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Musical Symmetry: A Monster Of Experimentation

He first gave us a taste of what his alter ego Ghostsoul could do back in 2009 with debut EP Monsta, but ever since joining the newly-formed Ghetto Arts Crew management agency, Melbourne DJ Rob Healy is finally coming into his own with sophomore record Broken Symmetry. If abstract hip-hop and maximum experimentation is your cup of red, then Ghostsoul is your go-to man. “When I started out years ago I DJ-ed under a few different names and I tried out various styles,” Healy recalls. “One of the first projects I was a part of that took off was doing live collaborative nights with people playing breakbeats and hip-hop mixed with live musicians. I was performing with scratch DJs but playing my own tunes. I was doing a lot more orchestral-based hip-hop and breaks, kind of chill-out music that was going quite well at the time.”

Interestingly enough, as Healy began to relocate from Perth to Brisbane and finally to Melbourne, his musical taste followed suit. As a result of his travels and exposure to different sounds, Ghostsoul was born, as was Healy’s current trademark abstract style. “I’m originally from Perth but then I moved to Brisbane and then Melbourne,” he explains. “I took a break from DJing for about a year. I was doing it literally three times a week and I just needed a breather to sit down and focus on what I wanted to do. I started writing music and spent an entire year in my home studio to find a new direction. I was doing mainly breaks at that time but then I found that I enjoyed hip-hop and drum and bass and the more newer styles that were starting to form. Because I was listening to so much diverse stuff, I came up with my own sound. What you basically get with Ghostsoul is abstract hip-hop and glitch-hop. It might sound like quite a mixture but what I’m essentially trying to do is just create really lovely, nice, beautiful music… Of course, there’s some nasty, clubby tunes as well, but it’s still in that hip-hop vein. I’d much rather do a big mixture of stuff rather than just dubstep or just hip-hop. If you can fuse styles together, why not?”

Precisely. And with the backing of the Ghetto Arts Crew agency, Healy reckons his upcoming EP was made all the more possible. With five brand new tracks and guest collaborations including MC Dyzlexic, Healy says Broken Symmetry is truly a DIY exercise in every sense of the word. “Putting out something independently is difficult but it feels right. When you’re indie, you’re always going to be questioning your decisions in some way, but you’ve got to follow your gut because there really is no ‘proper’ way to do it. You learn to figure that out as you go along. Being indie is one of those things that came out of necessity rather than choice, but it’s something I’m comfortable with. One thing that’s helped out my career a lot is getting involved with the Ghetto Arts Crew agency. It’s a collective of local performers of dubstep, hip-hop, glitch-hop and all the styles that are a little bit out of the norm, but focused around dance and hip-hop. We’re all trying to work together to get things like this EP out there into the world for people to hear. It’s a collaborative effort and it’s still being built from the ground up. It’s a wonderful idea because it helps connect performers with one-another and to get collaborations happening.”

In Healy’s case, a highlight has included working with local MC Dyzlexic, who is also set to join Ghostsoul live on stage during the upcoming album launch for Broken Symmetry. Add to that support slots from Able and Manix, DJ Sizzle and DJ Pauly Fatlace on the night, and you’ll get one hell of an indulgence fest of underground beats at Miss Libertine’s this weekend. “It’s probably taken me a good six months to truly get Ghostsoul off the ground,” states Healy. “I started work on the EP in about November last year, so it’s taken a little while to put the pieces all together. I put my first EP Monsta out back in 2009 but I think the sound has changed a bit since then. Monsta was a mix of liquid drum and bass and funky hip-hop and it was done completely on my own. This EP is still mostly me on my own, but I’ve enlisted the help of a mate on bass guitar and I’ve got a collaboration with MC Dyzlexic on the opening track, obviously. I’m hoping to do more of that in the future. Monsta was more of a precursor to what I would end up doing on Broken Symmetry.”

Ghostsoul [AUS] plays his Broken Symmetry EP Launch at Miss Libertine on Thursday February 24.