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OriginPerth, Australia
GenresAustralian Hip-Hop
LabelsHydrofunk Records
Obese Records
Illusive Sounds
  • Optamus (Scott Griffiths) (MC/Production)
  • Dazastah (Darren Reutens) (MC/Production)
  • Dyna-Mikes (Shahbaz Rind) (MC)
  • DJ Armee (Damien Allia) (turntables)
  • Cheeky (Mathew Cheetham) (bass guitar, keyboards)
  • Hi-Hat (Steve Curyer) (drums, percussion)
  • Salvatore (Salvatore Pizzata) (drums, percussion)
  • Catastrophe (R. Reutens) (drums, percussion)

Downsyde are an Australian hip hop group from Perth, Western Australia. The group is composed of three members, Optamus, Dazastah and Dyna-Mikes.


Downsyde's origin occurred when MCs Optamus (Scott Griffiths) and Dyna-mikes (Shahbaz Rind) were in Year 11 at Craigie Senior High School.,[1] where they took part in a school talent quest in 1996.

"We sort of figured out ourselves at 16 the best way for us to identify with Australia and to write topical music about Australia was for us to use our own voices rather than adopting a New York accent." - Optamus[2]

The duo released a tape demo called Behind the Bucket, selling copies at two local shops,[3] managing to sell all of the 200 copies they made within weeks.[4]

"We suddenly got asked to play gigs with Eskimo Joe and Beaverloop at the Grosvenor and actually gig as a band. At that point we used to play the gig with our beats recorded on a walkman that we'd plug through the PA" - Optamus[2]

The group added a third MC, Dazastah (Darren Reutens), whom they met at Leederville TAFE, and DJ Armee (Damien Allia) on turntables, meeting him at the Hyde Park Hotel where he would DJ on Monday nights. Later, the group expanded to the current line-up with percussionist Salvatore (Salvatore Pizzata) (ex-Beaverloop) and Cheeky (Mat Cheetham) (ex-Circus Murders) on keyboards, loops & samples joining the group. Cheetham recalls:

"I was in Tokyo hanging out and got a call from my mate Sal, he's playing drums with these guys Downsyde and he said 'when you come back you should have a crack at sampling stuff for them.' So I came back, met the guys and the next thing I know I was in the band. My first show was at the Big Day Out." - Cheeky[2]

For four years Downsyde produced beats and rhymes and played at hundreds of gigs, parties, and MC battles culminating in the September 2000 release of their debut album, Epinonimous - recordings made by the band from 1996 to 2000. Their first single, "Gifted Life", was released two years later. "Gifted Life" was nominated as 'Best Single' at the 2003 Australian Dance Music Awards.[5] In the same year, Downsyde won the Best Debut Artist at the Dance Music Awards.[6]

Their second album, Land of the Giants, was released in 2003 on the Hydrofunk label.[7] The album won 'Most Popular Local Original Album' at the 2003 Western Australian Music Industry Awards.[8]

The group has performed alongside groups including Jurassic 5, Cypress Hill, Grandmaster Flash, The Black Eyed Peas, and The Roots.[9] They also performed with Australian acts like Hilltop Hoods, Resin Dogs, and Koolism.[10] The band has also performed at a number of festivals, including Big Day Out,[11]Splendour in the Grass,[12][13]Rock-It, Falls Festival,[14]Homebake,[15] Good Vibrations and the Southbound Festival.[16]

Downsyde signed with Obese Records and in 2004 released a single, "Lesfortunate", which they followed up with a third album,When the Dust Settles, in December. The album was nominated for the 2005 J Award.[17]

Pizzata was replaced by Catastrophe, Dazastah's brother on drums between 2005 and 2006. Catastrophe was a short term member and filled in to do the late 2005 "When The Dust Settles" Australian Tour and performances up to mid 2006. Steve Curyer (aka Hi-Hat), Downsyde's current drummer, joined in early 2007.

Downsyde were one of the Australian hip hop artists featured in the documentary Words from the City, which aired on ABC Television in late 2007.[18]

Dazastah (Reutens) is a prominent local record producer. Optamus (Griffiths) runs his own label, Opt Shop records.[19] Armee (Allia) has toured with Fdel and DJ'd at many prominent clubs in Asia. Cheeky (Cheetham) is a member of dub group the Sunshine Brothers and has a solo project 'Rooster Police'.

In 2007 the band signed with Illusive Records[20] and commenced recording their next album, once the final tracks were down on tape they then headed off to India to play a couple of shows for the Mumbai Festival.[21]

"We've changed labels every album. We did Epinonimous independently, Land of the Giants on EMI/Hydrofunk and When the Dust Settles on Obese. After When the Dust Settles was released, we need to take time away from touring and a whole lotta other stuff to do with the industry; we felt there was a whole lotta pressure for us to release another album a year and a half later and to do all of this stuff mechanically, which creatively didn't feel right. We specifically sign one album deals, whereas a lotta artists get bullied into three album deals and get shockingly ripped off, spat out and are not a musician two years later. We sent 'this' album out to countless labels and we got back countless deals back. It just happened that Illusive came back with a very interesting way of marketing Downsyde, plus we have the common goal of elevating us as a band and not Australian hip hop per se." - Optamus[22]

The group's fourth album, All City was released on 4 October 2009, and features collaborations with Howling John Stone and Guru.

"It's taken a while to get it out. We're all organised and we're getting our live show together. We've got some tours coming up, we're just like, 'fucking let's go." - Cheeky[2]

The first single from the album "Fortune and Fame" (featuring Howling John Stone), released on 1 September, together with the accompanying video produced by West Australian production company The Penguin Empire has received significant airplay.[23]

In October 2008 to promote the release of the new album Downsyde embarked on its first national tour since 2005.[24][25]

"We're pumped man - it has been a long time since we did a string of dates around the country, and it's good fun." - Optamus[22]

Optamus released his debut solo album Forever & A Day in June 2010, with keyboardist Chris 'Imposter' Foster and multi-instrumentalist Moondog.[1] Dazastah is embarking on a talent project called "Natural Dazastahs" in which he will be uploading beats online for the public to rhyme over, with the best entries being compiled for release. Although members are working on these various solo projects the group is still working on a fifth album.

As Downsyde, we've got about eight or nine tracks in demo form for the new album, which we're hoping to finish - at least written-wise - by the end of the year.

-- Scott Griffiths (Optamus)[1]

Downsyde have been on a five-year hiatus however in 2015 they have been recording sixth studio album, Classic ILL. The first single, "Only Got Now" from the album is scheduled for release in late 2016. The music video to the single was directed by Aaron McCann.




  • "Gifted Life" - Hydrofunk/Virgin (23 September 2002)
  • "El Questro" - Hydrofunk/Virgin (14 February 2003)
  • "Clap Your Hands" (October 2003) download only
  • "Lesfortunate" - Obese (September 2004)
  • "Fortune and Fame" - Illusive (1 September 2008)
  • "Life Speed" - Illusive (2008)
  • "Only Got Now" - Shake Down Records (2016)
  • "Richman" (2017)
  • "Back in the Game" (2017)


  • 2003 Australian Dance Music Awards - Nominee - Best Hip-Hop act[26]
  • 2003 Australian Dance Music Awards - Winner - Best Debut Artist[6]
  • 2003 Australian Dance Music Awards - Nominee - Best Album - Land of the Giants[26]
  • 2003 Australian Dance Music Awards - Nominee - Best Single - "Gifted Life"[26]
  • 2003 Australian Dance Music Awards - Nominee - Best Australian Hip Hop Act[26]
  • 2003 WAMi Awards - Winner - Most Popular Local Original Urban Music Act[27]
  • 2003 WAMi Awards - Winner - Most Popular Local Original Music Video - "El Questro"[27]
  • 2003 WAMi Awards - Winner - Most Popular Original Local Album - Land of the Giants[27]
  • 2005 WAMi Awards - Winner - Best Live Electronic Act[28]
  • 2005 WAMi Awards - Winner - Best Urban Music Act[28]
  • 2006 WAMi Awards - Winner - Best Urban Music Act[29]
  • 2007 WAMi Awards - Winner - Best Urban Music / Hip Hop Act[30]
  • 2008 WAMi Awards - Winner - Best Urban Music / Hip Hop Act[31]
  • 2016 WAM Song Of The Year - Buridya Mob - produced and facilitated by Optamus
  • 2017 WAM World Category - Akolkol Dastan Gesa produced and facilitated by Optamus


  1. ^ a b c Schlechte, Ted (3 June 2010). "Optamus Primed". The West Australian. West Australian Newspapers. Retrieved 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d Hayes, Joshua Downsyde - Kicking Up The Dust X-Press Magazine 14 August 2008 (page 14)
  3. ^ Nuff Respect Archived 29 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Fuller, Chris Groove Magazine #4.
  4. ^ "Downsyde - Biography". All Media Guide. Retrieved 2010.[dead link]
  5. ^ "2003 DMA nominations". Retrieved 2011.
  6. ^ a b "2003 Motorola DMA Winners Announced". Dance Music Awards. Dance Music Awards. 2003. Archived from the original on 9 February 2004. Retrieved 2011.
  7. ^ "Hydrofunk Records - ''Land of the Giants''". Retrieved 2011.
  8. ^ WAM website Archived 29 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "The Roots 2007 Australian Tour". Retrieved 2011.
  10. ^ "Nokia Terminal 9 Tour (2004)". Archived from the original on 13 August 2008. Retrieved 2011.
  11. ^ Big day Out 2004 line-up Archived 30 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Splendour in the Grass 2003 line-up[dead link]
  13. ^ Splendour in the Grass 2005 line-up Archived 6 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ The Falls Festival. "Falls Festival 2004 lineup". Archived from the original on 3 December 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  15. ^ "Homebake 203 lineup". Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 2011.
  16. ^ "Southbound 2006 line-up". Archived from the original on 25 October 2007. Retrieved 2008.
  17. ^ "2005 J Award nomination". Australia: ABC. Archived from the original on 4 August 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  18. ^ "ABC TV guide December 2007". Australia: ABC. 7 December 2007. Retrieved 2011.
  19. ^ "Funkola - Funkola". Certified Scribe. 22 July 2007. Archived from the original on 3 August 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  20. ^ "Downsyde: All City". Archived from the original on 5 April 2006. Retrieved 2008.
  21. ^ Mumbai Festival schedule[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ a b Schlechte, Ted (16 October 2008). "Fortune & Fame". The Drum Media. Archived from the original on 29 August 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  23. ^ "Fortune & Fame:Downsyde @JPlay". JPlay. Retrieved 2008.
  24. ^ "Hip Hop Release: Downsyde - All City". Planet Urban. 9 September 2008. Archived from the original on 15 September 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  25. ^ "Downsyde chase Fortune & Fame on tour". In The Mix. 11 September 2008. Archived from the original on 16 October 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  26. ^ a b c d 2003 DMA Nominations[permanent dead link]
  27. ^ a b c 2003 West Australian Music Industry Award Winners Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ a b 2005 West Australian Music Industry Award Winners Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ "WAMi AWARDS CONGRATULATIONS". WAMi Festival 2006. WAMi Festival. 2006. Archived from the original on 24 February 2006. Retrieved 2011.
  30. ^ 2007 West Australian Music Industry Award Winners Archived 22 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ 2008 West Australian Music Industry Award Winners Archived 28 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine

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