Matt Farsalas chats to one of Aussie hip hop's brightest young things.
Quite simply, Baro is creating some of the smoothest hip hop in Australia right now, which is no mean feat given he's all of 17-years-old. Having caught the ear of Triple J presenters with his early work Word Smoother, his latest mixtape Howgoodisgood? has caused quite a ripple, and there's a very good chance you'll be able to catch him live in the near future, so we figured it best to get to know him a little better. Drawn from an Odd Future, Chance the Rapper and MF Doom kind of world, Baro’s tunes also hark back to the sound of A Tribe Called Quest – they come off like modern classics.
Hey man, cheers for the time, I understand you’ve been pretty busy gigging alongside UV Boi, Milwaukee Banks and the like. How have you been enjoying the live shows and licensed venues?
They have been mad. I didn’t expect to go and have people knowing words to my shit, I thought it was just going to be go, get up and perform to 12 people who don't know who the fuck I am then get a couple compliments from some old drunk dudes… Turned out completely different.
Do you find it somewhat surreal that you’re headlining shows at such a young age?
I guess so. It’s cool cause I mostly perform at 18+ events and I'm 17 and still at school. The people who rock up are older than me, and that’s sick. I’m still getting used to performing.
I know a lot of rappers hate comparisons but you remind me of a younger Joey Badass, silky soulful production with choice laidback flow. Who have been your biggest musical influences?
I listen to a lot of Slum Village, Mac Miller, Bright Eyes, Jill Scott, Mos Def, MF Doom and a bunch more, so I guess they’ve all really influenced me musically.
Do you collaborate with other producers frequently or tend to produce your own beats?
I collaborate with producers much more than make my own beats. I’m still trying to get better at beats ‘cause right now most of the time I make a beat, I end up making some pretty piano and weird drum loop soundscape - that I can’t rap over. Give me timeeeeee!
Recently you became a finalist for Triple J’s Unearthed High alongside a slew of killer talents including winner Japanese Wallpaper. How have you handled the hype and was it dope getting some radio airtime?
Yo it was sick. I went to school the next day and it said “Congrats Baro” on a white board and I remember thinking, ‘What the fuck? I didn't think this deal was big enough for my school to actually like me’. A bunch more people were telling me they were hearing me on Triple J, so it didn't sound like I was lying when I flexed and told everyone I was playing on the J’s anymore…
Your mixtape HOWGOODISGOOD? is massive with favourites being Cinema and I Can Not Say I’m Surprised. How did you go about recording the 13-track tape and what was your whole process behind the project?
It was weird. I think when I create most of my projects it’s weird. It’s never really planned, it just always comes together subconsciously. I got Seasons from Ancentric a couple days after Christmas, and he was just asking for my views on the instrumental, with no idea of me using it, and once I heard it I went nuts and wrote the song in like 20 minutes and was like, ‘YO I WANT TO USE THIS FUCKING BEAT, CAN I HAVE THIS FUCKING BEAT?’ Next day I recorded it and what I wanted to do for the Mixtape hit me. The next six months was mostly just me in isolation in my bungalow/studio, smoking cigs and flicking through beats which eventually turned into HOWGOODISGOOD? I think I started drinking coffee in that period too.
Do you enjoy collaborating with and featuring other artists on your tracks or do you prefer to go it alone?
Every song has its place. Whether I want another artist to do a verse or hook or I just want to go around it by all myself. The beat usually tells me when I first listen to it. But collaborating is always fun cause it’s usually me and a rapper friend in my bungalow getting baked and making shit. Both are equally dope, I can’t choose.
You’re set to begin a pretty massive tour with Allday and Remi in October. Are you excited to perform sold out shows alongside two massive hip hop icons?
I’m really excited. I haven't been to any of the states before (except Sydney) and the fact I'm going for the first time to perform to sold out venues with Allday and Remi is fucking mad.
What should people expect from one of your live shows?
Scrawny black dude rapping with one of his friends who's DJing and hyping shit like crazy. I don't really know what you should expect, but I know you will probably get more than you came for, and you will figure me out as a human… Music is just one side of me, I also make great breakfast.
And finally, are there plans to release new stuff before the end of the year?
I’m working on a bunch of shit right now. A lot of music, videos and I also have started making cooking instruction videos with Bryan Cranston.
Friday October 3 - The Zoo, Brisbane w/ Allday
Saturday October 4 - The Lab, Brisbane w/ Allday
Friday October 10 - The Metro, Sydney w/ Allday
Saturday October 11 - Zierholz, Canberra (u18) w/ Allday
Saturday October 11 - Zierholz, Canberra (18+) w/ Allday
Wednesday October 15 - YMCA HQ, Perth w/ Allday
Thursday October 16 - Prince of Wales, Bunbury w/ Allday
Friday October 17 - Amplifier, Perth w/ Allday
Saturday October 18 - Fowlers Live w/ Allday
Friday October 24 - The Corner Hotel, Melbourne w/ Allday
Saturday October 25 - The Corner Hotel, Melbourne w/ Allday