A year in review and a look to the future with 1300
February 2nd 2023
“It can sometimes feel like this isn’t something we’re supposed to do, but we’re doing it anyway. So it’s good that it’s working.”
Korean-Australian hip-hop quintet 1300 are having a moment. After bursting onto the scene in 2021 with their hit single ‘Brr,’ 2022 saw the group cement their superstar status, with the release of their critically acclaimed debut mixtape, an international tour, a spot on the NME 100, and more. Vocalists Rakoh, Goyo, and producer Nerdie joined Nazty Gurl on JUICE to debrief on last year before getting into the deets of their first release of 2023 and giving us a tease for what’s to come.
Last year 1300 released their exhilarating debut mixtape Foreign Language. A bass-heavy, genre-blending thrillride from start to finish, the 13-track project includes features from the likes of Raj Mahal, Agung Mango, and Qim Isle. The group not only delivered on the enormous critical anticipation, but made it look effortless in the process, and even went on to score a nomination for FBi’s SMAC Awards Record of the Year.
“Just actually dropping an album was so nice. I think at the listening party some of us actually cried… it was like that moment, that we were actually doing something, that feeling was crazy.”
Having already built a reputation for their rowdy and high-energy live performances, it was no surprise that 1300 drew only even bigger crowds in 2022 as they toured Foreign Language on the Aussie festival circuit. The fan response was just as strong as it was new for the group when they headed overseas to play shows in Korea.
Rakoh: “We love the Australian crowd because everyone loves to dance, everyone loves to party. But one thing we always go ‘ah we wish this happened’ is the whole crowd singing along… (Shout out to the fans in the crowd who know the words). But in Korea they were singing along to our lyrics. Like, they memorised our verses. That was like “oh, shit.” [It was] special. We weren’t used to it at first… Everyone with their phones out recording, people asking for signatures, it was completely different. Shock moment, a superstar experience.”
Despite being relatively new to performing, or perhaps for that exact reason, 1300’s stage presence is unmatched. The way the group builds energy between themselves and then the audience is electric. Each of the five members finds a moment to shine without breaking the flow of the performance, instead only shifting it up another gear. You can almost see the sparks fly. According to the group, this high-energy cohesion stems from their closeness as a team.
Goyo: “I think we’re all very comfortable with each other. Just like, homie vibes, right from the beginning… It’s like that thing you do in primary school where you close your eyes and fall back and trust the person behind you [will catch you].”
Rakoh: “[It’s] pretty wholesome. When someone’s feeling less energy we’ll hype them up. It’s a team unit.”
Like any good hip-hop group and/or boyband (more on that later), each member brings a unique flavour to the mix:
“Rakoh loves food.
DALI [HART] is the K-pop star of 1300.
pokari. [sweat]… Troublemaker. That guy’s a nuisance.
Goyo would be a teacher. He actually is a primary school teacher. He makes songs for the kids.
Nerdie we always say would be an AI, a robot.”
The fact their group dynamic is on lock hasn’t stopped 1300 from reaching out to collaborate with other artists, most recently in January of this year with Kwame on the track ‘Steve Jobs’. Sharp trap high-hats and throbbing bass push the song into a sort-of controlled headspin, as DALI HART, Goyo, and Rakoh pick up bits of each other’s flow to dance effortlessly between verses before Kwame’s hypnotic, rhyming chorus.
The whole thing is very reminiscent of millennium mind-fuck movies like Memento and The Matrix from the 90s and 00s – a vibe which 1300 deliberately carried over into the song’s music video. Directed by frequent collaborator Raghav Rampal, with Maxedoutfilms on gaff and Aaron Bull on steadicam, the video touches on themes of hyper surveillance and anti-corporate escapism. The 1300 crew play a group of bleary-eyed businessmen, looking for a release from their endless daily grind, with wipe cuts and hazy green colour-grading to boot.
Nerdie: “[The music video has] a very post-911 suspicious vibe. We threw in a bit of, like, Inception dream sequence-type stuff too.’
The release charts a new sonic territory for the group and includes a melodic breakdown written by Nikos Haropolous-Smallman two thirds of the way through.
Nerdie: “[Nikos] is basically the core of that melodic part. He’s just a g with the keys.”
In terms of what’s next for 1300, the boys hinted at a special drop coming in the not too distant future.
Rakoh: “There’s one big surprise coming up. On Valentine’s Day. There’s going to be something very… very interesting.”
Nerdie: “Let’s just say that we’re solidifying ourselves as the BTS of Burwood. On Valentine’s day we’re changing the whole game.”
Keep an eye out for some upcoming controlled chaos by 1300 on Feb 14. In the meantime, check out their latest single ‘Steve Jobs’ feat. Kwame below, or listen back to their full interview with Naz up top.