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REMi is a hard act to classify. Is he a rapper or a lyricist? Is he a solo artist or is he a frontman? Is he this country’s next big hip-hop act on the rise or a struggling underground artist? Regardless of what he is, it all feels pretty normal to REMi and in an age when many artists seem preoccupied with their ‘self brand’, his rejection of needing to categorize himself is kinda refreshing. With an inclusion in the latest Triple J Hottest 100 list and a debut album dropping early this year, it appears the young artist’s star is on the rise, but to him it’s just called LIVIN’. We spoke to him ahead of his national tour (of the same name), which kicks off this Friday.

It seems like things have moved really quickly for you since your first single was released last year. How much has changed for in this time?

A lot and not much at the same time! [Laughs]. 2013 was super busy for Sensible J x Dutch and myself. We got to do a bunch of interstate gigs, which we’d never done before, played some awesome festivals (Falls and The Hills are Alive) and got to support some pretty rad artists (Joey Badass). However on the flipside, we’re still working our day jobs, still recording in our home studio and still hustling real hard to make alternative independent music. To us everything feels pretty normal to be honest.

You’re about to embark on a national tour. How do you find the tour lifestyle? Best things, worst things?

Touring is sick, getting to fly to another part of the world – even if it is the same country – and perform your music to people, no matter how many are there, it’s a privilege. No doubt it’s tiring and most of the time is spent in airports and hotels, but it’s still better than our day jobs!

On stage you have a pretty charismatic presence. Are there any other MCs out there who’s stage persona who really look up to?

A bunch! Black Thought, of the Roots is near super-human when it comes to rocking a stage. His stage presence, mic control and control over the audience is insane. Joey Bada$$ really made me step my game up after we supported him. His ability to make everything seem natural was crazy. Then of course B.I.G. The king of onstage movement. Him and Snoop could not be more relaxed on stage, and I think that’s the key – being chilled.

What is your favorite song to perform live?

Honestly, I don’t have one. I’m lucky enough to have, well I think anyway, some of the craziest producers I’ve ever heard creating music for me. I feel every beat Sensible J x Dutch make. We’ve been playing some songs for maybe 3 years now, which I know compared to other artists isn’t that long, but they all still sound fresh to me.

What are three songs that will be on your on-tour playlist?

The Announcement by J Electronica
Left & Right by D’Angelo
The world Softly Lulls by Hiatus Kaiyote

Your latest single ‘LIVIN’ is the purpose of this tour. Can you tell us a little about the track?

I guess it’s just a social commentary about how we choose/are told to live our lives… over a fire beat [laughs]. It’s always hard to describe music, the track drops this Friday the 7th, so go get it people!

When is your album dropping and what can we expect from what you’ve recorded so far?

The album drops this May, and all I can really say about it is, from what we’ve done so far, we (Sensible J x Dutch and myself) really like it. We’ve explored a bunch of topics that are maybe a little out of people’s comfort zone, as well as some chilled shit. It’s relatively varied. But like I said, it’s hard to describe music, we’ll just have to see what the public thinks when it drops!

What is the process in terms of writing for an album? How much stuff gets canned for being too weird, and do you ever feel the need to compromise in order for radio play?

We just go into the studio and try to make dope songs. Nothing’s ever too weird. If it doesn’t fit, we’ll just start a project that it will fit on. We like weird shit because we listen to a lot of it! As for radio-play, that shit doesn’t even cross our minds. As soon as you start making music for anyone other than yourself, you’ve lost.

Lastly, you get to perform with your dream lineup of five acts. Dead or alive, who would be on the bill?

The Roots, Outkast, The Original Slum Village, Radiohead and Everyone from the Chronic 2001 [laughs].

Remi’s LIVIN tour kicks off this Friday. Hit the links below to cop tickets…

Friday 7th February 2014 – Brisbane – Coniston Lane Front Room (Ex-Wasteland)
Tickets: www.moshtix.com.au
Saturday 8th February – Melbourne – Northcote Social Club
Tickets: www.northcotesocialclub.com
Friday 14th February – Sydney – Goodgod Small Club
Tickets: www.moshtix.com.au
Saturday 15th February – Adelaide – Rocket Bar
Tickets: www.moshtix.com.au
Sunday 16th February – Perth – Perth Festival
Tickets: www.perthfestival.com.au
Saturday 22nd February – Lower Tarwin – Tarwin Social Club
Tickets: www.trybooking.com