10 Questions With… A series that delves into fresh new releases from some of our favourite artists. With a focus on our Melodic Distraction hosts and wider community, this lil natter gives us an insight into their musical escapades when they’re in their studio, not ours.
Ahead of their performance at Melodic Bar for Boom Bap tomorrow evening, we chat with Grime of the Earth’s Gully Man Dred and Belarusian via Liverpool vocalist, Russell.
Hey guys! We’re really excited for your individual performances at Boom Bap this Thursday.
How did you first get into music?
Russell: I first got into music as a kid, around 4 or 5, going around my house mumbling melodies and humming songs I’d heard on the radio. My grandmother noticed how I enjoyed it and seeing a bigger future in it took me to my first vocal classes. It’s evolved into something much bigger now. I’m still mumbling different stuff at home, but now I turn it into my own music.
GMD: Early days whatever my mum was playing round the house. Reggae, dancehall, dub…all of that. Around 2001/2002, my cousin (RugzFam) put me on to grime in its early days and I never looked back.
If you could describe your sound in 3 words, what would they be?
Russell: Melody, chill, fruitiness
GMD: Power, energy, raw
GMD, with African roots and Russell growing up in Belarus; would you say your heritage has much of an impact on the music you make?
Russell: I grew up in Belarus and its culture is based on Eastern European music mostly. I was not enjoying being part of that industry; corrupt, government-controlled, censorship. I was travelling as a young man, collaborated with different musicians and producers all over the world and I’ve now found a place in UK. I’ve been in Liverpool for 3 years now. My music is inspired and affected by different cultures…I’m still exploring.
GMD: Yeah definitely the culture in my house had a lot to do with my development. My mum’s big in the arts scene as well. So it’s something that’s always been present and encouraged in my family home.
GMD, can you tell us more about G-Fam? Russell, what’s the music scene like in Belarus?
Russell: I’m not in touch with my old mates from childhood that much. The only thing I can tell [you] is that Belarus and Ukraine are full of talents.
GMD: Jheeze G-Fam yano! Where do I even start, could be here all day, haha. G-Fam stood for Grime Family. It’s the crew we used to be apart of from around 2003 till around 2008/09. Was founded by RugzFam and myself. We used absolute smash the grime scene in the North West. Between them years, you couldn’t mention grime up North without talking about us. But UK music was in it’s early years of development and there wasn’t much money in the scene. No millionaires or nothing, so we was just out doing it for the love.
How do you find the hip-hop scene here in Liverpool? Any local artists you’ve got on your radar at the moment?
Russell: It’s different to the world’s hip-hop scene 100%. Even different to the rest of UK. Young freshmen cookin’ real cold and raw stuff. I’m doing a degree at LIPA. Sadly I’m almost the only one making hip-hop in my uni. But the real stuff’s coming from the underground, not the uni. I’ve met some folks and collaborating with some of them. Philly D, Font, P3Lz, Remée are cooking some real stuff. Liverpool got it’s up and comin’ faces.
GMD: Yeah, it’s the best it’s ever been – very vibrant. Dayzy, Whatface, AJ and Kasst, Ceeze, just to name a few. Sorry to anyone I’ve missed out too many to mention.
You both cite collaboration as important. What’s the best thing you get from collaborating with other artists?
Russell: For me collaboration is something bigger than just business – it’s something where you work with other folks, cook together, exchange the experience and material. For me it’s personal, I don’t work with people I don’t trust as I let them use the whole resource my team has and I treat them as my team members, my brothers.
GMD: It’s very important to me to bring cultures together in the form of art and expression, and that when we can collab together we can reach a greater audience and spread the message further.
How do you usually prepare for a gig? Any pre-show rituals?
Russell: I just need 10 minutes with myself in a silence. Usually before, and after my performances our team is just hangin out together, vibin, enjoying the moment.
GMD: Nothing special just play my favourite songs have a little medi; get in the zone make sure the vibes, frequencies and energies are all in the right place.
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Where would be your dream venue to perform in/dream artist to play alongside?
Russell: I’m looking to get my music heard in different parts of the world and UK. My dream venue would probably be the M&S Bank Arena if in Liverpool. I had some stadium performance experience so I’d love to rise to that level and play big venues and stadiums but playing in some smaller clubs hits different, the connection with the audience is different, sometimes real true. I’m sure I’ll keep playing different sized venues in future, big and small ones.
My dream collab is 21 Savage, KSI, D-Block Europe, Offset, Lil Uzi.
GMD: I love my city, init. I’ve done the 02 academy, that was on my list, so would have to be the M&S Arena. I’d love to perform in Jamaica and Africa. Dream collab who’s not a Liverpool artist would probably be Ghetts, Merky Ace or Tempa T. Sorry, couldn’t pick just one!
What’s your favourite snack?
Russell: Defo Pringles Prawn Cocktail.
GMD: Anything Reese’s but I’m giving up sugar.
What’s coming up next for you both?
Russell: Recording Singles, solo and collaborations. Can only mention the Collab with Remée, Ben Miller and NuEdison. These are happening at the moment and I can promise some real vibe coming soon.
GMD: Just dropped www.grimeoftheearth.com that’s our latest mixtape and merch on there. I’ve also got my solo mixtape coming out very soon, keep ya eyes peeled for that one!