JaiMez and Ennicee talk about how they met, the UK hip-hop scene, independant music, tramp piss, terrorism, forthcoming projects and lots more.
Who are Headzache and where are you guys based?
Ennicee: Headzache are myself and Jaimez. We hooked up a long long time ago back in school, both come from Hertfordshire but now I reside in Essex.
How would you rate the Essex hip-hop scene in comparison to the rest of the country?
JaiMez: Different! Cat's here don't give a fuck what they say or whom they offend. I'm not talking other artists you understand, just people in general. I do worry sometimes about what people outside of Essex think, but then I just laugh and remind myself it's all bollocks half the time and if people want to take offence then fuck em! They'll always find something that offends them. Musically we're strong. We got some solid producers here no doubt, and compared to say, 2 years ago, I think we are ready to start making bigger waves in the UK.
Ennicee: I would say we have our own unique style. We seem to be much darker than the rest of the country which seems to knock us back sometimes. I feel that there is a divide between us and the London scene and that is something that needs to be broken.
How did you guys come together and what have you released so far?
Ennicee: Like I said, hooked up in school, wasted money on shit equipment and adventures that we have never pulled of, dropped Group Therapy on our independent label and now JaiMez is working alongside BDI for releases like 'Drop Bombs' with Jibbarish and now 'Mind Mechanics'.
Can you tell us a bit about that album in terms of some of the tracks and the production?
Ennicee: Mind Mechanics was a project that was meant to be solo but over took my initial ideas. I started producing late 2004 and got right into it. I found the exact sound I wanted and 'Mind Mechanics' escalated into this dark deep side of Ennicee. JaiMez was assigned to produce a lot more but I just got carried away with it.
How long did you spend making it, and what are your aspirations of its release?
Ennicee: I started getting it together late last year around November, had around 70% written and just needed beats. Once I got my hands onto the production it just rolled out the studio. As for my aspirations, I just wanna give people a taste of Essex hip hop. We long for people to take us seriously and invest to the point of distribution and sales. Getting our music into the stores is real hard. Advertisement is also a mission in itself. Once you've funded a project yourself, the cash to back it for promotion is just not there. That's why interviews and reviews are so important.
Tell us about The Panic Room label and why you decided to set it up?
Ennicee: Had no choice really. When you are starting from scratch, nobody wants to listen and take you seriously. I mean, you can make demos until your sick and tired with no come backs. Going down the indy road means a distributor may take you on board and see that you are trying, and not expecting hand outs.
What labels do you look to as a good role model to emulate and try to match?
JaiMEz: You've got to admire what Necro's doing right now with Psycho+Logical, even if you don't feel him musically. He's doing it all on his own because he has to! No major labels are going to touch him saying what he says. And that's the way we eventually came to think.
What artists and producers have influenced or inspired you to want to create music?
JaiMez: I was influenced at lot back in the day by the likes of Jazzy Jeff, LL, BDK and a little later by catz like Dre, Premier, Shadow etc.
Ennicee: For me, it's cats like Cage, Necro, Non Phixion, Jedi Mind Tricks, Tame one, Mighty Mi. They get my creative juices running. I can't stand bullshit jiggy raps… makes me sick.
Who do you feel is holding it down on the UK scene at the moment?
JaiMez: Hmmmm, do you mean holding down as in holding back? Or do you mean controlling things musically? Both questions would be difficult in the extreme to answer but I'll have a crack. Holding back the UK scene on some occasions is a combination of poor marketing, poor management, poor support and poor quality control, and we are all guilty of a least one of those faults at some point. This doesn't just apply to the UK. I've heard some pretty ropey US stuff! But overall I feel the UK scene is also as strong as it's ever been, and is in a more healthy state than in the US. As for who's doing the business at the moment… well anyone and everyone who represents real Hip Hop. Got to keep it as real as you can. if you want to sell the fuck out and try make a shit load of cash rapping, fine, just don't call yourself Hip Hop coz you're not! You have to respect catz like Blade who has been on the scene 15 years + and hasn't once tried to water down his style for nobody! Along with a hell of a lot of other UK Crews who work like nutters to get themselves a bigger profile with little or no help at all.
Are there any names that you dream of collaborating with one day?
JaiMez: Carmen Electra. I'd ruin her for other men! Failing that, maybe Premier, RJD2 or Shadow. Beat wise you understand.
Ennicee: Yeah, I would like to do a track with Cage or produce a track for Gortex. I'm up for collaborating with whoever wants to work, so many people say they wanna do tracks but it never happens. My motto is, be honest. Don't fuck people around because it always comes back to bite you in the arse.
Which one of you guys do you reckon needs the most therapy?
JaiMez: That's an easy one, not me. It's him! I really couldn't give a fuck about much. I do get stressed out driving, and things do piss me off a lot, but not so much as to need therapy!
Ennicee: Me I think. I have so many issues that need to be resolved. Just haven't found the right outlet yet. Music does help but still not enough. Someone pass me the Prozac.
What up and coming projects are on their way?
Ennicee: I'm working with Blokey real soon with the Street Masons project. This is gonna take hip hop back for me keeping it real and old school. I'm leaving my darkside alone for a while for the next ENNICEE solo and Headzache album.
JaiMez: I signed to a small independent label last year; BDi Records. Had a release, which did OK, 'Drop Bombz', with Jibbarish. We plan a few releases this year with a compilation and a Jibba/Jaimez EP 'The Hunger' so watch out for that shit. Also plan at some stage to do some solo stuff. Whether that's instrumental or not remains to be seen.
September 11 had an impact on the hiphop scene in New York. Do you think 7/7 will alter anything within UK hiphop?
JaiMez: Hmmmm, I think not. We'll just keep on doing what we're doing and carrying on with our lives as usual. To be honest, I always hated the fucking tube anyway. If you're not sitting in tramp piss, you got some mental sitting next to you telling you 'Hi, I'm Bruce Lee' so it won't bother me not travelling by underground. It will however affect a hell of a lot of people who use LU everyday to go to work, but you know what? Somebody's been trying to kill Londoners since 1939 at various stages through the years without success. I think I can guess what London's response will probably be. 'Come on then, you fucking want some do ya?'
Do you have any shout outs or plugs you'd like to make?
Ennicee: Yeah, my man Jaimez for mixing the whole of Mind Mechanics, Rapnews for doing this promo, Blokey get ya pen ready! Johnny at www.essexhiphop.co.uk, The Boss, Phonetics, Ironbridge, IP, Urban Cypher, Human Vermin, Mr. Bounce at Renegade Fm, Change, Mr G, if I forgot you, not sure why! Ask yourself?