Warren-D says ‘there are a lot more artists out there than there is radio time’, talks on his latest EP and more..
|Artist: Warren-D||Country: United Kingdom|
|Artist Type: rapper||City/State: Hillingdon, London|
Big revolutionary welcome to our first grime/garage MC on the site, Warren D. AVR first met Warren performing a hyper-energetic set at the main stage of Lockside Lounge's, ,Platform 8 showcase Aside from getting the crowd bubblin' away to the up-tempo beat selection, equally notable was the nice blend of conscious content Warren had on offer as food for thought. Nice touch man, respect!Not to long ago we got in touch with him following the release of his latest EP, "The Link Up EP".
Where did you get the idea for the EP from?
"I had intended for a while to create something purely 'in house'. Two of the producers on the project got me into MC'ing during secondary school and for a long time I had wanted to do a project featuring them. I had the title track (Link Up) recorded for some time and had been working on a project purely produced by Optimum Design simultaneously when Kreacha got back into contact with me and had been uploading some new beats onto his Soundcloud. I heard the beat for Chat Like That and was instantly hooked. I wrote two verses that night and the project itself just sort of fell together from there. I took Link Up and another track I had recorded with J.Spekz, picked two of the tracks from the Optimum Design/Warren-D project, vocalled two Kreacha beats and that was it: EP done!
During this time I had thought doing an EP rather than another full blown mixtape would be beneficial as it may be easier to digest for new listeners. With the way things are in regards to online music, people seem to be put off listening to long projects. Anyone with a bandcamp can probably tell you that the first song on a project always seems to have more plays then those a few tracks in. I had decided a short EP with a variety of sounds would hopefully catch the ears of more people.
The name itself was influenced by the first track and is fitting as all the producers are local to me and have all been involved in my music from way back. This is the first time we have all been on the same project together."
Who did you work with for the production side of the EP and how well do you think they brought your ideas to life?
"The producers involved on this project are J.Spekz, Kreacha and Optimum Design (OD). In a nutshell, yes: I am very happy with the way the project has come together. I've known Kreacha since secondary school and between him and Dan (of OD) - they are the reason I MC. When I was younger I was MC'ing under the name "Wizzle-Man" and had a couple of mixtapes out in 2007 and 2008 featuring production from both of those guys as well as some mainstream beats. Since then, whenever I have listened to those projects, I was quite aware that the in-house beats brought out another level in me. In the time that has passed since then Dan and Ed formed OD and have been churning out dubstep inspired beats for years, Kreacha's skills have massively improved and J.Spekz (who started out as an MC around the same time I was called Wizzle-Man - we were in a group called The Coalition) moved into production as well.
Being that we're all from the same area and we've all come up together, there is a mutual respect and understanding between us. I can listen to OD beats and feel an energy from the work they've created. If anything when I work with them I feel like I'm trying to bring their ideas to life! Kreacha loves his grime music and heavy bass sounds so I know I can go to him to release some steam on a track. I don't know if he makes any of them with me in mind but I hear certain beats and I just know I need to be on it. The two tracks with J.Spekz actually came about through an impromptu studio session at his house. When I first touched down I asked specifically for a Hip-Hop tune to vocal and that's how "Sit Down" came about. He was scrolling through beats until we got to that one and I said straight, "This is the one!" The track "Link Up" came about spontaneously. I'd had in my head for a while I wanted to make a track featuring some of the MCs I had come up with and mentioned it while in the session. I literally just said to J, look what other beats have you got lets do a track, I've already got an idea for a hook. He threw up the beat for "Link Up". I wrote my verse there and then, recorded my part of the hook and left it with him. Within a week he sent me the finished tune.
Each of the producers has they're own specific energy which they bring to the table and helps inspire my lyrics when working with them. The Link Up represents us re-connecting that energy through our music.
How long did it take to get the EP to a stage you were happy with? When can we expect the next one?
"As mentioned before the majority of the tracks were already in existence before the project itself started to come together. Both the J.Spekz recorded tracks were sitting finished but unused on my hard-drive for nearly a year while the OD produced tracks were both works in progress. It was only when Kreacha and I reconnected and I ended up vocalling the "Chat Like That" beat that I really knew I had a project developing. I then heard the "Ramp With My Crew" beat and knew that was it. Two beats from each producer and I had the EP done. In terms of timescale I couldn't give an exact answer but it didn't take long, a few studio sessions and it was all wrapped up quite quickly. After that I just sat on the project a little bit until I had some videos shot.
The next project, which is the aforementioned one produced by Optimum Design, is currently underway with the working title, "Through My Eyes". It's in the studio stage at the moment so things could still chop and change. I can't give a date yet and I don't want to rush it. Realistically it probably won't be out until 2015. Part of the reason for that is the types of videos I want to shoot with those tracks. A lot of planning will need to go into them so the project will take some time to come together.
Aside from that there is talk of a joint project with a fellow Silent Movementz (SM) artist C.S. We've discussed recording an EP together and have a few track ideas so that could be out before then. There's also the possibility of a project with Kreacha but nothing yet confirmed."
Why do most underground projects never make it to the mainstream?
"There's no one reason for this. Some artists don't make it mainstream because they don't want to. Others try hard to do it but never quite get there as they lack the right network, knowledge or talent. Without the right sort of promotion the project will never get widespread exposure. However without the right amount of quality the exposure can count for nothing as people won't connect with the music. Also there are a lot more artists out there than there is radio time and room within the mainstream. That being said the mainstream does like familiarity. As I said there is no one reason, rather multiple factors which come into play with each project."
Share 3 artists you think you have learned from. What have you learned from them?
"Leon aka the Cheshire Cat has taught me to enjoy myself. I've met Leon at university but we've never actually collaborated musically. We've been back in touch in recent months and his energy for life is inspirational. He has helped me to approach music more openly and to find the enjoyment in what I am doing - to not take myself too seriously!
MusicByJam has taught me, through example, about persevering. I first met him when were both 17/18 and since then the guy has put out so many projects I couldn't actually name them all for you! The most recent is "The Stars & The Moon" (Check it out!! http://musicbyjam.com/) Jam's never been afraid to walk in his own lane and makes the music that he wants to make.
Another artist I have learnt from is LeeN. I recorded the Link Up EP at his studio and a lot has been discussed in those sessions I can tell you! One thing I remember was the advice he gave about being self critical. As an artist we can tend to be perfectionists, obsessing over our delivery of the goods so to speak. It's important to know when to take a step back and try to put yourself in the shoes of your listeners."
How many projects does it take to make sure your music withstands the test of time?
"Who knows?! You could say one! You could argue many more! Lets look at Nas' Illmatic seen as it's recently celebrated its 20th Anniversary. Now as it's a classic album you could argue that it only takes one good album to withstand the test of time. Even if Nas hadn't made anything after Illmatic that album would still have had all the hype that went with it during the two years it took to come together. Illmatic would still have had the legendary first ever 5 mic rating from the Source. However you might argue that it's because of the 9 albums he has made since (not including The Firm, The Lost Tapes & Distant Relatives) that his music has withstood the test of time - the fact that all of them except Stillmatic have fallen below the bar he set on his debut. Lauryn Hill has one solo studio album whereas Erykah Badu has five.
Lets bring it to the UK. Oxide and Neutrino cemented themselves into Garage folklore with Execute, as did So Solid Crew with They Don't Know. Both had follow up albums which were not as successful yet they are still names which carry weight within the UK music scene - all because of one album each! The flipside of that is some one like Wiley who has like seven albums as well as countless mixtapes and he too has withstood the test of time.
There is no answer or secret formula to longevity. All you can do as an artist is capture your experiences, believe in what you do and enjoy your music."
Who else makes music similar to yours? How do you differ?
"One artist I would say I am similar to is M.A.C. We've been collaborating since 2008 and are both part of the Silent Movementz family: which he started back at school and which I joined in 2011. We're both from the same borough and have a similar come up so there is I think a crossover in terms of the things we talk about. However, whereas I came up on Grime, M.A.C came up on Hip-Hop and then crossed into grime with a ragga style. Now his projects have gone back to a Hip-Hop sound and he has experimented with R&B/Soul vibes also. I still work on Hip-Hop with the SM crew but have leaned back towards my grime roots with a heavy dub and dubstep influence. Overall I would say we have similar stories but different ways of telling them."
"Optimum Design each and every time!! Big shout out to Kreacha as well it's good to be back working with you man. J.Spekz also, your input to the EP is highly appreciated! Much respect to LeeN and NLT Productions for the studio time and guidance. Respect to MusicByJam for the videos.
Big up the whole Silent Movementz team and extended family - Marcus Garvey, M.A.C, C.S, HL 96 Sinista, R3dd Buddah, T.Smith, Trade, Kannon, Gem Jones.
Shout out to V.A.S. and Team Veezie!
Ozmosis you best believe that you are going to be on the Link Up part 2!!!! "
Big respect to Warren-D for taking part in the A/V Revolution project. We hope to hear from you again very soon. Feel free to leave a comment and share with friends. Peace.