SHIRAZ & LSJ
“Most likely to be cult leaders”
You’ve laid low from the stages of K Rd this year but the two of you aren’t at a halt, releasing your second mixtape AkL MaverickZ in July. What has been the main focus for Shiraz & LSJ this year?
LSJ: Yeah we haven’t had many shows this year. We just wanted to remove ourselves from the indie vibe that we were being put into. A couple of years ago when we were 16 and 17 we’d take on any show, but now we’re a lot picker and we don’t get approached at all, we don’t get hit up to do shit.
S: Since we’ve stopped doing shows for now, I think people have the idea that we are grinding on something else, which is sort of true. We’ve been putting a lot more energy into promotion on Instagram, music videos, collaborations and things like that.
LSJ: It’s been difficult trying to sort the business side of things. That’s something we’ve been slowly figuring out before we make any big moves.
Your status since emerging with the Grow Room in 2015 has remained relatively underground - is being radio-mainstream a level you wish to break into?
LSJ: We wanna get paid, and get respect. Like bow down respect. Nah but seriously, you know when you have fans who hear your name and they’re like “that dude”, like Madlib or MF Doom or whatever. Just to be recognised for keeping it real.
S: Being on radio wouldn’t be an intentional goal for us, it’s mostly being able to drop something and people will flock to it.
LSJ: Yeah, having people that understand every kind of move we make. That can jump on and break down what we’re doing, and really understand what’s going on in our heads.
There is an undeniable dynamic between the two of you, when anything from Shiraz & LSJ drops we know it’ll be magic. How do your projects usually come about?
LSJ: I guess going to the Grow Room, being on K rd exposed to the adult nightlife and stuff, while being like 15 years old at the time. That was an influence early on.
S: The music we make now is a reflection of whatever vibe we have at the time, when we get an idea we try to get it out as quick as we can. It’s become a habit.
LSJ: I’ll send this dude eight beats, and the next day he’ll send me back eight tracks.
S: Or sometimes I’ll send him some raps and he’ll base a beat off of that. This was the case with Jive days especially, we always go back and forth off each other.
Typically Shiraz raps and LSJ makes beats, but we’ve seen you both experiment between the two. Will you continue creating together in the new year or venture more into solo projects? Perhaps something unexpected?
LSJ: At first it was actually Shiraz who was producing and all and I was gonna be the rapper, but that was that thirteen-year old buzz… We’ve been working with a few artists that we’re going to try bring out, including some from New Zealand.
S: There’s heaps of tracks we’ve been sitting on, stuff that we’ve done together, solo, and with other people. We don’t really have tunnel vision, there’s still other types of music we want to make and people we want to hit up.
Artists can be often held back by challenges they face. Have you two had to tackle any obstacles like that this year?
LSJ: We had to suss a new AkL MaverickZ cover because of copyright issues, so we’ll probably end up taking a random photo.
S: Something that’s been holding us back is trying to find more people around us who really get our vision and can help us get to where we want to be.
LSJ: For sure, we’ve been trying to suss out stuff on our own, but it would be good to be able to focus on the music-making and not worry about finding shows to be booked at or fully plan out our releases.
Are you up next on 64 bars?
LSJ: If Shiraz does 64 bars I’d stand there in the back smoking, sitting down.
S: Yeah, I wouldn’t do it unless they let this dude smoke in the back. That’s the only thing.