Where are you from and what’s the Hip-Hop scene like there?
Scotland’s Hip-Hop scene has carved up some legends over the years, now there’s a production team that really deserve their props. Welcome to the ‘real Hip-Hop’ sound of Capitol 1212. Brendan Deane hooked up with DJ Fly-T who has a DJ has won mixing competitions and shared stages with Ghostface Killah, Q Bert, Rob Swift, DJ Premier & Guru aka Gang Starr, Souls of Mischief, Kool Keith and more… Read on to get the lowdown!
Originally I’m from up north in the Highlands I’m now based In Edinburgh, Scotland. The scene is all right, the different elements all seem to have their time but not always all at once. Few years ago there was a lot of DJ’s doing their thing, right now the producers are impressing me more than anyone in Scotland, a lot of guys working with UK’s biggest names as well as MC’s in the US.
How did you get into music and is there anybody or anything you credit as an influence?
I’ve always been into music and started on the turntables around 16, 17 years ago after seeing Jam master jay cut up Mary Mary. Public Enemy and Run DMC were probably the biggest influence as far as Hip Hop
As a producer you’ve worked with quite a few artists, but for those that don’t know tell us who you worked with?
I’ve worked with various artists as their DJ but production wise myself and Professa Fresh have produced for the likes of ED OG, Jungle Brothers, Cadence, Tenor Fly, Grandmaster Caz, Donald D, MCM (Caveman), and Time Machine, Serocee, Mr Bang On and more.
Out of all the artists that you have worked with what was the most memorable experience and why?
There’s been too many, meeting up with Caz in New York was cool, also just working with guys who are my favorite artists, not a lot of people can say they have worked with their favorite artists. My favorite LP of all time was Ed Og’s first LP so to get him on a track was dope. Same goes for current MC’s like Profisee, Serocee and California’s Time Machine. These guys are what I listen to on my I pod so to grab them all for my next record is amazing. 2009 has been a great year for recording; now I just got top let people hear the music
So what you released to date and what releases have your beats been on?
As I’ve mentioned I’ve done cuts for various bands and groups here in UK as well as doing scratches for New York MC Rise (Demigodz). Beat wise we have been on various compilations Like “Temple of Breaks” but we have released a few singles last year that you can still buy ‘Raw and Disorder EP’ on Kool Kat Records and ‘Where I’m At EP’ on Big Toes Hi Fi
When did you actually start making beats?
Not that long a few years now, got into it through DJ’ing and meeting Professa Fresh. He is the other half of Capitol 1212. He is very accomplished in the studio and a great producer so I’m learning from him
How long did it take you to get moving and what was your first release?
It all happened fairly fast what with my contacts from DJ’ing and Promoting and Professa Fresh’ studio knowledge. First releases within first year and a bit, the first productions were all on compilations but our first proper release was the Raw and Disorder EP which has sold nicely in various countries like Japan, Germany, Italy, Canada etc. It featured homegrown talent Profisee, Mikel Krumins as well as Syndicate Sniper Donald D and Grandmaster Caz.
What’s your studio set up like?
I live in small flat in city centre so with all my vinyl it doesn’t leave a lot of room except for computer, we mainly record around at Professa Fresh’s place, which I call 1212 studios in homage to the original one that burnt down in New York. Around there we have the usual computer set up (Cubase) as well as Decks, Guitars, bass, mic's etc.
What’s your favourite bit of kit in the studio?
Mine would be the turntable so that we can sample that lil piece of heaven that is going to make the track. Professa Fresh’s would probably be his mixing desk as the last studio set up was a health and safety nightmare, cables everywhere
Do you have any studio tips for any producers coming into the game?
Experiment and feel free to jus make what feels good to you, but at the same time learn your music learn the history about the genre you’re trying to break into. It’s only going to help you as far knowing what has already been done. It will also open your mind to the various sounds and techniques that you can use.
When you set out to make a track do you have a certain formula that you work too?
We have done in the past our first EP I was listening to a lot of Paul C/Ultra Magnetic's etc. and we wanted it to sound retro, from the drums to the BPM. This time around for all our new material that’s coming out in 2010 we have thrown the rulebook out. We have brought in a lot more live instruments and sounds.
So is there anything you are working on or promoting at the moment?
2010 really is going to be a busy year; we have spent 2009 recording a lot of new songs, keep checking our web page to find out as we have a lot of releases on various labels hitting the shops through out the year. To start with we are putting out “History of Silence EP” in March .It features a great posse cut called “Fiyah” featuring ED OG, Mr Bang On, Profisee and Serocee. The flip side has a track from Edinburgh based MC Profisee called No more Deceit. We are putting this out on our new label 1212 Records. Around the same time we have a dancehall ep/45 coming out with Tenor Fly and Serocee, we’ll be shooting the video for this soon down in London. Coming into April we have an exciting project with some of the artists I have mentioned like MCM from legendary UK group Caveman and Jungle Brothers, It going to be great record and its going to take people back to a time in hip hop that they may have forgotten about.
Forget budgets and the politics, if you could work with any Hip-Hop artist who would it be and why?
It would have to be Jay Z, still love everything he does from his first output until now. Saying that Chuck D from Public Enemy would be great, I think we could produce the greatest P.E. LP since Apocalypse 91. Our new b side track No More Deceit is how I’d like to think PE’s beats should sound now.
Okay forget about Hip-Hop for a minute, is there anybody outside of our genre you would like to work with and why?
Well we are currently working with an artist called Danny Diamond who is a singer/song writer from Leeds; I think he could be the next crossover/next big thing. Also we are getting to be as known for our reggae productions as we are our hip hop, I think once we get all this material out our next LP maybe purely reggae.
Do you have a My Space page?
People are jumping from My Space to Facebook and Twitter. It seems there are loads of these type of websites popping up. What’s your whole take on the Internet and these social networking websites?
One minute I love it next I hate it. For instance when I learnt to DJ I didn’t know anyone who DJ’ed so I listened to tapes and tried to replicate what I heard, now you can go straight to You Tube and learn all the cuts from tutorials, makes it easier but takes a bit of the hard graft element out of it. Also now as soon as someone decides they want a label or to be rapper they write their first song and put it straight up on forums claiming it is their first single. I’m glad I had people tell me things were bad before I let the world hear them as there is stuff no one will hear, these guys better hope they don’t make it big as there is going to be a lot of whack songs by them floating about forever more
Interview by Brendan Deane