Kwaku: Now I know this has been a very frustrating year for supporters of world peace, I just wanted to get your thoughts on the current events taking place in the Middle East?
Travis Blaque: There are many contributing factors as to why there are ongoing hostilities in the region. This is a matter that can only be resolved if the underlining factor is peace. I personally believe that there are those who do not want peace as they benefit financially from conflict. As for the British intervention, I am against our government being involved, as we did not have a referendum! I quote Malcolm X. “The Chickens Have Come Home To Roost”. Now we have this conflict on our streets, which many a person did not ask for. Innocent people being maimed or killed and they were not part of the decision process!
Kwaku: I know you have been in the game for a minute now what are your thoughts on the scene at the moment what has changed in your opinion?
Travis Blaque: What I find interesting about the state of Rap music is that there are a lack of skills, which is probably due to MC’s who are not prepared to think outside of the box. OK. Let me explain. Why are so many people talking about the same subject matter that every thug type talks about! I would like to hear variety, originality & something with purpose. Now there are people who want to dance, that is fine. But, I’m bored listening to the same old regurgitated music that has stifled the progression of an art form. Major & independent labels are also to blame, as they do not want intelligent, uplifting Rap music. They help to reinforce the stereotypical image that the media have always seen in our music the bottom line is MONEY!
Kwaku: Now you are signed to the German label Unique Records what was the main reason you signed a deal in Germany as opposed to the record companies out here?
Travis Blaque: I had been looking for a deal for some time and after my last effort with The Herbaliser, I was committed to getting the right deal. What I found was that labels that I had previously made a contribution to, their artists, producers etc where not interested in a Travis Blaque album. I took some time off due to illness, my son & frustration to rebuild. Then came two 12”s on Altered Vibes produced by Ollie Teeba (The Herbaliser) & Dynamic Syncopation. RJD2 remixed a track which got me noticed. It took the wisdom of renowned Jazz DJ Nik Weston, who gave my demo to Unique, to fulfil my dream.
Kwaku: You dropped the single called the scene what made you decide to write about the scene was there anything behind that?
Travis Blaque: Through the process of finding the right deal and encountering obstacles along the way, came “The Scene”. It is obvious to those that work within the music industry that if you are affiliated to certain people who have some sort of control. You will receive some exposure. This seems to be a problem in the UK regarding Rap music. I am not part of a controlling group of individuals. I am part of a movement of people who are described as “Forward Thinkers”. I do not beg for exposure, but believe in quality control. There is a lot of sub-standard music being pushed at the moment by people who should now better!
Kwaku: What are your thoughts on the mc's that choose to be homophobic and use the n word in their lyrics?
Travis Blaque: MC’s that choose to be homophobic, racist, and sexist & have these hang-ups with people, who are different, really need to travel. Ignorance is a killer. In the UK, we only need to look at our history to understand that. I am liberal in my way of thought, but in no way would I actively discriminate against a group or an individual. However, if they were the aforementioned, it would be best if we were not in the same company!
The use of the “N” word. I believe if to some the “N” word is a term of endearment, and then do not get angry when other races use the word to communicate with us. I personally do not like it, as I had to endure racists almost everyday. Listen to “When I Was At School”.
Kwaku: What was behind the album title "The many facets of Travis Blaque"?
Travis Blaque: I was frustrated with being compared to The Streets & some of my peers, who I genuinely feel. I am very different to most other MC’s in the UK. I have many facets, hence the title.
Kwaku: The title track entitled Raymond cist this based on a true story?
Travis Blaque: It is based on the dangerous reality that ignorance starts at home. If you sincerely believe in something and preach your rhetoric to your offspring then they might entertain it. However, I had the misfortune to know someone who was brought up to believe that his race was superior to others, but liked Black music! What a contradiction. He was confused!
Kwaku: What's in pipeline for Travis Blaque?
Travis Blaque: I hope that “The Many Facets Of…..” is a success and with that enable me to not only record the second album, which will be totally removed from the concept, but introduce “The Forward Thinkers”. I am currently working with French Electronica, Hip Hop & Jazz outfit Chamande Beat on a superb piece of music. I have worked with label mate Malente on his album and contributed vocals to a Break Beat Funk track entitled “Wait For You To Fail”. Legendary German Funk DJ Florian Keller has remixed “Vowel Movement” for release via Compost Records. It is heavy. Drew Horley, who produces TY & contributed to the album has remixed “Let Me Be The One”. We have renamed it “You Can Be The One” & features UK lady of Soul Misty Oldland. She is one of my favourite singers. It is beautiful. I would like to work with interesting people regardless of their social status or position within the industry.
Kwaku: Do you feel Hip Hop in this country has changed/the world has improved? What are your thoughts on rap music now?
Travis Blaque: There are those who would like to keep Rap music in the state that it is in now, as the genre makes money. I am not one of them. Each artist needs to understand his or her responsibility to our music & our cultures to maintain, educate & enlighten. The world is in flux at this moment. We occupy this planet, but are quite happy to destroy it. Would you deliberately trash your home?
Kwaku: Thanks for taking the time out to do this interview. When is the album out in the states? And any last thoughts you want to leave us with?
Travis Blaque: The album is currently available from independent distributors & retailers in the US. The official release date at this time is August 18th. Alternatively you can hear sound bites at www.unique-rec.com & www.myspace.com/travisblaquemusic.
My closing thoughts are that if you strive to be yourself & understand that what you do or say may affect others then persevere. If you do not care about the consequences that might arise through your actions, then do not complain when the shit hits the fan!!!