Archive for the category “Interview”

Aver (The Natural Curriculum) Interview

Awhile back we caught up with Manchester born, now Berlin based, producer and MC from The Natural Curriculum, Aver for a few words about the crew, their music, influences and more. This was originally meant for when they dropped their debut album as a full crew, “The Best Fertiliser is the Gardener’s Shadow”, however due to one thing and another it was delayed. However, now Aver has just unleashed 15 brand new instrumental tracks on the world, we thought what better time than now. So, enjoy…



Can you introduce yourselves to the readers, run down the full crew and what you all do
Aver – Beatmaker, MC
Bill Sykes – MC, Weed Enthusiast
Chalk – Beatmaker, MC
Jam – Beatboxer
Omas – DJ
El Statiko – DJ
How did you all meet and when did you start making music together?
Myself and Chalk went to primary school together, Sykes lived round the corner from Chalk so we have all been friends since a very young age. We grew up in Withington, as did Jam, and he, Chalk and Sykes all used to rock an open mic night at Indigo when Jam used to be in beatbox crew called Folded Remediez. Jam ended up becoming an ‘official’ part of the crew a few years later. Omas used to put on nights as part of AtLarge DJs and he put us on very early on and we always sort of collaborated and did/do music together until he also ended up becoming and ‘official’ member. I use the inverted commas as we are essentially just a badly organized group of friends who occasionally create music together. Over the years we had a number of other friends in the group: Woli Wols, who was the first TNC DJ; then Mathmatics kinda replaced him; DJ INK has also played and recorded with us over the years; Dayse, who used to be in a group with Omas called Atrial Phonics was also part of TNC for a number of years; El Statiko has been doing the live shows with TNC of late and he is also individually taking part in many turntable competitions, keep an eye out for him!
Who or what would you say your main influences are?
With regards to the group I think the likes of ATCQ, Souls of Mischief, The Pharcyde and a lot of 90’s hip-hop was what we grew up on, which in turn influenced us. For me personally, Company Flow essentially changed the way I looked at music and how or why it should be created. I remember the day myself and Chalk copped the cd in HMV in town, took it to a mates house, put it on his system and just sat there listening kinda not really grasping what the fuck we were listening to. It is such a dense piece of information that I don’t think I will ever tire of listening to it. This has then spawned a desire in me to want to emulate this density. I like films that you have to watch a few times to really understand what is happening and to be able to absorb the true meaning the director is trying to transmit. In a world that is now so instantaneous and impatient I feel this kind of density is less and less prominent.
You have put out a number of different albums from different crew members, each one having its own flavour. Is it important to keep your own individual identities, even when you record as one unit?
As I said earlier, we actually mostly create as individuals and then bring it together for live shows and the occasional album. That is why we have only just put out our first full length LP after being a group for about 13 years. The individuality is just part of the process, the friendships allow us to tie things together very easily when we need to.
On that note, you have a new Natural Curriculum album out now, The Best Fertiliser Is The Gardener’s Shadow, whats the story behind the album?
I had become disentnc-albumchanted with the actual publishing and pushing of releases back in 2013/4 and really just wanted to enjoy making music again, as sometimes the independent promotion can take up so much time that it gets in the way of actually having time to create. We never quite made enough money to do it full time  so we all held down jobs whilst pushing stuff and it got to a point where I stopped pushing and just made a ton of beats with no project in mind, whilst running a restaurant. I think in about 20 months I made some 250 beats and in that time myself and Chalk started writing new stuff then by mid-2015 we had ended up with the basis of what is now TBFITGS. It was musically finished in 2015 but the artwork, videos and promo all took a while to set up and co-ordinate.
I wanted to create a set of songs that not only worked together sonically but that also had a similar tone in content, a sort of anti-establishment or against the run of the mill theme. I realize some people could listen to the album and not see this, but if you are into hip-hop you will be able to tell that we at least attempted to make some thing progressive.
Your sound has a strong traditional boom bap influence, but there is also a darker, more off key feel to it to. Do you like to try and experiment with your music?
Totally. The regular stuff I make doesn’t generally even get exported from Pro-Tools. I don’t see the point in just looping something and sitting there all happy like I re-invented the wheel. It’s not the 90’s any more, a large percentage of the vast pool of samplable music has been molested in some way already and the real skill lies in being able to either use it in such a way that others haven’t or in sampling things people just generally don’t go near. This leads to listening to more experimental music, which then has a knock on a effect on my own output and ambitions for wanting to challenge listeners instead of just giving the same simple ass shit that everyone else seems to be peddling.
The Manchester hip hop scene is pretty strong right now. What acts/artists are you liking right now?
Herrotics. Voodoo Black, although they don’t do many shows/releases themselves as they are doing various solo ventures. Lay Dot and Cul de Sac also.
On a wider scale, who, from anywhere around the world would you like to work with and why?
I’m not sure, I think its odd when people are like ‘imagine if Doom and [insert upcoming rapper’s name here] did an album, wouldn’t it be great?’ Or ‘Bronson should work with Premo’ etc etc etc. I don’t really see the point in collaboration for the sake of it. We never really had features on our albums unless we were mates with the people, don’t get me wrong I love posse cuts but it just feels forced if it’s on some internet trade shit.If I were not being a pretentious twat I’d love to sit in on a studio session with Geoff Barrow of Portishead and just see how he works, it’d probably be so meticulous that it’d be boring as hell but maybe not. It’d be grand to record Radiohead for a day in order to generate my own samples. The same goes for Mica Levi who did the ‘Under the Skin OST’, she is sick.

I like the idea of getting Go Go Penguin in a room with Lee Scott and giving them all a tonne of mushrooms and seeing what they’d come up with. You could get Onoe Caponoe and Strange U to be back-up singers as well and I reckon you’d have some multiverse altering shit right there.

What are the plans for the future? More music we hope!
Well, I just put out a set of instrumentals which are essentially good pieces but that don’t quite fit into this new instrumental project I am working on. The working title for that is ‘The Assassination of Rupert Murdoch’, I wanna challenge myself to make something the likes of which I have never made before.
Sykes is working continually with his other group The Bluntskins, El Statiko is gonna spend the next year planning his routine for all the turntable championships at the end of next year.
The question we always ask people, which cartoon old or new, would you like to supply the soundtrack too?
Rick and Morty
Any last words or shout outs?
Massive thanks to Aver for taking time out to answer our questions, now we suggest you go and grab “The Best Fertiliser Is The Gardner’s Shadow” as well as Aver’s new release “Instrumentals.3” you will not regret it!

Memory Man Interview

memoryHaving recently supplied us with a fantastic mix for The Left Hand Side podcast, Memory Man has kindly taken time out to answer a few of our questions.

Can you introduce yourself and let the people know what you do.
I’m Memory Man, a DJ, producer and instrumentalist based in Austin, Texas.
What first got you into hip hop?
When I was seven I was into DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince, Run DMC, Beastie Boys and Slick Rick. Then I got heavily into Public Enemy when I was nine. That was the big one.
When did you decide you wanted to be more than just a listener of the music and start producing?
In college. The minute I saw people I knew doing it I knew I wanted to try it myself.
You seem to take inspiration and influence from all over the place, apart from hip hop what music are you into?
Literally every genre, but some favorites are Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Sly Stone, James Brown, Syd Barrett, Brian Wilson, John Lennon, Dead Kennedys and Bad Brains.
There are many great artists featured on your album, “Broadcast One”. How did you hook up with them all?
Edan’s been one of my best friends for fifteen years, Paul Barman’s been one for ten. I met Lif through Edan and Mike Eagle and Busdriver through Paul. My man TomC3 who produced Kool Keith’s Project Polaroid album linked me up with Keith and Prince Po. Blaise B. was someone whose music I stumbled across online and reached out to because I thought his talent was incredible and nobody seemed to know about him yet.
What is the main concept behind “Broadcast One”? Can you break it down for the readers.
Each song is a different TV show on the Angry Bee Network. It’s inspired by SCTV and a lot of the TV I grew up with in the ’80s. I thought the TV concept was a good format to incorporate a lot of my political interests.
Are there any artists out there you would like to work with?
There’s a ton of them, mostly guys from the golden era. I feel like a lot of MCs that people feel fell off are being let down on the production end of things.
Would you ever consider producing any other music other than hip hop?
Yeah, I’ve been producing rock music for a while on the low. I’ve been working with Cory Shane who used to be in the band Dead Meadow on some stuff recently.
What’s next for Memory Man? Is there another album in the works?
There are some plans, but nothing solid enough to talk about yet.
Which cartoon, old or new, would you like to supply the soundtrack to?
I’m not a fan of most modern animation, so probably it would be the old UPA stuff and Merrie Melodies.
Any last words or shout outs?
Just a big shout out to everybody who still cares about this music. DJ Food, Ego Trip, Jeff Weiss, etc. – plus a huge shout out to all the MCs who worked on my album and Chopped Herring Records.

Memory Mans album “Broadcast One” is available now via bandcamp or from Chopped Herring Records.

Duke01 & Furious P Interview

dukePDuke01’s new album “Steroid Stereo” is out now on Uncommon Records, Duke along with his DJ Furious P took time out to answer some of TheLeftHandSide’s questions.

How long have you been making music? When did you first start rapping?
Duke01: I first started toying around with writing raps in 1987. I was 14 years old and my family had just moved from one side of Nottingham to the other, away from my closest friends that I’d grown up with. These were the days before mobile phones or the internet, so even though I still lived relatively close to all these people, getting to see them would’ve required a lot of effort and I’m inherently lazy, so I lost touch. Living in this new place, which was the embodiment of “white suburbia”, I felt a real sense of isolation and being alone, but no less proud of who and what I was. This seemed to match the message of a lot of rap music at that time, so it really seemed to speak to me. Being somebody that has always loved the english language, reading, creative writing, poetry and the like; rap became a natural form of expression for me to talk about my experiences of being this young black kid (one of only 2 or 3 in my school year) in what felt like a very “fish out of water” time in my life. I’d perform my raps over what ever dope instrumentals I could find on 12″ releases, then perform them at school youth clubs or to friends. It wasn’t until ’89 that I took myself and my art seriously enough to start going to studio’s, recording material and performing at actual venues. It feels crazy that in a few years I’ll have been rapping for 30 years!!
Furious P: Music’s always been a part of my life from learning instruments as a kid to playing guitar as a teenager. My first exposure to dj culture came through the rave scene in the 90’s listening to djs like Carl Cox, Grooverider, DJ Hype etc. I was always drawn to the more interesting beats and breaks, Coldcut, Mo’ Wax stuff and darker downtempo breaks. When I discovered turntablism something just switched in my head. I remember seeing Cutmaster Swift rock a set at the Medicine Bar in Birmingham. He was cutting up doubles of all these classic records, it was just the dopest thing I’d ever seen. I remember thinking I had to learn how to do that! I’ve always enjoyed being creative so the idea of being able to take two records and change the way they sound sent my head spinning with the possibilities. It was just so different and interesting, I had to get involved. That was around ’97 and it’s been an obsession ever since.
Until a couple of years ago I hadn’t discovered Duke01, were you involved in any other projects, groups, etc in the past?
Duke01: As I’ve learned my craft and indeed, continued to learn, I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in various projects over the years. Some have been notably better than others, but all of them have taught me something that I either didn’t know about myself, or didn’t know about music. I spent a long time working with a group called Non-Thespian here in Nottingham, which is me and my Homie, Dwyzak (he features on Countdown to Armour Gettin’) and you can grab the last two Non-Thespian EPs (The Art of Conflict & Tangible Horizons) over at my bandcamp page ( I’ve also worked with swedish metal act, Clawfinger, appearing on one of their remixes back in the ’90’s and I’ve also provided vocals for Gabba artist, Ultraviolence. I’ve just tried to keep myself busy musically and I’ve been incredibly lucky in that I’ve been able to work on a huge range of stuff.
P: I started battling in 2002, entering local battles. Winning pretty much all of them gave me the confidence to try my hand at the DMC. Damn! Stepping up at the midland heat in 2003 was an education! The standard was mad high, around 30 hungry djs throwing down. Wow.  Didn’t qualify that year but made it through to the regional finals every year after that, and qualified for the uk finals 2006-2012 coming 2nd in 09 and 12. I’ve also been to three DMC world finals and two IDA world finals with Bionic Stylus (Loop Skywalker, Switch, Cable and myself) repping the uk in the teams. We got third place in the ’09 and ’10 DMC. Not battled since 2012 but will more than likely be back. When I first started djing around Nottingham much of it was with my mate Dirty Joe, playing hip hop nights spinning beats for open mic sessions. Later I played a few different nights with Detail – Selectadisc legend and top break collector – and DJ Squigly who ran a record shop in Notts till a few years ago. I also worked with former Notts resident Endemic and provided cuts for a few of his projects including cutting on ‘Adamantine’, an Endemic produced Rusty Juxx album that released on Boot Camp.
You like to try new things musically, pushing boundaries within hip hop. Is this something that is important to you, or just the way your music turns out?
Duke01: Getting into hip hop when I did, the sound had no status quo, pushing boundaries was what it was all about. These were the days when the majority of hip hop didn’t sound like anything else out there anyway. It was absolutely unique. It was a brand new form of music. Over the years, I’ve watched corporate approach get more and more of a foothold in the culture and consequently, it has become diluted in my opinion. Now we have rap music that, if you remove the rapper and put the latest “hot” singer on there, it becomes just another song… The majority of hip hop has no unique identity. That unique identity is important to me. Working with Uncommon Nasa and the type of beats that he provides for me is perfect, because his beats are undeniably hip hop. You couldn’t, for instance just replace whoever is rapping on his beats with say, a Katy Perry or a Leona Lewis, or a Rhianna… It’s not that cookie cutter hip hop that you might see or hear everyday on any of the major TV or radio stations.. It’s that genuine “break the rules”-“sounds fresh”-“how the F did he make a sample do that?”-hip hop… It’s that inventive hip hop that I used to hear when I was 14 years old, which is exactly the sort of music that I want to make.
P: I’ve always been into different, interesting sounds. I listen to quite a broad variety of music and the influences definitely come through whether it’s putting a battle routine together or seeing what sounds I can pull out of the synth when laying down scratches for a track with Duke. I’ve always thought music’s part of our identity so if you make music that’s true to who you are it will sound different as it’s your personal expression. I love to hear new sounds and ideas and that’s what I get working with Duke and Nasa. Proper hip hop that has it’s own identity. Nasa’s beats bang but theres lots of interesting s### there too. Me and Duke are pretty like-minded so when it’s time to bring the beat, vocals and cuts together it tends to flow.
What’s the general concept behind the new album, “Steroid Stereo”?
Duke01: The title and Boombox cover art is a bit of a homage to the period that I got into hip hop. In the ’80’s there was an anti-drugs campaign that had a big media presence on both sides of the Atlantic. I remember seeing one of the famous US anti-drugs ads at the time which always stuck with me… Maybe because BDP referenced it on their Edutainment VHS tape… It was the advert that showed you an egg and said, “this is your brain”, they then cracked the egg into a sizzling frying pan and the voice over continued, “and this is your brain on drugs.” I had this vision in my head of a voice over saying, “this is your stereo”; someone putting one of our tracks on it and then, “and this is your stereo on steroids”! Haha! I’m not sure if anyone would actually make that connection, but these are some of the thoughts that go through my head during the creative process! As for the concepts behind the songs, they’re looking at some of the worlds biggest problems at their smallest. For instance, Eat Your Mistakes is about taking responsibility for your actions, conduct and behaviour in relationship breakdowns (be they friend to friend or romantic etc.). For instance, how many times have you split from a partner, or a relationship hasn’t worked out and when people ask you “why?”, you reply with something like “She/he was crazy!” That’s someone who isn’t taking responsibility for their part in the breakdown, or isn’t aware of their role in why it didn’t work out. If you don’t know your past, you’re doomed to repeat it again in the future. The point is, you can apply the concept to some of the worlds biggest problems to get an understanding of what’s going on, at a very basic level. e.g you have countries that seem to be in an endless cycle of war or unrest because they haven’t addressed the mistakes that they’ve made, are not aware that they’ve made mistakes or worse, know the mistakes they’ve made, but refuse to acknowledge them. The songs themselves are pretty autobiographical, so they’re as much a lesson for me as for anyone that might be listening.
P: For the cuts on the album we looked for vocal samples that fitted in with the theme of each track. We took bits and pieces from a variety of sources, some familiar, most pretty obscure. A lot of the sounds used were made in my studio on my synth, something that opened up a lot of possibilities to take the way rapper and dj interact in a different direction.
How did you hook up with New York producer and MC, Uncommon Nasa?
Duke01: Via the wonders of Twitter! I’d just split up from a long-term partner, had just had a record deal with a group implode and decided “F it, I’m taking control of my own destiny!” I’d recently read the book, “The Yes Man” by Danny Wallace and I felt inspired to start taking advantage of some of the opportunities that life was presenting to me, which historically, I’d have probably said “no” to. Nasa is someone I’ve been a fan of for a long, long time… I’d discovered him through his connection to Def Jux, had followed his career as an MC and producer from a very early period, so he was someone that I was following on Twitter. He posted a tweet, which I initially scrolled right by, offering his services as a producer. Remembering my new positive, take control outlook that I now had, I thought “F it! You know what, I’m gonna respond to the tweet and ask him to produce my new stuff!”, and the rest is, as they say, history.
With you in the UK and Nasa in the US, how did your working relationship work?
Duke01: Surprisingly simple, but I did learn a lot during the process of creating the record, that I’ll definitely use in the future. What’s great about the working relationship that we have is the respect & trust. We’re all masters of our respective crafts and we all allow each other the creative space  to demonstrate that. I’m a strong believer in treat people how you’d like to be treated, so it’s great that I can write what ever I want to write, deliver my lyrics however I want to deliver them etc. and no one questions me, or tells me I should be doing something differently. Nasa knows he has that same freedom to express himself as a producer, without interference from me or P.. What’s most rewarding about the whole experience is not just the product that we created, but the fact that while I’ll always be a fan of Nasa and his work, I can now genuinely call him my friend too.
P: Without doubt this is the easiest thing I’ve worked on. The combination of three artists all up on their game gives a freedom I’ve not really experienced working with others in the past. There’s no need to compromise ideas, especially performing live. In terms of studio time it’s been surprisingly easy laying down cuts and sending them to Nasa. Definitely learned a few things to refine the process but ultimately it’s about doing what you love to do.
Have you got any plans to go out to the US to perform or work with more artists?
Duke01: Yes to both! But to elaborate more on my answer would probably jinx things, so I’ll keep those close to my chest for now.
I get a definite Public Enemy influence within your music. You have performed on stage with PE in the past, how did that come about? Are you friends with Chuck and the boys?
Duke01: Haha! Man, I wish I could tell people that me, Chuck, Flav and the boys are all close friends.. I’ve met them a few times but the reality is a lot different! I’m a huge Public Enemy fan and I try and see them when ever they’re in the UK. I know the majority of the first four albums word for word and you’ll usually find me in the front row of their show, jumping around like I’m 20 years younger than I am, while rapping the lyrics at the top of my voice.. They’ve spotted me in the crowd doing my thing a couple of times and hauled me on stage. I dropped one of my own verses with Flav on the drums at the Indigo2 in London and performed Fight The Power with them at Rock City, Nottingham.. That was the day I landed back in the UK from my honeymoon in New York! Jetlag never felt so good! Haha!
You are part of a live band, Def Goldblum. Do you prefer performing with a live band rather than a DJ, or do you keep the Def Goldblum performances separate from Duke01 live?
Duke01: Performing with a band requires a very different energy and approach to performing with a DJ, and vice versa. Trying to master both has allowed me to push my vocals in new and interesting ways and shown me things my voice is capable of, that I genuinely wasn’t aware of. Furious P has performed with Def Goldblum live a number of times, and he also appears on the Def Goldblum EP We Are The Fly (
Looking to the future, do you have plans to collaborate with any artists out there? Producers or MCs?
Duke01: I have some collaborations lined up so you may see me popping up on some other upcoming releases. Don’t want to jinx those either, so I won’t say anymore.
Who is on your wish list for collaborations?
Duke01: The great thing is I’ve already ticked some of my wish list off! Getting to work with Masai Bey, Passive 65ive, Atari Blitzkrieg and Uncommon Nasa on Countdown to Armour Gettin’ was an absolute dream come true. But going forward, I’d love to get Chuck D on a track.. In fact, my wish list is pretty much endless, but the reality is, I’d never reach out to an artist just because they might sell me a few copies of the record. It’s got to be right.
P: Djing in clubs gave me the opportunity to play alongside uk and us artists and have got to meet and cut with many of my heroes through the battle scene. Apart from Bionic Stylus I’ve generally been solo as a dj until now but it’s always good to do gigs with djs and other artists. Some highlights so far have been playing on the same bills as Ghostface Killah, Qbert, C2C and Foreign beggars.
What are your thoughts on the current state of UK hip hop?
Duke01: I think that UK hip hop is just a microcosm of global hip hop as a whole, so what ever you see happening out there, is happening here too. So what are my thoughts on global hip hop music? I think it’s certainly alive and well. I think there are still new artists undiscovered and coming through that are creating new and challenging music. However, I also think that the balance of media coverage and what most mainstream audiences consider to be hip hop, is unfairly weighted towards a very corporate style of music, that does not represent me and my struggle.
P: There’s such diversity within hip hop I think it’s in a good place, especially on a global scale. Music’s so accessible these days it’s hard to look at it from one perspective. People are making hip hop all over the world and despite the variation there are common sentiments that fans can connect with. If you keep an open mind the quality’s out there.
Is it something that concerns you, or do you see yourself to be slightly removed from the scene?
Duke01: I’m definitely removed from what the mainstream media perceives to be hip hop in the UK and I feel that that’s something to be celebrated.
P: Knowing that our sound is unique keeps us pushing ourselves in what we do. Its not about trying to fit in.
Which cartoon, old or new, would you like to supply the soundtrack to?
Duke01: That’s a dope question! Not technically a cartoon, but an 80’s puppet show called Star Fleet with a Duke01 & Furious P soundtrack would be next level.
P: It’d be a toss-up between Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors or Ulysses – can hear some future funk on that bizness!
Any last thoughts or shout outs?
Duke01: Go buy the record and book us for some shows!

Steroid Stereo” is out now on Uncommon Records.

Solomon Caine – Podcast & Interview

caineWith his new album out now, Solomon Caine has kindly taken time out to be the guest selector for our latest podcast and answer a few of our questions…read on!

Please introduce yourself and let everyone know who you are and what you do.
My name is Solomon Caine; I am a visual philosopher, sorcerer of sound and surrealist. The name ‘Solomon’ equals wisdom and ‘Caine’ slew ‘Abel’. Together it equates to a balance of light and dark.

When did you start making music?
I studied Fine Art at University and translated the visual art forms into sound in the year 2000. That’s when it all begun.

What were your early influences?
To be honest my early influences is 90s hip hop, the golden era. Which is inspired by soul, rhythm and blues, jazz, funk and reggae. Understanding the principles of music is a journey, a journey which I still travel along to this very day.

Has it always been hip hop, or have you ever made or considered making any other forms of music?
It has always been hip hop, but roots reggae is a music that I would love to make. The knowledge, consciousness and wisdom that I have absorbed from roots reggae is something that I respect greatly.

You have a new album out, “Guerilla Godz…Unmasked The Phantom”, can you describe the album and explain the concept behind the music.
The album is classic 1990s, Wu-Tang inspired, concept based hip hop. The concept of the album is the reverse of evolution. Where science believes we descend from apes, the Guerilla Godz prophecy is that we evolve into apes, with a higher state of consciousness and a god like understanding of the principals of the universe. The MC’s on the album are human beings that are in touch with future Godz. This manifests itself through rhymes and music.

There is a large cinematic influence in your music. Has this had an effected on your music and sound?
Absolutely, movie soundtracks are the foundations of what I do.

On that note, what’s your favourite kung-fu film?
The Shoguns Assassin, everything you need to know about 70’s movies is contained in that film.

What’s your favourite Sci-fi film?
My favourite has to be The Omega Man, it’s a post-apocalyptic masterpiece.

For you, what makes a truly great track or record?
A song that is timeless.

Do you have plans to work with any MC’s in the future?
Yeah, I see and hear new things everyday, the way I see things is the possibilities are endless.

Is it hard finding the right MC’s to fit your sound?
Yeah it is, because I like to work with MC’s that are intelligent and articulate, with an open mind and a voice that tonally compliments what I do. In return I want to compliment what they bring, it’s a two-way thing. It’s like ingredient’s in a kitchen, use the right ingredients and you can create a tasty dish.

You are signed to Canadian label Make Believe Records, how did that come about?
I remixed a couple of joints for a group that are on the label, called Dragon Fli Empire. They approached me about joining the label and I thought it would be a great idea. They said I’m allowed full artistic freedom with whatever I do.

Do you try to make music that fits into the modern vision of hip hop, or are you happy just doing your thing and not caring about the rest of the world?
I’ve never felt the need to fit in to anything that is going on, because all the music I truly respect was innovative in the time of which it was produced. My philosophy is why try to be someone else when you can be yourself.

(I asked this to the last person I interviewed, but I like the question so) Which cartoon , old or new, would you like to provide the soundtrack for?
That’s a phat question, Afro Samurai.

What’s next for Solomon Caine? What can we expect to hear in the future?
I’m going to make a series of short films, an instrumental album and a lot more collaborations with talented artist.

Finally, any shout out or final thoughts?
Can I give a shout out to anyone who is doing their own thing for the right reasons. My final thought is to follow your dreams, if you believe enough they will become a reality.

“Guerilla Godz…Unmask The Phantom” is out now for name your price release on bandcamp, and listen to the excellent podcast mix here.

Silver Man Interview

silvermanEarlier this month we featured the excellent new album ‘Thieves & Millionaires’, by beat maker Silver Man. We liked what we heard so much we thought we’d catch up with the Silver Man for a few questions.

For those that don’t know, please introduce yourself and what you do
I am a Super Hero time-traveller from outer space.

When did first start making music? What was your inspiration?
I’ve been writing tunes since about 1996, but have played the guitar from the age of 8. I just dabble on the guitar a bit now and sing songs when drunk. My mum always played the piano, so does my brother so we are a musical family. My brother has alot of keyboards and an early computer back in the mid-late 80’s, and a BOSS drum machine and we used to sample stuff, but it was more him than me more than anything.

Have you always made trip-hop, beats style music? Or have there been any drastic changes?
I wrote a bit of that old singer songwriter fayre, but i was never too hot on the lyrics. That trip hop sound was what i was into, i used to smoke a lot of weed and played the bass alot.

You took time out from making music. What were the reasons behind this break?
I’d had enough of it. Being a solo producer is quite isolating, sitting in a dark room listening to a kick drum when its hot outside and people are in the park. I neglected lots of other things, girlfriends I was with and so on in order to do it. I decided i didn’t want to make the sacrifice anymore, and I had started the PR agency Outpost ( so i threw myself into that and quit the producing lark overnight, never to return….

Your music contains a lot of emotion, is this some you have strived for? Or does it just happen that way?
This melancholic music is the music that really gets me and i love listening to. I just created music that touched me and I wanted to listen to and all those tunes i wrote on the album do that for me. It just happens that way, its not something i specifically tried to do, it was just what was there to be written, and that’s how it came out.

There is a definite feel and emotion within your music, but do you ever try to get any concepts or ideas out to the listeners? As much as you can within instrumental music.
Song creation and structure is important. I want music to not be one-dimensional but have peaks and troughs; to create a journey of high crescendo that can drop to silence. So i tried to create the emotion and flow in the music as much as you can with one bloke in a studio instead of a band where you would normally get a more warm and fluid feel to the music.

Who, alive or dead, would you love to collaborate with? And why?
No idea – Buddha? I’d probably be up for some chanting or something or other. There’s lots of people i would love to collaborate with , but its who would be a good fit. All i wanted was to be in a band and be a singer at the beginning really. I did do that in a previous band but i was never a great vocalist. So i reckon i wish Noel had found me instead of Liam, but i don’t think there’s anyone that can really say they would be a better front man than Liam Gallagher now can they..?!

Do you have any plans to work with any other artists in the future?
The only artists I work with now are with our PR company, and our music publishing and distribution arms. My knowledge and experience of being an artist is valuable to the next generation of musicians and i now bring a commercial and business mindset to assist the creative process.

What can we expect next from Silver Man?
I’m just focusing on building our publishing and distribution companies at the moment, and signing great artists. Silver Man might do another video for one of the album tracks, that was fun to do and to have, but there’s no new tunes planned at the moment. I have been there and done it now so I don’t feel the need to do anymore. At the moment anyway.

Which cartoon, old or new, would you like to provide the music for?
God knows – little mermaid? Aladdin? It would have to be something depressing or emotional for my tunes to work with it though! 🙂

“Thieves and Millionaires” is out this month on 3 Bar Fire.

Interview and new podcast from Awkward

awkwardIt is our pleasure to present TheLeftHandSide Podcast No.10 with special guest Awkward. The Bristolian producer/MC/DJ has supplied us with one hell of a mix, definitely one for electronic hip hop and beats fans out there. With his new album, “Metal At The Core” out now, Awkward has also taken time out to answer a few questions from TheLeftHandSide.

You have been a big part of the Bristol hip hop scene for some years now. How did you first get involved in making music and what was your inspiration back then?
I got into hiphop music at the young age of 9 in 1985, mainly via ‘The Show’ Doug E Fresh. By the age of 11/12 I was making pause tapes of the hip hop that John Peel would play on his show. I didn’t stop from there on in. Cheap 4 track,radio shack mixer. Also listening to lots of pirate radio then. Bristol crews like 3pm and Un Deux Trois really made the music closer to home. I studied hip hop and practiced all 4 elements.
What inspires you now? What was your inspiration for the new album?
Exploration inspires me now, the pursuit. The lp is about the pursuit of the driving force.
For anyone who has not heard Awkwards music before, how would you describe your sound?
Hard,psychedelic,electronic hip Hop
How did you end up being signed to LA label Machina Muerte?
I was working independently with various members before the crew formed. I went to visit friends in LA and took a more active role within the crew/collective in 2010. This is my third lp for the label.
The label has an impressive roster and some well-known affiliates. What’s it like being the only UK artists on their books and was being surrounded with such talent daunting in any way? Or did it push you harder to create your own artistic vision?
Oh it definitely made me push harder. I had my first child around that time to so time is very precious. I definitely stepped up my work ethic put it that way.
Who are some of the artists you have worked with on the album? Did the collaborations come about organically or was it a case of, Machina Muerte being well-connected and you wanting to take advantage of this?
It’s more organic really and over time,as an when and people reaching out to each other. The same with Open Mike Eagle. We’ve a fair catalogue between by now,he works as fast as I do.
As you are from Bristol, who, if anyone, in the UK hip hop and beats scene you are really rating at the minute?
A few heads scattered. I’m feeling anything that pushes boundaries and sounds natural. I’m more into individuality more so than being patriotic.
Getting to the new Podcast you have generously supplied us with. What’s the theme or feeling behind the mix?
The theme is the ‘party’ that could be applied in however the listener feels best.
Where can people catch you live, or hear you playing?
I’ll be venturing out this year (as much as 2 small children will allow) but you can catch myself, Benjamin One, Fabia and Adam On Ujima 98 fm every Tuesday 9pm Till 11. We go in on the mix tough with plenty of new music, Universal Magnetic show.
Any last words or shout outs?
Last words would be look at the sky,take in some wild life and put it down. Shout outs to GhostLocust, Machina Muerte, Hellfyre Club and Universal Magnetic posse.

Juice Aleem Interview

Forjuice aleem our first ever interview we had the privilege of catching up with hip hop legend Juice Aleem.
With his latest single, “MoorKaBa LightBikes” out now on Spinning Compass Records, and a new album set for release in the near future, Juice took time out to answer a few questions from the left side.

For those that don’t know, how would describe your music and your rhyming style?
“For those that don’t know my music is way cool, filled with drug shoot-outs and groupie love.  Life is my basic influence for writing and musically: it’s a mix of everything I’ve been into over the years from comics and broken hearts to police brutality and the initial hunger for new music and experiences. My style is all the above.”

Personally, right now is a pretty good time for UK hip hop, musically, if not financially. There’s a whole load of artists out there creating their own unique vision of what we call “hip hop”, Strange U, Aspects, label mates HLI etc. You have always seemed to be slightly leftfield of the hip hop community in this country, not relying on the clichés or lazy rap formula’s. Was this a natural thing, or is standing out on your own a deliberate choice you made?
“Any differences I have as a musician are due to other peoples perspectives. Comparisons can be destructive so it’s a good thing most people see me as ‘leftfield’ but it’s not really a thing I aim for. I’m unique by definition and only realised how much so as things in Rap world have become more generic.  It’s always been a good time to make music and the only real problem is trying to make a living out of it. Glad there’s sum interesting stuff out there and I hope listeners find me interesting enough to take notice and become a supporter of my music. Like a lot of things, my sound is a mix of nature and nurture”

I know you are a music lover, not only hip hop. I have seen you talking about Bad Brains and other bands, what other music do you enjoy?
“I like and listen to a lot of different musics but I go through phases where I might not even listen to that much for months, especially when I’m writing, to going out of my way to listen to what’s out there. Those journeys take me from Grime to Ethiopian Jazz. I really wished the Testicicles made more music.”

How are you influenced by other forms of music, other than hip hop?
“Into a lot of musics but I came up on Reggae, Soul, Jazz and whatever else my parents played in the house. My own adventures took me to seeing what Hip Hop is and further delving into Funk, Rock, speeches and things like The Specials, The Last Poets, Sun Ra and later on bands such as Suicidal Tendencies, Soundgarden and Rub Ultra. I’m inspired by things like when I first REALLY sat down and listened to Bad Brains at a friends yard and then saw the album cover…It’s things like that, like hearing all those wailing guitars and screaming and seeing the picture with these ital Rastas looking like a lost Sunsplash backing band.  That and hearing Public Enemy really changed my perceptions of what a Black artist IS and what Black music was and could be. I’m highly influenced by the struggle for Freedom and Justice, struggle, real life and what it can be. From there it’s just been about finding and redefining self.”

What films/books have influenced you?
“Cliche as it is I’m big on Martial Art films and those have opened me to a totally different world history and moral code. It’s the classics that still get me such as Prodigal Son. Leung Jan is a proud young man who has studied many martial art styles and is respected all over town for his great skill and courage.  It’s only when he meets a reluctant master of Wing Chun that he realizes that his skills are basic and his parents have been paying for his enemies to throw the fights.(you can see this a lot with modern music) He slowly learns the real deal with martials as philosophy and as reality.  it’s films like this that allow us to be able to humble ourselves.”

You currently have a new single and video out, what can we expect from Juice Aleem in the future?
“MoorKaBa LightBikes is out right now indeed. New label, new direction. It’s a wake up for the album which is due out in a few months and what you can expect from me is more of the unexpected. In the last few years I’ve been touring with Mike Ladd & Damali as The Infesticons, making short films such as The Fitz-Caymen Experiment and voicing characters in Kid Acne’s animated Channel 4 show ZebraFace. i aim to keep this up and tour these songs far and wide.”

Any chance of another New Flesh album?
“More New Flesh is possible.  we had a few meetings and made a few tunes.  Just waiting for the right time.”

Do you believe in rock n roll?
“It’s funny, as a younger the words Rock & Roll meant Elvis or Bon Jovi, now due to study those words make me think of Chuck Berry or Sister Rosetta Tharpe.  Im a Believer, God gave Rock & Roll to ya”

How many MCs must get dissed?
“As many needs be but people gotta understand MC’s aint the best or worst of society, we can’t blame them for all the degradation, sexism and wackness out there… Lil Wayne obviously don’t like Black women as dark as he is but where did he get that from? we diss the MC’s after we hit the higher ups”

What would you eat if you knew it was your last day?
“I’d try sumthing I never had before. Maybe sumthing from another planet.”

Any shout outs or thoughts you’d like to add?
“Keep listening and remember what you can give of yourself to those around you. Peace”

Massive thanks to Juice Aleem for taking time out to answer our questions and to Elai Immortal and all the Spinning Compass crew.
Produced by Roots Manuva, “MoorKaBa LightBikes” is out now, BUY IT!!!!

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