Tuesday, June 08, 2010

M.I.K's Working A Grime To Five...The Interview

Grime and the East end of London go hand-in-hand. But there's been some blips in this Bow-Leytonstone tower block matrix in the distant past, when crews such as Essentials and South Agents reared their keen-to-prove heads with classic mix CDs such as Zero's Ground Zero and Bearman's Bear Necessities accompanying a plethora of pirate radio sets and studio takeovers such as the Hazzardous Sessions. Can M.I.K recapture the South London glory...

SO the new CD is out right now, "Grime 2 Five", the previous one was called "Workaholic". Can you outline a difference in anything between the two ?

Grime To Five is a more planned out project and when I say this I mean in terms of the production, artwork, promotion, vocal features, the sound quality, track concepts, everything. Whereas Workaholic was really complete in a matter of weeks - I was just in a rush to bring out my first actual psychical CD due to the demand for it - if you listen to the the both of them now you'll notice the work and effort that got put into Grime To Five compared to Workaholic.

Production wise the Cd's got stuff from some of the scene's darker horses, in that I mean excellent quality but not quite known by everyone yet, Rockz, Exo Remedy being two good examples. Is this something you done for a particular reason or ?

Well at the time when I was picking beats for Grime To Five, I said to myself that I'm only going to work with one producer, Relentless. But then I remembered all the other guys that I've worked with in the past such as Exo, Swizzee, Spooky, J Beatz etc and thought they've all got the sound that I'm looking to use for this CD so yeah it wasn't really a thing of "I only want work with the much bigger guys" but more the fact of the sound I was looking for.

What exactly is "the sound" you wanted to capture with the CD ? Do you feel you found what you was looking for ?

At first I didn't, I had done like 7 tracks for the CD but they wasn't grimey enough so I scraped them and started working on it again - went back to square one collecting nothing but full on grimey beats - rewriting bars choruses etc and in the end I was like yeah this is how I want the CD to sound "all out grimey" no softness what so ever.

Sometimes when people fling out a mix tape they've got quite an abundance features from people that are strictly from their area or crew, I think on this CD there's something like nine features and Merky (Ace) and Ego are the only ones from your camp, how did you organise the other features ?

It's just a matter of making a simple phone call, getting them down to the studio and making music really, nothing to hard.

Maybe not everyone will know but you've actually been doing the MCing for quite a while now, the listeners in South will have heard of you through the pirates but now it seems people from all over the place are taking genuine interest, how does that feel ?

Yeah it's alright I suppose because to be real, I'm not doing this for the face or the rep I just really enjoy doing Grime music and if people like what I'm doing then I take it as a bonus because when I came in the game I never did it for the recognition but for the love of it like I said.

On the intro track to the new CD you say numerous things which we'll go over, firstly you mention that your previous CD (Workaholic) "done a lot for you", how ?
Basically Workaholic changed a lot of views that people had on me, I went from the MC that only did pirate radio who was releasing loads of free download able music to the MC who can actually put together a psychical CD and be able to sell it and not only do pirate radio but legal as well.

Perhaps one of the most obvious things to turn into a question but you go onto to list a few things we won't be hearing on the CD that are descriptive of some other Grime tunes we've heard lately, to summarise for those who haven't heard it, what will we be hearing across the 16 tracks ?

I cant put it in no other words apart from 100% dutty mucky hardcore GRIME! 
A sampler for the CD Grime To Five (interview continues below).

Recently you dropped (yet another) free download, but in a twist to previous material we've used to hearing from you, it was full off instrumentals. How long have you been producing and is that set to become one of your main focuses now ?

I've producing for a strong minute but I'm not as serious about it as I am with writing lyrics. I'd rather leave it to the better lot. As for doing it in the future it's something I think about all the time but not for now.

Last year when Logan Sama still had his two hour slot you popped inside the Kiss 100 studios alongside Merky ACE and provided a more than decent set, before that of course you had been on 1xtra with Westwood and most obviously before that, the pirates. Is there a way of putting that journey into words for us ?

Yeah man the appearance on Logan's show was very over due so I've a lot of respect for him for me giving a chance to show my talent to a wider audience. As for the pirate radio grind it's just a really hard graft; I mean I was up and down all over the place near enough every day non-stop, I was tired all the time but it's really good practice for the vocal cords and stage preforming side of things.

Some DJs, MCs and other figures from the scene have put it blunt and basically said that pirate radio aspect of Grime is dead. Where do you stand on that ? Because like you said everyone knew you from radio but wanted you to do some Cd's; so now we're two retail Cd's down the line have you a preference when it comes to making a CD or going in on a pirate set ?

How I see it is that the MCs/DJs that are really 'out there' will say that because they've got full backing management, street teams, online groupies etc but someone that has just stepped in the game wont see the pirates as a dead outlet 'cause it's a very strong way to build a fan base and promote your stuff. When making a CD just do you don't change what you do for no one and people will respect you for that full stop, as for the pirates stick at it radio will never die as long as there are listeners.

It would be good to hear you on radio again, maybe this time with the whole Family Tree on a chosen ones set. Which brings me onto my next topic: The crew. Can we expect a group effort from you guys soon ?

A Family Tree project is in the pipeline but everyone has there own solo projects to finish before it can be finalised.  

Some crews refer to themselves as either collectives or full-on crews, what category does Family Tree fall into ?

I'd have to say more of a Family type movement because some of us are actually related and the ones who ain't have known the rest from the early days.

Recently you and fellow MC Rival went bar-for-bar at Risky's Mic Fight, how do you feel the clash went for you ? A couple of war dubs have been traded since and reading into the content and lyrics it seems a little 'personal', how do you see things ?

Like to be real I went to the war unarmed simply because I didn't feel the need to strap bars or do the research, blah blah blah, so on those terms I felt stood my ground. After the clash a few people agreed that I had won even though I didn't come prepared but it was a good little spar. However when the dubs started I was in my zone 'cause that's what I love doing best. But nah on my behalf it was never nothing personal just me spitting acid at him really (laughs). 

2 CDs, 15 (at a rough count) free downloads, a few wars, what's your next target ? Do you set yourself targets as an MC ? How do you get round to writing your lyrics ?

I'm looking to drop an official video sometime soon and yeah I always like setting myself targets 'cause it keeps me driven and active. When writing lyrics I get my ideas really from the beat depending on what type of vibe it gives of - if it's a hype beat I pen a hype bar - if it's a mellow beat I don't bother with it.

Well actually now I remember something you said on the intro track went along the lines of "none of that dance music on here", do you not feel that aspect of the scene then because a lot of producers enjoy making that type of rave friendly Grime...is it something that maybe we could hear you take on at another point ?

Nope, not for me anyway - I dislike this soft grime. You wont ever hear me doing a kinky grime song, a soggy dance song, none of that bull jive I'm far too stuck in my ways which are 100% grime.

One of the biggest talking points as the moment is Dubstep. People are bickering as to which producers are copying each other, the amount of Dubstep that gets played in Grime sessions and all sorts of other hype like that. Do you like Dubstep, can you see yourself releasing anything that's more sort of "Dubstep based" or "Dubstep influenced".

I don't go out of my way to listen to Dubstep but when I hear it I enjoy some of it. I got sent a couple tunes from Fused Forces and Mr Snowman that I'm looking to vocal soon so yeah I'm looking to release something on a dubby vibe.

As we've covered you've been doing this for a number of years now, when exactly did you start and to what degree has the scene developed since ?

I started years back - say 2001 - but only taking it seriously since 2008. The scene has developed in to some bandwagon high horse to be real, everyone that I see doing it now seems to be doing it for the face, there's no rules any more 'cause like back in the day if you was good people would rate and respect you but now you could be really good but not know anyone in the scene and you'd get air - it's just messed up but that's the way it goes in music not just grime.

There are a lot of artists that used to be rated really high in the South London scene that are no longer active in the Grime bracket, for example people like Bearman, K Dot Kidman, Seb Zero. Did anyone from South influence you on the come-up and where do you see South in terms of where we're at in the scene ?

Yeah Essentials & NAA. They were the two crews I used to listen to a lot. In terms of South in the scene, I'd say it goes East then South simply because East are the founders of the grime sound and but right now South are the more active.

It's hardly a secret: your work rate is quite astonishing. A lot of your music reflects that, even in release titles (Grime To Five, Workaholic, Tea Break etc) we can see you put the effort in, do you not feel that sometimes you're running the risk of putting in TOO MUCH work ? In the sense that people may get bored ?

You know what, my boy was saying the same thing to me the other day. He was telling me I need to slow down with how much music I put out 'cause people will get bored of hearing me etc, but the thing is it's only just now that people are really starting to take interest in my work so I cant really take a break now when the new supporters are going to want more. I did say after Grime To Five I was going to take some time out to reinvent myself but I don't know now.

The 16 track CD "Grime To Five" is available now from Amazon, iTunes and Bandcamp and features productions from Exo Remedy, Swizzee Star, Kaychi, J Beatz, Smurf, Spooky, Relentless, Myrical and Royal-T. MC's featuring are Avalanche, Darkos, Ego, Warlock, Wolf, Merky ACE, Styler, Untitled and Kwam. Keep up to date with M.I.K via Twitter or his GrimePedia page.

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