We caught up with Matt from sharp Irish alt-hip hop duo Tebi Rex ahead of their upcoming Hope & Ruin show. He talked album release, Irish HipHop, TikTok and generally caught us up on how they’re doing ahead of their string of UK dates!

Catch them on their UK headline tour in March following the release of their album ‘It’s Gonna Be Okay‘, out now.

You met because you battled it out in a music competition – if you had to do that again, who do you think would win this time round, and would you play fair? 
I would win again. No question. I know his games, I’m in that mf’s head. He thinks he can beat ME at a talent show? Playing fair isn’t even an option. I’d meticulously study each judge’s interests and passions, to deliver a nuanced, diverse yet palatable performance never seen before. I’ve actually been practicing for this day ever since we first met, like a lead anime character. This is for my honour.
 
The Irish Hip Hop scene is booming at the minute with artists like Denise Chaila, Hare Squead, Kojaque and yourselves making names for themselves. Who are some of your favourite acts at the moment?
In terms of HipHop I’d bet my house on the success of the Gliders, TraviS, Elzzz, and Trever. They haven’t missed yet and I’ve seen every live performance they’ve done to date – they’re ready to blow. Someone else in the genre who I love and also think is shockingly overlooked is Sweetlemondae – she gives me Noname / Saba vibes. Really soft poetry that you can just sink into; I’m literally sweating for her next release. R3D, our Dj who is currently cooking audio crack. And of course everyone from Chamomile records.
 
“It’s Gonna Be Okay” is a beauty of a record! Before its release, what track were you most excited for people to hear?
For me it was Lost Time and Fear Lasta Lampaí. Lost Time was just such a beaut of a track, I loved mine and Max’s call and response throughout and was particularly proud of my vocal performance. It was something I was working a lot on over the last year and hearing that effort come to fruition was fulfilling.
Fear Lasta is my personal favourite from the album. The story telling, the themes, the use of Gaeilge, that shit just gets me going man. Even the fact it’s based off a poem we did in school gives me mad nostalgia- and it is an essential piece of the album as a whole – it’s truly a gem (for me, anyways). The original poem of the same title was about the Glimmerman: a small, ugly fella that would manually light the oil lamps on the streets years ago; he got bullied by locals for how he looked but he just didn’t give a rats about it because he loved doing his thing. And that was lighting the lamps. He knew who he was and what he does, and loves all of it. And that’s me; I had a lot of imposter syndrome, the bigger Tebi Rex got. Like wtf was I meant to be doing as a hip hop artist, y’know? What’s my purpose? Then I came to the conclusion, I’m like the Glimmerman. I do what I do, and I love doing it – no need for a big fancy, deep purpose. That’s the story I’m trying to tell throughout the album, it was definitely really well presented in that paticular track.
 
For people who haven’t yet seen your high energy shows live, what should they expect?
A lot of fun. We love performing music more than anything else, it’s the best part of the music shtick. So we give it 100 up there every time, but we keep it light y’know? Like, we can go from shouting and screaming our heaviest track for 3 mins to telling silly jokes before the next song, which could be something super pop-y. You’ll find us for a beer after also, so please hang around cause we love the chats.
 
You’re very active on Tik Tok and social media, do you ever find it hard to find a balance between being a musician and a content creator?
Nah not anymore. There was a while when creating music you might be swayed to do something purely for increasing its shot at virality online, but there’s no point in that. I’m at a stage now where I use social media to try enjoy it. Most of my TikToks don’t have anything to do with music or Tebi rex. I’m just taking the piss really.
I will say that social media isn’t as fun as it was when we started. Its become a lot of work at times and I’ve had to separate myself from my phone at certain points. I often think that if I really applied myself and devoted all of my time into content creation I could have a lot more hits, but it wouldn’t make me any happier – in fact, probably the opposite. It’s a balance. Make some tunes that you love, and some content you enjoyed putting together, then go to sleep happy. Noice.
 
2021 was a mix of amazing and awful for a lot of people – what’s the best thing that happened to you last year?
Releasing the album was obviously amazing, but to be honest it was gigging again. We got to do a mini tour of the UK with Pan Amsterdam, we got to do a London headline, a Dublin headline, supported Easy Life on their Irish tour, and even got to do Other Voices again. To just be with the boys doing live sets again, playing new and old tunes. I wanna replay all of those shows to be honest.
 
Leave a question for our next interviewee! 
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Catch them live at The Hope & Ruin on Saturday 12th March! Tickets available here

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