We chat to Bundjalung hip-hop MC Jacob Paulson – aka JK-47 – who was recently announced as the headline act for Stone & Wood’s Festival of The Stone 2021.
With the festival set to be Byron’s biggest neighbourhood block party, JK-47 will be joined by a line-up bursting with locals. Indie-pop crew Seaside, underground DJ Casimir, musical misfits The Hombres, funk outfit The Booty Affair, Club Raiders DJs and local DJs are all locked in with more acts to be announced shortly.
Hailing from the Northern Rivers, JK-47 first came to the nation’s attention in 2020 when material from his debut album, ‘Made For This’, saw him named as one of triple j Unearthed’s best artists to come through that year. Recently, his Like A Version cover of 2Pac’s ‘Changes’ lit up triple j’s switchboard and cemented his place as one of the country’s most exciting new hip hop talents.
“I think you can hear in the Like a Version that I was trying to speak about things that were bigger things than myself,” Jacob tells us when we catch up.
“I want to talk about issues in a way that people would want to understand. I’m thankful that people are hearing and understanding and that I can make music for the younger generation that won’t lead them astray.”
Having an authentic message in his music has always been hugely important to the talented Tweed local.
I’m a strong believer that words have power.
“If you’re saying it on the track you’re sort of confessing, and then later on manifesting it in your own life. I can’t just make songs about anything, I’ve gotta be real and be myself the whole time.”
Growing up under difficult home circumstances, Jacob used music as an escape.
“It was something I could relate to. It let me know I wasn’t the only one going through it and feeling the way that I was.
“It gave me a lot of hope at times,” he continues. “I had to pick the right music to listen to – something that was going to lift me up and not drag me down. Archie Roach and other artists that had a message and were speaking on issues that didn’t have a voice; those are the people that led me to being the man I am today.”
While JK-47 might seem a strange moniker for an artist that is determined to spread messages of unity and positivity, the gun reference makes perfect sense when Jacob explains it.
“Growing up people used to tell me I was a weapon when I was writing music,” he laughs. “But now it’s more like spiritual warfare; my songs can be used as a weapon against bad thoughts and the negative stuff we have to deal with.”
True to brand, JK-47 is an artist who likes to be authentic with an audience, something he is excited to bring to the stage at Festival of the Stone.
“I like connecting with the crowd – I want to feel connected with them, and just share my story with them, and hopefully they can understand where I’m coming from,” he muses.
“Also, expect to be hearing some stuff you’ve never heard before.”
An annual event celebrating this year’s limited winter release, Stone Beer, Festival of the Stone is a chance for Stone & Wood to invite the amazing local community and beer lovers alike to take a moment, come together and welcome in the winter.
General tickets are on sale now ($36 +BF) through Eventbrite, which includes a tasting of Stone & Wood’s seasonal limited Stone Beer. Visit stoneandwood.com.au to grab yours.