Surfer, filmmaker, future TV star: Kid Mac's golden touch
YOU'D think from looking at Kid Mac that he'd be all hip-hop seriousness.
But he cracks a joke, a smile and suddenly the party starts.
The 28-year-old muso from South Sydney, also know as Macario De Souza, had his first taste of creative infamy when he released the documentary Bra Boys in 2007.
It went on to become one of the highest-grossing Australian documentaries in history and all when Kid Mac was only 23.
Studying fine arts at university, the keen surfer and son of Brazilian immigrants was always around music, with his dad teaching him to play guitar in high school.
Recording a couple of songs for the Bra Boys soundtrack woke Kid Mac up to the possibility of writing a whole album of songs.
"The thing that held me back was not having found my own sound yet," he said.
"So for a few years doing gigs on my own and as a support act my sound started to form from being on the road and being comfortable."
A chance introduction to Melbourne production duo Twice as Nice meant Kid had an outside authority to "pull out strengths and point out weaknesses" in the studio, and so they set about recording what would become Kid's debut album.
Released in May, 2012, No Man's Land is a surprisingly upbeat hip-hop inspired album of personalised Australian stories.
While he refuses to be pigeonholed as a hip-hop artist, pointing to his guitar playing in songs and the full band he takes on tour, he does reveal that hip-hop was his first musical love.
"It was really the golden age of hip-hop, the 1990s," he said.
"And I have to admit I loved quirky tracks like Kriss Kross 'Jump'. All I wanted to do was wear my clothes backwards."
Kid's songwriting started as a creative outlet that balanced out his film making, and was initially pretty dark in terms of sound and subject matter.
According to Kid, album producers Twice as Nice told him he needed to "get out of the emo box."
So he chanelled the "Aussie larrikin character that lives in almost every musician" and began to focus more on writing upbeat tunes.
"I come from a place where me and my friends and family were all jokers and loved having a laugh," he said.
"I tend to just write about personal stuff and draw inspiration from what's happening around me.
"A lot of my songs are falling in the same category of pursuing dreams and getting up off the couch and doing something.
"Maroubra, where I grew up, has lot of talented kids around and a lot of it gets wasted.
"I tend to write a lot about that stuff, now I'm getting older and mellowing. And there's more love songs."
Kid reckons his popularity stems from being a musician people can relate to - both personally, and in his songs.
"I think over the years I've built this thing where the fan base has been helped by the internet and live shows - it's constant interaction," he said.
"Like when people write on my Facebook wall or message me I try to write back to every single one of them."
For an artist who's been on the road on and off since 2006, he's definitely adept at making time to flirt, encourage and inform online, with regular chatty updates and upbeat reviews of shows he's played.
"I write from an honest place and I think it comes across," Kid said.
He went on to describe how disappointed he was when he toured with infamous American rapper The Game, who he'd greatly respected, only to discover that The Game was in private a "complete f**#wit" with a "chip on his shoulder."
"It has to go deeper - you have to practice what you preach and I try to do that," Kid said, adding with a laugh that he often wears his heart on his sleeve.
"It's little things like posting photos online - it's cool to post shots of sellout crowds but also photos with family or moments on the road, so that people can see what it's really like."
This desire to show his life, warts and all, has lead to reality TV show The Crew, which premieres Fuel TV on February 10.
"One of our favourite shows is Entourage," Kid said, "and the lives we've lived since Bra Boys was released are like one long episode of that show. We thought it would be cool to show how good the goods times are - and how bad the bad times are."
As for what he wants to achieve in the long term, Kid is pretty philosophical.
"The happiest I am is when I'm on stage performing, and I made a decision a few years ago," he said.
"I had opportunities to make some good money and have a normal job, but we're not put on this earth to be a cog in the machine. I want to make music to inspire people to dance and walk away with a smile on their face."
As for smiles on Kid Mac's face, he'll be getting plenty of them when he appears in front of a crowd at the Hoey Moey on January 12.
And then there's the icing on the cake on his east coast tour: visiting the surf breaks.
"We'll surf as much as possible," Kid laughed.
"We all go surfing in Sawtell when we come up."