Tag: rap

New Music Friday: Dizmack

Northampton rapper Dizmack returns to the fold after a short break with perhaps his most interesting work yet, and there’s plenty more to come. Strap yourself in for an in-depth…

Northampton rapper Dizmack returns to the fold after a short break with perhaps his most interesting work yet, and there’s plenty more to come. Strap yourself in for an in-depth interview; trust us, it’s worth it.

How would you describe your sound in 2019?
I’d like to think I’m still making lyrical, meaningful, I’d say emo music. Its still very truthful and personal. I couldn’t really put it into a genre, as I feel like I’m make so much different kind of sounds. It’s a bit difficult to put under a genre. I’m influenced by all sorts. I don’t tend to listen to grime or hip hop, I’m more into bands and indie music. Anything with feeling. I try and just create good music really: go into the studio and see how I’m feeling and whatever the vibe is that day work with it, and try and come out of my comfort zone. The new songs are quite melodic, the format is in a more traditional song format, what with loads of pre-hooks, post bridges, stuff like that.

What’s influencing you the most right now?
Just life really. I live a very unconventional life. I deal with ADHD and Aspergers on the day-to-day, but then I’m a practitioner of Chinese medicine working towards my doctorate. And then I get to live a bit of a musician’s lifestyle, so between those three elements it gives me all the ingredients I need to cook up my music.

The ‘Spectrum’ EP from 2017 was a big moment for you, musically and emotionally. How did you feel after its release? Did it get a strong reception?
That’s really personal for me. It’s kind of a life changer really, because it was my first proper release that I’ve been working towards for a while. It was the end of a chapter and the start of a new one. I lost my grandma a week or so before it was released. Then it was released on the anniversary of my grandfather’s death. Because it came out the worst time: Christmas, getting prepared for the funeral, and burying my grandmother. There’s a lot of emotions. Plus ‘Spectrum’ is about me being on the autistic spectrum. I was just going to the studio and cashing in on my moods really. I didn’t really have a plan. There wasn’t a direction for the project. It was like “well I’m going through this, this down feeling today, let’s document it”. Because my moods are so all over the place, it’s kind of crazy. I could be happy this morning and then proper emotional later. It was interesting making it. It helped me grow a lot. It was good to touch on certain things, and get certain things off my chest, and put it out in the open. It helps coming to terms with getting the diagnosis of having Aspergers and ADHD. It took a lot out of me. But it needed to be done, because I had so much to touch on and music I wanted to make. I felt like until I touched on certain things it was never going to happen. It was very emotional; good and bad. It just came such an unfortunate time. There was a lot going on and it summed up how my life was and all of the stuff going on. I say on ‘How About That’ “I’m both happy and sad”. That sums that up. I was going through some of my hardest times of my life, but then I achieve something that I wanted to achieve for a while, and really worked hard to do it. I feel like I did achieve that. It’s hard to be happy about something when such a big event happens in your life, and it puts everything into perspective. But it kept me going. Soon as I got that out I finish my follow up EP a couple of weeks later, which I have been sitting on for a while. It set the tone for that because the next one is ‘357’, which is the acupuncture formula for emotions. It’s quite fitting. It’s funny how universe, God or whatever you believe in kinda gives you all the ingredients and aids you on your journey. I think it was more of a case I’d finally done it, and people were happy that I got it out and there’s a body of work for them to listen to. I can’t complain. It showed me that I’m doing what I should be doing and I need to keep at it. Plus ‘Spectrum’ is 1 of 3: the plan was to do three projects in the year. Put them all together and you’ve got an album, so I’m keen to get the other two parts out that have been recorded for over a year now. Hopefully by the time you get the third project you see the bigger picture, and it will all make more sense.

Fellow NNer Izzie Gibbs is a regular collaborator, you both appearing on the Foreign Beggars tune ‘Toast’ last year. Tell us about that relationship.
He’s actually my younger cousin, so we’re always on the phone, always creating. He’s currently producing an EP for me now. We’ve got a few things in the works. I worked on his last EP. It’s always great to have a family member you get along well with. Plus we’re both on the same things, we are both very similar.  We’ve got a collective called Camotage. When we do our things we roll under the name Two. We are working on a joint project called The Amazing Adventures of Two, which will be him and I. It’s been fun. Obviously I’m on the road with him, gigging with him a lot. He took me to America to do South By Southwest. That was great. He’s took me on loads of tour dates: Bugzy Malone, V Fest, the lot. I’ve got to touch many stages with him. We’re constantly talking about ideas, sending each other references: what we like, what we should do. His basically the little brother I never had. And I’d like to think I’m the older brother he never had. We are so tight, to the point that we’re on the verge of communicating via telekinesis and telepathy because we just seem to get it. We can look each other and we both know what we’re on about. He’s a blessing, he’s an amazing artist. The best little brother I could ask for, and a good friend. Definitely someone I can turn to. It was great to appear last year on the Foreign Beggars album, and Big Narstie’s. Obviously we did the Channel 4 Big Narstie Show together and performed the track. I couldn’t ask for a better relationship, nor I couldn’t be any tighter. Hopefully there’s a lot of great music to come from both of us this year; it’s only going to get bigger and better.

You’ve had some changes on the backroom side of things, which has hampered you releasing new music. What can you tell us about that? What have you learnt?
Life is full of surprises for me. I’m constantly learning. Finding out more about myself and life. I’ve learnt loads about the music industry, and being on a label. There was no problem on the label side of things, they’re like family. Big Narstie is one of my best friends, so it’s all love there. I’ve just realised that what with my life and having Aspergers and ADHD I just like to have things a certain way. I like to have control and to be able to implement my vision. I’ve noticed sometimes on a label, or whatever, you have to deal with outside people who don’t always get it. People can’t see your vision. I know what I want to do, from start to finish: how I want it to be presented, and what I’m aiming for. I found it difficult waiting: making so much music, waiting and then getting things done. I don’t think people saw my vision, and knew want to do with me, or where to put me. I just thought I know what I want to do, I know where I want to go. I’m capable of doing it. I’ve got a lot of music, so let’s just try and do this my way and have full control over it. I’d much rather that than try and do it a way I’m not fully comfortable with, and that doesn’t work out. I’ve got nothing bad to say about my situation. It just wasn’t working for me and how my life is set up at the moment. I just wanted to be more of myself, and embrace the weird side of me. I’m a proper artist, and I’m not really interested in image and all the other stuff. I’m about making quality music with meaning, and getting it out there. Everything else is secondary. It’s all love. Big up to everybody at Dice Records. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had. I’ve got good memories. I’ve got to do some great stuff that wouldn’t have got to do otherwise. I wish everybody the best, and hopefully my thing goes from strength to strength now, even though it may be a bit different and a bit weird to some people. I think that’s a good thing, because it’s unique and that’s who I am. So I can’t do anything better than by being me, and doing things my way.

Tell us everything about these new songs, ‘Leanface’ and ‘Stress/Basic Procedure’.
The new singles are quite old actually, recorded almost two years ago now. It was just music from the sessions I’ve been doing that I hadn’t done stuff with. Obviously with my odd situation certain things are meant to go a certain way. It didn’t turn out like that, and and I have ended up sitting on a lot of music that I want out before I push these next EPs out. There’s no time like the present really. ‘Leanface’ was produced by Izzie Gibbs and Spooksville. Trolley Snatcha brought it all together with a final mix and some arrangements, adding a few sounds here and there. ‘Leanface’ is about THC or CBD-based syrup that I drink to help manage my Aspergers. Obviously there’s a big thing going on about Lean, which is made with promethazine and codeine. I’m not for any of those kind of things. I like to keep it natural. I don’t take medication for my conditions, and I find that cannabis and CBD helps, so it’s about me being a bit of a herbalist.
‘Stress/Basic Procedure’ is a weird one. I was actually at my cousin’s funeral, and I came home still drinking. I’ve had a couple of bottles of champagne; I ended up playing Monopoly with a friend all night. Then still being drunk and going to the studio, and just continuing drinking. I had a song that I was working on that I was struggling to finish. A kind had a bit of a meltdown, what with my emotions being high, I got a bit tearful. Then obviously I felt stress. I made a phone call to one of my friends, and he was basically like “suck it up, go in there and make something new”. So it was just kind of messing about, playing with sounds and what not. So I got ‘Stress’ locked in, then I started working on something else. This time I was so drunk I could barely stand up, and that turned out to be Basic Procedure. Trolley Snatcha was playing the beat, and I was just freestyling. I didn’t write a word for that. We freestyled and dropped in and and ended up with that. I thought they complemented each other, so let’s give them a two-in-one.
We are using them to try and build up a bit of momentum into this next EP. So I’ve got a few more tracks to come out and then we can start with ‘357’.

Obviously people like slowthai and Izzie are doing great things locally. But any brand new producers or MCs in Northamptonshire that you rate, that you want to give a shout out to?
I’m out of the loop with who’s coming out of Northampton at the moment. I like DeBe, he’s got a lot of stuff going on. I follow the Northampton band scene to be honest, I’ve got a lot of friends in bands. I’d say Born Stranger and Kinships are favourites. Rest In Peace to Matthew King and Daniel Padmore; they were both musicians I had the pleasure of working with, and friends of mine.
It would be the same people that I have always known, like your Ill Murk and Jam D and CP. Audio Nurks, he’s got a nice project coming out soon. He would be a good one to watch. I quite like Weirdoe and Samuel Lox, I like their sound and what they’re doing. Also you got producers like Harlz and Spooksville. Oh and Kaotic, my favourite lyricist and brother from another mother. We’ve been through a lot together and he’s a genius when it comes to music. Slowthai and Izzy are flying the flag really hard, so props to those two – they’re doing their thing.

How’s the acupuncture going?
It’s going great. I’m a fully qualified acupuncturist. Just about to start my masters and work towards my doctorate. So hopefully once I go back to that it will be two years, and then I will be a fully qualified doctor of Oriental medicine, which I’m excited about because I love acupuncture. I’m getting great results: it helps a lot to feel like I’m able to give back. I’ve got something of substance that actually means something, and can make a difference in not only my life but the people around me. Health is wealth. Plus I’ve got loads of knowledge, loads of stuff that will serve me for my lifetime, and serve my friends and families. It’s helped with the diet. Plus it’s the way I manage my own condition. I don’t take medication. That’s where ‘357’ comes from, it’s the acupuncture formula for emotions. That’s the name of the EP coming next. Acupuncture is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m hoping to have a clinic in due time. That’s part of the bigger plan. Just keep going on from strength to strength. I went back to be a supervisor this year, I’m going to be a lecturer. I’ve also been esquire-ing for the Knights of Truth this last year. So I believe I will be knighted in October. It’s crazy; I think back five years ago and I was the patient going to get assessed for mental health reasons. And now I’m practically a doctor, and managing myself. I’m my own GP, and I take care of my family and all of that. I take the most pride in that, because I started it when I was in a really bad place and I struggled. At times I thought my life was going nowhere. So to go through it and come out the other side and build on it and now taking it to even higher levels is is a big thing for me. Plus I was recording the music at the same time. I’ve really applied myself in the last few years to get this stuff done, and fix up my life in all areas. I’m just grateful and thankful that I didn’t mess my life up too badly, and had the opportunity to redeem myself and right the wrongs.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
To show the world how good I am. And how the high standard of music is, the levels that I work at. I have a really good understanding of it. In all areas, not just personal stuff. Stuff I can work on with other people, the writing stuff. I definitely want to have a career and get all my projects out, and be consistent and deliver. I feel like I’ve got a lot of people waiting on my music, and asking for stuff and what not. Now I just want to get it done. Get that out, get my doctorate, get a clinic. Try and merge the music and medicine together. The EP series seemed to do well. I’m a big advocate for mental health. Just trying to do right, be a good responsible adult. An upstanding member of the community. Do my charity work for the Knight’s stuff. I would like to get to the position where I can actually do some stuff, where I’ve got money and backing. I could do stuff for other people, for the Next Generation. whether it’s music or medicine. Youth club, whatever. I just want to be able to make a difference. Give back to NN, make it cool. And just live a full life. Be a nice person. Get my music out to as many people as I can. Do some features. Try and see how far we can take it. I definitely want to be doing some live shows. I just want to get these next projects out, and start some new material. See where we are at. Then hopefully aim for a headline show. I believe I will probably be going on tour with Izzie when he does his tour. Right about now it’s just about getting the music out, the visuals out, and trying to work to the level where I can do my own headline show, and start doing something a little different because I’ve got so much music that covers a few different genres and styles. I’d like to be able to breakout an hour set into three 20 minutes. Give them some of the jump up, give them some emotive stuff, meaningful stuff. Then probably do some stuff with a band. That’s the ideal vision of my show, how to break it down. I’d also like to do a documentary series called Travelling The Orient, where I travel the Oriental cultures. Cover music, medicine, martial arts, fashion. I see it as a Vice style kind of thing. Go out there and bring a few friends, maybe Izzie and Big Narstie covering all areas. But base it around medicine and then try and build from there. I’d love to end up as a celebrity acupuncturist. Trying to get my music into a state where I’m recognised for that. And then cross it over and be like a Dr Hilary Jones type fella.

‘Stress/Basic Procedure‘ is out now via the usual digital platforms

 

 

 

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slowthai announces £5 UK tour, including Brixton Academy, pre-sale on now

Northampton man of the moment, slowthai, has announced five UK tour dates for autumn 2019, the pre-sale cost of which is just £5. The Nothing Great About Britain man played…

Northampton man of the moment, slowthai, has announced five UK tour dates for autumn 2019, the pre-sale cost of which is just £5.

The Nothing Great About Britain man played a low-key Northampton show last Friday at The Garibaldi Hotel to a packed and steamy room,  celebrating his debut album coming out. This “BET YA A £5ER” tour on the other hand is much grander. The dates are

SUN 13 OCT: Newcastle University Students Union, Newcastle
MON 14 OCT: SWG3 Studio Warehouse, Glasgow
WED 16 OCT: Manchester Academy 1, Manchester
THU 17 OCT: O2 Academy Bristol, Bristol
FRI 18 OCT: O2 Academy Brixton, London

£5 pre-sale tickets are here, and until Friday 9am. Good luck!

Cover image by David Jackson.

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Album review: slowthai ‘Nothing Great About Britain’

slowthai Nothing Great About Britain [Method Music/True Panther Sounds] What do you say about slowthai now he’s gone international? He might have ‘NN’ tattooed on a finger, but more importantly…

slowthai
Nothing Great About Britain
[Method Music/True Panther Sounds]

What do you say about slowthai now he’s gone international? He might have ‘NN’ tattooed on a finger, but more importantly it’s splat across every part of his debut album. The self-confessed former drug dealer knew he had to change his world, and music was his salvation. The boy in the corner – of Spring Boroughs, of Lings, of Abington – is now centre stage, catapulted into our ears and our hearts over the past year or so, with a slow drip feed of streaming singles that finally went nuclear once ‘Doorman’ gave him the sort of radio hit that can’t be ignored. His punky guileful sneer at “Great Britain” in this strangulated Brexit landscape is some great timing. The press all want a piece of him: his counter-culture quotes, his tattooed torso and his maniacal smile are all right for 2019.

“Nothing great about Britain/Tea ‘n’ biscuits/Mash, jellied eels and a couple little trinkets”

The opening salvo, the title track, pulls no punches. The video spoofs the mythology of Excalibur, and sees him – gloriously, ludicrously – knighting kids in King’s Heath. Mocking British things like royalty is a very slowthai trait; a great bit of hip-hop détournement to make you question what role things and people play in modern society. And those vivid, HBO-drama, minor chord synth stabs that precede the skittering beats is slowthai’s sound in a nutshell. Mostly recorded with producer Kwes Darko in East London, his Eski grime/00s UK rap style is brought up to date with his own particular delivery that continually fluctuates between mumbling and threatening. His flow often goes out of time intentionally for dramatic purpose, making you focus harder.

The Mura Masa-produced ‘Doorman’ is the one most will have already heard. It’s banging electronic punk attitude lights up a room when on full tilt, and brings to mind The Prodigy and The Streets as much as the grime scene. It’s spoken-word samples about glue-sniffers that begin and end the track is funny rather than cautionary, though his rhymes are more about the culture clash between the rarified west London world he now travels in rubbing up against his NN persona.

“I run my town/But I’m nothing like Boris/Tyron for PM”

‘Dead Leaves’ is pure bravado, a twitchy club bassline over tales of night-time hedonism being an everyday occurrence that doesn’t require a nightclub. ‘Gorgeous’ is a musically-dense number, another semi-autobiographical tale of running around as kids and getting up to the usual nonsense, and looking back with fondness. He quotes all those ShoeTown places that sound somehow elevated with his delivery: Southfields, Toby Fields, Blackthorn, Moulton, Spring Boroughs. Franky it’s all a bit surreal to know people in Mexico City or Los Angeles will be hearing these reference points.

‘Crack’ has an American low-slung gangsta rap/slow R&B feel, and it doesn’t really suit him. It doesn’t even sound like him. Let us move on. ‘Grow Up’ sees a guest spot from Birmingham rapper JayKae, and we’re back in familiar territory [well, the Midlands]. The two of them have different styles, the hyper-speed of JayKae seemingly forcing slowthai to hasten his  patter. They clearly connect in the middle; the track just burns throughout.

“I ain’t about that gang shit/I’m a lone wolf”

The second album collaboration follows immediately: Skepta brings his experience to ‘Inglorious’ with style, delivering with confidence and speaking random things like “directing movies like Gaspar”. The track weaves and ducks throughout, with Darko’s production skills deftly holding it all together. ‘Toaster’, meanwhile, is a little more folky, a clean guitar line backing another ShoeTown story of redemption.

“Walking through the blocks, I see the cracks/Dodge syringes”

‘Peace Of Mind’ has the catchiest hook on the album, and it’s a gem of a track. Hyping up the contradictions between your daily battles and the dreams you have at night, it’s a moment that shows how anxiety and stress can only be released through mindful rest and recuperation. That’s not a person on this planet that wouldn’t relate to that.

The Slaves-produced ‘Missing’ is as thick and pungent as you can imagine from them being involved, with a unsettling cacophonous chorus that elevates the track from the norm. Which brings us to the final song, ‘Northampton’s Child’. It’s the story of his childhood: the home moves, the booze madness, the death of his young brother. And most importantly – the love of his mother, that centred him and gave him hope. She has clearly given him strength to persevere, so shout out to Ma for her role in giving the world the talents of Tyron Frampton.

Nothing Great About Britain is a tour de force precisely because slowthai’s personalty is forceful, and the beats sharp enough to create a coherent whole. Where he goes from now – he can’t rap about NN life forever, you imagine – is just as fascinating as this piece of work.

But for now, in this game of thrones, we have a new prince in town; one that everyone can fight for.

Phil Moore

Nothing Great About Britain is out Friday / order now, or visit Spun Out on Gold St on Friday at 1pm for an album signing session

 

 

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Live review: slowthai

slowthai The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes May 7th 2019 It’s Champions League semi-final second leg night. slowthai’s second favourite team Liverpool [he’s a Cobbler, don’t you know] are already 3-0…

slowthai
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
May 7th 2019

It’s Champions League semi-final second leg night. slowthai’s second favourite team Liverpool [he’s a Cobbler, don’t you know] are already 3-0 down from the first leg. They have been belittled everywhere over the past week. And for Liverpool you could read slowthai’s hometown of Northampton in the past couple of years. The football team were relegated in 2018, amid bafflement at how they’ve managed to lose a £10.25 million loan from the Borough Council. On top of all that the County Council declared itself “effectively bankrupt”. The bottom of the pile is real gritty, as slowthai tells us.

As tonight’s show progresses our 99p rapper is getting score updates. “It’s 3 nil to us now! No way!” That wide smile creeps just a little wider. He’s fired up for this short run of small venue dates: his way of connecting with the fans he loves so dearly, on as even keel as can be had. Everyone expects him to go interstellar when his debut album Nothing Great About Britain drops, and fans will struggle to get such close-ups again.

This gig is an explosive mix of righteous anger at the state our nation, and a celebration of youth recognising one of their own flawed companions. The man born Tyron Frampton is a constantly whirling physical presence, aided by his balaclava-clad hype man [and regular producer] Kwesi Darko. Sweat levels get exponential pretty much from the off, when ‘Polaroid’s “Kodak moment/Polaroid picture/Shake it, yeah yeah yeah” refrain initiates.

Over eleven songs here his people bounce, take videos, and shout choreographed banter/faux abuse at each other. He splits the crowd, sets up mosh pits, and generally directs us with the touch of an old-style film auteur. His Freddie Mercury-esque vocal call-and-response bit is so funny even he can’t get to the end of it without falling into hysterics. Then mid-set he reveals a unnamed and unreleased collaboration with US rapper Denzel Curry, hinting at future travels beyond the album already. The two 24 year-olds reaching across the Atlantic sounded like an enticing prospect.

‘Doorman’ is blistering, natch, and once the swirling mosh settles there’s a dozen people up on stage with him. It’s his party and we can most definitely come in, it seems – and all for the price of a cone with flake.

slowthai is the 4-0 surprise victory that changes the course of history. This is another gorgeous moment to highlight him. The Shoe Army marches on.

SETLIST:
Polaroid
Drug Dealer
GTFOMF
Mayday
IDGAF
North Nights
Inglorious
T N Biscuits
Doorman
Unnamed collaboration with Denzel Curry
Gorgeous

Words by Phil Moore. Photos by David Jackson.

Nothing Great About Britain is out May 17th. Pre-order here

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New Music Friday: Anonymous

Uncompromising Northampton rapper Anonymous has started the year with a bang, releasing four singles already. The serial collaborator is looking like a major talent for 2019, so New Boots spent…

Uncompromising Northampton rapper Anonymous has started the year with a bang, releasing four singles already. The serial collaborator is looking like a major talent for 2019, so New Boots spent some time getting to know him.

How did you start this project?
I started my music journey when I was around the age of 12, so eight years ago back in school. It started of as a joke at first, until I had a few of my friends and family members telling me to take it more seriously. At the start I never had much confidence in myself and I wanted to make sure nobody knew who I was, that was how I came up with ‘Anonymous’. From there it stuck and has remained the same.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences? 
I’ve tried many different types of genres so my sound can often vary. I’d say I stay firm and get my point across very well within my music. For example the track I recently released in memory of my Dad – ‘R.I.P’ – I had a story to tell and I feel like I told my story very well – and can’t wait to finish part 2!
My main influences are 100% Eminem, Ghetts and Tupac. I love their realness and how effortless they make it look.

What was the reaction like to your early work, did it spur you on?
During my early days of music I never really got much support, I had close friends and family members sharing my music on to their Facebook pages. However I wasn’t getting any feedback, but that only made me want it that bit more! If I am being 100% honest it was L30 Robinson who made me want to take my music more serious after I seen him doing his thing in and outside of school. After he told me to just follow my dreams and do what I wanted to with my career.

Who have you been collaborating with? What draws you to working with them?
I have been collaborating with artist both inside and outside of Northampton. I have tracks released with the very talented likes of Impact, Troopz, Rdot, L30 Robinson, M0ch0, Jaiidee, and King D, but I have plenty more work coming with other majorly talented artists. I can’t wait for my supporters to hear and see the things I have lined up.

Tell us about these new songs from the last month.
My first single of the year entitled ‘Believe Me’ came about after I decided I wanted to make a track to showcase my lyrical abilities and the way my brain works and some of the crazy ideas I have. For example in ‘Believe Me’ there are certain parts where I’ve thrown in vocals from well known tracks just to add that extra bit of spice. My second single of 2019 ‘Hoes’ came up rather randomly after Impact was chilling at my house and having problems with females. We went outside for a cigarette and I came up with the idea of writing a song about ‘hoes’. I went through YouTube searching for beats and as I soon as I heard the instrumental we used the hook just popped in to my head without even thinking. We knew many people could relate to the feeling of heartbreak and generally the feeling of being used, so after making the track we believed it had quite a lot of potential and decided to release it.

You’ve been performing at the Lay It Down night in Northampton, hows that going? Do you perform elsewhere?
As of yet I haven’t really performed at many places as I’m still focusing on finding who I really want to be as an artist. Since first performing at Lay It Down I have came a very long way and can easily say they’ve helped to further my career and I have gained a lot of confidence through being part of the team. However I will be more than happy to take any shows/opportunities that may come my way.

What has been your favourite Anonymous moment of the past year?
Definitely hitting 1000 views on mine and Impacts track ‘The Roads’. We had so much fun making that track and surprisingly it only took us the space of an hour to get it written and recorded with the help of producer and engineer Theo Chanetsa aka Xmorosi.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
A Boogie’s Hoodie SZN. I love the diversity he brings to the table and every track on the album is a pure vibe!

What is your burning desire for to do for the rest of the year? What plans do you have?
I would like to further my career and reach out to channels such as Link Up TV and GRM Daily. To be honest my sole focus of 2019 is to show people more of me, more of who Liam Berry is. I want to tell my story and be heard. I will also have an EP dropping some time this year but have not yet confirmed a date.

You can subscribe to Anonymous on YouTube here

 

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New Music Friday: XOV

Northampton rapper XOV has been sharing his tunes online throughout 2018 and he has kicked off 2019 with a real piece of work in ‘Ledgur’, his latest collaboration with L30…

Northampton rapper XOV has been sharing his tunes online throughout 2018 and he has kicked off 2019 with a real piece of work in ‘Ledgur’, his latest collaboration with L30 Robinson. New Boots wanted to learn more.

How did you start making music? Where’s the name come from?
When I was younger I used to write down little raps to do at our local community centre, but never took it very seriously to begin with because the rhymes were all over the place and I just didn’t feel like I could ever be successful at the craft. But when I started uni I used to write down raps when I was having bad days and spoke openly about depression, anxiety and other mental illness that I have witnessed or gone through. I worked very closely with Leo Robinson in promoting his music and decided I had enough confidence to show him this rap (which went on to be called ‘Paradise Is Scary’). He really enjoyed it and it dropped last July and since then I started doing rap.
The name XOV was just something silly I used to rhyme everything with and kinda kept the name. It may seem corny but I had a very lucid dream about being on stage and people chanting it and I always wanted that dream to become a reality, so I thought why not call myself the name.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
My main influences are emo rappers such as Lil Peep, XXXTentacion, Trippie Redd, but I also grew up listening to the greats like Wu Tang Clan, Grandmaster Flash and even bands such as Nirvana and AC/DC I’ve always been brought up around such a broad range of music.

What was the reaction like to ‘Paradise Is Scary’ and ‘Switch Up’?
‘Paradise Is Scary’ is my first track I ever released and I was really surprised with the reception, it gained 1.5k views and although I’m proud of the song I do believe the sound has changed and I’ve become so much more confident over the months of its release. ‘Switch Up’ hasn’t been released properly yet but it’s a powerful story of not having confidence to speak to a girl and Leo plays the voice of reason. Funny thing about that song is we had a very similar talk a few years ago, so it’s technically based on a true story.

Tell us about this new release, ‘Ledgur’, a collaboration with L30 Robinson.
‘Ledgur’ is a song about pushing yourself away from everyone around you due to a lifestyle that is very sheltered. It’s one of my favourite songs of mine as it has some lyrics that are very personal. The back to back with me and Leo has to be my favourite, as it really showcases both of our abilities and shows people we are a solid team.

What are your live shows like? You’ve been doing some spots with Leo, haven’t you?
I have been doing shows since July alongside Leo. They are amazing, I love performing live. The reception I’ve received has been overwhelming considering I’m still really new to performing and rap music, but people always say how they can’t believe I’m still new and that’s the best feeling.

How important has Leo been to developing your sounds and skills?
Leo has been a huge help, he is always helping me try develop my own individual sound. I’ve known Leo for many years and worked alongside him promoting his music, and even helped towards a record label named Wordworkers a few years ago. So we have a rapport already; we have very similar ideas for how we want our music to sound. He is a hardworking artist and mentor.

Do you feel part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire? Any favourite people/venues to play with?
I feel like Northampton’s music scene is very diverse with some amazing talented people. I have found artists that are very similar to the type of sound I’m going towards: people like Poetic Horror, Kiao, L30, Mio Flux and Patchy The Rockstar are just a few that I really cannot wait to work alongside. I often perform at the Lab on Thursdays with the Lay It Down lot, it has to be my favourite time to perform as the feedback is amazing and there are so many different acts who vary in sound – from rappers, poets and other acts – it’s really good!

What has been your favourite moment of the past year?
It has to be performing at Twinfest in July at the Pomfret Arms and the Lamplighter. The atmosphere was amazing and the other acts who performed were awesome. The festival is great for artists like me to develop into stronger artists.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The last album I bought was Lil Peep – Come Over When Your Sober Part 2. This man’s music means so much to me as he was so open about things other people shy away from, that’s including drug take and mental health and suicide and uses melodic rap to get the messages across. It’s my favourite album of last year.

What is your burning desire to do in 2019? What plans do you have?
I want to release my EP ‘Dystopia Is Heaven’ and really focus on becoming a confident performer as well as maybe even appearing on radio with one of my songs. I plan to release as much music as I physically can to show people the different styles of rap I have from flows to delivery.

 

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New Music Friday: Har-Q

Northampton rapper Har-Q has been building a strong name for himself with his many releases, and 2018 was a big moment with two albums released. New single ‘Big Money’ is…

Northampton rapper Har-Q has been building a strong name for himself with his many releases, and 2018 was a big moment with two albums released. New single ‘Big Money’ is equally worthy of attention, and New Boots asked a few pertinents to the man himself.

How, when, and why did you become Har-Q?
Well initially I went through some corny names, here’s a couple for e.g – Genesis, T.money, and w.a.s.p. “I was 16 you have to forgive me.” But while I was working at a call centre “big up space designs”, where I mainly wrote rhymes and occasionally answered the phone, one time a guy can’t remember his first name but it came up on the call screen called something “harq” and I complimented his name as I wrote his surname down and alas something I could work with that wasn’t lame. The meaning came not long after that, it was “HAR-Q when I leave the stage it will be a hard cue to beat.” Over the years as I grew in knowledge and the name evolved, it became H.A.R-Q which means the H = herald: messenger, A = ark: the message, R = returns/renaissance and Q = quadrivium, which alienates the hell out of people. I watch them squirm when I tell them this as its a bit geeky and probably out of the scope of their interest, but basically it’s saying that it’s a return to the original principle of university when the scholars focused on the four arts “arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy” and I came to spot the familiarity of that in the early hip-hop culture: breakdancing, graffiti, DJ, emcee and these are the pillars of education and advancements in life as the quadrivium / liberal arts gave birth to the renaissance out of the dark ages.

How would you describe your sound?
I go through a range of sounds if you listen to my back catalogue. But don’t: the production isn’t that great, good content but poor recording, so my goal over the years probably became to have a clear audible sound that mimics that of people on the radio.

In terms of content I would describe it as lyrical; often finding myself jumping on the spoken word because people by default don’t like to think too much while listening to music. It always has a storytelling theme because I binge watch and read a lot. I almost give a synopsis on the subject in song form or fully immerse my self into the character and do it first person, trying to embody the tale. I aim for entertainment value.

Composition wise I love heavy melodic music and multiple thumping bass.

Who are your influences?
Hip hop: all the elements when combined 
Cap-com: love games 
Crunchy-roll: worship anime 
Robert Greene: for his accounts of history and what to take from it
Stan Lee for his characters 
Big dreamers: anyone with goals ambitions and direction because without the direction they are just dream
Myself: as I sit back and watch myself battle their life and surprise myself with my willpower, creativity, and resilience to the point I think most of the time I’m just a spectator in my own life.
books: because its facts / imagination/ history etc
Nas, for his mastery over the language 
Anderson Paak, for his creative style

What was the reaction to the two albums you released in 2018?
Trapped Hop was the first album that was released in twelve years. The first album was done by the record label Big Tuff Ent. So I didn’t really know what to expect with this one with no promotion, no shows, no marketing, no money.

I saw while doing research that you can get your songs streamed on sites like Spotify, iTunes, Amazon etc and thought: sweet, if I get it on their boom that’s my label and manager right there I’m going to get millions of plays while I sit back and get paid, and boy was I wrong. For the first five months it bombed. I had wasted half the year and had nothing to show for it. I was stumped so I got to promoting it: sharing it, making flyers and going to open mics then it slowly started to pick up in the late half of the year. I have seen a subsequent rise in the second quarter of the year, especially ‘Neo Yokio’ [from Trapped Hop]. 

The Creed has through looking at my analytics, geeking out, it holds most of the top spots, but it’s because I never wasted time when I released it. I was a bit more prepared or knew at least a bit more what to do and consistency is defiantly the key. Ad not just online: you have to hit the streets, if you stop sharing and stop looking for new people your progress slows down. I’m still in my infant stage really, even though I have never stopped working my craft artistically for what feels like a lifetime already. But in a nutshell it has been as successful as it could be in my eyes. Trying to watch my own achievements and not put it in comparison to people further in their career, that’s the quickest way to giving up. And hopefully I have started enough of a buzz for the up and coming material.

Tell us about your new single, ‘Big Money’.
‘Big Money’ is about the grind that we all go through, we always bump into people we know on the street, in a store etc who we haven’t seen in a minute and the hook kind of embodies a call an response theme of the generic questions people often ask. I’ve had a lot of changes in the latter half of this year: I’ve changed jobs after seven years, currently separated from my partner of 12 years, finally back in the studio diligently after eight years, so the grind has been immense. Thinking, learning and working towards where I want to be in the next five-ten years, so right now I’m just like ‘yyyyyooooo let me tell you about it’, but in the way an artist does. It’s a very relatable tune I feel, and felt it had a very human element to it as I’m always rapping about fantasy and stories.

What are your live shows like?
I’ve only this year got back to performing constantly working with the “Lay It Down” team [Northampton] and “Soapbox” spoken word [Milton Keynes] “ Breakmission” hip-hop collective [Birmingham]. So I’ve had some good shows, some shows where the liquor problem got the better of me, shows where my insecurities won. But I love to bring the energy whenever possible, but as I’m developing I want to integrate and bring more to the performance because I focus so much on the lyrical content I feel it can zap my focus on the stage. Forgetting my lyrics is probably the thing I fear the most in the whole world, as well as the socializing aspects afterward. I can be quite socially awkward sometimes, lol, but back to the point when I drop tracks like ‘Gang Gang’ and ‘Akuma’, it can get lit.

Do you feel part of the wider scene in Northampton and like-minded people, any shoutouts?
I think to be a part of the community you have to throw yourself into it. With that said the scene could also do with a shot of adrenaline to bring it to life. Yes I’m trying to immerse myself into it more, and be more involved. Lay it Down has been a massive part of this, and I’ve been out to Rugby doing some shows with Benny & The Jango Massive. I think if we work together, not necessarily as a team but toward a common cause, and combine our strength I think we got a great opportunity here for music lovers of the north.

What has been your favourite moment in 2018?
It has to be, hands down, going to Comic-Con Birmingham and rocking the Har-Q get-up mask and all then hearing someone call my name in the distance thinking it was my boy. By boy I mean friend, not son, as the rest of the sentence would sound like neglect lol. As I tend to wander off I looked round to see a guy with his son and he was like Har-Q, right ? I was taken aback, but was like “HELL YER” and he went to his son [who didn’t seem the faintest bit interested] “Its har-q”. But we stopped, spoke for a minute took a photo and ‘GASSED’ is an understatement.

What was the last album that you brought or streamed?
Well I haven’t brought an album in yonks, but I do listen to Spotify release radar and discovery every Monday where they drop something new that relates to something I’ve been listening to all week just to see what’s good. But I will say new artist wise I like Denzel Curry: love his raspy gravely voice, his content and delivery is furious. Reminds me of that raw era of hip-hop.

What is your burning desire of the future, what plans do you have?
My main desire is to create a comic book to anime, its always been one of my major goals. Other than that to keep working my craft and actually get in the studio with some session musicians and producers and create some classics on an unplugged vibe, and just to get bigger and better, more elaborate.  

Big Money is out now. Image courtesy of AudioStage

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slowthai picked as one of YouTube Music’s ‘Ones to Watch’ for 2019

slowthai has been picked by YouTube Music as one of its ’10 top acts for 2019′. The Northampton-born rapper has been included on the streaming service’s ‘Ones To Watch’ artist…

slowthai has been picked by YouTube Music as one of its ’10 top acts for 2019′.

The Northampton-born rapper has been included on the streaming service’s ‘Ones To Watch’ artist spotlight.

Other acts on the list include Mahalia, Octavian, Grace Carter, Kojey Radical, Sam Fender, L Devine, Dermot Kennedy, Samm Henshaw and Jade Bird.

This list has been compiled by YouTube Music based on a variety of factors, including YouTube views, engagement from global music fans and YouTube Music analytics.

slowthai said: “It’s a blessing to be shortlisted by YouTube Music for Ones to Watch in 2019. Love to YouTube and everyone else supporting me.”

The list is dominated by a mix of individual singer-songwriters and is notable for not featuring any groups, comprising ten solo artists – reflective by trends, views and insights on YouTube.

Over the course of the past year, slowthai has released a steady string of singles including ‘North Nights’ / ‘The Bottom’, ‘Ladies’, ‘Drug Dealer’ and ‘Rainbow’ – mixing rap, grime and garage influences.

In October, slowthai announced the Brexit Bandit tour which will see him play across the UK and Europe in March and April next year.

While there’s no Northamptonshire gig, the closest the tour comes is Birmingham’s O2 Institute on Wednesday, March 27th.

For more details, visit https://slowthai.com and https://www.youtube.com/user/slowthai

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New Slowthai tour announced

Northampton rapper Slowthai‘s exponential rise continues with the announcement of his biggest headline shows to date next March. The ‘Brexit Bandit’ tour begins in mainland Europe, then heads to: March…

Northampton rapper Slowthai‘s exponential rise continues with the announcement of his biggest headline shows to date next March.

The ‘Brexit Bandit’ tour begins in mainland Europe, then heads to:
March 26th: Glasgow SWG3
March 27th: Birmingham 02 Institute
March 28th: Manchester 02 Ritz
March 29th: Bristol SWX
March 31st: Brighton Concorde 2
April 1st: London York Hall

Dice pre-sale is open now here, and general sale happens from tomorrow [Friday October 26th] at 10am.

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New Music Friday: Mio Flux

Mio Flux (aka Jacob Bartoli) is a Northampton electronic producer, who is working alongside Patchy, The Rockstar on many of his collaborations. ‘SNL’ is the latest single to drop, and…

Mio Flux (aka Jacob Bartoli) is a Northampton electronic producer, who is working alongside Patchy, The Rockstar on many of his collaborations. ‘SNL’ is the latest single to drop, and it’s such a great tune [and Northampton love-in] that New Boots had to have a few moments with him.

How/why did you start the Mio Flux project?
I started the Mio Flux project when I was about 17. Before then I was a frontman for indie bands and indie solo projects. My laptop and software changed everything for me musically, I started to appreciate the electronic side of music and ended up totally indulged and obsessed with it. The reasoning behind Mio Flux was to be able to collaborate with as many artists as possible from all genres and mix my two musical loves together. I always wanted to do something different and original.

How would you describe your sound?
Atmospheric. I like to add multiple layers and create my own sounds that are unexpected. I think the intro for ‘Catch My Hook’ describes my sound the best; catchy melodies with bells and airy synths as an under layer. Hopefully interesting for the listener.

Who are your main influences in music? It seems to be everything from Diplo to David Bowie…
I have a wide range. I am very influenced by producers like Murda Beatz, Mike Will Made it, Diplo, Pharrel, Mark Ronson and George Martin. They are all game changing producers in their own right. However one of my strongest influences is definitely Scritti Politti from the 70/80’s. In my eyes they have a perfect combination of outstanding songwriting, production, catchy guitar/synth/bass riffs, and memorable choruses.

What was it about Patchy that attracted you to working with him?
We met working at Toys’R’Us, and he was my manager. He first did a verse on a track I was cooking up with Marcus and George from Sarpa Salpa, and from then we just clicked and began working on ‘Balmain’, and others. Our collaboration has been going on for well over a year now, and I feel we get stronger and better with every track. His hooks are unreal; every single one of them is as catchy as the last.

What was the reaction like to [previous single] ‘Sabo’?
Fantastic, every show without fail people know the chorus [it’s not too complex], so it seems to be a really uplifting song in our set that injects energy into the crowd. It’s a song I always compare our new tracks too, to see if they have the same energy on stage.

Tell us about this new release, ‘SNL’.
The single started by Patchy and I wanting to sample guitars and really demonstrate there’s more to rap than just the beats and repetitive melodies. So we went through a few bands we know in Northampton and ‘She Never Lies’ by Sarpa Salpa stood out. SNL consists of Sarpa’s guitar recordings over the top of a trap beat. Even Marcus’ vocals make an appearance at the end of the streaming versions of the song. We wanted to really break through new ground and collaborate with an interesting mix of genres. The video is also directed by ourselves, and edited by our regular collaborator in the States, Lil Adlib. The video carries on our theme of retro gaming. There are even scenes of me and Patchy fighting in Street Fighter 2.

What are your live shows like?
Energetic and fast paced. We like to keep a continuous flow of music so Patchy and I will talk in intros or filtered outs. This ensures the crowd are kept on their toes. It’s made for every music lover.

What has been your favourite Mio Flux moment of 2018?
Without a doubt it was mine and Patchy’s headline show at the Garibaldi. The atmosphere was unreal, everyone chanting our lyrics, I won’t forget that night for a long time. The line up was so strong too; Leo Robinson, Charlie Borthwick and Kiao opening the show and Ginger Snaps providing the after party. I can’t thank everyone enough for that night, a night I really wasn’t expecting.

What was the last thing you bought/streamed?
Anderson .Paak ‘Tints’ [featuring Kendrick Lemar]. The single has got me really excited for his new album to drop. He’s definitely someone I would love to work with.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
Patchy and I are building up enough quality music to be able to release a joint mixtape, and hopefully go on tour with it. I want to keep our momentum flowing with singles and videos beforehand. Also I have nearly finished a collaboration with The Barratts: if you love ‘The Garrison’, I hope you love the remix too.

SNL is out now on the usual digital platforms

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