Have a look at what Tricksta has to say about, amongst other things, 1Xtra, Rago Magazine, gigs, current and future projects and bucket loads mo'
It gives us great pleasure to speak to UK hiphop's 'jack of all trades' – label director, international DJ, producer, crew member, radio presenter and magazine editor… phew… step up Tricksta…
First off, let's start at the beginning, how did Wolftown Recordings come into existence?
It came about through a mutual love for hip-hop music with my best friend and business partner Late. It happened because it had to… the reality of a major label signing two white guys from Wolverhampton was slim, so we just did it.
What does the daily schedule of a record label owner involve?
Up at 7am with baby daughter, check e-mail, go into studio for a few hours, then around 11.30 get on the phone, around 3pm back in studio till 7pm, then food, then see the fam, then back on it about 11pm to 2am.. weekends sleep or play live. It's like that man… I do the Wolftown thing solid and then try and have a life inbetween!
Reading your bio on the Wolftown website highlighted to me the amount of experience you had at various record labels before Wolftown Recordings, how important was this in establishing a successful label?
Experience is worth its weight in gold man – I have listened and learned. Now I am just trying to make it happen. We've been doing the label 5 years and there's still a long way to go… I know a lot of stuff but I am still learning everyday man. Having the knowledge from working a record shop and working for a label for four years, I also had nine years experience in 'selling records' before I started Wolftown with Late – this was very useful to say the least.
Keeping with this idea of 'learning the trade' at other labels and without wanting to knock those involved, there are a lot of labels now in the UK set up by artists just as a way of getting their music out on wax. Do you think this vast number of labels often run by people with no prior industry experience is beneficial or detrimental to the development of our hiphop scene?
Very good question. I think that to be honest 40% of UK Rap shouldn't be on wax. Because the door is properly shut on UK Rap with the majors, there has been an influx of independent releases. You can view this as 'wicked loads of tunes out good for the scene its vibrant' OR 'fuck me all this crap is saturating the scene with piss poor substandard music'. I think it's a bit of both to be honest.
What are you working on just now with Wolftown?
Well we just dropped the Late CD which is out now and doing well. We have a Cee-Rock 'the Fury' album sampler too. This cat is from Queens in New York and is proper on it man. Boom bap, positive rap and all that… shits tight. Other projects too but Late tells me to keep quiet
Haha… I know he said that in the last interview, do you have a release date for the "UK Runnings Volume 2" mixtape?
Its out mate… available from the www.wolftownrecordings.com and UKRunnings.com websites for a fiver.
Could you give us a sneak preview of what we can expect from this release?
Whole heaps of UK underground stars!
So what's the whole thinking behind the "UK Runnings" project? Is it in some ways a celebration of homegrown hiphop music?
Yes that's exactly what it is… Tricksta giving something back to the scene.
And how can heads get their hands on it? Who's the distributor?
Wolftown Records is best place man.
Moving on, you've recently signed Canadian emcee DL Incognito to Wolftown Recordings, how did that come about?
He sent us his music, we where feeling it so it happened – simple things.
What's your experience of Canadian hiphop?
Dream Warriors and The Rascalz.. I think that's it…
And what about UK acts…who you feeling from the UK?
Everybody on Wolftown, Klashenkoff, Café, Creamo, Skinnyman, Foreign Beggars, Deadline, MD7, Oshin & 57th dynasty, and loads more…
So what are the favourite records getting played on your decks at the moment? What vinyl never stays in the box?
There's a lot of stuff I am jamming that mans wont even know who I am on about! Real underground raw rare shit – that's what I like… oh and absolutely anything to do with Mobb Deep, Nas or Queensbridge. I don't play Vanilla Ice or MC Hammer any more… don't seem to go down that well on the dancefloor!
Haha I've got Vanilla Ice on wax but then I am a shit DJ so it figures… how do you think the standard of DJing in the UK compare to other scenes like that in the US?
Well I aint a turntablist – I am a hip-hop DJ – big difference… the USA is just a different standard because cats are selling 100,000 CDs in one manor and making a million dollars… in the UK there is just no support and low sales… the media & government would love it if we all packed it in and got jobs!
Do you DJ just hiphop or also dabble in other music genres?
I like all good music period – and I don't DJ with crap tunes.
What's the best gig you've ever played?
Istanbul – first ever dance event in Turkey – 8,000… big things! That was 1997
What would you say is your dream gig?
Dunno… Djing at the launch party for Wolftown's 100th album release!
And the nightmare gig? What would that be like and have you ever come close to it…
Done it already! Back in the day turned up for a gig and the club had closed down… it was along way too!
Haha shit… so are there any plans for all the Wolftown artists to go on tour together?
Of course – we are always looking for gigs to do .
OK, aside from DJing and producing, you also edit RAGO Magazine and write for DMC's Update, Lexicon Magzine, ATM Magazine and rawroots.co.uk, how did you come about writing for all of these?
Writing is something very close to my heart… it's the only subject I really worked on at school. If hadn't of got the rap thing going, I'd have ended up working in the press I reckon.
RAGO Magazine is still free right? How do you fund such a project?
That's a private question which I don't really want to answer. You got a full time job? How much do you get paid a week after tax?!
Fair enough, will RAGO Magazine ever go online or is it strictly a print publication?
Both hopefully in the near future .
I often hear charges made against magazines for apparently getting paid by artists to review their material and further accusations of writers using the media to sort of sneakily promote their musician buddies, is such a negative view justified? What do you think of the UK 's hip-hop media?
Well there's erm.. Undercover, HHC and RAGO.. not exactly a thriving media business, but all good magazines nevertheless. I think people help each other out, that goes on, but at the end of the day if something is shit then its shit.
As both artist and music journalist, what's your take on reviews? Are they a good or bad thing for the UK hiphop scene?
Good thing – it informs and gives knowledge – knowledge is power .
And what's your take on Radio 1Xtra? I remember you featuring on the initial programmes as a guest, do you thin this station has met its expectations?
Digital radio is a thing that's gonna really drop hard – but its five years away I think before becoming standard.… I like 1xtra – they just need to give me a show really and it would be sick!
That's pretty much it from me, is there anything else you want to add….any shout outs?
I send love to my girl Hayley for backing me 100% through rough and smooth, my lil girl Gabrielle for keeping it gangsta for the ten month old crew, my boy Late for doing his thing and keeping everything 'real'… all the artists on Wolftown, dun kno nuff love from Tricky, shout to proflye.co.uk for continuously getting wicked clothes in and thus making me look good but have no doe… A special shout out to anyone who buys stuff on Wolftown – we salute you all Peace man