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STATION BATTLES: Against The Grain

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The idea of Station Battles was formed by Leonard 'Devast8r' Johnson in Sydney around February 2012 with the purpose of entertaining local fans of Australian battle rap and to create an avenue that welcomes people of all ages, genders, race or skill level. After being offered by a well respected head from New Zealand known as PVF to operate the camera and orchestrate the filming Station's first event was held on the 22nd of April 2012 in a public park in St. Peters.

Due to a sudden and unforeseen spell of rainy weather during a 4 on 4 freestyle match both the spectators and the perfomers all ended up being forced to seek the shelter of an undercover platform on nearby St. Peters train station where the scheduled day of free entertainment could continue. The large crowd of keen onlookers took up so much of the platform that the everyday commuters were literally blocked from boarding and alighting train carriages until there were breaks between filming each of the battles.

Throughout the year of 2012 Station Battles has held 7 successful outdoor events with around 60 battles in various locations in different suburbs of Sydney with the support network steadily growing stronger over this time. Station has featured battlers from all over the country and also New Zealand and the USA. 


RAN MC: What made you decide to start Station Battles? Who are some of the people behind the scenes that have helped get Station Battles off the ground from the start? How have they helped specifically?

DEVAST8R: I noticed that every major city in Australia had a battle league except for Sydney so since I was living here I thought I would start one up seeing as I had all the skill to do it. I didn't need a camera or video editors because I could just do it myself, I had already worked with other leagues in the past like 1-Outs, Got Beef and Real Talk so I knew what I was doing. The people who have really helped me out along the way I would have to say are PVF because he is the oldest friend I have in Australia and I've known him for almost 15 years now. PVF volunteered to be my cameraman while I hosted and he has continued to help Station Battles from then on. PVF has funded Station Battles also and helped put money into the battlers pockets. Another person that has helped heaps by organising battles and getting sponsors is That Guy Dave who is now my 2nd in charge, He also got a Station Battles banner made up for our 7th event. My good friend Fariginal who I have known for a few years now has also helped fund Station Battles by bringing other MCs from New Zealand over to compete here.


RAN MC: With all the battle leagues that are operating across Australia what makes Station Battles different? What can people that attend your events or watch your YouTube videos expect?

DEVAST8R: Station is different because we pride ourselves on doing what the others don't. If you watch 1-Outs, Got Beef, Real Talk and even Perth City Battles you will notice that they all do things the same. Other Australian leagues all have a kind of generic hosting system in which the boss is the one who stands in front of the camera at their events and hosts each of the battles whereas at Station Battles I'll let different battle MCs host and get some shine. we have the most extreme and out of this world hosting that generally involves a lot of loud swearing and outragous obscenities and it really hypes up the crowd. Other Australian league owners rely on someone else to do their camera work and video editing whereas at Station Battles I will take on that role myself and don't have to wait around for someone else to edit the video because I get the job done myself. Other Australian leagues title introduction credits to their videos are all generic sequences of advertising sponsors and artist's music whereas Station Battles will find the coolest footage from the previous event, throw that over a beat and incorporate that into the title introduction credits of a video. Other Australian leagues all have upload schedules for their videos and always take 2 or 3 weeks just to get a couple of battles up on YouTube whereas Station Battles will release every battle from each of our events in less than a weeks time. Other Australian leagues have their events in the same few venues most of the time whereas Station Battles will move around and find somewhere new every event. We have held battles under bridges, at the train station and even at birthday parties which we will continue to do. Other Australian leagues never come up with fresh concepts for battling whereas Station Battles will do 5 on 5 battles and 4 on 1 handicap matches, We have freestyle battles at every event and we have promo battles on the street between events. 

When people watch our videos or attend Station Battles events they can expect one thing. Entertainment.


RAN MC: How many battles have you hosted so far? What are some of the more notable battles you have seen since you started back in April 2012? What makes them so memorable?

DEVAST8R: I've hosted every battle from the 1st event to the 4th event. When the 5th event rolled around I wanted to do the camera work and let some other people have a turn at hosting for a change of pace. We have had heaps of memorable battles like the 4 on 1 handicap match where I battled four MCs at once and destroyed them all big time! We were supposed to have a 5 on 5 impromptu freestyle battle but only 4 people stepped up and then the crowd started yelling out stuff like "You battle them Devast8r!" "Go on!'' "Four on one!" and after the crowd was set on seeing it happen I just jumped in and did it. The first Station Battle which was a 4 on 4 was memorable too because it was the first time it had been done anywhere in the world to my knowledge? We've also had a 5 on 5 at our second event which was also a first for battling I believe? At Station's fourth event we had a 3 on 3 gone wrong where 3 rappers were supposed to battle another 3 rappers (obviously) but then one of the guys was too drunk and started interrupting the other team and then one guy from the opposing team started taking it personally and having a go at him. Eventually that turned into a 1 on 1 battle. Overall I think Maniac vs DnD was really the standout because Maniac got the loudest crowd reaction we had seen all year and it's still the loudest we have had to this day.


RAN MC: Are you planning on taking Station Battles to an indoor venue again in the future? Are you happy with the free outdoor style of event that you are currently known for?

DEVAST8R: Station Battles have had two indoor events so far which were our 5th and 7th events. We will be doing a lot more indoor events in 2013 and will start putting on an entry fee at the door.


RAN MC: There is a lot of negative criticism aimed at Station Battles for some reason why do you think that is? What do you say to those that criticise Station Battles as a league? 

DEVAST8R: Why do I think they do it? Because they know Station Battles is a threat to their company but fuck them! because only makes us stronger!


Station Battles on battleREP
Station Battles on Youtube
Station Battles on Facebook

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