"We sort of figured out ourselves at 16 the 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." - OptamusThe duo released a tape demo called Behind the Bucket, selling copies at two local shops.
"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" - OptamusThe group added a third MC, Dazastah (D. Reutens), whom they met at Leederville TAFE, and DJ Armee (Damien Allia) on turntables, meeting him at the Hyde Park Hotel were 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
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, Eponimous — 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
The group has performed alongside groups including Jurassic 5, Cypress Hill, Grandmaster Flash, Black Eyed Peas, and The Roots. They also performed with Australian acts like Hilltop Hoods, Resin Dogs, and Koolism. The band has also performed at a number of festivals, including Big Day Out, Splendour in the Grass, Rock-It, Falls Festival, Homebake, Good Vibrations and the Southbound Festival.
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.
Pizzata was replaced by Catastrophe, Reuten'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. 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.
Dazasatah (Reutens) is a prominent local record producer. Optamus (Griffiths) runs his own label, Opt Shop records. Armee (Allia) has toured with Fdel and DJ'd at many prominent clubs in Asia. Cheeky (Cheetham) is a member of dub reggae group the Sunshine Brothers and has a solo project 'Rooster Police'.
In 2007 the band signed with Ilusive Records and commmenced 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. The group's fourth album, All City was released on October 4, it 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
The first single from the album "Fortune and Fame" (featuring Howling John Stone), released on September 1, together with the accompanying video has received significant airplay.
In October 2008 to promote the release of the new album Downsyde embarked on its first national tour since 2005.