Starch Music are a South London collective who have been bubbling under doing their own thing away from the spotlight. Now they have new music on the way and are making a concerted effort to get out there. Peep below what they had to say…
OK, lets get straight into this. Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about where you are from coming from?
Neil: It works like this right, Starch Records was set up in 2001 by us. We’re based in south west London. Starch was set up as a means of releasing UK hip hop that we make. The aim of the label is to put out hip hop records and maintain a high level of integrity while we’re doing it.
What is the Hip Hop scene there like?
Neil: The scene mostly don’t get us! It don’t like our style. Loads of star gazing rappers and producers. Trouble is its hard to reach the people that are down with what we do. Its like a battle against the scene nearly.
Ben81: We are the original Hip Hop crew from our area. No one else even listens to it. Chum 101 the writer was maybe the original B Boy from where we went to school. He did a piece with an eight ball bomb and a rabbits head. That was the first bit of local Graff I saw.
How would you describe your labels attitude?
Gus: We demand a high rate of quality control including pad, pen and well structured ideas.
Neil: Its all about live beats. We try and keep our sound as live and vibey as we can. We don’t sample breaks people have used before. FUCK THAT! We keep our shit original. All the rappers on our label are proper rappers, they don’t stop you know? You got to pass the freestyle test if you know what I mean?
Ben81: Bad attitude.
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?
Neil: Yeah, watch out for MC Theam, he’s working with us at the mo. Also working with Secondhand citizens from USA, we got shit out there but not sure if we’re going to release it here. We’ll be dropping some tracks with them in the future so look out for that. Also checkout Veetron he featured on our first release , NO WINDOWS. He’s producing an EP at the moment that’s sounding hot.
Gus: I rap on IMS tracks, look out for the Hack bike and jump sack EP. Recently been collaborating with Winston Smith and secondhand citizen, also with local bookies connection Roy-czar promoter of the dance – be ready for some thing different!
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?
Neil: Basically mate we try to not use synths, sample CDs, Internet beats, etc. I don’t like clean production. I like imperfection in recordings, its give the track soul. We like our drums Axelrod, funky drummer style, YOU KNOW? Our sound is distinct and all made using old analogue equipment. We do this to achieve the vibe that we like.
Ben81: We Built our studio ourselves in an old disused garage. We layed a fucking carpet in there.sound proofed it etc. So all our production gets done in there. Equipment: We got an Emu6400 off a friend of a friend and we use that all the time. Lexicon effects units. Another EMU sampler esi 1400 and an AKAI 3000XL. It all gets sequenced on Cubase SX on a PC now. Used to be Logic Xpress on a G4 but that’s gone. Joe Meek compression.
Have you had any records out in the past or collaborated with other artists?
Neil: Ok mate. We got a 12″ out at the moment, Featuring Vet253 and Mophie, Schemin, Skribes and Excel. Its been out for about a year. We produced it all, mastered etc. We got a good review in HHC mag, Undercover mag, etc. Its out there if you can find it. We produce a handful of other tracks for various mix CDs too. Push Rap, Secondhand Citezen, IMS, etc…
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?
Neil: everyone seems to like our stuff. We are just at the beginning so we have really had a chance to gage “regional differences”! Saying that Manchester has been the best for us in terms of record sales.
What are your influences?
Neil: I was influenced by hip hop and Rufige Kru during the early 90’s. Other influences, Transport system, all music apart from trance, parties, family, people, London, drums, design.
Gus: Listen to some of my tracks, see if you can guess.
Ben81: Big influences for me were Pete Rock, Premo, Rza, Dre, Jay Dee, Nas, Large Professor, David Axelrod , Goldie, Ali Shaheed Mohamed, Beastie Boys.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Neil: UK wise, Ramson Badbones, P Brothers the new boss money tune is fat, Harry Love, Ricochet, Michael Parknsun, Bearman.
Ben81: Get boys, Bumpy knuckles, NYGZ, Gus`s unfinished tracks we made last week , Devin the Dude, Rodney P, The P Brothers, Baby J, Skinny Man, Mikall Parknsun, Ramson Badbones, Group Home.
Tell our readers why they should listen to you.
Neil: Purely for the reason that were are doing this for the listener. Its not a money thing. Its fucking expression on vinyl. If you like proper sounding beats UK style listen to us.
Gus: We’re doing something for the maxamists and extroverts, give it a shot if you wanna!
Ben81: You should listen to our music because its good for you.
Do you have any on line presence?
Yeah, www.starchmusic.co.uk is our website and an outlet for selling our records. www.myspace.com/starchrecords is where we preview new beats.
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?
Neil: I really don’t mind upsetting anyone!!… Politics is another interview though mate cause I just wont stop talking.
Gus: Question time is good.
Ben81: Yeah I like that, don’t fuck with Dimbleby!
Why do you think the urban youth and people in general are so pissed off with the government?
Neil: Simple, they feel no connection to the government and what there doing.
Where can people hear your stuff? Where can people pick up your stuff?
You can hear our stuff at our website, www.starchmusic.co.uk or www.myspace.com/starchrecords. Also our records are available to buy on line from, www.suspect-packages.co.uk, www.roughtrade.com and all good hip hop record stores in London, Brighton, Bristol, and Manchester.
Ben81: Deal Real , Scenario etc.
Neil: Played a couple of gigs in London and Brighton, bigup Looms, check web site for up coming dates, also the 12″‘s been getting dropped at Madam Jo Jo’s, Herbal, etc if your around them ways.
Do your shout outs here:
Neil: Winston Smith, Roy-Czar, Vettron, Excel, Theme, Looms, Excel, Regie, Kirean, Rebecca, Howard & Nico, Basher, Substatik, Lyvonne, Secondhand Citezen, Kesta, Cock’n’ey Rhymer… bigup P-Low and britishhiphop.co.uk.
B: Rachel, Skelatron.
Thank you very much for your time.