Also on the Live Fest line-up, the grime kings have a new queen…
“We don’t try to be up to date, we are up to date and we wake up and have ideas with what will make great music.”
London-based grime music collective Roll Deep have had a huge influence on the UK’s music scene. Some of the most talented and successful artists to emerge from the grime scene have come through their ranks. Forever changing the faces of their group, but always with multiple members, now they’re doing a Black Eyed Peas and adding a permanent female member to the group, a welcome addition by all. Roll Deep chat with Flavour about their music here and abroad and tells us about their plans for the future.
Hi guys and girl, what have you been up to?
Brazen: We’ve been touring, recording; we got a new album in the making; we’ve got a TV show coming up; and we got the Swagga Muffin clothing line coming out soon.
Where has been the most unexpected place abroad you’ve heard you have fans?
B: Japan. We’re currently the number one ring tone in Japan, number two in the dance charts and the album is number eight in the album charts out there. We’re very grateful for that.
Have you been to Japan?
Manga: Not yet, but we plan to once the radiation clears off and it’s safe to do so after the earthquake.
We’re just happy to know we have a fan base out there.
If you could choose a country anywhere in the world to perform in, where would it be?
Scratchy: Australia, because it’s the furthest place away and it would be a nice place to see.
Where has been your most memorable show yet?
J2K: There have been a few, but our most memorable one was probably the Wireless Festival, which was last year,
July. That was sick, we did the main stage and the tent and we killed it both times, and this year were gonna do the same again there.
How was it working with Alesha Dixon? And are there any other female collaborations in the pipeline?
M: Working with Alesha was good, but we got Tania now, so there’ll be no other girls. [Tania Foster is the singer whose vocals you hear on Roll Deep’s single ‘Green Light’]
A lot of UK artists right now seem to be aiming to launch their careers stateside, is that something Roll Deep has ever thought about?
T: I think everyone’s always rushing to go and break America, whereas I feel like we’re not finished doing what we need to do in the UK yet. And if America gets on board and likes our music, then that’s a bonus, but I don’t think UK artists need to be worrying about breaking America – if anything, America now seem to be having a big interest in the music scene in the UK. We’re just getting on with what we do and if along the way we do manage to get other countries, such as America, showing an interest, then that’s just a bonus.
Roll Deep has been on the grime scene for quite some time now, what do you feel about people saying that grime is becoming too commercial?
Flow Dan: Grime hasn’t necessarily become commercial, but the artists who make the music are now expanding and able to do more things; so I wouldn’t like to say grime has become commercial, grime is still the heartbeat of the underground, but there are people like ourselves who have pioneered grime, who can do different things and do more for more types of people, not just a specific person with a mindset. But we’re still grime artists and we’re still gonna make grime music and do music, cos that’s what we love.
You have a lot of female fans and now you’ve got a female member in the group – can we expect to see more of your sensitive sides, maybe a bit of a slow jam from Roll Deep?
[All laugh] Tania: Yes, I wanna definitely do more love songs with the boys; they do have a romantic side and they do have dedicated hardcore female fans. In fact, just before this interview, one just went up to Scratchy and said, ‘I just wanna let you know you’re so hot!’ and then ran away [laughs]. So yeah, we wanna do something for the females soon, slow it down a bit. We got a few surprises coming.
At the moment is seems like music is at its best in the UK, how do you guys make sure that you continue to deliver good music that remains fresh and different?
FD: The way we make our music stay fresh and stay current is just by being ourselves because we are fresh/current people. We don’t try to be up to date, we are up to date and we wake up and have ideas with what will make great music – and when we put that into our music it just becomes quite easy. As long as we keep consistent – because sometimes as human beings we can get a bit lazy – but as long as we stay consistent, then we’ll always stay on top. And the fact that as you said there are so many other artists in the UK doing so well, everyone just inspires each other and it keeps you on your toes, you know, you cant afford to slack; whereas three, four years ago we could have, but not no more.
What is next for Roll Deep?
J2K: We got the new album that we’re working on now, the TV show and more touring and gigging.