Originally from Sweden, Tommy Sparks promises organic and up beat music for us all. His music is a fusion of all the past decades with elements of the 70’s and 80’s compressing to make his sound exceedingly current. Presently signed to Island Records he’s definitely one to keep your eyes on.
Not only is he a class musician, but after doing this interview I found out he’s so funny and an ace guy! I found myself laughing at literally everything he said like an uncontrollable little school girl. Thanks Tommy for an entertaining interview! =]
How did you get into Music?
Well I tried to get a normal job but I couldn’t get one so I thought I’m just gonna be like a musician cus any loser in the world could be a musician. I work hard not to work you know.
Your sound is quite different from other artists, how would you describe it?
I think it’s a pop sound you know, but it’s influenced quite a lot from like 70’s bands and stuff like that.
Where do your inspirations come from?
Well you know, this is a hard question to answer, I mean I’m a big hip hop fan but obviously you know my record isn’t hip hop at all but I like all kinds of music like Talking Heads and The Arrhythmics, I like everything you know from house music to heavy metal.
What artists would you like to collaborate with?
Erm… probably try collaborating with like the biggest artist in the world so that might be Michael Jackson? But apparently his nose is gonna fall off so I don’t know if he’ll be able to you know, it’d be a pretty bizarre recording session with a guy with no nose.
I think he’d possibly die?
Yeah! Ahh!! Maybe not Michael Jackson. Who else is really big, Whitney Houston, maybe?
Yeah… although she’s got the drugs issue… so maybe someone without problems?
Ahh someone without problems, who’s that then? Someone who’s happy and nice, The Jonas Brothers?
So you were in a band called Vatican DC, how does your solo image and sound differ from when you were with them?
Well Vatican DC was more like the Punk kind of band you know. I’m more of a pop act, The Vatican DC was a lot more angry and I was just a bit bored of playing angry music so I thought I’m just gonna play like happy music and here I am.
So… maybe a bit more commercial?
Yeah, yeah… I don’t even know what commercial is so?
I guess it’s just whatever the majority enjoy listening too?
Yeah, like ice-cream, everyone loves ice-cream.
I’m sure there’s someone out there that doesn’t? Anyone that doesn’t like ice-cream let me know!! =]
What do you like and dislike about being a solo artist compared to being in a band?
I like it, like anything. It’s good fun to be a solo artist and I’ve got a great band working with me, so it feels like I am in a band. They’re all like awesome great people, we have fun on tour.
What’s been the highest and lowest moment of your career?
The highest one I think is now, I like being where I am and doing what I do. The lowest one that’s probably when The Vatican DC broke up, being in a band is like being in a relationship so it’s always quite heartbreaking. I was crying every night.
Bless you!! But look at where you are now! It was worth it!
Yeah, I’m in Reading now in a back yard, that’s where I am.
HAHAHA!! Well I’m at home doing nothing, so you beat me!
Yeah, I beat ya!
What is the concept behind your song ‘She’s Got Me Dancing’?
That’s just a song for the lady to get out of their seat and you know not be so angry with me all the time hahaha, I dunno? What is the concept? I just wanted to make a song that was direct and uplifting and fun you know. I’m not really a deep person; I’m a very shallow guy so I just want everyone around me to be as equally shallow and happy.
Haha! So who’s the girl that got you dancing?
Ahhh oh nah, that’s too ah I can’t even bring it up, it’s heartbreaking. I don’t wanna talk about that anymore, I just got over it, now you’ve just brought it back up.
SORRY =[ I’ll buy you a pony and make it up to you?
Yeah, preferably pink.
What are your best dance moves?
The hand to the side kind of thing in the video, that’s mine. I taught everyone… it took like ages. No one could do it and I was like that’s the easiest dance move in the world. I mean you can see how they dance in the video. I also like the guitar leg, play a bit of guitar on the leg, that’s a hot move.
The video for the song is quite comedic and old school, why did you choose to go for that kind of image?
Well… cus I look at videos, and all artists urgh they try and look good and be interesting, deep and cool. I just thought you know what, I don’t wanna try and look cool, I just want to make something that’s fun and different you know. I went to this guy called Eric Wareheim, he’s an American comedian and he’s an amazing guy, really talented.
I asked him, ”Would you make a video?”
And he was like, ”Yehp!”
And I was like, ”For realllll?… Aite cool, what is this video gonna be?”
He was like, ”It’s gonna be like a freak party in outer space.”
And I was like, ”That’s DOPE! Let’s do it.”
That was it you know, I’m really proud of it!
The video was shot in LA, what was that experience like for you?
I’ve been to LA before; it wasn’t like a holiday, unfortunately. We literally flew out, shot the video and flew straight back. I got to meet all the people in the video, which was amazing. I love the muscle woman, there’s a video on YouTube where she squashes my head between her thighs I think yeah, that was kind of arousing erm and really scary at the same time.
The song was used on Britain’s Got Talent, if you weren’t signed, is that a show that you could see yourself entering?
Well….erm no actually. I don’t think so, I actually never ever watched it, cus I don’t really ever watch TV. But someone text me saying, ”Your songs on Britain’s Got Talent!” and I was like, ”Britain’s got what?” I didn’t even really know what it was until they told me so that’s cool you know, people can use my song for whatever… weddings, bar mitzvah’s and funerals.
Hahaha, Funerals? =S
Yeah, maybe not appropriate.
I heard somewhere that someone played ‘The Crazy Frog’ at a funeral… so at least your song would be more appropriate then that, it’d have words in and be done by a human.
Ahhhhhh my godddd, crazy frog, maybe ahhhhh god, that is terrible!! Actually, if someone said, ”What’s the worst song you could play at a funeral?” That is yeah… that is pretty good.
You play all the instruments yourself, are you self taught or did you take lessons growing up?
I’m self taught, I’ve never had lessons. I kind of wish I did cus then maybe I would know more like the science of music but I don’t really know anything about you know, chords and I can’t read music. Sometimes, I feel like that’s something I’m lacking but at the same time you know, fuck it. On the record, I played most of it besides the drums; I have a really amazing drummer called Tal Amiran, so that’s cool.
You worked with Mike Crossey, who’s produced for Arctic Monkeys and The Kooks… that must’ve been an honour?
Erm well… I think the honour was for him to work with me, really, to be honest. No but, he’s a really nice guy. He’s from up North you know, so it’s none of the London bullshit with him, he’s really down to earth and just sound. In London you get a lot of people that think they’re like the don of the dons, it’s a great place but has its ups and downs. The people there walk in the room like they’re the coolest shit ever you know, I didn’t get any of that from him. I’d make another record with him just to hang out with him; he’s also really good at what he does.
What other passions do you have besides music?
Erm… I like ponies? And small animals?
So do I, I worked at an equestrian centre for my work experience. They had cute little ponies =]
I don’t really like little ponies! Haha, actually I hate horses. My passion and my everything is music. I like tattoos as well and I’m a really big fan of Japan. I strongly recommend it. If you want to save up and go anywhere, you should go to Tokyo, it’s totally amazing.
You travelled a lot of places before actually coming to London, what made you settle down in England?
Erm… I was kind of the outsider in school and my sister lived in England and I thought I’m gonna go over there and then it was great, you know I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the people, loved the language and loved mushy peas, fish and chips, chips curry sauce! Cheesy chips!
Haha so the food made you stay?
Yeah the culinary experience, I was just like, ”Ahh I gotta stay here.” I’ve been here for almost 14 years now, it’s coming up too even longer than I was in Sweden, and it’s all good.
You’re officially a Londoner.
I’M A LONDONER!!
Your managers also your best friend, what’s that like? Do you guys ever get side-tracked?
No, we don’t really. His names Chris Gentry, he used to be in a band called ‘Menswear’ he used to be like the cutest boy in there. So, it’s really good to have a cute manager you know, cus I don’t like hanging out with people that are not cute, so that’s really good for me. No, it’s good to work with friends I believe in that, you have better communication and you can have arguments without falling out. We do get side-tracked occasionally; we’ll be like, ”Let’s do a meeting” and end up four days later in different country saying, ”What happened?”
Do you have any phobias?
Erm… I do actually, I don’t like birds. Not the female human being but I don’t like the animal. They kind of freak me out a little bit.
They fly at your face.
Yeah…… the pigeons they’re like in my face, like flapping their wings and I’m like get out my face.
You’re playing at Glastonbury this year and have already supported Ladyhawke and The Prodigy, presuming they’re quite big crowds to play too. Do you ever get nervous, if so how do you deal with it?
Erm… with half a bottle of vodka normally to just calm me down. That normally works, no well I get a little bit nervous sometimes but our show and our band you know we just kind of want to create almost like a club atmosphere for everyone to just get lost in the music. I’m kind of bored watching bands just standing on stage, just expecting for people to think they’re amazing, that to me is just boring. That’s like an open rehearsal to me.
When’s the album out? What can we expect from it?
Urm… You can expect one of the best records ever made and it’s probably gonna change your life for the better. I actually don’t really know when it’s out; it should be out in a couple months.
For those of you who haven’t seen the video for Tommy Sparks’ ‘She’s Got Me Dancing,’ check it out >
I’m ADDICTED to it, hope you all love it too!
For more info on Tommy check out: http://www.myspace.com/tommysparksmusic
Neelam Atique – May ’09
So, I don’t know about you guys but Paolo Nutini’s song ‘Candy’ has been on repeat on my iTunes player for a while now. It’s an amazing song, so I thought I’d share it with those of you that may have not heard it yet…. Yes, I’m a giver =]
Paolo Nutini is a Scottish singer and songwriter hailing from Paisley.
His debut album ‘These Streets’ released in 2006 has sold millions of copies and his songs have featured in episodes of CLASS shows such as Scrubs, CSI and Grey’s Anatomy. Paolo has also supported some of the industry’s most talented artists such as Amy Winehouse and even The Rolling Stones and these types of achievements have led him to be recognised as an artist definitely to watch out for, all over the globe.
His musical sound is quite earthy, natural and one that is incredibly difficult to pinpoint, there’s extreme variety ranging from soul, jazz, blues, and even folk ambiences.
As he explains, ”Musically where I’m at, I don’t really have a genre or style that I feel a part of.” ”It’s a bit of random mish mash.”
The concept for his song ‘Candy’ was developed after an argument that occurred with his girlfriend, later he realised that he was the one who was at fault. (If only he had asked me, I could’ve told him, women are ALWAYS right, even when we’re wrong, we’re right! It’s been scientifically proven.)
The song ‘Candy’ was co-written by Ethan Johns who has worked with the likes of Ryan Adams and The Kings of Leon. It is also the first release from his highly awaited NEW album entitled ‘Sunny Side Up’ which is out JUNE 1st!
Born on the 9th of January 1987 and therefore still young… Paolo’s new album promises growth and a more developed sound, so make sure you go out and support our home grown talent by purchasing it!
Here’s the song ‘Candy.’ Hope you all LOVE it as much as I do =]
Neelam Atique – May ’09
It’s been DAYS since I went to see The Hoosiers play live at Leicester University avec ma soeur et mes amis.
It’s about time I started to get over it but when you’re from Leicester it stays with you as no-one that’s talented ever comes here. =[
Yup, its sad… maybe we should have a minute silence?
Starting from, NOW.
[Note: If you manage to read this whole blog during the minute silence let me know and I’ll buy you a lollypop. ;]
Once upon a time on 19th February @ 7pm…
We arrived at the venue having no idea where the ticket box office was…
So, I decided to ask around…?
The first guy said, ”I tink it’s at the front ya’knoh.”
[In an COOL Irish accent – I think he was the manager of one of the supporting bands.]
I should have really given up after him, because it was FREEZING and it turned out the box office was actually at the front.
In conclusion, ALWAYS trust the man with an accent, he’s ALWAYS right.
Once we got in, I managed to swerve my way right to the front of the stage, being small has its advantages, that plus +
A secret, I’m… SUPERwoman, if ONLY I was dressed as one.
I was an incy wincy bit late in finding out that it was a fancy dress gig, so decided to go dressed as a human.
The first support act was, ‘Officer Kicks.’
Being OVER excited I had mistaken them for The Hoosiers, and the fact that their drummer was tiny just like Irwin and had a similar haircut going on.
Anyway they made us do a lot of ‘Oi Oi’ing,’ and were REALLY good.
Although I don’t think their guitarist realised his ARSE was showing through like pretty much most of performance, if your reading this pull your jeans up son, but I guess it makes you even more of a rocker.
You’re a legend; after doing a recent survey I found that:
‘95% of people in Leicester now wanna show their arse off too.’ =]
The second supporting band was, ‘The Script.’
These guys were WICKED, not only was their guitarist EXTREMELY smiley the whole night, bless him… but their vocalist is AMAZING.
Here’s a MUST SEE video I found of theirs, mic check it 1,2,1,2.
After they got off stage, this BIG man came in my way justttttt before The Hoosiers were about to perform.
I was mentally jumping on my sofa screaming, ”I hateee him, I hateee him, I hate himmm.”
[By the way if your reading this Big guy, I’m joking… I love you really, please dont hurt me, I have a family…… hurt them instead?]
I wanted to zidane headbutt him, I think he 6th sensed that and moved to the left.
MISSION POSSIBLE, yaaay!! =D
Whilst, The Hoosiers were performing I realised:
1) Martin has STYLE for days!
2) Alphonso is just SHOWER.
3) Irwin is ZEE BEST.
4) One of the security guards looked like Vin Diesel, he was the right build and everything! I bet he felt like he needed his own protection after all our staring, but it was hard not too, I’m sorry Mr.Bouncer, next time I’ll wear sunglasses so you can’t tell =].
Towards the end Irwin [the liar] claimed what he was singing was their last song, so we ran like rabbits to try and hunt them down for a picture…
BUT after some MAGICAL CHANTING for an encore; they came back on stage WOOOOP!!!
So don’t believe what they say, even if they have an accent, only trust the IRISH, that’s the REAL trick to life.
This was the only worst case scenario of the gig because we didn’t even get to meet them and our view turned kind of SHITE towards the end, maybe it’s karma for not being worried about Ray?
I KNOW, unfair or what!?! Sadness was running through me, after a couple more songs eventually EVERYTHING goes dark and FINITO.
The Hoosiers have left the building.
Overall, the night was BOOMbastic, say me fantastic, touch me in my back he says I’m Miss Ro…mantic.
Neelam Atique – Feb ’08
How did the team come together?
Were all from the same area and everyone was spitting or doing something that involved them with music so we thought why not come together and start a team.
What would you say makes your team different from any others out there?
Well… boy our bars are the BEST. Were the main under 21’s out there and everyone in our crew is DIFFERENT. We got people that have bars, people with flow and were the best at it, really and truly.
What’s your view on UK artists making Hip Hop music?
We like that; it shows versatility because you can’t just stick to one type of music you need to expand. You see us lot, were also working on Hip Hop material at the moment it’s not just about garage and grime. Were working on BARE stuff like; funky house so it’s good. It’s good.
What projects are you currently working on?
Right now were just trying to get out there more and cause hype around our name. As soon as the hypes back up they’ll be many more new projects like Mix tapes. Obviously I myself am a producer so I’ll be working on other people’s projects. At the moment, I’m working with a production crew by the name of ‘Young Blazers,’ which consists of 80’s baby and Benny Busy, the first single is going to be called ‘Crazy,’ which should be out very soon along with the mix tape shortly after entitled ‘Welcome To The Future.’
You’re mixtape ”The Links Are Too Strong” had collaborations with Wretch, Scorcher, and many top producers how did that link up come about?
People recognise talent, so when you holla at someone and they think that you’re good then it pretty much just goes from there. You just collaborate, work together and come up with something good.
Where do your inspirations for your bars come from?
I don’t really get any inspirations from anywhere else than besides me. I just really really rate myself. I obviously rate other people as well but in the end I think I’m the best, not trying to diss anyone else but it just me really.
Yeah, it’s good to be confident but always remembering to be humble at the same time.
Yeah of course, its not cockiness but at the end of the day I believe in myself.
Do you think that maybe some of the younger mc’s and producers in the scene are better then the elders?
Yeah definitely, I know a lot of youngers, I know one boy that’s spitting and he’s better than his older brother. There’s bare good people out there. I think Ice kid and Chipmunk are good as well so the youngers are coming up still.
With so many of you in the team, how did you decide on the name?
Were all a big crew innit, with a combination of skills so Combination CAMP, and the chain obviously we don’t like to be classed as youngers but were somewhere there in the scene between the elders and youngers.
Describe your music in a few words.
Bars, flow, versatility, were basically on entertainment.
What other activities are you guys involved with outside of music?
Back in the day we used to take part in helping out at the youth club around my area, so we’ve been doing that.
You obviously know quite a lot of elders in the scene does that help having the experience? What things have you learnt?
Just keep going and never stop, I rate Wretch, to me he’s the best in the scene. He’s just doing his thing and what he did was just continuously keep going, so for that I look up to him.
What would you say is the highs and lows of being in a team?
When you’re on it, the other people in the team might have other things they need to be doing, so that consequently holds everything back. The best thing about a crew though, were all friends so when we go out its absolute jokes.
Many of the tunes on the Mix CD were produced by Wizz, who’s also involved with Magic Fingaz. What’s the latest news on the production crew?
Boy… Magic Fingaz at the moment everyone is doing their individual thing but for people who think I’ve died out just want to say I’m in the lab. When I do come out, I’m gonna be everywhere. As will Magic Fingaz, soon we will be getting back together once we get the time.
Neelam Atique – Feb ’08
Why the name Purple?
That’s just been my name in the hood from day still, my names Ronnie init so it’s like the little Vimto character Purple – Ronnie.
How did you get involved with True Tiger?
A few years back I got a phone call out of the blue from Stanza and he talked to me about what True Tiger was doing and I then started to roll with them and we began to make music. The first song that we done was called, ‘Real Life’ which didn’t even come out and then the second song that we recorded at the studio was called, ‘My Life,’ and then we just took it from there still.
Is it because of True Tiger that the whole music started off for you, or were you involved with things before?
I was doing a lot of pirate radio station appearances and just going around London and getting my name out. People knew my name from before True Tiger, so I wouldn’t say that it was True Tiger that made me, they came to me and at that time they were doing mainly 4×4 music and then they got involved in the grime scene. I resent the fact that people think that’s what made me, so I want to do a shout out to all the people that have known from day one what’s been going on.
What projects are you currently working on?
Were working on the album which will be released under True Tiger some time next year and I’d love to tell you what it’s going to be called but at the moment I can’t.
I tried to bribe him, I even told him I’d do his homework for a month but he still didn’t give in Interrogation was a complete failure… this man can keep secrets.
What can you tell us about it then, any details?
At the moment all the tunes that have been done have mainly been done by me, but I will be collaborating with NY but to be honest with you I’m not feeling anyone around here to the point that I want to go out my way and collaborate with them, other people may feel like that about me but that’s how it is.
What part of London are you from?
I’m from West London, Acton….W3.
JOOOP JOOP! I don’t know about the postcodes still… coming from Leicester. It all gets too complicated =[ I tend to keep it simple with just North, West, South, East London… but still ACTON all the way, you all are truly SHOWERish. BUH BUH BOW W3 … YEAH I MADE A REMIX.
What would you say is the best and worse part about being involved in music?
Obviously, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of the music scene and the main positive points for me has to be writing and performing. I actually feel the writing bit more than the performing but both give a buzz.
Why do you prefer the writing over the performing?
I don’t want to say that my music is more special then others yeah, but what I’m on and what I’m trying to do. I come across with positive stuff and when I’m writing it’s a special time for me. I feel like I’m doing some good work, I find it like meditation. To get the best out of myself I have to be in a good state of mind and then the bars all just come out.
He’s like the grime Ghandi… Power to the PURPLE.
What about the bad part then?
There’s negatives when in comes to the music industry, there the same negatives you find in real life. There’s bare temptations, negativity in a sense it’s like evil. Also, being in the music thing a lot of people that don’t know you judge you, you get me.
YEAH of course I GET CHU. Bruzaaa Bruzaaa. Get Meh.
Bare people hate on you for no reason because they think they know you, but that’s just a part of life.
What’s your view on MC’s clashing in order to get their name out?
Getting big from clashing is just a bio-product. I think you should clash someone if you’ve got to deal with something but I don’t think there’s any point sending for someone, you should only do it if it’s very necessary you get me.
You’ve performed in many different countries, where do you enjoy performing the most and why?
I obviously enjoy performing in England it’s the ends but foreign countries… I did a festival this summer alongside Red Hot Chilli Peppers, called ‘Rosekilde Festival’ in Denmark which was live. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed the country more than others but for me that was definitely my best performance to date.
In what department would you say the UK is slacking when it comes to music?
First of all, the organisation and the business side of things, because there are so many artists in the scene but quite a lot of them don’t have the business mind. Also, the levels of the artists aren’t really that high. The artist’s here aren’t bringing a lot of excitement and personality.
Since, being involved in music has your views on anything changed?
I don’t know if it’s down to being involved with music as you grow up you learn new things but I don’t know if I can directly connect it to being involved in the music. I remember before I used to look down on certain people for instance, people that would go out and take pills, drink bare and just get mashed but I can see now that everyone is one unit. I live my people differently and so do they. It’s also made me see money isn’t totally the route to all evil; it can be used in positive ways.
What kind of things do you like to write about?
When I’m living negative, like at the moment I just can’t write. I like to write about interesting things though, anything and everything. It’s all about writing about the timeless things, the imagination and detail. I’m trying to do this for my people; the one’s who are living the same type of life as me.
For more info check out: http://www.myspace.com/pusimba
Neelam Atique – December ’07
For thy that do not know’ith. Adaggio is a wonderful violin player. So it’s time to GET TO KNOW’ith .
There’s hardly anyone that does what you do, do you think this makes your job harder or easier?
I think it makes it harder in one way because you have to gain everyone’s respect more, because there’s no one else setting the standards. In other aspects though it makes it easier because you’ll always be the first one people come to when they want your element.
Some people would say that being a violinist limits the things that you can do? What’s your opinion?
I don’t think it limits anything because as a violinist you can turn your hand to any genre of music. One minute I can do; rock, hip hop, soul music or even pop. It only limits the sound if anything, it doesn’t limit the style.
How would you describe your style of music?
I’d describe my music as STREET because of what I do through my music. As well as the classical element I also bring through a bit of reggae, R&B, hip hop, grime and wherever else it takes me really.
If any of you are wondering how I would describe my interviews. I’d describe them as KEYBOARD STREET because of what I do through typing. As well as the normal words, I also type street/made up words such as, ‘Foolian.’ < Yes, you may use it. It's a Twisti Original, and I'm damn proud. Together, we can take over the world….. or WordPress.
How did this all start off for you?
It started off in primary school because I was given free violin lessons and then it just carried on. I joined the orchestra in Hackney where they used to do classical music but they’d also do hip hop as well, I kind of got my influence from there. It wasn’t easy, obviously I had people telling me ”Ahh, the violin is soft blah blah.” But I kept at it and it’s paying off.
Unfortunate Child Neelam: VIOLIN LESSONS! Boy, all we ever got given were Recorders, and all you had to do with them is blow… so the lessons were kind of AIR pie STUH-HILL.
Note: Adaggio did say ”blah blah,” more than twice therefore his blah’s have been severely edited due to EXAGERATION and word exploitation. Yes, you guessed right. I don’t know what I’m talking about as always. It’s all POLITICS, I guess.
What projects have you got lined up?
I’ve done strings for quite a lot of artists. For example N Dubz’ new song that’s coming out. There’s also a song called ‘Sleep Tight,” on Kano’s new album where I was one of the violinist. I’m also hopefully going to be appearing on a TV chat show but I can’t say any names just yet.
You finished shooting your first video for ”I’m Through.” How did that go for you and when can we expect to see it?
Well, it should be dropping sometime in October. It’s a song featuring a young female rapper and it’s about being over love. We filmed it in a luxury penthouse apartment so it’s going to be a lot you know. The video’s been directed by a guy called Mo and he’s really really good. So, hopefully the video will get rinsed and do well.
If you could collaborate with anyone who would you choose?
Urm… I don’t know you know. I’d probably have to say Amy Winehouse because she’s wicked and wild. She reminds me of myself a little bit minus the drugs.
And minus, the really long hair, and the eyeliner, and the dresses, and the BOOBS, but you know I see the resemblance.
Do you play any other instruments?
Nope, just the violin.
Not a BADMAN on the recorder like me then?
[ Laughs ]
(By the way this isn’t the first time he laughed, I made him laugh so much that he forgot English. POW.)
I did play this bass instrument before but I gave it up when I was 15. It was too BIG and I wanted to be a solo player so there was no point for the bass.
Yes, he did tell me the name of the instrument. Like I said, he forgot English, it sounded like some NEXT word. God knows what he was on about. Maybe he’s turned into a crack head like Amy Winehouse. Maybe I have? It’s debatable.
You were on MTV Base’s About To Blow, how was that experience like for you?
Well, now when I walk down the streets people know my name and ask for pictures with me. So, it’s given me a lot of good exposure and it’s also let people hear my voice as suppose to just my violin all the time so it was good.
Where do your inspirations come from?
I looked up to Vanessa Mae. She’s big because she dug out the classical thing into mainstream so I respect her for that as it’s a very hard thing to do.
If you weren’t involved with music, what would your ideal career be?
I would say a messenger and translator. [ Laughs ]
It was some personal joke dudes. For people that don’t like to read: Adaggio basically envies by job.
For people that don’t mind read: Basically, one of my friends was complimenting Adaggio. I know what a suck up… so I was passing the compliments on and yes now he wants to be me.
What reactions do you usually get from people when they see your talent?
It’s usually a surprised reaction and they’re generally really supportive. Everything’s taken off well for me, so I feel blessed.
Adaggio on MTV Base
For more information on Adaggio check out – http://www.myspace.com/adaggio1
Neelam Atique – Oct ’07
WARNING THIS INTERVIEW CONTAINS WORDS BY SLASH THAT ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR PEOPLE UNDER THE AGE OF 15, UNLESS YOU ARE A ‘BADMAN’ AND HAVE ALREADY LIVED LIFE ON THE ‘ROADS’ THEN IT DOES NOT MATTER AS YOU WOULD HAVE ALREADY HEARD AND USED THEM. IT CONTAINS WORDS SUCH AS FUCK AND SHIT, IF THAT WILL OFFEND YOU PLEASE DO NOT READ.
How did the name Mr. Slash come about?
It’s just one of them things that really just stuck from school you know.
Neelam’s Theory – *Cough* SURE *Cough* I think that one day someone really pissed him off [called him a ginger boy who knows…] and he went and slashed them or something but then who am I to guess? I suppose we will never know.
What would you say is the hardest thing about being a producer?
Definitely finding your own style and being accepted for it because anyone can make a beat and make it sound like a Davinche beat, a Maniac beat, or a Rapid beat because even till this day there are people who don’t like my sound so the important thing is getting past that.
Neelam The Wanabee Producer – Trust me, he speaks the truth, just the other day I tried to make a Timbaland beat, but wasn’t accepted for it. So many haters, wishing they could be as WACK as me… go get a life, stop hating. GOSH.
Who would you like to collaborate with outside of the grime scene?
I make music but at the end of the day I’m a grime producer… I don’t really care about people outside the grime scene and working with like Jim Jones or Santana, I’m not really on that but if I could do a tune with anyone, I’d do a grime tune with Mavado.
Do you think it’s important to be humble to gain people’s respect or is the music the only thing that matters?
Most definitely you do need to be humble. I’m a very humble person… I did a DVD yesterday and I was talking about how I like a lot of producer’s music but I don’t like them because their arrogant little sh*ts, they’ll do one thing and think they’re Dr Dre. I’ve got kind of far with my music because of my attitude, I’m always willing to help other people that have helped me and I’m willing to go that further step rather then thinking I’ve done one big tune and now I’m a superstar. I’ve always had loads of people willing to put my music out for me rather then have them think that I’m a pre-Madonna like, ‘Fu*k you Slash… you put out your own mix CD.’ The music helps but the personality and attitude is a big part of it as well.
Neelam Is Stunned – I thought I talked a lot ^ ^ ^ I guess not.
What’s the one thing that your listeners probably don’t know about you?
Probably my background, because I’m half Irish, quarter English and quarter Jamaican and that I work full time at the bookies… that’s what people are most likely not to know.
Is there anything you would like to do in life that you haven’t yet had a chance to?
I’m one of these people that live day by day and I don’t really look at things in a long perspective because I could be here today and gone by tomorrow… but I’d like to travel.
Your working full time, does this mean that you don’t regard being a producer as a real job?
I used to because music was my only main legal source of income but I weren’t thinking of it as a job but more as a hobby. I still do it seriously though, I’m still making money off of it but in grime you shouldn’t make yourself a producer as a job because it doesn’t really pay that well. Just because I’m working full time doesn’t mean that I’m not on the music thing, it just means I haven’t got as much time to do as much music as I would like. I still regard it as my main thing like when people ask me what I do, I don’t say to them I’m a customer services assistant, I say I’m a producer.
I read in an interview that you would like to be a comedian. What would you say is the lamest joke you’ve ever told?
I dont really tell jokes… the reason I’m a funny person is because when I describe stories people laugh, I’m not really one of them people with gags. Hmmm…let me think of a sh*t joke…. This one is really sh*t, one of my friends said it to me, ‘If a horses head is facing North East, where is its tail facing?’
Neelam Who’s Baffled – [Silence]
Mr.Slash – DOWN….… I didn’t get it myself…
Neelam – That joke just gave lame a totally different meaning still, I’m guessing Mr.Slash is not friends with that person anymore. I don’t even understand it, so if you do please explain.
Does being a producer come as a bonus when getting girls?
On MySpace it does slightly. I read in a Maniac Interview on RWD they were asking if they would ever link a girl off MySpace and them lots were like, ‘Nahh… fu*k that.’ But I know for a fact everyone in music has linked at least one girl off MySpace and anyone that says that they haven’t is lying. I’m not going to stand here and lie, I have linked a couple girls off MySpace and maybe if I wasn’t Mr.Slash and instead I was someone like LondonBoy17 maybe they wouldn’t have come met me and do whatever. Producing does kind of help because obviously some of the girls only do things because of who I am. I’m not saying I’m big but because they see a couple of views and tunes and they think, ‘Ah, he knows this person.’ I have to say though a lot of the people wouldn’t be getting girls off MySpace if it wasn’t for who they were.
Neelam’s Confession – Even I’ve linked a couple girls off MySpace [sarcasm], so I know for definite Maniac has… STOP LYING.
I heard you have a bit of a temper, when was the last time you completely lost the plot and why?
[Laughs] My temper is terrible… the last time I lost my temper in all honesty was when I was on my lunch break from work. I was with one girl and she took me out for lunch. I had a big argument with my ex and I was walking round south of London punching, kicking things and shouting in the middle of the street. When I lose my temper I don’t really care who’s around me. The girl literally had to hold me to stop me from hitting things. I was near the church and there was one of them signs that say ‘Open Monday 9am- 11pm’ and I tried to kick one of them over. That was the last time I properly lost my temper since then I haven’t actually done anything like that for a while.
Good Willed Neelam Recommends – Anger Management – Remember Slash this is for your own good. Please don’t hurt me. Here’s the anger management address… I don’t know this woman but BIG UP Linda.
Linda Quirk, Greyfriars Passage, London, EC1A 7BA
Tel Number: 020 7600 1897
What has been your most embarrassing moment?
I don’t really get embarrassed easily that’s the worst thing but it probably has to be when I was in my room with one girl and my mum walked in on me doing something that I wasn’t suppose to be doing. I jumped behind the door and tried to cover myself with something.
Neelam Thinks – He probably used that ‘Open Monday 9am-11pm’ sign that he tried to kick over, I guess it came in handy. WELL DONE SLASH YOU DESERVE A PAT ON THE BACK.
You’re currently in the process of working on two albums, what can we expect from them?
Basically it’s a compilation of my beats both released and unreleased. It’s an album for the people that haven’t heard of me or the people that haven’t had the chance to buy my music. I’d rather give them a medium of buying it other than downloading it because it gives the fans something. Like I’m a fan of a lot of people so I’d rather buy the CDs over downloading it because it’s nice to have a hard copy in your hand so if people feel the same about my music then it’s for them and also it’s for the wider audience.
Neelam Quotes… ”because it’s nice to have a hard copy in your hand.”
So, that he can SLASH people with the HARD copy when he get’s angry. DON’T BE FOOLED PEOPLE… I KNOW THE MANS REAL INTENTIONS. MUHAHA.
For more information on Mr.Slash visit – www.myspace.com/misterdotslash
Neelam Atique – July 07
After having the P.I.S.S taken out of my showerish Leicester accent and being informed on how perfect and wonderful Wretch 32 actually is by the main man himself… I finally hit him up with some questions.
By the way Wretch – I’m levels above that’s blatant, just check MY punctuation
Your first mix tape was entitled ‘Learn From My Mixtape’ is there anything you learnt yourself that made you go any differently with ‘Teachers Training Day?”
Yeah, that being my first mix tape there’s things that you just pick up on the way e.g. recording techniques. I learnt how to overall perfect my actual finished product. ‘Learn From My Mix tape’ was a learning curve for me as well. If you listen to ‘Teacher’s Training Day’ there are intros, choruses etc… so the next one will be even better as I’m just learning and learning.
Out of all the tunes you have made, which is your favourite and why?
I’d say ‘Who Am I’. I think I executed it well and I actually enjoy listening to it as well so it must be my favourite.
Your going to be releasing the next two mix tape installments, when are you looking to drop them and what can we expect?
Right now, I literally just don’t want to over cram everyone. My third mix tape has been finished for a few months now but a few people said to me that you can’t over pollute the streets… so I’m keeping it easy for a hot minute.
Where do you enjoy performing most and why?
Amsterdam. Scorcher and I had great fun over there. It was like amazing, there were shops yeah and they were selling girls in the shop like, ”Come in, come in.”
You won the ‘BBC 1xtra Most Street Heat Award.’
Neelam”s Ear Hurts – Yes, he was loud and proud.
Why do you think your mix tape was chosen over all the others?
I think it came out of no where and people almost expected nothing and it was something. It gave it that type of uppercut OR maybe it was the cheque that I sent them for 4 grand….. [Laughs]
Neelam’s thoughts – I’m quite upset now because he never paid me anything to do this interview… I paid him… but I think I’ll live.
What’s the one thing that really annoys you about the grime scene?
The grime scene [Laughs] to be honest, DJs not turning up to events, that really gets me; MC’s not turning up too but maybe that’s because their busy when the shows are on or maybe some of them just don’t want to turn up. Maybe some people just don’t want to see the scene progress into live instruments.
Neelam Dares To Ask – What about people like ME bootlegging your mix tape?
[Laughs] You know what I don’t actually mind bootleggers, as I first said if you honestly can’t afford my CD and you need to download it… then download it. I’d prefer if people just told me the truth so I know how much I’ve sold.
Neelam, Who’s Shocked – Wow. I think I just got called broke… I can afford the mix tape man I was only joking, you know I bought it Or did I? I guess we will never know the truth, home boys just cant trust us girls, were scandalous as well.
You were part of MTV Base’s Black History Month, what was that experience like for you?
I’m not going to lie, since growing up in school, being a bad kid comedian and all that I never really got given the chance to get involved with anything so big… It was a touching experience, I felt like I must be doing well to be represented as a person that’s representing black history and I loved that.
Neelam”s Thoughts – I’m still waiting for MTV Base’s British Pakistani History Month SO I can get involved.
Since starting to make music what has been the highlight for you?
Seeing how many people I’ve touched because my music is not exactly hype music… when I see that, it touches me. If it touches you it’s touching me… not exactly physically touching because that would be wrong.
Neelam Says – Yeah… that would be some Amsterdam business.
Nah… you know what we didn’t touch we just looked… I couldn’t understand the price you know it was like one girl for 20 Euros, just didn’t get it… I’m from London we do pounds.
Neelam The Mathematician – 20.00 EUR = 13.4720 GBP… so in other words 2 Wretch Mix tapes = 1 Amsterdam girl.
To what extent would you say grime music influences the youth?
Neelam – I could hear Scorcher in the background answering this one like, ”obviously it influences the youth.” So I thought he might as well join in… so Wretch decides to put his phone on loudspeaker and there you have magic, I get two interviews for the price of one – How lucky am I?
Scorcher – People listen to people like Wiley… and songs like ‘Gangsters’… and they go out and kill everyone, so it’s kind of like you know what I mean.
Neelam The Sheep Agrees – Yes it’s all Wiley’s fault.
Scorcher – [Laughs] Yeah, because he’s like the leader of grime, he should have never made ‘Gangsterz,’ and instead made a tune like, ‘Vote for Labor.’ That would’ve been great man… Nah I’m joking; it has an effect on the kids say if you look at the clothes that some of the grime artists wear… like the Boy Better Know t-shirts, some of us wear Dark and Cold. You get a lot of the kids wearing the clothes also; they catch on to certain things.
Neelam Has Witnessed This All And Talks From Experience – Yeah man, our college has Boy Better Know Tribes stillos.
When writing bars where do your inspirations come from?
Scorcher – I get my inspirations from real life it’s that simple. So, if I’m having a bad day, I write about a bad day. If I’m having a good day I write about…… a bad day. [Laughs]
Wretch 32 – My inspirations come from everyone around me… I feel like were taking steps from making music to becoming entrepreneurs. We started from radio, to making CD’s that are brought in the shops, to holding events, that’s all inspiring to me.
What else do you enjoy doing besides making music?
Wretch – We played football today and we do that every Sunday.
Neelam Is Disappointed – I swear you should be at church!
Wretch – I like listening to music…
Scorcher – I play the piano and also something that I like to do is go-karting.
Wretch to Scorcher – Bruv… you don’t even go kart everyday…
Scorcher – You can’t go kart everyday though because that’s just constant going, you got to stop sometimes. [Laughs]
Wretch – You know what, I like spending time with my son.
Neelam And EVERY Girl In The World – Awww… bless.
Do you think being an MC helps with getting girls?
To be honest no because when I wasn’t spitting I had like 60 girls and now that I am I have like 64. [Laughs] So it only helps IF you let it help… and I don’t do that because I take music deadly serious you know what I’m saying girrrrrl! I love girl power and all that.
Neelam Insists – Really… you should go see the Spice Girls.
Nah… that’s too posh and scary for me…
For more info check out there myspace’s
Wretch 32 – www.myspace.com/wretchclart
Scorcher – www.myspace.com/scorcherofficial
Neelam Atique – July ’07
How would you describe your style of music?
Passionate, hearty, I live in East London where there’s a lot of grime and hip hop and therefore I am a big fan of that type of music. I’m a child of the times, just today I am working with my boy, DJ Wonder, and doing a dub step tune with him; the music you hear out there – I think I’m kind of a fusion between it but with a hip hop root.
Out of all your achievements which one are you most proud of?
I think probably when I did the 2012 performance in Trafalgar square, I had no idea I’d be performing there so soon and it was my biggest audience. It was also the first time I got stage shock and I’m not the stage fright type of person. What happened was we forgot the record bag in the dressing room so Twin had to run back and get them “wow….What a guy” (HE FORCED ME TO SAY THAT)!! We were live on TV and Capital Radio, the cameras were rolling and I had to talk to the crowd for a bit. It was only about a minute but it seemed like ten! I literally just stood there like, Err… [Laughs]. Once we got started it was all good. I was happy because I was able to do my own thing in front of a billion viewers, I was proud of that.
You’ve performed in many countries, which one do you think shows you the most love and support?
Definitely Berlin and also in Melbourne, they show some mad support. Some people would come to see me at one gig then at another they blew my socks off. They couldn’t even understand me and they were going mad, I was like WHAT!? [Laughs] It’s just crazy.
Is there anything you think that UK rappers have that American rappers haven’t got?
We got our own style I think… at the moment I think it’s still raw whereas America is very much polished. I think we represent a lot of more of what the old school used to be like there’s a lot of passionate kids’ making music even though the mixing is terrible [Laughs] but there’s a lot more creativity.
What do you think is the scenes biggest holdback?
People don’t really support each other, I think there’s a breakdown somewhere from where the music is made and played. There’s a lack of understanding on what it takes, and laziness because we have things like Channel U and people think that if their on them sort of things then that’s all they have to do. Some MC’s just brew at you and start beef for no reason, I got some so called “enemies” and I don’t even know how I got them [Laughs]. I just send love back otherwise it just really drains you out. It’s like if we can’t work side by side how we are going to keep moving?
If you could change anything about the industry what would you change?
Just people supporting each other more from the underground to the radio and press, because it seems like people switch on each other too quickly. People always ask me how I feel about Lady Sovereign and as a person she’s proper safe. I like her more than almost all the female MC’s because she’s very genuine. Saying that, I also think she’s definitely had some favoritism from all the media. I’m not going to lie and say she’s the meanest MC and if I was her I would’ve done the same thing and grabbed that opportunity with both hands, but the press don’t acknowledge what we’ve done and suddenly start putting her on the front covers, my beef is more with people who ignore the people who have been doing it for time and the way people treat you when their on a hype, it’s like why do you have to go out the UK to be shown any respect from the UK?
Back On The Endz is out July 2nd, what does the single talk about?
It’s basically when I went away for them 6 weeks I learnt from a lot of people it was like a whirl wind I worked with P Money, some people from New Zealand, South Africa and all different people around the world and basically when I got back I haven’t been the same since. I’ve become a much more focused artist. I mean I love the UK but making music for other countries was just live. I thought why stay in the pond when there’s a sea out there. When I came back everyone was just phoning me and was like ”Are you back, are you back?” and I was waking up at 5 in the morning and writing bars it was just impulse, I was hyped so this tune is just marking me coming back.
For More Info On Tor: www.myspace.com/toruk
Neelam Atique – June ’07
At the tender age of just 17 and busy studying Media, Film, Sociology and Philosophy AND with numerous projects lined up Maniac still manages to stand strong as a major contender in the music scene.
With so much going on, how do you manage to stay on point?
I balance college and music out easily. When I’m not at home, I’m either at college, or doing whatever I’m doing, but college comes first though. It’s not like in last year in school when I would par off my homework to make beats…
Neelam’s thoughts – TUT TUT, NOT GOING TO SCHOOL . KIDS YOU MUST NOT DO THIS… ” college comes first though” > DO THAT.
How did the name maniac come about then?
Maniac’s like a double name thing. On 1 hand it’s because I was always in my yard making beats, like a beat Maniac, and on the other hand it’s because I do and say mad things some times.
Neelam Quotes Maniac – ” It’s not like in last year in school when I would par off my homework to make beats…” WE KNOW… WE KNOW…YOU SAY MAD THINGS SOMETIMES. GOSH.
How would you describe your style of music?
I only have one…Versatile…My style will never die out or get boring or repetitive because I switch it up so much. There’s only so much times you can rinse out the same formula.
Seeing that you’re studying a range of different subjects at college, if you weren’t doing music what would your ideal career be?
If I weren’t doing music, I would probably be on football…I fell into the trap. Its either road or music that takes young men off football these days, but I can’t say I’m sad still.
At a young age such as 17… do you see this as an advantage or disadvantage?
I see my age as both an advantage and a disadvantage…on one hand people rate me because I’m young, and have talent. On the other hand some people take me less seriously because of my age…it’s just how it is really.
You’ve obviously been in the scene long enough to know who’s really got talent and who hasn’t, are there any producers that you believe are over rated or under rated?
I think there are a lot of overrated producers, but I’m going to keep humble and not say any names. People even say I’m over rated. I think there are also bare under rated producers, like Delerious.
Moving away from individual people and now onto London, East, North, South, West London… which part do you believe has the most talent?
I reckon North has got a lot of good up and coming MC’s, East has got a lot of talent as well as South, West is a bit too quiet still, I’d like to hear more from them.
Look at an even bigger picture; do you think Grime music has potential to do well commercially?
As long as people in Grime make Good music, that’s grime, it can’t really go wrong. With the right business sense I think Grime can do well mainstream wise, though some say its not meant for that. But our music doesn’t have to be watered down to be liked. Thinking of the Hits, like Forward, it was a Club tune, reached No.11 in the charts, so you would think that was a good formula, but then you see it getting banned in clubs and whatnot. Not a good look.
You get a lot of radio airplay, which other methods of media do you use to promote yourself?
To promote my music it’s basically just MySpace and Radio really. Wiley’s Playtime Is Over got bare exposure, and its selling well, and regularly has tunes from the album playing on radio, so it’s a good look.
Any shout outs?
I want to big up all the Wolfpack mandem, Skitz Beatz, Snoopy, Germz, Ruffsqwad and all the people on their grind, however they’re grinding.
To get the latest on Maniac keep locked to: www.myspace.com/maniacpro
Neelam Atique – June ’07