Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Lost Generation Interview

If you don't know already, you need to get to know the work of TLG, a collective from Birmingham whose consistently quality output has won them respect and appreciation from a growing fan base. Heavily grounded in reality, able to showcase great examples of penmanship, production and cutting skills TLG provide essential listening and evidence that there are still uncompromising, truthful voices out there. Check it!

Safe boys, hope your good, just before we start can you layout the basic outline of the TLG crew cos I know you boys run fairly deep….
Well as far as the music goes TLG consists of myself (Devas),Luke, Eyebs, Konn, Mikee Lazy and Essar.

TLG are well respected around the midlands scene; what sort of promotional work have you had to do to get to this sort of level?

Devas: Well our first release was a DVD showcasing local talents from around Brum, that was like an introduction to the scene for us-putting our faces out there and making links with other artists in the city. As far as promotional work goes we've had to let the music do the talking. We don't have money to invest in PR/marketing etc, so when we came to release our mixtape we pressed up 3k cd's ourself in my living room and gave them out for free.That was our promotion.

Your tunes reflect a typical state of mind of regular guys living in fairly desolate urban conditions. How far has your environment and personal experiences affected what you rhyme about?

Devas: My environment is probably the main reason why I rap.For me personally I don't really rap about things for the sake of it if you know what i mean.I talk about things that I see going on, both in my life and the lives of people around me.

Leading from that, you are very critical of the current political
 establishment. What for you are your major concerns with this government and what would you envision as an alternative?

Devas: haha How long we got?I've got alot of negative views on the way this country is run, number one probably being the amount of tax payers money spent on illegal wars. As far as an alternative goes tho, I don't know, I'm not a politician.

Mikee Lazy: I think the major problems with this goverment is that they have told too many lies .They took us to a war when they didnt need too ,and look at what has happened there. They need to get to the root of the major problems and issues we have in our culture and tackle them before they get out of hand ... There are so many people suffering and living hard lives when this doesnt need to happen . We need a "peoples goverment" , a leader who we can all relate to.
Luke: I'd like to see a transparant government. A real democracy.

The tracks you choose to rap on provide perfect backdrops to your themes. Tell us a bit more about the production side of things and how a beat goes from sitting in the lab to becoming a heavyweight track on a mix cd or album….

Eyebs: Sometimes when your makin the beat and your zoned out
, its like you can allready see the scene or the track, i can imagine how how them mans are going to spit it.Sometimes though its just about finding the right beat for something thats already been written, and when you hear it you just know.

Mikee Lazy: The whole of The lost generation are sick producers and everyone brings there own flavour. Its all about digging for the right sample and creating some magic by putting your own twist on that original piece of music.

Konn: The thing is with 4 producers in the camp, theres new beats coming in every other day it. Alot of the time there’s no real set plan to how beats get laced. We stay spotaneous!

…and for the emcees, what sort of processes do you go through when writing lyrics? I know I’m always impressed by the craft that goes into them, especially when revolving round a particular concept…

Devas: It depends, I write lyrics anywhere and everywhere, i write in my phone and mostly late at nite.Sometimes we will sit in the lab together, come up with a concept, write it there and then and lace it straight away but most times theres not enough hours in the day to work like that.

Luke:Yeah sometimes we might agree on a concept, then take the beat away to write and do it the next week.Sometimes we might end up not doin it for months but sometimes it takes that long to be in the right mindstate to write it.

You bring a load of good vibes and energy to your live shows. How much time do you spend practicing your routines and making sure the show goes down well?

Devas: Ha.I gotta be honest, we don't practice our sets at all.90% of the time we don't know what tunes we are doing untill an hour before, we'll burn a cd of the set and listen to it in the car on the way...

What is your view of the music industry at the moment, and in particular the hip hop scene – do you think the public’s perception will always generally be either negative or misinformed?
Devas: I think it'll be a hardjob to change it.I'm also not sure if the public's perception is misinformed.Granted they may not know the genre in depth but it's not really like their feelings on it aren't justified.Most of the Hip Hop heard on mainstream radio and alot of the underground is undoubtetdly spreading a negative message that arguably has a detrimental effect on the youth.That combined with the powers of Murdochs media machine leave people's minds imprinted with this negative image of the culture and really it is hard to blame them.They don't understand it.The state of the music industires a differnet story though,I probably ain't the best man to answer that.

Eyebs: Hip Hop might be viewed negatively but it hasn't stopped it from becoming one of the biggest selling genres in the world.Hip Hop is Pop so obviously not everyone sees it negatively.

Mikee Lazy: I think to the average person when they think of hip hop they associate with rappers like 50cent,who lets be honest,aint given out the most positive attitude and is hardly a role model to our younger generation.
The music scene on a whole has changed massively in the past few years with the rise of mp3 and demise of vinyl /cd. Alot of people are downloading illegally so record sales have dipped massively. This has had a crazy effect where by artists/groups are giving music away free or having to get music out so quickly that people have the option of buying it legally straight away in the hope this will discourage illegal downloading. Im not sure what the music scene will be like in 5 years but i hope that The lost generation are still contributing towards it.

How important do you think it is for artists to be socially aware or conscious?

Devas: To me it is not just important for an artist to be socially aware, it is important for everyone.
If we are not aware of our society then how are we expected to integrate into it and live as a community?

What new projects are you currently working on and what are your ambitions for the future?

We've been working on our album over the past year or so, set to be released at the beginning of '09. It features guest spots from I.R.S, Ras Supa, Sonny Jim & Kosyne, Reggiimental & more,with production from Eyebs, Kelakovski, Konn, Lazy, Essar, Archimage and Doc Mini.Thats coming out as a joint venture between Rusty Jukebox & Eat Good Records so keep em peeled!!! We're ft on a Rusty Jukebox Compilation and an Eat Good compilation both due in the new year. Also Mikee Lazy' will be droppin an EP ft:Sonny Jim, Kyza, Dubbledge +more...
Our ambition for the future is just to release music that people enjoy.

An ambition already achieved I reckon! Check to keep up with the latest good stuff from TLG.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Barack Obama becomes President

The world watched and waited expectedly, and I felt waves of relief as I sat glued to the TV in Ipswich at 3.30 this morning with my Dad. The hope that Americans might finally see some way out of the shambolic past 8 years and that Obama could become president was slowly realised as more and more swing states became democratic, in the true sense of the word. This has been a great and historic day and I sincerly hope that the sort of grassroots, community activism that helped propel the Senetor to his forthcoming new post will help to engage a generation around the world. I sincerly hope that Obama will be able to deliver as much as he has promised, but I already think he has given the world a chink of optimism...let's hope the 'change' agenda fully applies to foreign policy as much as domestic concerns...Its a good day!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Breakthrough - Latest GTA goodness

Gotta say big Brrrrap to them GTA boys once again! Check out the dope video for the live tune "Breakthrough", another great production from the land of dons and scholars. Look closely and you might even catch a glimpse of your favourite rapping blogmeister!