With a wry, undulating smoothness, millennial rapper Allday (born Tom Gaynor) got his break with a pair of radio hits in his home country of Australia in 2014. “Right Now” and “You Always Know the DJ” were included on his debut album, Startup Cult, but by then, he had already dropped a number of mixtapes (and dropped out of art school and a punk band) and opened for Lily Allen. His lyrics — a mix of genuine, bittersweet storytelling and youthful shenanigans — flowed with a cadence reminiscent of ’90s American East Coast rap. In 2015, he released the woozy Soft Grunge Love Rap mixtape and signed with Wind-Up Records. In 2017 Allday issued his much anticipated sophomore full-length, Speeding, which featured guest spots from fellow Aussies Japanese Wallpaper, Mallrat, and Nyne.
Straight out of Adelaide correct? What is it in the water down that way and hip hop? Hilltop Hoods dominated 10+ years ago and still at the top of their game and now your leading the next generation into another complete schooling of Adelaide hip hop. Is it the fresh air? The rainy studio days or maybe something else? What do you think it is?
For me I came out of the same neighbourhood as Hilltop Hoods. Around that area but also all of Adelaide, Hip Hop is the dominant culture. That is partially because of Hilltop Hoods and the people of their generation, and the generation before them. By the time I was a teenager, everybody was rapping and doing graffiti. Adelaide has a lot of rappers because the culture is deep there.
While on the subject of Adelaide who else has been some local artist that you looked up to as a teenager in school ?
I loved local Hip Hop as a kid. Hilltops, Terra Firma, After Hours, Train of Thought, Funkoars, Delta, Lyrical Commission, Prowla, Lazy Grey, Bias B, Reason… the list goes on. Back then if it was Australian I fucked with it. It was just so dope hearing people rap in your own accent. In later teen years it was Big L, Nas, Jay Z, Big Pun etc. 90s Hip Hop. I discovered all the other genres a bit later.
Looking back on your school days, did you know this is what you would be doing? Any moments in particular you can now sight that probably made that choice for you at a very young age but only realise now?
I didn’t know this is what I’d be doing. I thought I would be a professional basketball player who released albums on the side like Shaq (embarrassing I know). But looking back, I was writing raps at such a young age. 10 or 11 years old, I would walk to school building verses in my head. I think I’m lucky that I’ve been blessed with the ability to put these stories down in songs and have them connect with people.
The whole Hip Hop, Grafitti, Rave culture and anything arts has always been strong down that way, even the Adelaide Fringe Festival. Apart from what else you already mentioned why is Adelaide so artistic and for such a small city compared to the rest of Australia? The clubs always seems to be popping, the rave parties going crazy and the festivals are as loose as they get!
Hate to sound like a hippie but the only explanation I have for the arts scene is “the energy.” The energy in Adelaide is crazy. It can make you feel loco. A night out on the town there feels like crazy dream. Drugs hit harder there. I believe there is some magic in the air. It’s an isolated place. There is a lot of crime and poverty, but a lot of brilliant people have come from there or passed through there. It’s also quiet. I grew up with a LOT of time to think and be alone. I think that helps creativity. I would recommend people visit around February and March for the Fringe.
How about out in the country towns whats happening out the valley or down the coast that you have come across and would love to share with us? Do you get to tour much back in South Australia after relocating to Melbourne? Anything coming up down that way you can let your fans reading know about?
I’m back in Adelaide a lot. In summer all the beaches are great even the suburban ones. But I head down to Aldinga or Moana for a day. Or a bit further to Second Valley. There’s a nice family beach in Pt Elliot.
Melbourne – the mecca for Australian music. Why did you relocate there? Was it the studio space? Record deals or more artists to collab with?
I left town for a few reasons. I was getting a bit sick of the graffiti world drama that I had in my life from being a little graffiti bastard. So Melbourne seemed like the place. Sometimes you just know you need to leave somewhere to take the next step as a person. I’m fond of both places.
Bali – its your first time performing here, but is it your first time visiting here? What have you heard about the events here and in particular Canggu’s loosest venue Oldman’s where you are playing in December? The place is going crazy 7 nights a week and we are all soooo hyped for your show here.
I have heard it’s a wild place, and I noticed my mates the Dunies played there recently. I’ve been to Bali once before but it was for a gig when I was a lot younger, and I didn’t get much time to hang out. Hoping to see the sights and have some fun this time.
While your in Bali what else do you plan to get up to ? Some food? Surf? Chill time?
I’m not much of a surfer, I’d like to learn, but I might just try to see some pretty stuff and explore. Maybe go out and have a dance.
While your travelling on the road what do you travel with? Equipment, tour manager, staff and excess luggage necessities?
If we’re doing gigs there’s a fair bit of gear. Usually just one big bag of clothes, I bring some books, make sure I have my toiletries like some tweezers if my monobrow is getting out of control. Maybe some vitamins.
We better talk more about some music hey? A collaboration with the Veronicas? Amazing – how did that all go about when your lining up such an amazing collaboration?
We met after a gig in WA. In Pt. Headland I think. At the airport on the way out. We just had a lovely chat and a nice laugh. And became pals from there. They were very gracious to work with me. I’m so happy to see their success at the moment. It’s what they deserve.
Your debut album Start up Cult – was that your intentions? Joking – great title name, how did you come up with it?
I guess I felt like a bit of an outsider in music. I didn’t quite fit into the Aussie Hip Hop scene. But I didn’t feel part of the pop scene or the indie scene either. But I knew people were beginning to embrace my music because it felt real and natural. I thought, maybe I’ll never be the biggest artist, but I can have a cult following.
How about your latest album ‘ Starry Night over the Phone’ how about that title? While it doesn’t actually feature as a track title on the album we love the whole release. Which was your favourite track on the album to work on in the studio and also the funnest video clip to make?
Thanks. I guess I enjoyed making Lungs the most. It was the quickest song to record. Actually I got a bit bogged down on the recording process this album. Next album I want to be quicker. Sometimes I get caught up looking for the “perfect” take when I should be searching for the take that captures the essence of the song.
While your know for kicking things of in the start of your career loading up all your tunes for free and gaining some massive listens things have certainly changed in the past decade or so with how music is delivered. Whats your whole stance on things with all the new platforms, the Spotify generation and is vinyl making a comeback?
I don’t really have a stance. Obviously it would be better for musicians if everyone had to buy every album they listened to. But as a listener of music I love streaming. We just have to keep on making albums and the market will change how much money we make for better or worse over time. I think vinyl coming back is great. Vinyl just looks good in your home. It’s a great piece of art even if you don’t listen to it.
If Allday wasn’t doing what he is doing now and not a career in the music industry what do you think you would be doing?
I have no idea but I thank god that I have this opportunity.
Next up for Allday is ?
More music until I die or nobody listens to it anymore and I have to get a real job.
Change this question to add anything we didnt cover or you would like to add?
Thank you, it’s gonna be a fun gig, can’t wait.