One release under his belt and another nearing completion, I took the opportunity to talk with Vee Kay of Sin Nombre Records to discuss his forthcoming projects, how he felt the last one went, major record labels, and a few things more. Have a look.
I wont pretend I know much about you mate, so could you start off by giving us a break down of how long you been doing the artist thing, and what you've released so far?
I started off as just rapping over beats with a few mates, but then I bumped into this Guy called Simon who used to work for various Studio's, and we began to work together, he'd make the track, I'd spit the rhymes. The basic setup. That was back in 99 when I started to take it all a bit seriously. We did a nice polished demo, but the only thing to have been released was the Mindless EP which I did off of my own back Late 2003.
How would you describe or define the sound and style of the material you create to would be listeners?
My sound? Well, not sure really. People have said that they can recognise a Vee Kay track by the way I use Drums and Accentuate Lines or whatever with the patterns, but as for hearing something and saying, that's so and so's, not sure yet. My sound is just nice funky breaks, piano's, I like piano's, sharp Drums, very Important. Spend Day's on em!
What are a few names of artists that if people like, you think could quite possibly enjoy your own stuff?
You probably gotta look at people like Thee Absent, Braintax maybe. I don't really like comparing but I know it goes on and there's no getting away fromit. So yeah, Thee Absent, Braintax, C.O.N Artists, Sam Sure and Giacomo.
How do you feel your release of the EP 'The Mindless' went and the reaction it got from the scene?
Because it was such a small release the reaction wasn't massive at all. It turned a few heads and got played out at a few places. But it was my first release so just for a few people to take note is a good thing. I'm realistic. It was never gonna shift massive units, mostly because I couldn't afford the cost, but some took note. I sold them all and had a damn good launch party too!
What was the idea behind that title? Was it reflecting on the fact that you're crazy in the head, or that a group of the public have no brains?
Nah man, I'm not crazy, ha ha. It was just the fact that a lot of people don't really have a clue about UK Hip Hop. Cliche' yeah, but then they'll stand in your face and argue on how if it wasn't for people like Biggie then there would be no UK Hip Hp, and they have nothing to base their argument on. Oh, and also that the Beatnuts jacked J-Lo for the Beat on Watch Out Now. Fact, someone actually said that!
Your bio talks about some major's being interested in scooping you up. Can you give us some industry goss on which they were and what awful things they expected of you?
This was back in 99/2000 when I was working with Simon. We did a few tracks and he had some wicked connections, so we shot it around to a few and had meetings and the like's. Basically Island was one. It's a big name so that's what we headed for. All got a bit much with the whole complexity of it, giving us loads of options and then pulling us another way. I was young then so it was all a bit mind bending. One of the things that was talked about was doing a club-commercial tune that they could sell or go back, get a fan base with some self released 12"s, and then go back. Not a terrible option. I've heard worse, but not what we were looking for then though.
I also read that at one stage you had an imprint. What's going on with that at this point in time?
The label thing was just as a platform to release my stuff on, but what was once a good friend of mine ran off with all the Money, so the 12" that wasplanned and ready to be released June gone by, got withdrawn. It's now just a production company, but a few people have been requesting my services for beats and the likes.
Do you feel that any decent, real hiphop artist or producer from the UK could secure a sensible deal with a major at this point in time?
It definitely could be done, but its not a case of the artists not being up to scratch. That's not the Issue. Its the way they'll be dealt with by the label, cos, to be realistic, if it's a major then they won't be as big a priority as say Coldplay or whoever. Just look at what happened to Mark B, and Wordplay is a prominently Hip Hop Label. Its a shame though because we have some really talented people in the UK Industry.
Do you think this will ever be possible? Is it merely going to be down to a record exec having some balls for once and just going for it?
Yeah, well, maybe. Like you said, it just needs an A&R to take the bull by the horns and get on the game. But we get a surge of interest every couple of years, so maybe next time eh?!
How did you end up on Sin Nombre and what made you decide to go with them rather than any other UK based label?
I'd heard of the Name and then when I finally got to meet Ben it was good. We're on the same level Hip Hop wise and he had some good ideas. He knows what he wants done and how to get the effect. With regards to other labels, sometimes you don't get a choice, but Sin Nombre is looking very good from where I'm sitting. He's taken it seriously. This is his job so everything is done properly.
I've heard that February 2005 is when you'll be dropping your next EP. Can you let us in on the title and a bit about the tracks?
It's called "The Myster-Vee Tour EP", and yeah, at the moment the release will be in Feb 2005. There's 6 tracks, all produced by me, apart from Mic Speak, which is where I called in the help of Daddy Jaes, he's the guy who does all of Cafe Recordings production duties. Also there's Club Reps, which has Bone from Durtburg and Cariz from AMMO and Dirtburg. Also, on Colours is Nikesh "The Yam Boy" Shukla, and Blood & Jones from Deprogrammed. This is one of my favourite tunes to produce cos it's so complex. Its 9 beats on one track. I won't give too much away, but It has a different break for each emcee, and bridge's and intro's. Its a bit nuts, but worth it.
How long have you been working on this project and what other artists/producers have been involved?
I've been working on and off on this project for about 6 month's or so. I met Daddy Jaes out in Italy when we were all out there for this Mini Tour. Again, another guy who shares the same ideals, and plus, I wanted to work with him so we got together and did Mic Speak. It's nice to have someone else make the beat for me once again! With Bone and Cariz, same again, cos I wanted to work with them for ages, since I heard the Dirtburg EP's, plus Bone is a filthy bastard, and his verse is what he's like when he's out.
Blood and Jones have been involved in the Colours track since I started making it about a year ago, same with Nikesh, they've all seen the progression, and they completely smash the granny out of it! The biggest help though is DissCuss, Honestly, It wouldn't have been finished without him, plus he did all the scratches and had complete control over the Hooks, not something I let happen at all cos I'm power mad and shit!
Besides from the EP you've got the soundtrack for a Ski DVD in the pipe line. What's that all about? How did they approach you to do it?
Its basically a friend of this DJ I know, Dr Karl Groover. His mate is a Professional Skier and is releasing a DVD. He heard some of my chill out breaks and asked if we'd do the Soundtrack, so that's how that got together. It's still really early but I've done a handfull of breaks and now just waiting for him to come back from whatever nice place he's at and check em out.
What's the latest UK hiphop release you've bought and enjoyed and what artists and producers are you giving the most of your time to these days?
Ha Ha, well, the actual LAST thing I bought was sadly enough, probably the Jehst EP, and that was ages ago. Its a piss take I know but I hardly buy records to listen to. It's all just to sample. Plus I can get a box of records for the price of an LP. Ha Ha.
With the new material nearing release will you be upping the amount of shows you do? Any dates you wanna plug yet?
Yeah, hopefully, but I'm being dead lazy. I'll get some shows organized but at the moment I'm just trying to get the EP done and dusted. But check soon!
Before this wraps up do you wanna shout out to anyone?
Yeah, big up yourself for this interview, Ben @ Sin Nombre, Lingo, Nikesh, Bone, 'Riz, All @ Deprogrammed, Daddy Jaes and the Cafe Boys, DJ 563, UKHH.com!! Safe man.