Having started out back in the day at Jungle Raves AC and Terra have continually done their own independent thing and achieved impressive sales. How would you classify these men? Well they are on the more Grime tip, but also have the lyrical skills to deliver Hip Hop verses as well. We talked to one half of the crew AC and found out what he had to say in advance the release of their Youthanasia LP…
OK, lets get straight into this. Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about where you are from / coming from?
AC: we are AC & Terra we are rappers from Northwest London.
What is the Hip Hop scene there like?
AC: Getting better!
Since those early days, how has the scene developed over the years? Who are the acts that have come and gone and apart from yourselves, who is prevailing and building a bit of a following?
AC: In Northwest there are a lot of acts doin their thing, like: Genesis Elijah, BMD, Van Damage, Flirta D, Gappy Ranks, Ahmos, Micall Parknsun to name a few!
How would you describe yourself and how did you come by your name?
AC: We are on our own thing we don’t wanna beg it off no one already in the game, so we’re not trying to be like the boy’s club. Our name is just our nicknames put together.
Are you affiliated with any other crews and are you working with any young cats you are hoping to bring through? Who should we look out for?
AC: Yeah we are part of Heavy Rotation, that is us, Genesis Elijah, DJ Answer, DJ Whitecoat, Gramma Charlie, Volatile.
Describe for us your production and recording set up. What equipment do you have? And how do you use it? Would it be a matter of getting samples and sequences together on your home equipment and making demos, which you would then take to a professional studio to record and mix down on a multi track?
AC: Use a PC with Fruity Loops, Cubase etc. Then we go to studio and record lyrics ‘cos ain’t got a decent mic.
So talk us through your recording career so far. Have you had any records out in the past or collaborated with other artists?
AC: Yeah we put out a 500 press 12" called ‘In England’ in 2003 that sold out, then Terra put out ‘Gogo’ in 2004 on vinyl that sold 500 copies. Then we did our mix CD ‘Human Trash’ that has sold 19,000 copies so far. Also AC is on Mentor Kolektiv’s album ‘Broke’. We’ve collaborated with Genesis Elijah, Gappy Ranks (on Mentor Kolektiv’s track ‘Bounce’), Shakespear, Gramma, Ego 6 (Paris grime crew).
What sort of a response do you get from the rest of the country, and are there regional differences you can discern? Are there any reasons for this?
AC: Well the response has been good all over at shows and on the streets shotting the CD. When u do a rave outta London people go more mad in the club, maybe because London has a lot of raves everyday so people are numb to enjoyment!
What music are you listening to at the moment?
AC: Dizzee Rascal, Kano, Genesis Elijah, Durrty Goodz, J2K, Brand Nubian, Jay Z, Biggie, Tupac, the lot.
How long have you been involved in music?
AC: Since I was about 6. In church choirs etc. Toured Europe singing classical music when I was 11 and am on two classical records.
So, when did you first move to become a Hip Hop practitioner, rather than consumer? What elements did you toy with? Was it straight MCing from day 1?
AC: Started MCing at jungle raves at 17, then started writing lyrics and doin’ more raves. Met Terra and Genesis, Drama and Tom Caruana and started making tracks.
How do you feel about the current state of UK hip hop? Do you object to being categorised in this way?
AC: Yeah its just hip hop forget all this regionalism! I think it is getting more exposure but not enough still, labels need to push it like they do indie bands, then there will be a bigger scene and the suits can make money off it so everyone’s happy. They seem to sign acts and then push them half-heartedly then wonder why the sales aren’t there.
Who are the UK artists you listen to and admire?
AC: Genesis, Mike GLC, Stylah, Mr Drastick, J2K, Crazy Titch, Skepta, Dizzee Rascal, Kano, Ghetto, Durrty Goodz, Reveal, Roots Manuva, Rodney P, Skibadee, Eksman, Det, Wordsmith, Terra Firma.
Who are your UK influences?
Who or what are your other influences?
When’s your new album out and what will be on it? Could you perhaps take us through some of the tracks describing the feel and what you were trying to get over in the lyrics?
AC: Our new album ‘Youthanasia’ is out soon, probably April, it will be rowdy like ‘Human Trash’ was, but then there are tracks dealing with deep issues as well, like suicide, relationship problems, political stuff etc.
Tell our readers why they should listen to you.
AC: If you want something that is both amusing and deep, and makes your neck snap get our CD.
For the uninitiated, which of your single or album tracks would you highlight to others?
AC: For our raw in your face style check out our song ‘Human Trash’ on www.myspace.com/acandterra or new track ‘Get Rowdy’ and for the more sensitive side check out ‘She’s Gone’ – you can hear that on www.myspace.com/tharma – that is the singer Angela Tharma’s page, we collaborated with her for that track.
What have you learned from your recording, performing and business experiences so far? What advice would you have for anyone trying to get out there now?
AC: Well the music industry is full of horrible people who will scam you for 1 pence, so always tell people exactly what you want from the start, otherwise they will try it believe me! Don’t trust anyone, make them earn your trust! And still watch them like a hawk!
Do you do many live shows?
AC: Yeah I have done a lot of live shows, all over the UK, Europe and I recently did two tours of India. Going to Germany again later this month!
Do you have plans to get out to a wider audience?
AC: Well our music seems to be quite accessible to the man in the street so its growing anyway, we aren’t gonna sell out to do it so if it comes it comes!
How do you view the Internet? Do you think it is a useful promotional tool and a good way of getting out there and loosening the grip that the major media companies an their TV schedulers have on what is broadcast, or are there too many idiots too willing to spout a load of rubbish with no control over them?
AC: I think it is a good promotional tool and want to use it to the maximum! There may be some stuff out there that ain’t good but then that’s life.
I ask everyone about politics, because I think it is important that we have knowledge of what is going on, but most current Hip Hop heads decline to answer. I guess they don’t want to upset anyone. Do you have anything to say on that? Any issues you think people need to open their eyes too?
AC: Yeah I think we need to destroy race as a concept, all it does is keep everyone apart and suspicious of one another! So people should intermarry more. Also I don’t feel anyone in the government wants to improve things in a real sense so all you can do is make your money. It’s a shame really but that’s it. Revolutions never work so I have no real suggestions to improve anything, I have been to council meetings and the bureaucracy just slows everything down so it is too frustrating for me to be involved with.
Did you vote in the last election and why?
AC: I voted just to keep the BNP out.
Why do you think the urban youth and people in general are so pissed off with the government?
AC: Because there is no understanding or things that each side can relate to.
What do you make of the smoking ban that will come into effect next summer?
AC: Yeah do it I don’t smoke, I did some raves in Scotland last year and liked coming home after not wreaking of cigarette smoke. Cigarettes are another form of oppression, inadvertent or not, like football, alcohol, drugs and anything else that makes poorer people waste the little money they have.
If you could change something about society, what would it be and why?
AC: I would get rid of race, class and all that divides us.
What do you do when you are not doing Hip Hop stuff? And away from music, name one thing you’d like to do if all things were possible?
AC: I read books, watch films, go out all the usual stuff. However 99% of the time I am doing something music related so hardly ever do any of that stuff.
Where can people hear and buy your stuff?
OK. To wind this up, what is going to be keeping you busy over the next few months?
AC: We got a lotta shows coming up, in Southampton, Scarborough, Exeter, Nottingham, London, Germany. Also we are releasing our album ‘Youthanasia’ in April, we have got a load of new videos in the pipeline too.
What are your longer term plans and objectives?
AC: Just keep doing this and watch the brand of ‘AC & Terra’ grow.
Anything else you would like to say?
AC: Yeah I wanna big up all the people that bought ‘Human Trash!’, without you we would be dead from starvation!
Thank you very much for your time.