Rapunzel," they were quite surprised, and thought it sucked that it didn't get higher. They thought for sure it would beat "Jimmy," but I was stoked that it went so well . . . Oh, Australia Day, can't beat it for good times with good people . . .


RockChic: How are you enjoying the current tour? With The Tongue and Mantra supporting, you guys must be having a sweet time of it, hitting up quite a few places and in your home state soon. So far, which gig stands out for you, and why?


Drapht: First of all, I truly feel blessed to have the people on tour with me that I do. I'm playing and travelling with artists that I look up to and that I consider close friends, and touring with your friends always takes it to another level. We are all absolutely stoked that the tour has been such a big success and the turnout of fans to the gigs has been so surprising. The venues everywhere have been great and accommodating, except one that springs to mind, where the publican was a wanker, other than that, it's been fun. Favourite show so far would have to be Albury. The crowd was so crazy there, the vibe unbelievable, and I actually popped my shoulder stage diving into the crowd!


RockChic: Wow, did the ambos have to be summoned? Hospital trip at all?


Drapht: Nah, popped it back in myself, happens a bit . . .


RockChic: Ouch.


Drapht: So that's why Albury, so far, has been the most memorable gig.


RockChic: What's your favourite track on The Life Of Riley? Why?


Drapht: Okay, favourite would have to be "Won't Listen When," I think it's quite a powerful song lyrically, just like everything about it. It's so different in the way I've written it. Next favourite would have to be "Good Morning," one of the last tracks and with M-Phazes on the beat, Samantha Gibb helped out, so it was just a great track to work on with two of my favourite people on Earth.


RockChic: Are you still a member of Syllaboliks (SBX) crew in Perth? Are you guys still making music together?


Drapht: One hundred percent we are still together, everyone is just off doing their own projects at the moment, but we will start working on new SBX material around the middle of the year, for sure.


RockChic: So, what's the plan for after the tour? Do you have some downtime planned or will you be writing and recording?


Drapht: Pretty much finished the record a month or so ago, lots of press, tour rehearsals, straight onto the tour, no time to chill in about seven months, so after the tour, all I really want to do is not make music for a while, maybe just lay on some beach in Thailand or head over to New York and catch up with friends over there. Whatever I do, I will be enjoying it, that I guarantee.


RockChic: And finally, tell me a little something about Drapht that people would be surprised to know - werid, wonderful, creepy, whatever!


Drapht: You know what? I don't really have anything to tell. I'm a pretty open and honest person, in my life and music, so seriously, nothing comes to mind, so I would have to lie to you!


RockChic: No, no, don't do that! Well, Paul, thank you so much for your time, I know how tired you are, and I wish you the best of luck for the rest of the tour. Congrats again on the success of The Life Of Riley.

Follow The Dwarf on Facebook

Comments ()