Get To Know the Brothers of NO COMPLY and Their First EP 'Welcome to Bad'

  • Get To Know the Brothers of NO COMPLY and Their First EP 'Welcome to Bad'
    POSTED
    By Jason.Clark

    no comply fynn ethan blackwood

    NO COMPLY is comprised of brothers Fynn and Ethan Blackwood. This pair of 20-somethings (Fynn is the older brother) have had a long history with music thanks to their parents exposing them to a variety of genres and instruments at a young age. Their dad got Fynn a guitar and Ethan a drumkit.

    Their music is bold with a playful and melodic take on the rapidly changing and evolving genre that is Hip-Hop. They've just dropped their first EP titled Welcome To Bad highlighted by the track "Love Letter." We sat with the duo to get to know the rappers behind the bars and a bit of their story.

    What is it like as brothers in a duo?

    ETHAN: We used to fight all the time, savagely, for ages. Then like three years ago we just stopped.

    FYNN: I think once after high school I just chilled out and lost a lot of the aggressive attitude, looked inwards (laughs).

    Any other siblings?

    ETHAN/FYNN: It's just the two of us

    What drove the decision to get together and do music?

    FYNN: For me personally I've been in a lot of bands before, still mostly rap. They were a mix of live bands, we had an 8 piece that I played with Harper Finn in. It was a blend of funk, hip-hop, and a bit of jazz. Then another jazz rap band. I really love playing live and with a band. A lot of the stuff I listened to just sounded real produced, had a different element. So I wanted to take the challenge personally to see what it would be like...

    ETHAN: And to do something where you're the main thing.

    FYNN: Yeah, exactly. To have a project of my own. Ethan was studying down in Wellington and making beats and he just sent me something that made me have that spark gain that this is something I want to do and this was the outlet I've been waiting for.

    ETHAN: I was never in any bands or anything. I used to go to every one of their gigs. Be right in the front head banging so hard. I used to look up to them so much like man that looks like so much fun. But never really saw myself finding an entry on how to do that myself, so I just kept making beats. I was in Wellington studying, not music, design. I just kept doing beats the whole time and I would send them to Fynn once I started getting decently good and then we started working together. 

    FYNN: It was better than anything I could do.

    Has music always been the main dream or did you ant to be something else as a kid?

    ETHAN: At one point I wanted to be a builder, at one point...

    FYNN: For like a day.

    ETHAN: I just thought music was such a longshot. Fynns always, always been like music music music and I've been like eehhh maybe I'm not going to be able to do it. But now I'm just music, just music.

    What was some of the music you parents had you grow up on?

    FYNN: Everything, it's such a cliche general answer but yeah everything. A lot of New Zealand music.

    ETHAN: mostly New Zealand music, sooo much New Zealand music.

    FYNN: They loved sooo many different styles. From like Black Sabbath to Radio Head...

    ETHAN: lots of white music ... (laughter) ... for real though.

    So now that that elephant is out in the room, what drew you into Hip-Hop?

    ETHAN: Skating and my brother buying an Eminem CD. Scribe, NZ Hip-Hop way back in the day. And then skating really made me fall in low with Hip-Hop, so many ties with street culture and rapping and street art and all that kind of stuff just merged into one.

    FYNN: Primary school. We used to have a outside class where you could take the old cd player out for lunch and I had a mate who was into Hip-Hop and we had the old Eminem CD and from then on it was The Chronic, The Game, Dre, NWA, Snoop, 50. We would just go to his place and crank rap.

    As a fan of the art how deep into it do you go, especially being here in NZ. Do you stick with what was just available or did you dive into its origins back in the states in the late 70s and 80s?

    ETHAN: All the websites deep diving into the mixtaples like Wiz Khalifas first mixtape

    FYNN: I' one of those people that I don't need to know everything, but I need to be knowledgeable. I really enjoyed opening those doors and just scrolling YouTube in research.

    ETHAN: Kanye is just one of those ones to dig into.

    So ya'll just been dropping a bunch of names so let's get to it... Who is your Top 5?

    ETHAN: Top 5.... oooohhhhh.... eff me... so hard....... This isn't in any order..... Joey Badass, Kendrick... and it's not just about talent but how they make you feel. Travis Scott, Mac Miller, Denzel Curry... man it's just way to hard.

    FYNN: Mine at the moment, which is super hard as well. I'd have to say Mac Miller, Tom Scott, Kendrick... aaaahhhhhhh Andre 3000 and I couldn't pick.... I don't listen to as much Eminem anymore like the recent stuff, but I can't deny the talent and he did so much for me in my youth I'd have to say him... or Ole Dirty Bastard.

    Since you mentioned Travis Scott, you had your EP showcase and Ethan you were definitely up there with the Travis rock out vibe.

    ETHAN: He's my idle when it comes to that. Like I watch Look Mom I Can Fly before shows sometimes. He's just crazy, a top performer for me.

    The Hip-Hop space has grown to include so many different avenues now, on that spectrum what would you define NO COMPLY as? Alternative gets thrown around but that's just the easy label....

    ETHAN: I think you nailed it with the number of avenues. We're such a fresh group we're just experimenting right now. We like so many different types and aspects of Hip-Hop and R&B that we're just kind of experimenting. I think we'll narrow down eventually.

    FYNN: I think people get fixated if you release a tape or something they'll automatically put you in that genre or lane but for us it's in the name. NO COMPLY is a skate movement but it's also about being non-compliant and not giving a fuck and just doing what you want to do. If we like a sound we'll put a song out like that and just cater to everything we like. It's sort of all the above without being alternative, it's the rock star skater with not fucks. We're real loud and boisterous on stage and we come off and we're kinna like old people.

    That's freeing to say you're still kind of figuring it out and pigeon-holing yourself. so from you eyes what is New Zealand Hip-Hop culture. You have this primarily American based artform which makes it's way here in the late 80s, blowing up in the 90s and mixing with that kiwi lifestyle to make it's own thing.

    ETHAN: We're not really in the scene, I couldn't comment on it.

    FYNN: For me it like the roots, it's about staying true to who you are. Like David Dallas and Scribe. A lot of people lie about themselves in rhymes, where they came from, money they make, jewellery, shit like that. But you listen to like Scribe and he's just no qualms about saying I come from poverty and I'm on the streets doing this. Kiwis kind of take pride in that, not sure if that's right to say, staying true to themselves.

    ETHAN: It's really interesting, cuz we come from a privileged background, we're in a really interesting spot, everything is subjective. We've had fucked up shit happen to us, Fynns been struggling with mental health for years and there's a lot of people that come from privileged situations whose reality is not as glorious as it seems. It's kind of like a cool way to speak to those people and everyone about just not giving a fuck.

    FYNN: As long as you acknowledge like you just did, that we come from a middle-class family, two parents still together, we're white. As long as you acknowledge it and know that everyone has a story and people acknowledge those stories.

    You're clearly acknowledging and being open with your story Even with your set you explained one of your songs was inspired by an acid trip. Your EP Welcome To Bad is out now, tell me about the project because I did hear that it is a journey through mental health.

    FYNN: Originally, we anted to start off kind of mellow and ramp up. But then we flipped it. We've been playing more live shows, coming into that more and more and your just kind of feeling yourself so why not start there.

    ETHAN: Yeah just going from really hard to really chill. And that's also the NO COMPLY thing.

    FYNN: For me writing I really struggle sometimes, even trying to explain in these conversations I just feel like I can get more through with music much easier. I find it really therapeutic. And Welcome to Bad we talk about topics like depression and substance abuse and things like that. Just gives you an avenue to connect with people. A convo can be had with one person in a room but with a song if people hear it at different times and they take something away that's beneficial to them.

    ETHAN: That's like the goal, the only goal. If someone sitting at home can relate and think that's cool then fuck being famous that's the goal. To make people feel good.

    So you could be poor for the rest of your lives but as long as someone feels goo from your music you're ok?

    FYNN: I've been doing music for years and years now and the whole time I've been broke as fuck.

    ETHAN: We're just lucky to have the opportunity to make it happen.

    FYNN: Multiple jobs... yeah but at the end of the day it's about that.

    What is your favourite song on the EP?

    FYNN: Mine would have to be, because of how real it is, would be "Love Letter" with Maurice from Dual. From past issues and that time of my life to be able to talk about it on that track has the most sentiment for me.

    ETHAN: "Bad to the Bone," it's just so fun to do live and scream. So sick. Also love "Eyes Shut I See" cuz it reminds me of doing acid in Coromandel. 

    So you said you're not in the Hip-Hop space. Do you ever find yourselves getting hate or a negative vibe from others?

    ETHAN: It's all love from our circle, but on social media it's def fucked. Especially since with Warner they push it to people in all corners of NZ so you get some nasty ass people but you just simply don't care about it.

    FYNN: As long as you know it's just people hiding behind a keyboard with nothing better to do who are angry or jealous and dealing with their own stuff.

    Ethan: And that's why we use our live sets as well to just go absolutely nuts. We've def met some folks in the scene, like Church and AP. We played a show with them the other week and they watched us and they were like WTF yall are crazy, kinna similar to us.

    FYNN: Everyone we've met in the scene so far has been real supportive. The start was intimidating, because the calibre level is up here, but everyone has been cool and inviting.

    Y'all certainly have perspective on this whole thing and i guess that no fucks given attitude works well with it (laughs). Lemme end with a softball here, what's a top hip-hop song of all time for you?

    FYNN: It' have to be by De La Soul or MF Doom...

    ETHAN: How'd I not say MF Doom... can you change my top five

    FYNN: I've got two, one for international and one for NZ. Mac Miller's "Jet Fuel" and for NZ could be anything from Home Brew or Avantdale Bowling Clubs "Friends, yeah that's a real beautiful track.

    ETHAN: hmmm lemme look through my playlist... "Let's Ride" by Q-Tp and probably "Hits From The Bong" Cypress Hill.

    FYNN: Def a classic... A song that also always gives me a good vibe is "Me, Myself and I" from De La Soul.

    What's next for NO COMPLY?

    FYNN: We're already working on the next EP and mixtape. Looking to put it our sooner rather than later

     

    Def make sure you check out their project Welcome to Bad, you'll find it on our NZ Vibes playlist below which highlights on the scene from New Zealands artists

     

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Submitted by Jason.Clark on

no comply fynn ethan blackwood

NO COMPLY is comprised of brothers Fynn and Ethan Blackwood. This pair of 20-somethings (Fynn is the older brother) have had a long history with music thanks to their parents exposing them to a variety of genres and instruments at a young age. Their dad got Fynn a guitar and Ethan a drumkit.

Their music is bold with a playful and melodic take on the rapidly changing and evolving genre that is Hip-Hop. They've just dropped their first EP titled Welcome To Bad highlighted by the track "Love Letter." We sat with the duo to get to know the rappers behind the bars and a bit of their story.

What is it like as brothers in a duo?

ETHAN: We used to fight all the time, savagely, for ages. Then like three years ago we just stopped.

FYNN: I think once after high school I just chilled out and lost a lot of the aggressive attitude, looked inwards (laughs).

Any other siblings?

ETHAN/FYNN: It's just the two of us

What drove the decision to get together and do music?

FYNN: For me personally I've been in a lot of bands before, still mostly rap. They were a mix of live bands, we had an 8 piece that I played with Harper Finn in. It was a blend of funk, hip-hop, and a bit of jazz. Then another jazz rap band. I really love playing live and with a band. A lot of the stuff I listened to just sounded real produced, had a different element. So I wanted to take the challenge personally to see what it would be like...

ETHAN: And to do something where you're the main thing.

FYNN: Yeah, exactly. To have a project of my own. Ethan was studying down in Wellington and making beats and he just sent me something that made me have that spark gain that this is something I want to do and this was the outlet I've been waiting for.

ETHAN: I was never in any bands or anything. I used to go to every one of their gigs. Be right in the front head banging so hard. I used to look up to them so much like man that looks like so much fun. But never really saw myself finding an entry on how to do that myself, so I just kept making beats. I was in Wellington studying, not music, design. I just kept doing beats the whole time and I would send them to Fynn once I started getting decently good and then we started working together. 

FYNN: It was better than anything I could do.

Has music always been the main dream or did you ant to be something else as a kid?

ETHAN: At one point I wanted to be a builder, at one point...

FYNN: For like a day.

ETHAN: I just thought music was such a longshot. Fynns always, always been like music music music and I've been like eehhh maybe I'm not going to be able to do it. But now I'm just music, just music.

What was some of the music you parents had you grow up on?

FYNN: Everything, it's such a cliche general answer but yeah everything. A lot of New Zealand music.

ETHAN: mostly New Zealand music, sooo much New Zealand music.

FYNN: They loved sooo many different styles. From like Black Sabbath to Radio Head...

ETHAN: lots of white music ... (laughter) ... for real though.

So now that that elephant is out in the room, what drew you into Hip-Hop?

ETHAN: Skating and my brother buying an Eminem CD. Scribe, NZ Hip-Hop way back in the day. And then skating really made me fall in low with Hip-Hop, so many ties with street culture and rapping and street art and all that kind of stuff just merged into one.

FYNN: Primary school. We used to have a outside class where you could take the old cd player out for lunch and I had a mate who was into Hip-Hop and we had the old Eminem CD and from then on it was The Chronic, The Game, Dre, NWA, Snoop, 50. We would just go to his place and crank rap.

As a fan of the art how deep into it do you go, especially being here in NZ. Do you stick with what was just available or did you dive into its origins back in the states in the late 70s and 80s?

ETHAN: All the websites deep diving into the mixtaples like Wiz Khalifas first mixtape

FYNN: I' one of those people that I don't need to know everything, but I need to be knowledgeable. I really enjoyed opening those doors and just scrolling YouTube in research.

ETHAN: Kanye is just one of those ones to dig into.

So ya'll just been dropping a bunch of names so let's get to it... Who is your Top 5?

ETHAN: Top 5.... oooohhhhh.... eff me... so hard....... This isn't in any order..... Joey Badass, Kendrick... and it's not just about talent but how they make you feel. Travis Scott, Mac Miller, Denzel Curry... man it's just way to hard.

FYNN: Mine at the moment, which is super hard as well. I'd have to say Mac Miller, Tom Scott, Kendrick... aaaahhhhhhh Andre 3000 and I couldn't pick.... I don't listen to as much Eminem anymore like the recent stuff, but I can't deny the talent and he did so much for me in my youth I'd have to say him... or Ole Dirty Bastard.

Since you mentioned Travis Scott, you had your EP showcase and Ethan you were definitely up there with the Travis rock out vibe.

ETHAN: He's my idle when it comes to that. Like I watch Look Mom I Can Fly before shows sometimes. He's just crazy, a top performer for me.

The Hip-Hop space has grown to include so many different avenues now, on that spectrum what would you define NO COMPLY as? Alternative gets thrown around but that's just the easy label....

ETHAN: I think you nailed it with the number of avenues. We're such a fresh group we're just experimenting right now. We like so many different types and aspects of Hip-Hop and R&B that we're just kind of experimenting. I think we'll narrow down eventually.

FYNN: I think people get fixated if you release a tape or something they'll automatically put you in that genre or lane but for us it's in the name. NO COMPLY is a skate movement but it's also about being non-compliant and not giving a fuck and just doing what you want to do. If we like a sound we'll put a song out like that and just cater to everything we like. It's sort of all the above without being alternative, it's the rock star skater with not fucks. We're real loud and boisterous on stage and we come off and we're kinna like old people.

That's freeing to say you're still kind of figuring it out and pigeon-holing yourself. so from you eyes what is New Zealand Hip-Hop culture. You have this primarily American based artform which makes it's way here in the late 80s, blowing up in the 90s and mixing with that kiwi lifestyle to make it's own thing.

ETHAN: We're not really in the scene, I couldn't comment on it.

FYNN: For me it like the roots, it's about staying true to who you are. Like David Dallas and Scribe. A lot of people lie about themselves in rhymes, where they came from, money they make, jewellery, shit like that. But you listen to like Scribe and he's just no qualms about saying I come from poverty and I'm on the streets doing this. Kiwis kind of take pride in that, not sure if that's right to say, staying true to themselves.

ETHAN: It's really interesting, cuz we come from a privileged background, we're in a really interesting spot, everything is subjective. We've had fucked up shit happen to us, Fynns been struggling with mental health for years and there's a lot of people that come from privileged situations whose reality is not as glorious as it seems. It's kind of like a cool way to speak to those people and everyone about just not giving a fuck.

FYNN: As long as you acknowledge like you just did, that we come from a middle-class family, two parents still together, we're white. As long as you acknowledge it and know that everyone has a story and people acknowledge those stories.

You're clearly acknowledging and being open with your story Even with your set you explained one of your songs was inspired by an acid trip. Your EP Welcome To Bad is out now, tell me about the project because I did hear that it is a journey through mental health.

FYNN: Originally, we anted to start off kind of mellow and ramp up. But then we flipped it. We've been playing more live shows, coming into that more and more and your just kind of feeling yourself so why not start there.

ETHAN: Yeah just going from really hard to really chill. And that's also the NO COMPLY thing.

FYNN: For me writing I really struggle sometimes, even trying to explain in these conversations I just feel like I can get more through with music much easier. I find it really therapeutic. And Welcome to Bad we talk about topics like depression and substance abuse and things like that. Just gives you an avenue to connect with people. A convo can be had with one person in a room but with a song if people hear it at different times and they take something away that's beneficial to them.

ETHAN: That's like the goal, the only goal. If someone sitting at home can relate and think that's cool then fuck being famous that's the goal. To make people feel good.

So you could be poor for the rest of your lives but as long as someone feels goo from your music you're ok?

FYNN: I've been doing music for years and years now and the whole time I've been broke as fuck.

ETHAN: We're just lucky to have the opportunity to make it happen.

FYNN: Multiple jobs... yeah but at the end of the day it's about that.

What is your favourite song on the EP?

FYNN: Mine would have to be, because of how real it is, would be "Love Letter" with Maurice from Dual. From past issues and that time of my life to be able to talk about it on that track has the most sentiment for me.

ETHAN: "Bad to the Bone," it's just so fun to do live and scream. So sick. Also love "Eyes Shut I See" cuz it reminds me of doing acid in Coromandel. 

So you said you're not in the Hip-Hop space. Do you ever find yourselves getting hate or a negative vibe from others?

ETHAN: It's all love from our circle, but on social media it's def fucked. Especially since with Warner they push it to people in all corners of NZ so you get some nasty ass people but you just simply don't care about it.

FYNN: As long as you know it's just people hiding behind a keyboard with nothing better to do who are angry or jealous and dealing with their own stuff.

Ethan: And that's why we use our live sets as well to just go absolutely nuts. We've def met some folks in the scene, like Church and AP. We played a show with them the other week and they watched us and they were like WTF yall are crazy, kinna similar to us.

FYNN: Everyone we've met in the scene so far has been real supportive. The start was intimidating, because the calibre level is up here, but everyone has been cool and inviting.

Y'all certainly have perspective on this whole thing and i guess that no fucks given attitude works well with it (laughs). Lemme end with a softball here, what's a top hip-hop song of all time for you?

FYNN: It' have to be by De La Soul or MF Doom...

ETHAN: How'd I not say MF Doom... can you change my top five

FYNN: I've got two, one for international and one for NZ. Mac Miller's "Jet Fuel" and for NZ could be anything from Home Brew or Avantdale Bowling Clubs "Friends, yeah that's a real beautiful track.

ETHAN: hmmm lemme look through my playlist... "Let's Ride" by Q-Tp and probably "Hits From The Bong" Cypress Hill.

FYNN: Def a classic... A song that also always gives me a good vibe is "Me, Myself and I" from De La Soul.

What's next for NO COMPLY?

FYNN: We're already working on the next EP and mixtape. Looking to put it our sooner rather than later

 

Def make sure you check out their project Welcome to Bad, you'll find it on our NZ Vibes playlist below which highlights on the scene from New Zealands artists

 

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