UK Hip Hop: International
This group of four are making a bit of nose around their home town of Brighton, and after hearing their demo CD, we thought we had better catch up with them and find out what they are all about. Peep what they had to say below:

OK, so there are four of you in the group. Firstly can you introduce yourselves and explain how each of you came by your names?

Buzz Comments: My names Buzz, I got my name at infant school. I used to be called Little Juda when I first got into the music business but, that was the ragga day. I'm in the hip hop scene now and Buzz that's just the way to be. (laughter)
Pablo Comments: Got the name Pablo from my mates brother. He used to call me it from about ten years ago, because it's Hispanic for Paul (his name) and it just stuck.
Warwick Comments: I'm called Warwick because it's my name.
Junior Red (Buzz comments In Jr's absence): Junior Red got his name in the early ragga days from about 1993/1994 it's a ragga term and Red is a raggsta, red is a ragga man.

Right, so that is the introductions done. Can you break down what each of your roles are within the group, who does what, or does each of you turn your hand to everything?

Buzz Comments: I emmcee with my spar Junior Red we have joined together in a combination to drop some lyrical formats. We write lyrics and freestyle together.
Pablo Comments: My involvement in the company is music production, mixing down tracks, and beat programming.
Warwick Comments: I do the boring bits, co-production, I find a lot of the samples, I sometimes help out with writing the lyrics and I master the tracks to CD.
Buzz Comments: Your a cock sucker.
Warwick quickly replies: Nah mate I prefer clitoris, I have my tongue pierced, which makes it just perfect.

Are there any other producers, DJs or MCs in your crew, or other crews you are working with that we should look out for?

Buzz Comments: Devise from Dupastyles Crew.
Warwick Comments: We've got Devise from Dupastyles crew coming in on a couple of tracks.
Pablo comments: I think that's about it at the moment.
Warwick Comments: We also have DJ IYE95 providing some cuts for us as well. We've got Redman popping over as well??!!
Buzz comments: Method man grabbed our skills and he wants to try and flex??!!
Warwick Comments: RZA as well I think, also Pac is coming over as well we've got Pac's secret mobile number..........shit I shouldn't have said that!!
Buzz comments: Iceberg slim wants some decent beats! (joke)

Are you all from Brighton? Can you tell us a bit about where you are from, and what is going on down there? Who are the main acts, DJs, clubs and radio shows etc? I remember a few good nights in the Zap club about 15 years ago - is that place still there?

Buzz Comments: HELLO! I used to go to the Zap 15 years ago myself in Brighton......sorry what was the question again...(laughter).
Warwick Comments: We are all from the City of Brighton and Hove. The studio is in the aptly named Poets Corner.
Buzz Comments: Knowledge of Self was a good night starting in about 1992/1993 it was a very good hip hop night. We have played two nights down there, one was their fifth anniversary the night that we supported Jeru the Damaja. Other nights include Clever Looking and Slip Jam:B. Local main acts include, The Lost Souls, The Nonconformists. Local clubs include The Pressure Point, The Brighton Gloucester, The Concorde 2 and The Zap.

Have you been paying attention to any of the recent inter city battles between Bristol and Brighton? I hear Brighton did quite well?

Warwick Comments:Yeah Brighton won and Buzz lost a bet cause he reckoned it was going to be a draw.....Thank you Buzz.
Buzz Comments: Brighton Vs Bristol.....hmm..It was good entertainment, It was good to see something like that go on.
Pablo Comments: Sorry what was the question man? Brighton did run tings, we were asked to do a set at the night but because Junior Red was in America doing some garage emceeing (earning money). Brighton did make Bristol look absolutely amateur.
Warwick remembers a line one of the Bristol emcee's came out with: ( mimicking a west country accent) The first night I came down to Brighton I felt my ringpiece tighten! ( and one more line against Devise from Dupastyles ) You look like a miniature version of Blade! (laughter) 
Buzz comments:
Brighton emcee's won (Koaste K, HP and Devise), Brighton DJ's won (Surgical Cuts) and the Bristol Breakers won err yeah.

When did you first get in to hip hop? Who were the old skool acts you bumped?

Pablo Comments: Ok, I first got into hip hop in probably 1987 I suppose. When Nation of Millions came out that was really the first hip hop album that I got into, and License To Ill from then mainly followed everything mostly American hip hop, British hip hop in general doesn't really do much for me. It's ok ... but American hip hop is where it's at. My influences have got to be Dre and Rza on the production side influences on the rapping side, even though I don't rap, Method Man all of the wu-tang really, redman, KRS one, there's too many to mention, Busta Busta's go to be in there.
Warwick:......(long pause).....what about electro eleven (laughter) I've nearly got a complete set of electros....erm Boogie Down Productions Criminal Minded LL Cool J radio....er shit no thats it.
Buzz comments: I like Us and Uk hip hop even a bit of French hip hop, Japanese hip hop is what I've been listening to lately. My favorite influences are, Gunshot, Hijack, Demon Boys, Silver Bullet of course, Us influences include, Method man and redman.
Top Notch comments: It has also been known that Buzz likes and is influenced by MC Buzz B.
Buzz Comments: MC Buzz B was........mmmm ok I think he pirated my name but that's no big deal. I like Souls of Mischief, Kool Keith, Ultramagnetic emcee's wicked papa large and all that caper. Yeah I think British hip hop is making moves also Papa San from the ragga days is another influence. I've got a vast musical inspiration.

How do you feel about the current state of UK hip hop? Do you object to being categorised in this way?

Pablo Comments: I don't object to being catagorised in Uk hip hop but I don't think we are strictly hip hop like that we've got a different edge to our sound. I do class us as hip hop but not as English hip hop because I don't really rate English hip hop. It's just that I think we bring a new edge to English hip hop.
Warwick Comments: Uk hip hop just congers up images of rather sparse music sort of laid back beats with not much else going on really. We are not like that but we are hip hop and we are from the Uk so you've got to represent. It is getting better with the likes of Roots Manuva getting played on radio 1 let's just hope that we are gong to be next.
Buzz comments: I actually like Uk hip hop cause I've seen it grow from recent years up until now. A lot of people In the early days of Uk hip hop used to chat in an American accent thats is because the music to us was new. Now people are getting used to Uk hip hop with localised accents. I think Uk hip hop can only grow bigger. I've got no objection to being called Uk hip hop but what Pablo was saying is that I think we are controversially Uk hip hop as we have a different style to the standard Uk hip hop that is being churned out on a regular basis.

Do you think it is getting better or worse and why?

Pablo comments: I think Uk hip hop is getting better definitely although I do think it went through a good faze end of the eighties early nineties with Demon boys etc and Hijack and things like that but I do think it is getting a lot better. A lot more interesting basically.
Warwick: mmmm.... Uk hip hop is going the right way cause people aren't scared of who they are and where their from as the Brighton vs. Bristol battle showed.
Buzz comments: I think Uk hip hop is getting better us hip hop is getting better I think hip hop as a whole is getting better.
Pablo Comments: American hip hop has just turned into American hip hop totally it's all about fuckin money, jewels and fuckin bling bling nice cars and tasty birds in the video, it's just not saying any thing it's going round in circles, apart from the odd act or two.

Who are the UK artists you listen to and admire?

Pablo: err mmm ....none really. That I actually listen too, I like some Blade stuff and that but I don't really listen to it much.
Warwick Comments: Roots Manuva.
Buzz Comments: Roots Manuva, Black Twang, Malarchi, TY, Shortee blitz, skinny man, task force, phi life. Jehst and Tommy Evans I rate as personal friends but phi life are doing it for the Uk at the moment.

Who are your UK influences?

Warwick comments: Demon Boys and Hijack.
Buzz comments: Demon Boys, Hijack , Derek B, Gunshot, MC Juke, Merlin.
Warwick Comments: Just not Simon Harris's beats.

How do you view the Internet? Do you think it is a useful promotional tool and a good way of getting out there and breaking the strangle hold the major labels have on the marketplace, or are there too many idiots too willing to spout a load of rubbish with no control over them?

Pablo Comments: A bit of both basically.
Warwick: Right.....I think it is good for promotion, as long as the quality stays as bad as it is and it takes so long to get them, then it doesn't that much seem to be affecting sales. Also I don't know of any act that has been signed up from going on to an internet web site. I think it's good to be heard but I don't think it's having that much of an impact but then we don't have broadband yet so we will have to see how it goes also with napster selling out to bmg that may make a difference. That's enough from me.

Do you have any plans to get your own online presence?

Pablo Comments: Yes we do have plans we are just working on getting an image, logo and stuff sorted previously we have lacked a bit of image direction but I think we are getting a bit more of that now. It's just making time.
Warwick Comments: Yeah it's taking time to define an image and you do have to do a lot of musical work together to find your style, flavour and ideas.
Buzz comments: I agree with what Warwick and Pablo said.

How do you feel, as artists, about distribution systems like Napster or Winimix that are out of your control and for which you don't get any money? Do you think that seeing as the free music genie is out of the bag it could create problems in the future for you as artists to get paid for your work?

Buzz comments: It won't be a problem as the internet is the internet and selling music is selling music. When we do get a record deal we will be able to make videos, do promotions, arrange gigs we will be able to do this, self promotion. Father Buzz has spoken.
Pablo Comments: As long as the quality isn't too good obviously it's not going to be marketable enough is it cause no one is going to want to buy a second rate recording, so there will always be the market for the CD. So as long as they keep it at half the bit rate of what ever it is now on CD then it'll be ok. It's all promotion it's all exposure at thats a good thing like what we have done with our own CD's we've sent out a few CD's not made one penny off it (yet) purely for exposure and publicity and any publicity is good publicity.

So, you have your ‘Set Wrecka’ four track demo doing the rounds now. What has the initial reaction to it been like so far? Who have you got it out to?

Pablo Comments: The reception has been 100% good.
Warwick Comments: The reception has been and I quote "Digitek a run tings thats the bottom line".
Pablo Comments: Every time someone hears our CD they say are we signed yet people cannot believe we are not signed, that really is the general opinion, obviously you get sycophants saying what you want to hear but I do generally believe people when they say how good it is cause people go out of their way to tell us that you know it's not like were asking people just tell us so.
Buzz: People cry out for the CD, their is a Buzz about our CD.

Was there a concept behind your EP, or have you just collected together the tracks that you are currently most proud of? Can you talk us through each of the tracks and tell us a bit about the effects, moods or messages you were trying to create/pass on? To me you seem to me mixing many styles, obviously Hip Hop, but you have that modern sound, a bit of Drum and Bass in the beats and a ragga element in the vocals.

Pablo Comments: I'll speak for myself from a production point of view, the sound that I'm always trying to go for is hard, something usually a bit darker, not towards the commercial spectrum but still with a commercial edge and a futuristic modern sound. As for being drum and bass influenced I don't think thats true I think maybe it's just a bit more up tempo than most of the current hip hop people try and categorise it but it's more house than drum and bass but we think it's a form of music in it's own right.
Warwick: I think the production sounds come from years in Pablo's bedroom, the sound has just emerged from lots of diverse influences from the stuff we sample.
Buzz Comments: On the production side of things we keep it lateral with the production we hear the beats we think of styles that would go down well on the beats and we try and formulate the styles that we do on the tracks in-between ragga, hip house, hip hop rap skill formats and patterns on the beats. Set Wreck is one of my favorite tunes.

Talking through the tracks;
Track 1. Tek Rock

Warwick Comments: Tek Rock is one of our more recent tracks and it is a combination of what we do with the samples of us live because it is the live feeling that we try to re-create, it is a club track and it's what we do.
Buzz comments: It's a hip hop dance anthem.

2.Whip Track
Pablo Comments: I don't want to Sound like the So Solid crew but it goes out to all the haters. Junior Red did write the track with one particular Brighton emcee in mind, I gave him the theme when I done the track with the whip sounds sample from somewhere the track is pure confrontation.

3. Set Wreck
Pablo Comments: It's a live one again, just us jammin anthem flexin the lyrical skills just like they do.

4. Fast Forwarder
Buzz comments: A very tricky beat made by Pablo and Warwick.
Pablo cuts Buzz off: For starters it's a very simple beat it's a hard steamroller of a track with two emcee's back two back there's no chorus it's just verse verse verse and then it ends it's just a hip hop tune. It's a hardcore hip hop tune.

How do you plan to take things forward from here? Are you looking to get signed, or do you have a plan to grow the business yourselves?

Buzz Comments: Let's let the music speak for itself.
Pablo: What we are going to do is start up our own record label and get a distribution deal so we have control over the image, package, promotion, merchandise the only thing out off our control would be the distribution which is the only major stumbling block getting a good distribution deal. We want control over our artistic license.

Have had any other material out so far, or appeared on other peoples stuff?

Been on a couple of Clever Looking CD's which is just a compilation of Brighton stuff nothing major yet.

Where can people pick up your stuff?

Email Bruno at: topnotchuk1@yahoo.co.uk
Bruno is managing the group.

Can you let off some of your production techniques? What sort of equipment are you using both to make beats and to record?

Pablo Comments: No comment. But I will say we use a G4 Mac and Logic, a Akai sampler and O2R digital dek. But the rest is pure science and secret.

Do you do many live shows? Do you have plans to get out to a wider audience?

Warwick Comments: Since 2000 we have done 3/4 gigs a year. A UK tour is being planned for next year, we are sending material out to promoters at the moment. We can travel anywhere in the UK and most of Europe as well. The ultimate goal to be doing a gig in America and getting respect from the heads out there.

I ask everyone about politics, because I think it is important that we have knowledge of what is going on, but most current Hip Hop heads decline to answer. I guess they don’t want to upset anyone. Do you have anything to say on that? Any issues you think people need to open their eyes too?

Pablo after having smoked a heavy pipe comments: (Cough, cough) One thing I believe in is freedom of speech if you've got something to say no matter what it is you should be allowed to say it. I do think that America is the great Satan.
Warwick Comments: You can't say that if you want to sell records in America.
Pablo Comments: I'm not talking about Americans in general I'm talking about the people that run the country.

Did any of you vote in the last election and why?

Pablo Comments: No, I didn't, I know I should but at the same time what kind of democracy is a race between two horses.
Warwick Comments: It is a two horse race so a vote against them is at least a vote against them it wasn't wasted. I vote for whoever wants to put the most money back into education other than the Tories or Labour.
Buzz comments: I didn't vote, I don't have anything to do with politics , I just hope it gets better for the world.

Why do you think the urban youth and people in general are so pissed off with the government?

Pablo Comments: Aren't the youth always pissed off with the government? it's not anymore now than in the past is it ? No more than when I was 15 people that I know from the punk movement and that, when you r young you do tend to question things and when you get older you tend to get locked into the rut of life you end up accepting things in general that's just the way it goes. I'm not saying everyone's like that but I think that getting older has tamed me a bit.

What do you make of the so called ‘War of Terrorism’ that the US and the UK are perpetrating on some of the poorest people in the world? Do you think this is legitimate after what happened on September 11th or is it total overkill?

Pablo Comments: Absolute and total overkill, I'm not convinced that Bon Laden did it no matter what the recorded tape says even if he did it's just one man to go and bomb a whole government like that which we must remember the Americans fell out with middle east about oil supplies it comes down to ulterior motives the Americans have got something to gain out of this with access to oil in certain parts, it's a farce it's America chucking it's weight around as per usual and I'm really gutted that Britain is behind them. Rest of the group all agree with Pablo "politician" 9bar.

I think the media is biased when it comes to reporting music, and so, how can we trust what they tell us in this wider context? I keep hearing the media referring to Bin Laden’s High Tech Cave complex, but all I have seen is a few dark holes in some rocks. Doesn’t look too high tech to me. Is that subliminal manipulation, or trying to make it seem like he is stronger than he is and therefore trying to justify the extreme force and bombing?

Pablo comments: Definitely the latter without a doubt if you know what your looking for it's blatantly obvious that our media is riddled with propaganda in some way or form obviously they do sometimes say detrimental things about the government in order to make it look like the propaganda doesn't go on but it does without a doubt and like you say about the cave complexes the bloke is primitive he hasn't got access to weapons of mass destruction like nuclear warheads and advanced caves I mean how advanced can you get in a nation that's using Kalashnikov's left over from the war with the soviet union in the 80's it's all propaganda like you said to make him look like a more ligament target.

On a lighter note, what is going to be keeping you busy over the next few months?

Buzz comments: Making more music, having an impact on the scene, banging out them hits ! gigs! interviews, exposure press reviews we just want to do well, were good enough we've got the high tek equipment. We are ready to drop bombs!
Pablo Comments: More live gigs, get our stuff further afield than Brighton I think 2002 is going to be our year.

What are your longer term plans and objectives for you as artists?

Pablo Comments: My long term objective is to earn a living from making music, I hold down a 50/60 hour per week job thats got fuck all to do with music thats time that I could be using making music so it's a big hold up that is my goal not even to get rich to make a living off it is the goal.
Warwick Comments: To build up the 12o'Clock record label to build on the Brighton scene and redefine British hip hop and to have a weed pipe.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

Yeah why aren't we signed!
Buzz comments: Even though you've heard some wicked stuff from Digitek I think the best is yet to come.

Is there anyone else you would like to mention?

Pablo Comments: Yeah big up to Pablo.
Buzz Comments: Big up the Buzz yeah! Big up the Buzz for sure!
Warwick Comments: No big ups.
Pablo adds: Big up Junior Red for being able to make to the interview.
Buzz Concludes: We picked up the award for you red, he is away at the moment we would like to take this award on his behalf. Bald red mahatma, Ben Kingsley.

Thank you for your time.

Contact Digitek: topnotchuk1@yahoo.co.uk
Tel: 07841 105 647

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