Oxide & Neutrino are a DJ and MC duo from London comprising of Alex Rivers and Mark Osei-tutu. Having gained widespread recognition and seemingly instantaneous success with their number one single “Bound 4 Da Reload” in the summer of 2000, the pair continued to feature prominently in the charts over the next couple of years, releasing a number of top 10 singles from their two albums ‘Execute’ and ‘2 Steps Ahead’ on Eastwest records.
Oxide & Neutrino have been successful at making a name for themselves and with their group So Solid Crew. So Solid are best known for their huge hit 21 Seconds and were pioneers of UK Garage.
After 3 years of radio silence, Oxide & Neutrino are ready to return with their new record “2nd Chance”, on their recently formed own label Kemistree and Fizzicks. The story so far hasn’t been entirely without obstacle. Like many artists making a comeback, they had troubles with their record label and finally broke free to work for themselves. On top of that Oxide’s studio got burned down!
Neutrino tells us about their absence from the scene, his thoughts on UK music and the latest news on So Solid. Now that they’re back I’m sure there will be feelings of nostalgia up and down the country. Welcome back boys!
What have you been doing since your last single?
We’ve had loads of dramas. We were signed to a label called Sanctuary and the company went bust. Our album was tied up with them so things couldn’t take off. It was a long process getting to where we are now.
I heard Oxide’s studio burned down!
Yeah it did, I don’t remember exactly when that was but it was extremely bad luck. Oxide locked up the studio but left a candle burning inside. The fire brigade said that as it got to the bottom of the wick it started spitting and must have caught on something to fuel the fire. Luckily we had the hard drive on the computer with our tracks on and thank God nobody was in there!
What kind of tracks have you been writing these past few years?
Most of this album was recorded between 2003 and 2005. We have newer tracks from 2006 and 2007 which will be on our next album. The writing on this album is about our everyday life and our struggles to get back here. This album has more of a personal touch and is speaking more from our personal experiences. Most of it was written when the limelight had died down.
How are the beats sounding?
Beat wise, this album is like Execute. It’s not as much up tempo, it’s slowed down slightly. It’s a dark kind of electronic sound. There’s no R&B or hip hop stuff that we did. We’re got features from Kaish, Face, Kowdean and a couple of new guys as well.
What’s your new single, What R U, about?
The single is about people giving us a try on radio and TV, it’s about fake people, it’s about people who suddenly want to know you because you’re famous. It’s kind of like Only Wanna Know Cos You’re Famous. Beat wise it’s slowed down drum ‘n’ bass.
Why did you choose to name the album 2nd Chance?
We feel we’ve been given a second chance to make it in the industry and not a lot of people get to have that.
Do you think you can be as successful as you have been before?
Hopefully! I’m not going to say to you ‘oh yeah definitely, watch!’ I think it’s going to be a long process and we’re going to have to start from the basics again to let everyone know that we’re back. We’re aiming to do a lot of promo to get us back up there.
How do you want to be seen by people now? The whole music scene has changed since you were in it last.
We hope to pick it up where we left off. I know people are going to label us as this or that but I don’t know what they’re going to choose. The chapter ain’t been closed yet.
What do you think of the artists that have come up since you left? We’ve got Sway, Nathan…even Roll Deep made it since you were around last!
I think it’s all good. They’re carrying on where we left off and are keeping the scene alive. It still needs to take someone like us to take it back to where it was because I don’t think anyone’s in the league of what we did in terms of album sales. We were household names across the country. I think we need to get it back to that stage. Right now it’s more like a London or Midlands thing. Me and Oxide had the first single that hit number 1 from a DJ and MC and that opened the doors when we were 18 years old. We need some diversity, money and originality!
What has it been like to come back to the scene without So Solid?
When we first came up we didn’t really have So Solid behind us but with our joint success they were always there with us on TV shows and performances. It’s kind of weird when you don’t have 25 people with you at the same time.
What have the other members of So Solid been working on?
At the moment they’re doing individual projects. I’m not sure if there’s a So Solid comeback project in the pipeline but we’ve all met up. We had a meeting last month to talk about what everyone’s been doing and we listened to each other’s new music. Megaman’s been working on projects for other artists; he’s just taking a break and staying behind the scenes. I spoke with Romeo today, he’s cool, he’s taking time out as well and plans on working on his new album really soon.
Have you got a day job?
Nah, all I do is music and I go to the gym!
I know this is kind of nosy but when So Solid left the scene did you end up with a decent amount of money?
I can’t speak on behalf of the other members but we definitely made a lot. I think So Solid and Oxide & Neutrino made the most in the whole Garage scene, including Dizzee Rascal. You have to be wise with your money though. It was hard being 18 years old and being given a huge amount of money. It’s not like you have the mind to think ‘hmm let me invest.’ If you have parents or older people around you then they can guide you and my parents definitely guided me.
It would be good to have you back. There’s not much going on apart from the Grime thing.
I’m not really in touch with the Grime scene at the moment, I feel old now even though I’m 25. I’ve learned to be more cautious and watchful of situations around me. I’m definitely older and wiser!
You’re not signed to anyone right now are you?
We have our own label now called Kemistree and Fizzicks [editor is so thick she only just realised it’s a way of spelling ‘Chemistry and Physics’]. We would have spelt it the proper way but it seemed plain and boring. At the moment it’s to release our own material but in the long run we might start signing other people.
The first single ‘What R U’ will be released as a download only on Kemistree and Fizzicks on May 14th.
The album ‘2nd Chance’ will be released on June 18th.