Interview: Body Bag Media, The Videographer Shining Light On Australia’s Underground Rap Hits
An insight into the new outlet.
Music 12m

Words by Christopher Kevin Au

Outside of Triple J and what’s usually dubbed the ‘new wave,’ there’s a movement of hip-hop that remains unwavering in its unapologetic nature – and much of its being thrust into the world via Body Bag Media.

The brainchild of Central Coast videographer Brendan Bagnall, Body Bag Media has only existed for the best part of six months, becoming a powerful online platform for sportswear-clad street rappers usually ignored by radio and mainstream media. Spending much of his time driving between the hubs of Sydney and Newcastle, Brendan films and edits videos for artists before posting them online via Body Bag, collecting hundreds of thousands of views across Facebook and YouTube. He’s also developed his own 1Take series, whereby rappers deliver their most impressive bars direct to the camera.

Brendan has played a pivotal role in some of the year’s biggest underground rap hits that have sent social media into a frenzy, and given its impressively short lifespan, it’s clear that Body Bag is evolving into something larger than its creator ever anticipated. It’s refreshingly raw and DIY project that’s managed to gain not only the attention of its audience, but upmost respect.

We caught up with Brendan to talk about Body Bag’s whirlwind history, some of his most hyped videos and what he has in store for the future:

When did you start Body Bag Media? What was the inspiration behind starting up your own platform for emerging rappers?

I started Body Bag towards the very end of February this year but the first clips went live in March. The inspiration behind it pretty much came from not getting much video/photography work at the time and it was starting to frustrate me, I had all these ideas but I knew it would be wack to do it on my old page I ran under called Brendan Bagnall Photography.

But it mainly came from when myself and my best mate Currentz One were younger and starting off, there wasn’t anyone really going out of their way to help out up-and-coming artists. We really had to push it far ourselves which was cool and kept us motivated – Facebook wasn’t as crazy as it is now for Australian rap, so filmers like myself and Greeley put in the hard yards to get these new artists’ names out there easily and a lot faster then four or five years ago. So pretty much everything you’ve seen with Body Bag is what’s been planned in my head for nearly a year or so now.

You’re playing a huge part in the underground rap scene at the moment. What is the most gratifying for you: the reactions from the fans, the artists, or something else entirely?

To be honest bro, it’s only starting to really settle in now with how big Body Bag has really gotten in a short amount of time. It’s kinda weird for me, but in a really good way. Up here in my area, I’m not as well known for it like I am in Sydney, Newcastle or other states. The greatest part about it is that I’ve had phone calls off mates that are small-name artists – they’ve been out and about somewhere, and they’ve had someone come up to them and say, “Aw are you so and so off Body Bag Media.” But that’s the reason why I started this, for the reaction it’s been getting!

One of the biggest videos you’ve produced this year was ‘100 Hoods Deep’ by Mitchos Da Menace and TKO – how was that experience, given the sheer amount of people involved in the shoot?

It was actually pretty easy to film it with all the people that were there, the boys helped out heaps because I’m not as vocal around that amount of people so it worked out really good. I actually only heard the track once on the way down to film it because it was recorded the night before – shout outs to Mitchos, TKO & Nebs on the banger they cooked up!

Another one of your videos stars Slim Benjo, who is just 13 years old. Did you always know that this video was going to grab such a huge reaction online?

When we filmed these first three 1Takes, his was the last one… KDUBBS & Personal (Slim Benjo’s older brother) both told me he’s got crazy bars. As we were filming it and once it finished, I was in shock – I knew it was going to get crazy views but I didn’t think it would end up with over 100,000. There’s a lot of people in the comment section that are ripping him so bad, but from all of us we’d like to say thank you for the hate. The attention and shares just on a quick little 1Take now has over 100,000 views more than most of your tracks. Shout outs to Slim Benjo, the little don for not caring!

You’ve spoken at length about how the stress of Body Bag Media has affected your mental health. Can you tell us a bit more about your troubles in this regard, and how you manage to keep motivated?

The stress of setting up a new business that you run just by yourself is very stressful. It all comes down to lack of money, sleepless nights/days, no time for family/relationships and friends. I closed myself off to the world really badly at one time of it all, I was at a point where I wouldn’t sleep for days or even months. I’d either spend time driving back and forward to locations on 2/3 hours sleep, get home and start editing, do what I gotta do, and head back out do it all again the next day. Some nights would be pretty bad because of the lack of sleep and how stressed out things would be. I’d just want to give up, but my girlfriend at the time, Ashley – she really kept me going more then anything and I can’t thank her enough.

Who are some of the most promising emerging Australian rappers that you’ve heard this year?

There’s so many out there, the ones I feel that have made a bigger impact so far this year compared to last year would be HUSKii Ben, Trap Runners, TKO, Mitchos Da Menace, Wombat, Skrub, Nerve, ChillinIt x Talakai. That’s to name a few, that;s in no order of favourites, just ones that came straight to mind.

If you could get any five rappers from history to participate in a 1Take, who would it be?

No one’s ever asked me that question, but would be crazy to work with these artist back in the day.

1. Big L
2. Eazy-E
3. Biggie
4. Big Pun
5. Public Enemy

So far, a lot of the artists you have worked with are street rappers – any plans to branch out, or even work outside of hip-hop?

Bro I’ve got so many plans to come! I’m pretty much 80% finished with my home studio, so once that’s all done you’ll be seeing more things coming out. Trust me, no one’s got the ideas I’ve got coming for Body Bag!

Ultimately, what do you want to achieve with Body Bag Media?

Right now I’m working my dream job, but over time I want Body Bag to be a massive hip-hop outlet from Australia but with a lot of different kinds of artist coming out too, I’ve got some crazy connections over in America right now, so I’m already branching out as much as I can over there, but that’s all staying quiet for now! Everything else is under lock and key so once it’s ready, it’s ready.

I’ve got a brand new series dropping in a few months or so with some big names as well as some other artist I’m looking for to link up with. I just wanna say shout outs to everyone that’s been loving everything that I’m doing with Body Bag. The support that it’s giving to Australian rap is amazing.

Words by Christopher Kevin Au August 7, 2017
Editors Pick