Tuesday, 11 December 2007

The IRS interview, Friday 7th December 2007, Atrium Leeds

Can you tell me who we’ve got here first?
Ed Strong: Big Ed Strong. Big Producer, big MC, big producer, IRS family.
King Kaiow: Big King Kaio…or bigger King Kaiow and like I always say; I only need to MC and I’ll eclipse everything else that anyone else just said before me!
It’s Superb, butter with words, stuttering nerd, I heard I recite something like nuttin you ever heard, here with The IRS crew and my boy…Guide One.
Guide One: You stole my thunder man. DJ Guide One, brother of MC DV who’s not here today.

How did you get together as a group?
Basically from the very grassroots level it was me and D and my other boy started a little thing called AMS. Then I left my college and went to another college and that’s where I bumped into this miscreant…
DJ Guide One!
and his brother DV and then we started chatting and he was like ‘oh there’s this boy called Ed, he’s a DJ as well’ and I was like ‘Ah I met him…when he was skateboarding one time’ so we all met up and started making tracks and it just grew from there.
There was a lot more of us then. There were about ten of us.
Yeah, you lose the deadweight.
ES: Yeah, lose the deadweight and get on with the serious people. You can write that, they know it.

Ed, you're in education as a job yeah?
ES: I was in education but I quit. I was a software trainer in a secondary school in South East London. I’ve just got a new job, doing the same sort of thing in tertiary education with people doing BTEC’s and that kind of thing. Education’s my career, man.

I’m a teacher too.
ES: Good, good. Help the yout’ them. (sings) ‘Teach the yout’ them, to survive, every time’.

You know that Rodney P track? The Future? That’s why I’m in education.
ES: Yeah I know what you’re talking about man. To be honest, from a Hip Hop point of view, working in education, it pisses me off hearing a lot of artists saying ‘What about the Kids?’ and I’m like ‘What are you doing for the kids?’. It’s a horrible thing, man. Understanding the kids is part of being a good…
KK: I’m one of those MC’s!
That’s why I hate you!
KK: To be fair, my mum was a foster carer so I have done something for the kids. I’ve helped more kids than a lot of people have... I’d just like to say that.

I find it annoying when you hear these rappers saying the schools are instilling bad morals in the kids ‘cause I’m not.
ES: You’re talking to them kind of people: ‘I work in a school’ and they’re like ‘ah you work for the man; you’re evil’. And what do they do? They sign on and get their JSA every two weeks and they blatantly pimp off the system. They don’t do anything for their community. There’s a lot of good hearts in education, it’s the people at the top who mess it up.
GO: At least you’re putting into the system instead of taking from it.

That was a bit of an aside but…
I like them kinda questions.

How would you describe your sound overall?
What we talk about, what we think about from day to day. You know, the funny stuff, the deep stuff. The album is almost like, if you sit in a room with us for one day and listened to what we were talking about, that’s what the album is like.
I’ve got one word for us…Greatness…hahahaha.
ES: Nah that’s it like…we don’t wanna say, yeah it’s real hip hop but at the end of the day it’s us. People that know us say ‘Yeah, I listened to your album. That is you lot as a sound’.
KK: I’ve gotta say…Anyone who’s literally just putting a real version of their life on record, I can appreciate that. Whether you’re a bum and you don’t earn anything and you talk about that or whether you make money and you talk about that…I can listen to that. If you’re 50 Cent yeah? You’re earning that money for real, I don’t rate him for talking about guns that much, but when he’s talking about money; that’s his life! That’s what he’s around and he’ll say it in a comical way. But when people talk about money when they aint got money or they talking about guns when they aint using guns or they talking about drugs and they aint selling drugs then that’s stupid. But if you’re talking about it and you’re doing it then that’s real innit?
That’s why when you’re listening to the album you might hear contradictions. You might hear us saying one thing on one track and someone else saying something on another track that kinda contradicts that but that’s what people are like, no-one’s perfect.

I was talking to someone today about what success is in Hip Hop. In the USA you’ve got success as being big earnings, big money. But in the UK, no-one gets big money for being in hip hop. It seems to me success is having your name on peoples lips. What’s your view on that?
KK: It’s good to have your name on people’s lips; we haven’t had a bad thing said about our album but at the same time it doesn’t put food in your mouth. Until British Hip Hop gets to a point where you can sell and be self sufficient off it, you’re not gonna get the best out of it. You can’t make the best possible hip hop if that’s not your life. At the same time it gives us more life experience. A lot of people make it and they’re not sampling real life because they’re separated from where they came from. That’s why British hip hop is at its real level because people are still living what they are saying rather than in a retrospective way.
ES: I aint gonna mention no names but I know for a fact that one of the biggest acts in urban music in this country…not N Dubz or Dizzee, we wont mention his name. All I know is I know a person that works at his record label and my man is in tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt and he’s got people screaming and shouting at his shows. What is success? I’ve put my album out and I’ve got mans coming up to me saying ‘IRS, you lot are sick’. My man’s got 15 year old girls he can’t even bang and tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt so what is success really? I’m not mentioning his name…
It’s Kano innit?!
ES: Nah, nah I’m just saying man…The thing is over here, what’s messed it all up is the internet. When we were growing up to get that Wu album you had to cop it off your boy which would take 90 minutes cos you had to record it onto a tape or you had to pay for it yourself. Nowadays 16 year olds can just download albums whenever they want and they’re spoilt for choice. If someone’s talking about shooting guns, they’re gonna want to buy it rather than us talking about what’s going on in a grown man’s situation. Success is hard to measure.

On the internet thing…don’t you think those 16 year olds downloading that stuff wouldn’t actually be the people buying it anyway. When I was 16 I wasn’t buying all the stuff I wanted. Are they actually taking any money out of it?
GO: I see what you mean. If you are putting out stuff on the internet then you’re reaching people who you wouldn’t reach other wise but I think at the same time you still do lose people who would have bought it. At the end of the day we want people to hear our music.
ES: At the end of the day, if you’re an artist, your career as a music musician is to make money off of live shows and selling records. That’s the truth innit. No-one in the UK sells records.
No, no, no…Spice Girls!
ES: UK Hip Hop. No-one in UK Hip Hop sells records. But success is another thing…as long as nothing bad is said about us then I think we’re successful.

Would you prefer to be in this scene than the US scene?
ES: You know what? I’d rather be making hard house and earning ten grand per beat, as a producer…but I don’t like hard house, I can’t get down to it. That’s the thing, I love Hip Hop.

Have you got anything else to say? Any funny stories?
Yeah, IRS are great. We’re great!
I’ve got a funny story…Kaiow was asleep in the car most of the way here with the biggest dribble dribbling down the left corner of his mouth.
And he farted.
GO: He farted in his sleep. What have you got to say? What’s your defence?
My defence is: I’m dirty and I like it.
ES: When’s this going out?

Soon as I can listen to it and write it out!
We got a show on Friday, Friday the 14th of December in Brighton. Beer and Rap with Task Force, Dirty Diggers, Mystro…Mystro’s album launch party, check out Mystro. Then on the 21st we got a gig in Guildford; Platform 9. Big up everyone. Big up DV who couldn’t be here, DV’s a laugh, he woulda argued all the way with me but this time I got to talk all the way through. Thanks for having us man. Big up Leeds every time.
Brap Brap!

These tracks are available from their myspace page:


Tom said...

Ha yeah excellent interview, not just the same old shiznit.

Maybe hang around and swig a brew!

You pegged me proper last night. I'm keeping it. Gonna hang bare washing.

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