Interview by Chelsea Haith
PHFat has been making some serious waves at home and abroad, releasing Caviar Dreams with Al Bairre during 5FM’s first Xperia MashLab and doing a few gigs in Australia before coming home to Oppikoppi . Chelsea Haith caught up with rapper Smooth Mike to discuss character building shows, their fraught relationship with collabs and the pursuit of happiness.
How does playing a university crowd in a university town differ to playing in a club for you?
Generally when you play something like a big sporting event there are less filters in place in the crowd in terms of ‘what music is cool’. Like, you won’t find a lot of die-hard Mariah Carey fans at a PHFAT club show… But you might find a couple die-hard Mariah Carey fans at a big sporting event at which PHFAT is playing… Which I kinda like. If you just hang out and play to people who have heard and like your music, it can get boring for them and for you.
Your tour in Australia, tell us a little about how the Aussies received you, what the audiences were like, and whether it was worthwhile given that it was self-funded?
The Aussies were cool. It’s nice playing to people who have never heard you. We played some rad festivals and some super rowdy little club shows. One or two of the most amazingly shitty regional shows. Those are good for your spirits though.
Caviar Dreams has been a massive hit, who would you like to collaborate with next?
Ayayayaya. I dunno. The best people to collaborate with are the ones who you just hang out with normally. I wanna do something with Luc from Christian Tiger School. We hang out with our other homie, Amy, quite a lot and drink tea and always talk about making a song and never do because we are really disorganized. Which reminds me. That guy owes me two grand.
Tell us a little about the collaboration process, apparently you don’t love to do collabs?
We love collabs when they work. When they don’t work it’s like a really bad first date that you have to sit through. That includes all the intimacy of a long-term relationship. So a good collab is basically just like a really good one night stand. Caviar Dreams was like a fling that we all knew would come to an end and so all of us only wanted to move forwards on our own terms. And we just fought for two weeks. But very maturely. Like, “I still like you but I hate this piece of music.”
Why is Mike called Smooth Mike?
Bloody mystery to be honest.
What is your favourite part of a show, or your favourite track to perform?
My favourite part is always when we play new music. You get to watch how people feel about hearing something for the first time.
If you could be any musician other than yourself, who would you be?
I don’t know… a happy one? Who is a very happy musician? Not deluded happy. Like actual happy? Trent Reznor? Didn’t he take a couple years off to do life stuff like have children and be a good husband and dad? What a grounded sounding chap… I wonder which other musicians are very happy with their lives?
Your shows at Oppikoppi were off the hook, what other plans do you have for big gigs this year? Where can fans catch you guys next?