Hailing from the Kapiti Coast, just outside of Wellington city, The No Problemos are no strangers to the NZ hip hop scene. Since releasing their self-titled debut album in January last year, the group has released two more full albums, ‘Peace of Mind’ in September 2013 and ‘Somethin Real’ in February this year. They also have three music videos under their belt and a fourth under way for the single Move On, thanks to an NZ On Air wildcard grant from The Audience.
While their line-up as performers appears to be relatively solid, The No Problemos like to refer to themselves as more of an “open collective where anyone can come and throw their two cents in.” This philosophy has given birth to collaborations with the diverse likes of Raiza Biza, Illbaz, Blaze The Emperor, KVKA, HCW and Isaac’s father Phill Simmonds on mandola, to name a few.
Originally started as a four-piece garage band playing “lots of unsuccessful gigs, until about two and a half years ago, they expanded into the nine-piece they are now and began diversifying their sound.
“It really naturally progressed into hip hop,” explains Frank Ramsden Bradley. “We used to just do raps in the van down at the beach and it kind of grew from there.”Elements of their early days remain though, as they have stuck with the live band made up of Josh Church, Tim Calkin, Mickey Poppy-Lees and Doug Coombs who play the beats originally written by Calkin. With the gang of MCs which includes Isaac Simmonds, Frank Ramsden Bradley, Riki Katae, Josiah Laracy and Ants Ransley added to the mix, the thick Kiwi accents and lyricism further compound that uniquely NZ sound, a fact the group is well aware and equally proud of.
“It’s awesome that there’s this whole new energetic wave thats been flowing through for a few years now, it’s on a new level that’s completely separated from anything in the past. It pushes for peace, experimentation and positivity rather than the cliche stuff you would get in the late ’90s or early 2000s. We’re developing a really philosophical sound in the country right now.”The honesty in their music extends to a general attitude towards their musical career too. Asked about future plans, Poppy-Lees answers that the No Problemos have just got to have patience.
“We want to keep growing nationally at the moment, there’s areas throughout the country to push our music before we necessarily take a big gamble overseas. This is a learning process for everyone. We’re figuring out how to take those steps and make those gambles when the odds are stacked more in your favour.”thenoproblemos.bandcamp.com