With an undeniably catchy new single Gone In The Morning featuring producer/DJ Carnao Beats (Audio Rehab) Donae’O is taking it to a whole new vibe. The single officially released on May 4th is also included on his latest album Forest Of Zephron which was released n December last year.
Doneo’o drops his brand new single Gone In The Morning featuring producer/DJ Carnao Beats. D’s vocals echo through the song as he sings, ‘You told me to be gone in the morning’ and the tiny patter of drums and infectious synths is guaranteed to get the people on their feet.
Ill Blu are the productive duo Darius and James that were part of the huge scene of Funky House where they contributed bangers like the Nate Young flex I Wonder and the massive Say Yes which was an anthem on every level-huge.
More recently they have been behind bangers from Sneakbo and The Wave-this track actually not only showed their talent but also showed their huge productive versatility-indeed this versatility has enabled them to transcend the Funky movement. While Funky has in many respects gone into decline in terms of popularity (certainly in London) Ill Blu have proven their productive credentials.
After somewhat of a lull in terms of putting out material as Ill Blu they make a welcomed return with their new cut Fall Out featuring Jake Isaac. It’s not an over statement to say this is a huge atmospheric banger that has to be destined for club but ultimately festival land.
I got a bit of time to chat with the talented duo about Funky House but more importantly about their direction and their fresh music.
Ok before anything let’s get a brief history about how things really started to take off for the Ill Blu crew?
Darius-Well things really started in 2009 when we remixed theShystie track Pull It and then things gained momentum from there really. We then did remixes for the MJ Cole track Gotta Have It, Shontelle on Battle Cry and music for Roll Deep. We were doing a lot of remixes and so we decided to slow down on the remix side and we started to produce our own stuff and produce for other people.
James-We then started doing a lot of productive work with people like Princess Nyah but then people started to ask for music from us so we decided to do the EP.
Ok so let’s first talk about a typical recording session with you guys-if there is such a thing?
Darius-Sometimes you can just click on the first session and other times you are building and learning with each other over a period of time.
James-Sessions really are built on your personalities and if they click, if you enjoy the same music then there is a common ground and there is a musical understanding so if I say ‘pop’ the artists understands automatically what I mean because sometimes people can have different views on what is ‘pop’
Is it problematic when artists come to the studio and they are not really sure what they want?
James-It is problematic when artists come and they literally want you to make a sound for them even though they are not really sure what they want. You might think you have the direction for the artist and then an hour later they are saying that they do not like the sound. The issue comes when the artist themselves cannot articulate exactly what they want.
Darius-Seeing a lot of artist in the UK they are confused about what sound they want because so many people are telling them to do different things and telling them what type of artists they should. They want to do something that is credible and pop and underground-you cannot do everything.
Is this issue really as simple as not having a direction?
Darius-I think so. They are given the wrong ideas and they are given so many different ideas that it just makes it difficult for them to create their own sound-if you want to do pop just do it and do not change for anyone!
I assume this issue regarding direction changes when you specifically called an artist in to work with you.
James-When people are coming into work with us on our projects, we already know how we want our projects to go and so that makes it easier.
You were part of a group of people that made Funky House a huge scene, now it seems to be less popular-what has happened?
Darius-During that time there was a strong demand for the Funky music because there were no outlets for it you could not just buy it and so they had to come to you direct. The scene was so small they had to pay that premium to get that dub-plate-now it is not viable people just want to have your music.
James-Funky House was bubbling say from 2006 but I feel that the reason it did not go where it should have gone is the fact that the guys that were spearheading the movement got a big hit record in the game and then tried to jump ship to rnb, hip-hop instead of trying to push the game.
Darius-The only person that really kept with it was Donaeo who kept releasing hits-the others were just using it as a stepping stone. I think then Funky got a bit harder and it was not song based where people could sit down and listen to great melodies on a Funky beat it was more angry vibes and so you had to be in the clubs to experience it-funnily they still go crazy for it up North but it is London where we have shut the door.
So new music let’s talk about Fall Out which is huge on every level.
Darius-Well Jake who features as the vocalist came to the studio and we did not know what was going to happen but it was strange but we all just clicked and it just happened. We have similar tastes so we recorded the track really and then we went about arranging it and so it was a track that really happened smoothly.
So this is obviously the first of many new tracks to come from you guys-what’s the flavour on those next releases?
Darius-We have some other singles we will be releasing later in the year but it will be a bit more of things like Fall Out Boy but it will be more energy and more amped (not crazy). Fall Out is kind of just cool but energy level wise the next singles step up.
So who have you worked with on these new tracks?
James-We have worked with quite a few relatively unknown artists who have been involved with good projects in their own right. All of our singles have vocals currently we have a guy called Seyi who came to the studio and heard some tracks so the future looks bright regarding a possible collabo.
(They actually gave me a sneak listen to the track and it is safe to say that is a banger waiting to be unleashed-told you guys I wouldn’t leak it!)
What about live performances you must be incorporating that because tracks like Fall Out definitely lend themselves to a festival vibe?
Darius-We are not doing the whole full live set at the moment- but moving on it is going to be electronic live sets. You are not going to get a man playing trumpet but you will get your MPC and pianos-it will be a real visual thing so stay aware for that.
Britain’s biggest summer basketball event, Midnight Madness, is making a highly anticipated return to courts across London this summer in association with JD Sports. Players get the opportunity to compete against each other with the chance to win a spot on the Midnight Madness Select Travel Team who fly across the world taking on international competition representing GB!
On the back end of a successful London Olympics, players across the country are fired up to show the rest of the world Britain can ‘ball above all’ and are hungry to earn their place on one of the exclusive MM teams. Over the forthcoming year, MM teams will by flying out to Atlanta, Orlando, Paris and Belgrade to take on international competition while giving players opportunities for professional contracts in Europe and scholarships in America.
Midnight Madness is available to all players at all levels. Ballers will go through one of two qualifying rounds on the 19th and 25th August. During these rounds ballers will be given the opportunity to display their skills on the “Show & Prove” courts in 5 on 5 open run style games. If ballers manage to impress Midnight Madness talent scouts they will secure a place on the Elite Court. Once on the Elite Court the ballers are put on balanced teams by position and all their stats are recorded and entered into an overall leader board which determines who will make it through to the next round. The top 5 players at each position earn a Golden Ticket which guarantee’s them a place at the Midnight Madness Finals!
MM Finals have an international reputation as the most exciting show in summer basketball featuring the world renown slam dunk competition and the best in urban entertainment. Past performers have been Chris Brown, Busta Rhymes, Flawless, Faith SFX, Donae’o to name a few.
MM founder and resident ‘Voice Of Reason’ Nhamo Shire said: “We’re excited to bring the Madness back to the ballers all over the country. It’s an Olympic year, so we have a London focus – but as usual, it’s open to the whole country and the opportunities are bigger and better than ever. If players are looking for that big break, Midnight Madness is where they need to be!”
For more information on Midnight Madness or to get involved please email Leesa Daniel at Press@midnight-madness.com
Check out this video from Midnight Madness recent All star 3-on-3 competition.
The mixtape scene has been heating up more than a Caribbean heatwave this month, with some big hitters dropping tapes. We’re featuring 6 mixtapes this month but I would strongly advise checking out DAM because theres a lot we had to leave out.
So first up is what could be either a massive comeback or just a reminder of what the Dark Man X can do. DMX drops a brand new official mixtape entitled ‘The Weigh In’. In the late 90’s DMX ruled Hip-Hop and was on a par if not topped Jay-Z’s popularity, the last decade or so has seen a lot of troubles and issues (in and out of music) chip away at DMX, but this mixtape shows that he can still do it.
Marvell also got onto the covers/remix game this month. For the last few months they’ve been dropping new single tracks, they’ve now put all the 12 tracks on the same mixtape. Most are remixes where they give their spin on hits like ‘The Motto’, ‘Otis’ & ‘Till I’m Gone’. The trio show a lot of talent on this and it should get fans ready for their new EP which is dropping soon!
Devlin’s been a bit quiet recently but he’s coming back strong with this brand new 5 track mixtape of original cuts. Some real quality from Devs and you can expect to see a lot more from him this summer.
King Of Grime, Wiley has been busy this month as well. According to BBC 1xtra, Grime music is now 10 years older (it is slightly older but hard to tie down dates). To commemorate this milestone Wiley has dropped a new mixtape of 10 freestyles as part of the new mixtape ‘Its All Fun & Games Til Vol.1’. Eskiboy goes hard over the 10 grime beats with production from the likes of Preitah, ZDot & Flava D.
Finally to complete the US,UK,US sandwich we close out with another mixtape from the states which could actually be the biggest of the year from across the Atlantic. It is of course Maybach Music artist Meek Mill, who has been on fire recently with a helping hand from the bawse Rick Ross. Enjoy!
Donaeo is the UK’s underground kingpin, breaking onto the scene at the age of 16 when he made his debut with ‘My Philosophy (Bounce)’ in 2001. He is not only a singer and a rapper, but has to more qualities to add to the list as a producer and songwriter. His classic, notable tracks include ‘I’m Fly’, ‘Party Hard’, ‘Devil In A Blue Dress’, and ‘African Warrior’. Shireen Fenner headed down to catch Donaeo at his music video shoot to get to know more about the man who has sent the clubs crazy with his anthemic songs.
Your name means Gift from God. What do you think is the most important gift you have been given from God?
Oh wow. Them questions their yea, that’s a new one. Usually I’m prepared because everyone asks the same questions and I just kind of say the same thing and change it up a bit. My family and my friends, that is the best gift I’ve got before anything. They keep me sane and happy, otherwise I’d be miserable.
You were signed from 17, and then at the age of 23 decided to take a break from music. How did you feel during this period, and was it hard getting back into it?
I didn’t choose to get back into music, I was forced. I left music at 23, I went and got a job at Carphone Warehouse and worked my arse off. Then I was only making music because whilst I was working there, I started seeing a lot of good people doing a lot of bad things for money. I thought it was a bit of a liberty that I’ve got a talent and I’m not really using it, and there’s other people struggling out there. I worked at Carphone for 6-7 months, and then I worked at another place for a year, by the end of that ‘African Warrior’ blew up and I was forced to choose. Whilst I was working I had to take 2 or 3 days off to perform at Glastonbury for example, and I’m telling my work that I’m looking after my mum, there’s only so many times you can say I’m looking after my mum before the manager takes you in. It was affecting my job, and my job was affecting my music so I had to choose.
You have been making music since your teens. What do you feel is the most important quality to ensure longevity and success in the industry?
Hard work, and that’s it really. If your willing to work hard, then that’s really the basis for anything you do.
You have ADHD, how do you take your excess energy and channel it somewhere purposeful and productive?
I experience things a bit differently, if I’m happy I can be overly happy, or if I enjoy a tune I can overly enjoy it. I always search for that feeling. Even if I feel successful I feel it overly. It makes things a bit more extreme for me, my emotions and things like that. I use it as a positive instead of a negative.
You are known for being a producer, singer, rapper and songwriter. Which of these labels do you identify with the most?
All of them, its all one thing, to everyone else it’s four things, but for me I make a beat, write the song, sing on it and rap on it. I would say I prefer producing, but I like rapping, like we were in the car today, and I was bussing lyrics to them guys and they were laughing. I like that feeling. All of it is hard work, if you were to ask my do I like performing or being in the studio most, I’d say being in the studio. I prefer the creative side of making music; With performing after a while you have a structure whereas when your making new songs, even though there is some form of structure, your always creating something new and searching for something new.
What was the toughest ordeal you had to face when it came to getting your music heard?
Dealing with everyone. When your not successful you have an idea of what you want to do and you go for it. When you become successful and you start meeting people that you look up to, you get opinions from everyone and its hard to decipher what opinion is right and what opinion is wrong, to what opinion people are giving you for themselves. You have to go through that to understand that maybe your original opinion was right in the first place. It’s always good to listen, but when you become successful, there are so many different things you have to deal with, because everyone wants a piece of you. Then there’s the whole thing that you become a money cow, so you have to decipher whether people are working with you because they want to make money from you or because they want to make money with you, there two different things. Then there’s the whole manipulation because when you blow up, maybe two or three labels want to work with you, and you don’t know which one is right or wrong, but really all of them are the same.
What is the most notable song you have worked on for someone else to date?
I helped write ‘What You Talking About’ for Ms Dynamite and ‘Selecta’ for Mz Bratt, I helped write ‘On My Own’, and ‘Light Up The World’, for Yasmin, I think ‘Selecta’, for Mz Bratt you know. I’ve always had a lot of faith in Bratt, but a lot of people look at her and think she’s pretty so she’s not really heavy, when we did that song everyone changed their opinion. All the other songs, everyone believed in the artist already, but with Mz Bratt I had something to prove, and I think I did.
You’ve had a lot of recognisable hit songs that still get played in the clubs and radio now. Which one would you say is the most popular?
‘Party Hard.’ Worldwide ‘Party Hard’, is the biggest. In England ‘I’m Fly’, is bigger than ‘Party Hard.’ I can play ‘Party Hard’ and some places people are bored of it, I’m still getting responses from ‘I’m Fly’ now, but worldwide ‘Party Hard’ is my biggest song.
When you wrote ‘Party Hard’, ‘Devil In a Blue Dress’ and ‘African Warrior’ did you ever realise they would become classic club tracks?
Nah, I make music for myself, I want to know that my songs make me feel how a Snoop song make me feel or a Neptunes song, so when I made these songs, those songs gave me the same feeling that my favourite artists songs give me. That is basically all I do.
Where do you get your best ideas?
I like having my own space and walking around. Even when I was in primary school I used to walk home, my mum and dad used to give me money to get home, but I’d rather walk. I like being in my own thoughts, maybe that’s why.
You have worked with a lot of UK talent. Who would you say is really pushing the boundaries for the UK scene right now?
The young rap lot are pushing the scene like Squeeks, Yungen, Cashtastic, Joe Black, Ratlin, for me those guys right now are doing something that my generation couldn’t do. The younger generation identify with them when it comes to rap, my generation was about funky and grime, but everyone wanted to rap. Whereas these guys have found the way to identify with young British culture through rap, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens. Even Wretch 32 going to the charts with rap and Giggs getting signed, these guys are really doing well, and this is the first time England has been able to do that, and that within itself is a boundary that has been pushed, that has been tried to be pushed for so many years. It’s not mainstream they have a strong underground buzz. Chipmunk is signed to Grand Hustle, yet he’s coming back and doing tunes with Krept & Konan and Yungen and the tunes banging, it’s just very interesting to see what’s happening.
You have an album due for release this summer. What can we expect from it? Any collaborations we can look forward to?
On this album I’m going to have collaborations from Squeeks, Joe Black, Ratlin, Dru Blue, Lethal B, Artful (Artful Dodger), and Jakwob I’m hoping. The rest of the records are produced by me, and Mz Bratt is on there too. It will be banging. It’s going to have a lot more hip hop and r&b, there’s a want for it, so I can put it out.
After the success of his 2009 debut Party Hard LP, king of Funky House, Donaeo has announced that he will be releasing a new album in October.
The album Indigo Child is set for release on October 17, and features new single When Angels Sing. The video for this hot track was shot in Rome and directed by Michael Holyk.
In the last year Donaeo has played over 100 live shows, collaborated with Shy FX for his Raver single, remixed for the likes of Cheryl Cole, TEED and David Guetta, and even found time to co-write for Yasmin, Ms Dynamite and Mz Bratt.
While the album ripples with energy and dance floor focus, ‘When Angels Sing’ – still with its rolling 128bpm percussion – clearly shows a more soulful, grown-up side to Donaeo than we’ve ever heard before. When Angels Sing is out October 10 and features the amazing Terri Walker on guest vocals.
Donaeo says: ‘I’ve had ADHD my whole life and you can look at it in two ways- You can take pills to suppress it or you can be an Indigo Child. The only difference between me and someone else is that I’ve got a lot of excess energy but I’ve found a way to channel it. I’m about dance music and this album is definitely that.’
Jam packed with remixes from Sheffield’s finest Toddla T and Donaeo himself, the album also includes the much-hyped bonus track Move To The Gal Dem.
Indigo Child will be given away to fans for free via Donaeo’s website www.donaeo.com This album is a gift for all the people that have supported him over the years and an introduction to all the people that are just discovering him now.
If you were anywhere near the Ritzy in Brixton last night you would have heard the crowds of screaming girls waiting for Bashy at the premiere of his debut film Shank. The highly anticipated movie, which is released on the 26th March, had its first outing in Brixton as opposed to the stereotypical Leicester Sq. Shank which is set in a futuristic poverty stricken London is a movie that definitely stepped out of the box, so the left field location was oh so genius.
Breakage generates music with an effortless style and has a sound full of deep meditation. Breakage aka James Boyle signed with Shy FX’s Digital Soundboy imprint in 2007, and from then has continuously won fans across Radio 1, 1Xtra, Galaxy and Kiss FM, with hits such as ‘Run Em Out’ feat. Roots Manuva. Watch Breakage’s video for Speechless featuring Donae’o