Monday, 6 April 2015

Explicit Vile Ill Lyrics: Interview with EVIL

Evil with trophy / Crown Sound
Fresh off his success in the 2014 Crown Sound competition 'Live n' Spittin', Edinburgh emcee Findlay Johnstone is building a name for himself in the scene as something of a freestyle monster. Jonny caught up with him to discuss battles, events and mooning crowds at gigs.

Can you introduce yourself?

I'm EVIL a.k.a. Explicit Vile Ill Lyrics.

How long have you been rapping?

I was always creative from a young age. I started “rapping” at age 15 and I really wack. I even used to rap in an American accent. However I would say I have progressed drastically over the past 6 years through battling, freestyling, recording with producers, performing live and practing in general. I'd call it “sharpening the sword”. I’m comfortable with my level of skill as an MC now but I know I will improve further.

What about your first experiences of rapping in public? First gigs?

My first gig was at 16 in Glasgow, and I got paid £40 to do it. It wasn't what I expected. I remember I got it through a friend of a friend and it turned out to be a family gather, which I don't think suited my 'evil' style. I started off by battling people in the crowd, finishing my set with my signature move of whipping down my pants and showing my bare ass to the audience (written was: 'Fuck you for listening'). Security threw me out.

Who are your biggest influences? Top 5 emcees worldwide and top 5 Scottish?

Top 5 America –

1. Slim Shady
2. Big L
3. Pharoahe Monch
4. Sticky Fingaz
5. Thirstin How'll III

Top 5 England –

1. Possessed (Rhyme Asylum)
2. Lunar C
3. Lee Scott
4. Tenchoo
5. Jehst

Top 5 Scotland – 

1. Respek BA
2. Gasp
3. Physiks
4. One Tzu
5. EVIL …… Just kidding, its either Loki/Louie/Mog/Jinx/Adam Holmes.

As shown when you won Live n' Spittin last year you're undeniably a quality freestyler - how much have you practiced at it?

It started off with my friend Robbie Dixon when we were 16. It was round about the time Don’t Flop first started getting known and we were hooked on battle rap. We've battled each other rhyming four bars for fours bars, bouncing off each other’s words with schemes and flips, every week for the past 5 years. We got pretty good in that time, as you'd imagine when you practice that much. The best thing I learned is that a freestyler always rides the vibe of the moment. Practice is necessary but after you have accomplished this it becomes second nature, and you can go with the flow anytime, anywhere. 2014 was the most progressive year for me though. After winning Breaking Bars & Knock Out Battles freestyle tournaments I, as you said, entered Glasgow Live N Spittin. I was nervous and anxious, but when the time to battle comes that energy (if channelled correctly) can transform your performance into something spectacular. 

Were you confident about winning going into it?

Of course! You have to be. If you think there is a chance you will lose then you will.

Evil entertains the crowd at Bristo Square / Humans of Edinburgh
Do you feel that you have a stronger chance in a freestyle battle than in a written battle? Or do you think that the ability to freestyle makes 'written' battles a lot more fun?

Too be honest I prefer freestyle battles because they're much more fun! Although I’d say that all is fair in love and war, an MC should master both elements of freestyle and writing. Both are easy if you want to do it; anyone can write rhymes or learn to freestyle. The trick is to exhibit it properly and execute it well to have full effect. The best battlers always put on a show, have their written rhymes ready to go but use their freestyle ability at every given opportunity. Oh and they always leave the spectators laughing, remember it’s all fun and games.

What projects do you have in the works musically?

My first full length album is in the works. I’m keeping pretty tight lipped about it for now but what I will say is that there will two big names from down south featuring on it, and when I say big names I mean BIG NAMES!  There’s a heavy production team behind it. I’ve got a nice promotion and advertisement deal set up for the press releasem so when this album is out boooom, hello Hollywood! (all TBC of course...)

I’m working on a side project with Crimzon Ink. I rate him as a top tier rapper and everyone needs watch out for him. There are big things coming from him soon. We’ve got something nice we are putting together which will be dropping later on this year. I’ve also got new feature tracks coming soon: 'Ill Meets Evil' on Ill Dando’s new album I.E.D on Paraletic Records, DJ Seedy’s new EP Shadoh Boxing Round 2 :The Petition Response. I’m also in the process of recording a track for a collaboration that was produced by Being MCs' Physiks.

I hear you're planning an event - can you tell us what that's about?

Freedome Of Speech is a bi-monthly hip hop event that will be taking place in Edinburgh. All details, date, venue, etc. will be announced over the next few months. For the first event we will be hosting Scotland’s first 2-on-2 doubles freestyle tournament. The winners of the tournament will be paired up with a duo from Don’t Flop at the second event (again, thus is all TBC).

Teams so far include Jinx & myself, Wee Rab & Andrew MacKenzie, Zee & Gimik, A Macc & RDS and Savage & Big Hybrid. Positions still available si if any other teams are interested, contact me at

What's your biggest ambition is an emcee? Where do you want to be in 12 months? 

My ambitions is to set up “Free-Dome Of Speech”, do some more events/gigs, get my first Don’t Flop battle out the way then release this album upon the world! And that should take about 12 months [laughs].