Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Wee D (Interview)

We here at Scotland Standup get talking to Glasgow's Wee D!!
He has taken time out to talk on his up coming album
 'All In Vein', his views on the music industry and his opinion of Hip-Hop in Scotland at the moment.

How long have you been making music?

I've always dabbled in and out of Hip Hop but I started writing regularly when I was 15. I remember when I was 9 years old and wanting to be on TV, I knew I couldn't sing so I wrote a rap song. Coincidently, I unearthed the notebook containing that song not too long ago....I haven't improved much.

How many songs /albums have you released to date?
As part of my initial entry group into music, GLA we released 'You Know What it is', 'Beyond Wordz', 'Drunk and Disorderly' and 'Nostalgia'. All four were mixtapes for free download. Staying with the collaboration vibe, I released 'Escape From Carstairs' EP with Wardie Burns and 'In The Shadows' with my latest collective, Shadowpeople.

As a solo artist, I've released three mixtapes. 'Behind Closed Doors', 'Thinking Out Loud' and 'Kinda Looks Like A Maroon Coloured Blood Clot', the latter being my most recent project with Toni Smoke. My only solo EP was 'The Cardinal Sins' with DJ Jolly Joker and I later went on to release two albums: 'The Broken LP' and 'Hip Hop Ruined My Life'.

Sooooo....12 projects in total.
 
Can you tell us about your new project and the background and inspirations behind it?
 
The new album is called 'All In Vein' and is predominately influenced by drug abuse. Myself and DJ Jolly Joker started on this back in 2011 and have really spent two years jumping in and out of other projects while keeping this on the back burner. 6 Months ago we realised that we had an albums worth of material sitting and have since then shaped it into what it is.
 
My last release was called 'Hip Hop Ruined My life' and loosely related to the same concept. I've always strongly related Hip Hop to drugs, though not due to the stereotypical weed and alcohol affiliation. There is a very thin line between a passion and addiction. An addiction is formed more from habit in my opinion, and sometimes I feel myself writing and performing out of habit more so than passion. All in Vein is really a self assessment as to whether we are truly passionate about music or stuck in an addictive pattern. The underlining question to all of it is: When I decide to hang up my mic will I look back and see my work as an accomplishment or a burden? Was it all in vain?
 
Jokers Dubstep influence makes tis possibly the most diverse concept project I've ever worked on and I'm very excited to see how well its recieved
 
How have you ended up in the music industry?
 
Its funny actually, I remember the exact moment that I decided I wanted to rap. It was the day I saw Nas live in Glasgow, he showed me a whole new perspective to it, the dexterity and intricate structure to Hip Hop. I decided then and there that I was far to passionate about it to sit back and listen to these guys, I wanted to influence people the way that they influenced me.
 I started writing from then on, I was about 15. When I was 16 I started going to a local studio in Coatbridge called Kontact productions, laying down verses here and there. Eventually I ended up in College where I met another emcee called 'Mako'. Utilising the college recording facilities, we had the place booked out solid for 3 months and released a mixtape, successfully birthing a group by the name of GLA....and the rest they say...is history.
 
What do you think of the music industry at the moment?
 
We need more nudism in music videos.
 
Who inspires you when you make your music?
 
A lot of people inspire me, especially within the Scottish community, People who probably don't realise that they do as I've never felt the need to tell them. Obviously my own crew inspires me a lot, more so than anyone else. Theres a certain 'Fuck the World' Mentality in Shadowpeople thats infectious when you're in it. I think that diversity in our collective styles is quite inspiring in itself, When we're vibing to a beat, usually each emcee will have a different idea of concept, it opens you're approach to certain beats and provides a learning curve.
 Outside of that I really like Lokis material, I think in terms of stature and presence, few people will emulate the impact that Loki had on Scotland in the early 2000s. The intricate schemes and concepts he provides are second to none and its amazing that he's been able to adopt so many approaches over his career to stay on top of the circuit.
 Nas and Jadakiss too. Jadakiss is probably my favourite emcee just now, he's top of the chain in terms of emcees who have gone mainstream through punchline rap.
 
If you were one of the Seven Dwarves, which one would you be?
 
Mate, I was the 7th Dwarf. I was misogynist. I got replaced last minute by grumpy when they found me selling poisen to the witch....It never fitted in with the 'Commercial Audience' of it all....story of my life. 
 
Who have you collaborated with so far in your Career?
 
I've never been one for much collaborative work but....
 
Mako, Shadowpeople, Cain, DJ Jolly Joker, Bigg Taj, MacKenzie, Swad, Werd, Wardie Burns, Gbh, Louie, Loaded, Girobuster, Steve ET, Boydy, Del, Snow, Bar MCX, Chantal McKenna, Jaytard, Madhat
 
 
....There will be more....emm...
 
Who would you like to collaborate with in the future? 
 
In terms of Scottish Hip Hop, I really like Adam Holmes, Loki and Kid Robotik. Kid Robotik is a next level with live performances and I've really been feeling his new material...especially guillotine. Those are probably the three guys I've been listening to the most recently.
 
What was the first album u bought? 
 
I honestly ahve no idea, probably Harlem World by Mase. Mase is a don, I really felt he's slept on.
 
Prior to that I bought 'My Name is' by Eminem on a double sided cassette. Old school.
 
Whats your favorite song at the moment? 
 
At the moment I'm not entirely sure. Truthfully its probably Supernova by Oasis...but as this is a hip hop interview...on a hip hop site....I'll say everything by Tupac....homie.
 
If you had to sell your music collection tomorrow, what album would you leave in your drawer?
 
Nas- Illmatic. Cliche as it sounds, tahts my fucking bible right there.
 
What do you think of TV music talent show competitions?
 
We could get into a bit of a debacle about this...but I'll keep it as short as possible. I'm not a fan, The word 'Talent' makes it possibly the most ironic tag on any TV programme. I believe there have been a few people who have came through the  roots of it and managed to shake the tag entailed with them- and good on them! But all in all the money is generated more so from the competition than album sales which shows you directly how important talent is in the wider picture.
 
I think in order to percieve the level of corruption in these competitions, you should look no further afield than your own country! Silibil and Brains are idol candidates who demonstrated how the system can be manipulated by simply saying and doing the right things. They walked into the hands of the competition being exactly who they needed to be and shot to success from a well played facade. I'll be urging everyone to go see the movie which is out later this month.
 
What do you do when your not making music? 
 
I listen to music.
 
How many hats do you own? 
 
I have 6 beanie hats which I wear regulary, Grey, Red, Black, Blue, White, Yellow and Brown.
 
I have about 9 caps that do nothing more than serve as a time capsule of my younger years
 
Whats your thoughts on Scottish Independence?
 
I vehemently oppose to an independent Scotland, The SNP has done little more than promise high taxes to compensate our need of welfare in exchange for streets parading saltires. I'm very patriotic, But If can admire and acknowledge Scottish history without being chastised financially for it...then I think that will be ample for me. I don't pretend to know all the sides of the argument in any sense but from what I've heard, It doesn't appeal to me.

Whats your favorite takeaway?
That depends....are you paying?

What's your favourite Swear word?
Slackpouch...is that a swear word?....not sure if its even a real word....Fucking slackpouch?

How many followers do you have on twitter? 

Only recently started using it to be honest....the cry of every socially inept emcee...211...one of which is Coolio...yeah.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Realistically, I hope to be involved in music in some depth. As responsibilities and life develops I might not have the capacity to manage the ethic I have just now, Which is why I'm fully dedicating myself to it for the time being. I hope to have made a bit more of an impression down south to be honest, in terms of battling. I don't think I'll ever get to a point where I can fight the urge to scribble away my demons, But hopefully by then I'll have had a few notches under my belt to keep my name around when I do decide to hang up the mic.

How do you feel about Scottish Hip Hop at the moment?

Its very interesting, there's a lot more diversity being shown recently, people are starting to drift from the stereotypical boom bap genre and develop a ground for themselves. A few years ago people may have been scrutinized by stepping outside the genre, We've opened our minds a wee bit and its payed off. Some of the more established artists are taking a back seat (Involuntarily or not) as a new wave of aspiring artists come through the ranks. We've seen Deadsoundz become very quickly established, almost overnight and in the past three years Kayce, Soul, Physiks, Toni and Myself to an extent have done the same. The gripe I have is that new artists tend to emulate their predecessors in the initial stages. It isn't until they are comfortable with themselves that they start to build strengths and innovation and develop into their own shoes. Perhaps that's an assessment influenced by my story but it seems to ring truth in some cases. Regardless, I think that Scottish Hip Hop is suddenly bubbling under the surface of a more mainstream opportunity and the next 5-10 years will be the most exciting yet.

Your part of a crew called "Shadow People" how did you get involved with them? 

Its all Nitys fault really. Shadowpeople came together in the summer of 2010. Toni Smoke had been working on a mixtape idea which had involved us all and a few extra artists. Nity and Toni had been working together when Nity had been introduced to RST- a long time friend of Toni Smokes. It originally started with those three, I was utilizing the battle circuit, Kayce had recorded Missing Link and Write Off and Nity was looking build a crew from an old project alias called 'Shadowpeople'. It was very straight forward from there, Nity had contacted both Kayce and I and prompted the idea. We all met up at Tonis and started forming our first album. Initially Wurrd Jenkins was included in the group but due to geographical issues it never worked out.  We're on the brink of dropping a 9 track EP just now which should be out within the next 8-12 weeks and we're continuing to work together on our follow up album.


Your name carry's alot of weight in Scotland, why do you think that is?
I owe a tremendous amount to the battle circuit. I've been developing as a solo artist for three years, roughly at the same time as I started battling. I was working as part of GLA for four years prior to that. I feel that I've accomplished certain things in the past three years that I would never have felt was possible when I was in GLA, mainly due to battling. My objective now is to emulate the successes I've had in battling and incorporate that into the booth. The battle circuit has inevitably left me with the tag  of 'The Battle Rapper who writes tracks' not the other way around. I feel as though I'm considered a battle emcee first and foremost, I don't think that I have accomplished anything beyond the conventional performer in a recording sense to be brutally honest but admitting this to myself has given a flush of motivation.
 Battle Rap will always be at the core of my passion with Hip Hop, Its something that got my name out there very quickly and had it not been for that I may not have had the opportunities I've had, But admittedly its not the reason I wanted to write and its not going to keep me inspired in the long run.




Whats your views on battle rap?

It seems to me that it gets a lot of stick these days but I think people forget just how much is owed to the format. Would Silvertongue have current reputation without the battle circuit? Would Kayce, Or Soul or Gasp? Perhaps, they would, I personally feel these people who excel at the format and who have utilized their successes in the circuit to accommodate their music- doing so successfully.
 There's been a flush of fresh new faces, particularly in the battle circuit...From the 15+ emcees that really got the battle scene going back in 2010, I think only 3 or 4 still participate actively. It's left a lot of ground for the fresh faces to jump on the bandwagon and establish themselves. Badmouth has set
a standard for young people to reach and offered a platform for international battles for established emcees, The only downside is that its success has evidently terrified competition into obliteration. Over the next few years I think Scotland will slowly drift away from the written format and opt towards a freestyle set up. It seems to capture the audiences imagination and costs the performer no preparation. I think it holds a bit of credibility too, Its perhaps the most difficult asset to have, a capacity to freestyle cleanly and cleverly is a difficult task. We have a lot of competition in the field and I think the aspiring artists are up to the task of developing all round.

Having done plenty battles yourself what would you say is your best performance?
My last one against Mr Tongue Twister was perhaps my favourite. I was incredibly nervous about the battle, to the point I had basically admitted defeat. Fortunately, Every punchline landed and even the ones which I wasn't sure about were received well. Additionally, I was coming off perhaps my worst performance yet at the previous badmouth and was anticipating another loss. The feedback I had received that night was the most humble experience I've had.

Is there anyone you are looking to battle in the future?

I'm battling at the Next Badmouth in July and I'm facing Zee in the same month. I think the towel will be thrown in after that for a while.

Who you rate in Scotland at the moment as Recording Artists?
I'll attempt not to turn this into a PR blog for my crew. Right now I'm feeling Stanley OddKid Robotik and Steve ET. In the long term I've always admired Loki, Adam Holmes, Werd, Wardie Burns and Mog. 

What about Battler's?
The battle circuit has quietened down over the past two years. I think that Soul is holding the fort in terms of battlers in Scotland.
Anything else you would like to add?

All in Vein by Wee D and DJ Jolly Joker will be available on 14/6/13 for 3.50 onhttp://coldimpact.bandcamp.com . Joker and I have spilled our hearts into this project over the past two years to build an eclectic album worthy of public purchase.

Shout outs to Shadowpeople, Mako, Complex Events, Cold Impact, Crownsound and all that.

Watch out for Detox

Peace

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