Matt Colwell - 360 - is a changed man. He has rebooted his life, and his music. He's living quietly in Melbourne with his family, his struggles with drug addiction and mental health, specifically bipolar disorder, under control. New album Vintage Modern, apart from being perfectly named, is a return to the form of Falling and Flying, his double-platinum triumph from 2010.
But it is not a carbon copy, far from it. One big clue is in that title. Vintage Modern, old and new, retro and future. The other is within the man himself - newly energised, open-minded and curious - and spitting complex, cunning rhymes like he never, ever has before. As well as - hold up! - singing. Vintage Modern contains further brave introspections: Yesterday, Letter and Witness and also Tiny Angel, a heartbreaking true story about a young couple (friends of his) losing a baby, 60's voice cracking and choking up in the emotionally-charged atmosphere of the song.
Still, he's from Ringwood, Melbourne - he has strong rap roots and a street wisdom that is ever-present. Talk to him about flows and techniques in MCs he admires and how he wants to go about it himself and he's soon talking about "punchlines and wordplay and multi-syllable rhyming. Set-ups and payoffs and metaphors. Rapping is a sport.” He loves it. It’s his oxygen. He's bamboozled and blown away like everyone else by the genius of Kendrick; hip-hop, rap, the culture….it's in his blood. So while he sings and vibes on a more laidback sound, Vintage Modern also has tracks like White Lies, Drugs, Body Language and the highly political Trouble which see this seasoned, formidable rapper at the peak of his powers; faster, stronger, smarter.
It's strange, but four albums in and with all that turmoil behind him and renewed creativity taking hold, 60 finally feels like he has something genuine to say. It's an important record in that way, the story of a battle-scarred artist getting wise and finding the courage to stretch out and challenge himself. "I wanted to show my growth as a person as well as an artist," he says.