How would you say your musical sound differs from other singers currently in the music scene?
I’d say it was different because I’m trying to use different sounds like I’m not scared to jump on a folky sound or bluesy sound and mix that up with contemporary beats and I think that’s the major difference. It’s just not being afraid of using music that may be frowned upon by the urban scene.
You recently completed your album, what can we expect from it?
Erm wow okay… From my album basically it’s going to be like a mix and blend, it’s bluesy influenced, the lyrics are very contemporary, its got a bit of folky, a bit of rocky but it all has an urban tint on it. I like to keep it fresh, I’m not saying every lines a punch line but you know it’s an entertaining album.
Sounds like it’ll be interesting =)
Yeah, I just wanted to make a record that I would’ve liked to listen to, letting people into my brain for a bit [Laughs].
Your music consists of a variety of genres, which do you enjoy making most and why?
Ermmm I don’t really have a favourite to be honest with you, I dunno… I suppose I like different genres for different reasons. I like singing over old styled music cus I think vocally you can kind of let go a lot more, cus obviously like the greats your Etta James’ and your Aretha Franklin’s you know them kind of singers they were singing over old styled music but then lyrically I kind of like to write to quite up tempo tracks. Obviously doing the dancey stuff, doing the funky and the bassline I like writing to those sort of tracks cus they have a good energy.
Is there anything you find easier to write to?
Not particularly actually, it just comes out really. I don’t know where it comes from [Laughs].
Having performed in many foreign countries e.g. France and Beijing, do you believe there is a strong market abroad for UK artists?
Definitely, definitely, I mean particularly now so many great people have come out of the UK scene you know your Amy Winehouse’s, your Adele’s, and your Estelle’s. Especially female artists, I mean the UKs always been big in the music scene, obviously you got The Beatles, and so many great people have come out of the UK so we’ve always been recognised but now I think we’re starting to steal back the crown from the Americans and obviously staking our claim back.
How and when did you know that being a singer is what you wanted to do?
I suppose I’ve always enjoyed singing and have always wanted to sing but I first realised I could make money out of it when I did the Roll Deep album and then Wiley asked me to come down and sign up to a production contract with him and Danny Weed. Which then turned into a production contract with Target and Danny Weed, so basically just starting to earn money out of the scene, I started to think oh wait actually I can do this for a living. But I’ve always enjoyed singing and will always sing regardless of whether I’m making money from it [Laughs].
One of your tracks got signed to a film starring Bob Marley’s daughter. What was that experience like for you?
Yeahhh that was really really cool, that was uber cool really. We went to go watch the film a year a go now I think and it was just weird seeing my track with all these great people in this film, it was just bizarre.
Did you get to meet his daughter?
Errr no… I didn’t actually. I just went to one of the screenings, and so I didn’t go to the premiere or anything.
Was Bob Marley someone that you looked up to?
Ohhh standard, standard, Bob Marley is the root of my music making. I was brought up on Bob Marley; both of my parents were brought up on Bob Marley. I’ve got DVDs, Videos, CDs, everything.
Your parents must’ve been super proud of you then?
Yeah!! I mean I’ve definitely got a long way to go, I’m not at a place to be rejoicing just yet you know in the bank or anything [Laughs]. I’m just enjoying the process and I’m lucky to be even making music that I enjoy and to have had the opportunities I’ve had so far. I think they’re proud of me that I’m going for my dreams and at least trying.
Everyone always speaks about the fact that the music is a tough industry. Would you agree?
I’d say that was probably the biggest underestimation in the history of underestimations [Laughs]. It is a grind and it’s very difficult, I don’t think you can rest on your laurels for anyone or anytime. I think you’ve always gotta be on the grind, you always gotta be trying to think of 2009, 2010, you know what I mean. Instead of doing what’s already been done and everything’s being changed so quickly you gotta be able to adapt more so but also be true to what you wanna be and what you wanna do, whatever makes you happy. You got to move with whatever is happening, but also be able to make money, to learn and to evolve yourself.
What was the hardest part of the industry for you? Any experiences you’ve had?
I dunno… basically just keeping the momentum, knowing who the right people are to work with. You’ve got people who are working for you and with you but you’ve got to make sure you’re doing your own thing and knowing what things you should be doing yourself and what things you should allow other people to do for you and so on. I mean it’s just a learning process really and you sometimes you make the right decisions and sometimes you don’t, you just gotta jump off of the deep end and hope for the best really and learn from your mistakes.
You performed at the ‘Love Music Hate Racism’ gig. Do you consider music as an effective tool for getting messages across to the public?
One hundred percent, a million percent! I hate people who actually turn around and say that you know ‘’music doesn’t influence the youth’’ bollocks. As far as I’m concerned that’s such a bag of shit cus I know that I was influenced by music and every part of me. I totally think that if you’re given a platform, whatever industry you’re in, whether it’s to do with singing, acting or anything, if you’re given a platform you should say something and hopefully it’d be constructive. I don’t wanna be a preacher or nothing like that but if you’re gonna say something then SAY something.
Neelam Atique – July ’09
How did the name Double S come about?
When I started year 7, everyone had a tag name in school and I didn’t even have one. I was thinking ‘’Ahh I need a tag name.’’ Then my mum bought me my first PS2 and my first ever game was called ‘Silent Scope’ but it was a bit too long and a bit too technical so I thought let me try shorten it down, then I saw two S’ so I thought of Double S. After that I was called Silent Scope a.k.a Double S. During that time I kept changing what the S stood for example Small Soldier. Then when I really wanted to do music properly I changed it to Street Sounds.
On your MySpace you claimed there weren’t many artists who know how to write good songs. Who would you say in the scene is making good music?
Right now, mainstream wise I think its Tinchy Stryder, Chipmunk and N-Dubz. Most the people are coming from our scene, there are lyricists up there as well init but in the grime scene we got Wretch 32, Ghetto, Scorcher and Marvell as well. So it’s a good look right now. But the way they sometimes portray grime yeah I don’t really like it. It’s like if you’re gonna talk about stabbing and killing and all that yeah, then that’s what anyone that comes over here will see so they won’t really wanna listen to grime. But if you show them that you actually have a talent like you can write metaphors, word play or make concepts up, they’ll think ‘’Ahh that’s actually good, I didn’t know grime did that.’’
You’re currently signed to Alwayz Recordings, what advantages are there to that compared to being an unsigned artist?
Alwayz Recordings really and truly yeah we’re basically still unsigned, it’s not a major label but at the same time with Alwayz Recordings we’ve got like the facilities there, like we got the studio there, we got the money behind us. If you jump into music and you expect to get anywhere without no funding behind you, you’re just running around in circles and you’re not gonna get no where. With Alwayz Recordings it’s actually helped me a lot during my career cause before Alwayz I was actually gonna quit but obviously my manager Baff, he told me he can do this and that and we sat down and structured how we we’re gonna push me as an artist and make myself a brand within a few either years, months or whatever.
What other passions do you have besides making music?
I think its just music really, because music I put all my time and effort into. I ain’t really got time to do other things nowadays, I want too, maybe eventually I’ll find something. I use to do drawings actually, I was a messed up artist before I started doing music properly. No one could chat to me; everyone claimed that they were better than me. Vertex was alright but no one could chat to me, but then after a while when you start putting effort into something else eventually you’ll think to yourself ‘’I ain’t drawn in like 2 months,’’ then it becomes a year and then it just builds on.
He’s agreed to show me some of his drawings if he has any lying around, so well see if anyone can really ‘’chat to him,’’ although I’ve heard he’s quite talkative, something tells me it won’t be too difficult. Facebook chat here I come.
You featured on the soundtrack for Dubplate Drama, is acting on the show something you’d like to do also?
When I was in Secondary School I actually did Drama, so with Drama I think it’s natural with me cause I’m a funny character. Like I can make someone laugh even if I’m not trying too, I’d probably make someone laugh by just being myself init. When I’m acting I just be myself anyway like I don’t really need to put on any so called persona. So that would actually be a thing I wouldn’t mind getting into.
If you’re wondering whether he made me laugh, yes he did. Did he have to try? A little maybe, it’s arguable =P
What was the journey behind the formation of your team Marvell?
With Marvell we started in like ’07 but we weren’t really taking it too serious and obviously these times I was pushing myself as a solo artist. Marvell first started off as five people and then for some priorities started catching up on them so they had to go do their own thing. Like one of them had a baby, the next one had to go university, one of them moved out of London, so it just got left with me and Vertex. I’ve known Shocka since I was like year 9 cause he went to the same school as me, I just knew that he was a good mc init but Vertex didn’t really know him like that too tough and then Vertex heard him and thought he’s good. Also, for some reason cause we’re all from the same area we’ve just got that Tottenham connection if you know what I mean. We then went on Semtex’s show and we spat a couple freestyles, my manager heard a few of Shocka’s material and suggested we try do something together so Vertex and Shocka did a Rap CD cause those times I couldn’t rap init and it all went well so we just tried running with it and dropped 2 other CD’s and that’s how we got the Marvell name going on and then we dropped ‘Marvell FM.’
Marvell has a single coming out called Trainers/Crep Ft JME, is there any other artist you’d like to collaborate with but haven’t had the opportunity yet?
Who I’d like Marvell to work with is N-Dubz, we we’re talking to Dappy and Fazer yesterday at our studio, they were there with Bashy, Chipmunk, I think they were doing a gun and knife type of song init and we we’re just chatting to Fazer and he was just like ‘’Why don’t you guys come down to the studio and we make a beat and if anything we make a tune?’’ So, we’re gonna go up there and chat to Fazer and see what happens.
What was it like performing at BBC’s Big Weekender alongside the likes of Ne-Yo and Dizzee Rascal?
You know what it was yeah; I didn’t even see Dizzee Rascal cause he was on the one the day before me! The day that I went I saw Akon, Ne-Yo, Boy Better Know, Chipmunk so it was a good experience. I went on stage with my crew and we just tore it up. I was scared cause I thought this is my first time, what I’m I gonna do for them. Like we basically had to attract the crowd init, so we basically just talked to them and showed them, ‘’We’re here for you, and we hope you’re hear for us.’’ So we just tried to show them what we’re about. We done a couple songs off our free mix tape ‘Marvell FM,’ and we did ‘Make Noise’ and I did ‘A Milli’ as well.
Besides writing and studio, what other aspects of being in the music industry do you enjoy?
I really like the tours you know, going to places like Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol cause with London most of the people they see you everyday so most people don’t even appreciate you like for who you are or enjoy and respect your music. When you go to places where they don’t see you yeah but they’ve heard your songs yeah and they think that it’s wicked, they respect you a 100%. I went Hyde Park on Sunday; Kanye West was performing there, Tinchy Stryder, N-Dubz, Florida, and Young Jeezy that was the best show that I’ve been to in a long time. I was in the middle of the park yeah when Kanye West was performing; the park was full from beginning to end. I was enjoying that, it went on for like an hour and a half, he didn’t take one sip of water but he still smashed it.
What other projects are you working on?
Well Marvell is working on ‘The World Is Ours’ EP which should be out August / September, I’m not gonna put a date on it cause you know how these things are. ‘Marvell FM Vol.2’ will be out somewhere down the line. That will shock you cause we’re gonna record it in something like 4 days and just release it, we’re not gonna tell you what day or anything. Then there’s the Marvell album and after that I should start working on my own material. I was gonna release my album next year and call it ‘Flow Father’ but then I’ve got so many other new names that I ain’t gonna put a name on it but just know that the CD is nearly rapped and it sounds like madness but I don’t just wanna release a song and then stay quiet for like 4 months, I want everything to be perfect. Then I’ve still got the features that I’m doing as well, and I’m killing the features.
For more info on Double S / Marvell keep locked to: http://www.myspace.com/doublemvl
Neelam Atique – July ‘09