Updated: Dec 15, 2020
Caper is an Adelaide-based emcee and producer. Born and bred in Whyalla, country South Australia, Caper makes introspective Hip Hop music that reflects primarily on his life experiences and place in the world. When I first met him in 2012 I was automatically struck by the earnestness of Caper, and how he channelled every bit of this conviction into his music. Witnessing this challenged and tweaked my views in the Australian Hip Hop accent/authenticity debate. I went on to know him as one of the most obsessively-driven-to-succeed people imaginable, with a timeless hunger for making music and being heard. Caper has released 3 EPs and a mixtape, has had his video played on MTV, and performed live on national TV for the Marngrook Footy Show and before a Port Power game at Adelaide Oval. He has opened for Nelly at the Thebarton Theatre, and was the subject of the Shalom Almond documentary ‘Chasing Shadows’, which won the Best Documentary Award at the SA Screen Awards in 2011. Caper has his debut album, ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’, in the works and is soon to drop a taster EP entitled 'Solitude'. So what is behind his desire to shine bright, and where does all the music come from? Caper speaks to BEAT CONTEXT.
To be a superhero
‘I was a very shy and reserved kid’
I feel like I was deprived of a normal childhood by the fact that I raised by a single mother and never meeting my dad. My mother never really worked and we were pretty poor living in public housing and at times in women’s shelter homes. I was a very shy and reserved kid that loved watching cartoons and movies fantasying about wanting to be the super hero I saw on TV saving the world. I loved to see positive cool things and it used to make me feel good but at the same time feel bad because I wasn't them. Now reflecting back I realised that I used to want to be some kind of hero in the world to save people's lives somehow. So when I started creating music, which started as an outlet first, I knew that I could maybe tell my story and be a hero in some light and do some good in the world.
(All the people) in my life have played a huge role in influencing my lyrical content because my inspiration for creating is from my life experiences. I draw from my childhood memories from adulthood to now, it's the only way I know how to express and how I truly feel. Relationship break ups in the past have killed my passion for pursuing music. Family loss, bickering and struggles have pushed me more to want to succeed in life. Enemies I've had a few, negative energy is a waste of time so I pay them no mind.
‘…music has allowed me to learn about myself
and to be the best version of me.…’
Music allows me to be free, free to express whatever the hell I think and feel. I feel sometimes in ‘the real world’ we are restricted from speaking our hearts and minds because of being afraid of being judged and crucified about it. Or are worried and scared that people don't feel the same way so we don't speak up. Or if you call your boss a prick you are going to get fired from your job. In music you can express what ever you want to and turn it into art and it allows you to get this off of your chest.
Art can be more impactful than speaking in real life. Having a conversation about something sensitive in public can get you into trouble, as you can say things in the heat of the moment. Art is more sophisticated. Art is a better tool to reflect your life, and people are more receptive of it. Music has allowed me to find who I really am, tapping into a deeper and more confident side. I can refine my words and say what I want to say, how I want to say it. Some may call it an alter-ego, but regardless, music has allowed me to learn about myself and to be the best version of me. I am confident in the end product and ready to put it into the world.
‘… (the) content and stories were so personal that they gave me the courage to also be personal in my music…’
I came home from work one day from a job that was ending and I didn't have another job lined up. This was a time I truly felt like my world was caving in, I went through a bit of depression and I was scared because I had financial responsibilities. So just by matter of luck I started writing my anger, pain and frustration down about everything on paper, which was poetry that then lead to me rapping those written feelings out loud. When I realised I was semi-good at doing this so I then said to myself ‘maybe I could pursue this as a passion and a career’. Moreso as my childhood dreams of becoming an AFL footballer were tarnished by an injury and this was around the time the Eminem Marshall Mathers LP came out. I was instantly drawn to Eminems honest, witty, deep and not give a fuck lyrics, he's a great storyteller that really influenced me. I wanted to be like him at the time. His and Tupac's content and stories were so personal that they gave me the courage to also be personal in my music.
I used to think a lot but couldn’t make sense of all the thoughts. They were running around in my head. When I started to write my thoughts down they started to make more sense. They became a living thing. Hearing my thoughts back on a recording was reassuring, and doing it in the same way as 2Pac, NWA and Eminem gave me strength. It drowned out the little voice of doubt and gave me the courage to express. It still does.
‘..a reminder for me as an artist
to tell the truth from my heart..’
Tupac’s 'Unconditional Love' has gotten me through so many tuff times, from suicidal thoughts to break up in relationships, to family loss. The lyrics go ‘…we must remember that tomorrow comes after the dark so you will forever be in my heart…’. Its reassuring that there will always be a tomorrow, so don’t give up. It makes me miss my mother and brother so much because that's a void in my life, I feel like I've never had unconditional love from anyone else in my life except for them. My mother was my queen who was so strong and full of pride and love who raised me so beautifully with unconditional love and my brother was my best friend and protector who always had my back with unconditional love. That song is always a reminder for me as an artist to tell the truth from my heart and share my deepest inner feelings like Tupac did.
‘…I’m highly motivated by rejection…’
Rejections throughout my life are constant reminders that keep me motivated at doing the one thing I know I'm good at and that's creating music. I'm highly motivated by rejection. Rejection from not having a dad, rejection from friends, rejections from women, rejections from work employers, rejection from industry music people who think my music is wack. Being accepted by people for something that I know that I am good at helps me to overcome rejections of the past. It may sound shallow but I want people’s approval and acceptance. (But) family loss of my mother and brother passing so young keeps me focussed on the bigger picture… Recently I've been motivated by reading books, which has allowed me to grow as a person and develop my way of thinking and living (past seeking approval).
Waiting for creativity, travelling for inspiration
‘...I try to capture it right in that moment otherwise it will be lost...’
Creating is always spontaneous for me. I could be out at the shops, at home, at work, driving in my car and inspiration will pay me a visit with random thoughts that pop into my head. I try to capture it right in that moment otherwise it will be lost. I never force creativity but at times I force myself to be open to creativity by sitting in my bedroom studio and waiting for it to arrive. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. In terms of a mental state, 'curiosity' is my frame of mind that I live by from knowledge gained reading books. I allow myself to be vulnerable and curious on where a topic may lead, I may capture something important or I may not capture anything but I follow that mind state to see where it leads.
‘…I took something away
from everyone I met…’
A big decision (that I recently made in my life) was quitting music cause I was exhausted with my expectations not being met. This was also after a heavy break up with a girl, so I made a decision to travel to find myself again… I saw some really great places, did some great things and met some really good and interesting people. Getting to know other people in conversations recently when I went to LA and New York, I heard their political thoughts on Trump and about the American lifestyle, from hopes and dreams to fake people's intentions. I took something away from everyone I met where I felt personal growth when I got back to Adelaide. In LA I stayed in Hollywood and at the local Cafe I would go to for coffee and overhear conversations from Netflix and movie producers about casting big name stars and hearing aspiring actors talking about career struggles trying to crack into Hollywood. I found it so fascinating being in a country where I met creatives and to be in a city where I saw so much art out in public which inspired me in such a captivating way. I felt happiness, joy and privilege to be surrounded by this art. I felt like I was in a special place and it made me want to be a part of it. It motivated me to work to get to that place… After my first trip to LA tho I knew it was a place that I wanted to move and live and my second trip confirmed that because of the creative energy.
When I went to New York I stayed in Brooklyn and went to the local gym and as I walked into the change room and OG was schooling a younger guy on black struggle in America. I overheard this great dialogue on why very few black Americans don’t own their own business and why black unemployment is high… I took from it that lack of motivation and own worth is an issue. It reaffirmed my mentality that you have to work really hard to create your own opportunities. I then went out for my workout and when I came back to the change room they were still both strongly engaged in this conversation. I felt so privileged to hear what I did and will never forget it.
‘…I feel like I learned who I truly am
over this time…’
After the trip I found myself with a whole different way of thinking. Putting less pressure on myself. I am not so much chasing approval, because this can lead to some big knocks. I don’t let it control me. Not getting knocked around by things that are out of my hands, for my own good. I find happiness in the smaller everyday things rather than just the bigger goals. That got me back to creating and finishing my debut album in LA. I feel like I learned who I truly am over this time. I can’t give away too much as that’s the whole theme of my album…
A Quick one
Always be honest in your music, create out of the love for your craft and have no expectations.
Caper was kind enough to donate this little accapella to BEAT CONTEXT. Enjoy.