Dallas Woods—the Melbourne-based rapper, MC and personality—said when he comes home to Wyndham, in the East Kimberley, it’s really something special.
“It’s always medicine, it puts everything back in perspective—fills that tank,” said Dallas.
His latest return to home has been documented in the first episode of Red Bull Music’s This is Home three part mini-series. The drive in to Wyndham is spectacular, and Dallas told NIT about the experience driving in with the Red Bull crew.
“I started noticing certain things about the landscape that I never took notice of when I was living there. Thirty kilometres out, there’s this big boab tree … No one in the car with me understood what was going through my mind … but they were taken aback by how beautiful, how amazing the landscape is.”
Although Woods grew up in Perth until age 7, he said Wyndham is home.
“I’m Noongar, my family come from the south of WA. That’s my bloodline and my ancestry and I’m proud of that one hundred per cent. But when I went to the Kimberley, I truly did find myself. I think the man I am today is because of where I grew up.”
“The situations I was involved in, the people that were around, the freedom we had … it allows you to explore what it means to be an Aboriginal person in community. I’m very blessed to call Wyndham home.”
“A lot of people were from different Aboriginal communities, different cultures, and we came together in one community and made our own connection to the land and to each other.”
In the film, Woods visits his brother, one of the first people to introduce him to the style of music he is creating now.
“It’s one of those relationships where you don’t have to be in each other’s space every day to validate that connection. We might not see each other for ages, but when we do, it’s like I haven’t left … I get texts and he tells me he is proud of me. Something as simple as that means the world.”
Dallas also visits The Grotto in the film, a water hole just out of town, where local Aboriginal policemen hosted a young men’s group for school kids in the area.
In the video, Woods explains that the boys learnt about discipline, country and friendship.
“At first, you have young men, they want to fight each other. But by the end of the day, if I needed anything, they’d be the first ones to help. It’s that bond. We all just fed off each other’s energy, the ups and downs. We were there for each other.”
Some of his most vivid memories of Wyndham, include preparing for flooding when the town was on blue alert.
“There was the fire truck going around with the alarms saying, ‘Everyone, we’re on blue alert. Get into your bathtubs. I’ll remember that … it was a really controlled chaos.”
Dallas also recalled the crocs.
“[I remember] crossing the river when it was high tide because we got stuck. And seeing a crocodile, only metres away, go underwater. We didn’t know if it was coming towards us or what.”
Not only can the crocs kill you in Wyndham—the heat can too.
“A couple of years ago, Bear Grylls went up there and said in forty minutes if you don’t have water, you will die. We’ve been lost in the bush for hours and we didn’t die. We survived with no water and we weren’t eating spiders.”
Woods struggled after two years away to settle back into the heat.
“It’s that cold in Melbourne, but up there, it’s that hot. I went back home and I felt like a tourist. I can’t believe I even lived there. The camera gear was melting and my skin was burning.”
He was lured away from home in 2007 by anopportunity to take part in the Indigenous Hip Hop Projects (IHHP) and travel across the nation.
“It’s not until recently I’ve reflected on it—I didn’t realise how crazy it was at the time. Fifteen years old and I jumped on the plane and started travelling Australia with a bunch of strangers.”
“It turned into a couple of weeks, then a couple of months and then into my own personal career. At the time, it didn’t feel like this was going to be the outcome. I wasn’t going to school, I was just going to travel Australia, have fun and live every day as it is.”
“Reflecting on it, it is amazing, I’m so happy the people around me pushed me and didn’t give up on me.”
Woods has created a career by writing and speaking honestly about who he is and the place he comes from.
“You write music about your own personal experience and when you’re writing a song you’re still reflecting. You’re getting mental pictures and it’s a good process. It’s something that keeps you connected.”
“People from home get it. I get texts all the time, like, ‘Hey brother, remember that time underneath the mango tree or that grassless oval … remember eating salted plums or sugar tamarind?”
Living what seems a world away from Wyndham, Woods still misses home.
“Whenever I hear country music, the minute I hear it, I want to be home. Especially when any of the countrymen from up in the Kimberley or WA come to Melbourne and that accent—I always just think, man, I miss home.”
Woods has a strong relationship with Danzel Baker, aka Baker Boy. Both based in Melbourne, the two have worked together for a few years now.
“I’m so proud of the little bro. I’m always traveling with him; our relationship is so fifty-fifty. He is just as happy to see me do my stuff as I am with him.”
Woods is finishing up touring ‘Confession of a Liar’ in venues across Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and has no intention of slowing down.
Red Bull Music’s This is Home Dallas Woods documentary can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnPrM88uHTI&feature=youtu.be
By Rachael Knowles