by Wilhelm Philipp·
Introduce yourself for those who don’t know.
I’m Mog.Y an artist from St Kilda, Melbourne - born and raised. I’m a vocalist, mainly working in Hip-hop, RnB and Soul. I’ve been an artist in one capacity or another for nearly half my life, and I’ve been gifted the opportunity to work with some of the best to do it in each field. I was part of Acclaim Magazine’s All-Stars 2023, a small team of artists nominated and voted as the country's best up and comers.
To some, you are a new face on the scene, but you have been releasing music for nearly a decade. Can you explain how your music has changed?
I started making music when I was in high school, and honestly not much has changed - except me. I still record all of my songs on the same entry level Rode microphone, in a shed toilet lined with foam out the back of my parent's place. Anybody who tells you that you need studio quality gear is fucking clowning you.
I loved rap music and I knew it was always something I wanted to do. I was heavily into graffiti at the time, so that was what I first started rapping about, before a mate, with more than a few trains under his belt, told me to do a wholecar or shut the fuck about it – and I’m still glad he did.
My voice is obviously distinguishable by my raspy tone, which is very real for anybody that is wondering. Whilst it's not my talking voice, catch me shouting or after a spliff and a couple drinks – audio ashtray. I’ve actually got nodes on my vocal chords and had to see a speech pathologist and all that. So over time, I've had to retrain myself away from going so hard on my banged-up chords.
In turn, I moved away from the more horrorcore style that I had developed and went way deeper into developing RnB elements in my work. I honestly love singing, probably more than rapping, so this cool little hybrid that I’ve cultivated is probably where Mog.Y will stay for a good while longer. This doesn’t mean I won’t make rap-heavy work, (‘Coupe Devil’ loading…) - it’s just not my focus.
Do you think that the ideas of place/origin/location still play a big role in Hip-hop? Does it hold as much weight in the modern day as it did 20-30 years ago?
Historically, ‘place’ in Hip-hop was all about different hoods and different styles. It’s been used as a sorting tool or an easy way for people to compartmentalise different music. But I think that for a lot of artists, myself included, place is a source of inspiration. Where you grew, how you grew, and why you grew.
I have taken so much from my places and surroundings. I have stayed in St Kilda my whole life, fucked around in Windsor, chased around Prahran and stayed busy in the streets in between. However, I am not trying to take a “locals only” approach to my art. I want my music to be enjoyed by everybody, people from all walks.
I think there is a perfect and almost beautiful balance in honouring place in your art and framing it up so that it can be presented and enjoyed by others with no connection to where the art was made. Fine art does this a lot, but I think that music, particularly Hip-hop can do this too.
Music or Lyrics? What is more important to you?
Music every fucking day of the week. I have lost track of the times I have caught people enjoying my songs, singing them back to me, or recalling them – with zero idea what the fucking words are.
I feel that I create a very emotive style of Hip-hop; the kind of shit where you know what I’m saying without me needing to say it (distinguishably). I have always written the melody before the lyrics, but this doesn’t mean that the lyrics are thoughtless.
I think that a good song is made of moments – if you build three or so iconic moments, the rest of the song could be dogshit but it’ll still make a lot of people's top 10.
Who are your top 5 Australian artists?
1. POSSESHOT -this one’s a no brainer. Australia’s answer to Wu Tang, but instead of kung fu, it’s tags and throws.
2. Isaac Puerile - This man's magic is unlimited, tap in.
3. Sebby Hoppen - This is my ‘feel something’ music.
4. O_T - Raw to the core bars, best gritty beats in the Southern Hemisphere.
5. Me & Benny Zenn - Who wan test?
What things you’ve learned about the industry and being a “successful” artist in the scene?
1. Don’t do it for the money; Nobody is making money – there are only a few who are fortunate enough to make a living wage off of their music in this country, and that’s the goal we all aspire to, but most of your faves who are living off music are usually propped up by dodgy Centrelink, trap money or sleep on a milk crate bed base in a 10-man share house.
2. Living off of music does not define being a successful musician – As a musician, there are countless ways to define success and they vary from artist to artist. For me, success is sharing my art with as many people as possible. For others, success is perfecting a song that nobody may ever hear.
3. Nobody owes you anything – Particularly in the rap scene, it is easy to become jaded when you feel like you’re being overlooked. Honestly, if being well known is your goal, work hard, work smart and don’t think it's gonna happen overnight or in 6 months, or in a year…or 3. Your ability to stick with it is the real test of your love for music. If music is that important to you, I don’t believe you will ever be able to completely give it up.
4. Time in the game doesn’t mean shit – Whilst time in the game can prove stripes earned, it is not a measure of how long it should take for you to achieve success.
Any advice for younger musicians looking to make their way in the underground?
1. Never say never – Countless times I have caught myself saying “Oh I would never make a song like that” or “I would never want to be like that”. How fucking embarrassing, coz all my homies remember that shit.
2. Don’t limit yourself – Never limit yourself for fear of failure or fear of being judged. People will surprise you with their open-mindedness time and time again. If you wanna go from making Mobb Deep tracks to John Mayer tracks, believe fans probably got room for both of those in their playlists too.
3. Change is not only good, it is the only way forward – welcome change, challenge yourself, try new things and send them to a circle of people you trust for honest feedback.
4. Nobody gives a fuck about you – The sooner you realise that everybody is far more concerned with themselves, the better. Nobody is watching you under a microscope except for your haters, who will want you to fail no matter what you do, so they’re already irrelevant.
Keep up to date with Mog.Y's socials and music here and follow his curated Brick + Mortar Playlist 'Paranoid Boulevard' on Spotify below.