Aussie hip-hop artist Drapht.
Aussie hip-hop artist Drapht. Contributed

Drapht is set for Splendour, and not scared of pressure

THE dust has barely settled on Drapht's The Uni-Verse tour and he's already set to add more notches to his belt.

The Aussie emcee, also known as Paul Ridge, is standing tall as the only artist in his field at this year's Splendour in the Grass.

But he's far from scared.

"I feel pretty honoured to be the only Aussie emcee- based hip-hop act on this year's bill," he says.

Ridge expects his performance will be less nerve racking than the last time he played, in 2011.

"It was Splendour in the Grass three years ago that was my first sober set," he says.

"I was s***ing myself. It was like the first time I ever jumped on stage back in Perth, where I held the microphone about a metre from my face."

Whether it's his first sober performance or his first time at the festival, SITG holds a special place in the Jimmy Ricard singer's mind.

"It's my favourite festival," Ridge says without hesitation.

"For me it's where it all started, so it's iconic for me.

"The first set I did was with Downsyde, who basically paved the way for me in so many different ways.

"We joined our sets together and performed for an hour and a half back to back. I look back on that as my favourite set, even to this day."

When Ridge performed in 2011, he was riding high off the back of his album Life Of Riley, which went on to sell gold, landed at no.1 on the ARIA charts and earned him seven ARIA nominations (taking out best urban album).

Life for Ridge changed after the stress of his success and his sober set was the first of many.

It's only a week until his much publicised holistic cafe opens in Perth, a project he's doing with his sister.

While he may not be throwing up from nerves this time round, he is spewing he has to leave before seeing Frank Ocean's set at the new SITG site.

"I'm so shattered about that," he said. "Channel Orange is my favourite album and it's one I just keep going back to. I'm gutted that I won't see him live."

Ridge's festival sets are different these days too.

While in the past it took six beers to get the rapper ready for stage, now he listens to a playlist and does breathing exercises.

"I'm a simple man these days," he laughs.

So what calms the Repunzel singer's nerves?

The Roots, The Beatles, Jason Mraz and Frank Ocean.

"Anything I can sing along to and warm my vocal chords really, but definitely a lot of The Beatles," he says.

Ridge had planned on releasing singles into the future, but he says emcee Suffa from the Hilltop Hoods made him re-think that decision.

"People need a whole album they can relate to and really feel a part of."

While we won't be hearing anything new from the forthcoming album at SITG, Ridge says he does have a few surprises up his sleeve.

Drapht: Playing Splendour in the Grass on Saturday, July 27. Tickets have sold out.

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