Hilltop Hoods Speaking In Tongues Tour at Fogarty Park on August 31
After album No.6, Adelaide's Hilltop Hoods are still the top dogs in Aussie hip-hop, writes Jesse Kuch
A lot has changed for the Hilltop Hoods since MC Suffa and MC Pressure first met at Blackwood High School back in the late ’80s, kicking off what would become, with the addition of good friend DJ Debris, the most successful Australian hip-hop outfit of all time.
Across their six albums, the Hoods have been almost single-handedly responsible for dragging Aussie hip-hop from the depths of the underground to the forefront of the hearts and minds of music fans across the country. At the same time, they have become one of the country’s highest paid and best-loved live outfits, irrespective of genre.
With their past three albums hitting the No.1 spot on the ARIA Albums Charts and some of the biggest tours of Australia in recent memory under their belts, you’d be forgiven if you thought it was time for the Hoods to rest on their laurels and simply enjoy some of the success they’ve created, piece by piece.
However, checking in with the man they call Suffa (or as his mother knows him, Matt Lambert) on a precious day at home midway through their biggest Australian tour to date, it’s clear that 12 years on since the release of their first album A Matter Of Time in 1999, while some things have changed, they aren’t close to slowing down just yet.
“I’m just enjoying a day at home while I’ve got it, we always gravitate home in-between shows these days,” Suffa says of the difference between touring now and back when they started.
“Pressure has an eight-year-old son, so staying on the road the whole time is not an option. We can’t be laying around in motels somewhere in the middle of nowhere, when old mates gotta get dropped at school.”
While the time in vans and dodgy motels may be a lot less these days, Suffa says the tours are only getting bigger, with the Speaking In Tongues Tour in support of their Australian No.1 album Drinking From The Sun their biggest run of dates so far.
“To be honest, we’re surprised,” Suffa says.
“This tour alone has eclipsed the Still Standing Tour, which was our biggest tour to date until now. We’re surprised and grateful that at this stage, that’s still able to happen... We’ve had a blast so far. We just came back from Europe, then had our hometown show in Adelaide which was rad. It’s always fresh at home. Apart from the fact we had all our family there to see us, it was the biggest show of the tour so far with 6000 people there. It was a really special night, then the night after we had our favourite festival in the world, Splendour In The Grass. It was a great weekend.”
Of all the highlights of touring the country, Suffa says the best bit of it all is giving the crowd the new tracks from Drinking From The Sun.
This time round, he promises not only new songs, but to mix up their live show as well, with the addition of One Above on keyboards and Plutonic Lab (from Muph and Plutonic) on live drums.
“When you’re touring hard, you do about 100 shows a year. It’s a show every three days at some points and you do get a bit sick of the material, especially when the material is fairly old. It’s really nice to be doing new songs and this time, we’ve got a new aspect to the show, with One Above and Plutonic Lab now part of the live show. It’s a completely different show with Pluto on the drums. He’s really killing it as well, I think this is it. We can’t go on and perform without him now.”
One thing that has remained constant with the Hilltop Hoods throughout their illustrious career is the passion, dedication and all-out hard work the boys put into everything they do.
Suffa says despite what you may think, repeating their success time and time again is never easy.
“I don’t think it’s ever easy,” he says.
“At the end its crazy, trying to meet deadlines and stuff. Towards the end of (recording Drinking From The Sun) I was actually quite sick and fighting that as we tried to finish it. The first couple of months and the last couple of months were quite hectic for me this time round. But it is a passion project, so it’s not like you’re really miserable, even when it is making you miserable, if that makes sense.”
And while their well-earned sleep might not come until “September-ish”, Suffa says he and the rest of the Hoods look forward to what the rest of the year has in store, especially a trip north for a big outdoor show in Cairns at Fogarty Park with Horrorshow and Briggs.
“We can’t wait to get back up there,” he says. “Cairns is a beautiful place and we can’t wait to bring it.”
Hilltop Hoods’ Speaking In Tongues Tour, featuring Horrorshow and Briggs in support, hits Fogarty Park on Friday, August 31. This is a licensed, all-ages show. Tickets are on sale now from oztix.com.au or moshtix.com.au
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No party like an outdoor party: Hilltop Hoods will land at Fogarty Park on August 31.