Sinks: Melbourne artist bringing hip-hop back to its roots

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Melbourne MC Alex Sinclair, aka Sinks, is producing a more traditional style hip-hop and is gaining a lot of praise in the industry.

The photos on his online profiles make him look intimidating. One is darkened with heavy, strategic shadowing. The one side of his face that is visible looks menacing with a furrowed brow and piercing eye. Another photo is black and dark red. His eyes are barely visible. This man seems like a looming figure.

In person, this man is completely different. Sitting at his kitchen table drinking a coffee in his inner-south Melbourne family home, Alex Sinclair radiates a welcoming vibe. Sunlight flooding the room, no shadows are cast over Alex’s warm face. Patting his miniature poodle beside him, he talks about his passion.

Alex is a Melbourne based hip-hop artist and producer, who has been making music since he was a young teen. Now 22, he has been making a name for himself in the scene for the past couple of years. Releasing music and preforming under the name Sinks, Alex understands how the intimidating guise comes with being a hip-hop artist and the need for different personalities when on stage and when not.

“I definitely have a bit of a persona, I like to step into a crazy man on stage. I wouldn’t say it’s a fabrication or anything; it’s just a part of who I am. You don’t want to be disingenuous, it still has to come from the soul,” Alex explains, “That’s part of the fun about music, you can develop a persona and let some of the frustrations of life out in music. In it you have that cathartic element.”

The persona he has when preforming fits in with the style of hip-hop that Sinks creates. Bringing the genre back to its roots, Sinks describes his brand of hip-hop as much more “traditional” than what others are producing. Late last year, Sinks released his first EP Prolifix, which was entirely self-produced. This first extended taste of Sinks’ striped back, traditional hip-hop saw him get a lot of praise. Earlier this year in June, Sinks released Backlash, a 12 track LP that was produced by him and friends in the scene, and saw collaborations with other members of Down For The Count Records. Sinks is pleased with the success of Backlash so far.

“I’ve had pretty considerable sales so far, and a lot of props from the scene, a lot of people have been really supportive and really receptive of it. It’s been really good actually.”

In between crafting his music, Alex is completing a bachelor of arts at Monash University. Even though creating music is his passion, he understands how unstable the industry can be and sees the need for a “plan B”. Majoring in philosophy and taking an interest political based subjects, Alex is a socially and politically aware person, and this comes through in his music. Differing from what many hip-hop artists rap about, Alex includes his thoughts on many issues.

“My music does have something unique about it. It’s a different lyrical perspective that is not so common. What I speak about on Backlash is not what I see as typical. That was my angle. I put a lot of political stuff into the songs, but often usual it’s just a bit more bragging. I just like to have some value.”

This is what sets Sinks apart from the bigger names within the hip-hop scene at the moment. Sinks is aware that for his music to go mainstream and have a bigger fan base, it has to incorporate certain elements. But he isn’t concerned with this.

“I don’t really make music with the intention of it being popular or pop sounding. I know my music is not as accessible, it has limitations, and therefore I’m not expecting it played a lot on the radio,” Sinks explains, “I want more sort of organic popularity without it having to be a radio banger.”

This year in October, Sinks gets the opportunity to play with some of the bigger names in Australian hip-hop, including 360, Drapht and Seth Sentry. Thanks to a competition from Triple J Unearthed, Sinks will be performing at Australia’s biggest hip-hop festival, Sprung Festival. Sinks is both “psyched” and “daunted”.

“It’s an awesome opportunity. And what’s cool about it is the guys who won the Unearthed competition last year are on the bill again this year, so I’m hoping it means something similar for me.”

Alex is hoping the momentum he has going at the moment sustains, but for now he’s happy being able to immerse himself in his passion.

“I just like the creative side of things, I’m not so much interested in the business. I’m not interested in anything other than making music for the sake of making music,”

“When you’ve got a good crowd, a good audience, it’s great. It’s the best. It’s a bit of a high.”

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