Louie Knuxx’s new album is good. Like, really good. To be honest I kind of thought he’d never put it out. It’s been over seven years since his last album, Wasted Youth. That record received all sorts of praise and, after being offered a management deal in Melbourne, he picked up and left. In Australia he fell in with DTD Crew (Deez Nuts, Amity Affliction), became vegan and started reading about gender roles and the ills of patriarchy. He also got to tour Europe, something which seemed like a daydream back in the Wasted Youth days.
During that time he was constantly recording, and every so often he’d play me a half-mixed demo. And while they were all really good, it wasn’t until I sat down to listen to the album in its entirety that I realised what a brilliant mix of contradictions and questionable wisdoms it was, kinda like the mumblings of some drugged-out genius. I sat down with Louie over some beers in his K’ Road flat to talk feminism, fighting and fucking fans.
Can you talk about the title? It’s a bit confusing, or maybe it’s just because I’m dyslexic.
No, I think it’s confusing to everyone. It’s PGT/GRR—Progressive Gangsta Thug Slash Gentleman Romance Rap. It’s intended to be funny but if you listen to the album it covers all the content that’s in there. There are obvious contradictions in the title, as well as my music and personality.
The song “Touch My Heart with Your Tits” seems to have really resonated with women. When you write something are you aware if it’s going to resonate with one gender or another?
I thought it would have resonated with men if you’d asked me beforehand, but the response from that song has largely and overwhelmingly been from women. It’s like, the lyrics in the song are pretty fucking neutral. Like, it’s not sexist but it’s not overly feminist either. So it’s strange that a lot of women who are feminist have picked up on it. Possibly because of things I’ve said on social media about feminism, people know where I stand so maybe it gives a song like that a different life.
Like, it’s not sexist but it’s not overly feminist either..
Of the class of 2000, you’re the last man standing, aside from maybe David Dallas?
Yeah, it’s strange. A lot of people from that time, or before that even, are still doing shit bu
t a lot of them seem lost. It’s weird, I don’t know how people don’t evolve with the music or just quit. I don’t know how people can not evolve with the art form and still be passionate about it. I’m really grateful that I’ve evolved with it and that I’m able to embrace younger people and vice visa. I’m able to hang out with 18-year-olds making rap music now and they feel like my peers. I don’t feel alienated from what’s going on.
How do you feel about the scene now? It’s not even really a renaissance because that implies coming back to where it was, but it’s so much more than it was in our time. People always go on about how amazing it was ten years ago, but it wasn’t really. Even at the time it felt kinda cheap and no one really knew what they were doing. I totally put myself in that boat too.
Yeah, same. It’s funny how people like to glorify the past and romanticise it, making it something that it wasn’t. I remember that time and I was completely lost and didn’t have any fucking direction. I have way more focus and direction than I did back then. What’s happening now is actually really incredible. I credit heaps of it to Tom Scott (of @peace/Home Brew).
’Cause before him everyone was either broke or in the pocket of someone else.
I think the thing he brought to the table was thinking about money but doing it yourself. ’Cause before him everyone was either broke or in the pocket of someone else. And he really knew how to announce himself as well.
Who do you think would be best in a striking match between you and Lui Tui (of @peace)?
I think Lui Tui would fuck me up.
Not against each other.
We had that one fight together and I knocked out more people than him but he’d beat the shit out of me. Have you seen the size of his arms? They’re fucking massive.
How many years was it between Wasted Youth and the new album?
Seven or eight years. Long enough that neither of us can pinpoint it.
And in that time you became a vegetarian and got into feminism and politics. How did that come about?
Well, I think it started with you and people you introduced me to. I was from New Plymouth and didn’t know shit about shit; just fighting and stealing and drinking and doing drugs. It’s hard to know, but I guess it starts with people you meet and respect and start to talk to you about those things. I think to learn those things it has to come from special relationships because you’re so fucking conditioned. And to talk to someone about their conditioning, you have to know someone. You can’t just go up to a stranger and be like, ‘you’re acting like a dickhead’, because the stranger will be like, ‘nah’. I guess meeting you and your friends and then going to Australia and meeting more people, and dating some feminists as they’ll tell you pretty quickly if you fuck up.
I knocked out more people than him but he’d beat the shit out of me. Have you seen the size of his arms? They’re fucking massive.
Is it annoying that one of your best songs is one of your most sexist?
What one’s that?
“How Many Bitches Will I Fuck This Summer?”
[Laughs] Yeah, in Wellington I had a threesome with these two girls and they were like, ‘can we listen to some of your songs?’ And I was like, ‘nah’. And I was lying in bed with these two women and they played that song and we were rapping all the words [laughs]. And obviously I’m embarrassed by the content but I was thinking, ‘fuck it’s actually a good song’.
Text by Dominic Hoey
Published in Manual 56.