One of the most exciting up and coming UK hiphop artists talks about the two releases under his belt, the forthcoming album, labels and tons more. Check it out!
First off, what's your idea behind the artist name 'Example'?
Well my initials are E.G. innit? I've been Example since I was bout 14. A guy at secondary gave it to me when we started recordin' in the schools music department. It aint changed since.
Where abouts do you come from and how are you feeling your local music scene?
I'm from the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, born and bred. Family goes back about 4 or 5 generations so I'm a true Fulhamite! Local music scene, hmmm. Me… Oh, and a couple of rock bands who do covers for the mainly antipodean crowds who populate the bars and pubs.
When did you first get serious about rapping and what were a few of the artists or records which motivated you to rhyme?
I been rapping since I was 11. Recorded my first track using some programmed piece-of-drivel beat off my sisters keyboard. I first used a proper studio during my first year at University. In 2003 I lived in Australia for a year and whilst I was there I decided that the first thing I would do on my return to London was to release my own record. I didn't care if it blew up or failed. I just wanted the learnin' curve. Being a white dude from Fulham, I used to think I would never succeed as a rapper. Now it's the only thing I'm serious about. I let my music do the talking. The first inspiring albums I bought were 'The Chronic', 'Doggystyle' and '36 Chambers'. Even though I was a proper little nipper in slippers at the time, I knew what I was into. I bought most of those albums the week they came out. I was that deep into rap music.
For those that haven't heard your stuff, how would you describe your style of rapping, the general lyrical content and the vibe of the music?
I used to base all my rapping style around a cross between Jay-Z, Ghostface and Kweli. Over the last few years I've refined my own style but I'm still heavily influenced by those rappers' work. I listen to old school shit more than I listen to the new stuff. I study their rhyming patterns the most, but I also look at new ways of how I can inject personality into a verse. I only rap about what I know. I don't have no ghetto tales and that doesn't restrict what I do. I just tell it like it is. In essence, I'm a social commentator but I inject humour and darkness where they're needed. I could write a song about my Nan baking a cake and I'd make it entertaining. I'm on an "honesty is the policy" vibe.
What past releases will these newbie fans have to go hunt down?
'Pointless Song/Who's Ready' 12", available from charity shops everywhere. And 'So Many Roads/The Sell-Out' 12", a rare gem which'll be worth a fortune one day. Serious.
On your forthcoming 7", there's a really strong presence of storytelling. Is this the kind of hiphop you most dig?
Yeah, without a doubt. When I used to rinse 'Doggystyle' as a kid, my favourite track was always 'Lodi Dodi' but I never knew why. Now I know, it's that storytelling element that takes you on a journey. I've always thought the best music is that which takes you on a journey somewhere. Provides either escapism or a sense of connection to the storyteller. That's what I'm all about. Taking the listener into another world.
How autobiographical are the tales of 'I Don't Want To' and 'Loneliness Costs' and what other sagas are scribbled in your rhyme book?
Both tracks are based loosely around actual events in my life. Rusher my producer split up with his bird and I started to write 'Loneliness Costs'. Rusher aint no cokehead though man. That element of the story is based on a dude I knew in Oz who broke up with his bird and started on the white stuff and eventually got arrested. 'I Don't Want To' is a story which combines all of the most awkward situations I've ever encountered with opposite sex. I've also written true stories about forgetting your girls birthday card and also about fellas wanting to bust me up in the clubs 'cause they jealous I got some tasty bird on my arm, or they just don't like my long hair and big lips.
What's your favourite story telling orientated rap record of all time?
'All That I Got Is You' by Ghostface on the Ironman album. 'Stan' by Eminem has gotta be up there. It's scale and realism has never been bettered by a modern rap artist. And anything by Slick Rick for that matter is storytelling gold.
How did you hook up with the new single's producer, Rusher, and what was it about his beats which attracted you to working with him?
I met Rusher at Uni. We both studied Film Directing together. We recorded our first demo album in 2002… I think that's correct. He's produced my last two releases as well. We have the best creative partnership. We respect each other greatly but argue all the time too, which is mad healthy, and we also have input into each others areas of expertise. Once we're known on a national scale, international for that matter, I'm afraid Rusher is gonna have phone calls from every corner of the globe with people wanting him to make beats for them. He's prolific too and his skills aint drying up any time soon. Watch out ear drums!
Is there an album in the works, and if so, what can we expect from it, and when?
Yeah, there's an album about 70% of the way there. We need the right album deal so we can both quit our jobs and spend 3 months in the studio perfecting everything. Rusher and I want the majority of creative control, albeit with input and guidance from peeps with a proven track record and a proper understanding of the direction we wanna take. When it does eventually drop, I'm aiming for the UK Top 10 albums and singles. That aint a statement of sarcasm right there. I wouldn't be doin' this unless I thought we could take over the country. The response at live gigs, as well as the radio and press attention we're achieving across the board would suggest we're on the right track. Let's not forget that this is all on a really small scale at the moment. Once we got money and triple-x wisdom behind us, we takin' over any which way but loose.
Why did you decide to go the Indie route and start your own label 'All The Chats'? I could see you getting scooped up by a major.
I didn't wanna get signed to a major. I wanted to build up my own fanbase, however small or large, and get respect and acknowledgement from the underground DJ's, promoters and artists first. By releasing music yourself, you're forced to come to terms with the harshness of the industry and the manner in which things run on every level. At this minute I have a press guy, a radio promoter, a distribution guy. I deal directly with the manufacturers, design my cover art, burn a shit-load of CD's and organise gigs myself.
I've built up such a large list of contacts over the last few years which will all come in handy when the smalltime becomes the bigtime. This is all on a much smaller scale than what I eventually will achieve although by learning the ropes myself, there's less risk of some major label tossers taking the piss outta me. I'm not a complete expert but I feel confident that I could now sign the right recording deal that would benefit my music and at the same time earn me a more than decent crust to indulge myself in Lotus Elises and Nando's chicken for the rest of my life.
How are you at the freestyle, and how often do you get to perform live at the moment? Any dates we can check?
Not very good at freestyling. Better when I'm drunk actually. Strange. Look out for the Single Launch Party at the end of Feb at the Notting Hill Arts Club. There'll be an acoustic set at Marketplace too… Oh, and gigs in Feb/March at Cargo, Shoreditch. There's a mini tour goin' down end of Jan' 06 when we'll be hitting Bristol and Nottingham. Also, 'The Beats' night at Plan B in Brixton at the end of Jan'. Check my website for dates.
What UK hiphop artists are you a fan of and what music do you dig outside of rap?
Kano, K-lash, Doc Brown, Low Key. All of them can compete with the best of what the States has to offer. Outside of rap I study The Killers, Green Day, Basement Jaxx. I'm a massive fan of Motown and The Rolling Stones. Blame my Ma & Pa. Oh… and Prince, mega shit.
Whats your web address, and how do you feel about people grabbing your music for free online? Must piss you off when you're trying to make a living out of it.
www.exampleonline.co.uk Yeah they're all chiefs for jacking my music for free but let's face it, we all do it and never gonna say no to freebies. I'll even jack a pack of chewing gum if the shopkeeper is rude or over-charges me. Oh and the cinema. Lets not pretend we don't take the odd sweetie out the pick'n'mix when the fat bird aint watchin'.
Have you got any shout out's or plugs you wanna throw into cyber space?
Yeah man, first and foremost Rusherman, love you bruvva. Matt Hart, the big tune man! The Outpost, Newmans, Lisey Locket, Nicky J. Smudge, Shinerface, Millrain, Cuffestar, MC Teds, anyone supporting Example on road, radio or in the fine publications on WHSmith shelves and finally my Mum & Pops. Peace.