Sweden is known for dope hip-hop groups like Looptroop, Speech Defect and Hearin’ Aid. God knows how these guys learn to speak English so well (let alone write ill bars), but Trainspotters is another example of a group with tight beats and rhymes, whatever the language. I caught up with the emcee Rewind to discuss all things hip-hop and also found out about the other projects they are working on with the extended fam, Random Bastards.
So who are Random Bastards and Trainspotters?
Trainspotters: Random Bastards is our creative collective under which we do all our projects. With Trainspotters – when we release the music, Random Bastards acts as a record label. When we do our snowboard films it acts as video publishing, and we also do some clubs around here in Umeå and the rest of Northern Sweden. Random Bastards is basically music, videos, clubs and t-shirts, and Trainspotters is our rap group which is me and George Kaplan on the mic, and our DJ Chefen, plus our producer Academics.
Tell me about the scene you’re in at the moment…
Trainspotters: Well with Trainspotters as a group we are just trying to do our thing, we’re dropping our new album. Its called ‘Dirty North’, like dirty South, but it’s up here in Scandinavia. We’re dropping it for free on the internet this summer. It’s about 14 tracks as a free download for our fans, to get as much exposure as possible. We’re shooting a video in June.
The style of the album has a lot of influence from classic boom bap but it’s also the future 2011 sound. Our producer Academics is really responsible for the sound, using his Micro Korgs.
Do the other members get involved in the production aspect?
Trainspotters: Both me and George Kaplan are kinda non-talented with the music stuff but we know what we like so… Sometimes we’ll sit there and be like ‘yo how about that snare or that break there’, but we don’t dig a lot in the crates of vinyls…
Where’s Kap right now?
Trainspotters: I dunno if you’re familiar with the geography of Sweden, but he lives in Lund, that’s close to Malmö and Copenhagen. He’s on a plane right now, he lands in two hours so we’re gonna hit the studio tonight.
Do you feel part of a Scandinavian scene with artists like Tommy Tee?
Trainspotters: Yeah, Tommy Tee, we’ve warmed up for him and Smif-n-Wessun and Ken Ring. Ken is one of the better rappers in Swedish, and he’s a cool guy. I like his albums, he’s done stuff with Devin and Sean Price…
How come you guys don’t rap in Swedish as well?
Trainspotters: Actually we do sometimes. Our DJ also makes beats as well as Academics, and right now he’s putting together a CD with George Kaplan and our third member, Uncle Vernon. They’re doing a CD in Swedish.
Trainspotters: It’s called ‘Tjillin On Da Corner Down For Whateva Bros’. It’s more, (laughing) it’s very much about… weed.
Yeah IBMCs is on the weed flex too.
Trainspotters: Me, Kap and Vernon had some really blasting times in Amsterdam. We were at the Splash winter festival in the Melkweg…
So what else is happening?
Trainspotters: We’re releasing four new Random Bastards x UÅ t-shirts next Saturday, they all have a connection with Northern Scandinavia, a lot of reindeers and stuff.
You design the Ts?
Trainspotters: We have an art director called Marc Tare Lugnt. He also released a new album with Academics (http://www.tarelugnt.se). He does all the RB stuff, all the Trainspotters vinyls, the stickers, graphics. The T-Shirt Kap has on in the Splash video – that’s him.
So who else you got featuring on the LP besides Supersci?
Trainspotters: We got this dude called Eboy who’s from Respect My Hustle, a group from Stockholm. Eboy is a really dope spitter.
I got the Trainspotters 12″ ‘breakthrough’ in NYC at Xmas in Fat Beats – it was kinda fucked in there.
Trainspotters: Yeah we want to put the new LP on vinyl but we don’t think there’s a market unfortunately. We’ve been doing some stuff with HHV in Berlin. I’m hoping to persuade them to drop a 12″ or something.
Tell me something personal about hip-hop that’s important to you? For us, it’s all about the kids…
Trainspotters: Yeah, most of our shows are for 18 year olds, but we love to do shows for the kids, especially in our home city. We get a lot of love from the younger people too, they bump our stuff and when we do our skateboard stuff that really appeals to the younger generation. They can watch our skate films, they can buy a Random Bastards skateboard with the Trainspotters logo on it.
It’s a cliché, but we like to bring it back to the community.
Trainspotters ‘Worldwide’ video: