Posts Tagged ‘FM’

Interview with Gabriel Heatwave

April 20, 2010

I first discovered The Heatwave through a recorded set they did with Riko in 2007. Since then, I’ve been regularly checking their website for the latest Dancehall news, reviews and mixsets, which for me, have always been on point. Following their massive ’25 years of Dancehall’ mix on Rinse a few weeks ago, we at The ‘Fold thought it was about time we shone some light on The Heatwave and brought focus to the massively important work they do for the UK scene.

We tracked down head honcho Gabriel and pinned him down for a chat:

First of all, please introduce yourself to all our readers, and tell them what it is you do!

Hi, I’m Gabriel and as part of Dancehall collective The Heatwave, I DJ around the UK and Europe. Our new night ‘Energy’ is about to be launched at Driver, King’s Cross. We mainly play Jamaican dancehall music, especially where it crosses over with UK sounds. We all grew up with Garage and Grime and where those two genres cross over into Dancehall is what we are interested in! We also write a blog and host The Heatwave radio show on Rinse, that’s dedicated to all Jamaican sounds.

How did you get into dancehall and what was it about the sound that appealed to you?

Although I was into reggae and stuff when I was younger, I started DJ’ing Hiphop. I moved to Spain in 2001 and there were no decent record shops selling underground Hiphop were I was. However, there was a reggae shop and so I started to purchase records. After a while I had had enough of rap and stopped playing it. I found Dancehall – the uptempo stuff especially – much more lively and appealing. People could dance to it! Also, it was really easy to get hold of the classics whereas 90’s Hiphop classics were really hard to find. With Reggae they reissue stuff all the time, even if it’s just bootlegs. I found I could get all the massive hits from as far back as 20 years ago.

You are the brains behind The Heatwave – a monthly club night that has since grown to incorporate a record label, a radio show, a website and blog. How did it all come about and what was the idea behind this multi-faceted approach?

It has all been accidental really. The Heatwave started as a night we put on in 2003. We had just moved back to London, and wanted to a monthly gig. At that time, in London, there were monthly gigs but outside of it there was nothing really going on. It was at a time when people were starting to pay attention to dancehall again but no one was doing it properly, just Hiphop DJ’s playing the occasional tune here and there. The website followed much later than that, and the blog even later – about 2007.

We started our Rinse show started last year.

What has it been like on Rinse?

I really like it there. We’re the only dancehall show and everybody else is quite different. In a way we feel out of place, but I think what we do works really well. Dancehall and Jamaican music generally, is at the root of what most of the other DJ’s play. Rinse started as a jungle station and everything they’ve done since, be it Grime, Dubstep or Funky, Dancehall has had a massive impact on.

We do our own thing but by being on Rinse, you know the people listening are going to have a deeper appreciation of the music.

In that respect Rinse has its own heritage…

Yeah definitely. Rinse listeners see the links between Jamaican and UK music and to them it makes a lot of sense us being on there. As such we tailor what we do to that audience. A recent example was a show we did about ‘Fastchat’ – an MC style that originated in London in the ‘80’s and was the starting point of what we now recognise as Jungle and Grime MC’ing. We like to highlight that sort of thing on Rinse for a more discerning audience.

Any plans for a Rinse CD?

I have – I don’t know if they have yet! Haha! But no, I have spoken to them about it and we’re possibly doing a Funky Bashment thing, but there are a number of ways we could approach it. There is so much cross pollination in terms of music between London and Jamaica – much more so now with the internet making more collaborations possible…

In those terms your recent ‘Funky Bashment’ mix was really important on a musical level. Not only did you mix Jamaican and British styles together, but you also introduced listeners to the variety of Afrobeat influences that are popular right now and are at the heart of the Funky scene. Could we be seeing the start of a new pan-African musicial movement in the UK that borrows from Jamaica, England and Africa?

I’m no musicologist, but with Funky specifically and some second generation Grime, there definitely seems to have been a shift. In the 80’s, UK black music was all about the Caribbean but now the focus seems to have changed. What is interesting is that, like you say, whilst the UK still looks to Jamaica, Dancehall is now really big in West Africa. The African influence in Jamaican music has always been there –Mento etc – but I’ve noticed in the last year or two that there has been more African-inspired Dancehall production.

Check out a producer called Kirkledove who’s a drummer and makes tracks with lots of African percussion. He’s a good example and has made hits for Mr Vegas amongst others.

Riko @ The Heatwave, 2007

You are known for predominantly playing dancehall but you also dabble in Grime, and in fact the first I heard of The Heatwave was when I stumbled across your set with Riko Dan from 2007. What do you like about the genre and who are your favourite artists?

I like Grime Mc’s like Riko and Durrty Goodz who have the Ragga Jamaican-influenced flows. Saying that, my absolute favourite Grime MC is Wiley and although he has that Jamaican influence, he doesn’t tend to chat in Patois like Killa P, Badness or Riko do.

One of the most interesting facets of Grime is the ‘versioning’ culture it imbibed from Reggae and Dancehall. After a brief hiatus, riddim versions are starting to make come back, as recently demonstrated by S-X’s Wooo Riddim. How important are Riddims to the vitality Grime scene do you think?

I really like having a load of artists versioning Riddims. One of my favourite Grime records is ‘Ice Rink!’ What I like about versioning – and the way they do it in Jamaica – is that it puts all the MC’s on one level so you can immediately compare them. It’s difficult to compare two different MC’s if they spit on two different beats – it’s hard to tell whether the beat makes the difference, or the MC.

I also like the fact that by having loads of versions, different DJ’s can pick out different ones and popularise them. DJ’s tend to play about 3-4 cuts on the same riddim, so if there are 15 versions, everyone can do something different.

Riko & Godsgift @ The Heatwave

How long do you think it will be before Grime can achieve the same kind of self-sufficient industry that dancehall enjoys?

By looking at the way Grime, Dubstep and Funky have developed, I’ll never understand why they are treated as different genres. I look at what has happened in London over the last 20 years and see massive parallels with what has happened in Jamaica. Back in the day, scenes were coming and going, styles were coming and going, uncles, cousins and children were each following in the footsteps of their family…This is why there are so many links between Dancehall in 1995 to Dancehall now.

Now look at Jungle in 1995 and Funky now in 2010 and the same links are there! The same record shops, producers, promoters, radio stations. There is all that continuity in this country and yet everyone slips up and ignores it, instead defining themselves by their scene and genres…

Is that a trait specific to the UK?

I don’t know, but I can’t think why we’re so different, so parochial. The infrastructure is there, it should have been used for Grime and Funky. Saying that it is getting better with so much cross pollination between scenes – it’s great.

25 Years of Dancehall

Your recent ‘25 Years of Dancehall Show’ on Rinse – whereby you played one distinctive record from each year from 1985 until now was, for me, an enjoyable and educational listen. What was it like trying to compile records for the show?

It was really difficult! In the end I did it by artist and tried to list 25 artists that I couldn’t leave out. It was a slightly weird way of doing it as inevitably certain tunes – one hit wonders etc – got left out. But we got the key artists in there and anyway, the mix was never meant to be a finite.

What was the feedback from the ’25 Years’ mix?

I’ve had loads of really positive feedback. Because I’m so immersed in the music I think I sometimes forget that just because I know who did what when, when a certain style changed etc, casual listeners don’t. In that sense, the mix did a good job and because I did it by artist, anyone can look into their back catalogues and find out more.

Do you plan to do similar mixes in future?

It’s something I’ve always been interested in and is, in part, my aim in doing all of this. I feel like Dancehall is under-represented despite having such a massive influence in modern music – no mean feat considering it’s come from a small Caribbean island. The Heatwave shows people the history and the importance of Dancehall as well as being totally about the music and having fun.

Wayne Smith

‘Under Mi Sleng Teng’ released by Wayne Smith in 1985 was a phenomenally important record for dancehall. Can you just highlight for us just why that it is?

‘Sleng Teng’ is often credited as the first digital reggae record, which isn’t quite true, but it was the catalyst in everyone in Jamaica dumping their instruments and going digital. Given what has happened since then, that event has been phenomenally important even though not everyone saw it as a positive thing at the time.

After ‘Sleng Teng’ dropped, everyone was interested in drum machines and digital sounds rather than instruments. I’m not slighting analogue instruments, but going digital allowed many producers to do innovative things. One thing that I find amazing about ‘Sleng Teng’ and indeed with many older digital dancehall cuts is that they don’t sound dated in the same way the Happy Mondays do now, even though they used similar drum machine equipment.

In the ’25 years’ show, you sight the Diwali Riddim as being important in terms of the sounds progression. What did it introduce to Dancehall?

Diwali Riddim was a new kind of rhythm – a 4/4 beat. It had been done before but after Diwali it was copied hugely over the next few years. It also paved the way for the Coolie Dance Riddim the year after, which in a way was more significant commercially as it was a little faster – closer to a house tempo. The other thing Diwali did, by using Indian sounding samples, was open peoples’ minds to Asian and Oriental influences.

What do you think will become the next big theme in Dancehall musically or lyrically?

One of the things I think will be big at Carnival this year will be the Triple Bounce Riddim, which has got versions by Vybz Kartel and Movado. Also I think the African sound will get bigger, as it’s still sounding new.
We’ll be pushing the Funky Bashment thing, trying to get as many Jamaican artists to collaborate as we can. Not a huge amount have been taking up on it so far, but people like Sticky are going to be working with a lot more Jamaican artists this year. Tunes like ‘Party Hard’ by Doneao have been doing really well in the Caribbean recently too.

You compiled ‘An England Story’ – a compilation CD of English MC tracks across 25 years. Were you pleased with how it was received and are there plans to do another?

Yeah I thought it went down really well and it had that educational feel. I feel like it has helped change the way UK MC’s are viewed and brought focus to the progression being made here. It annoys me that people take their MC cues from America rather than Jamaica – comparing Dizzee to rappers as opposed to Vybz Kartel for example. It’s annoying and wrong. Culturally our MC’s operate in a way closer to the Jamaican industry.

I have already pencilled a tracklisting for a follow up, but what I want to do with this one is fashion one CD as a retrospective, and the other as an illustration of what is happening now.

Which UK Dancehall artists should people look out for?


Lady Chann
, Gappy Ranks, YT, Serocee, Doctor and Riko.

And finally, what is next for The Heatwave?

The plan is to focus on production and as such we have a tune with Serocee out next month. Other than that it’s just going to be more DJ’ing and more gigs! We also have our weekly night at Driver, Kings Cross, which commences this Thursday. Plus we hope to be reaching Jamaica soon to record.

Check out:

The Heatwave website
The Heatwave on Rinse
The Heatwave on Facebook
Gabriel on Twitter

Many thanks to Gabriel for this in-depth interview. Look out for more schoolings from him in the near future.

Kristian

Logan Sama’s New Blog Launch on WTTF!

April 5, 2010

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We are very pleased to announce that as from today, Kiss FM host and Grime DJ supremo Logan Sama will be contributing an exclusive monthly blog to Welcome To The Fold. Far from a conventional monthly summary, Logan’s WTTF blog will provide unique insight into the Grime scene as well as detailing his encounters, interests and observations over the past 30-or-so days – Grime related or not!

As a DJ, A&R, writer, commentator, gaming enthusiast AND ardent West Ham supporter, there will always plenty to read about! This month Logan talks Estonia, Chosen Ones, Street Fighter and upcoming releases on Adamantium:

Earlier this month I DJ’ed out in Estonia for an event called ‘UKG’ which was dedicated to the spectrum of Garage sounds old and new. It’s always interesting playing in Europe because each country will take different things from the music. In Estonia, as I played my 90 minute set, I could see some people going off to straight up-and-down Grime, whilst the others started jumping about to more Dubsteppy type stuff.

They didn’t really have a grasp of what the Grime classics are, as I suspect they have just started listening recently. But I can really see instrumental Grime spreading across Europe – more so than vocalled Grime – as inevitably, where English isn’t spoken as a first language, it just becomes a barrier. I had a great time and hopefully I’ll be going out there again sometime soon!

This month saw the release of the Palladium/Vice documentary ‘London Pirate Radio’, which yours truly was featured in. It was a really interesting piece and I liked how it went into the history of pirate radio and where it came from. Looking online, the feedback has been really good, not only for the film but for the accompanying mixtape I put together. Vice are really pleased with how it was all received and tell me it’s been the most popular item they’ve made so far!

Earlier this week I held a Street Fighter session at London Bridge and invited some Grime mandem down. JME, Shorty, Solo 45, Score Five and Dexplicit amongst others were in attendance, Dex just edging out Jamie in the final bouts for the title. We might hold a proper tournament sometime soon as there are some half-decent SF4 players in the scene.

We all enjoy playing it and it’s a good reason to get together other than music. I have to say now though that I doubt I’d take the title – I just don’t have that winners’ mentality! I can’t wait for the new edition to come out on April 30th – Dudley is gonna be the guy – his ultra animation looks sick!

Check Dudley Murking Here!

The Chosen Ones show was a big deal for me this month – the four sets (featuring Bloodline, OG’z, Newham Gens, Ghetts, Devlin, Dogzilla, Shrimpoz and Griminal) went well and the online listening figures (as well as the downloads) were really high. The KISS producers said it was a strong look and I can’t wait to air the next show on April 9th. We are recording the sets for it now and all I can tell you is that you can expect to see some promising young talent on there! I’m also trying to get a set recorded with all the Yardie MC’s on it as I know people have been itching to hear that!

Release-wise, ‘Shark Attack’ – which came out on my label Adamantium Music – did well, with some good feedback on the Grime Forum. Next up will be B-Live’s ‘Modern Warfare’ and that will be out as soon as we get the remix done. It looks like single releases is the way to go now – mixtape CD releases (and all the time-dalaying niggles inherent in them) aren’t really the one anymore. Saying that, Sharky’s and Badness’ CD’s will be out soon and once they are out, done and dusted, I’m going to be focussing on getting some producer EP’s released. Watch this space…

That’s it for this month. Next month I’ll be looking at putting the back catalogue online and some other stuff. Watch out for the Newham General’s new EP with Skitz Beatz and my Chosen One’s set on April 9th. It’s gonna be another big month!

Until next time, Keep It Grimy!

Logan.

Chosen Ones know the path to success

March 5, 2010

Logan Sama’s Chosen Ones set on the 26th February was, like stumbling across an oasis in the desert, a welcome and much needed surprise for thirsty Grime Fans. Two months after Kiss FM’s decision to cut all specialist DJ’s slots by an hour (including Logan’s) Grime is still feeling the effect, and despite recent mainstream successes from Wiley, Tinie Tempah and Dizzee, they have done little to ease MC’s, DJ’s and fans concerns that through mainstream neglect, the scene will peter out.

Nevertheless, the Chosen One’s show, featuring Newham Generals, Ghetts, Bloodline and OG’z to name but a few, went someway to remedy that ill feeling. Not only did it give fans four energetic live MC/Crew performances (a fundamental and necessary facet of the Grime scene), but it revitalised hopes in Kiss reverting Logan’s show back to two hours. Whilst official listening figures are unknown at the time of writing, download figures for the four sets currently stands at around 400 and the Grime Forum thread has had over 22,000 views. This is in no way insignificant.

The Chosen Ones premise is solid. Four back-to-back, but separate sets, with Logan tailoring instrumentals to each crews’ respective flavours and flows; a glut of UK style and pattern straight from the capital, raw and uncut. This is what Logan’s vision for a separate and self sufficient music industry should be built on – ideas like this. With Kiss unlikely to reverse their decision for the time being, the Grime scene needs to focus on developing more innovative formats and platforms in order to expose music.

When D Double spat the bars “Trains run on timing/ When there’s a delay it messes up everyone’s timing/” over J-Sweet’s ‘Gutter’, it rang true. The loss of an hour is merely a delay toward Grime’s destination (of wider and dare I say mainstream success), much like a train journey. Services have been diverted. Logan revealed in his interview on this blog that he will embark on new projects this year that he hopes will not only spark interest in cultural elements of Grime (the beefs, the levels, the gossip, the fashion etc) but will herald a new entrepreneurial push – a rebuttal of what Simon Reynolds called Grime’s “false expectations for mega-fame and Puffy/Jay-Z style transmedia empire building”

If this show is anything to go by, Loges is onto a winner. But the future and development of a scene cannot be pinned upon one man. Fresh ideas, executed well, will yield results. And for those that think Grime is in any kind of musical crisis and incapable of garnering attention from major players, listen to the Chosen Ones sets and think again.

Download them here:

Part 1 – Newham Generals

“Click here”

Part 2 – Ghetts, Dogzilla, Griminal, Shrimpoz & Devlin

“Click here”

Part 3 – OG’z & Mega Montana

“Click here”

Part 4 – Bloodline

“Click here”

Kristian

Smurfie Syco

November 26, 2009

Interviewed and then accompanied Dirtee Stank’s Smurfie Syco for a day around his ends in Wood Green, before reaching Kiss with DJ MK.

Pics and interview to come, but check out in this vid in the mean time:

I’m the pesky snapper getting in the way of the camera 😉 Big up Smurfie who is promoting like a madman right now. Follow him @smurfiesyco.

If you need press coverage, contact me here

FWD VS Rinse @ Matter O2 Nov 20th

September 25, 2009

Good news! Rinse has secured a quarterly residency at the London superclub. After the success of Rinse’s 15th birthday event there it seems like a natural decision. This one look set to be every bit as special as the last!

Absolutely mental line up:

SKREAM + BENGA 2 hour set

BOY BETTER KNOW

HEARTLESS CREW

GEENEUS

WILEY

ZINC

GHETTO

N-TYPE

CRAZY COUSINZ MC VERSATILE

KATY B

SPYRO

YOUNGSTA

HEADHUNTER

ONEMAN

RAMADANMAN

SUPA D

DISTANCE

BROCKIE (Jungle set)

COOLY G

FLOATING POINTS

CRAZY D

TIPPA

STAMINA

Order your tickets here

Kristian