You may know Garth ‘Smizdog’ Jankovich as the towering figure emblazoned on the brick wall of the City Lane Post Office Car Park.
To many, Garth is one of the most instrumental figures in the development of Townsville’s burgeoning Street Art movement. But he’s also one of the founding fathers of Townsville’s hip hop scene, kicking around with long-time co-conspirator and Realm City bandmate Robbie Gore long before hip hop entered the local mainstream.
Garth, Robbie and the rest of the Realm City crew have recently released their latest album, Rise of the Wolf, which has been three years in the making.
We caught up with Garth to find out more about their latest offering:
Rise of the Wolf is loooong-awaited. What’s been involved in bringing this album to life?
Rise of the Wolf is a result of so much energy released around us, both good and bad, since mid-2015. We’ve undergone line-up changes, disappointments, times when we felt like just giving up, the feeling that our message wasn’t getting through, and collaborations with other musicians that in the end just didn’t work out. Towards the end of 2017 Robbie and I just decided to push on and finish everything that we’d started. We acquired our new vocalist Tiana and things just got better and better for our group. Were currently in the best place we’ve been both energetically and strategically. We think this is our best production yet.
What can people expect from the album musically and lyrically?
We’ve kept the same kind of recipe we used for our first album but we explored a bit more. We used a lot more up-tempo beats: the result of doing gigs in grimy clubs were we wanted to get people dancing again. Mid-way through 2017 we banged out about 7-10 shows that were high energy fuelled and fun. We decided to try and keep that vibe in the studio, and the reult is Rise of the Wolf. We’ve brought the ‘Boom Bap’ Hip Hop back… and people are responding.
The album cover looks like your own signature-style of work and I think I recognised a North Queensland icon in the mix. What’s the story with the artwork?
I painted the cover actually while I was on the Sunshine Coast. Our band was founded in Townsville and North QLD is a special place for all of us. As for me, I’m in North QLD for half the year and the other half of the year I’m based in Canberra. Mostly to be closer to my dad but also we’re bringing Realm City to the rest of Australia and the world. Big shout out to Paronella Park, we love it there!
The video clip for the title track of Rise of the Wolf looks like a long way from North Queensland. How’d that go down?
Our latest clip was filmed on Mt Kosciusko in minus 10 degrees. It was freezing. J Point (John Edwards) is based in Sydney these days, so we made the trek down and shot the clip. We had somewhat of a budget with this clip but to see behind the scenes, that was something, it was hilarious. Us with so many years in NQ sliding around in the ice and snow. Made me smile.
So what’s next for Realm City?
We’ve got a big 2019 planned with festivals and an Australian and New Zealand tour planned – we will be back in North Queensland early 2019! We want to increase our fan base and chase the international opportunities that are opening for us, but we’re also trying to get a message through. This is conscious Rap. The kind of music that helps get you through those dark times. But in saying that we have party tracks and super chilled stuff, too!
Realm City’s Rise of the Wolf is available on all major music platforms worldwide.