Is Egypt your real name? If not then how did that persona develop?
[Laughs] I wouldn’t call it a persona; I would say that I think it’s about being an artist. When you are an artist and you believe in what you’re doing you need to have that cut off point like Madonna, like Elton John, like Robbie Williams. Everybody has you know a working life and then everyone has a home life if you see what I mean, with your friends and with your family and I think that you need to know the difference and I think that’s healthy.
The males in the funky scene have come together to make a remix (All Stars – Take It Higher) would you consider writing a tune together with Kyla and Meleka?
Definitely, it’s something that I would consider… I think they’re brilliant artists.
I read that you believe you’re destined to bring back old school music to the new. What do you believe was so special about music from back in the day that recent tunes are lacking?
I think its soul, I think the new music that’s been put out now is like a new age type of sound and I feel that it would be truly amazing if I could bring back the old soul which has a lot of passion in it and I feel that I have that in my voice. So hopefully people will feel like its old school soul music.
Coming from a family consisting of musicians and singers, did you ever picture yourself doing anything other than music?
Yes definitely, loads of things. I’m very creative so I design clothes and I have a collection coming out in January, so that’s very good. Yes loads of different things, I always thought I’d be a Lawyer, I had dreams of being a Lawyer [Laughs].
I heard that your musical inspirations come from your own life experiences and friends. Does that make it easier or difficult for you to song write because Im presuming its all quite personal stuff?
I think it’s easier, I think it makes it more passionate too when you can sing about something that’s actually true which is good.
What inspired your track ‘In the Morning’ then?
The inspiration behind ‘In the Morning’ was actually about God. I think the song people interpret it in the way that they wish too which is brilliant. Different people think it’s about their loved ones or their partner or they’re friends and that’s what I like to do. I like to make music that people like first and foremost and then after that you can just take it as you wish but for me it was about God, like in the morning when I wake up and pray and things like that so yes that’s really where it came from.
Would you say you’re quite a religious person then?
I’m a Christian.
I read that you enjoy exercising and keeping in shape, do you think females are more pressured into having a certain image than males in the industry?
No I don’t, I think that if you believe in what you’re doing then it doesn’t matter what you look like, it doesn’t, and it doesn’t. There’s big people, there’s small people, it really doesn’t matter and I think that if you let what other people think of you determine where you’re going to go in life, how far do you expect to get? You have to believe in yourself and if you want to go to the gym, that’s fine too… I like to go to the gym and do all of those things but you don’t have to, it’s not something that you have to do.
So you started a project at the Digital Arts Centre, what was that about and who was it aimed at?
Basically it was aimed at young children and children that wanted to do Music, and they basically gave facilities to children at that time to come use the production suite, use the microphones and they did sessions and stuff like that so that was a good way to get kids off the street. It was brilliant. I was a protégé for that project and they used me to put out a song called ‘You Know’ and it done quite well you know it got quite a lot of press coverage so that was a really good opportunity.
What other projects are you working on at the moment?
Im currently working on an album, Im working with many different producers and singers and artists as well so there’s going to be nice collaborations on there. Its going to be a mixture of music, you’re gonna have some RnB, some Soul, Dance, Pop, so you know it’s gonna be just a nice mixture of music so that everyone can listen to it and not just one set of people. Hopefully it should turn out really really well; I’ve been recording some amazing stuff.
Which sort of artists have you been working with?
Ooooo that’s the secret, have you seen the new War Child video by Young Soul Rebels? It’s called ‘I Got Soul’?
You know what; I actually haven’t checked that out yet…
If you’re like me and haven’t given the track a listen, here’s the link for the official video featuring the UKs biggest talents including Egypt herself, N-Dubz, Bashy, Pixie Lott, Frankmusik, Tinchy Stryder, Chipmunk and many more.
Will any of the artists in the video, be collaborating on your album then?
I am collaborating with some talented Artists; everybody’s coming together and supporting each other which is always good.
For sure, a lot of Funky artists are breaking through right now and getting signed so it could very well be the next big scene.
Exactly! That’s what it’s about; I think this type of music enables people to show their true talent. There are so many people that don’t get given the opportunity to show what they’re good at and this type of scene is bringing out a lot of stars. Majority of them are brilliant performers live, there are a lot of good MCs. I just can’t wait to see what happens it’s gonna be really really good. So, are you coming to UK Funky Live on the 27th of September at Wembley Arena?
I’m not unfortunately; it looks like a great line up though! If anyone’s interested in attending the event then check the official website for more info and tickets: http://www.ukfunkylive.co.uk/
Around what time will the album actually be out?
So the album will be late next year, and Im probably gonna drop two more singles from it and then yeah see how that goes.
Neelam Atique – September ’09
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
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
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
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
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