Brisbane’s most original hip hop export is undoubtedly Butterfingers, led by frontman ‘Evil’ Eddie Jacobson.
Whilst their lyrical content keeps them off commercial radio, for the most part, they’ve enjoyed a successful career of ARIA nominations and Hottest 100 nods spanning over 15 years (including several years’ hiatus from 2009) and re-emerged better than ever earlier this year with their comeback single, Big Night Out.
The band’s debut album Breakfast at Fatboys debuted at number 15 on the ARIA charts, with the band steadily gaining traction on national youth radio network Triple J with Everytime and I Love Work prior to the album’s release.
This is all fairly surprising when you consider the band was cobbled together fairly last-minute.
“The band began by accident. Kind of,” Jacobson said.
“Long story short, I worked at a live music venue, I put my name into a gap they had on the booking board months prior to the date, I forgot about it, the venue owners held me to it and we’ve been playing shows ever since.”
Jacobson’s original band mates Olly Thomas and Damien Green have returned since their hiatus. Original bassist Dave Crane has been replaced by Jacobson’s Spitfireliar band mate, Brad(zilla) Cochrane.
Jacobson remained tight-lipped on what happened to Crane, saying simply, “good question?” And whilst he claims the band’s hiatus was spent, “smoking weed,” Jacobson himself had significant success with his solo project, Evil Eddie.
As literally one of the nicest guys in Australian music, it begs the question: where did the ‘evil’ moniker come from?
“Evil Eddie came from the same venue,” Jacobson said.
“There were two Eddies, so to differentiate who was who I was ‘evil’ Eddie.”
As a self-managed artist, Jacobson won a place at The Seed Fund‘s management workshop in 2014, which he said taught him a lot.
“It taught me so many things that it’s hard to pick a place to start,” he said.
“I mean, I’d been in the industry for quite some time and had a fairly broad range of experience already but it was really some of the finer points that I found most enlightening. Things you’d only know if you’d been managing or booking 20-plus years.
“I’ve got a lot of notes and haven’t had the time to decompress them all yet, either. Tomes.”
Butterfingers has always been self-managed and, although they had a brief relationship with Festival Mushroom Records, have released under their own record labels, Valley Trash and now Bewilderbeats.
“We just never saw a way of doing what we wanted and getting a fair deal from a label,” Jacobson said.
“So we just started doing it all ourselves.
“It’s a steep learning curve and a lot of work, but I like steering the ship and we’ve got a fairly tight system now, so I doubt it will change any time soon.”
So with handling everything from record releases and video clips to merch and poster design, is it easier handling everything personally?
“Yes,” Jacobson said.
“We’ve never really had it any other way, so I wouldn’t actually know… maybe I don’t know what I’m missing.”
Jacobson’s flair for witty and honest lyrical content makes Butterfingers stand out from other bands. With Big Night Out detailing a fall from a rooftop in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley after copious amounts of alcohol, Jacobson admits that, too, is drawn from a personal experience.
“(It’s) real,” he said.
“My back still hurts. I actually got the screws out of my ankle just recently.
“(It) sounds kinda funny in the song but that was a real low point for me.”
When we caught up with him and asked what was happening, Jacobson said: “Well, I just went to the park and wrote a little rap to advertise the Dalrymple(Townsville) gig actually.”
“I used the Blues Brothers ‘Rawhide’ track for my beat and rapped about putting Bob Katter on the guest list. I hope he comes…”
So we put his skills to the test, and asked him to write a lyric about his current situation:
“I’m so bad at typing this reply that when I send it in
“For every twenty words I gotta retype ten of em.”
Okay, Evil Eddie. You’re bloody great at what you do.
Watch: Butterfingers – Big Night Out