As part of the new Fresh Produce series, the second instalment of the TRC interview sees the West Midlands beat-smith talk about MC’s using his Grime instrumentals, the Leak EP series and his connection to the Stay Fresh collective.
So what made you switch back to making Grime? Did you feel more confident after your Bassline exploits?
To be honest, I never stopped making Grime but at the time I was doing it, there were no open doors to get involved and nobody would support my songs as I was unknown. At that point, Bassline was buzzing and I had a lot of attention from DJ’s on BBC 1Xtra and a lot of airplay, so I thought maybe my Grime might take off a bit. So I started to push out some of my Grime tunes and even though the Oo Aa Ee tune only came out in 2010, I made that in 2007. So that tune was four years old before it started blowing up and everyone was like “Where’s this tune come from?!” and I made it just as I started doing Bassline. A lot of people don’t realise most of my grime tunes are three or four years old.
What was different at the time which made you more comfortable to release those riddims?
I think it was my position which was different. I knew that if people liked it they would support it, so it was another doorway to do something I always wanted.
The same instrumental was used for Boo You too. What was it like having different MC’s from across the country jumping on that and also the Butterz crew helping out?
It’s good to see that artists value your music and they rate it. It’s nice to know that and inspires you to keep you going as well. It reaches out to more people and when they hear a big artist has used your instrumental, they wanna know who made it and then next thing you know someone else is knocking at your door and the work just keeps expanding. Having the releases on Butterz as well has helped raise my profile in Grime.
After that you had Trim jump on ‘Skipping Rope’, what was it like to work with such a revered figure from the early epochs of Grime?
It was massive as these are people I’ve listened to since I was like 13. It was a big thing for me and an honour to work with these kind of people. I’d never dreamed of working with him…I’d love to work with Trim again.
You’ve been releasing your Leak E.P series of late. How long have you been working on all those tunes for?
Some of them for a long time and others a couple of days. Most of the tunes I pitched out and they weren’t getting anywhere to be honest. I think the first Leak EP was a bit of a dark period in my career, as I was getting frustrated that things weren’t getting out there quite as much as I wanted to and I didn’t even promote it. I just pasted a Sendspace link on my Twitter and it happened to do really well. It got about 2,000 downloads in a couple of days and it was a shock.
Do you think it’s better for the listener to make a natural choice rather than force feed it?
Definitely. If there’s a demand for it then that’s good but some people go over the top with spamming. If you’ve got a little fan base where people are interested in your music and they are not aware that things are coming out. Sometimes I’ve had people pop up and say “Have you not had any new releases?” and I’ve just put some out!
This year you’ve had the two sequels to the first Leak E.P released. On the 2nd one, there seems to be a bigger Southern Hip-Hop influence. Where did that come from?
With the second EP, I was trying to show people that I was versatile and can do almost any genre. At the time Leak E.P 2 came out, I got a lot of interest from A&R’s at the major labels and I thought it was a good time to show them I could do anything. I think that’s where the influence came from and a lot of people did contact me about beats and I got a lot of remix work off the back of it. So it did help a lot.
You recently released the third E.P. What does that release signify now in terms of your position as a producer?
That’s a hard one to answer as I’m in a bit of a funny position at the moment [laughs] I think it’s more of what I’m trying to aim it towards and it was quite hip-hop prominent [Leak EP 2]. So I’m trying to aim for that direction but at the same time a lot of the feedback I was getting said that the beats were good but we didn’t expect you to move away from your old style so much. It was a bit too much for people to take in the last Leak and I almost forgot what people kind of know me for. A lot of the beats did get used like P Money for his freestyle and that got 50,000 hits in a few days. A couple of other people have put vocals on the beats for their EP’s and it has opened a lot of doors in unusual departments.
I scrolled through your Soundcloud page and saw that a few remix clips for Aiden Grimshaw and Josh Osho. Are those out now or have they been put on the backburner by the major labels?
Well when the Aiden Grimshaw one first got played, I got loads of requests asking when that’s coming out and they accepted it which got released eventually. I know the Josh Osho one came out as well. I think the Aiden Grimshaw one was initially intended just for promo use but it got battered on radio!
Aiden Grimshaw – Is This Love (TRC Mix)
You’re from Wolverhampton?
Bar the football team, what’s poppin’ off in your hometown that people might not know about?
Urm…well [tumbleweed] If i’m being totally honest, nothing is popping off round here! There’s a lot of talent round ere not just in music but obviously you’ve got S-X as well who has just soared in the space of a couple of years. Wolves gets puts in a box with Birmingham and people don’t realise that Wolves and Birmingham are both totally different places. I wouldn’t say it’s popping off as it’s a quiet city.
Does it help you get inspiration if there’s any distractions whilst making tunes?
I suppose so but I’m more inspired when I go out of town. I’m more inspired by things that are happening, some action and the only thing which happens here is the odd big rave once in a while.
Do you have a connection to any of the Stay Fresh guys?
I’ve grown up with a lot of them and we use to be in a group called TYG when we were like fifteen. It was a little Grime group and I’m quite close with most of them. I used to be best friends with Menace aka Stay Fresh Don Menna Do you know who that is?
No, I don’t but they may have been around when I went to a Woo Riddim launch about three years ago.
They are all branching out into their own little thing now and they are all getting credit for it which is great to see people from the ends blowing up as well. I’ve been friends with them before Stay Fresh up until the point where some of us used to be in the same group and we used to play grime sets. We’d be upstairs and my mum was shouting off downstairs!
Check back to the site for the third and final part of the TRC interview next week.