|Hauntin from Middlesbrough, UK|
|Written by tricksta|
|Monday, 30 April 2012 14:11|
Hauntin is a rapper from the North East of England who is making waves, Tricksta hooked up with him to find out more with this exclsuive interview.
Welcome, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello, I’m an independent Hip-Hop artist going by the name of Hauntin, primarily I’m an MC but also produce and DJ. Although musically I emerged out of Kent, I was born in Middlesbrough and in many ways this is my home, my family for generations have lived in Teesside and I’m proud of that heritage. I moved down south when I was 4 years old so I represent the best of both worlds I guess…I’m a Kentish lad with Northern heart.
When did you start making music and was there a person or artist that inspired you to start writing songs and hit the studio?
I’ve been into music as far back as I can remember and even performed a few of my songs in front of the entire year at primary school, but I got into Hip-Hop during the late nineties and it changed my life forever…I’ve always been creative and had a special energy but I never knew how to channel that, finding Hip-Hop for me was like a caveman discovering fire, It gave me everything I needed to express myself. Around this time I was mainly listening to my then favourite album: Wu-Tang 36 Chambers and I gotta drop the fact I was into Eminem’s first LP. I was introduced to turntablism from a friend and joined him at the ’99 Technics DMC UK finals which I left in awe. I remember at the ‘00 World Finals Blade performing on stage and randomly throwing out a mixtape (when they were still TAPES, which while jumping in the air I somehow blindly caught in my hand, It was a promotional mix for the forthcoming album ‘The Unknown’ mixed by Mr. Thing…this tape got me into UK Hip-Hop and directed me towards following our own scene rather than looking out to the US. I saved up my dinner money for 2 weeks to buy that album on CD the day it was released, the style of Mark B’s beats and Blades lyrical content really inspired me to begin writing, and that all started in the back of school books.
“finding Hip-Hop for me was like a caveman discovering fire”
To be honest I didn’t hit the studio til 2004 during which time I was part of a crew called Fifth Essence, we recorded a 4 track album in a mates basement called ‘The Dark Matter EP’, which was my first step into the world of production. At one of our gigs I met a guy called Mike S from Hard Livin’ and was invited to the studio, this gave me a great opportunity to meet and work with some very talented MC’s. Being surrounded by artists such as S. Kalibre and receiving praise for my work gave me a lot of self-belief. I went on to record a few tracks with Mike S and featured on KynPyn’s album gaining valuable studio experience, I have to thank Mike for giving me that opportunity.
Obviously I was bang into the UK scene by this point and I was a resident DJ at a local Hip-Hop night, supplying fresh UK tunes in the second room of the bar, the first room being held down by DJ Tang and Mr Thing who need no introduction, hugely respected within the scene and again giving me good feedback and experience which helped my confidence. I then started working with a friend called Tommy T who is a dope producer and again I learned a lot through him, recording and working on tracks in a relaxed environment allowed to me to develop as a rhymer, practicing mic technique and breath control.
Let’s talk about your latest project, its sounding really tight. Who dealt with the production and how long did it take to make?
Yeah well I’m just coming off the back of a track called ‘Ghost of Christmas’, it was a project that happened naturally, it was quite spontaneous. One day I was walking up the high street in town and I got chatting with a man called Martin, he told me about his situation being homeless and how he deals with it, I could really relate to him and this inspired me to do something about it. After writing some lyrics about homelessness I just carried on with that vibe, putting across the reality of what Christmas is like for less fortunate people, and it intuitively turned into a charity song. It was never meant to be that way but I ended up shifting nearly 500 copies and raised £375 for a local homeless charity. I wrote and produced the song myself over the space of a (very busy) few days as it simply had to be finished quickly, I gotta say a massive thank you to everyone who supported the project and helped with donations, there was an amazing response in such a short time.
The latest project is a kind of story-telling self-biography which should be released sometime in May, again it’s a deep song centering around pure expression and the emotions in life, but yeah its sounding tight…It’s not as gritty as a lot of my other tracks but more aimed at reaching out, as I feel a lot of people will be able to relate to the concept. Fear not head nod army, got a real raw style banger lined up to balance it though, so hope everyone likes the songs – it’ll be a huge bonus because I love them.
How would you describe the music that you make? I know it’s hard to compare yourself to other artists and styles, but what kind of vibe is your music on?
My vibe is like that of galaxies colliding, pure energy that’s off the scale…yet natural.
It’s just me man [laughs], I know its kinda cliché but I really do purely express myself. I’m a person who thinks a lot and have never been able to really say how I feel to people…my music gives me the freedom to express myself wholly and say everything I’ve always wanted to. When I first started writing lyrics I used to try really hard and force the subject matter, now my approach is completely different as I simply write with my heart, it’s natural.
If I had to make a comparison I’d say my music has roots in that raw Boom Bap style Hip-Hop, but there’s no limit or set structure to the way my tracks turn out. I have acoustic songs and more up tempo tracks that reveal the influence of Grime, Dancehall, and other scenes. It’s always a reflection of my life, emotions and mind state at that particular point in time…to me our music is an expression of our soul.
What do you enjoy the most about the whole process of recording and writing music? Is there something that you absolutely love and is there anything that maybe you don’t like doing as much?
The whole process of creating music I adore, to be honest I love just getting amongst it…my beats are sample heavy and I enjoy digging through old charity shops for vinyl, finding unique elements and chopping up fresh samples. I do get lazy with finalising projects, I’m too creative and always want to be producing new melodies and drum patterns instead of working on older ones. Its not that I don’t enjoy the mixing/mastering stages it’s just I’d rather be programming new beats and editing, or writing and recording.
Are you releasing your music on your own label or do you have a team that is aiming to help you get signed to a major?
Yeah I’m currently just releasing stuff on my own ‘Hauntin Music’, I do have a team though…they are my friends, my family and people I generally surround myself with, they all help and inspire me to do what I do. A representative of Kemet Entertainment has shown an interest in me, but until any opportunity comes my way I’ll just continue making moves and doing my own thing.
How are you getting your project out there? Do you have a distributor involved or maybe some shops/websites stocking & supporting your music?
Apart from a street team physically pushing CD’s, it’s just gonna be about trying to get some shows and sending stuff out to DJ’s. I’m pretty useless with the Internet side of things to be honest, everything’s done online by artists these days and I’m old school, so I’m pushing that side of things to catch up.
Getting radio play can be hard for unsigned Hip-Hop artists, but have you had any radio play and if so what DJ’s and stations have supported you?
Nah I’ve never had a track played on the radio, not to my knowledge anyway, although there’s a couple of DJ’s showing interest in my work so hopefully something comes of that. When I was starting out I was involved with Medway’s pirate radio station ‘Innocence FM’, and hosted a weekly Hip-Hop show every Sunday, this gave me a platform to spit my lyrics to an audience and practice working with a live DJ…I suppose that’s relevant [laughs] I hope your readers are still with us.
Do you enjoy playing live? Have you done many gigs and what kind of artists have you supported or played alongside?
I love playing live; the first time I got that buzz from emceeing was in 2003 at a full moon party in Thailand. I emceed to drum & bass for over 12 hour’s non-stop, taking an army of ravers on a musical mission. The beach was still packed when a tropical rainstorm broke out in the morning and we just carried on…continuing to lead the rave as the sun came up was quite magical, It was a special night. I got so much love and that was when It became clear to me that I had a gift, I even went back on another full moon and was handed the microphone without even speaking, regulars coming up to shake my hand before I thanked them with another monumental set, amazing memories. I’m ready for round 3 [laughs].
I’ve performed at many venues across Kent and the South East, building a small but loyal following. I’ve warmed up for artists such as Hard Livin, Gemini, Kynpyn, Syndrome, Digit, Tubbs & catch, Crack Village, Wordsmith, Beardyman and Respek BA among others…also Blade funnily enough, seeing his head noddin big time in the crowd as I referenced ‘lyrical maniac’ I remember vividly. From there I did my thing at as many open mic nights as I could, sharing a mic with artists such as Koaste, Skrein, Dr. Syntax and Skinnyman to name a few, and even though I was still finding my style I generally smashed it, I’m a humble person so hope that doesn’t come across bad, but you know from the crowds reaction if you spit good.
I became known at East London’s notorious Dragon Bar open mic nights, which always had a good presence of talented MC’s such as Manage and the legendary host Chewie. My raw and energetic style gained me recognition and this lead me to record a track with London based artist ‘Casper Dan’ which was produced by a French beatmaker called ’Rekso’. My exploits on the open mic earned me a gig at a nightclub called Cargo, where I was brought in to emcee for the night with a host of other respected heads including UK B-Boy Mighty Mouse. I’ve loved every one of my sets and hopefully I’ll see a return to that sooner rather than later.
The ultimate thing for me is being on stage and performing my music, nothing beats that feeling. I don’t particularly like being the centre of attention but you cant beat the buzz of rocking a crowd – and as an MC that’s my mission.
Let’s talk image and branding for a minute. Some artists spend lots of money on artwork and other acts aren’t that interested. How important is image, artwork and branding to you?
Well I’m kinda split on this subject…I mean so many artists are too concerned and caught up in their image, rather than focusing on their music and the message they are bringing to the table. On a personal level I think it is important, albeit secondary to the music, I’ve always had a passion for art and design. Being consumed by Hip-Hop Culture I got involved with graffiti at a young age, so as an artist I’m conscious of visual style, I appreciate the covers and artwork on record sleeves, from this point of view branding is important because it helps create an identity and style for yourself, which helps people identify with you as a unique artist.
What was the last album you bought and apart from Hip-Hop what other genres of music do you listen too?
On vinyl the last album I bought was ‘At Last’ by Canadian Hip-Hop duo Eternia & Moss, ‘The Half’ is a big tune I’m listening to at this moment in time. The last digital album I bought is an LP called ‘Rhythm By Numbers’ by Bristol’s Natural Selection…It’s got that fresh UK sound I love. I’ve also downloaded Jus Listen’s new album ‘Patience is my only virtue’ which is dope, and I’m awaiting Fliptrix’ album to arrive in the post which I pre-ordered on vinyl.
Other than Hip-Hop I listen to all sorts of music, from Punk to Reggae, Classical to Dubstep…and I like playing electronic stuff such as Burial and Distance when I’m zonin out. As a youth I listened to a lot of Hardcore and Jungle, that influence and crossover probably reflects in my style as people have commented on my flow being distinctive.
Have you got any videos on You Tube and have any ever got played on TV Stations?
I’ve got a YouTube channel with a few of my older tracks on there, but no music videos yet...I’ve got a few things in the pipeline regarding this though, it’ll be worth he wait.
So what does the future hold for you as an artist? Have you got any big plans that you can tell us about?
Big Tings! I want to progress both as an Emcee and a Producer and collaborate more. I want to represent those who’ve backed me and pay them back with great music, but also reach out to a wider audience and show everyone what I can do. I’ve been experimenting with sound, focusing on tracks for my debut album that are next level, I’m aiming to get the EP out before summer as people need to hear this and I know there’s heads waiting in anticipation. It’s gonna to be dope but that’s all I’m saying about it ha ha, I’m not really someone who says I’m gonna do this and I’m gonna do that, I just like to get on with it…so stay tuned.
Is there anything else you would like to say before you go?
I’d just like to thank the team, everyone who listens to my music, everyone who shares and comments on my page updates etc. I can’t express enough how much your support and input means to me...cheers for the interview as well man, I appreciate the exposure so props to you and Rago magazine, Peace
Interview by Tricksta
|Last Updated on Monday, 30 April 2012 14:16|