Posts Tagged ‘london’

Newham Generals – Like It or Not

September 27, 2010

Again, the Newham Generals smash it. ‘Like it or Not’ is the latest dubstep-infused tune to be released (in hood video format) from the forthcoming ‘Bag of Grease E.P.’ out on the 4th October. Produced by Skitz Beatz, Dee and Foots ride his rumbling basslines and epic stabs with deceptive ease, dropping lyrics fans may have first heard the duo spit on a recent DJ Cameo set.

Everyone hypes about this new generation coming through, and whilst there is definitely solid talent there, many can’t hold anything to the style, pattern and flair the Generals exhibit. Whilst there is an undeniably serious and violent undertone in most of their music, it is more often than not offset by a playful lyrical approach. If ever you see the New Gens perform live, there is always a smile or a tongue in cheek. Watch the below video to see what I mean.

It’s something I feel is lost on the younger generation of MC‘s who seemingly make it impossible to enjoy their music if you are in anything but an angry or aggressive mood. The hosting element is lost on them. Anyway, back to ‘Like it or Not’ – it’s a record that’s hard, danceable and unique to the UK. Big up Dee and Foots who relentlessly cook up new styles, sounds and patterns like it’s normal.

Good to see Kronik vybzing in the video too!

Kristian

Hammer – Explosive (produced by Royal-T)

August 20, 2010

After a brief foray into cheesy eurodance with ‘Mic Check’, Hammer is back with new release ‘Explosive.’ Employing the talents of Southampton-based producer Royal-T for the beat (1Up, Mega, Damn It etc), Hammer is back to what he does best – vocalling hard, fast-paced Grime.

This record has a touch of nostalgia about it with a skippy, 2003-era beat and a mellow breakdown that’s more in keeping with bubbly 2-Step than Grime. It is an enjoyable stomper nonetheless that Hammer laces with monotone ease; his vocals commanding the beat much like a Garage veteran:

Royal-T has told me a remix is on it’s way featuring a BIG guest MC…

‘Explosive’ is out October 4th from all major digital outlets.

Enjoy

Kristian

Mr Lexx & Congorock – Babylon

August 19, 2010

Mr Lexx

Listening to the recent Heatwave Rinse show (big up Benjamin & Gabriel) I came accross this tune. It is massive. Not usually a fan of this type of chainsaw-bassline stuff, but something about this makes it different. Mr Lexx’s deadpan vocals suit the evil synths perfectly, leading the listener in like he was shepherding lambs to the slaughter. This will undoubtedly have crowds reaching for the ‘saws – the drop reminiscent of ‘Pon Di Floor.’

Enjoy!

Kristian

London Zoo – Lips To The Floor (Old but Good!)

May 13, 2010

This is a classic. Whilst I may be a fervent Grime fan, tunes like this should be played to those that take the music too seriously. Dubbledge and his crew performed this live at a gig I promoted and it was the highlight of the evening for sure!

Enjoy!

Kristian

Logan Sama’s April 2010 Round Up

April 30, 2010

In terms of radio, Chosen Ones Part 2 was a great start to April. We worked with different MC’s and concepts this time, keeping the format fun and fresh. As I mentioned here last month, I wanted a Yardie set for Part 2 and I got one with Killa P, Badness, Shizzle and Jamakabi! It was definitely one of my favourite sets. Double S held down a set on his own (as the rest of Marvell couldn’t make it) for 25 minutes which was very impressive – I’m sure even his critics on the internet would have to agree.

We also had Trim and his Circle, as well as exciting new talent in the form of Dream Mclean, Teeza, Voltage, Onoe and Scruface – the latter an MC who I have high hopes for this year. We are going to keep the Chosen Ones series going and I know people are wondering why I haven’t opted for bigger names so far. However, I’m going to be doing a new Chosen Ones show every six weeks now and as such I don’t want to recycle sets. We are going to get sets from Ruff Sqwad, Cold Blooded, Boy Better Know, Movement and maybe Slew Dem in the summer…rest assured we’ll be doing what the people want to hear! I don’t want it to just be the same show with Newham Gens and Bloodline appearing every week – despite what some may demand!

Chosen Ones gives me the opportunity to feature people from across the UK too, MC’s outside of London – Midlands, up North etc. It’s otherwise hard for me to give exposure to these guys with a one hour show on a commercial station. Kiss management are still giving really positive feedback; they’re really happy with both the Radio listener figures and the web hits. Hopefully, if we can sustain the effort then we might have a two hour show again!

The Grime Forum awards were another April highlight for me. I didn’t even realise I had won the best DJ award – I naturally assumed Spyro had won. There are many things that make a DJ ‘good’ and in light of this award I‘d like to think I’m now alright at most of them! It was a pleasure to receive the award. The fact that the organisers had clubbed together and made a physical award that I can actually keep was special. I made a big deal of it and specifically invited P Money and Blacks down so we could give the awards credibility. Last year the awards came and went. This year, I felt that giving Grime Forum credence on the radio was needed.

People that are doing work should be rewarded for their efforts; Tempa T getting best song and best video, P Money winning best MC and best mixtape and Blacks winning best newcomer was all down to the Grime Scene – not the mainstream/playlist world. It was real fans saying what the hottest shit was this year. I heard Skepta say that for him, this was the first time he had seen a list of award winners and completely agreed with it. Unfortunately, the Grime Daily party didn’t go nearly as well. All I’ll say is it is a shame incidents like that still happen – they are a poignant reminder of what is really going on in the world at the moment. The name ‘Grime’ is very precious and we have to be careful what we attach it to…

Going back to Skepta, he’s currently remixing P Diddy’s ‘Hello Good Morning’ which is big news for Grime. I know Skepta wants to do a big Grime club smasher, so we’ll see what comes of it. As with anybody big dipping their toes in Grime, we’ll have to use it and get as much exposure as possible. It’s good that somebody like Diddy, coming from America, looks to the UK and picks a Grime artist to work with. It’s a step in the right direction when people look over here and see Grime as our equivalent of Hip Hop.

As you may have seen on here and on my own blog, I’m a bit of a Street Fighter fan! A nice surprise this week was D Double’s vocal of Swerve’s Street Fighter Riddim. I had no idea Dee was going to vocal it, in fact the first I knew was when I received a text from Laurence at Dirtee Stank saying ‘D Double’s Street Fighter Freestyle is Fucked!’ I rang him straight back! I got sent it and it was like two of my favourite things mixed together. A special made for me (almost)! In terms of the actual game, I’m really enjoying it. I actually want to get good at this version as me and Jamie are thinking about going to some tournaments and trying our luck.

I’ve been trying to work with Dudley, but like any new character it’s hard at first. As he only punches, using him effectively is quite technical, but once he gets in there he can do some damage!

As a final note, look out for B-Live’s Modern Warfare release this month, which comes with a massive, MASSIVE remix as well as the Sharky Major and Badness CD’s. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that supported the ‘Shark Attack’ single because it was a bit of a gamble, but it paid off. J Beatz, Nuklea and Z-Dot instrumental EP’s are coming soon. In terms of gigs, if you want to keep up to date with where I’m playing check my blog, http://www.keepinitgrimy.blogspot.com. I’m looking forward to playing Hip Hop Kemp in the Czech Republic this summer, as it’s all good fun and hopefully I shall be going to San Francisco in May…Fingers crossed!

Until next month…Keep it Grimy!

Logan.

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 Interview

February 3, 2010

Host of the only legal Grime radio show in the world, record label owner AND a regular Jim’ll Fix It to Grime MC’s and producers, Logan Sama is Grime’s go to guy. The last quarter of 2009 unfortunately saw his KISS show cut by an hour, in line with the stations’ desire for more playlist airtime.

But it seems even pluralizing radio bosses can’t hold the Essex selector back, as he embarks on some new, exciting projects he hopes will rejuvenate the scene and provide fans with much needed coverage.

We caught up with him for a chat.

Logan, what was your highlight of 2009?

The best thing about 2009 was people being consistent over a long period of time. In a music sense, people were getting music made and getting it released.

Do you think this increase in work rate reflected the audiences’ renewed interest in music?

Yeah I think MC’s have been meeting the demand.

2009 was a year that heralded great commercial success for a handful of Grime MC’s, yet they achieved this without making Grime music. What does this mean for Grime going forward?

In a positive sense you get more people finding out about these artists, where they have come from and what they have previously done. Then, hopefully, you get a trickle-down effect [into the scene] However, there is the other side of it whereby you have weak-minded artists that think the only path they can take towards success is in making stuff [that’s currently popular] that they weren’t making in the first place.

Do you think this reduces longevity and, in some cases, cheapens the ‘worth’ of the Grime scene?

Yeah I think it’s got low longevity to be honest, especially the stuff out now because it’s not particularly adventurous – artistically or musically.

Whilst major label interest continues to influence what music Grime artists’ record, there is an equal reaction fighting it’s allure. What hope do these acts have in reintroducing and popularising the fundamental principles of Grime; hype, innovation and attitude?

I don’t think that the worlds ready to hear their shit to be honest and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

What can you envisage happening then?

[Formulation of] a self sufficient industry that’s independent of the mainstream but people can still make a living from. You can make D‘n’B records without sounding like DJ Marky & LK’s ‘I like it’ and go round the world and make a good living. We have equally qualified artists who have taken years to build up their expertise and their craft.

Who do you see as leading the way against the pull of the mainstream?

Jamie because he has absolutely no fucking interest in it whatsoever. He’s not done any of it and he really doesn’t want to. Everyone else is just focusing on their music.

Elijah and Skilliam are championing a new outlook in Grime, focusing on DJ’s and producers rather than MC’s, who often let their ego muddy the music. Do you welcome this move?

Yeah, they show a different side of Grime and put their personal stamp on what they play as DJ’s, which I think is very important. It’s important because it gives a breadth to the appeal of Grime, especially to people that don’t like MC’s, but appreciate the beats and mixing.

To be honest, the more DJ’s we have representing different sounds and working with producers that they like, the better. Terror Danjah and Swindle hadn’t put out a tremendous amount of beats and music in 2009 and audiences weren’t really hearing a lot of their stuff. However, working with Butterz has opened doors for them because as producers, they are getting highlighted whereas in my show for example, they get lost in the mix.

I have a show which has to cover across the board and my main aim to play the most popular stuff alongside the most appealing stuff. DJ’s on the pirate circuit can focus on one avenue of Grime, which is healthy for the scene.

Some argue that Grime is dead and that the music made during Grime’s ‘golden era’ is not being made now. Is it evolution, or is it economics?

I don’t think the sound has changed, it has just widened. Music as an entity changes based on the questions asked of it by the consumer. If it was still rewarding to make beats and spit over them on radio, not just financially but status-wise, then people would be doing that a lot more. But, the focus has come away from that now.

That is one of the main reasons as to why there aren’t many Grime DJ’s anymore -it’s just not rewarding enough, and people think Grime DJ’s are somehow lesser than other DJ’s who may even be technically inferior.

Is that something you have faced?

I see a lot of guys getting bookings, from other scenes. When I got my KISS show, my vision as a professional DJ was based upon going to raves where you’d have Tim Westwood playing hiphop and Double D or Goldfinger playing dancehall. I would therefore, in the same way, go to those events and play a Grime set. That’s how I imagined it.

Obviously that never really materialised even though this genre of music is still going strong in terms of producing well-known artists and well known tracks. Instead, we’ve seen a rise in budget DJ’s that play everything but stand for nothing and that’s across the board – generic urban nights to trendy Shoreditch nights, where people are the flavour of the fucking month playing uninspired selections.

Going back to the evolution of the Grime sound, you said earlier that the consumer dictates where the sound goes. Therefore, in your opinion, was it ever a conscious decision by producers and MC’s that saw what was going on Stateside, to adapt their sound and tie in with that market?

I think it’s subtle and slow. If you are an MC with a microphone, you will want to say more stuff and work on your technical ability to ensure you’re better than the other MC’s out there. That became quite important in 2005 – 2006 whereby flows and lyricism became prominent and guys spitting for reloads were looked down upon a bit.

At the same time, when the mixtape thing became popular, there was a big lack of live events. Now, live events are restricted to people turning up and doing P.A’s of their singles. So, like I said, the reward for some of the skills people had and practiced, is not there anymore.

The five MC’s that are rated for reloads now are the ones that were doing it back then. D Double E is the reload guy and will always be rated for that. But for new guys coming through, I don’t really see the recognition or reward for having that sort of live element. Now, it’s all based around singles which is a wider-based thing. Guys like Chipmunk for example, who have never been involved with that live element, are taking the culture with them [into the mainstream] and I think it’s good. I really do. In Chipmunk’s case he is a positive young man and works hard.

As a Grime MC, those live skills are not respected by wider audiences, and I don’t know why that is. It might be fault of our own because we’ve not let people understand how important those things are and allowed them to die but, at the end of the day, guys like Spyro who are fantastic technical DJ’s are not getting the rewards for their skill.



Which is crazy when you consider how many parallels there are between Grime and Dancehall. In Jamaica they have festivals with massive crowds…

Yeah, but that is the cultural backbone which has taken many years to develop. You have to remember Grime is only 6-7 years old.

Over those 6-7 years do you feel the press has represented Grime fairly?

I don’t think the press has made enough of it. Elijah and I had an amusing conversation about this the other day concerning Grime DJ’s in the press. Look at any other scene and the press will write about anyone if they are flavour of the month.

When you try and get something about Grime into a publication they’re like ‘What’s the catch? What’s the story?’ and it’s hypocritical. What’s the story about Ibiza this year? Or another DJ that’s playing the same tunes in Shoreditch or Yo-Yo’s that everyone else is playing already?

All they have over us is the right press officer [but] if you are good at what you do, people will want to read about it! That’s how music journalism should work. Your ‘story’ has nothing to do with your talent and it’s up to the journalist to find it.

You’ve said that Grime is a real meritocracy in that there are no proven ‘formulas’ and that experimentation within the scene is always high – in both music and media. You think this is still the case?

If you are hot, people will discover you. People talk about knowing this person or that person, or being in certain circles, but really, if you get into the real world of music, because it’s all so structured and there is a network there, it is all about talent.

Try and become a big D‘n’B MC without being brought in by the three main big promoters and five big DJ’s co-signing you. It’s really locked down tight! Whereas if you do Grime music, people gravitate towards you – no one gives a shit where anybody’s from. If you’re doing stuff people like, then you’ll get noticed. I think Grime is THE most open genre at the moment.

How did you take the news when KISS first announced the 1 hour cut to your show?

You can’t do anything about it so I immediately thought about what I could do to make things work, rather than getting pissed off about it. It was a wake-up call for me because I had become a bit complacent – happy to do my radio show and not any other stuff that I could have been doing.

Were you surprised with the amount of support you received?

Yeah man, all the people online got noticed by the management and it was discussed. It was great, but the seeds had already been planted. We’ll see what happens going forwards.

Last year you debated with MistaJam over Twitter, concerning Grime’s lack of coverage and reference on mainstream radio and other media channels. Could you clarify what you said for those that missed it because I think it was an interesting point…

I think there are numerous platforms, not just 1xtra, where people could be made more aware of the fact that these stars are coming from Grime. I felt that 1xtra was one of the places where Grime wasn’t being promoted. It’s subtle and I don’t think it was intentional on their behalf, but they had a jingle on [Mista Jam’s] radio show where it said what music he played and that didn’t include ‘Grime’ – even though the jingles were Tinchy Stryder and Chipmunk.

That’s important because it erases ‘Grime’ from the subconscious of people listening to it. If it’s not there, it’s easy to forget it.

Trim said in an interview a while ago that even the word ‘Grime’ registers negative expectations and it’s hard for artists to rise above them. Do you think there is any truth in that?

I don’t think that’s true because so many people have come from it and have done really well. But like I said, achievements in Grime are looked down upon and not really acknowledged. It’s like ‘ok you’ve done that, now come and do some real stuff.’

What do you think is the cause for that lack of respect?

The music and the image we put out isn’t professional – all that cussin’, bickering, misbehaving and unreliability undermines the huge amounts of creativity and hard work people in this scene put in. We fail on a bunch of superficial principles that the rest of the music industry base themselves on.

Your label Earth 616 has gone rather quiet recently, after releasing three vinyl EP’s last year. What happened and will we see more releases this year?

They didn’t sell a lot of units and cost me a shit load of money – so much so that it took four months for me to recover my costs. Financially it was unstable. I will be putting out more stuff in the next couple of months but it will be based on an entirely different business model. I’m still trying to confirm artists for that, but [in the meantime] I’m doing a couple of digital releases, both of which are vocal cuts.

What projects you are working on at the moment?

At the moment I’m working on getting the Sharky Major and the B-Live & Spyda tunes out because they’re hot tunes and I want to see them out before they disappear off the face of the Earth. Both are likely to be released at the start of March.

I’m also working with some of the lesser known artists who can’t get their stuff out properly and end up giving it away for free. I want to help those people.

The last mix you made available for download was your birthday one, which was very well received by fans. Have you got any more up your sleeve?

I’m going to try and do a bi-monthly mix that people can buy on iTunes, if I can sort out the legalities of it. It won’t be free, but it will be a Logan mixtape available for a couple of quid featuring exclusive freestyles and what’s hot at the moment.

Any plans for another Nike One Away project?

Not at this moment in time. I’d love to do that again but it means going into the studio and holding everyone at gunpoint until they finish their bars!

Break down what that whole recording process was like…

I spent a lot of time – about two weeks in total – sitting in studios with people until they did their tune.

Name a personal highlight from that time?

I wrote Skeptas’ ‘I Spy’ dubplate which was cool! And getting a Newham Generals dub is always fun too…

What was your favourite dub on there?

Erm…Murked again. That was sick. Battle riddim was also…

Listening back to your old mixes you used to drop a fair bit of Dancehall in there, but not so much anymore. Why?

My attention has just drifted away and I’ve not noticed as many big records as I had done. I’m a bit out of touch now.

Last but by no means least do you have any tips for this year?

Producer wise – J Beatz and Nuklea. MC wise I’d like to see Scruface do stuff this year.

Kristian

No Hats No Hoods Showcase – January 2010

February 1, 2010

No Hats No Hoods showcase @ Tim & Barry’s studio, featuring P Money, Blacks, Royal T, Magic, DJ JJ, Rude Kid, Hammer and the Don’t Watch That team.

Big up to all those involved! Set soon come!

For photos contact me on twitter @threefoldmedia

Kristian

Sinogrime

December 18, 2009

Snow pressed into pavements…Silhouetted trees Sugar-frosted railings and fences…Oil rainbows on slushy roads…People shuffling to work buried in scarves and thick coats…Commuter trains creaking toward the capital…Sinogrime in the headphones.

If ever there was a perfect time for listening to Sinogrime, then this morning was it. Now if you have never heard that term before, you’re not the only one. I wasn’t familiar with it until I read this excellent blog by Dan Hancox. In it, Dan defines Sinogrime as a subgenre consisting mainly of 2002-3 productions by key Grime players such as Jammer, Terror Danjah and Wiley. These well-known instrumentals had stark, plucked melodies, skittish drums and brash basslines, evocative of the Far East.

Just as RZA had sculpted the Wu Tang sound from Kung-Fu soundtrack samples, the aforementioned beat makers hacked away at Zen meditation CD’s and film scores in search for similarly cold, deadpan riddim. Not only did Sinogrime, as Hancox eloquently put it, refract the “millennial promise of a new superpower”, but more-importantly I think, it aligned a burgeoning British urban genre with Wu Tang’s already infamous sound and revolutionary ethos.

Wu Tang forever changed Hip Hop with their lo-fi ASR-10 drum kits and brutal, street-based lyricism that manifested the social and economic constraints they faced. Their music was a cold, emotionless threat that snatched attention from the West Coast and brought it back to New York City’s projects. In the New York City metropolis, G-Funk didn’t translate – it’s warm, bass-heavy sonics were made for Cadillac’s and parties, not the tinny headphones of a street-based Brooklynite or a boom box in the Bronx.

Arguably, a similar parallel can be drawn between Garage and Grime. Sinogrime, however fleeting as a subgenre, made a similar statement of intent. It said the bubbly raves were over. All that was left was the cold reality of Blair’s Britain. Framed within the communist bleakness of the Orient, the mournful brass melody of Jammer’s ‘Thug’ (the first beat on Kode9’s mix below) rings out like a funeral march – not only for those living in barren council estates across Bow and the like, but for Garage music itself. Broadcast over tinny pirate radio frequencies, beats like this were a kind of death toll to good times past.

Even though the Grime sound has since moved on, those same Sinogrime principles exist today. As we face another year of discontent, I suggest Grime music curb its flirtation with other genres and tap into these deadening sounds once again. Not only would it offer new, expressive and musical ideas from within, bolstering Grime’s own artistic nuances, the results would also prove fitting for Winter settings like those outside today.

Kode9’s Sinogrime mix for Dan Hancox & Lower End Spasm Blog here.

Kristian

Kidrobot Store Opening in London

October 27, 2009

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Kidrobot, everyone’s favourite toy and apparel label, is finally opening an outlet in the UK – in London to be precise (where else?)

Grand opening is on Thursday 19th November, from 6-8… I could continue typing but all the info is up there, so why waste both my time and yours? Just head down and buy some stuff innit.

James