aahh: The history between Vegas Aces goes way back to the days when Cam was working with Publik Relationz and you (4th) were apart of Pure Product, are we right?
4th: Yeah, I started sourcing beats for the Pure Product album and got put in touch with Cam through Mr Hill and Seven (Publik Relationz) and was just blown away at his beats, even back then. At the time I think he was just 18 and had only just started making beats, so I knew he was going to be someone to watch out for.
aahh: Fast forward to 2011. We now have the Vegas Aces partnership in full swing. Tell us a little about the new EP VA All Day?
4th: The EP really just started out us making a couple of songs and seeing how they turned out – which were Boomtown Shuffle and Two Sides. We really liked the sound that was coming out so we decided to do a whole thing. Originally we were just gonna make a few songs and chuck them out for free but as we made more, some friends of ours egged us on to release it properly.
aahh: Vegas Aces is an interesting name, are you both massive gamblers or does it go a little deeper than that?
4th: Haha not at all! No gambling here – it was more so at the time there were a lot of those sorts of references in what we were doing. And the fact that we were in the same circle it was sort of ‘shuffling of the deck’ to be super-corny for us to work together. To be even more corny, it’s also a nod to Bris-Vegas. Corn.
aahh: How long how you guys been working on the VA All Day material for this EP?
4th: The actual music didn’t take that long at all. Everything on there was the culmination of Cam sending me a beat and immediately I knew what it was going to be about and wrote it in a couple of hours. If it didn’t work like that – it’s not on there. All the other behind-the-scenes shit is what took the most time. I’m pretty picky so there was a lot of back and forth tweaking etc. Sorry guys!
aahh: The depth of this EP is impressive, Are you guys strong believers in the old adage of quality over quantity?
4th: Without a mother-effing doubt! We really wanted to put out something really solid to make a good first impression. Because obviously we were a ‘new’ group we had to start from scratch again and really turn some heads to get the name out there. There are so many great acts these days you need to bring something special to the table to stand out.
aahh: What have been the some of main challenges you’ve faced in bringing this release to the people?
4th: The generic ‘being-on-a-small-label-and-lacking-a-big-budget’ one is pretty obvious as a factor. I don’t think being in Brisbane geographically is a hurdle in getting our music around the country though, for most part the scene here has been really supportive. I dunno, maybe because we started from scratch as a new group was our biggest hurdle? Hurdles have also been a pretty big hurdle.
aahh: A lot of artists talk about their influences and how it shaped their musical development. With such diverse backgrounds what were some of your early influences?
4th: I can safely say my influences now are pretty different to when I was starting out, but with that said, those early influences were very important! A few years ago I was pretty anti-mainstream which I’m sure every teenager goes through. My biggest influences overseas were probably early Eminem, Apathy, Copywrite… shit there is seriously too many to name, now I am really into Jay-Z/J. Cole, Evidence and Fashawn are getting a thrashing too, again though – waaaaaay too many to name! Locally though the biggest were Lyrical Commission, Left One, Lazy Grey + 750 and co, they made me wanna do it.
aahh: What do you think the most important aspects are to consider when constructing a track lyrically for your audience?
4th: That they can understand it and can picture what I’m saying. I find myself doing that when I write now. I more want to write shit that someone can relate to as oppose to having the most technical verse now.
aahh: For the gear geeks out there, what kind of equipment set up do you have?
Cam Bluff: Im currently rocking my good old mpc200xl along with a m-audio key rig 49. Primarily i did start making beats on my mpc, however nowadays as i branch off into larger compositions i rely on my mpc as more as a midi controller than a beat machine. Accompanying my mpc and keyrig are also a m-audio profire 610 audio interface, a pair of behringer truths, a pair of stanton T.150’s and a 27” IMAC. I use Native Instruments complete 7 which is fantastic for laying down vintage or orchestral sounds. Keys,organs, retro 70/80’s synths you name it this package packs a punch. Its pricy though it pays off.
aahh: We’ve heard you’ve already started work on the full LP. Is it true that Cam has sent you a pile of beats but only one has made the cut so far. Has that been the general way you guys work together?
4th: Yeah I can be pretty notoriously picky with music. Lucky Cam is a fucking incredible talent and we are on the same page. There are actually a few beats that are definite now. Pretty much if I don’t love a beat and have a feel for what the song is going to be about straight away, then it most likely wont get used.
aahh: Can you give us a little insight on how the album will compare to the EP?
4th: In the early stages its more musical I suppose, Cam’s production is definitely moving forward in this way. Fundamentally I suppose it will be similar to the EP but I guess just ‘bigger better more’ (yo Opees!). We know what we want to do with it for this release, which I guess is a good thing.
aahh: How far into the album are you and will we see a 2011 release?
Cam Bluff: We have a few songs written and roughly recorded and a few more beats picked out. And yes we are aiming for a late 2011 release.
aahh: With the recent floods and cyclones to hit QLD, there have been numerous benefit gigs and money-raising efforts. Vegas Aces were involved in a Rap Relief track. Tell us a little bit about the track and how these disasters have affected you on a personal level and as a member of the community?
4th: That track came together through Chris at Soulmate Records and mutual friends Choose Mics, Seven and Syntax. I dunno? I kind of just jumped on board, Cam was making a beat with the same sample which was meant to switch up or be a remix but didn’t end up happening in time. Then Tom wrote and recorded the chorus after I recorded my verse and that was that really. I wasn’t affected directly by the floods but I know people who were and it was fucking horrible. As horrible as it was, it also showed how altruistic we can be as a city/country with all the donations and charity gigs and that was brilliant! The whole world seems to be getting reamed at the moment thought… shit is hectic.
aahh: What’s 2011 hold in store both as separate artists and for Vegas Aces?
4th: As Vegas Aces we are aiming to have the album out late this year. We want to tour. Tour. And tour again. Basically just stay building and making music. Hopefully I will getting up and finishing the Pure Product album.
Cam Bluff: Damn so far 2011 has kept me busy. Along with the VA album i will be reconnecting with Spit Syndicate on their next release. I have another project im working on with Syntax. We’ve pretty much chosen all the beats and we are looking at a late 2011 release.