Certified Banger: Yo Asaviour! You’re gearing up for a new release but before we get into that, for those who have kept their ears closed over the last three or four years, can you give us a quick history of Asaviour?
Asaviour: First appeared on Jehst’s ‘Premonitions’ EP, worked with artists like Konny Kon and Strategy, featured on a track by Jehst called ‘People Under the Weather’, worked with a number of artists like Yungun, Kyza, DJ IQ, Dubbledge, Micall Parkinsun, Verb T, Ghost etc. Dropped an EP called ‘Savoir Faire’ on Lowlife Records. Then released the single ‘Money in the Bank’ REMIX backed with ‘The Homecoming’ on YNR Productions, followed that up with a debut LP on Lowlife records called ‘The Borrowed Ladder’, released a series of mixtapes called ‘Play 2 Win’ and I’m about to drop a new album alongside DJ IQ called ‘The A Loop Theory’. There’s a few different records in between all that but… you get the idea!
CB: So, what is it that you’ve got coming soon? Tell us a bit about that:
Asaviour: Right now it’s all about ‘The A Loop Theory’.
Er, well I’ve been working with a group called Athlete on both production and rapping on their material for a new project they’re working on. I’ve been doing some remixing for Neon Hitch, The Happy Band and Claudia Georgette, I’m also working new material with her as well. I’ve got some things in the works with vocalists Bonnie Freechyld, Kevin Walls, Pat Fulgoni who are all extremely talented individuals that have something fresh to bring to the table.
I’ve got a few other big collabs but you know, can’t let too much out of the bag!
CB: What, at the moment, are you favourite album tracks from 'The A Loop Theory'? Which ones are gonna knock our socks off?
Asaviour: I dunno I like different tracks for different reasons; ‘Beefy’ is alright, I feel hard as nails when I’m rapping on it, you know that whole school bully vibe. We got a remix of ‘Cracked It’ featuring Verb T which is dope, it’s on some crazy bounce house s**t. I like ‘Sucker or Savvy’ just because how I was inspired to do it and the fact I didn’t put pen to paper for that track once. ‘De Ja Vu’ featuring Graziella is a little bit deep, ‘Gatheround’ featuring Jehst is just some big boys raps innit. Hopefully it will f**k the jams we play. I dunno, I really tried hard to make each tracks as strong a possible; all thrillers no fillers mate!
CB: What’s the partnership between you and IQ like? How does that pan out when working?
Asaviour: Well I reckon the basis of it is we get along, we look at music and life in quite a similar way but have our own views on s**t, I’ve worked with plenty of people I get along with (even some I don’t) as you definitely have to separate the person from the music. Some artists are amazingly skilled but are arseholes and some are safe a f**k but not quite ready. The fact we respect each other personally and artistically helps us have quite a bit of perspective.
CB: You’ve been sharpening your production claws too since your first album. Is your production essential to you as an artist? How did you get into beat making? What do you aim for when making a beat?
Asaviour: Well I’ve actually been making beats almost as long as I have been rhyming. I’m very critical of my production and just like my rhyming I’ve always strived to have an original slant on my sound. I’ve worked for ages just trying to develop my own sound that can stand up to any producer not just within UK Hip Hop but in music generally and I finally think I’m there now.
Like I said before I was always intrigued about how the sound was made, I never got money from my folks for music or anything like that, so I hustled for my first sampler which I think was an AKAI SO1, it stored 8 samples which I triggered with a second hand Atari ST. I used that to learn how to make beats and do a few demos, then I started going to college and they had a music room. I kinda hijacked the place even though most of the teachers hated me in there, though there was one teacher who helped me and let me in there at lunch time and after college showed me how to record with the 16 track and in turn I taught him how to use the sampler.
From there I moved to Manchester to study Music Technology and just kept on developing and building my skills.
I’ve done production for Sir Smurf Lil, TB, Verb T, Jehst, Ricochet aka Ric Branson, Yungun Kyza, Braintax, stuff on the DJ IQ’s album ‘Live From The Sofa’ as well as working alongside DJ IQ on our new collaboration album ‘The A Loop Theory’ and a little bit of work on a track with his new group Mama Said.
CB: Obviously you’re based in Huddersfield and IQ’s in London. How important is London to you?
Asaviour: “It aint where you’re from, it’s where you’re at”: I think Rakim said that!
CB: Jack Flash told me that the Huddersfield scene is ‘non-existent’ and ‘lacks unity’. What’s your take on Hip Hop in Yorkshire in general?
Asaviour: Not sure if it’s a case of unity or more a case of pro-activeness, to be honest I don’t just work with artists because they’re from up north I work with them if they’re good. There’s a lot of talent up here but if you don’t have the drive to do something or collaborate nothing really gonna happen is it?
In terms of a Hip Hop scene, there’s a lot of talent doing different stuff. If you’re talking straight up boom bap Hip Hop then he’s right, it’s non-existent but if you mean different styles of Hip Hop, there’s quite a few different talented rappers, singers, poets, producers doing their thing.
CB: Can we talk about Low Life? What was your deal there? What are your post Low Life feelings? Can you speak out on the discontent of some of the ex-Low Life artists?
Asaviour: I’ve always been told if you don’t have anything good to say then don’t say anything.
I couldn’t really comment on other artists feelings, but for me he’s just a businessman, first time I had a meeting to discuss putting an album out, pretty much the first thing he said was “there are no friends in business”. I kinda respect that not bulls**t, there’s plenty of dudes that aren’t that straight up and will pretend to be your friend and switch up on you in the end. For me he just never put the effort in that he would for his own release.
CB: ‘The Borrowed Ladder’ project got you working with a who’s who of the most talented people in our industry: Kyza, Tommy Evans, Yungun, Jehst, Micall Parknsun, Braintax… the list goes on and on. How influential were they all and how much would you accredit your success to their support?
Asaviour: Every person however talented they may be I have ever worked it I accredit my success to, I’ve learnt a s**t load from artists on not what to do artistically as well as in business.
CB: Who do you look up to?
Asaviour: Easy: my mother.
CB: Where does UK Hip Hop stand, in your mind, in the current financial climate? Will it cope with the recession?
Asaviour: I mean nobody every really sold masses of UK Hip Hop when Hip Hop has sold from this country it’s transcended the ‘UK Hip Hop’ tag. When I hear the words UK Hip Hop I can’t lie; the thought of unfinished beats, raps about rapping come to mind… I’m not too sure. The music will always be there but in terms of and industry I dunno, it’s gonna be artists who are innovating, pushing boundaries and who also have their business tight.
CB: In your opinion, what do UKHH artists need to be doing to survive, to get heard, to be successful? Finish this thing off with a little advice – aim it at whoever you like!
Asaviour: Work Hard, Hip Hop don’t owe you a living. Stay focussed, believe in yourself but the cold hard truth is: adapt or die.
Oh yeah, if you wanna design ‘The A loop Theory’ t-shirt make sure you come to one of our launch parties.