When Tom Gaynor returned to Melbourne after a two-year stint in LA, he was blindly unaware of three things: that a global pandemic would keep him homebound, that he would meet a brand new love, and that the rap album he was working on would turn into a guitar-driven collection of playful romanticism.
Continuing the wave of Australian acts who are rewriting the rule book for what’s acceptable in local hip-hop, Allday’s fourth album Drinking With My Smoking Friends mixes genres and characters. It’s ennui-driven, blossoming, and full of suburban Melbourne life.
“I was really affected by listening to when Frank Ocean did Blonde,” says Allday, seated on a couch at home in Melbourne. “It’s such a collage of things and it creates a dreamlike feeling. It doesn’t lack for emotional substance, and it doesn’t lack for different ideas, but you can project onto it what you want to project onto it.”
On his track “The Paris End of Collins Street” Allday quips with the listlessness of Sheryl Crow in “All I Wanna Do”: “I’m high on MDMA at Bunnings, I’m holding hands with the guy in the paint section.” He sounds like a performance poet delivering a monologue while laying down. Interestingly, the lyric had its genesis as a tweet last December, a place where Allday’s past stint as a stand-up comedian shines best.
Entirely recorded in Australia, with a little help from co-writers Gab Strum (aka Japanese Wallpaper), Simon Lam, Hayley Mary and Max Byrne aka Golden Vessel, the album is adventurous. Allday has never been an artist to easily pigeon-hole, but this latest record feels more radical than others. Perhaps it’s because losing a close friend changes you as a person (he unpacks this on “Butterfly Sky”); or maybe it’s the fact he often feels like a tourist in his own industry.
“Whatever the music industry inner sanctum is, I’ve never felt like I was in it. Maybe it was partially because [my music] was seemingly ‘tasteless fucking Aussie hip-hop music’ which is seen as the most unpalatable of genres, and makes music business people the most uncomfortable.”
Allday’s Drinking With My Smoking Friends is out now.