IF Jesse Ferris was ever going to move out of Sydney, he says Fremantle would be “right up there” on the list of places he would consider.
“I deadest love Fremantle; it’s probably my favourite place outside of my hometown,” the Thundamentals MC, better know as Jeswon, said.
“In a strange way I feel there’s an affinity with the place we grew up, which is a place called Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.
“I feel like it’s quite liberal and open-minded.
“I love that the council there in Freo was the first place in Australia to not celebrate Australia Day on the day that it’s always been celebrated on.
“I think that just speaks volumes about the place.
“And we’ve got a lot of good friends out there and the best Hainanese chicken I’ve ever had in that food court in the middle of town.
“When we’re playing a tour like this, we ask how can we make it that we can go to Freo so we’re super, super looking forward to coming back.”
The hip-hop trio will hit Metropolis Fremantle on March 17 as part of its Decade of the Thundakat regional tour to celebrate 10 years since the release of their first self-titled EP.
The “massive gruelling beast of a tour” features 36 shows over almost four months.
“We saw this is an opportunity to reconnect with the roots of our band,” Ferris said.
“When we started back then, the regional places were the only places that would be willing to take a gamble on us.
“It was hard to get gigs in places like Sydney or Melbourne or the more capital cities because they want to wait until you’ve already got a fan base, so you’re a sure thing, whereas the more regional places would give us the opportunities to just come and play a show regardless of whether the room was packed or there were 10 people or 100 or whatever it was.
“Those were the places that would say, ‘look we’ll give you a box of beer and some petrol money, get out here and do your show’.
“So we wanted to repay that goodwill and faith to those more regional cities that had us when we were starting out.”
And if you told Ferris 10 years ago that Thundamentals would go from getting paid in beer and petrol money to selling out venues he may not have believed you.
“It’s surreal,” he said.
“It just feels like a blessing to be 10 years deep into our career and have people still interested and still invested in what we’re doing and the music we’re creating.
“Our growth has been very small, steady steps and because of that, the days of there being 10 people in a room or 20 people in the room are not that far removed.
“So whenever we’re able to sell out a gig or have a room full of people who know our music, it still feels like a crazy, surreal blessing.
“I really try and make a conscious effort not to ever feel complacent or spoilt by these situations that we’re fortunate enough to find ourselves in these days because I know that’s not normal.
“So to have people at our shows just feels amazing and to see a crowd full of people singing the lyrics back that you wrote in your bedroom is and forever will just feel like a beautiful and unexpected thing.”
As well as watching the band evolve over the past 10 years, Ferris also reflected on the changes he has experienced in the Australian hip-hop industry.
“When we started, there wasn’t an industry,” he said.
“When we started making hip-hop, I wasn’t even really aware other people were making it whereas now, if you’re a young person and you’re starting out and you want to make hip hop, you can look at all these different bands and say ‘wow, I can do this and make a living off doing hip hop’.
“When we started, if someone told us you could live off of doing hip-hop in Australia, that I would be paying my rent and eating and putting a roof over my head just from rapping, I would have laughed square in your face; it just wasn’t a reality at that time.
“It’s a spin out and every day; I feel like I’m living the dream right now and pinching myself every day that I get to wake up and put all of my energy into our business and being able to create something beautiful with two of my best friends who are like my family.
“Every day I get to go to work with my best friends, not many people get to say that.”
Support: B Wise and Adrian Eagle
When: March 17
Where: Metropolis Fremantle