Awful Records is undeniably one of the hottest labels right now. Since their inception, Father has been leading the way for a new wave of hip-hop and a fresh perspective on how to run the music game. His sharp lyricism coupled with his DIY beats continue to leave music critics scrambling – is this the new Atlanta sound? It is but it also doesn’t fit in a box that simple.
From the Pretty Puke-directed video for ‘Everybody In The Club Getting Shot’ featuring misfits awkwardly making out with pink plastic guns to Father’s career-making line, “never had to whip a brick but I get the gist” he continues to stay one step ahead. After experiencing his Melbourne show first-hand, I managed to quell my hangover and talk to the Atlanta wunderkind about the newest signing to Awful, potential albums, and figure out whether Australia was as white as he first thought.
Welcome to Australia, how was your Melbourne show last night?
It was amazing! Like you can kind of tell a lot of acts don’t travel here that often so the crowd was crazy excited, so much more than a US show.
Yeah I noticed the crowd was wilding out and wondered whether this was just a regular thing or not.
Honestly, they were more lit than anything I’ve seen
I saw you hanging out on the street after the show. What did you get up to afterwards?
I just had a few fans walk with me down the street. I was also there with a friend of mine I met from Soundcloud, Spacegirl Gemmy. She was super lit, we ended up grabbing some food. Then I went back to the hotel and walked around the neighbourhood because I was so fucked up still.
I gotta ask – was last night the whitest crowd you’ve had?
I’m genuinely surprised.
Definitely not [laughs]. Certain parts of the US are way, way whiter.
When I saw your tweet, I cackled and thought ‘yeah he’s in for it tonight’.
There have definitely been places in the US where I’ll stop off and be like hmm yeah this is a little different.
I read Alex Russell’s Complex article on Awful Records and how you ended up spending two weeks in his apartment. I’ve definitely been around *celebs* who when they have found out I’m a writer have gotten super weird and think I’m about to do an invasive article on them. I know you and Alex are friends now which is pretty sweet but how was it realising you were going to be stuck in a music journalist’s house for a pretty long time?
It was super chill! At that time I was always open for interviews and that, and it was so casual. We treated it more like we’re hanging out with a friend. It didn’t feel like I was being interviewed or anything like that.
When you were stuck in the apartment, was it a non-stop party?
Yeah and it was kind of fun at first but we got snowed in and it ended up being like three weeks, almost.
Damn that’s wild.
So we kind of started to get a little stir crazy. We started to get cabin fever by the end of it.
Alex has kind of become an unofficial member of Awful now it seems.
Yeah, I hang out with him all the time. Since then a whole other side of him has shown and he’s just part of the crew now.
Speaking of unofficial members, Dev Hynes seems to always be around
Well, not as much. We had a show together in London so we linked up for that and had a couple of studio sessions. He’s awesome. He’s always in New York so he’s around other members like Keith Charles (Spacebar). They play basketball and shit together.
So you worked on music with Dev? Is that for the upcoming album?
Nah it was kind of a one-off thing. Cos we had that Red Bull show together, they thought it’d be a dope idea for us to get into the studio and see if we could put something together.
So I want to talk about your upcoming album Mad As Hell…
Oh yeah, that’s not happening anymore. That was me like coming off early last year in May, and I was in a whole other place back then. I kind of finished it but it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t what I wanted to do next. After I sat down and really started to listen to it and tinker around with it more, it wasn’t necessarily where I wanted to go. The things that I was sayin’ was cool but the way the album was sounding wasn’t where I wanted to go next so I put it on pause while I kinda worked on new shit.
Do we still get an album from you this year?
I am, or at least I plan to. There is no real name for it, but it’s currently called Awful Swim.
Like Adult Swim?
Yeah! It’s something I’m working on with them.
So Awful Records. You’re head honcho, the patriarch, the daddy, and whatever else you’ve been called. I definitely get a self deprecating vibe from you as well as the entire crew, so I could take a guess, but I wanna know why you called it Awful? Cos you’re all literally the opposite?
It originally started off as Awfully Creative before it was a record label. I was just doing design work and shooting videos, you know creative shit. I was the visual artist behind the branding and everything before it became a music entity. I had a lot of friends who were working on music – I hadn’t quite gotten it yet but I was working on it on the low and my shit took off and I wanted some of my friends and close collaborators to come with me. So I branded it as a label instead, shortened it down to Awful instead of Awfully Creative which sounds stupid as shit.
It’s kinda corny, hey.
Yeah [laughs] exactly. That was a whole other me when I was still in college or coming out of college.
Awful Records is sitting at 17 people strong right now.
I can’t even think of the number right now because I have a few new artists I’ve been working wit this year. They’re coming out over the next couple of months.
Currently meltycanon and this group called Danger Ink. Melty is on a… I can’t even place it. It’s like if Final Fantasy was music, but Final Fantasy is music… It’s a little bit like video game, it’s kind of weird I can’t really describe it. It’s so offset.
Danger Ink – they’re more like a Washed Out kind of like Toro Y Moi-ish. So we’re trying to widen the scope of sounds we have this year.
Hip-hop gets a lot of flak for misogyny but you have Richposlim talking about sex positivity, Keith Charles talking about slut-shaming, and yourself rapping about consent. Even then, the music isn’t G-rated or on a cheesy Will Smith tip, it’s still music you want to get drunk and high to. Did you all make a conscious effort to flip the script on that?
Not at all, that’s just how we are. I guess we were raised differently. I’ve never fit into the other bill of rap that’s just straight bullshit and misogyny. I love gold and chains and lips and all that shit, but we just go about it differently. That’s just how we are. We’ve always been like that, the cool chill dudes where girls can come hang around and it’s like whatever, you’re just hanging out and you might as well be one of the guys. We’ve always been a very brother/sister kind of group. We’re all equal.
In almost every interview with you I’ve watched, people are hustling you to rap over this beat or another instrumental and I can’t tell if you love it or hate it.
Like a freestyle? I’ve done it on occasion. It’s not really my thing. The only time I really like freestyling, I’m drunk and high at the crib or something like that with friends. I don’t like doing it on the spot. I had to do it for a radio interview one time and I was like ‘this isn’t fun, I don’t feel comfortable doing this’. It was early in the day, I’m sitting here in a radio studio, and I’m not in the mood to freestyle. I rap, so you’re expected to always be ready to go. And it’s like ‘nah man, I like to write songs’. I’m not a fucking battle rapper or a freestyler and if I do freestyle, it’s for fun.
What are some of your future plans?
Right now I’m concentrating on more of the visual aspect of the label in its entirety because that’s my background, the music has always been a secondary thing personally. I got really into [music] after I popped off and started to ignore the other side of my art form. I got so into being like, okay I’m the musician guy now, I’m a rapper I have to travel and do shows, be on tour and I’m trying to get back to being on a good, happy middle-ground. This year I’m not even sure I’m dropping an album, well I’m pretty sure I’m dropping an album but that’s not really even my focus, it’s more the visual content, like working on TV shows all that other fun stuff.
What would be your number one travel tip for other Awful artists thinking of touring Australia?
Do what the Australians do. Whatever the mood is for the night go with it because you’re going to have a good ass time.
That could be bad advice… because we love to get real fucked up
Bro! Yeah you do, you do, oh my god.
I’ve got to know – do you have fans constantly calling you daddy?
Oh yeah. Every day. Every hour. On the hour. I eat it up, it’s wonderful and I’ve never not liked that. It’s cool.
Father plays in Sydney tonight. Check the event for more details.