Without any further ado we’d like to introduce you to a young man from Brisbane that’s well and truly grabbed our attention. 21 year old rapper/producer/jack of all trades, Nerve, is leading the charge of the next wave of Australian artists. His raw uniqueness and artistic style grabbed me after a close friend of mine shared one of his videos. From there on I began to explore.
At first glance what appeared on the surface was a bunch of kids getting all 'gully' and firing over 140bpm grime rhythms. In all fairness, I could have easily dismissed it there, however, I was far from wrong and quickly found that Nerve’s product withheld a whole lot of substance the more I ventured through his songs. His diverse range of beats and styles amazed me after just a short listen and scroll through YouTube- I automatically became hooked in. It was clear through his online catalogue of cyphers and video material that this guy meant business. Not only were the visuals professional but the way he calmly carried himself behind the lens spoke volumes I could see quite clearly that this young gentlemen kept a low profile and had a grip on the mentality that a real artist holds. He wasn't overly hype (like some his fellow rappers in clips) but held an immense calmness and control like a Grandmaster of Chess.
After delving further I came to the conclusion that Nerve is one of Australia's only self sufficient artists. He chops his own records, adds live instrumentation, writes his bars and murders them. He even lays his own cuts, then calmly sits back and lays the mixes/masters on his final products. I soon realised that even with all my connections throughout music, I didn’t even know one single person that did every single part of the process independently. This immediately triggered alarm bells for me as a saw someone who was truly making moves amongst the scene.
We contacted Nerve immediately and sure enough his response was efficient and professional. He then kindly took some of his precious time and gave us an insight in to all things 'Nerve'.
How long have you been working at your craft?
I’ve been producing hip-hop instrumentals and writing/recording lyrics since early 2015. Not that long really.
Favourite piece of musical equipment?
If we’re talking actual real music? Like instruments? I got mad love for the Fender Precision-bass and any sort of funky analog synths. But if we’re talking production I can’t go past the Ableton push. Even though I don’t use it to its full capabilities it’s such an efficient tool for sequencing beats naturally without draining your creative energy in the process. As soon as I purchased one it fully changed the swing and flow of my beats up. Also Ableton is god.
What's your one defining characteristic that makes your music different?
Tough question to answer without sounding like a wanker. But one thing that I appreciate hearing is that I don’t have any glaringly obvious artistic influences that I shadow or copy in my own craft - which I guess by definition makes me different in some way. Like when you hear someone rap and you’re like, “yep he loves Earl Sweatshirt” straight off the bat when he starts looking all sad and talking about 40’s or something.
What have you been working on recently?
I’ve been working on my goddamn album for like 2 and a half years and it’s almost done and I’m not telling you anything else about it but it’s so close.
Whose making moves on a local level in Brisbane?
I don’t really focus on the hip-hop side cause everyones in their own lane with that these days. But I gotta shout out my mans Kyel Golly and Only Odd for being incredible photographers and capturing so many of our memorable moments in the last year. Golly especially for his work on the majority of the music videos coming from out network of artists. Also I’m a huge fan of Tiana Khasi and if you haven’t heard “Georgia’s Song” go do yourself a favour now.
You have a vastly extensive crew, as seen in your cypher videos. Shout them out..
Big ups go to Golly, Mesc, Skrub, Brainstorm, Dean, Gerriatrix, Spekter, Ozai, Xave, Zealot, Count Be, Blind, Estranged, Synth, Smak, Webb Shells, Only Odd, Good Nuuz, Pebbles, Kreznik and anyone I missed you know who you are.
DJ Premier // 9th Wonder // Madlib // Pete Rock // Wiley // Filthy Gears //
What's in the tape deck of late?
I’ve just been listening to sexy RnB/Rap tunes to be honest. Just discovered this guy called Smino from the U.S who is an absolute weapon and of course bumping way too much Anderson .Paak and Kaytranada.
Shoe/sneaker of choice?
I don’t have a pair cause they’re loud as hell but Reebok Pump Fury’s some chunky eye-candy pieces of deliciousness in B&W. Can’t go wrong with Doc’s either.
What's your poison come party time on weekend?
I only ever party at shows and I just drink a tonne of water.
‘Body The Beat’ is a brilliant pursuit you’ve started. Tell us more..
Body The Beat was sick. It was surprising to see how strong the response was throughout the scene and so many peers of mine entered it as well which wigged me out. The entry from JK-47 was pretty much exactly what I was waiting for. Someone I hadn’t heard of before with huge swagger just owning it. There was a tonne of honourable mentions as well but I felt that it made more sense to go with someone that hadn’t already had decent exposure previously. Expect to see a collaboration between us in the coming months.
Being a self sufficient/independent artist (beat maker,producer,rappper) what’s your greatest challenge producing music?
The hardest part of being independent is not letting promotion and marketing dull your imagination or passion for creating the music itself. Definitely takes a while to find a healthy balance of both.
Favourite source of knowledge (podcast,book,radio show,blog,tv show) ?
I dig podcasts like Radiolab and How Stuff Works and I've read a lot of university textbooks for Electrical Engineering / Psychology / Neuroscience in the last few years. A good mix of music and reading keep my brain on point.
What’s next for you?
I’ve got some collaborations coming that I don’t think anyones going to expect in terms of style & content so the next few months should be pretty interesting. Obviously on top of that is my album-The project is called "SOBER" and it's set to drop around April/May. It's 13 tracks and is a mix of old and new school production and styles.
What Nerve does is unique and that is something we truly admire here at illeqwip and Strictly Collective. He hasn't mindlessly followed a set lane and clearly draws inspiration from all elements of life (evident in his taste in literature). Below are some of our recommendations on where to start in the 'Nerve' Catalogue. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for his debut album, we sense there are massive things to come.
Written and Curated by Ryan Bennett