Eloquor and 7'6 Turn A Near Two-Decade Friendship Into 'Fun 'N' Games'

Eloquor and 7'6's new single is titled 'Fun 'n' Games'.
Harry is a musician, producer, and visual artist, making psych pop and glitch art under the name Elder Children.

A collaboration between Melbourne-based rapper Eloquor and Birmingham-born, Melbourne-based producer 7'6 (Delroy Bennett), 'Fun 'N' Games' is the pair's first joint single.

Lifted from their forthcoming album 'The Stronger The Wind, The Stronger The Trees', which was recorded largely in 7'6's Melbourne studio, 'Fun 'N' Games' features heavy-hitting, piano-driven beats courtesy of 7'6, fusing jazz and trip-hop with an effortlessly groovy, natural style.

The track is driven by Eloquor's emotionally-charged flow, throwing down rhymes with a deeply personal message. "I reckon we met around 16 years ago," Eloquor says, reminiscing about how the pair first met.

"I did a show in Frankston for Swanny called 'End Of The Line', and Swanny said 'I'm doing a mixtape at Stronghorn – why don't you come and record there?'"

Adds 7'6 detailing their process, friendship, and the passion that went into the record. "I've been doing music since I was 18. Now approaching my 48th birthday, involved in a few rap groups and breakdance crews.

"I started a group with my friends from school – a female and a male. At the same time, I started my own clothing label, Conflict, with which it shared a name. I was DJing at the time, started a record collection – it was the natural progression.

"Later I started my label, Stronghorn Records for a few years with a group called The HEARD [not to be confused with Aussie OGs The Herd]. . . After Stronghorn I made the move to Australia, and I've been here for 17 or 18 years.

"I started Stronghorn Studios after a couple of years of being here. Opened it in Oakleigh. It was a fortunate time in music where the industry was seeing a lot of sudden growth, artists becoming stars. I was fortunate enough to see a lot of those artists come through those studios – and that's where I happened to meet Eloquor. It was probably in the first two, three years at Stronghorn that he came through."

Eloquor has been in the game for quite some time, putting out music for close to two decades. Previous collaborations have included 'Ain't No Place' featuring Briggs, 'Keep On' with Lauren Gillard, and 'The Good Stuff' with Kid Vicious.

"Briggs was doing his first EP at Seven's studio, and that's where I met Briggs," Eloquor says. "He took Seven and I on tour with the Hilltop Hoods – Seven was his DJ and I was his hype man. Since then, we've done St Kilda Festival a couple of times. Seven DJd for my launches."

Though this is officially the first release under the 7'6 and Eloquor title, the pair have teamed up numerous times in a friendship spanning over 16 years. "It's our first record together as '7'6 and Eloquor' – but he recorded early EPs with me, recorded my first album. . . I think my second and third albums were recorded at his studio as well.

"'Move Up' [the single] from 15 years ago is a Seven beat. So, when it comes to working together, we've done that for a long time."

Eloquor’s previous releases include 2017's hard-hitting album 'Lunch' where his work with at-risk youth inspired much of his music. Elsewhere in his career, Eloquor has worked with the likes of Melbourne-based hip hop crew Cerberus III, alongside emcee Plire and producer Jase Beathedz (aka Shem) of Obese Records and Nubreed.

On 'The Stronger The Wind, The Stronger The Trees', the pair take inspiration from the rekindling of their nearly two-decade friendship. "To give you a bit of context, maybe four years ago, Seven and I had a falling out," shares Eloquor. "We started working together. . . and it was basically over a roster.

"We're both quite proud, and whatever. We didn't speak for years, like two and a half years. And then we re-linked. And this album to me, represents a re-kindled friendship."

Adds 7'6: "This whole story is part of the album as well. The album will tell you what was born from that relationship and the rekindling of that relationship as well.

"We refer to. . . I don't know if you remember the Japanese art of Kintsugi. Repairing broken pottery with gold and seeing the value in something being stronger by seeing the damage.

"I feel like we have a much better understanding of ourselves and how to craft our music and to see the value and strengths in each other and what we bring to the table.

"Anyone that knows Eloquor will tell you he's one of the most positive people you'll ever meet. Some of that is also covered on the album – from the dark times, to the bright and happy, but if you don't ask, he won't tell you those things. That's part of the strength of the partnership – when I might not be at my strongest, he'll pull me along as well."

While the duo has collaborated extensively in the past, this record is unlike anything they've done before. Harnessing the power of their long-standing friendship, they've crafted a record built on years of chemistry. "One of the best examples of what we've done in the past is called 'From The Oceans Of Karana' (2013)," 7'6 says.

"The album was divided into thirds, where each producer handled a section. That was Donny [Eloquor] and I working on an album – but Eloquor had already come to the table with the vision, and I helped bring it to life.

"Whereas with this album, it's much more of a collaboration – from the beats to the subject matter, to the final vision, the effort – it's a full collaboration."

"It's quite different as an artist to work with someone on that level together," continues Eloquor. "You really need to listen to the other person. In the past I've been like, 'nah I'm gonna write this'. Whereas he wouldn't have put that on an album. With this there's a lot more, '. . .it's gotta be right'.

"You need to discuss, you need to share thoughts. There's one track on this [album] that I wrote probably three times – it just didn't work! There's that listening to each other.

"Out of ten beats Seven shows me, I'll like eight. That's not usually the case – most producers, it's two out of ten. He'll play me three or four [beats] and I'll be like, 'oh, that’s better than that'.

"Then we talk about concepts – 'What do you hear here? What are your thoughts?' It's a conversation. I bring raps and hooks, and Seven makes them works. It's like going to a good tattoo artist – you just know they're going to do a good job."

For 7'6, it's not about rushing the creative process. "I've never been the type to push the button and accept the first thing that comes out. I'm conscious of the way people are going to hear what you're doing. I bring the beats and the production to the table, and Eloquor produces as well. . . It goes both ways."

When it comes to the influences for the record, the group cite no specific artists. Instead, they naturally draw from their decades of involvement in the culture, embracing inspiration from their youth, contemporary rap, and their own personal experiences.

"I've always been a producer first: DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Dilla. . . Hi-Tek," 7'6 says "I'm old-school – golden era '90s, yeah. I've always made beats as if I'm in a different country. I'm making beats for those sorts of [international] artists as well."

"I got my first NWA tape when I was 11 years old," adds Eloquor. "It's just different times of your life, different artists. Moving from US artists as a kid and getting into Aussie hip hop, Pegz is my favourite Aussie producer."

However, when it comes to the inspirations behind the album, the pair cite one another as the key inspiration. "Honestly, it's Seven," Eloquor says.

"It's just really good to be friends with him again. We like the same stuff: film, videography, shooting, gear, talking about cameras and lenses, production gear, microphones.

"We shot an 11-minute double video for this single. We like that stuff! We get along. It's nice to make an album with my friend, who's a sick producer – I love making music with him because I know it's good. It's that rekindling of an old friendship that drives it. That's why it's a special album."

On 'Fun 'N' Games', the pair join forces to create a rush of a single, pouring their hearts into every stage of the track. "Seven made this beat, and the first thing I thought was it sounds like a circus, a sad circus," shares Eloquor.

"I started writing about some of my substance abuse issues and things that are a bit difficult, challenges for me, and it all just came pouring out. It wrote itself – it's probably one of my favourite songs; I've listened to it a hundred times, and it's like I've nailed what I feel, and think. And it's how I am right now – it's relevant."

Adds 7'6: "Funnily enough, we were working on the album at the time – probably three quarters through it at the time – and I'd been learning to play the piano. I've been producing for a few decades, and I'd say very slowly, note by note at a time until I know it sounds right.

"I've taken inspiration from watching my son play the piano to get deeper into the instrument. This was one of those songs, sat at the piano with my sampler on at the time, and I was able to capture what was happening at the time and build from that, build a moment. I just follow a vibe.

"Each track that I produce is following that mood – not trying too hard to craft or tell the music what I want it to be; allowing the music to express itself. Funny that Eloquor is able to give the track a label and say, 'this is how I feel'.

"As soon as I made [the beat to 'Fun 'N' Games'], it was very hot off the presses – there weren't many other people I wanted to produce for at the time. But I was thinking, 'this one's for Eloquor'."

With the record finished, 7'6 and Eloquor are gearing up for the record release. While plans for shows are still under wraps, fans can expect to hear much more from the duo in the coming months.

"Well we've gotta release this single on the 15th of April. Then the next single, and the album launch in July. We don't have an exact date yet, but it'll be launched in July at some stage," Eloquor says.

"We want people to see us [live] at some stage. No shows that we can publicise at this stage," confirms 7'6, before Eloquor shares some vinyl news. "We've got translucent orange gatefold vinyl. Boom!"

The final word goes to 7'6. "We wanted it to be something we're proud of, we can look at, that other people can appreciate too. That gatefold vinyl is coming in the next month!"

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