Catching up with 360

Matt Colwell, known more famously as Australian rapper 360 is not afraid to be totally honest and brutally upfront. He’s well known in the media for his strong opinions on some controversial topics – and many people know him as ‘that rapper who was on Q&A’.

He is also very gracious, appreciative of fans, and he enjoys recognising other people’s talent and supporting up-and-coming artists.

His music is widely appealing, even to those who aren’t strictly hip-hop fans – he collaborates with a wide variety of artists and singers, from notable musicians such as Daniel Johns, Josh Pyke and Gossling to fellow rappers Pez and Lunar C, and he works closely with producer Styalz Fuego to create high quality recordings. In fact, his sound is so much more than what you might expect from his hip-hop contemporaries.

‘I incorporate a lot of melody­­­ and pop elements into my music. Australian hip-hop definitely has its own sound that I try very hard not to fit into.’

Onstage, Matt creates a perfect balance between being serious and connecting deeply with the audience - while still keeping it upbeat and fun. His performances are very interesting and alive, and it feels like he’s taking every single audience member on a journey.

‘Me and Mat (Mat Cant, his DJ) don’t really rehearse. Maybe if we’ve had a lot of time off we might, just to make sure I don’t forget the lyrics but I think one of the main things about a live show is doing things on the fly. I’ve noticed watching other rappers that they’re very formulated, doing the exact same words in the exact same spot at every single gig. I think it’s important to be spontaneous and adapt to the crowd you’re performing to.’

Matt is known to be an active presence on social media, personally engaging with fans and replying to their comments. If people say negative things, he makes the effort to speak his mind and freely give his opinions. But more importantly, he makes sure he responds directly to fans who appreciate his music.

‘Back in the day you didn’t really have access to the artists. If you wanted to write to them you’d write a letter and post it off and pray that they replied with a signature or something. But these days you can just go onto anybody’s Instagram and send something straight to them, which in most cases they will read even though they don’t always reply.

I definitely take the time to respond to people, especially when it’s something really heartfelt. I get a lot of messages from people saying that my music has stopped them from killing themselves, and it’s usually from kids that are about 13-16. It’s sad, but at the same time it’s positive. It’s important to write back to them because it’ll make their day. If younger fans tag me on Instagram I love writing a comment on one of their random photos and they just end up losing it.’

Discovering the effect he has had on fans has positively changed him. Since it’s become apparent that his words hold a lot of power for some people, he now takes that responsibility seriously.

‘Learning that definitely changed me. I still speak out about what I believe in but I’m not just saying really harsh things about certain people. Young fans are hearing what I say and I should try to influence them in a good way.’

Fans will be happy to know that although Matt is keeping the details hush, he is working on something new. The only other hint that could be teased out is that this new project will include more collaborations.

I’ve got a little surprise coming. I can’t really announce it because I don’t want to ruin it - but it’s a project that hopefully will be done in under a year... I enjoy doing collaborations – I always like trying to find new people to work with. In this new project I’ve done a song with a singer who’s quite new and fresh; she’s only 17, but she’s amazing. I think she’s going to be absolutely massive.