Get To Know: Tasman Keith
One of the most exciting voices in hip hop in Australia right now is undoubtedly TASMAN KEITH. From Bowraville, he explores his cultural identity as a Gumbaynggirr man and speaks his truth through rhythm and sound. He delivers messages of pride and offers stories of resilience and community through song.
2018 has been a big one for Tasman. He released an EP and embarked on a couple of dates up and down the coast to support said EP. Mission Famous is the title of his EP, this one being put out into the world not too long ago. The release shines a light on some of the forgotten aspects of Australian culture, bringing communities of regional Australia to the front.
The title track from the EP’s just copped a feel-good clip filmed in Tasman‘s hometown, and it really works hard to capture the spirit and essence of the community.
He says “The film clip is about bringing together the concept and art of ‘Mission Famous’ together. It shows a side of Bowraville which is rarely seen. The whole driving point of this project is to shift the way people view Bowraville and other indigenous communities”.
Shot over two days, the clip is filled to the brim with footage from the EP’s release party in Bowraville, as well as family photos and homages to the community. It’s a beautiful showcasing of Tasman‘s connection with his hometown and by using such intimate footage shot from within the town and its community, we’re really given a sense of what it’s like to be part of this community.
To get to know Tasman a little better, we asked him a couple of questions about the project and what’s to come from him!
Who are you?
I am a Gumbaynggirr man from Bowraville, a Hip Hop Artist and somebody that is simply a fan of music. This project means a lot to me for a bunch of different reasons, firstly being able to put on for my community and change the perspective of how we are viewed by simply telling my story is special. My intent with ‘Mission Famous’ was really to show my younger cousins to be proud of where we are from and it was also a chance for me to pay homage to the musicians within my family that have played their part in my growth, the ones that only ever became ‘Mission Famous’. A major reason why it became something bigger than me, was losing an uncle a day after the release, Uncle Jobe. Who was at the release party celebrating with us and was the person that named me… So having that loss after one of the highest points of my career really put everything in perspective and is something I will never forget, it’s forever going to be attached to this project as the release show is where we all saw him last. It’s a trip.
How did Tasman Keith come to be?
I started at performing at 8 years old after being a massive fan of Michael Jackson, I’d even pull out the old Billie Jean dance moves at talent quests, haha. Rapping started around the same time as well, performing with my father Wire MC and my brother on many festival stages. At 14, I knew it could be a way for me to speak on my truths and make a living whilst doing what I love. I remember me and my cousins were always in this small room, every afternoon. Straight after school the 5 of us would be shoulder to shoulder writing and recording. The mutual feeling was just freedom, freedom to say what we want and really speak on the things that mattered to us, that’s one of the things which I love about creating, the freedom.
What are we talking, vibe-wise?
I’m influenced by a lot of different artists, from MJ to 3000 to Cole and Kendrick and everything in between. I mean this year alone, touching the stage in new cities and seeing what this project has been able do to is a massive influence in itself.
How would you describe your sound?
I never tend to stick to one sound, so I guess I never really have a way to describe it. I like to leave that interpretation to the listener and experiment with that a lot.
Tell us a bit about your new clip for ‘Mission Famous’.
It was shot over the 2 days that I was back home for the EP launch. It’s my way of changing the perspective on my home town. A majority of the time Bowraville or any other Indigenous community for that matter is viewed as a negative space with the image always being the typical “poor us”. I wanted to show that even tho we go through a lot of downs, we still know how to celebrate our community and our wins. One of those wins being this EP.
What can we expect from you moving forward?
New music, new videos and more tours. Just keeping the ball rolling and really letting my presence be known now that I am here. I’ve actually got a few more things dropping before the ‘Mission Famous’ project is done, starting this month.
Where can we hear more of your work?
Everywhere you can get music. Spotify, Apple, and all streaming services. Physical copies of my EP can be purchased at www.tasmankeith.com
Image via Facebook
Intro by CAITLIN MEDCALF