CRATERFACE arrive with a simple, but crystal clear, mission statement - they want experimentation to flourish.
"The mission statement is to broaden Australian music's horizons big time," said Chester Chaffer, aka Baby Bruh, the MC in Newcastle alt-rap duo Craterface. "That's the dream.
"To open up a space where experimentation is fully encouraged."
On Friday Craterface release their second mixed tape Burn After Listening. It sees Chaffer and vocalist-producer Harrison Chapman, aka Taki Local, deliver their most ambitious and focused collection, following on from last year's debut Don't Be Confused which was hip Sydney radio station FBi's album of the week.
"After that record came out we wanted to refine everything," Chapman said. "Everything from our aesthetic to our sound, which is the most important thing, so that everything was on point for the next record."
Craterface's sound is unlike anything in Newcastle. Perhaps, in Australia. They blend lo-fi production, mid-2000s hip-hop and electro-pop in a kaleidoscopic collage of sounds and samples.
Chaffer, 22, and Chapman, 23, are childhood friends who initially decided to make music together in 2016. Taki Local is Chapman's old gaming moniker, while Chaffer took Baby Bruh from a misheard lyric by his favourite rapper R.A.P. Ferreira.
With Newcastle's scene dominated by rock and indie acts it took Craterface several years to carve out their own territory.
"It was a bit daunting at the start as there were no good rap artists in Newcastle," Chaffer said. "There wasn't really a space for it with venues only catering for rock artists.
"We planned to do it for ages, we just had to pick the right time. Eventually we had enough of not doing it, so it was either we bite the bullet and really try to make it work or we'll really regret it when we're like 26."
The collaboration with Newcastle indie-pop artist Fritz and rapper Aquinas on the track -12° proved a real turning point earlier this year and garnered wide exposure.
Shortly after as COVID-19 was locking down the world, the duo started writing Burn After Listening in their Waratah house. Spirituality is a dominant theme flowing through the mixed tape.
"Religion isn't a part of our lives at all, but I found at least being spiritual and writing honest music goes hand in hand," Chaffer said. "I personally struggle with mental issues and the only way I can make myself feel better is believing in something, whether that's myself or something higher.
"I wanted to feel comfortable with trusting something."
Craterface will launch Burn After Listening at the Cambridge Hotel on November 5.
ALPHA WOLF MOVE
RISING metalcore band Alpha Wolf have announced their biggest tour to date and the Cambridge Hotel is on the itinerary for August 13, 2021.
The Tasmanian band's second album A Quiet Place To Die debuted at No.6 on the ARIA charts in September, but due to COVID-19 restrictions on live performances, Alpha Wolf have opted to take a cautious approach to scheduling shows.
At this stage the show will be selling tickets at half capacity.
LIME Cordiale certainly made the right decision to switch their Great Southern Nights gig from the Shoal Bay Country Club to the bigger Civic Theatre.
Both of their 750-capacity shows on November 6 and 7 at the Newcastle venue have sold out after fans demanded the Sydney indie-pop band reschedule the performance.
Back in July the Robbery and Inappropriate Behaviour hit-makers sold out eight 100-capacity shows at the Cambridge Hotel to launch their No.1 album 14 Steps To A Better You.
Lime Cordiale have since been nominated for eight ARIA awards including best album and group.
WHILE on Great Southern Nights, it came to the attention of local music fans that Newcastle was absent from the list of regions in the gig guide for NSW Government's initiative.
Great Southern Nights features 1000 gigs in November across NSW, including more than 60 in the Hunter. However, despite Newcastle supporting one of the most fertile music scenes in the country, the region's listings were split between the Hunter, North Coast and Central Coast categories.
City of Newcastle councillor and avid music supporter Carol Duncan pointed out the oversight to Destination NSW officials last week and a "Newcastle & Hunter" category has since been established.