To say that Marksman Lloyd has had an incredible year thus far is a huge understatement.
The Perth emcee started 2017 by sharing the stage with hip-hop artists like Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Drapht, Thundamentals, and Seth Sentry.
He then followed this up by dropping his newest single (and a complete banger) called NOMO. If you haven’t listened to it yet – you definitely should – it could only be described as “a straight out jam that takes aim at our need for recognition and the psychological and substance issues we are plagued by as a result.”
Soon after the release of NOMO, Marksman Lloyd went on a national tour to promote his new EP, entitled Portals. For the last couple of months, he’s been performing to sold-out crowds across Sydney, Melbourne, and of course, Perth.
We recently caught up with Marksman Lloyd amidst his busy schedule to talk more about his music.
>>Check out Marksman performing his track Sugarman
Where did this talent to improvise come from?
“I started freestyling when I was about 14. I was horrible to start with, but after a while, like with anything, you put in the time and start seeing results.
“I’d go to these hip hop workshops run by the counsel and have a mic set up every session. As shy as I was, every week I’d pick it up and try to freestyle in front of breakdancers and wannabe graff artists. They were harsh critics but it didn’t deter me. Their headspins and Graff sucked too at that stage so I wasn’t mad.
“I kept coming back and, eventually, got better. I think anyone could train themselves to do it well. It’s just practice.”
Who were the freestylers/rappers you listened to when you were learnings your craft?
“Supernatural was a well-known freestyler. He came to Australia to judge a freestyle battle called scribble jam which I won in WA. That was a cool 360 moment for me.
“Another guy named Eyedea from a label called rhymesayers out of Minnesota was amazing too. He’s passed, unfortunately, but dude could freestyle so well.”
Tell us about a time when you got stuck for words with your freestyling.
“Ha, all the time. The trick is to maneuver and keep moving forward. You rhyme about stuffing up or rhyme about not knowing what to say. That’s the main thing to keep at the forefront of your mind. You keep moving no matter where you land. Treat it as if your mind is supposed to go there.
“I think most people freak out because they’re worried they’re going to say something they’ll regret or something stupid. You do, but that’s part of the magic of it all. At least tell yourself that.”
Your own tunes are also awesome. How are you going about writing/producing that?
“Really well. I’ve always loved freestyle but I’m a songwriter at heart. I’ve been writing songs since I was little. It’s something that I’ve always felt came to me pretty naturally. I never excelled at English but would always get top marks when it came to poetry or creative writing. I grew up listening to Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, and Rodrigues. I had good teachers.”
Can you launch a big career in this space from Perth?
“I think good material rises to the top. Of course it’s a lot harder in Perth because of the lack of network and isolation but if you write songs that connect, I’m of the opinion that they are going to find their way in the world. One way or another.
“I’ve contemplated moving in the past but when I think about it Perth is such a big part of who I am as a person and a songwriter. Plus, I want to represent my city well. There’s something lost in jumping ship and looking for bigger ponds maybe.
“Perth is on a vibe too. Feels like a well-kept secret sometimes. Look at all the incredible music coming out of this distant, little-isolated spot. That’s super inspiring to me.”
You can listen to NOMO on Spotify and Apple Music. You can also pre-order the Portals EP via iTunes.
>>Watch Marksman performing his track Gene Simmons