allaussie hip hop’s spotlight on: Herb (The Morning Sun EP Out Now)

Herb has loose lips. So much so, that he finds it difficult drinking from most glasses. This might be seen as a weakness to some, and for Herb it’s been both a blessing and a curse. Never one to hold his tongue as a little tacker, Herb would often find himself spending days at a time in the school corridor, nicking toys from friends school bags and making up his own stories with the characters.

Herb started taking an interest in music early on and began a love/hate relationship with various musical instruments before finally settling on the bass guitar in his early teens.

Various failed attempts at starting Punk, Stoner and Rap-Rock bands during High School led he and constant co-conspirator Ivan Lisyak to start an alternative hip-hop beat-making duo. Unable to find any emcees stupid enough to rap on their stuff, Herb decided he’d give it a crack and the Herbterminal was born. The boys performed together and spent endless hours experimenting in the studio before they decided to focus on different projects and collaborate occasionally.
This led to the recording of several short-run demo EP’s Herb sold at shows around the Mountains to make some drinking money, while Ivan went on to record with several successful bands and is currently playing drums and Producing/Mixing for The Paper Scissors.

Herb later moved to Sydney’s Inner West, a hive of local Hip Hop. While studying he began developing a new aspect of his style that he’d touched on while still living in the Mountains; story-telling. He felt that his favourite hip-hop was delivered from a local perspective with a global outlook, simple tales of ordinary people, which reflect human nature and our place in society. With his ears open and eyes wide Herb set to work on tales of his surroundings, from incidents in his own life as well as close friends and those around him.

Herb was also applying himself to create his own beats for many of his early projects. Keyboard, Bass and Electric and Acoustic guitars combined with samples and synthetic and live drums. His beats are funk leaning hip-hop, with heavy drums and synthesisers layered over crusty samples.

With this material he began performing at local shows, which led to him being noticed by Sereck of Def Wish Cast as well as other members of Sydney hip-hop collective Basic Equipment. They watched him develop his story telling as well as his vocal strength and stage presence and eventually snapped him up. He toured on The Legacy Continues Tour with Def Wish Cast in 2005 and has played supports for many local and international acts including Masta Ace, Muph & Plutonic etc.
In the past few years Herb stepped up his freestyle skills by jumping up on just about every hip hop open mic night in Sydney, as well as participating in LookUps Feeding Time battles (Win once, runner-up once), as well as freestyle jams ‘One Mammoth Saturday Night’ in Melbourne, and ‘Flexing Skills’, a hip hop theatre sports style event held on the first nights of the ‘Platform 1 & 2’ festivals at Carriageworks, Sydney.
His live act features veteran DJ Sandro, whose impeccable timing and clean cuts make the live set a classic hip hop stage show. Sandro has also contributed all the Cuts on The Morning Sun EP.

The Morning Sun EP
Late last year Herb approached old friend Ivan Lisyak to help him produce an EP. This led to the creation of The Morning Sun EP, a five track journey through life in Herb’s home town of the Blue Mountains and current home Sydney.
The EP was recorded at Fames’ The Bank Studios in Haymarket and mixed in Ivans’ bedroom in Glebe and mastered by Adam at Sonamax Studios, also in Glebe.

Around the time of recording the EP, Herb entered a competition held by Sydney’s LookUp Crew called the Leg-Up. There were about 20 acts involved and Herb met stiff competition to win the final in January of 2009. There were cash and prizes enough to pay for the manufacturing of the EP. Herb Secured distro through UndaK9 as part of the prize.
The Photograph that forms the cover for the EP was taken by John Young, it depicts Herb sitting on a train station bench at sunrise, the letters were designed by Will McLean, who also did the layout.
Herbs loose lips have gotten him in to trouble, but they’ve also helped him to find an avenue to recount stories from his life and those around him, from the back yards of the Blue Mountains, to Sydney’s grimy underbelly.

The EP is driven by a strong musical back-drop comprising an even variety of straight up hip hop bangers through moody acoustic electronica and laid-back grooves. Herb handles many of the production duties, working alongside close friend and long time co-collaborator Ivan Lisyak (Paper Scissors), who also served up the beat for Restless Night and mixed the EP. Stat D (13th Son, Pez ) provides a horn-rich banger in opener Loose Lips Sink Ships. Cuts are provided by veteran Sydney DJ Sandro (13th Son, Ozi Batla).

Herb combines serious lyrical skill and a strong ear for song-craft with fresh, energetic production and a tight, fat sound to create an impressive debut.
Basic Equipment, Unda K9 and Defeat Industries Present Herb – The Morning Sun EP.
The EP is available now through iTunes and at all good retailers through MGM Distribution.

It’s available online through the following outlets:

For more info visit Herb’s Myspace.