You currently have your own show on Kiss Radio, how did that come together for you?
Basically I was doing a show on Friday night on Rinse FM; I’ve been doing that for about two and a half years and I put together a free CD which I gave out. It was meant to go in a tape pack but the company never ended up using it so I just pushed it out myself. One of the people on Kiss heard that and really liked the music that was on there and had heard my show on Rinse a couple of times as well and I was asked to come in and record a demo show. Then they asked me to do a couple of cover shows for one of their DJs that had gone away for a couple of weeks and because the response was so good on the cover shows I did, they gave me a slot.
Do you believe there’s still a large audience for grime music?
Well just giving you an idea, in terms of listening figures for Kiss FM, when it comes to specialist radio shows, in the 11pm-1am slot which is when I’m on. There are obviously shows on everyday of the week; I’m only on one day of the week. In that time slot I have the most listened to show out of all the shows in that time slot. On the Kiss FM website, you know people coming and listening to the show on the player during the week, using the listen back feature, I am the fourth most listened to show on the entire station and that includes every show even including the day time shows. My listening figures are constantly over 100,000 people every time they do the radio figures so yeah.
Playing only Grime music, do you think that ever holds you back or limits your opportunities?
Well if I played any old pop music I’d have even more listeners. You can extrapolate that to the tenth degree and you’ll end up with everyone listening to you but yeah I am a DJ because I enjoy Grime music. I am a professional radio presenter because I enjoy Grime music, Kiss gave me a show to do a Grime show, they didn’t give me a show to do a Logan show, and they didn’t give me a show to do a UK Urban show or a British Black music show or anything like that. They got me on to do a Grime show, that’s what I do, no one else on legal radio does that and I think there’s too many DJs out there now that play anything and they don’t really stand for much musically and I think you know what I do is something different and it’s something important.
How do you go about selecting what music to play and what artists to invite onto your show?
Yeah Im on Kiss and Kiss is a very commercial mainstream station and Grime isn’t very commercial mainstream music. So my show is like a bridging point between underground music and a commercial audience. So unless you’re an artist that has done the work already, you’ve already got a fan base, people know who you are its unlikely you’ll be getting played on my show. When I started doing my show I thought it needs to be a tool so people who have come from the Grime scene are able to push on and go into the mainstream so that more names can come through because if you’ve got people like Wiley, Skepta, JME and Ghetto and those type of people who are big names in the Grime scene and they’re just staying very underground and not moving upwards then there’s not gonna be any space for new names to come through. And as you’ve seen Tinchy Stryder is doing really well, Skepta’s starting to be a bit more consistent for himself and Wiley’s had success and these artists are just starting to move through. There’s space being created for new names like P Money. We’re just seeing continuous upward movement; the artists are doing better and making more and more money. I think my show has done what I wanted it to do, which is become a platform for these artists to become more widely known and be more successful.
How important of a role do you believe DJs play in the music industry?
It’s strange these days because the music industry is going through a lot of changes. I think the DJ plays quite an important part but now with YouTube, Facebook, Mix tape and that sort of thing, you can have a tune that’s big and promote yourself. I think though you’ll always need a DJ cus the DJs the guy that gets your tune played on the radio and the clubs. So I think a DJs still important but it’s not like if you’re not getting a DJs support that you have to give up or that sort of thing, you can actually go out now and do your own thing and build yourself up so that the DJs end up supporting you as well.
In your opinion, which artist would you say is representing grime properly and to the fullest?
I can’t really say like only one person is representing Grime properly because there are many different aspects to Grime, so that’s not really something I could answer. Anyone that comes out and is making music and doing well is representing Grime.
Your predictions on who will be the next artist to get signed?
Well Chipmunks just got signed and I think it’s really obvious that he’s gonna get pushed and do well for himself. In terms of underground I think P Moneys got a lot of really good music, he’s making some good songs at the moment and also I wanna see what kind of work these young guys can do like Griminal, Dot Rotten and Ice Kid. When they really put their heads down and actually just start working hard. All three of them are very talented and have a lot of potential but they haven’t got as many releases out as some other people.
Some MCs decide to write about violence and so on in their lyrics. Would you say that’s one major factor why Grime isn’t as big as say Indie or Pop?
Well nope I wouldn’t say it’s one of the biggest factors. Indie or Pop is aimed at a certain demographic. I think its like 1.2% of the population in the country that is black or mixed so I think if you’re making music which is predominantly geared towards you know young black males and 98% of the country is not black then you know it’s not gonna be immediately accessible. Indie music’s made by you know middle class white people and listened to by middle class white people so you know it’s naturally gonna have a bigger volume.
What’s your explanation for why there’s so many more American MCs that are signed compared to the UK?
Hip-Hops been around for 25 years so you know that’s always gonna be an issue. You’re never gonna get as many British developed artists over here cus the music and the scene is so young, over here we’ve had Jungle, Garage, Grime you know then we also had British Hip-Hop, there’s not been a continual history of one thing so it’s broken up. It takes time for people to see results, you know no one was getting signed and now all of a sudden we’ve had four Number 1’s and we’re gonna have a fifth Number 1 from people coming through this scene in one year. Tinchy Stryder’s the biggest selling single’s artist in the country so far 2009. Dizzee Rascals the first black artist to have a Number 1 single on his label I think as well.
Having looked at your track listings the majority of the artists you play are London based, why is that?
The majority of the known artists are London based that’s how it is, you know if you go to any rave in the country they know who Skepta is, if you go to any rave in the country people know who Wiley is, they know who Tinchy is. You know these guys have been doing this thing for like 8 years, they just happen to be the most well known artists. I see London based artists doing bookings up and down across the UK; I don’t see guys from up and down across the UK doing bookings on the same level as that. That’s what it is, personally and I mean I’m on a London station but a lot of people might not even realise I’m not from London. I live in Essex so you know the thing of I’m only supporting London people is air to me. I just play the biggest artists and if everyone’s honest with themselves, the artists that I support on my show are generally the biggest artists. There’s a lot of talent across the country from various different artists and MCs but for whatever different reasons they’re not as well known, they’re not as well organised, as the infrastructure in their area is not there. They’re not putting out music or they’re not getting their music pushed out there as far as they can. Slowly it’s starting to happen because there’s networking going on, I mean you’ll see guys like Shifty and Wrigley working with Wiley. You have guys like Devilman and Vader coming down; it’s all about net working. But then you’ve got other artists that did a bit of networking and for whatever reason, you know life happens and they weren’t able to follow it up. I personally think that Wariko is a very talented MC but I never really heard a great deal out from him in the last two years. As I said before I do a commercial/mainstream show and majority of the known artists are from London you know that’s nothing to do with me or Westwood or anything like that. It’s just how it is; the biggest names are the biggest names.
How do you feel about Westwood playing grime music?
I think it’s brilliant, I think anyone playing Grime music is fucking brilliant. I mean if someone as famous and well known as Westwood gets behind Grime music and gives it a platform on his show, I think that’s great. 1Xtra is lovely and all that stuff but the real important thing for me is that Westwood is playing Grime music on his Radio 1 show and that gets out to loads of people. Radio 1 show has more listeners than mine so Westwood playing Grime is great because firstly when it comes to any type of Rap music in the UK, Tim Westwood is the biggest DJ. Whether that’s rapping on Grime, whether that’s rapping on Hip-Hop, Funky House or whatever. If you’re rapping Westwood is the biggest DJ. If he is really going in and endorsing Grime then that makes Grime look like a big deal and for me that’s a fucking good thing.
Neelam Atique – August ’09
How did you get into the music industry?
I started singing probably about 11/12 when I was in play centre, I use write songs, poems and I won a few talent shows singing my own stuff and also Mariah Carey covers. I’d go on pirate radio and get on mix tapes with MCs and Rappers that were in my area. I think the industry properly noticed me when I decided that I was gonna record a mix tape which was ‘Split Endz Volume 1’ and I was the only female at that time and all of a sudden I had a mix tape with people like Wiley, Professor Green, Sway, Pirelli and all these artists. Me and my best friend we literally were selling the CD on Oxford Street in Central London for five pounds. I then had a track called ‘Fire’ which I then took to some of the DJs, they first played my stuff on Logan Sama on Kiss FM and DJ Cameo who was on 1xtra at the time and they really started supporting and it was really from there where I thought okay I need somewhere for my fan base to listen to me so I set up a MySpace and a YouTube and that was kind of how I got into it.
Did you see being one of the few females in such a male dominated scene as a disadvantage or advantage?
Yeah I think it was both I mean the negatives were that you know you had a lot of people saying that this is grime it’s for spitters, you can’t sing on it. You always get that kinda stuff and you get people that are really like purist of any kind of music. They know how to keep it how it is and they don’t want any new stuff coming but at the end of the day the flip side of that was great because there were all these guys and I was the only girl which means automatically I stood out and I bought something new to it which maybe some of the guys couldn’t, so yeah I loved being the only girl.
Some people would say artists such as Wiley and Tinchy have forgotten about grime. What’s your view on Grime artists going on to make ‘commercial’ music?
As an artist you’re constantly evolving and I mean you have to remember that the word ‘Pop’ just means ‘Popular music’ and when music’s commercial all it means that people are buying it. So if commercial means selling out then I think well everyone should do it [Laughs]. I think in regards to people like Tinchy, I think he found a niche and that’s really helped him, and he’s got to number one, twice. With Wiley he’s somebody that jumped in and out of genres but he always represents Grime I mean the newest album has got a lot of Grime on it. Even with myself I’ve done all sorts of different music, I’ve supported people like Donell Jones doing more R&B stuff and then I’ve supported Richie Spice doing more Reggae based.
Is there any other career path you’d like to go down?
I love music with all my heart; I breathe music so I’d always do stuff to do with music. I really love drama and I wouldn’t mind doing a bit of acting and you know just some extra work and just have a bit of fun with it really. I don’t think its something Id go into as a serious career but I wouldn’t rule it out either. Also, on the side I actually teach music.
Who do you teach?
College kids and a lot of young people that haven’t been able to go to college for whatever reason, whether its bullying, crime or just problems at home. They have different courses that they put on in teaching all over really and it’s been really good.
That’s wicked. There are a few people that think music leads to violence, on this occasion though you’re teaching music to keep kids out of trouble. Where do you stand on this subject?
I think music is a form of expression and I mean I’ve just been watching a documentary on Pink and she said she likes singing about controversial things because it became her therapy. Sometimes music’s your therapy, sometimes it’s just your fun, and people need it for different things. It’s the same way people need to drink coffee in the morning you know what I mean. I think that everything and anything in the whole world is an influence. Yeah, to a degree a lot of the most popular music is maybe geared towards negativity because of the media not because of the actual artists because if you actual listen to all different kinds of music, you’ll see that there’s millions of artists that are good, some sing about love, some sing about sex, money, family, so I just think that it’s not that there’s a lot of negative music, but more so its the media because this country loves drama. It’s why we all watch Eastenders you know what I mean. [Laughs] There’s good and bad in everything, from TV, books to video games.
Which artists inspire you?
Growing up I’d say Mariah Carey was like a huge inspiration cus I never really got taught to sing properly and it was really listening to her albums that encouraged me because I thought okay she’s from mixed heritage, she can sing and so that was sort of my role model when I was younger. Also, both my parents were like really big vinyl collectors and played a lot of music growing up. So, I listened to like a lot of old soul and also a lot of reggae as well like Burning Spear, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley so all sorts of singers really but I’d say I love individual songs more than individual artists as a whole.
Okay then what would be your Top 3 favourite songs of all time?
Oh my gosh! That’s really hard, because when you’re happy you’ve got some songs, when you’re sad you’ve got some songs. Erm I love, ‘Beres Hammond – They’re Gonna Talk’ because I think it’s about me. [Laughs] I also love ‘Aaliyah – Missing You’ I think that’s a gorgeous song and I’d say I love ‘Bob Marley – Natural Mystic’
I heard you were selling puppies, are you a really big animal lover?
Ahh like my three loves in the world are music, animals and travelling so I completely love animals. All of them, the only thing Im scared of is wasps but everything else like snakes, spiders, I love all of them. Yeah the puppies, they all went to good homes and I’ve got a dog at the moment called Rain. Im actually going on a Safari in Tanzania in December, Im so excited about that.
Aww you’re so lucky, make sure you take loads of pictures!
Yeah Ill be video recording it, like ‘Oh my god there’s a lion!’ [Laughs] I actually wanted to be a vet when I was younger as well and everyone used to take the mick, like ‘Oh you can be a singing vet, and sing them back to hell.’ [Laughs]
You’re also a committed vegetarian, what led that decision on, was it anything to do with your love for animals?
Yeah, I’ve never eaten meat before, other than fish so technically Im a pescetarian cus otherwise people argue and say Im not a vegetarian. When we were younger my mum just chose not to give us meat cus she just thought that a lot of the meat we get isn’t very clean you know you get like battery farmed chickens and all that stuff so she just kept it really basic and healthy, fruit and veg you know pastas and we eat food from all around the world like we eat couscous and we eat Indian, Mediterranean, African and all kinds of food so we didn’t really miss eating meat at all and even now I’ve got to an age where it was up to me whether I wanted to eat meat or not and I just decided that I don’t want to eat anything that im not prepared to kill.
You’ve performed at many clubs and festivals which environment do you prefer and why?
Well last year I did Glastonbury which was amazing, and really last year was like one whole year of touring. We did some amazing tours we did Belgium, Pukkelpop Festival, also Roskilde in Denmark and then we also went to Canada for one day which was my favourite day of the whole tour, the club was just huge and extravagant and the crowd was completely mental so that was good. I love performing in general thought so it doesn’t really matter where it is.
Where was your favourite performance to date?
Probably Belgium, that was really cool and I’d say Nottingham as well one called ‘Gatecrasher’ and somewhere I’d love to perform cus I haven’t performed there since I was like 14 years old, is ‘The Forum’ in Kentish town, cus Im originally from North West London.
You recently released your single ‘Dangerous.’ What other projects have you been working on?
Like you said ‘Dangerous’ is out, it’s in all good online stores so make sure you get that. I’ve got a new track out called ‘Sea Sick’ which is produced by the great Davinche. Its a really nice song, its about being sick of love and just trying to get out of something but just still holding on and just knowing that you need to let go, so I think a lot of people can relate to that. I just finished working on a track with Saint he’s a new artist so watch out for him and I’ve done a tune with Ghettz.
Listen to a clip of ‘Ny – Sea Sick’ >
For more information on Ny, visit: http://www.myspace.com/nyofficial
Neelam Atique – August ’09
Your names being Oscar and Magnus, how did the name Koop come into the equation?
It’s a common word in Swedish. It stands for co-operation, which is significant for Swedish way of life. We like to do things together, instead of being individualistic.
How did Koop actually form, had you both previously known each other?
Oscar – We are both from Uppsala a bit north of Stockholm. We got to know each other through friends in music. We where drawn to each other in some kind of opposite attract. We both felt we could make something good together. It was about energy. We decided to make a song together using samples but we had no equipment. I had a friend who studied at music school and in their basement they had a small studio with a computer and a sampler. On Friday evenings when the teachers had left for the weekend our friend secretly let us in to the basement. We carefully covered the windows so that no one could see we where there.
Where do your influences come from?
Oscar – Cheap odd and strange vinyl records we find in bargain stores. We like all sorts of different music but I would not call it influences. Koop has been a struggle to be different, and trying to dig our own hole. These days we have forgotten how the unspoken rules, of how our music should be, came there in the first place.
What would you say makes your music so appealing to listeners?
Oscar – The melody, the lyrics and the voice. There is nothing stronger than these 3 things if you want to touch people.
Your image is very unique with the dresses and make up, what was the reasoning behind that?
Oscar – It’s fun. And we don’t like the usual band-poses-trying-to-look-good photos.
I heard that you sample old records to produce your music, why is that?
Oscar – We are only a duo. Instead of hiring an orchestra to perform our songs it’s much easier (and cheaper) to sample something we find in a bargain store. But most of all it’s about control. We like to be alone in the studio and craft as much as possible from our own hands.
Surely it would be much easier and less time consuming to start from scratch and produce original sounds? Would you ever consider doing that, or do you feel the samples are what make you different?
Oscar – Yes, no one has produced what we do using that amount of samples. People usually don’t believe its electronic music because it sounds alive. Sampled music used to be much more monotone, like hip-hop for example.
What’s the process that you both go through when it comes to deciding who to pick to vocal your songs or do you make instrumentals with particular artists in mind?
Oscar – We always make the song first. Then we decide if it’s for a female or a male. Then if it’s for a dark voice or a light voice. We seldom argue about this. When working on a song and lyrics for 6 months it’s very clear what kind of character it’s about.
Your music contains Blues and Jazz elements, some would say those genres of music aren’t as popular today as they use to be. Do you feel it’s our duty to keep the music genres of past generations alive?
I think music history is dissolving. Everything is available on the internet, and 15 year olds listen to 50 years old music not even knowing that it was once called jazz. This is very exciting and will change the rules for pop music. Music should make people come together, and Koop is very proud to have listeners in all ages and social contexts.
How would you describe your music?
It’s classic song writing, but instead of recording we try to build our songs with tiny samples and sounds from all sorts of records. This allows us to travel in time and space. We are also using different singers on each track, and all this makes us able to express different emotions. But the core of our music is the melodies and the lyrics. Everything else is there to support those. Since we pick our samples from mostly old jazz records a shallow description would be to call it jazz, but actually its pop songs made in a computer.
You won a Swedish Grammy Award in 2003, what was that like?
Getting this kind of achievement in our home country was a big honour. The same year we won a prize on the “Alternative Grammy” awards as well. This award was founded to revolt against the big major record companies who run the Grammy awards. So that year we had both the Grammy and the alternative Grammy. This reflects Koop I think. But I would rather have a prize for our latest album “Koop Island” because it’s better than our previous.
Do you feel that Swedish music has a different feel from American or British music?
Swedish music can be so different but if you mean internationally recognized Swedish music, is very often smart, edgy, pop music that upper middleclass educated people like to namedrop for a couple of months. Then they forget.
But I think Swedes are good at writing catchy melodies that are both happy and sad at the same time. And we are good at absorbing different styles from all parts of the world. Just like ABBA.
Your track ‘Koop Island Blues’ was recently used for ‘The Butt’ dance by Emmy Award winning choreographer Mia Michaels for the television programme ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’ What did you think of it?
Oscar – It’s not really reflecting the song. Koop Island Blues is about lost love, and the choreography seemed to be about sexual frustration more than anything else.
But it was a cool, and very well executed.
What projects have you got lined up?
Oscar – We have had only one project for the last 12 years, and that is to write Koop music. We are currently working on album number 4.
Neelam Atique – August ’09
How did you get into MMA fighting?
I’ve always been into Martial Arts, Boxing and things like that but as far as like MMA I started in 2002 I think it was, I went to help a friend out at a self defence class at Leicester Shoot Grappling Club and when I was there I met Dan Hardy and Paul Daley who are now signed to the UFC as well and I saw them and they were fighting and they were doing well. They were the same type of age as me and I got along well with them and I thought to myself if they can do it then so can I.
Do you ever get nervous before fights, if so then how do you deal with the nerves?
I’m a pretty laid back person so I don’t get nervous as most other people do but for certain fights I have been a little bit nervous, erm what I normally try and do is think about it like sparring. I just say to myself that the fight will just be like a hard sparring match, many of the guys I train with are normally bigger guys than myself and they’re at the top of their game so if I can handle those guys then I can easily beat this guy I’m gonna fight. Also, you just gotta think about the rewards you get at the end of it, you gotta think to yourself it’s either him or myself at the end of the day. If someone’s gonna get the rewards then why not me, you know what I mean. I’ve worked hard for it, I got all the skills to do it so I should win this, you know why am I gonna give it to the next person. There’s only one of us in there, I’m not fighting the world, I’m just fighting this one guy and as long as I do what I’ve done in training then I’ll win that fight.
Being a MMA fighter do you watch what you eat carefully?
It all depends how far away I am from a fight, I’ve got a good metabolism naturally anyway so I don’t really get too fat or anything like that but I do eat a bit of junk food, I’ve been known to have a bit of cheese on toast late at night. [Laughs] When it comes to fights though, you have to start to cut down on the carbs and gradually tighten your diet up. I mean the thing is yeah, people think you have to be really strict to cut the weight but you just have to eat at the right times, the right portions and the right foods. You can still have a lot of nice food, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be eating broccoli all day.
What would be your choice for the perfect entrance song to a fight?
I dunno, I don’t really like to stick to one song you know I’m always on the internet downloading new songs, but erm if I had to pick one it has to be something hip hop-ish, it’s got to have a good beat to it, if I had to pick one it’d probably be ‘Pain’ by Tupac.
You tried out for Season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter but did not make it through. How did you go about getting ready for your Season 9 audition?
The thing was for the Season 8 Ultimate Fighter basically someone had said to me why don’t I try out and there was a few days left for it. What I did was I just did a short interview with my bredrin, you know just spoke to the camera so that they could know a little bit about me and I did a rough edit of a few of my fights which didn’t take very long so it wasn’t really a very good representation of myself and I just sent it off and the reply that I got back from the management team was that they weren’t looking for a lot of English fighters whereas for Season 9 what I did was I actually went down for the auditions and did it properly there you know like I went and did the pads in front of them, I met them face to face. I’ve always done the same type of training so there wasn’t a big difference in what I did to get into the show other than just signing up to the audition myself cus I do think that made a big difference. Also, the other main difference was they were looking for UK fighters.
[Laughs] Yeah just a little bit.
Do you feel you would’ve been as successful as you were in Season 9, if you had gotten through the first time?
Most definitely, I think I would’ve been just as good then but obviously given the time would help you get a little bit more experience and improve yourself but I’m still the same fighter so I think I would’ve done just as well, I mean there were guys on this show that had been trying out since Season 2 like the guy I fought Santino DeFranco, I fought in the second fight. The second fight in the house is my first fight on the show and he was meant to be on Season 2 but what happened was he had a brain aneurysm and he wasn’t allowed to fight and obviously he had an operation and then he was cleared and so he was able to compete in this season.
The UK team gelled much better than the Americans did, do you think that was a major factor that contributed to the success of the British fighters?
I think by the American’s arguing it didn’t really help them get the best out of each other, I mean I dunno how they trained cus we couldn’t see. All I know is what we did, and I know that we all really wanted each other to win.
In the TUF final you had to fight against Ross Pearson. Was that harder for you as you two had become good friends on the show and were on the same team?
The thing is I knew Ross previously like a year before going onto the show. He’s from near Sunderland and I’m from Leicester and we both trained in Nottingham at the same gym. I mean me and him both had the same idea, cus before we got into the show we said if we had to fight each other in the final, we’d just go out there and do what we had to do and whoever wins, wins. You know somebody’s gotta win the show. You know if you’re in the final with your friend its better that then not to be in the final at all. So, it didn’t really bother either of us, it was just unfortunate from my situation because what a lot of people don’t know is that I was ill leading up to the fight. Like two days before the fight I had food poisoning so I wasn’t able to perform at my best. I’m not tryna take anything away from Ross or anything like that cus he’s a good fighter. I’m not complaining I mean I’ve still gotta contract with the UFC so I’ll be fighting again soon so I’ll be able to do what I need to do to shut people up or you know give people who support me something to cheer about.
How do you go about preparing and training for upcoming fights?
You’d normally that you got a fight around 8 weeks in advance, so you got like 2 months to get ready for your fight so you do all your training like your strength and conditioning, grappling, if you like to wrestle, if your a submission fighter, whether you’re a striker. You know me, I’m an all rounder so I do everything and you know just do your research on the guy you’re fighting as well, you look at his videos for his strengths and weaknesses and you build a game plan for it.
What was it like to be coached by Michael Bisping on the show?
I knew Mike before going into the show, I didn’t know him really well but I had met him a couple of times and we had a mutual friend and so I wasn’t really too nervous going into the show thinking ‘Oh it’s Michael Bisping’, you know I was just like ‘Hey you alright Mike?’ You know we get along well; he’s a really nice guy so it was good being around him.
What was your opinion on Dan Henderson throwing in a second punch when he had already knocked out Michael Bisping?
I think it was just a little bit of frustration, there wasn’t any need for the second punch but it is what it is you know what I mean. I mean Dan Henderson’s an awesome fighter and Mike’s a great fighter also but you know Dan did his thing on the day and unfortunately Mike lost. I don’t even think Mike felt the second punch to be fair but that’s how it goes sometimes.
What would you say to people who think UFC is too violent and not a ‘real’ sport?
I’d say they’re just being a little ignorant to what it is really. I think as far as like combat sport it’s the best sport around I mean I love Boxing, I love Thai Boxing and all the other sports but MMA is a sport which contains all those elements. UFC back in the day was like Karate Vs Boxing or Judo Vs Boxing and so on but now it’s mixed Martial Arts, it’s really come on a long way, you have rounds, gloves, and the thing is they’re all skilled fighters in there. People think it looks a lot worse than it actually is; a lot of people come up to you like ‘Oh you do that cage thing!’ They think the cage makes a difference, but it’s literally just a netted fence. People have this idea that it’s bare knuckles in there and that you can bite but there are a lot of rules to it.
Who is your ultimate MMA fighter?
It’s got to be Anderson Silva or BJ Penn for me.
You must’ve really enjoyed the last UFC event then?
Yeah!! I was shocked! Going into it I thought you know what Forrest Griffin is a tough guy and he’s really gonna make Anderson work but Anderson just absolutely annihilated him, I couldn’t believe what I was watching. My girlfriend was mad at me because I was ringing my brother at like 6oclock in the morning like, ‘Oh my god! Did you see it?’ and I woke her up and she was just like ‘Shut up or I’m gonna throw your phone out the window.’ [Laughs] But I had to you know, to see someone go down like that, I mean he knocked him out with a jab!
You entered the music scene at a very young age, how would you say you’ve improved since then?
I started emceeing when I was 14 so I’ve got a few years experience like going to the raves every week and observing the crowds and things like that have taught me more and it’s made me improve on what I do.
You switched from making Grime music to Baseline. What’s your opinion on the whole ‘grime is dead’ statement?
Grimes not dead at all, you know what it is yeah Grime comes from London so when the Northerners and Midlands try to do it, it’s like the Londoners don’t want to let anyone else is because they created it they wanna keep it to themselves. I jumped on Baseline not for the hype but because I use to listen to Baseline as much as I did to Grime but I started doing Baseline because I felt for it more, just going to the raves it made me want to do it. Listening to the type of tunes that come out of Baseline it inspired me. But yeah Grimes not dead it’s still got its hype, there’s a lot of grime MC’s doing their thing and there are still a lot of Grime fans out there. Every genre has got its own market so nothing can really die if you get what I mean.
For the people that aren’t aware, what does B.O.D.R stand for and who does it consist of?
B.O.D.R. stands for ‘Big on da Roads’ and that consists of myself (Slick Don), Flirta D, Sickmade Man, Asher, Tezz Kid, J-Don and Specks.
How did the link up for B.O.D.R happen?
You know what; the main people in it originally were Asher, Sickmade Man and Tezz Kid. For me how the link up happened I was just on MSN and I thought let me message Tezz Kid. This was like a year or two years ago, I sent him an a cappella which was ‘Jump in the Air’ and he used it on one of his tracks which had me, Asher, Tezz Kid and Crooks. Oh yeah I can’t forget Crooks, he’s locked up at the moment but hold tight him. The track took off and then someday we just linked up and I joined them.
What other sort of music do you enjoy listening to other than Baseline?
Yeah I listen to RnB, Hip Hop occasionally and I also listen to Electro, I’ve caught onto that now. I use to listen to a lot of Grime only but not so anymore, I search it up on You Tube every now and again.
Most of your tracks are aimed towards the club scene. Would you say that the raving scene is the one that is healthiest to be in currently?
Not really, I’d say Electro is a big genre, if anything that would be the biggest market I’d say. It use to be Grime but you know what it is Electro do the festival events and things like that and that’s a big big big market. The rave scene which is Grime, Baseline and Funky House, they’re still big genres but the market for them is much smaller. It’s weird because you see CD’s for compilations for example Ministry of Sound and Sounds of Baseline released and it’s selling over 200,000 copies but you’ll still only see about 5,000 people in a rave.
Is Electro a genre of music you would like to make?
You know what I’m working on it at the moment you know, just as you called me I was writing a track. I’ve just finished it!
When will we be able to hear the track then?
I’m recording it this Monday, so you’ll be hearing it very very soon.
Having turned 18 recently, what’s the best bit about being successful so early on in your life for you?
I like the whole package, I just like making music. I make it cus I’ve got a big big passion for it. The rewards of it would be yeah the girls [Laughs] and things like that but that just comes along with it don’t it? What you put in, you get out.
Are you also studying right now?
Nope, I’m not studying at the moment. I went college last year and I thought it wasn’t for me. My music so far it’s been successful and it seems to be carrying on well. If by any chance it doesn’t work out then I am gonna get back to education and go Uni but I’m not gonna look down that path at the moment. [Laughs]
If you did go back to University, which hopefully won’t have to happen, what career path would you go down?
There isn’t a career path I’d really like to do besides Music, cus I was thinking that a year ago at college and I couldn’t come up with anything. I was gonna go into being an Electrician but that was more my dad’s idea than mine so I never really had a strong feeling about it but I’d probably do Media.
What other projects have you got lined up for the year?
I’m working on a few videos, a video for one of my Baseline tracks. I’m not sure what track it’s gonna be, it’s either gonna be ‘Oh Yes’ or ‘Bum Brownin’ and I’m also working on an Electro tune. Ermm and my album, it’s called ‘Everybody hates Slicks,’ I’m not quite sure when that’s supposed to come out, I’ve finished like half of it but I haven’t managed to get down to the rest. Thing is I’m working on different projects cus I don’t like to work on just one thing.
Neelam Atique – August ’09