Hilltop Hoods

Hilltop Hoods photo.jpg

Next weekend Australian hip-hop icons, Hilltop Hoods, return to a stage for their own headline performance in Sydney for the first time in three years.

The two core members MC Suffa (Matthew Lambert) and Pressure (Daniel Smith) would initially meet at Blackwood High School in Adelaide in 1987 before formally creating Hilltop Hoods with DJ Next (Ben Hare) in 1994. Those three men would star together until 1999 when Hare would leave and be replaced by DJ Debris (Barry Francis). Regardless of the members though Hilltop Hoods would be a force within not only the Australian hip-hop scene but the overall Australian music scene.

The formidable impact of Hilltop Hoods cannot be disputed. Their latest record, The Great Expanse, was their sixth album to debut at number one on the ARIA Album charts which is a record for any Australian band.

Although the band was sitting atop the Australian music world in 2016 they simply couldn’t keep up the pace any longer.

“To be honest, we were a little burnt out,” explained Smith before continuing, "We’d been making records and touring for 10 years straight without ever really taking a proper break. So we need to take six to 12 months off just to step away and refresh.”

During the time away children would come into play for the band members and alter their lives dramatically.

“It’s a mad life changer having kids, it changes everything. The people you hang out with everyday changes. Your daily routine, or lack of, changes,” said Smith.

Despite the time away Hilltop Hoods haven’t missed a beat. They’ve just come off a tour supporting Eminem and are now partaking in their biggest ever headline tour of their own.

Reflecting on the recently concluded tour Smith said, “Supporting Eminem was a bit of a life-changer… I absolutely never imagined playing on the same stage as him.”

Perhaps the most crucial part of the tour with Eminem was the chance for Hilltop Hoods to “road test” some of their new material in a stadium environment before their own stadium performances. When asked how he felt leading into these headline shows Smith said, “It’s a bit surreal. You’ve got to stop every now and then to enjoy it and check that it’s actually happening. I still don’t quite believe that many people are going to be there. I couldn’t be more touched by the support that we’ve had for this record and world tour.”

Aug 31. QUDOS Bank Arena, 19 Edwin Flack Ave, Sydney Olympic Park. $91.60+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.qudosbankarena.com.au

Read J.A.M articles early by subscribing to J.A.M Zine over on Patreon.