On November 21st, One Day—famous, among other things, for their monthly parties at Vic on the Park and the Factory Theatre—will take over Manning for One Day Only, a three-stage festival headlined by Dr. Dre collaborator Anderson .Paak.
Jack Gow sat down with Raph and Joyride—chief One Day partiers who perform together as The Meeting Tree—to discuss how Redfern is becoming New Melbourne, how it pays to be aggressive online, and what it’s like partying alongside Lil John and the West Indies Cricket Team.
How’d you come up with the name The Meeting Tree?
J: Uh there’s a tree that is equidistant from both our houses, we live pretty close to each other, in Redfern.
R: Or New Melbourne as we like to call it.
J: New Melbourne is our little corner of the world. Melbourne, but better.
R: Melbourne, but not shit.
J: I’d say Melbourne without the pretensions, but the pretensions crept in pretty quick. So there’s this tree, basically where we meet up most mornings and wander to a café or whatever, so well before the music was “meeting tree in five?” “yep” and five minutes you’d meet at the tree and go waste your day.
Did you meet at the meeting tree on your way here?
J: It’s a shit tree too, aye.
R: Yeah people think it’s some kind of oak or something, it’s just some council planted thing.
J: Y’know those on the side of the road, and they can’t quite grow that big because it’ll fuck with the pipes. So it’s just this shit little tree.
R: It’s a shit little tree, but it’s our tree.
Since declaring yourselves the godfathers of ADM [Australian Dance Music], you’ve repeatedly taken shots at Chet Faker.
J: We were doing that before we called ourselves the godfathers of ADM.
So what’s the story there?
J: Fuck him. [Pause]. Sorry, my brevity’s only because of my breakfast.
R: No, I agree. Oh y’know, he takes himself pretty seriously.
He seems to. I can’t tell if this is like an ironic thing, or your genuine opinion.
R: Um, no I’ve got no hate for him, we were just asking him the question of whether he’s a cop. No, honestly: we’re aggressive online.
That’s part of your personal brands?
R: Yeah we’ve sent shots at many people. We’ve sent shots far and wide. But Chet was the only one who blocked us.
J: He was the only one that didn’t take it well.
R: Yeah he blocked us. Not just on Instagram but on Twitter, our other bands that we’re in he blocked them as well. Hence why we continue.
J: Some typical Old Melbourne bullshit if you ask me.
So between The Meeting Tree, One Day, co-hosting The Drop, Jackie Onassis, Spit Syndicate, curating club nights at Chinese Laundry and both your solo DJing, how do you balance all of those commitments, because it seems like a superhuman workload.
J: Man, so what do you do?
Doing my honours thesis.
J: So how many different subjects you doing at Uni?
Right now just writing my thesis.
J: Well that’d be like an album, and then doing like comedy stuff, writing sketches, whatever it is, that’s another one, y’know, and then doing stuff like this, is another one.
R: Plus, most of the things we do we’re able to take drugs while doing, which means that it’s kind of… it’s not like you wake up in the morning and go “fuck, y’know, I’ve gotta go to another party”, like sometimes you do.
What’s involved in blitzing a party for you two.
R: I guess, yelling a lot, making a couple enemies, hoping the party turns on your enemy.
J: Yeah it does normally. Being able to manifest acid at some point, just by walking around yelling “acid” enough that people give it to you to shut you up.
R: Yeah, I like having so much molly that I pass out or like bliss out, like two hours asleep, and yeah that’s pretty cool.
J: A head massage from someone you’ve not spoken to ever.
R: Yeah head massage.
J: They just start doing it and it’s like: ‘alright’, “hey I’m Rowan”—it’s the little victories.
What’s your creative process as The Meeting Tree.
R: Speaking of Molly, um, we did our whole EP in three days, our publisher hired a house up north for four nights and we just took a bunch of pills and wrote an EP.
So, I dunno if you’ve both done this, but one of you has described yourself as a ‘social media mogul’ You seem to just be very proficient, you seem to put out a lot of content to communicate with your fans.
R: More than just fans, enemies too as you said.
Yeah like Chet, what’s his real name?
J: Nick. “You gotta take it easy on Nick.” The amount of times people have said that to me.
R: Yeah Industry people. “Ease up on Nick, please.”
He’s doing well. What does he need, like, defence for.
J: Nick needs a thicker skin.
So, yeah is that just because you guys enjoy it or like the reality of the music game these days.
J: Both. People talk about like “it’s so hard when managers tell us we need to be better on the socials” my manager doesn’t say shit to me about that and it’s literally just about—this shit is fun, and it’s a creative exercise, y’know we’re not just “put up a photo of ourselves, we’re playing a gig”, it’s like quite exciting to be able to engage and entertain on a different platform, that’s the whole shit, the aim is to entertain and engage with people and you can do it everyday on a different platform. It’s not about like “lets build fans”, it’s like lets have some fucking fun and make some people laugh.
So it’s not a cynical marketing ploy.
J: That’s a happy by-product.
Since Mainline came out, and made a very big splash, have your lives changed in any way? Or is it just a continuation?
J: I think it’s been steady growth and progression for both of us.
R: I don’t think, coz, we’re not really in the kind of bands that have—except maybe ‘R U a Cop’—that have like a song that just goes boom. And because we have been working on all these other projects for so long, I think it’s just been pretty steady, y’know, which means that we’ve learned, we’ve grown up with fame. So like, fame and me aren’t really separate.
J: [sings] ~I wanna live forever. I wanna learn how to fly.~ [laughs]
So yeah, the opening lines of the album mention: “keeping the heartland under protection” do you feel like a responsibility or a kind of pressure to put Sydney on the map for the hip hop community.
R: Um, we didn’t write those lyrics
No, no I know, I just saw them as a manifesto.
R: I do agree. I think the manifesto, I don’t know if it’s so much about Sydney or at least for me that line was more about just pushing forward doing what we do, which we think is positive and kind of making sure that, I dunno, other people are seeing how we do things, because we’re kind of proud of it, we stand by it, and there’s probably a lot of bullshit that goes on, especially in the music industry, so that’s why The Meeting Tree is here: to cut through the bullshit, with just truth. Hard truth.
J: It was just like, if we want bands to stop with the bullshit someone has to do it first.
What bullshit do you mean specifically.
J: Social media campaigns—
R: Yeah y’know crap ones.
J: —Gimmick songs, fucking whatever.
R: We’re not a joke band—we’re a joke duo.
But also you know, hosting The Drop, curating One Day Sundays, they’re all doing things for the hip hop community here.
R: Well realistically as I’m sure everyone’s aware, there’s a massive stigma around Australian hip hop and it’s almost fair to have the stigma because a lot of it is awful, just like rubbish kind of sexist y’know crap, just bottom of the barrel crap that’s really not saying anything and it’s just there to dumb the mind.
J: A lot of it really doesn’t speak for us.
R: And it doesn’t speak for us and we throw our parties, which we still to this day get hate for, because our parties are parties, like we’re not playing friggin’—no diss—Bliss N’ Eso at our parties and y’know having a cheers with the boys.
We’re editing out the “no diss” clarifier
J: Nah the “no diss” makes it stronger, it’s a real twist of the knife, like that’s an obvious diss. We literally yesterday had some idiot be like—what’d he say?—“call this a hip hop party and you’re playing Beyonce. You fake arse punks”. So I write back to him: “learn how to have fun gronk”.
R: We’ve played Beyonce, I reckon, every party for two and a half years.
It’s all bangers.
R: It’s fun.
J: Queen B man! Whatever, wake up to yourself, what a dickhead.
You gotta back yourself.
J: Only the best survive man. It’s like fucking Darwin out there. The city.
R: One Day Sundays is going great and if you don’t like Beyonce you’re definitely not welcome.
J: Yeah, that’s on him. Like how are you going to insult an entire party that’s been going on nationally for two odd years but because it doesn’t fit with what you want, you go after it? That’s like me calling up a salsa class and going: ‘you can’t cook me breakfast, so fuck you’. Anyway, this guy’s like a personal trainer, I forget what his name is, it’s been real funny like paying him out. It’s why it’s on my mind.
That seems to be an aspect of the Australian hip hop community, this kind of self-serious staunch über macho.
J: I think the idea of that person exists much more than that person does. I think there’s a hangover of that from the late 90s, early 2000s where y’know the collective conscious decided that Aussie hip hop was going to be cringeworthy and that was the character that was pinned to it, and the decision was made and you wouldn’t go back and reassess. I think a lot has changed now, especially with the more popular styles. Contemporaries of ours—Remi, All Day, Baro, Seth Sentry, Thundamentals, Urthboy, the list goes on and on and on—there’s none of that aggressive ‘beers with the boys!’ fucking yeah whatever, there’s none of that, within the vast, vast, vast majority of people that we consider our contemporaries within the genre. The problem is that there’s one or two outliers, that have people going: “aussie hip hop? Blergh!” That’s it. I mean, fuck calling it “Aussie” hip hop, they can have that, those one or two per cent that embody that idea—
R: That only listen to Aussie hip hop.
J: —They can have that and fuck, we’re, I don’t associate with it, to me, it’s the same as the fucking flag that we have to run up the pole every morning, I acknowledge that it’s there and it’s what’s ours, but I don’t associate with it, and it doesn’t represent me. [laughs] Is that a little too real for a Saturday?
So you’ve been promoting One Day Only as kind of the climax of One Day Sundays and you’ve been big upping the decadence. Give us an insight into just how opulent it’s going to be.
R: The theme we’re going for is ‘high art’, like, because we really want to make Manning ours, we don’t just want to walk in same old Manning Bar. We’ve got all three levels, we’ve got a massive marquee, and we’re spending a lot of time, energy and, most importantly, money on decking the place out. And the idea is basically like y’know this party started off in a carpark we want to keep that mentality, that kind of in the sun, carpark DJ vibe, but now we’re at Manning House and it’s three thousand people and we’ve got an international headliner, so let’s pop some bottles. And bring that same mentality but, to um, y’know this kind of slightly pre-French Revolution vibe. We just thought it was a good kind of metaphor for what we’re doing, we’re going from the carpark to the mansion—let’s do it up.
Last question, and on a less serious note: as you’ve mentioned, your online/music persona’s hype up your party boy status, what’s the best night you boys have had, the most insane, or the most enjoyable or whatever?
R: I really enjoyed the night we were in Perth on the Drake tour—we were supporting Drake as One Day DJs.
J: It was madness.
R: And we bumped into Chris Gayle from the West Indies, well actually he bumped into us because Joyride dm’d him on Instagram saying: “If you wanted to come to the Drake show, I know you boys are in town for the World Cup.” We were having a drink at a bar near the casino, and out of nowhere Chris Gayle just wandered over and said: “Instagram.” Then quoted a photo that Dixey [Joyride] had put up.
J: He quoted the caption and said: “Everyone is having fun while we work.”
R: It was a photo of Dixey DJing in front of 5000 odd people.
J: Something that resonated with him I guess, being a T20 star and all that.
R: And that led to the whole West Indies team coming to the Drake concert and eventually at the after party, which we were throwing, Chris Gayle hopped on the mic with us.
J: He was kind of MCing over the top. One of Drake’s mates lost his chain and he like stopped the music, and he said: “The one who finds it gets $2000. Where is it?” So everyone is looking around on the floor of the club, and Chris Gayle turned to us and said: “Why doesn’t he just buy a new one?” It was a $50 000 chain. Like this guy was saying: “I’ve lost my $50 000 chain.”
Wait because Chris Gayle makes so much money from T20, he was just like how is this even an issue?
J: Yeah he was like fuck it, whatever. And because it was silent, Lil Jon took it upon himself to like get things going again. And so one of the other DJs put on ‘Get Low’, but then just fucked off to look for the chain, so Lil Jon is there kind of performing, and then there’s no one behind him, so I had to hop on the decks. I’m standing behind the decks with Chris Gayle while Lil Jon is rapping, and he’s like: “Pull this shit up!” He then goes on this spiel about the windows and the walls, and then just turned around and looked at me and said: “Drop that shit!” So I just played the song again, and I was just dancing with Chris Gayle while Lil Jon rapped ‘Get Low’ in front of 1200 people in Perth.
In Perth of all places.
J: Yeah. And then we got real fucking stoned. Raph ended up wearing the one day cricket jersey that Cricket Australia had sent to Drake, it said Drake on the back
R: Yeah Cricket Australia has sent Drake a jersey, and it ended up in my hands.
J: Raph ended up wearing it for most of the night.
R: I have a World Cup cricket jersey that says Drake on the back. I had it—it was taken from me.
To buy tickets to One Day Only, visit: http://tix.onedayonly.com.au.