Monday, 9 March 2015

Blizzard Interview @ Breaking the Barrier

Manchester emcee Bradley 'Blizzard' Green has over ten million youtube hits for battles, music videos and freestyles... and he's only 20 years old. Last Friday he played in Scotland for the very first time at the final of Friday's Breaking the Barrier event. While he was here up in Glasgow, Jonny caught Blizzard for a short interview.

Welcome to Scotland man. How you doing? 

I'm good! It's good to be here man.

You played here before?

Never. I've not been invited up by any promoters here before so this is the very first time. There was a possibility of me coming up to Don't Flop in Edinburgh (I think it was) a few years ago, but that never materialised.

What are you impressions of the Scottish scene as a whole?

I love the Scottish scene, as far as I know it anyway. I'm a big fan of Gasp & Depths and used to love their battles too. The same goes for Silvertongue. Oh, and Respek BA is a genius man. It's hard to be honest because it's not something we're exposed to down south. You don't really hear Scottish tracks on the radio but it's the same in a few places I go. I've played shows in Bristol, Swansea etc. and I only know the main guys from there rather than a lot of local talent. I'd like to find out more though. It's interesting that grime isn't really explored up here - I definitely want to hear some Scottish grime.

What are your movements over the next few months in terms of music/touring? What should people be listening for?

Well, my newest single 'You Came to Mine' is out now. It's currently on the B list for BBC 1xtra. Other than that, I'm really just planning to do as many shows as I can. In terms of the album, I'm hoping to get it out by the end of the year. 

Your last EP 'Testing the Waters' was regarded as quite a progression for you in terms of sound. How do you feel your sound has evolved and what can we expect from this next album? 

When I released my first EP I was very much in my comfort zone. I was proud of it, but yeah, I was very settled in my sound. As I've gone through new projects, I've definitely tried to push forward and do new things. I've sung on tracks, I've experimented with genres, but at the same time I've really tried to keep the essence of what people liked about me in the first place. 

It's quite a tricky line but I feel this is important: it feels like, at least over here, hip hop and grime alone don't sell. So trying to break that commercial barrier, while still keeping my overall sound, is what I wanna do.

What about in America where guys like Joey Bada$$, who are also young, are gaining popularity for a less commercialised sound?

Yeah, Joey is killing it with that classic 90s sound! To be fair, I do still love a lot of authentic hip hop stuff that is coming out right now.

Tonight we've obviously had the Breaking the Barrier final. Does it tempt you to get back in the ring and battle more? I know you have one clash versus Youthoracle on Words are Weapons.

It's actually supposed to be on Clash Money I think. It's going to be Youth's new platform. This will probably be my last battle - I wanted to battle someone who I actually sonically enjoy. With all respect to the Don't Flop guys I battled, I didn't want to battle more H-Bombs etc, you know what I mean?

To be honest, I just get too distracted when it comes to battles. It's really hard to dedicate my time to music and then battle as well. Besides, if you look at the battles I did, I lost more than I won. The main thing though is that those battles had a lasting appeal.

To finish off then, what's your favourite battle that you ever did?

Definitely v Lego. He had a line like: "So don't you act raw when the only dance floor you've ever set foot on was your own exam hall." That was dope.

Twitter: iamblizzard Facebook: blizzarddubs Youtube: iamblizzardVEVO

Content from Jonny over the next few weeks

- Review of the whole Breaking the Barrier event including a breakdown of the final between Wee D and Andrew MacKenzie.
- Review of the Subz n' Macc Elementz 

- A wider piece on Scottish hip hop in the national press featuring interviews with various emcees. More details on this to come.