For our regular Future Is Now column we profile the hottest artists who are climbing the charts, breaking the Internet or just dominating our office stereos.
SOUNDS LIKE: Blurring the lines between funk and hip-hop, all bound together with rap flows and bold brass.
FOR FANS OF: Anderson Paak, Dorsal Fins, Jordan Rakei
WHY YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION: In 2015, 26-year-old vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Winston Surfshirt dropped his solo act and became the leader of the genre bending collective that bears his adopted monicker.
Hailing from Manly, the six-piece came together organically over time. "I think the end goal was [always] to have people play with me," says the frontman. Surfshirt met guitarist Mi-K and bassist Julio in high school, while keyboardist Dool is Julio's cousin. "Bustlip [beats] is just a friend, and then we met the Bone [trombonist] at a party," says Surfshirt.
With inspiration rooted in Motown and a flow reminiscent of late Nineties hip-hop, Surfshirt's biggest influence is John Winston Lennon, even down to partially adopting his name. "There's some footage of Lennon talking with, I think Mick Jagger, where he calls himself 'Winston Leg-Thigh' and I thought that was funny." Calling his stage name the "stupidest name ever", the rest of his band soon caught on, hence their monickers.
The group sold out their first ticketed show at the Newtown Social Club earlier this year, and single "Be About You" was played on Sir Elton John's Beats 1 radio show in March. After opening for Midnight Oil at Selinas in April and supporting RÜFÜS on their regional tour, Winston Surfshirt are setting out on their debut headline tour in June. They've been sitting on an album for two years, but it will be released soon.
THEY SAY: "It's like A Tribe Called Quest splitting spliffs with your parents' favourite band," says Surfshirt of their sound. "There's a bit of soul, a bit of hip-hop, and 'Beatlesy' songwriting behind it."
HEAR FOR YOURSELF: "Be About You" channels the brass and bass of a soulful hip-hop jam.