One of the voices of Brisbane's rich history is Zac Eakin. The frontman of party starters Schoolfight for the better part of the past decade, the emcee has been quietly working on a solo endeavour as C.White.
He unveils this new moniker on stage when he supports internationals CL Smooth and Pete Rock later this month.
The solo stuff Mr C.White; what can you tell your friendly neighbourhood street press about these endeavours? Album is a word being bandied about I'm told.
I started recording this album at the beginning of 2016. It's something that I guess has been on the cards for awhile, but things hadn't lined up. My plan was to work with one producer, collab on a full project together and keep the track list small... smallish... 10-11 tracks.
I felt this would save time and I could actually build a cohesive, structured story on a solid platform of beats that, even though are all quite different have come out of the same stable using the same equipment and vibe. My mate Aussie Ozbourne of the Def Men Walking crew has handled all of the tunes; he has done a cracking job, happy days.
How does this solo material compare to your other artistic endeavours, particularly your hip hop group, Schoolfight?
It's different. The band is a tight working, well-oiled machine. Everybody has input into the music Schoolfight makes, so it's different to not have to bounce ideas off the fellas. It's good, but daunting also. I guess I'm taking everything I have learned over the years and applying it to this solo album; it's been seamless and a tonne of fun.
You've changed tack with your stage name as well. Why the move to C.White?
Whitey or C.White have always been my name. My dad calls me Whitey haha; it's that ingrained. I guess the name change is to simplify it for folks; eMCYTe was often met with puzzled looks. The real question is; what does the C stand for?
Being added to the CL Smooth, Pete Rock Brisbane show as a local support… gotta be feeling alright about that news, right?
Absolutely. Anytime you get to open for legends is a special thing. My mate Masterwolf got the call up also; hell of a way to kick off the first of hopefully many C.White solo shows; honoured.
What do you have planned for the short time you'll be on stage?
All new tracks, some bulk chat with my man 7ravesty (333) and DJ duties handled by the one and only DJ Johnny Love.
Fame and/ or fortune is something most artists seek… is that a major, motivating aspect that drives your artistic juices at the moment?
Nah. I think in my 20s, I probs [sic] craved all of that. I'm not so worried about that kind of thing these days. I'm telling stories and writing tracks that I find funny and interesting, and I hope people will also. Don't get me wrong I want people to buy my album... I'm not doing this for my health but, you know there is a whole lot of hip hop being made out there. Hopefully peeps pick up what I'm throwing down.
You've been grinding at this music game a long time… what keeps you motivated to keep creating new music?
It's habit, it's what I know and do. I need music. I love making, listening and performing it. I still write almost every day. Old-school pen and pad steeze, it's a meditation for me without trying to sound all avocado wolfe over here. I can't see me stopping anytime soon.
On that tip, are there moments when all the sweat, blood and tears seem like a monumental waste of your time/ life? How do you overcome those types of challenges?
Jesus, this question haha! Music is a game of luck, no guarantees out here. If I wanted guarantees and security I would have been a lawyer. I do this because it's me, it makes sense to me and I'm passionate about it, that's what separates the lifers from the candy-arse, fly-by nighters. Yeah, shit is tough sometimes but it's worth it; hearing your words sung back at you from the crowd... you can't buy that... brother, I wouldn't change a minute.
At the other end of your musical garage you have Schoolfight, who'll be playing their only 2017 show in a couple of weeks. What's the future for the Schoolfight camp?
We have a few members pissing off overseas this year, for work and pleasure, so yeah we figure we can finish everything that has to done mix wise, via Dropbox links and bulk Skype chats. The album is finished. We recorded the last batch a few weeks back at the awesome Tanuki Lounge here in West End (Brisbane); things are sounding proper and we are looking forward to getting it out early 2018!
C.White supports CL Smooth and Pete Rock at Chardon's Corner Hotel (Brisbane) 16 March. Schoolfight play The Boundary Hotel (Brisbane) 11 March.