Words: Alex Hindey
One of the best hip-hop artists Perth has to offer, Marksman Lloyd has found much success with his honest and well crafted music and is this year's HyperFest hip-hop headliner. The Ink Grid was lucky enough to be able to sit down with him and ask a few questions before the big day.
Alex: So what are your expectations for this year's HyperFest?
Mark: I played back in 2012 and I was much lower in the lineup back then, it was cool but it was my first festival spot so I was kinda nervous about it. I don't thinkany of the kids knew who I was but it was fun, it was cool to play on a stage that big and chill with the guys backstage. So I kind of feel like I know what I'm in for this year.
How does it feel to be the biggest HyperFest hip hop act this year?
It's a cool position to be in because a bunch of kids who might not of seen any hip-hop shows in their life, especially because they're underage, will be there and it's cool to be their first foray into the hip-hop world. I think my live shows are at a a point where I can get people into it regardless of whether they are into hip-hop or not, it's about bringing the energy and making sure everyone has a good time. I think if the crowd believes you and they believe what you are doing, they'll get into it regardless.
What is the significance of HyperFest to you and to Perth?
I do a lot of youth shows, I play at a lot of schools and I just think that's a really important side (of music) that I think a lot of artists kind of veer away from. They want to stay with the adult audiences but the youth are just as important and into the music and wanting something to inspire them, so I think that's why HyperFest is cool because it gives them that opportunity. It's a continuation of something I already do anyway, on a bigger scale.
What acts are you looking to check out at the festival?
I'll be checking out the headliners, I really like checking out live shows of artists in other genres, I probably take from a lot of things that other people wouldn't be noticing, to me that's really interesting.
So how did you start out in music?
I started at 14, that's when I really started putting rhymes together and considered myself a rapper. That was when Marksman came into the picture. My first shows were probably around the ages of 16, 17 and the first one I ever did was jumping up at a youth event at a basketball court to freestyle. I was so nervous and scared but from there you get that buzz and that addiction.
When did you start getting music recognition in Perth?
It comes and goes, I feel like I'm still in that grind you know. At 18 I won a battle called Scribble Jam and went over to Sydney to be in the finals and I thought that was the beginning of something that was going to be an upwards trajectory from there.
It's been a funny path. At 18 (I was focused on) hip hop and that was all I wanted, then at 20 it was a lot of spoken word poetry. I was in a band for a while and after that disbanded I started doing solo work as Marksman Lloyd and that's been the last 4 years of my life, building it from the ground up again.
What are the messages are you trying to convey in your music?
I always try to be as honest as possible with my music, a lot of comes from stories from my own life and pieces of myself. It's on the spectrum of human emotion, I guess you would say a lot of my music is very hopeful. I used to write very negatively but trying to put hope into music without being corny is a challenge but its what I like do to. Thinking about the broad picture and what I want to put out into the world, hope is a needed thing, especially in the kind of state we're in.
What's your opinion on the Perth hip-hop culture?
I think in general the scene is really diverse, rich and talented.
There are so many MC's that don't get really any shine, maybe because they're making the kind of hip hop that's not popular at the moment. It feels to me from where it was at 5 years ago, (the scene) is way more diverse. The way the culture is moving, it feels like its okay to be experimental now and that it's also wanted, it's cool to see artists like Coin Banks and Mathas carrying the banner for Perth at the moment. It'll be really interesting to see where Perth goes.
How has the culture grown with you, has it always been supportive?
It does feel segregated, its not that everyone doesn't have love for each other but types of people that are into types of sounds, they're only going to those shows (that appeal to them). It seems like sometimes as well, people will only have an open mind when they're told to. There is less of taking it upon yourself to go out and check out something new you haven't heard, I think people are less inclined to do that.
Everyone is down for and appreciates each other but it doesn't necessarily mean you're supporting each other. I'd say on the whole its a pretty peaceful and chill culture.
What is happening for Marksman Lloyd this year?
Definitely putting together a solid body of work for the first half of this year, but I'm not sure what its going to look like. I'm looking forward to putting out another single.
More shows, we're looking to sort out tours at the moment, hopefully I can talk about that soon. Also, we're going to India in April to visit orphanages and play some shows over there. Things like that are really important to me, its the ability to be able to say "I'll play anywhere".
Catch Marksman Lloyd at this year's HyperFest! Get your tickets here.