Posts Tagged ‘style’

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

What’s Hot in 2010 by Sarah Leigh

January 16, 2010

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After a brief hiatus, Sarah returns with her third contribution to the Fold, offering some insider tips on what’s hot for the coming year in fashion, music, art and style.

A little late in the day, and vastly covered by the glossies, but I thought I’d put in my two cents on who (and what) will be unmissable in 2010. From the new set of rock and pop stars to inspirational TV dramas and the latest fashion trends, read on for an essential guide to ‘what’s hot’ for the coming year.

Marina and the Diamonds

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Half Welsh, half Greek Marina Diamandis gained a lot of press last year for her catchy rock-tinged pop and retro pinup persona. 2010 will see big things for this 24 year-old songstress, her latest single Hollywood, from her eagerly awaited debut album The Family Jewels, is possibly the most memorable song of the New Year. Her love of combining 50’s style bodysuits with opaque tights and 80’s shoulder-padded jackets (with a good measure of fringing and sequins) has and will earn her some serious fashion stripes in the months to come too.

The return of Big Love

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Many of you know, and indeed understand my unwavering style-admiration for Chloe Sevigny, and not only does this woman know how to dress herself (or employ a rather talented person who does), but she can act too. Over here in the UK we only got the first season of Big Love, but on the other side of the pond season 4 has just begun on HBO. If Sevigny’s prairie chic attire and polygamous credit card wielding, serial shopping alter ego isn’t reason enough to tune in, then news that original indie queen Sissy Spacek features in this run should be! I’m predicting big things for a prairie inspired look this summer, and Sevigny could just provide the inspiration you need!

I suggest you get on the WWW and download (legally please children) the back catalogue immediately, or buy the boxset on DVD (region 1), or for those of you lucky enough to receive HBO – tune in damn it!

Michael Van Der Ham

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The Dutch Central Saint Martin’s graduate has appropriately taken the fashion and celebrity dressing world by storm, and to be honest I can hardly wait to see what 2010 will see from Mr V D Ham. Autumn/winter 09/10 saw his black and gold asymmetric brocade creations, while spring/summer 10 bought about beautiful silk, satin and tulle lop-sided rusched mini-dresses and candy hued, metallic tinged separates…. Mmm mmm.

Sports Luxe

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For womenswear this year, it’s all about a luxury approach to sportswear. With designer du jour Alexander Wang headlining the trend, 2010 will see jersey applied to just about garment, cycling shorts, knee high soccer socks, tennis skirts and wedge-heeled sneakers taking centre stage. For ultimate stylista points add a 90s grungy twist with laddered tights and don’t ditch those Ray-ban Wayfarers just yet.

The Temper Trap

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It was Temper Trap’s latest single Fader that really made me sit up and take notice of the band. On a bigger scale, the Australian band attribute their new status to their recording sessions with UK producer Jim Abbiss (Adele, Arctic Monkeys). Last year members Dougy, Jonathan, Lorenzo and Toby moved from their native Melbourne to London, and immersed themselves in to the UK music scene, they have since embarked on a headline tour, played festivals up and down the country and been signed to US label Glassnote Recoreds; cue another appearance at the acclaimed South by Southwest festival.

Upon my first listen to their Fader track, I must say it immediately evoked a sense of nostalgia – reminding me of the soft 80’s rock that I love. Indeed, Temper Track are known for their atmospheric sound and pulsating drums. They’ve got a little something going on style wise too, with a nice collection of geek-chic specs, Campagnolo cycling caps and lead singer Dougie’s anarchic school boy charm.

Thom Kerr

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Thom Kerr is my new favourite photographer (let’s face it, I need one since David LaChapelle semi-retired to some lake-side retreat). He combines a mixture of super-glossy fashion imagery with a little surrealism and ever-changing ethereal lighting, not to mention the fact that the accompanying track to his website is Mama Cass’ It’s Getting Better – what’s not to like.

Hailing from Australia, Kerr originally studied fine art film before stepping behind the lens in 2005. There are few image makers to take the industry by such force in such a small amount of time, and with clients already including O’Zine magazine, Christian Audigier and Warner Music, the only way is up.

Saoirse Ronan

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Atonement’s little Briony Tallis is now nearly 15 and an Academy Award, Bafta and Golden Globe nominated actress. Her 2010-released effort, Irena in ‘The Way Back’, looks set to gain in further praise and acclaim.

The beautiful young Irish actress will swiftly take the reins from Emma Watson et all as Europe’s most interesting, talented and dynamic icon.

Letterman Jackets

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Guys, if you purchase one thing this year make it a 1960s style American high school letterman jacket. We’re talking when Danny Zuko turns jock, preppy HSM types but with a teddy boy edge. The key is to mix it up, make it edgy, make it cool – combine it with different styles, granddad-chic, geek-chic, urban, city slicker – the choice is yours.

Sarah

The 24 Days of Christmas – Day 2

December 2, 2009

As we all know, Christmas is fast approaching and as we all also know, many of you will be struggling to think of interesting gift ideas for your nearest and dearest. ‘What shall we buy to show our love?!’ we hear you cry. Well, fear not, for we at the Fold know that sometimes, thinking beyond the usual DVD boxsets/smellies/Xbox games can be a little difficult, and so over the course of December we endeavour to bring you a new gift idea each day on the run-up to Christmas, totalling 24, and with each one we shall also bring you an accompanying song that somehow represents the gift in some way. ‘Gift ideas and related entertainment?!’ we hear you now crying! ‘How on Earth do they manage it?!’

Don’t ask.

Well here is gift idea #2: The Tape Express .

For a certain generation, cassette tapes have a special place close to the heart. The thrill of recording the Top 40 every Sunday evening and the ensuing frustration at being unable to edit out the DJ speaking over the end of each song will be familiar to a great many people. You know who you are, dancing round the bedroom with a tennis racquet guitar under your arm, unable to forget that humble 90-minute format. The way we consume our music has marched firmly into a digital future, but spare a thought for all those lonely tapes, collecting dust under the bed (along with your original Walkman), by completely reviving them with the ingenious Tape Express. Using the included EZ Tape Converter software, you can plug the Tape Express into your computer (via USB cable), play the songs you love and have them converted instantly into MP3 files. Those MP3 files can then be taken anywhere you'd take your other MP3s - into your iTunes library, your iPod or MP3 Player, burned onto CD and generally taken across all the usual digital platforms for your own personal use, and you can power it either by USB or our old friend the AA battery. How versatile is that? Looking not unlike an old personal tape player (presumably because it is a personal tape player), but with a somewhat more contemporary design, it's sleek and small enough to be taken anywhere you go, and functions just like your old Walkman - in case you're craving the feel of tape over MP3. You can even use the audio output to connect the Tape Express to your hi-fi or any external amp.

Text courtesy of IWantOneOfThose.Com.

And here, is an ingenious 80min mix courtesy of the kind folks at NewWork & 2tall, DJ Clockwork & Kper:

DJ’s 2tall, Clockwork and Kper spent about a year making this 80 minute mix of over 200 tracks. Expect 10 years worth of beats, beats and beats, from hip hop into electronica, glitch, dubstep, etc. Why? “.. to highlight the lineage of hip-hop production and beat making from the turn of the millennium to the present day.”

Text courtesy of NewWork.

Tapes Rule!

Kristian

Wiley’s New Style

October 28, 2009

Without trying to sound like rebore Wu Tang, Wiley has fathered many lyrical and musical styles. However, his recent commercial successes, whilst broadening his rapping vocabulary (or narrowing it, depending on how you look at it), have caused a bit of a dry spell on the production front.

But now, it looks like he’s back to his button-bashing best. Over the past couple of months, a few Wiley productions have surfaced that have really caught my attention. Showcasing frenetic drum patterns, little or no melody and sharp interjections of vocal snippets, they contain a hint of the old school, whilst also being totally current and banging.

They are:


Wiley feat. The England 10 – She Likes To

The drums on this kill it. With two kicks battling against skittish hihats and percussive ‘Yelps!’ this is sure to smash it in the clubs. It’s big, brash and dramatic.


Wiley & Shifty vs. Ghetts & Devlin – 1,2,3, GO

This is oestensibly a rap battle track, fully updated and pumped full of adreniline for 2009. The drums are similar to She Likes To but the repeated ‘1,2,3’ refrain adds a nice lead into each verse.

The third example is Fumin’s ‘Out Of The Game’ featuring Wiley, Ice Kid, Jookie Mundo and Diesle, but I couldn’t find a video for it 😛 Sick new style for the Godfather, proving there’s plenty of life in him yet.

Kristian.