Urthboy digs new ground on Crushing Hard

HONEST APPROACH: Urthboy investigates the strains placed on long-term relationships in his latest single.
HONEST APPROACH: Urthboy investigates the strains placed on long-term relationships in his latest single.

URTHBOY is not one for love songs. That’s not to say the political Blue Mountains-bred hip-hop artist hasn’t delved into the universal subject before.

One of his most ground-breaking tracks Long Loud Hours told the unconventional love story of a prison escape executed by career criminal John Killick and his girlfriend Lucy Dudko in 1999 that involved a helicopter being flown into Silverwater Jail.

However Urthboy, real name Tim Levinson, rarely analyses his own feelings. On his latest single Crushing Hard the married father of two has turned his scope to subject matter usually ignored in pop songs; the struggle of long-term relationships.

In particular, the song investigates how married couples still develop crushes for other people throughout their lives.

“One of the sources of inspiration for it is that people tend to suppress these aspects of life and end up having compromised relationships which end up being split with divorces or breakdowns, so the whole thing falls apart, rather than addressing what divides you,” Levinson said.

“I’m really interested in that idea. I talk about that idea with my partner all the time, the little gaps that get wider and wider and before you know it you’re on completely different areas and the relationship breaks down.

“If you look at these cracks being able to be filled in if you have a bit of communication around this stuff, maybe you wouldn’t have such high levels of divorce.”

Crushing Hard is a stand alone single, which follows a year after Urthboy’s fifth and most commercially-successful album The Past Beats Inside Me Like a Second Heartbeat. Another album is expected to drop later this year, but Levinson isn’t rushing.

There’s plenty on the plate of The Herd co-founder, managing hip-hop label Elefant Traks, which includes Horrorshow, L-Fresh The Lion and Hermitude.

At 39, Levinson enjoys an exalted position as one of the elder statesman of the Australian hip-hop scene, while enjoying commercial and critical success. It’s taken the “noose” off his neck and allowed for freer exploration. 

“I have the luxury that a lot of writers don’t have,” he said. “It’s not that I don’t give a shit, but I don’t give enough of a shit to make me second guess myself, like perhaps I have at one point.

“I’ve already had a whole lot of fortune and luck in making music and when I stop and think about it I’m really happy with the things I’ve done. I don’t have to live or die by the next song I do where it weighs so heavily on your mind that you’re constricted by it.

“At the moment I’ve got nothing to lose and I’m trying to have fun. I’m not aspiring to be something I’m not.”

Urthboy performs at the Cambridge Hotel on Friday.