Meet 1300, the Korean-Australian rap crew breaking boundaries with Smashmouth
The five-piece's new single, Smashmouth, is an unbridled burst of energy that sounds unlike anything else in Australia at the moment.
Header image by Jordan Munns.
We're always asking about forward-thinking artists breaking boundaries through their work, and 1300 is a referral we've gotten often across the last year or so. The Sydney-based five-piece are a mix of Korean-Australian rappers and producers that push the limits in everything they do, the outfit - comprised of rappers rako, goyo, DALI HART, producer-singer Nerdie, and producer pokari.sweat - merging together cultures and genres to create eclectic, forward-thinking bursts of brilliance that never fail to hit.
1300's creativity - the thing they strive to showcase - has been emphasised since their entrance at the start of the year with their debut single Brr, and something they've shown with every move since. In regards to their music specifically, their second single - March's No Caller ID - showed how they can carve other sounds from their mix influences and prowess, while things like their Discord sessions have helped build the group a rabid community, one that includes other experimental art creators such as Genesis Owusu and 3K.
Their new single Smashmouth, however, feels like something entirely new. In just a touch over three minutes, Smashmouth sees 1300 aim for the heights of their sound and pull it off without a hitch, showcasing everything they thrive towards in their music while capturing the musical brilliance they're able to achieve in the process of doing so. It's explosive and energetic; a switching production sweeping underneath trading, bilingual verses from their members, which darts between Korean and English as they navigate the warped surroundings that producers Nerdie and pokari.sweat create.
It sounds unlike anything else we've ever heard - from Australia and otherwise - and for a group like 1300, that seems to be exactly what they're going for. "With Smashmouth, we try to maximise our expression in 3 minutes," the group say on the single, which arrives today via NLV Records. "The song is structured in a way where the instrumental supports the vocalist's individual energy and personality, so it naturally shifts and moves with the artists. There are 4 of us on vocal duty, and 2 on production."
It's a single that comes alive on the live stage - as the group explain - and anyone that has caught 1300 at one of their many shows over the last year would no doubt support that. "When we perform this song live, the audience feels like they're coming up on an mdma peak (especially at 1:55 where all the synths come in for the last verse). They eat it up, it's a real moment and we live for it. We really, really, really don't want you to get bored listening to this song, so we made sure that could never happen."
It's impossible to be bored of 1300, and Smashmouth proves exactly why. Take a dive into the single below, and underneath, introduce yourself to the crew as they build from the footings of their debut year and set their sights on a brilliant future ahead.
Tell us about yourself?
We’re a 5-piece K-Pop boy band, our names are goyo, rako, DALI HART, pokari.sweat and Nerdie.
What’s your music like? What does it sound like? What kind of themes does it usually cover?
Our inspirations come from a variety of music cultures; mainly rap, pop, rave, edm. We all have different tastes so we find a way to make it work. It gets quite chaotic at times. If there was one theme that ties it all up, it’s the raw energy of the music and performances.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
We get into the studio, Nerdie and Pokari will make beats from scratch, and at the same time goyo, rako, and DALI HART will write. After a year of making music together, we’ve realised that this was how we create our best songs. The energy in the room is critical and we keep moving forward.
Can you tell us about your latest single, Smashmouth?
With Smashmouth, we try to maximise our expression in 3 minutes. The song is structured in a way where the instrumental supports the vocalist's individual energy and personality, so it naturally shifts and moves with the artists. When we perform this song live, the audience feels like they're coming up on an mdma peak (especially at 1:55 where all the synths come in for the last verse). They eat it up, it's a real moment and we live for it. We really, really, really don't want you to get bored listening to this song.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2021?
A lot of discord sessions and hopefully shows. We love testing out new songs live and tearing shit up.
What do you want people to take away from your work?
An excitement for life, confidence to be yourself and do what you always wanted to.
Where can we find more of your music?
Everywhere !, Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Soundcloud, Youtube, Tidal, Tiktok, Triple J unearthed and other Korean streaming services