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May 8, 2021

Canapes with the King

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TLK_asian_supermaketTeddy Lewis King (TLK) are a three-piece 
hip-hop outfit 
from Lismore whose 
raw soul beats, 
positive rhymes
 and international sound are catching 
the ears of many.

Emcees Teddy Rhodes and Mitch King, and producer/beatmaster DJ Mud (Lewis) have already gained a rep as an exciting live act supporting some of Australia’s biggest names including Ozi Batla, Diafrix, Remi, Archie Roach, Troy Cassar-Daley and Jimblah.

They’ve ripped it up at Falls, Boomerang and Saltwater Freshwater festivals. Last year they hit the stage of the Sydney Opera House at the Homeground Festival and also took out the winning spot for Best Hip-Hop, Urban and Funk song at the NCEIA Dolphin Awards.

And now they’re dropping their debut EP –  Canapes and Hip-Hop – full of Teddy Lewis King’s signature energy and passion, combining a raw hip-hop sound with an upfront, provocative yet playful lyrical delivery.

What inspired you to get together?

To us it was the music, M King was recording in the youth space music studio from when he was youth worker when Teddy came in and wanted to know what was going down and they started making music together. The two met DJ Mud through performing at various local gigs and the rest is history.

Tell me a bit about Lismore and the north coast hip-hop community.

It comes and it goes. It’s a diverse culture with musicians, visual artist, dancers and punters who have a range of backgrounds, religions and cultures that create this small community.

There’s a really old-school soul and funk element to the track – tell me a bit about that. The funk and soul elements of the tracks come from the use of chopping samples through an Akai MPC.

What other artists inspire you?

For us music is universal so when we talk about artists who inspire us we’re talking about Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, J Dilla and Outkast. On a domestic level it’s Remi. Hiatus Koyote, Lfresh the Lion and Jimblah.

For us to be on the same level as these artists would be a goal.

The title of the EP is interesting – why did you call it that?

We did a show at the SCU Uni Bar and after our set a punter came up to us and said, ‘You guys are like the go-to act for art gallery shows,’ and that stuck with us in our heads. So when we were playing at the Sydney Opera House and they started serving canapés in the middle of our set we looked at each other and said ‘Canapes and Hip-Hop’.

What do you like or dislike about Australian hip-hop?

There’s no such thing as Australian; it’s just hip-hop.

Why do you think hip-hop resonates with the Aboriginal community?

We grew up listening to hip-hop, rap, R&B and soul music so for us it was a natural connection and lifestyle. But not all Aboriginal communities listen to hip-hop. We’ve seen and heard of various communities being influenced by metal, rock ’n’ roll and even country, which is why we fuse with other sounds.

Tell me about Hip-Hop for Equality

Hip-Hop for Equality is a line from Teddy’s verse on the second track of the EP This Feelin’. It’s his response to seeing Indigenous hip-hop artists being put into the Indigenous or world music section in record stores instead of the hip-hop section.

Are you lovers or fighters?

A little from column A and little from column B. We love music, which has led us to the point of being creative but we also fight for our music to be out there.

Tell me about the process of creating tracks – what comes first: lyrics, beats? Do you all work on your parts separately?

We mostly work with the beat first. Usually we listen to instrumentals from collaborative producers to find the right sounds, which we then come up with ideas and themes for what we want to about. Once we have something written and our flows down pat then we booth and start recording.

What do you love about this EP?

It makes it more real. For the last couple of years we have been performing live and haven’t had the chance to record and get our sounds out there. It’s been a long process of connecting with the right sounds, people, direction, but it’s been worth it. This is the beginning of more to come.

Friday at Lismore City Hall from 7pm.

As well as performances by Teddy Lewis King the night will feature artwork from local artist Jeremy Austin and music from 2014 Dolphin Award for Best Male Vocalist winner Tom Avery aka Blakboi.


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