Jack Flash is an artist coming out of Huddersfileld who currently has his Union Jack LP out. Aidan Severs managed to catch up with him for his second interview on this site to find out what has developed in the mean time.
Can you tell us your necessary background details so we can build on basics for the rest of the interview? For example: who you are, projects you have worked on, people you have worked with…
Jack Flash: I’m Jack Flash; MC, producer, performer, intellectually dope artist from Huddersfield UK. I just released ‘The Union Jack Album’, my debut joint! I’ve previously been featured on DJ IQ’s ‘Live From The Sofa’ and Jehst’s ‘MengiBus Mixtape’, I released my own mixtape ‘Calm Before The Storm’ and I got a live band called Extra Curricular as well!
What are your current or upcoming projects? ie albums, singles, tours, guest spots…
Jack Flash: Currently I’m promoting ‘The Union Jack Album’, there’s a single we are pushing off that at the moment called ‘Intoxicating’ featuring singer Thabo. There will be a video available shortly (actually been shooting today) and I got a nice little tour sorted. I’m part of the Hip-Hop Connection 20th Anniversary tour and I’ve got some dates with my band as well. Check my myspace.com/jackflashgroundwurq to see where to be!
You’re from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. What has the Hudd got to offer Hip Hop wise? Can you tell us a bit more about the Hip Hop scene there? How important are people like Jehst and Asaviour (who feature on ‘Sleepy Little Town’) for the heads in Huddersfield?
Jack Flash: The scene is close to non-existent sometimes. Not to say that there isn’t people MCing or breaking or DJing but there’s a lack of unity between Hip Hop lovers in Hudds as far as making a scene happen goes. The nights are few and far between and when they do happen you would expect everyone who says they are into Hip Hop to turn up but not everyone does! Those that do in my eyes play an active part in giving a scene life, But I don’t want to be negative about it so id say there is a good MUSIC scene up here and as Hip Hopppers it benefits us to integrate into that and broaden our horizons.
Jehst and Asaviour are influential and were to me especially but the UK is such a small place it really makes no sense to draw boundaries in between towns and cities that are so close, the scene should spill out up north and id love to see Manc heads and Sheffield heads at one of our nights and visa versa.
As an MC from outside of London what do you think about the Hip Hop scene in the UK? How do you think the rest of the country fits into the London-centric nature of the scene?
Jack Flash: End of the day people respond to good music regardless of where it’s from. Perhaps the biggest problem in the scene is not where the music comes from but everyone’s obsession with where it comes from. London is dope, and if that’s where you have to travel to get the best reviewed shows or the best business links, so be it! That doesn’t change where the artist originally came from. In Britain everywhere isn’t that far away from everywhere else.
What made you want to get into Hip Hop in the first place? What have you been through to get here?
Jack Flash: It was a love that got me straight away and something I connected with so much in my teens. As it grew it found a way into my daily life, as I backtracked and learned about the culture I found Hip Hop (when practised correctly) to be one of the only honest things in life! MCing is a marriage of intelligence, rhythm, vocal expression and music which seemed so raw and real I had to do it! But I could write all day about why I got into Hip Hop!
Jack Flash seems to be a very human person, displaying a range of emotions and thoughts. For example, you have quite vicious battle type raps and more reflective tracks. How important to you and your musical output is it to be so multidimensional?
Jack Flash: Yeah, very important. It’s something I considered consciously when collating the tracks for my album. I didn’t want it to be an album with 15 versions of the same song, I feel like if you’re a true MC, you should be able to display a range of verses and moods of tracks and there shouldn’t be a topic you can’t handle. If someone me what id consider as one of my strongest points id say ability to be diverse in concept but consistent in quality.
Who have been your biggest musical influences and which Hip Hop artists have inspired you? Which are your favourite albums? What music were you brought up on?
Jack Flash: I am a big fan of the production from DJ Premier, Pete Rock, J Dilla, HiTek, Large Pro, 9th Wonder, Mr Porter, and the MCing of Talib, Mos Def, Black Thought, KRS, Jehst, Blak Twang, Big Pun, Big L, nothing out of the ordinary but its such good shit! Really influential hiphop albums have been Gangstarr – Moment Of Truth, Reflection Eternal – Train Of Thought, Fugees – The Score. I was brought up on wide range of music, my mum was always into soul like Diana so there was a lot of that growing up. My dad had more rock influences but they always met in the middle, I guess that’s kind of reflective in my choice of beats!
What’s your favourite rap style – Wordplay? Battle? Boast? Metaphorical? Punchline? Life lyrics? Do you think the choice of rap style and lyrical content has an effect on the audience a rapper gets?
Jack Flash: Yeah it probably defines that audience a rapper gets. You don’t get too many people who have a Jedi Mind Tricks CD next to a Souljah Boy CD in their collection. Not to say that some rappers don’t bridge gaps in their audience and have two or more demographic of fans bumpin their shit! I don’t really have a favourite style, my rule for what im writing is whatever come up, comes out!
Your crew, Groundwurq, are also getting noticed, especially Apa-Tight as he is producing for a few current UK MC’s. Who is involved? What can we expect from you and them in the near future?
Jack Flash: Groundwurq is a collective of MCs and producers that is growing. At the heart of it is myself, Apa-Tight ( who is absolutely crazy wi’ the beats!, and it nicely getting his name out with some MCs, check the new Sir Smurf Lil album) and J Simple. Micall Parknsun is affiliated as well as Jaisu. Everyone’s doing their solo things at the minute, J Simple is looking to drop an EP in the coming months, apa-tight is working on his own LP and a collective album will happen when its ready to do so!
You also tour with a live band. What is your motivation for making that happen? Do you think that aesthetic is lacking in Hip Hop? Do you think you might do a full album with them? Maybe a remix of ‘The Union Jack album’ since their remix for ‘Intoxicating’ is so excellent.
Jack Flash: Thank you, I’ve only flirted with the idea of doing a remix album, we have a couple of the other tracks on there prepared, but it has run through my mind! Extra Curricular happened as a sort of lets get a few good musicians together in Huddersfield that all feel Hip Hop and have a jam. Everyone has their own projects going on outside of this, hence the name extra curricular, but then we worked songs out of the jams, and got a couple gigs and then decided to integrate my album in with it seen as though I’m promoting that now and before you know it we were taking it as seriously as every other project we are doing. I think it opens a live show up as far as ability to jam a bit but I wouldn’t really say its missing in Hip Hop. It does kind of legitimise a rapper to a different crowd though, as fucked up as it is, more people who would have never checked you before will do because you have a band there!
Any last words?
Jack Flash: RIP to Daniel ‘Wize’ Cox. Peace to the listeners and the reader!