– by Alice Mod
Beckon is a 25 year old, Perth based hip-hop genius. His lyrics are smart and funny, he freestyles like an absolute champ and he writes about things that happen to everyday people.
He’s been lucky enough to work with some great local artists over the past few years and we spoke to him about who he is, how he works and what’s coming next.
OK tell me about Beckon. The name, what’s Beckon “about”, what can I expect from Beckon as an artist?
The name came from the idea that with my music, I am trying to bring people in and make them stay close. I’ve had a few shows in the past where I’ve seen people hanging out by the fringes, by the back, even outside the venue. I’ve started my set and watched them move in closer to see the rest of the show.
As an artist, I try to make the kind of music I want to listen to which equates to a smooth and dynamic flow over jazzy and soulful beats. Lyrical content is also very important to me so I try to think out my lines and avoid filler material as much possible.
What’s your writing process like?
Inconsistent. Sometimes a chorus comes into my head when I’m in the shower or driving to work that will lead to the rest of the process. Sometimes a beat makes me think of a certain idea or story and the lyrics will just flow. Sometimes I’ll come up with a great concept and some lines during a freestyle and I’ll then build off that. One thing I rarely do though is sit down and write a song start to finish. It’s very much a bits and pieces approach.
What’s your favourite song that you’ve written? Pick one for lyrics and one to perform
My favourite song I’ve written is Moments with Farren Wood. The three verses follow the progression of time from the past, to the present to the future and relate them all to my experiences and philosophies in life.
My favourite song to perform is Entertainer. I absolutely love that beat and get to play with some really fun flows in the verses. The chorus always seems to go down well too. If people are going to sing along this is usually the one they do so with. Having people sing your lyrics back to you is an unhealthily good feeling.
You released your EP not long ago, did you enjoy recording? Was the experience what you expected?
Recording was an interesting process. It was very much a steep learning curve for me. Prior to the EP I had only recorded two songs, both with different producers. I hadn’t really nailed how to properly project my voice whilst in the recording booth. Fortunately I linked up with my good friend Macshane who did all the recording. I have to give him a lot of credit. He taught me a bunch of tricks, pushed me to make sure my takes were perfect and wasn’t afraid to throw his opinion in when it was needed.
You’ve collaborated with quite a few artists in Perth, who’s been your favourite to work with?
This feels like a loaded question. I have to say though, the work I did with Brendan Grey and the Premiss Live Band for Juice. Through that collaboration, I got to meet a bunch of super talented Perth musicians. I also got the chance to perform with them and hear many of my songs played with a live band. It also started my artistic collaboration with Farren Wood which has been absolutely fantastic.
If there was one artist you could perform with, who would it be?
I’m going to go a little out of the box here and say Flume. I think we could make an amazing album together. He has this amazing ability to combine electronic, trap and hip hop elements together. Match that with my flow and you’d have some serious magic.
What do you think of Perth’s hip-hop scene and do you think, as a performer, you fit with the direction it’s taking?
The part of Perth’s hip hop scene that I’m associated with is amazingly supportive. Everyone seems to love going to shows, sharing each other’s tracks or giving you some personal feedback. I think the scene here is very positive and I like to think I try to send a pretty positive message through my songs and performances.
Amongst the guys I associate with, almost all of them freestyle and seem to think of freestyle as a very important part of their expression as an artist. In that sense, I think I fit in perfectly because I came to hip hop through freestyling.
Have you got any new tracks under your belt?
So many… Farren Wood and I are in the process of writing a new EP together. The kinds of beats featured are similar to those on the Mindstate EP. However, there is a totally new sound with the addition of Farren and her ideas / insights throughout the writing process.
What do you have planned for the next three months?
There are two main milestones for the next three months. The first is trying to get this EP with Farren sorted out. All the beats have been sourced and we have made solid progress writing but there is still so much to do. The second is a very special gig with a Jazz band that will be coming up in April. This still needs to be fully confirmed so there are more details to come.
Is there an album down the line?
I have no solid plans for an album as of yet. To me, albums really need to be complete works of music and they need to be a great reflection of the artist. I am still very new to song writing. I haven’t even penned twenty songs. I feel as though I want to hone my craft further with a few more EP’s or a mixtape or two before I go for an album.
What was it like playing your stuff over different music at Mattress Money?
Nerve wracking. I don’t get too phased or nervous about jumping on stage these days. For most gigs I’m fairly relaxed, I know my songs well and I know how to talk to a crowd. But for Mattress Money, rapping my songs over D-Jeong’s beats was a completely different story. All the timings I could previously fall back on were swept away. It reminded me of doing my first few shows, where I really had to be switched on the whole time. It was damn fun though. The tone of all my songs changed completely. After the show, we both got a lot of really great feedback.
If you could thank one person for where you’re at with your musical career right now, who would it be?
It has to be the Perth musical force that is Brian Kruger aka Empty. He pretty much opened the door for me and gave me a hearty push. He started a network of Perth rappers who would meet up for freestyle sessions called ‘Empty Bars’.
Prior to coming to one of these events, I didn’t know anyone in the Perth hip hop scene. I played club gigs as an MC with my friend Jake Stone. After going to one of these sessions and freestyling for a good six or so hours, two very important things happened. Firstly, I got a lot of encouragement and praise from rappers in Perth I had looked up to. This was major because prior to this I had no solid gauge of what my skills were like. Secondly, I made some very important friendships. It was the fuel I had needed to finally start making things happen for me. A few months later Empty recorded, mixed and mastered my first song and from there the momentum has only built.
If people want to listen to your stuff, where should they go?
All my tunes can be found on my soundcloud here :
All info about upcoming gigs and new releases can be found on my facebook :
The live set with the Premiss Live band and Farren Wood can be watched here :
Images by Nomi Anada and Matsu Photography
Feature image by Ben Ho