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GRIME IN COVENTRY – Underground talks to some of the MCs and movers on the scene

Grime in Coventry - Underground England blog

SUBZERO – we meet up with the Cov MC at the Coventry Music Museum to talk about his route to Grime.

Twitter: @subzeroartist

Subzero - Grime in Coventry - Underground England blog

Firstly introduce yourself. How long have you been making Grime music and what inspired you to start?

I am Joe aka SubZero. I’ve been spitting for about 12 years now, since I was 12. Coventry Grime only started to kick off in about 2004 really. There were quite a few older lads that were MCs and over time they had beefs and back and fourths but the scene was contained within itself. If you didn’t come to Cov or you know someone that was at the set, then you wouldn’t be aware that it even happened, type of thing.

There were a lot of street clashes. My uncle had a club called the 024 club at one period that had a clash, CV1 v CV3, that was in like 2007/8. In the past I’ve worked with a few MCs, Devil man for example. I’ve been on sets with Socks, JK, Eyes, Gino, loads of different people from loads of different parts. I was in a crew called Full Force for a 2 year period, from 20-22. It was a Wolverhampton based crew organised by Webster. He went on to make a Grime DVD called Who’s the Boss? and people like Logan Sama and Jammer came down to the set. It got to a point in Cov where nobody was actually spitting, just me for a couple of years. That’s why I traveled so much for sets, the networking was good but these times there weren’t any other artists from Cov going to the sets, besides Raj ( of Track Record Ent.) before he was the camera man. I’ve done a few big things too, I’ve supported Tempa T and Skepta. I’ve met loads of people over the time I’ve been involved in the scene. I just recently moved back to Coventry after living and studying in London.

What’s the response been like from the people of Coventry?

Because I took a little break, I went through the stage of just doing some mad mad mad mad mad stuff. I also produce if I didn’t mention that before. When I was young I used to mix other people’s music and at 17 I got qualified to sound engineer at the Herbert Art Gallery. They had a media centre and studio with 2 rooms. I was sound engineering there and I’d get a discount price of like £25.50 an hour to use the studio. After that I was at college, I studied Music and Digital Media at city college but it bored me. It wasn’t the teachers or anything, I was just too good at music for that and at that point not being in the studio daily was becoming a problem. You know what I mean? I could see what it was that I was good at and you know, it’s that transition period. When you’re 16 you’re like oh I can go and get a job then you realise you’re not going to get paid properly because of your age and then your 17 and it’s still dead. Then your 18 and it goes up a little bit but it’s still dead.

What are you listening to atm?

Like my mate Shadow said, I’ve been listening to Dave. I like Dave. Basically to me, Dave and AJ Tracey are like a ying and yang pair, AJ’s the more greezy one and Dave’s an all-rounder. Every now and again we get an AJ Tracey but someone like Dave never comes along. The fact Dave is so young is the big deal because I’ve grown up listening to Skepta and Wiley and all these guys but Dave peeps some knowledge in his tunes that some of these guys haven’t said for 5 years. Skepta’s just blown up over the last 4 years, but what he’s saying, Dave is saying too. And the age gap is mad!!! It took some of these guys so long to talk on what they are now. It’s like Aj Tracey being in America, I wonder if there is some part that I missed lol. When Skepta went to America it was a big thing but then Stormzy did it too and it took the limelight off of that a little. Then AJ Tracey being there too, it’s less important, it’s a domino effect. If | was to go there and do a madness it would be a normal ting you know. Grimes gone boom!

Most interesting thing that’s happened in Grime in 2016? 

Bugzy Malone init. Definitely.

What can we expect from Subzero in 2017?

Well basically I’ve been recording an EP. I scrapped 2 tunes because the content was old and I’ve just been nit picking basically. I’ve got tunes and topics and content from throughout my life. I’m just working now to arrange it from start to finish so it all makes sense. It’s about 12 different topics that don’t necessarily gel and I need it to. I’m about 7 tracks in to an 11 track tape. At 15 I was putting out clips of music and vids that were going viral. I’m looking to kick start it again cos a lot of people got inspired off of the back of that. A couple years ago a lot of people were telling me to grow up and leave this music shit cos they’ve got 9-5s and kids and all that. When people my age started spitting again I did feel like I inspired that. I’ve had people send for me because of the attention I’ve got – of course they got merked.

Underground inspires and is inspired by British Subculture, both contemporary and from the past.. Is there a subculture that inspires you? Who do you identify with the most?

I was inspired musically by reggae, dub sound clash. The music that inspired the Grime culture in the first place.

SHADOWCV6 – Underground hears words from the Coventry MC.

Twitter: @ShadowCV6

ShadowCV6 - Grime in Coventry - Underground England blog

How long have you been making Grime music and what inspired you to start?

I first started in like 2008, 8 years ago. I’ll tell you how it happened I used to write poetry, my Nan had found some competition in the daily mail or something for young poets to submit work. I’d never had anything published before but I ended up submitting work to two more books, they were published and it felt good at 10 to do that. Then I started hanging with this crowd and everyone was on it, making Grime. Then it got to the point where it wasn’t really cool anymore and completely dropped off. At the start of 2015 I had some money saved and could see what was happening in Grime across the UK so I decided I’d get back in the studio. I linked up with Sox from Birmingham through email and I was a massive fan, we started doing tracks and it was a shock to the Cov scene. Then I got offered to drive them to 1Xtra, I was supposed to do an 8 or 16 bar at the end of the set but I managed to ruffle my way in and got a 32 or a 64 on there, we got like 125,000 views on 1Xtra and I’d only got back into spitting for like a month.

MC’s outside of LDN are recognised as serious contenders in the Grime scene now more than ever. What are your thoughts on Grime beyond London? And do you think there is much of a difference at this point?

I think, being an MC out of LDN we are constantly listening to local MCs and people nearby. The Grime-a-side thing recently really enhanced people’s recognition of whats going on outside of LDN and gives people like me hope that there is interest. MCs out here are just as good, if not better, then they are in LDN and some of my favourite artists are people from the east and west Midlands. The level of our music is really good and it’s the same for the people we associate ourselves with, so we are always provided with a lot of art. It gets to the point that you’re listening to the MCs in LDN and you know you’re just as good but wonder why you aren’t receiving the same kind of recognition.

What’s the response been like from the people of Coventry?

To mine? I knew a lot of people before I was doing music from seeing people out and about and stuff. When I started doing it, in my personal opinion, there wasn’t really a lot going on. Track Record had just started off and these guys were getting a lot of views so I started writing lyrics that I knew could compare. The first 5 or 6 times I met Raj he couldn’t even put the videos out cos I messed up so many times. My first successful vids however were getting a lot of views, especially linking up with Socks, people were locked in. I’m humble but of the top 10 videos from Track Record I am in 6 or 7 of them. Everything is getting a good reception and I’m looking to branch out.

What are you listening to atm?

Every day I listen on YouTube and flick through my suggested. Dave, AJ, people on the local scene, Subzero, Krisis and Saint, The Society. My playlist can go literally from Adele to Drake and I try to incorporate all my tastes in my music too.

What’s interesting in Grime?

I mean I was locked into the whole Chip and Bugzy beef. And just ready to see Grimes exposure. Grime being put in the forefront is inspiring you know.

What’s next for ShadowCV6 in 2017?

In 2016 I put out a mixtape with a load of tracks. I never got around to doing a hard copy although there was demand because a few things I had going on It’s just got to a point where I can get so busy I don’t get to put my all into recording. Atm however I’m taking time off of other things and putting my energy into music, being in the studio and getting my shit to DJs and radio. Coventry city knows who ShadowCV6 is now and I’m just trying to get to the bigger channels, the Grime Dailys and SBTVs, so the bigger audiences can see me. I feel like if you’ve got good content and you go on GRM, SBTV, and JDZ media – if you can get good piece of content on all of these then that’s where you wanna be and where the big bookings come from.

TRACK RECORD ENTERTAINMENT – a platform for Cov Grime artists.

Twitter : @TrackRecordEnt

Youtube : Track Record Entertainment

Track Record Ents - Grime in Coventry - Underground England blog

You run one of the only channels that provide a platform for Grime artists in Cov. What inspired you to set up Track Record?

Well, I and my mate (ReloadBeatz) were sitting in my house one summer and we searched for Coventry grime and saw nothing, nothing really showed up. There was no hub for us to see everything in one place. Plus when I went out of Cov I saw these other cities had people on the camera but there was no one here doing it, so we filled that gap.

MCs outside of LDN are recognised as serious contenders in the Grime scene now more than ever. What are your thoughts on Grime beyond London? And do you think there is much of a difference at this point?

Yeah I think so yeah, London Grimes more polished. In the Midlands and East Midlands it’s more raw.

What’s the response been like from the people of Coventry?

It’s alright, mostly positive. People down here, the youth, they haven’t previously seen Grime artists coming up in Coventry. Obviously we get some haters in the comments lol but yeah, it’s just people that don’t understand it yet. If you look at it positively, it’s bringing people together, you know what I mean?

With a growing fan base and thousands of views your channel is climbing with the Cov scene. What are your hopes for the future of TRE? 

Just for people to get recognised and for when people look at these artists years from now, they can see that Track Record was there to help them grow. Just overall growth for Track record as well as the people it showcases. It’s difficult to find Coventry based artists I used to listen to without going onto sites like Myspace. I’m hoping TRE is a way of acting like a music diary for the scene out here and is a way of showing the whole generation of artists coming up.

What advice would you give people looking to get into documenting subcultures like yourself?

Just use what you have. Don’t look at it as if you’re spending money on a camera. Look at it as an investment.

Coventry is bidding for the City of Culture 2021. How do you think Grime can play a part in this?

Yeah of course, I don’t see why not. We haven’t been approached about it yet but we are a part of the culture here as much as the next genre.

Most interesting thing that is happening in Grime?

It’s hard from the top of my head because there is so much of interest happening. One of the main things that excites me is the amount of attention from outside of the UK. US Youtubers react to Grime tracks daily and upload them onto YouTube, you can tell they are genuine reactions too. YouTube channels such as TooBluntTV are massive right now.

Underground inspires and is inspired by British Subculture, both contemporary and from the past. Is there a subculture that inspires you? Who do you identify with the most?

Grime really. Yeah. We are about grime.

Underground Soundwave presents an ongoing series of reports on emerging and established bands with close-up Q&As, new release reviews and gig reports with a special emphasis on supporting diversity in music, women in music, independent labels and venues and the local music scene.

Brought to you by Underground – the brand of the Original Allgender Creeper shoe and other British subculture styles.

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