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DAVE NICOLL - Southland Times

A rap group that normally has to win over heavy metal crowds reckons they will have no trouble entertaining audiences throughout the country.

Invercargill-based rap collective Ill School   are about to embark on their first ever tour, with 23 gigs taking them from Invercargill to as far north as Whangarei in Northland.

The crew, made up of rappers Adam Carter, Corban Pemberton (JR Lee), Dane Hollands (Danegerous), Rona Wignall (Arcee) and Wetini Rapana (Overstand), will start their tour on Boxing Day and finish up in late February.

They met while studying audio production at the Southern Institute Of Technology, and their friendship grew out of mutual interests, Rapana said.

Friend and musician Logan Hampton, from Dunedin indie band Alizarin Lizard, helped them set up the tour, Carter said.

"He's made it real easy, else we'd only have like ten dates. So far it's 23, and there's still a few that might be coming in." 

While they had a number of gigs in Invercargill under their belt, they were ready to start touring and getting their name out there, Pemberton said.

"You just can't do many in the same town, you have to branch out. This is our time to let the country know who we are."

It also showed the industry they were ready to knuckle-in and were not just bedroom rappers, Carter said.

A lot of the shows were at random bars and live music venues where they had to find local support acts to bring the people out, Carter said.

As for playing gigs around the country, Pemberton said Carter had performed in Dunedin and the crew performed in Queenstown to support Carter when he released his new album.

The group said while there wasn't much in the way of rap groups or venues in "bogan" Invercargill, that had helped insulate them and allow them to focus on their music.

"Even though there's not really a scene down here, starting it is quite cool," Pemberton said.

"You're not just riding someone else's coat tails, you've built it from the ground up," Carter said.

Carter said their first ever gig in Invercargill was opening up for sludge metal band Concubine.

"We didn't know how the audience was going to take it and we only had two songs - and like one we wrote the day before - but we smashed it and everyone loved it," Carter said.

"It's a good feeling when you can win over a heavy metal crowd."   

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