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SPOTLIGHT ON SOMBER HILLS

Autumn is out now!

Image: Jordan Munns.


Sydney-based, New Zealand-born artist Somber Hills recently dropped his dynamic collaboration with Phi11a, Autumn. We caught up with the rapper to chat about the release, his forthcoming EP, future touring plans and so much more!


The musical project of Lukas Martin, the musician began dabbling in music upon receiving a guitar as a gift as a child. As he grew older, he began experimenting with producing, working with his friends in the New Zealand skating scene. Since launching his career, Martin has opened A$AP Ferg and played New Zealand festival Rhythm & Vines. He has also collaborated with the likes of Lucianblomkamp, Jeida Woods, Boy Soda, Joe Mason and UP LATE.


Autumn is out now! Read our interview with Somber Hills below.



Could you tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey, and your background in music?


I got a guitar when I was 8, the rest is history. Nothing has ever kept my attention the same way music does.

Your latest single, Autumn fuses together sonic threads of rock and hip hop. What prompted you to explore both these genres and bring them together within your music?

I grew up on rock and through high school all I listened to was trap music. I think this is just the blend of those two influences. I didn't really try to or want to. I just started playing guitar over beats a few years ago and then this all happened. But this isn’t the only sound I'll be experimenting with in releases to come. I’ll never only do one genre.


Conceptually, Autumn is an intimate and vulnerable examination of toxic friendships and relationships. What prompted you to document these themes on the track?


This project, including Autumn, were all freestyled verses but I think these lyrics came after hearing Phi11a’s verse. He was going through stuff I could really relate to, which I think we can all relate too. People usually only care about themselves and a lot of the time friendships are fickle, that's why songs like these happen and there are so many of them.

The track features guest vocals from Phi11a. How did that collaboration come about?


Phi11a hit me up on Instagram and said he had a studio session that night. I recently moved to Australia and didn’t know many people. I went to the studio and we clicked instantly. ONEFOUR were in the room across from us and we smoked outside, we didn’t even trade names but that was tight. It was my first time working out of a proper studio and not just my room.

The song arrives alongside an official visual, directed by Markus Sternecker. Can you walk us through your process when it comes to conceptualising the clip for Autumn and how involved are you with the development of the visuals?


This video was last minute and there wasn’t any planning. I met Markus through Trilla Venus, he came to the studio and took some footage of us working on some stuff. I had to get the video done quickly and I knew he’d kill it. Everyone who showed up I messaged a few days before. The day of the shoot I asked Taka Perry if we could use his roof for the shoot. It just worked out, things always work out like that for me, I’m lucky. The night of the shoot I had a few ideas and Markus just made them work with the little resources we had that night. Dude’s a legend and will definitely become a big name in the scene I feel.



How important are the visuals to you when it comes to portraying the stories and themes present on the songs?


They’re important but I’m working on telling more of a story with the visuals. All of these videos I kept lowkey because I felt like I wasn’t worth big videos or big ideas or big videos. But things have changed.

What’s one line from the song you find at times could be stuck in your head? Or a line that you come back to?


Just when Phi11a says “Only make friends in the summerrrrr”. It’s just a nice melody and the whole song stemmed from that one line.


You’ve got an EP set to drop later this year! What’s in store for listeners from the collection of songs?


Just more hits! I’m more excited for what comes after.

Australia has a diverse and vibrant music scene, who are some of your favourite Aussie acts and why?


I’m sorry but I don't even know where to start. There are too many lmao. This place is literally crawling with talent. It’s dope and it’s made me step my game up for sure.

Will we be seeing you hit the road-post lockdown, do you have any live show plans?


Whenever this lockdown ends, I will be on stage. Plans for NZ, NSW and back in QLD for sure. Haven’t been to Melbourne before so I have to get there too.


What can audiences expect from one of your live shows?


Pure energy, rage.


Watch the visual for Autumn below!