When I got a chance to interview the quartet Clubs and Spades (minus emcee Shonobi on the day) I wanted to avoid questions that focused on the fact that they were in fact a Northern rap group. Frankly I did not want to go down that rather obvious and generic line of questioning that us Londoners can do when faced with a hip-hop group from outside the M25 but they brought it up so let’s talk about it (briefly).
Here’s the deal it’s Clubs and Spades and they are from Sheffield (to be exact) but don’t let some biased opinion that only London emcees can or should be rated take hold of your thinking. Perhaps in our rather insular London outlook we can forget that hip-hop and emceeing reaches far and wide.
From a hip-hop perspective Clubs and Spades are the real deal; they have already been co-signed by names like Charlie Sloth and Pharoahe Monch who they opened for. Featuring the veritable talents of; producers Andy Nicholson (Arctic Monkeys), Jamie Shield (MNKN) and the sartorial loquaciousness of Matic Mouth (and of course) Shinobi it’s pure hip-hop verses laid over live instrumentation-it’s special.
Clubs and Spades’ debut ep Deal Or No Deal dropped on the 17th May and is currently on some sustained rotation across radio. Here Flavour gets a small insight into this burgeoning hip-hop quartet.
So what’s the background for each of you?
Jamie-I went to university. I play drums but I was mainly a guitarist, singer songwriter in other bands which evolved into production in the bands I was in. Through moving around I got exposed to different hugely talented solo artists and so I started to incorporate that into my skill set. Then I lost interested in the whole band thing and focused more on production love production because I love that feeling when you get that end product.
Matic Mouth-I have always been a rapper even from when I was younger it’s just something that love. This is the first time I have been in a hip-hop band rather than a hip-hop outfit especially on stage in fact. It’s totally powerful and when I am on stage I go from zero to a thousand in energy-when you stood next to someone with a guitar in their hand on stage it’s just a different experience.
Andy-I have played bass in a few bands before ad guitar in a few bands and now I play guitar live for us. I grew up listening to hip-hop and reggae-I actually had an older brother who was very into hip-hop so he passed that down to and then he got into guitar music and also passed that down to me. So I went off in that for a bit but I always stayed rooted in hip-hop and reggae and it was more of a natural progression and it was like music found me really.
And what about the name for the group?
Matic Mouth- In a nutshell Jamie and Shinobi were working together and Andy and I working together. We basically hooked up and the first track we did was called Black Suits and the names of course just developed from there really.
Keeping with the gambling theme, the ep is called Deal Or No Deal-I take it Noel Edmonds was not on your mind?
Andy-We actually had discussions about the name and we were like, we should change the f”\\*g name because of course the associations with Noel Edmonds but we left it because I expect if it gets people curious it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
And lastly what about this ep?
Matic Mouth-I think this ep is a great introduction to us and I don’t want to mention it but we are Northerners but we want people to judge our music rather than where we are from.
Jamie-There are three tracks on the EP-and the overriding theme of the ep is that while we are Northerners we have the same struggles, the same pitfalls as everyone else outside of the hip-hop scene and within it-same high and lows. We are really looking forward to people’s reaction to our track with Tom Prior called Clearer Coast-Tom really goes in.