I got sent the promo to their latest album last week, and I was keen to speak with the chaps behind the entertaining collection of tracks. A couple of e-mails later and here's the completed chat with group member Mr Monk.
First off, for those that don't clean their ears, who are Fat Club?
Mr Monk, aka Bulletproof Monk, aka Harry Monk; MC, DJ, producer. Turroe, aka The Mighty Turrok, aka The Mad Bastard, aka The Shit Starter; Legendary Bristol MC!
How long have you guys been making music and what have you released up to now?
We've been doing shit since we were nippers…. Mr Monk started DJ'ing in 85, and producing in 89… Turroe started freestyling in 89… not that longevity means fuck all these days, we could have been shit all that time! But we're not… We've chucked out numerous LP's on tape form since around 1990 – just on the underground scene, Turroe's 'Shit Starter' tape being the most memorable. Put out our first LP 'Worth the Weight' last year with Junior Disprol, and this year the mighty 'Venomous Tongues' is dropping… you can probably find us in various guest slots on 12'S and mix-tapes as well…
What label does your stuff come out on and how did that relationship come about?
All our stuff comes out independently on our own label, Stone Dead Recordings. Too many people just sit on their asses and wait for others to do it for them… We like it B&Q style (do it yourself)!
How long did you take to make the latest album Venomous Tongues?
Six months, it took that long because we had to beg studio time, until we got fucked off and built our own studio (Thanks to British Telecom for the redundancy payment).
How would you describe it lyrically and musically?
Acid tongue battle raps, neck snapping beats… but you can't drop an entire LP of battle shit, so we tried to chuck a variation of topics in there… If you're looking for tales of ghetto street life and constant use of the words 'Ya Get Me Blud', you're looking in the wrong place… that's not where we come from and it ain't anywhere we want to go. We don't take ourselves too seriously, we just say what we feel.
Where does the LP sit with your previous material. Is it any different or is it more of the same?
It's a step up… a natural progression. If what we were doing wasn't as good as, or better than our previous efforts, it would be time to chuck the fucking mic down.
I enjoyed the Fight Club samples. If you blow up will you do a Fat Club flick?
If we blow up you'll be finding pieces of us all over the place – like Hip Hop whale blubber. A Fat Club Flick? What like Bristolian Disorderlies? Giving OAP's bed baths and colonic irrigation? Ugh.
What chubby celebrities would you have do a cameo and have you ever thought of going on the ITV Fat Club show? (No offence)
Michelle McManus as Matron (Oooooh, Doctor Soaper), Rik (Fat Wallet) Waller as the Ambulance… Heavy D, Chubb Rock, The Biz and Juliano from the Creators (we love the way his chin wobbles when he nods his head out of time with the music). ITV's Fat Camp? Are you calling us Fat???
Who produced the album? Any producers on the island you'd love to work with?
Produced by Mr Monk, some of the lyrics were recorded by Mr Roberto Vaughan of the Soundisciples as my fingers are too fat to use the keyboard. There's no one we can really think of that we're dying to work with, plus I think having someone else's imprint would dilute our sound. We make music to our own taste… plus who the fuck would want to work with us 2 nob heads?
Besides the music are there any other elements of hip-hop that you have, do or plan on dabbling in?
Turroe is a graffiti artist who's been spraying his name around Bristol for a good many years, and he does a mean body-slam when he's drunk. Mr Monk DJ's in and around the Brizzle area, usually under the name 'Bulletproof Monk' – both of us are Hip hop freaks who collect tunes like there's no tomorrow.
Do you gig much and what can would be audience members expect from your shows?
We don't gig much as a group, although Turroe has been known to rip up many an open mic – You might be lucky enough to catch us in Bristol, but we're far too busy with everyday life to go touring around the country. Although, we are promoting a Hip Hop night called 'Fat Club Present: Pass The Mic' on Saturday 6th November @ Fiddlers in Bristol, the line up will be Us, Headcase Ladz, Lowercase, Wordsworth Surgery plus a Cipher comp to end the night…. come into the light children, all are welcome.
What singles are you releasing with the album and what's next for Fat Club generally?
There will be no singles from the album, that's too much like repeating ourselves. The album's out, buy it to hear all the tunes, if we did ever release a single it would be something brand new. We've recorded a new album since Venomous Tongues was finished, and plan to release it in mix-tape form, withg uest freestyles, etc. The web site is up and running (www.fatclubonline.com) so check it out for updates, downloads, etc. Recording a couple of tunes with the Headcase Lads over the coming weeks, that should be appearing sometime next year… Next weekend we're shooting our first video, which should be a laugh. Look out for it on channel U (ha ha, surely we're not bling enough for that).
I almost forgot to ask my most used question ever. What do you make of the UK hip hop scene at the moment?
If by saying 'UK' you mean London, as the media generally does, obviously we're about as far away as we can be in music terms. Where Hip Hop is concerned, this is definitely not a united kingdom.
Anything ya wanna add?
Thanks for your time, cheers for the review, and to anyone reading this: try to be a bit more open minded as to what's going on outside of your own little bubbles, eat up all yer greens and go and buy the fucking album. Cheers Beards.