Melbourne Hip Hop artist 360, real name Matt Colwell, rose to fame in 2011 with his album Falling & Flying reaching heights that were once untouched by a solo Australian Hip Hop artist.
However, the bigger the rise, the harder the fall and by the beginning of 2015 360 had found himself in hospital after a drug overdose whilst on tour promoting his third studio album Utopia. Since the overdose, 360 has faced an uphill battle to stay sober and to regain the trust of his fans. It has now been well over a year since the rapper overdosed on 120 tablets of Nurofen Plus and 2016 is looking like it may just be his biggest year yet.
First off, would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses, or 1 horse-sized duck?
Hahaha, best question ever. I reckon 100 duck sized horses would be hilarious, 1 horse sized duck would be scary as a motherfucker.
I’d have to agree with you there. 2016 looks like it will be a big year for yourself and I know you are a big believer of setting goals, are there any specific goals that you have set for yourself this year?
Yeah 2016 is a crazy big year for me, career wise the goal is to release a mixtape (done) and follow up with an album soon after. I have personal goals with my health and fitness as well, it’s always important to have many things to work towards.
Congratulations on the new mixtape. How has the response to Please Be Seated 3 been?
It’s been really great, man. Over 90,000 downloads now which is really impressive. The response has been mainly positive which is surprising as never in my career have I released a project without a massive brigade of negative nancy’s trying to tear it down at every opportunity. There was still the odd fuckwit but not as common as in the past.
I have noticed a huge difference in your ability as a rapper from your breakthrough album “Falling & Flying” that was released in 2011, in comparison to your most recent work. Was it a conscious decision to step up your game as a rapper, or did the progression happen naturally?
It’s definitely been a conscious thing for me. After the success of Falling & Flying I think a lot of people brushed me off as just “another pop act” that was nothing to rave about. Which pissed me off a lot as I am someone who is really passionate about the art of MC’ing. I feel like it’s been really important that people respect me as a rapper first and foremost and not just brush me off as some dude making catchy music. With that said though I’m at the point now where I no longer care. I’ve learnt that it doesn’t matter if you’re killing shit with the most technically flawless rap you’ve ever dropped, if you have major success people are going to hate you regardless, as long as I love what I’m doing that’s all that matters to me now. I’m always gonna give it my best when I rap and I think my standards of rap are quite high so if I’m happy with it then that’s cool with me.
The first song on the mixtape, titled “I’m Sorry” has over 12 million views on Facebook. It discusses your previous battles with drug addiction and subsequent overdose while on tour in 2015. What impact did the overdose have on your life?
Man, the overdose was actually the best thing that ever happened to me. I was living the life of addiction and hiding it from EVERYONE. No one had any idea. Some people suspected something was up but no one had any idea the depths of it all. I just couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone, I suck like that, I keep it to myself and feel like a burden to lay it on someone. Having the overdose forced me to open up to my family, manager and everyone and let them know what was going on with me. Rehab was brutal, withdrawals in general are brutal but throw in the disappointment from the parents and thinking everyone hated me because I cancelled the tour seemed to exaggerate everything so much more. But it forced me to face my demons, be open about how fucked up i am, get clean and now I feel like I’m better than ever. I’m making the best music I’ve made and I’m happy most of the time too.
Did you ever have any doubts on releasing such a personal song?
I wanted to wait and give it a while (before releasing “I’m Sorry”), because everyone already thought that I was clean before I cancelled the tour because I had been open about getting clean the first time and had mentioned it in a lot of songs on Utopia. But, along the way I had about 50 lapses before I fully relapsed. I really don’t want to do that again as I feel like my fans will turn on me for good if I’m not serious about it, so when I reached 1 year clean I thought it was a good time to let it out as it was still sitting there waiting to be released. It was easily the most therapeutic song i’ve ever written – it literally just poured out of me for days and days and I broke down crying whilst writing it because I hadn’t tried to deal with any of those emotions at all.
I see you have been pretty busy outside of music at the moment with an initiative of yours called “The 180 Movement”. Can you elaborate on what the organisation is about? You have visited Shepparton recently as a part of that, what did you do there?
So, when i released “I’m sorry” I was so blown away by the response, it was great. Yet at the same time very heartbreaking to see so many people who were suffering the same type of shit, whether it’s mental health or addiction, but they were doing it in silence. If you ever get a minute, spend some time reading through the comments on the facebook post of “I’m sorry” it’s like people saw what I had gone through and it made them want to share their own story, seeing that reaction made me want to start a movement where we encourage anyone who’s suffering in any way to be upfront and open about it. To not be afraid of judgement and to create a support system and a movement toward trying to turn their life around. If you’re life isn’t going in the direction you want it to be, I want to try and inspire you to turn it around and we have created “The 180 Movement“. It’s in its very early days but we have met with a number of youth centres in troubled suburbs and we seem to be really connecting with the kids. It’s great to show them that addiction and mental illness can target anyone, that it’s non discriminatory. It’s also really good to show them that I am exactly like them, I was a kid from Ringwood/Croydon area who had no idea what he wanted to do in life and rapped for the fun of it. With hard work and the right belief in place I managed to turn that into my career and ANYONE can do that too, they just need to find what it is they want to do.
What was your inspiration behind “The 180 Movement” becoming involved with small, local communities?
Well we’re really aware at how bad addiction is destroying this country in many ways, especially in country towns. We know of certain “organisations” that are moving into these towns, targeting primary school kids as young as 12 and getting them hooked on ice so they can start selling and push to their friends. Basically these “organisations” are doing this all over Australia as they know it will make them millions of dollars if they can get a percentage of the town hooked on the pipe. That’s been a huge drive for this whole thing, I want to share my story with these youngsters and let them know how dangerous that path of addiction is, the shit nearly killed me and I nearly lost everything I had. I’m super lucky that I have such an amazing and supportive family but some kids don’t have that, I want to educate these kids in a way that they will actually pay attention and also try and inspire those who are already in the thick of it to get out and make a change.
What advice do you have for people who are currently struggling with mental health problems?
Seek help. Mental health is a serious illness (and) like any physical illness you need to seek professional help. Unfortunately, finding the right Doctor/Psychologist/Therapist is really important and not as easy as just going to your local GP. But make that first step, go to your Doctor and tell them. If it’s depression or anxiety, I strongly suggest trying to do some form of physical exercise once a day for 3 weeks before jumping straight into medication as sometimes that can be all you need. The gym has been crucial for me staying clean and also the key to my happiness.
What is next for 360? Will we be seeing an album in 2016?
Yes I will be dropping my next album, something I’m extremely excited to do. I have a totally different game plan in mind for this album, it’s all about the raps. Thats all I’m gonna say. Also Pez and I will be working on the Forthwrite album, to come out ASAP.
Who can we expect you to be working with on your upcoming projects? Who are some up and coming artists out of Australia to keep an eye on in the coming years?
I’m working with Charlie Handsome, who has been producing all of Post Malones shit. Styalz (Fuego) and Nic Martin again as well. As far as rappers goes I’ll be working with Alex Jones, Chevy Levett, S-A-M, Leva, Lane Harry and possibly a song with some US MC’s as I really want to do a song with Mickey Factz and Locksmith. Look out for the brother Damian Ilic who is a BEAST with the pen and a savage MC who is going to make some serious noise too.
Head to www.360music.com.au to download 360’s new mixtape Please Be Seated 3