These Southhampton based guys are set to release a dope album, so I threw some questions their way to find out more about them and their new project..
First up, who makes up the group Dark Craftsmen and where about are you based?
The DCM crew consists of me Tek, another MC 'Coldblud' and producer feature Cast. We are all based in Southampton at the moment.
What label are you on and how did you link up? Was it hard work getting signed?
We are signed to Dropzone Records. That hook up came from a chance meeting with Eastborn out in Hamburg when we were both booked through our previous label 'UK Rap Records' to perform out there. After we both split from that label Eastborn set up Dropzone and knew we had a good album sat in limbo so he called me and we went from there.
How long have you guys been rapping, individually and as a group, and who first inspired you to begin?
Myself and Coldblud have both been rapping for quite a while now, (cant actually remember a start date!) and it was actually Coldblud that got me into rhyming. He was rapping for about four years before me and I used to always look up to him. But now I'm much better than he is…........(only joking!!) I'll probably get slapped for that!
How long did you spend working on your current album, No Shadow?
We did the album in the short time of about 7 years! It was difficult to finally get finished because I had other music projects in-between such as 'The Pickpockets' and that took up a lot of time and energy. Also with the fact that we have no great studio budget (none actually) and everyone has to make ends meet. Its not always easy…That and the fact that I'm a real lazy fucker!
Could you talk us through some of the tracks on there?
Its quite difficult to give a really honest opinion on most of these trax because the album has been sooooooooooooooo long in the making and I've been living with some of the tunes for over 6 years but…..........."Lyrical Telepathy" is nice. It has one of the best pounding beats I've heard for a while. "T-2000" is cool. It's a dedication to original UK Hip Hop and has some mad cutting at the end of it. "Voices" is one of my favourites with a real eerie beat. "True Vandal" has been re-worked this time without me on(before it was just me with 3 verses) and features Coldblud, Eastborn and Junior Disprol. A lot of people really like "Morbid Philosophy", so there you have it. I'd rather let people buy it and make their own minds up!
Who handles your beats and who are you looking to collaborate with in the future?
A guy called Lee Mintram did all the production on the album from start to finish. To be honest in relation to who i would work with now I probably wouldnt! Its not that i wouldnt want to its just that at the moment Im busy setting up my own production outfit and Im busy working on some other projects songwriting for people. So in reality this is probably my fist and last underground album, Id love to do more because its where i come from and what I love but….we all need to make money and I cant see me being able to produce another album with the time I have available.
What previous releases should people check out if they like what they hear on the new record?
If people are feeling the album they should try and get copies of 'True Vandal' and 'The Creepshow EP' both released on UK Rap Records. Also I have recently done a track with the Mantis Chapter which I think may be coming out on Dropzone Records. The track is called 'Back to the battle' and I think its probably got one of the best verses I have ever written and performed on it.
Who do you believe to be the dopest MC and producer throughout the entire UK right now?
Im big fans of Klashnekof and Jehst right now. Producer wise god knows!
How much of a headache is it being on an independent label? Are you holding down jobs too?
It hasn't been much of a headache for me personally being on an independent because obviously Eastborn came to me for the album and I wasn't going to let myself screw over the 'what ifs' scenario if the album didn't get signed. Also I was heavily involved with the Pickpockets at the time and my head was preoccupied with being filled up with shit from that groups experiences!
How often do you get out to perform live and have you got any dates you'd like to make people aware of?
At the moment we haven't got any gigs planned, I've spoken to Eastborn who will be sorting any out and I've said that if the time and place are right we will rep it, but its not always easy to get everyone together for rehearsals gigs etc when people have mortgages and other monthly payments to make. 7 years ago I would have travelled anywhere at anytime for a show but…....with great power comes great responsibility! (no sorry that's spiderman!). With age comes more responsibilities. Its a shame there isnt more cash floating around the UK scene because there are some truly amazing artists out here that deserve it, but for me myself right now I have to make some moves and juggle tings to make it all worth while.
Any shout out's or final comments before this wraps up?
Shouts to Eastborn, the DCM, any fans new or old! Dropzone Records, Darren N, Mantis, anyone and everyone keep ya heads up, holla! Tekneek (Dark Craftsmen Crew – Drop Zone Records)