I heard about the awesome crew at Rawlab Entertainment through R.E.A.L Music (Group 006), as they regularly gig together. Rawlab is an independent hip-hop label that started nearly a decade ago in Adelaide and Melbourne. After spending the last 12 months growing, they are finally ready to unleash their family of artists onto the rest of the country. Rawlab are out to make good music and encourage artists to reach their full potential. Have a listen to Big T’s great track, “Nobody Can Catch You (Keep Running)”. 2014 is set to be a massive year for the Rawlab crew so have a read here to find out more! You can also head to their Website or Facebook.
Tell us about RAWLAB Entertainment and how you guys came together.
Rawlab has been around in some form for a long time, started by Melbourne rapper Gzutek in the early 2000’s, but remained only a small collective until recently. Grinny and Big T met Gzutek in their early days of performing at the “Figure of Speech” nights run at the ‘Noise Bar’ in Brunswick. From there we developed a great working relationship.
In 2009 we started to formalise the business side of things, with the release of T and Gzutek’s project “27 Politics: the Prima Facie Mixtape”, but 2013 was when we decided to expand our artist roster and develop into a proper independent label, and Grinny and Big T took the drivers wheel.
What did the name RAWLAB come from?
The name was Gzutek’s creation, releasing his debut solo mixtape under the brand “Rawlab United” – with use of the acronym: R.A.W.L.A.B – Rappers Against Whack Lyrics and Beats” – looking back, we cringe, but something about “Rawlab” stuck, and “Rawlab Entertainment” have made a name for ourselves in the local and national scene.
Who runs RAWLAB?
We all have our part of Rawlab – it is owned and operated by artists Grinny and Big T, with Gzutek maintaining a small share, but all of the artists have a stake in the label, and contribute their skills to build the name and develop the product.
The artists also maintain creative control of their work. We are not here to change artists and mould them into what will make them “ commercially successful”, but rather recognising their talent and helping guide them in the development and recording of whatever project they’re working on. We feel this leads to more honest and organic results.
You’ve spent the last 12 months building a family of artists. Tell us about your current roster.
The original lineup of Big T (MC), Grinny (MC/Producer/Vocalist), and 27 Politics (Big T and Gzutek (MC/Producer)) remains, and 2013 has seen the additions of the following artists,
– Straitjacket Symphony, consisting of Victorian battle rappers Skandal (MC/Producer) and Rorshak (MC),
– Zetes (MC/Producer)
-Primary Source, Louis Vive and Aorta (MC’s)
-Dliver, (MC) Real Talk Battle League Champion (Qld)
-Full Spectrum (MC)
-Tommy Staples (Producer)
2014 is set to see releases from most, if not all of the artists.
What do you look for when signing individuals to RAWLAB?
A signing to Rawlab usually comes about in one of two ways, either we have known the artist for quite a while and feel their work ethic and approach to the craft is suited to our own and we ask them to come on board.
Alternatively we actively seek established artists that we feel are underrated or need the backing of a label to help move forward to the next stage of their career.
In either case, we look for artists that can benefit from the mistakes that we’ve made in the past, and help to prevent them from making the same mistakes and in a way, fast track their careers. We have built a strong relationship with our roster and feel we can help promote these artists to the next level.
A lot of artists get stuck with promoting to the same people, we want to help everyone reach a new platform and diversify their audience. We don’t have a specific Rawlab “sound” as such – if you listen to our line up individually you can see we have wide range of different styles, if you like hip hop you are bound to find somebody at the Rawlab that you will enjoy. We try to cover all bases and have something to cater for everybody’s individual tastes.
What’s it like being in the RAWLAB studio?
Hazy, very hazy.
Where do you guys like to gig?
We are based in Melbourne, and are extremely lucky to be regulars at the Laundry Bar in Fitzroy. We play most of the venues that cater for Hip Hop in the CBD and inner Melbourne- Revolver, Noise Bar, First Floor among our favourites as well. This year we look more into focusing on the touring of our artists as their releases come out, so expect a few more shows in regional Victoria and the rest of Australia in 2014.
Tell us about the other services you guys offer.
We offer production, recording, mixing/mastering, videography and more through “Rawlab Studios”. Whatever you may need, you can come and have a chat with us about your project, and we’ll work something out to suit any budget – we just like to make good music and help people reach their full potential.
It sounds like RAWLABs’ got a big year coming up. What’s in store for 2014?
The start of 2014 is set to be hectic. We’re introducing our roster to Australia via our Rawlab Artist Showcase tour- we just kicked it off in Adelaide and have Melbourne and Newcastle next, you can go to the Rawlab website for the ticketing information, and we will remain focused on touring until around the end of March. Then we all come back to hit the studio and finish off these releases so we can have them out for you.
First for 2014 is Grinny’s solo EP “State of Mine”, fully recorded and produced within the Rawlab studios. We are pumped about this record and the first single “Keep Mine” has already been released.
With nearly a decade of experience, what advice would you give to people just starting out, looking to start something similar?
Be a craftsman. Good enough is never good enough, you’re in Australian Hip Hop for the love of the music and the art-form so study hard and perfect your art.
Show Respect. Just because you may not be feeling someone’s style or content, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve your respect for putting their balls on the line, getting up there and doing it. There’s a place for everyone, if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it, but don’t disrespect others’ art.
Be yourself. Don’t try and imitate something you are not. Everyone has their own voice and personal truth, and it is the artists that put that into their music that are the ones who end up the most respected. Don’t let anyone tell you who you should be, this is Hip Hop.
And don’t steal our ideas.
Grinny and Big T