Q&A: Jackie Onassis, Making Smoke Trails In Aussie Hip Hop

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First off, I’ve got to ask – Why did you call yourselves ‘Jackie Onassis’?
Kai: Raph and I went to school together, and though we mucked around with music back then, it was nothing serious. After school Raph went travelling and we didn’t see each other for a bit, till one day we bumped into each other in an American History lecture at uni. It was straight after this lecture that we showed each other the music stuff we had both been quietly working away on, and we decided then to work together. That lecture we had just come from was primarily on the assassination of JFK and had a big section about Jackie Onassis, who we both thought was cool, so that’s what we called ourselves.

Congrats on the success of Holiday! Jackie Onassis is such a fresh style of Australian Hip Hop. What influences your sound?
Raph:  On top of hip-hop we both listen to a  bunch of different music; from indie rock to more electronic stuff – we’re both pretty much always on the hunt for new interesting music. And so are our mates for that matter, so we’re always sharing stuff, so I guess it’s hard to put a finger on exactly what it is that specifically that influences us, its mostly whatever’s recent and unusual.

It’s just been announced that Jackie Onassis has signed with Sony. How much change will this bring to your career and what are you most looking forward to about working with the label?
Kai: I don’t think it’ll really change our music that much as we’ll still be doing it the same way. I guess Raph will be able to record a proper piano now and not just use a computer program haha. It’ll definitely help with things like videos though – it’s tough to make a good looking video on a budget so it’ll be great to get Sony’s help with that. Also mixing and mastering – the techy stuff, hopefully our music will be sounding a bit nicer as it won’t just be Raph and I in our bedrooms!

O7TlmOxSxVKmhr9cAein4cGvIqHNqvbaeHA8jXntTII,3qmbPZgZ5b_yuiqLxgbLWABya5XcoCHmn6abY5uyMoM‘Smoke Trails’ is my favourite track from Holiday. Can you describe the song writing process?
Raph: This song really came together in the early hours of the morning and I think it captures that vibe. I made the beat with my girlfriend asleep on the couch behind me and sent it through to Kai at about 1am and by 3am Kai had sent me back a demo of the vocals, so it came together really quick!
Kai: I had the idea for Smoke Trails in my head for eons, but for some reason I had never found the right beat for it, or really the right way to express it. But when Raph sent that one through it all clicked and I was able to put it all together.

You guys have been friends for a long time, have you ever had any major creative differences or do you agree on most things?
Raph: We once argued for about half an hour about the sound of a hi hat, hahaha, but other than that no major blues. We do argue about musical stuff all the time, but just in an honest way, no one ever gets offended. That’s probably actually really important – if one of us has something to say we always know we can say it and be honest and discuss it, and we usually end up with a better product in the end because of it.

A lot has happened in the last year, do you feel like the road to success has been a long time coming?
Kai: I don’t know if we’re at “success” yet, but in the sense that we’ve been making songs for years (although Jackie Onassis is only relatively new), I guess it is. But really, when we started our band we were just making tunes because we really wanted to put together something we liked and hopefully something. Our goal wasn’t specifically to “be successful” or anything like that. With that said, we are definitely not complaining about how things have gone!

You’ve recently returned from a UK tour. How do the Brits measure up to Aussie audiences? Any memorable tour moments?
Kai: British audiences are loose! Not to say Australian audiences aren’t, but we played this one show at a club in Shoreditch and half way through there was a bit of a friendly stage invasion and we had a bunch of girls and guys dancing and doing the two step with us.

coverI’ve heard some raving reviews about your live shows. What are you looking forward to most about the Smoke Trails Tour?
Raph: It’ll be our first headline tour, so that’ll be a buzz! I’m looking forward to just getting out there and it’ll be dope to get to meet and party with some of the people who are in to our songs!
Kai: We’re playing a bunch of new songs from our next EP Juliette (and maybe some album tracks too) on these shows so it’ll be really sick to see how people respond to them.

What was the first hip hop album that you owned?
Raph: My Dad owned the CD No Limit: Top Dog which was released in 1999 –  that was the first hip-hop that I heard on repeat.
Kai: My first album was the Marshall Mathers LP. I wasnt even into hip hop at the time, so it had a pretty big influence on me.

What’s next for Jackie Onassis, can we expect some new tracks?
Kai: You can. Our next release is our second EP, Juliette, which we’re putting the final touches on currently. We’re aiming to release it late this year. Hopefully it’ll be a little maturation of our sound. We’re also working on our debut album which should be out next year.

Finally, if there was one person you could work with, dead or alive, who would it be?
Raph: Fred Durst.
Kai: Shostakovich.

Thanks so much Kai and Raph! Jackie Onassis have kicked off their ‘Smoke Trails’ Tour and will be sharing their good vibes around Australia this August.

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