One of the scenes greatest beat makers talks on the release of his debut LP, what's in the works, who he'd like to work with, trying to organise live shows and what his best and work material is.
Wassup, how's things been since The Enthusiast dropped?
Hi…yeah, I'm OK. On the positive side I've become an Uncle. On the negative, I'm still broke and I've had a sinus infection for 4 months and can't hear properly. Not great if you're a musician!
How have you felt the release has gone so far. Happy with what it's done?
I'm happy. I mean, it was sold out in HMV on Oxford Street when I went there. I wanted to see it in the rack but all there was, was a sticker with my name on and 'out of stock'. I was next to Eminem! Shops are telling me it's selling well and they keep re-ordering. I go in a lot of record shops!...The press has been great apart from HHC who were just lukewarm but they like Lil Jon and all that wack shouty shit so what can I expect! The DJ mag review was amazing and Vice mag gave me a goodun…Got some radio spots off the back of it. Did 'The Basement' on 1xtra, so yeah, it's been good. Just gotta do some next shit now!
Why did you choose to go with Janomi to release your material?
Back in 2002, just after I did Tournament 2, Janomi approached me to do an LP. This is before they had Yungun and Mr Thing. They're kind of the label's main priority really as they're more marketable. I suppose I'm a bit more awkward in that I'm not too underground and not too mainstream. Like, I can do radio stuff like 'Nico' with Yungun and then underground shit with Junior Disprol etc. I think I'm gonna do more accessible stuff with Janomi in future like the 'Nico' 12". More radio friendly etc coz that's what they're looking to push really. Stuff with a bigger market than what underground Hip Hop reaches. But I'll always be releasing underground raw shit on other labels, b-sides etc.
How comes the Weed track isn't on the vinyl release of the album?
Talking of b-sides…yeah, it's a bonus cut on the CD. It's not on the vinyl LP coz it's on da 12" so you have to buy the 12" and the LP. People have done that for years. It's value for money for the customer coz the track aint on the LP so they're not buying 2 tracks they already got and it's good business sense for the label to sell more 12"'s…
Are you doing many live dates and what are the next few coming up?
Brighton on Friday, although Asaviour just pulled out coz he was double booked, and Guildford in March….The tour is a bit of a non event to tell the truth. I kept saying to Janomi in summer 2004 that we needed to hook up a tour and I ended up sorting out most of it myself just before x-mas. It's really hard ya know. I work full time. It's hard to arrange a tour on my own. I can't seem to find a decent agency to join either. Profile aren't accepting any more artists right now…I'm not really evil ya know!
Will you be dropping through London to do an Evil ED Kung Fu special?
Kung Fu don't seem care for me man. They used my beat (The Tournament) on their DVD and they won't answer my emails or texts. Maybe they just genuinely haven't received them. Maybe they're hating on me coz I aint from London. I don't know man. I can't seem to get any love from promoters. It's not like I don't have a name now. I don't know what it is. I'm starting to get paranoid about it. I've got a fucking inferiority complex about this shit!
What do you rate as the best track you've released in your entire career?
Me/You by Tommy Evans…Tommy's best ever rhymes and delivery. Check out his raps on that. The way he put emotion into that track and all the different styles and flows he used and I love my beat on that track and the sleeve was dope. Everything about that 12". Also "Time You Knew" with Microdisiacs. the jazzy break. The way me and Eddie Skratch cut up that singing shit….those and Nico Suave coz it's been my most successful. Itt got played by Zane Lowe etc. I know a lot of people feel "The Tournament" was one of my best and "Alien" with Jehst, I'm fond of those too.
Do you have a worst which you cringe at listening back to or anything?
My beats on the Nmonic LP are so poor, and on Preminitions…my god. All that early YNR stuff. Jehst was killing me. His beats were sick. Mine were awful man, especially "Android Dreams" from Nmonic EP. I love that EP but that beat I did was poor. I'm glad I've improved!
What has been the most enjoyable artist to collaborate with on material?
I enjoy it all.
Who on the UK scene would you like to work with, who you haven't had the opportunity to yet?
Klashnekoff, Rodney P, Roots Manuva, Seanie T, Blak Twang, Dave The Ruf (only kidding!)...
What's the most evil thing that's passed through your mind, or that you've actually carried out?
Probably something involving stealing vinyl I want off someone who's a good friend…but I've NEVER done that. People have 'borrowed' wax off me in the past and I just never got it back!
Name the last artist you deprived of 15 quid by downloading their ish.
I've never downloaded. I'm a vinyl man. I have around 30 CD's now…Um, actually Conspicuous burned me that new Amerie tune with Royce 59 on it. Reminds me of Beyonce's records…oh, and I got a burn of 'Streets Disciple' but I bought the import wax so it's all good.
Roughly how many beats have you got in the store room waiting for someone to put their vocals to?
2…seriously. Only 2 spare that I'm happy with right now, and one of those I aint sure about…All my good shit goes instantly. I have a low output.
Would you ever consider releasing an instrumental project of some sort?
I've considered it, maybe in 2008.
Do you feel a celebrity when you browse through web forums and see people chatting about your day job?
I heard about this! To set the record straight I'm a psychiatric nurse. I work with people with mental health problems in the community. It's a rewarding job but shit pay (considering the responsibility). I'd like to do music full time but I can't afford to right now, and I don't wanna end up back in factories and on building sites like I did for 10 years after school…It's cool having a career. Something to fall back on. If the music takes off then good. If not, I enjoy working with people. I have no aversion to working, I've always worked from peeling potatoes in my grandad's chippy and paper rounds to the present day. I'm a working man…Celebs are for OK and Hello mag. I'm just a musician. I aint no celeb. Maybe if someone paid me some money I'd feel like one. I could buy some new clothes and go on holidays and shit!
Do you ever check rapnews.co.uk? (Say yes and I'll drop you a tenner).
Yes…You wanna pay me with paypal?!
The most corny question ever. If you were stuck on a desert island and could choose just one record. What'd it be?
Can you get a spoken word version of the book "Island" by Aldous Huxley on vinyl?...With some old hip hop breaks underneath the talking?
What are the next releases with your name attached that we can look out for?
Conspicuous LP, 2 tracks from me. My next 12" Cavalry remix/Black Stallions feat. Kyza…um, some more stuff to be confirmed…
Got any shout out's, plugs or random comments?
Anyone know when the Lord Finesse remix LP dropping? Can't wait for that!
Thanks a ton for your time. All the best. Loved the LP and look forward to hearing more. Peace