Meet NO COMPLY, the Eclectic New Zealand Hip-Hop Duo
Meet brothers Fynn and Ethan Blackwood, the two behind eclectic hip-hop project NO COMPLY. Like the name suggests, NO COMPLY goes beyond the boundaries of genre and takes inspiration from a variety of sounds.
In 2019 the two came together to make music after years of playing in other projects. It all kicked off when writer and rapper Fynn was scouted on stage and told the label he wouldn’t go forth without his brother. Ethan, the beat-maker, was in a big band at the time and decided to take the leap.
NO COMPLY released their first track in 2020, an ode to 90’s Boom Bap named ‘Tic Tac Toe’. Their debut release set the tone for their distinctive style, and since 2020 four highly anticipated tracks have followed. With an unexpectedly small discography for their amount of success, Ethan says there’s a reason for it – “It’s a good thing, it just feels like we’ve only shown a little tiny piece of us.” “And there’s so much to show,” Fynn adds.
The duo are well known for their live performances across Aotearoa. “The live shows have incredible energy and there’s nothing like it. I can’t really put into words describing being onstage, and it’s just amazing with your brother as well. It’s pretty crazy. It’s this thing about losing it and losing it on stage as well.”
Infamous for jumping round the stage in “a pair of silkies”, Ethan loves to hype the audience into a captivated state. Even if it’s getting them to take a breath together and do a collective ohm. He’ll do anything it takes. “Being on stage, I’m a more intense version of myself. It’s kind of an alter ego in a way because I’m not that crazy in real life,” he laughs. Fynn, describing himself as more introverted and shy, finds the stage a place to let it all hang out – “It’s like all the things you want to be able to get out, you can,” he says.
Ethan and Fynn say it was an incredible experience to play the Garden Stage over New Year at Rhythm and Vines. “The stage has always been a personal favourite, and the energy we had was amazing,” Ethan says. “We got a good crowd and everyone was into it. One of our friends cried watching us. It was crazy.” Playing the ten ‘o’ clock slot on New Years Eve, Fynn says they had people from the crowd coming up afterwards saying it was the ‘set of R&V’. The brothers were humbled by it.
Since then, the duo have released their latest single, ‘I’LL BE FINE’, as well two tracks with good friends Chef Mob and INF. With a tour in the works and mentions of other projects, there’s no doubt NO COMPLY is one to watch this year.