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INTERVIEW: Melbourne’s Savilian dives into ‘Credit Crunch’, Australian hip-hop history & podcasting

Melbourne’s multi-faceted rapper, podcaster and live music enthusiast Savilian, has just released ‘Credit Crunch’, his first track of 2022 and one that is prodigiously deep in meaning and magnitude. Having honed his craft within the industry for over 10 years, Savilian uncovers to us his difficult past and the unrepentant drive to succeed, his origins, the evolution of his sound and flow, the beginnings of his podcast and his overall fulfillment in seeing the growth of the Australian scene.

Savilian’s ‘Credit Crunch’ taps into the struggle of making it in the music industry and the personal struggle of building yourself up from scratch. Reflecting on his previous mental and financial status, the rapper is forthright with confidence in asserting that he’s moving on from a gloomy mentality on the track. However, the single has been in the process of being released for almost 2 years. In January of 2020 Savilian sat down and wrote ‘Credit Crunch’ over a Youtube Instrumental. 6 months later Sav had collaborated with a producer and by the end of September 2020 the track's production was “just absolutely gorgeous”.

”It just gave the song a whole new life but the business that I had started was doing okay, so I went from being broke to like having enough money to not worry about shit… which meant that the song didn't feel as sincere. So, it kind of put me on the backfoot a little bit as to like, represent the song properly.”

After delaying the release until February of 2021, Savilian had run into an issue with the production of the track and was on a hunt for another instrumental. Sav’s vocals were mixed through 3 different beats but none of them had clicked with what the rapper had envisioned for the song, so he popped it on hold again and began collaborating with his brother rūku on their joint EP ‘Dutch Boys’ that was released in December of 2021.

“This year after ‘Dutch Boys' was out and we had done all of our promo, it was about time I started thinking about what's next, and I came back to ‘Credit Crunch’ again.

“I was like, ‘Man, I just love this song. It just hasn't found a home for the production’. And the relevance of the song and the lyrics were starting to feel a lot more valid again, because of the financial situation that I’d been in.”

And finally after a long 2 years, in and out of lockdowns, ‘Credit Crunch’ was handed to Melbourne-based producer B.Hill who had moved from the Central Coast, NSW around the same time Sav did.

“He sent me back an instrumental like, maybe a day or two later, and it just felt right and within the next week or two, recorded it, he mixed and mastered the track. And so I could finally release this and put this chapter to bed. It's kind of bittersweet because I wish I couldn't relate to it again because it means that my life is a little bit off the rails right now. But, in a way, I'm kind of happy.”

Despite the lengthy process and the gritty work that the artist put into the song, it is an exact representation of the message that Savilian transgresses to both listeners and his future self with lyrics like,

“Wake up and work more,

Stay up and work more, Stay up and earn yours,

play rough when dirt poor.”

Whilst Savilian has experienced his fair share of adversity when it comes to crafting his own unique sound, his stage presence and lyrical flow now come naturally, and his independence within the scene has begun to blossom.

“I'm definitely a lot more confident of what I bring to the table. I don't think sonically it's just going to be like, boom-bap, or trap or pop, I don't, I'm sticking to any of those kinds of parameters. But, I do know what kind of maturity level that I'm going to go on a song with.”

Having been in and around the Australian hip-hop culture for over 10 years, Savilian has witnessed the growth and evolution of the scene and how diversified it is today. He highlights that when he initially started to make music the scene was very one dimensional, which resulted in artist exclusivity.

“Now there's a bigger pie for everyone to share. 15 years ago, the Australian hip-hop pie was quite small, and only a few people shared it. Even though you know, I'm a white male I still didn't feel like I could fit into the old hip-hop landscape because there were a select few people that were sitting at the top.

“Right now with the way things work with the new music business model, and the fact that the scene is just a lot bigger, all of these other voices have brought so many different faces and ears into the scene that I actually feel like I have more potential to grow now, because there's so many more people that I could potentially tap into. Obviously, I'm not expecting like a diehard ONEFOUR fan to like fuck with my music, but if they met me, or if they saw me live maybe they would. I just feel like, with more and more ears and eyes comes more opportunity.

“Don't get me wrong, I am such a huge fan of all of the pioneers of Australian hip-hop. When I was living in Sydney I would go to fucking shows by myself, I would buy the CDs, I'd buy the shirts… like I fully love all that stuff. But, it was not very diverse, you know, at the end of the day, it needed to evolve. And it has, everyone has a seat at the table now and, I feel like, that's a better representation of what the genre is about.”

When Savilian was just 17 years old his world changed drastically. After picking out a university on the Gold Coast and being set on pursuing golf professionally in any way that he could, he got into an accident on the field and was flown from Coffs Harbour to Sydney where he stayed in hospital recovering for a month - which is where he had begun turning his “little poems” into raps. After 5 weeks in the hospital he moved in with his grandparents in Blacktown where he saw Scribe’s ‘Dreaming’ on MTV for the first time.

“And something about that song just really resonated with me, the simple rhyming structure, the melodic hook, and I just loved the storytelling in that song… What’s crazy about it is, I had something taken away from me … I had dreams of playing professionally. But then the injury happened and essentially, that dream didn't seem like a reality. But in replace of that came music and hip-hop and it's been a huge part of my life ever since.”

‘Slap Happy’, Savilian’s very own podcast that birthed in October of 2020, features charismatic episodes detailing his experiences with stock trading and the financial market to now focusing on the Australian music scene, with Sav recently interviewing fellow Melbourne artist KILL Carter. Through this, Sav has diversified his channel in order to be as “detailed and intricate” as he wants to be while talking about his passion.

“[The audience] can get to know me on a deeper level, understand things about me that you might not be able to get from the music. So yeah, I felt like, with my age, my experience with podcasting and my kind of like network, there might be an opening for me to do that and just talk to people.”

In terms of music, Savilian will undoubtedly surprise us with his next release. Whether it’s a single, EP or album we can never be sure but there’s one thing that the rapper is determined to focus on.

“I really want to get back to releasing mixtapes... And I just feel like I want to do it in a way that's to the streets, I want to get back to hustling, CDs kind of thing, not necessarily CD’s but that mentality.”

“Let me tell you a story, in 2014 or 2016, something like that, I put out a mixtape called ‘Kiddo Concepts’. And I printed out CDs like I made I fucking hundreds of these things...I was working at VideoEzy at the time as a night shift manager, and I’d take like a stack of 20 or 30 mixtapes in to work. I put them under the counter, and when I’d see a young couple, or like a young dude come up to the counter I'd be like - ‘Hey, are you into hip hop?’ And then if they said yes, I'd just be like, ‘this is for you’ and hand them one of my mixtapes.”

Still to this day, the Melbourne rapper's hustle is evident, as you can catch him bringing all of his energy to his live performances and grasping the attention of everyone in the audience. Personally, I’m looking forward to hearing more of Sav’s distinct flow and extensive lyricism in whatever magic he drops next, but until then I’ll be streaming the ‘Slap Happy’ podcast each week.

Photo 1 & 2 By @shotsby20th

Photo 3 By @brunovandelay

'Dutch Boy' Music Video Shot & Edited by Think Loud Creative, Effects by Mouaad

'Credit Crunch' Music Video Shot by @ShotsBy20th, Edit by Savilian

Words By Violet Murphy

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