Thursday 20 July 2017

Graphic Bars - Interview

S'up everyone.
For the second time in as many days, i'm back with another interview.
I did this the same time as Remarks from yesterday. As they have been working closely, it seemed the natural thing.
Being a south coast native I really want to push interviews with those acts from the south coast. Places like Brighton, Southampton, Bournemouth, Exeter and so on have an awesome underground Hip Hop family from the days of way back to the present.

Today I bring you Graphic Bars.
This guy has a wicked future ahead of him. Infact since a recent live gig in Worthing things have really blown up for this guy. So, trust me keep your Ears open and your Eyes peeled for Graphic Bars cos the future is gonna bring pure dopeness for sure.

Hi Graphic Bars,
Thanks for letting take some of your time to ask a few questions.

1. What have been the biggest musical influences for you?

When I grew up my house was full of music; The Beatles, The Stones, Motown, Irish Music, ABBA, The Police.

I was also naturally drawn to dark, eerie electronica, so I liked Kraftwerk, Ashes To Ashes-era Bowie, Depeche Mode, Kate Bush.

Then Hip-Hop grabbed me, particularly Ice T, Public Enemy, NWA, Eric B & Rakim, BDP, and PHP (who then became Deliverance later on)

So all of that sparked and excited my early mind, and then I started writing rhymes and creating loops with my double-tape deck!

After that I started up crews, and we listened to Hijack, Hardnoise, Above The Law, Geto Boys, Gunshot, London Posse, Blade, 2 Tone Committee, Mell'O', The Terrorists, Killa Instinct etc.

Since then I got influenced by all sorts of things, but latter-day music that lights up my soul includes AOTP, Immortal Technique, Araab Muzik, Kavinsky, Radiohead, James Blake, Frank Ocean, SOAD, Kool Keith, Nirvana, Sigur Ros, Brotha Lynch Hung, Mogwai, loads of the lads doing Grime, Vinnie Paz, Bad Meets Evil, CES Cru to name a small portion.

2. How do you relax?

I like to lie down and write rhymes, listen to music, watch comedy, watch drama, read.

Also love spending time with my Daughter, and weight-training is a huge part of my zen!

Hitting town and letting loose is also highly enjoyable.

3. What drew you to Hip Hop?

Hip-Hop hit me like a fucking thunderbolt!

It spoke to me immediately; it was so visceral and visual, painting pictures with words and vocal patterns.

And each rapper used a different paintbrush and palette... it was the rappers that transfixed me, and I started writing rhymes and making loops at 11.

Graf and graffiti artists were all around me too, and it added to the excitement and feeling of belonging.

Hip-Hop is everything to me, one of my first loves along with football, and it will be with me forever.

4. What would be your Craziest hip hop story?

I was in a crew in the 90's called Acumen, and we were getting some nice attention.

We were going up to catch The Beastie Boys in Brixton, so we did some raw versions of five of our best tracks with the 4-track the night before.

As soon as they opened with Sure Shot I got into a fight (I didn't start it, I'm not that type of fella) and a big dude sucker-punched me in the back of the head.

My head was swimming, and when I shook it off there was a full-on crowd crush, with people being pulled under and all sorts! Mental stuff!

We then chucked our tape on stage, and Ad Rock picked it up, looked through the holes like a pair of glasses, gave us the thumbs-up, and put it on the side of the stage, and intimated he would get it after, and gave us an 'OK' sign.

We were chuffed, man!

Anyway, they were rushed off stage at the end, and the tape was still at the side of the stage.

We told a member of security about it, and asked if he could get it to Ad Rock. He picked it up and said "you mean this tape?"
Then the prick snapped it in two!

We hurled insults at him and he chuckled and went backstage. Gutted, man, totally uncalled for...

I hope that nobend has had a disappointing life!

I don't really, but it was a real dick-move, you know!

5. Do you have a favourite track you have written for a particular reason?

I have two.

The current single, 'Behind The Blinds' and the next single, which we are filming the video for next Thursday (20th April 2017) called 'Is There Enough?'

They are both open tracks lyrically, 'Behind The Blinds' being about the battles we fight within ourselves, and the first verse serves to suggest I feel comfortable on the mic, but not really anywhere else!

'Is There Enough?' is about feeling good and content, and how if that essence could be captured, the 'powers that be' would steal it, distill it, bottle it, and start profiting from it!

It's metaphorical, and I lyrically display what it is that makes me feel good, and what makes my light shine like a spotlight for the leeches and foxes to come and chase!


6. What would be your favourite non hip hop album?

I have loads of non hip-hop albums that are close to me.

But if I had to chose one it would probably be 'Hounds Of Love' by Kate Bush.

Outstanding production, instrumentation, melodies, hooks, lyrics, vocals, concepts.

It's the sound of an artist on top of their game, in their own world, pulling you in and keeping you mesmerised.

She's kooky, man, the female Bowie.

Shame she ruined her mystique recently and gave her respect to Theresa May, though! Wtf!

7. You can select 5 bands/artists (hip hop or non hip hop) for a one off gig... who are they?

Well, every artist/group I'm going to select will be them in their prime (e.g. Kate Bush would be from 1985, not the one from today who likes Theresa May! Still can't get over that shit!)

The Beatles
Eric B & Rakim
Immortal Technique

(Nearly made it: Public Enemy, BDP, James Blake, Hardnoise, and Frank Ocean)

Oh, and Kate Bush is eliminated due to her love of Theresa May!

8. Outside of hip hop I research all sorts of paranormal and supernatural subjects! Do you have any thoughts on such things?

Well, I don't discount the existence of anything beyond my frame of comprehension.

I have felt changes in temp and vibe that could be caused by something other than my own state of mind.

I don't think I'm psychically-tuned enough to ever have a visual representation of spirit or whatever, but it doesn't mean I would deny the possibility of it being plausible.

9. The South Coast is producing some dope talent right now how does it feel to be a part of that?

Nice of you to lump me into that category, cheers!

Being part of anything due to my music being appreciated is cool by me.

And I'm very open to all genres.

10. Hypothetical Situation. You’re stuck on an island for 1 month and only have 1 Album, 1 Single, 1 book and 1 Movie? What are they?

Album: 'Nostalgia Ultra' Frank Ocean (don't want too much Hip-Hop, because I would use the time to write, and I can't listen to Hip-Hop when I'm in writing mode)
Single: 'Serve Tea Then Murder' Hardnoise
Book: 'Perfume' Patrick Suskind
Movie: 'Shogun Assassin'

11. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Many things.


Injustice, especially social and political injustice.

I'm very proud of my Working Class roots, and I feel there is a power-play in motion to create an old school Serving Class out of the Working Class, what with destroying the welfare state, empowering private landlords, and slashing education and NHS budgets.

My Daughter... her innocence, joy, and wicked sense of humour!

Nature, especially sea, sky, and hills.

Dark art: whether that be music, TV shows (like True Detective first series), films, books.

Comedy. Partridge, mainly.

12. Who would you pick to collaborate with for one track, if you could pick any artist?

Probably Immortal Technique.

He's an immense lyricist, emcee, and an important figure in that he is a rare combination of conscious and aggressive.

Too many liberals and left-wingers are passive these days.

Tech fights fire with fire.

It's the only way I know, too.

13. You have been working a lot with Remark. How much of an inspiration has he been?

Remark (or Ryman as I first heard of him) was one of my earliest emcee influences when I was a kid.

From the same town, and being energetic and aggressive on the mic, which was how I approached my vocals, he was a beacon of what I could do.

He was a validation for the way I naturally rapped (even from the very first time) and approached writing.

When I was a kid in '93 I drunkenly rapped at Remark and the rest of Deliverance in a club (before I'd ever been introduced to him) and he was really complimentary!

I then met him properly for the first time after he performed three years ago, we chatted, we Facebooked it, then he asked if I was still writing.

He liked what I'd penned, so he sent me a Merlin beat, and we tore it to shreds

Then Merlin sent me nine more beats, and I wrote and recorded 10 tracks in 12 weeks!

Remark has featured on another track 'Like Swords In Water' and recorded me for all the sessions.

He's also doing all my Music Videos with real passion and flair.

So, I owe Remark and Merlin everything, for their faith and belief in me.

14. I really want to give local/South Coast artists a voice. Do you think there is good support out there for newer artists coming up?

Thank you, man, that means a lot.

The truth is, I've no idea if there is good support out there.

I've only just come back from years out, and I've just been writing and recording in a bubble.

I hope there is!

15. Getting to where you are today. What has been you biggest struggle and you greatest achievement?

My biggest struggle was walking away years ago, when my crew disbanded, and I was then asked to do a solo track but 'tone it down a bit' to appear on a much-lauded label.

Fuck that.

I regret that sometimes, but never when sober!

My greatest achievement is now, and coming back with an album that is totally me.

I can't wait to unleash it.

16. Do you think that social media has its place in the way people can now connect. Especially for connecting with other artists, producers etc?


It's way better than it was back in the day.

I'm sure I could find a negative in it if I searched for one, but I'm not going to!

17. What does your music say about you?


It's the colours of my soul, the heights of my mind, and the depths of my loins.

You can listen to my music and know that it's me.

All my idiosyncrasies, obsessions, fears, loves, beliefs, and hopes are laid bare.

As they should be.

Sometimes you've just gotta scratch beneath the surface.

And once you've done that there should be something interesting, real, and engaging.

If not, then that artist just ain't worth bothering with!

18. Where do you think you would be if you had not taken the music route?


Haha, not really!

I'd be a Dad, and working with improving and helping people, but my soul wouldn't feel as nourished as it does now.

19. Other than music, what else do you enjoy doing?

Being Dad, working out, immersing myself in the art of others, watching football (although that would come under art as well... The Working Class Ballet!)
Going out and socialising, and getting silly

20. What is next for Graphic Bars?

3rd Single 'Is There Enough' is being released along with the Music Video, and then dropping my album
'It Wasn't Love....It Was Sport Rapping' before the end of the summer, produced by the magnificent Merlin.

Graphic Bars, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions for me! I really appreciate it. Although, I don’t live in Southampton now, I still work there and have family there and really want to push some of the lesser know local, South Coast artists. Let me know if you would like me to do a review, it would be a pleasure to help get your music out there.
Thanks again, Steve.

No worries, Steve.

All the best

Graphic Bars

Since we did this interview, which is based on a standard set of 20 questions, Graphics 3rd single is out and his Album is on the way. I am really looking forward to this one. The three singles all show a great diversity of flow and style, with lyrical content that is placed firmly in the now. 
Graphics lines hit you like a sledgehammer but, catch you on the way down to make sure you don't miss anything.

Don't take my word for it, check out his singles for yourself...

Check out the links below for everything you need to know, see and hear about Graphic Bars.

I'm Outta here.....

Graphic Bars Website

Graphic Bars on Bandcamp

Graphic Bars on YouTube

Graphic Bars on Facebook

Wednesday 19 July 2017

I'm Back - Remark Interview

Due to life simply getting in the way I have not been doing what I had intended to do with this blog.
Rather that bore the hell out of you by discussing why, I just though nah fuck that!
So, here is an interview I did with the awesome Remark.

It has taken a while to get the time and the headspace to get this interview out to you all. For that i humbly apologise. Many of you will know of Remark or the Remarkable 1 from Deliverance, Sublime Wizardry and his work with Crespo and so on. Since this interview was done, over email, I have had the pleasure to spend a few hours chewing the fat with Remark in Glastonbury. I have to say it was pretty sweet just chilling and chatting over Hip Hop, music and much more. Remark is a down to earth guy who has been there, seen it and done it.
Anyway, before I head off on a tangent, here is the Interview...

Hi Remark,
Thanks for letting me take some of your time to ask a few questions. So, let’s get it started...

1. What have been your biggest musical influences?

Cheers Steve I Appreciate your support mate.

I'd have to say the original prophets of rage, Public Enemy as the biggest influence & inspiration to become pro- active in Hip Hop. I used to be a breaker like most kids back in the early 80s, so aside from the artists on the early Electro albums it was Run DMC & PE who spoke to me the most.
2. How do you relax

By Letting go of the craziness in the mad world firstly, ha!
Making music of a down beat nature is relaxing as well as having healing properties I've found.
Followed by deep breaths & chanting OM when needed... it can be a stressful world, I can get vexed quite easily at times!

3. What drew you to Hip Hop?

Hearing Planet Rock blasting from a boom box in the school canteen! I went to Ernest Bevin in Tooting Bec at the time & we'd all seen the Buffalo Girls video that week.... it was like wild fire, suddenly every kid wanted to start breaking, tagging, rapping or scratching.... Hip Hop had hit the UK!!!

4. What would be your Craziest hip hop story?

There were some crazy times doing shows in Europe back in the mid '90's with my crew Deliverance & Hundredth Monkey in the early 2000's but supporting Public Enemy for the first time with my crew Sublime Wizardry in 2012 was pretty crazy! ! I've been a fan of PE since '87... We've been fortunate to have supported them twice now in Brighton. Meeting your heroes I guess is always crazy! The first time was surreal to be honest, it was at the Brighton Dome, a big venue with a lot of organising & stress b4 it, but hanging out with Chuck D afterwards in his dressing room chatting about how to get ahead as an indie hip hop group, with him telling me to keep being independent & do it all yourself, with social media etc, while he had his feet in a bowl of ice cold water with steam rising from em, was priceless & pretty mad... He is a human power house after all!!!

5. Name the top 3 records you made... that you personally love?

Deliverance : Dead Funny / Up & Down The Country 12"
Hundredth Monkey : Sick Little EP
Sublime Wizardry: Best Of The Bunch EP

6. What would be your favorite non hip hop album?

Any of the three Portishead albums.

7. If you coul select 5 bands/artists (hip hop or non hip hop) for a one off gig... who would you choose?

Pharoahe Monch
Cold Crush Brothers
Public Enemy
8. Outside of hip hop I research all sorts of paranormal and supernatural subjects! Do you have any thoughts on such things?

The Earth itself is supernatural if we stop to think & connect to that.
I've taken enough substances over the years to know there's more than meets the eye.
As to paranormal activity I think we project what we want to see, the human mind / psyche is a powerful tool.

I lived in Glastonbury for a few years, the town is steeped in mysticism & the mysterious.
I experienced the presence of a dark winged serpent when I used to volunteer at the White Spring (a natural water source located underneath Glastonbury Tor)
The winged serpent for me represented the power the darkness holds for transformation.... I did healing & empowering rituals down there.
I have an open mind that's very quick to close... this is why I'm so proactive with creativity, I have a create or I start destroying myself & others around me. Self sabotage is never too far away. So I create with Word, Sound & visuals.

9. I also look into natural remedies, energy healing and meditation. What are your thoughts?

I've had Atopic Eczema since I was born. I've tried every alternative to pharmaceutical steroids since I was young... I'm still open to the holistic way. I'd like to say they've worked but alas they haven't. I do live a healthy lifestyle though. I've been clean & sober for over ten years now, so I know all about the intent of the power of prayer & meditation as well as stepping out of the mainstream programs. The Earth is a healer. Spirit is a healer. The Sea is a healer. Music is a healer. Hip Hop heals deep wounds in powerful people, it's power is lifting people up!!!

10. Hypothetical Situation. You’re stuck on an island for 1 month and only have 1 Album, 1 Single, 1 book and 1 Movie? What are they?

Cor that's a question eh!
I'd go for Street Sounds Electro 4 album.
Sublime Wizardry's Keep Livin' featuring Exile 7" single.
Holy Night by author Vincent Tilsby & Jim Jarmusch's Ghost Dog DVD, that'd see me through...

11. Where do you draw your inspiration?

My fire comes from seeing & hearing about injustices in this world, I get a rage in me that has to be put to heavy hip hop music, other wise it backfires & depresses me.

Nature, love & the universe inspire me to write lyrics & music of a more soothing vibe. Attitude & Gratitude is a healthy balance in this world, I've found.

12. What is wrong with the world today?

The wrong sort of people are running it. The elitist regime is insane, why should people with or born into money get to dictate how the world should be for everyone else.... it's insane & biased beyond belief.
The world can do without the cunty Trumps of the world.
Utility bills don't have to be so extortionate; companies are making money out of everyday people... for taking the earth’s energy sources... I'd change that & their tariffs straight away!

13. For you personally, what is the best way forward for the Hip Hop Movement?

More originality, up the tempo, get back to traditional structures of sound byte samples, big drums, fierce cuts from the DJ... & concepts from the rappers, not just me, me, me egoic bullshit. Forwards would be more 'We' based songs.
Unity is always empowering.

14. How would you, change the world?

Get rid of Donald Trump & all he represents.
Get rid of Theresa May & all she represents.
(Add on every other corrupt government globally)

Elect good people from everyday walks of life who have more of a heart instead of a head for people.

15. Getting to where you are today. What has been you biggest struggle and you greatest achievement?

One of the biggest & longest struggles being an independent UK Hip Hop artist has always been the frustration of not having enough money to promote the projects I've been involved with. You need over £10,000 to propel a project properly.
Seeing artists being in the public eye just purely on the fact that they've had financial backing & not because of the talent often frustrates me!

The greatest achievements so far besides touring Europe, collaborations with artists I've respected plus supporting PE & KRS One, has been able to continue making the music I want to make, their has been many a good artist who gave up because of the arse ache of the music business & reality of making no money other than to cover production costs... the scene lost many because of that. What I've achieved is a healthy back catalogue of original hip hop inspired music over the past 25 years.


16. You have been a part of many groups over the years that have bridged some interesting genres. What can you see yourself doing in the future?

I'm returning to my hardcore hip hop roots, heavy hitting tracks for heavy hitting times...
Right now I'm working with producer / artist / rapper Exile from Warped Ethics on our Fireball Flingaz EP, that's been a long time in the making, due to life getting in the way & creative concerns. The vinyl release will be a return to the hard hitting drum sounds of the Bomb Squad & straight to the jugular raps of a fierce nature. We both get vexed at the BS!!
Expect an awesome release later this year.

I'm working with Hamburg's finest beat maker & Sublime Wizardry's producer Merlin on a heavy hitting solo digital release & a new music video entitled...

Also collabs with Swiss artists MC Silas & producer Stussi, both have vinyl releases later this year.

As well as developing my own production & song writing skills.

17. You have been working with Graphic Bars on the South coast. Are there any other local artists that you would like to or plan to work with? 

I've collaborated with many Brighton MC's, DJ's & producers over the years. I left the city a few years ago, so I don't have a connection with any of the younger heads, who seem to be running things at the moment, I saw footage of Phonetic in a cipher & she's on fire at the moment, rapping sense with style. if I did a collab with anyone on the south coast it'd probably be with producer Crespo again on a project or beat marker The Jezter, who both make original Hip Hop & live in Worthing. Also producer Enn Leonard from Hastings who's the head honcho & powerhouse behind Ironskin Productions, I'll be collaborating on projects & running tracks through his studio for mastering tracks, he knows his sonics.

18. Are there new artists out there you see as carrying the torch for real Hip Hop?

To be honest I don't really get the new generation of UK Hip Hop artists, I can clearly see how Task Force inspired them all but I don't check for stuff other than what mates share on social media... then I'll check it.
I like Kashmere, the Strange U sound is pretty out there & dope... as well as older heads like Supreme & The Icepick of course, it's great to see the HQ Squad back in full effect.

19. Are you cool with fans stopping you in the street for an autograph and photo?

Haha it never happens here & Hasn't happened since tagging people's records after gigs in Europe... Places like Zug & Hamburg where underground Hip Hop has been accepted & appreciated!

20. I personally feel it’s amazing to see that more and more of the old skool artists are coming back and showing that age is no issue. Do you ever feel you will call it a day or keep going till you can’t?

There have been days when I can't be arsed with it & there will be more days like that... that's just how it is. It's the indie artists path it seems!
The whole social media thing annoys me at times but at the end of the day it's a free platform to reach people, without it it'd be a harder slog & more time consuming trying to get heard & seen via magazines & websites.


Remark, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions for me!
I really appreciate it. Being a native of Southampton, I really love to see local South Coast talent producing some real dope Hip Hop. 
We have the Whole B-Line records crew, Uncle Mic Nitro, You, Graphic the list goes on. I Will be looking forward to your next release too! Let me know if you would like me to do a review, it would be a pleasure. Thanks again, Steve.
Cheers Steve man. It's good to know there are veterans still putting time & money where their South coast mouth is! I'll keep you in the link bro. Peace.

Remarks Latest single is now available.

Please check out the link below to check out ?Everything and other Remark releases.