We talked to London based producer Malik Shäh about his upcoming EP ”Muerto” and what its like to be a Spanish rapper in rainy England.
WERUN: You live in England but are originally from Spain? How come you moved to England?
Malik Shäh: Yes I’m from Torrejón de Ardoz, belonging to the District 69 collective. But I’m actually born in Madrid.
Back in 2013, right after my first album came out, I was unemployed. I was on benefits for over two years. In November same year one of my best friends, that was already living in London for 6 years, called me saying he had a vacancy at his work at that time. So I came to learn some English. My intention was never to stay this long.
You told us before this interview that you are very influenced by hip-hop and black music. Can you give us some examples of artists that have inspired you?
Yeah, I was and I will always be a Motown Lover. I was addicted to soul music with artists such as Barry White, Marvin Gaye, Dionne Warwick, The Temptations and The Marvelettes. My passion for soul did never end as I started listening to new soul artists like Dwelle, D’Angelo, Bilal and Taylor McFerrin.
As a hip-hop artist, you know that all producers do sample from all these artists mentioned before. Hip-hop artists that inspire me are Jay Dilla, Madlib, 9th Wonder and Black Milk. Those are the biggest influences for me.
Tell us how you started off with music.
I started making music back in 2003/2004. I was making different kinds of tracks, nothing serious, but when I had like 8 of them, one of my friends put them all together in a CD, and that was actually my first “Demo”.
All started because one of my friends who is a very talented producer was gonna released an album that got lost, the hard drive where the project was saved brokedown and they lost all the projects,
In 2009, my first real project called “Oscuro Soul” was released.
Tell us about your first live shows.
I was always scared to do a live show, I always wanted to avoid it, but back in 2010 one of my friends lost his backup man for the live events and he offered me to go in stage with him, after five or six live shows I guess I started to like it and kind of got addicted.
In 2013 you released your first professional studio album called ”Terciopelo”. Can you tell us about that album?
My first album was very longed for, at that time everyone knew I was recording something professional and everyone in my area was awaited.
Back in 2012, I’ve got in contact with Sr.Tcee, well-known producer and rapper from Torrejon De Ardoz (Madrid) my neighbour and friend from childhood and well known as well for his group of pioneers in the Spanish Hip Hop (V.K.R) Verdaderos Kreyentes De La Religion Del Hip Hop, or The real believers of the Hip Hop religion.
After almost a year in the studio, we released an album with 13 tracks. I had just broken up with my ex-girlfriend and I felt like making an album, being busy.
I called my album Terciopelo (means Velvet) because of the most important concept of the album was to cover every bad feeling, every shit, with velvet, like I can be messed up inside but I’m trying to give you my best face on the outside, I’m trying to move on.
After moving to London and spending almost 3 years without making music, you released the EP called Velvet. Can you tell us more about that?
Velvet EP was like an extension of “Tercipelo”, now when I’m living in London I’ve changed the name from Spanish to English.
I decide to drop this EP after watching a Jay Dilla documentary with my girl in 2016, 10 years after he passed away. His passion for this, his talent and he as a person just made me cry. I got very emotional and felt I just have to finish this EP. It was about 75% done by that time.
I called the guy I was recording with, a friend of mine I was living with my first 3 years in London, and we put our forces together to make this happen and released the Velvet EP.
How was it to come back to music after so long?
I have to say that I wasn’t aware how much the industry had changed during those three years.
After finishing Velvet, you immediately started writing on your most recent work “StayOutOfTrouble”, what can you tell us about that?
Straight after releasing Velvet EP, I felt I had enough energy. So I decided once again to invest in my dream. I was ready to make the biggest step in my career. The album will have features from producers such as Cookin’ Soul (Well known in Spain and U.S.A) as they produced bets for Joey Bada$$, NAS, Wizz Khalifa, Redman, Nikki Minaj and a long list of famous artists. Quiroga, another well-known producer in Spain and Principe Palanca.
The album contains 9 tracks and was completed in 9 months, recorded by me in my home studio in London, mixed and mastered for Sr.Tcee.
Tell us more about your other project where you go under the name Skinny Latte.
Skinny Latte is the alias I’ve used to separate classic rap that I do with Malik Shäh (Trap music) and let’s say a more “thug” and “violent” way to see things that I do with Skinny Latte. Talking about sex and drugs etc, without having any conflict with my other identity or artist name.
Your new EP ”Muerto” will be out this summer, what can you tell us about the EP?
After releasing “One day too soon” by Skinny Latte, (Produced by FBeats) I started immediately talking with one of my best friends and producer (Rottia TMTBL) or known as well like (KaiserXL) with influences like Jay Dilla, Madlib etc. So we made a 5 tracks EP called “Muerto” “Dead” produced all by Rottia TMTBL and the first video single is already on YouTube, the EP will be ready by the end of this summer 2018.
Leo Skurt and his Skurt Team got a lot of hype lately. This young personal shopper from Rennes gets more and more clients and we wanted to know about the person behind it all.
WERUN: How did your passion for hype streetwear start and when did you decide to make it a carer?
LEO SKURT: I decide to create my own job after graduating from high school, at 18 years old. I decided to become a personal shopper in the “hype streetwear” world. My work consists in finding every item my clients ask me to, like clothing, sneakers or accessories.
What makes you different from other personal shoppers?
The deal with me is that I can find everything between 5 minutes and 24 hours, using a variety of specialized websites, apps and resellers Instagram accounts. I’m passionate about streetwear and I have my way around the market. I make a point to know everything about what’s happening in the industry. Every release, every new designer, every collaboration, every trend. It allows me to give advice to my clients and to be on top of my game.
What more do you do?
I’m also a dressmaker, as in people show me pieces of their wardrobe so I’m able to create a look for them. I also suggest adding some pieces that I own in order to complete the style, and they can eventually buy it.
Tell us some more about the Skurt Team.
It’s the entertainment of my Instagram’s community. The Skurt Team is a huge part of my work. I made a priority of creating a strong and united community around me and my personality. So, lots of Instagram’s poll, stories, concepts, live multiple times a week. That’s why I don’t have a website. I love being able to chat with my clients on Instagram’s DMs, advise them to be sure they make the right choice when they buy me something, sharing a part of my life with them.
How did it all start as a business?
I’m able to get any item in 24 hours max because, before I was a seller, I was a buyer. And so I spend so much time searching pieces for myself on the internet, that I am now a sort of sniper for pursuing a pair of shoe or clothing. When a client asks me for something, I usually have an instant idea of where to find it, and a close assumption of the prize. That’s why I’m efficient in my job, that’s the added value of my work. Sometimes, someone will reach out to me, saying that is searching for this particular item for seven or eight months, and I find it in less than five minutes.
Can you name some of your biggest clients?
For now, I don’t have what you may call a “big” client. Although, I got loyal customers that buy from me on a regular basis, and I think this is more important. The Skurt Team is amazing, sending me so much love and getting so involved. Every day, I get messages of love. It gives me the strength to see that people in the community are getting to know each other in real life.
Is there a lot of fake shoes out there?
If a client got a problem, I’m fighting for them. For example, recently one of my clients was ripped off. Someone sold him a counterfeit Air Max 97/1 Sean Wotherspoon. I took the matters into my own hands, called the guys who ripped him off and settle the issue for him.
Final question, what’re the rarest shoes you got?
I would say a pair of Nike Zoom Spectrum White in collaboration with Supreme and a pair of Nike Air Max 95 Animal pack in collaboration With Atmos Japan.
Ezza of Choom Gang – Rocky Mountain Watermelon (Album)
Ezza of Choom Gang releases his new album called “Rocky Mountain Watermelon“, writer and performed by Ezza himself and producer Dr. Robotnic. For this album they have channeled their combined creativity in the hopes of creating the definitive sound for the Niagara Region just south of Toronto – big, airy, psychedelic vibes mixed with a SLAB (slow, loud, and banging) southern influence, and a touch of classic hip hop lyricism.
The artistic waves are accompanied by an intimate personal feel, as Ezza touches on topics which plague his whole generation – depression, anxiety, unemployment, substance abuse, and broken dreams. The very relatable dark side is matched by an equally-relatable light touch, bringing a sense of freedom to a generation whose freedoms are always in question. Coming after a year of traveling in Europe and the remote Canadian Rockies, “Rocky Mountain Watermelon” brings a new, fresh perspective to the psychedelic hip-hop genre.
WERUN: We heard your back now after a year long trip to Europe and Canadian Rockies. What did you do there?
Ezza: Europe was strictly recreational for me. I do have a few fans out there I tried to link up with, but just didn’t pan out this time. The last year-or-so of traveling, I made a conscious effort to not stress myself creatively and just go take in some new experiences. I figured if I decided to do music when all was said and done, the output would be more interesting. With “Rocky Mountain Watermelon”, I’d say that turned out to be true.
Any upcoming gigs?
The gang and I have our next gig September 14th alongside The Palmer Squares in my hometown St. Catharines, Ontario. It’s our first time performing altogether since early 2017, and Palmer Squares gets a lot of love in our area so it should be pretty dope. I’m excited.
That sounds great, any upcoming collabs you can tell us about?
Yeah, I’m just gonna keep things moving right along with the crew (Choom Gang / H.O.M.E. Records). Rocky Mountain Watermelon ends on a bit of a depressing note, so I wanna pick up and close out 2018 with another little drop or two just to let people know it’s all good over here. It probably won’t be solo music though, it will be collabs with my people. We ain’t getting any younger and this might be our last big push, so we’re gonna do it together. I’m also slowly working on a 2nd Middle-Class Mystic project with producer DKLonely, and we’ll probably shop around for a bigger-name feature to follow up Bones being on the first one we did back in 2012. So yeah, should see some interesting work coming from our direction over the next year or so.
Wich artists give you inspiration in your work?
Kanye West and G.O.O.D. Music are and have always been, a huge inspiration for what we do. It’s interesting because – unintentionally – our creative approach has paralleled theirs for quite some time, only on a far smaller scale and zero budget (lol). The idea of having a collective of solo artists who all have different styles but somehow fit under the umbrella of one creative mastermind who hand-picks the collective (in our case, the late great chuck90s – R.I.P.) and also sound good together on frequent collaborations, is always what we’ve been about. That, combined with the free-spirited approach of just getting in the studio with the right people and making spontaneous magic. With that said – what they did this past Summer with the one-release-a-week thing… reminded me so much of our golden years when chuck was still alive, and the type of shit we used to do. Really inspired me while I was working on this album, and solidified my desire to continue doing music at a time when I wasn’t sure if I was going to go on. So yeah, thank you Kanye. And thank you Based God, always.
How is the music scene for your style in Southern Ontario?
Things are really starting to look good for the arts scene in Southern Ontario. The worldwide mega-success of Drake, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Alessia Cara, and hell there’s probably more – has really woken people up. When I was growing up, there were absolutely zero resources for artists around here. Now it’s finally starting to bubble. I see good things coming for the future and I really want to be at the tip of the spear. Toronto is obviously gargantuan, its huge cultural influence has always seeped into the surrounding area, and we’re right there. We are hip-hop here – we are really and truly hip hop. I’m so well versed and studied hip hop all my life, all different artists from all different places, and yet somehow some of the honest-to-God best lyricists I’ve ever heard are people I know. Isn’t that fucked up? And we’re all nobodies. Something’s gotta give eventually, and I feel that something coming.
Whats the best clubs in Southern Ontario for music?
Detour Music Hall is the spot right now. That’s where we’ll be performing on the 14th. They’ve really put a focus on live music and they do all genres, but the venue is really perfect for hip hop shows. They’ve also been very embracing of hip hop, where a lot of spots now absolutely refuse to put on rap shows because of fights and shit. So shouts out to Michelle and everyone at Detour for continuing to recognize the hip hop culture out here. It’ll pay off. In return, we’ll make sure there’s no fights during our sets 😉
Any last word?
Sandro Jeeawock – Lucky Luciano
Sandro Jeeawock is finally back with his new EP called ”Lucky Luciano” after one year of silence. The EP contains six tracks plus a remix by Nico Miseria. On this EP Sandro experimenting more than ever with styles such as Trap, R&B, Pop, Reggaeton and Flamenco.
We took the opportunity to ask the Marbella producer what he has been up to since his last release “Golden Boy“.
WERUN: So what are you been up to this summer? Any gigs?
Sandro Jeeawock: Things are really chill here for trap or future beat music, they just want commercial stuff, but I hope next month when the season started I can get out of Marbella.
Any upcoming collaborations you can tell us about?
Yes, a lot! But the latest is a production with Nico Miseria for A.Dense from Valencia, the track is called “150”.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Right now I’m listening to a lot of SoundCloud rappers like Lil Pump, Smokepurrp, Ski Mask, XXXtentacion (R.I.P. 😢), Travis Scott, NAV and others styles with artists like Rex OrangeCounty, Gus Dapperton, Rosalia, Blood Orange, Ozuna and Frank Ocean.
How is the music scene for your future style in Marbella?
Very bad, there is a lot of good artist in Marbella and Malaga but in Spain, the only way to get something is working in Madrid or Barcelona, the rest is shit.
If u really want to be in the industry on a good level you have to move to one of those cities. In Marbella we just had Third Cultures parties at La Catarina, shout out to Alto Blues because he is always bringing the nice and new artists to town.
So where to go out in Marbella?
Third Culture parties at La Catarina for sure. There are very good clubs that makes shows with very famous rappers but I don’t want to make publicity because their prices are abusive, fuck them.
Any last words you want to say?
Yeah, since June I made like a “tournament” for producers, it’s 10 producers each round, they have to make a 1 minute beat with the same sample, drum kit and variable tempo. We have a guest so the winner beat its gonna be recorded for the guest artist. It’s going very well and I would love you to check it out here.
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