Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Balistiq Beats interview

Balistiq Beats “Yardman Riddim” ft Riko, Badness, Jamakabi and Killa P [Keysound]

Riko "Rise The Machine" - (Yardman Riddim)
Killa P "Wickedest Ting" - (Yardman Riddim)
Badness "Record Breaker" - (Yardman Riddim)
Jamakabi "Concrete Jungle" - (Yardman Riddim)
Balistiq Beats "Yardman Riddim" (instrumental)

“Yardman Riddim” EP is released at the end of February on digital and 12" on Keysound Recordings

Exclusive Balistiq Beats production showreel

DOWNLOAD it here>>>

01: Riko - Rise The Machine [Yardman Riddim]
02: Killa P - Wickedest Ting [Yardman Riddim]
03: Blackout [Instrumental]
04: Trim - Monkey Features
05: 24/7 [Instrumental]
06: Blacks, P Money, Trim & Roach - New Tune
07: Hurter [Instrumental]
08: Wiley - Headbanger
09: Starscream [Instrumental]
10: JME - The Future
11: Cosmos [Instrumental]
12: Fantan Mojah - Burn You Down
13: Chipmunk - Don't Be Greedy
14: Doctor - War
15: Doctor - Run [Power Cut Riddim]
16: Dolamite - African Oil [Balistiq Beats Remix]
17: Vybz Kartel - The System [Balistiq Beats Remix]

Balistiq Beats interview

Blackdown: Hey Balistiq Beats, so please can you introduce yourselves to people, where are you from etc…

Andrew Balistiq: Easy everyone! If you ain't familiar with the name, we're a production duo from the East End - most people know us for our grime productions over the years but have also worked in various other scenes.

Blackdown: How do you know each other and when did you start producing? When did you start producing together?

Andrew Balistiq: We've known each other from our early school days, going back to like 1999. I had been messing around with production on my PlayStation and my PC using that old program Music but that was just a hobby. I was more into the DJ-ing thing but slowly got into production over the years. To be honest I never really took it seriously, it was just something I enjoyed doing. Some people like collecting stamps and others like ironing - producing music was my thing. We ended up going to the same college and doing the same courses in 2001 and at the time I had given up the DJ-ing completely and wanted to make tunes fully. Ryan was always more musically orientated where I was more about "kick ya door down, slap your marge" type of beats so we thought it'd be good if we worked together and saw what we could come up with. I think it was towards the end of 2001 Ryan came up with the name Balistiq Beats and we took it from there really.

Ryan Balistiq: Actually it was just Balistiq you know, it was when we started working with Trim in 2004/5 that he coined the term Balistiq Beats - guess it just stuck! "Balistiq Beats, listeeeeeeeeeen"

Blackdown: You’re best known for your grime productions, what is it about the grime sound that does it for you?

Ryan Balistiq: We've watched the scene blossom from nothing so we were naturally a part of it, its our culture. We were never ever bound by the grime formula though, before I ventured into Grime and started producing with Andrew I was doing live production which was very melodic and the start of some very metal hip-hop. We've always had our own sound, took a while to catch on... a lot (most) of the stuff you hear released on peoples mixtapes and leaks and that from us are beats from our early years, 2001 times! Thats nearly 10 years ago you know.

Andrew Balistiq: D'you know what it is, Grime is just Grime init. I aint gonna start making up all these dead theories why we like it etc etc, it's just what we've seen develop from the start and wanted to be a part of it. We went college with the likes of Shizzle/Scorcher/Gloka and a lot of the MC's are in the same age group as us so it happened naturally as that's what was going on around us as we got into making music. Personally I was a DnB man when I just started DJ-ing but always thought of that as the older generations scene. Grime something that our generation came up with so we jumped straight into it.

Blackdown: Your tracks have been vocalled by MCs like JME, Trim, Riko, Badness, Wiley and Doctor and appeared on their mixtapes. What’s it like having these MCs vocal your work and who else have you worked with?

Ryan Balistiq: Yeah it's all good hearing those guys as they have worked on their craft for a long time, it's good that they always sound different on our stuff.

Andrew Balistiq: It's definitely good working with the cream of the crop 'cause we are fans of the scene more than anything and when we started out we didn't really know anyone. I used to know most of these guys bars off by heart and was always taping radio shows on my TDK's etc. To have them vocal our tunes just shows us that we've got the ability to make music that people not only wanna listen to but also be part of.

Blackdown: What vocalists have you not worked with that you’d like to?

Andrew Balistiq: Personally the main person I wanna do a tune with is President T from Bloodline. He's always been one of my top MC's. Also I'd like to work with Terminator, Ghetts, Newham Generals obviously them man are local lads.

Ryan Balistiq: Jay Z... and locally one person we're excited to be working with is Tempz.

Blackdown: What releases have you had out that people should know about?

Andrew Balistiq: All of our stuff has been vocal work that's come out on artist's mixtapes but we've had a couple other releases away from the scene. We had a track on a project called The Remixes Outernational - on Addis Records. Track was called Burn You Down featuring Reggae artist Fantan Mojah. We remixed a track by a famous Israeli singer called Aviv Geffen entitled It Was Meant To Be A Love Song - that came out on Mars Records along with Plastician and Fuzion UK remixes. We also done 2 remixes for a US group called The Score - track was called Girls Gone Wild. We're in the process of releasing a few of our own instrumental E.P's as well. It's been a long time coming and we feel it's time we showcased what we can do independently of MC's or vocalists.

Blackdown: Do you strictly listen to grime or are you into other styles of music?

Ryan Balistiq: To be honest I listen to 'Grime' about 1% of the time out of everything, anyway, grimes evolved out of the old 8/8 arrangement and standard bars so are we actually listening to 'Grime' more now days then ever? I dunno. I've grown up on lovers rock, reggae, dub, r&b, soul, soca, Motown, classic rock and have always implemented those styles into our music. None of which has been released.. yet! Some of my biggest influences are Prince, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Queen and composers like Joe Hisaishi on the other end of the spectrum, Rage Against the Machine, Rick Rubin the list goes on. To answer the question, we're into music, period. If you feel it, you feel it! All music is made out of 12 notes.

Andrew Balistiq: Definitely listen to a WIDE range of music. Certain times people look at me funny when I tell them I listen to metal and other genres. I come from a musical family, my uncle Smiley was part of a duo signed to Studio One under the name of Michigan and Smiley and had a number of big tunes back in the day so growing up I always had a love for Reggae and it's spin offs. My older brother (Mc Rage - Chase and Status frontman) got me into electronic music from young as well, a lot of music influences me and you can hear it in our productions.

Blackdown: What do you think about the state of the grime scene in 2010? Where should it go in 2011?

Andrew Balistiq: 2010 was a good year for Grime. A lot of artists are seeing the fruit of their labour now although many might not agree with some of the paths they take but whether you like it or not, they're making money and in my opinion that's the aim of the game - no matter how much you say "you do it for the love" everyone wants to make money. Next year Grime can go wherever the people wanna take it I reckon. People just need to stop the blackballing and work together.

Ryan Balistiq: I think Grime is our hip hop and that its evolving great - Grime artists are branching out and doing their own thing and the sound of Grime is changing - finally starting to hear some more musical elements in it now. It should carry on into 2011 by building an industry, same way hip hop made a huge business out of the scene. Its happening, we got bloggers (Teamsupreme, LondonToMk, Once Upon a Grime etc), video coverage (shouts to Jamal!), radio... it's all the things around the music that make the scene and that's whats happening, slowly. People gotta realise its more than just a genre, it's our culture which isn't bound by a BPM! Grime is just a name but its the same for Dubstep, DnB all of that - its all ours.

Blackdown: Can you tell me about how “Yardman” came about?

Andrew Balistiq: Boy, as I said before the Reggae/Dub music influences us in a big way. We had previously done a version track called Power Cut Riddim which was a Grime take on the Bashment track that was tearing up dances. We had plans to release it but it all got technical and got put on the back burner so we decided to come with another one this time more Dub orientated rather than Dancehall based. I came up with the little intro bars, recorded it on my iPhone then me and Ryan started building the beat from there really. We showed it to our manager and he was like "Yep, that one is certified" so we contacted the MC's and without hesitation they came down and recorded their versions.

Blackdown: To me, “Yardman” is neither exactly grime, reggae or even dubstep, what kind of vibe were you aiming at when you made it?

Andrew Balistiq: We were aiming at exactly that - a VIBE. We have a tendency not to follow the "rules" if you will when it comes to making beats. Like, if we're gonna build a Dubstep beat for example, we won't just get the usual "Dubstep" sounding drums, basses or whatever - we'll take something obscure and work with it and make THAT sound like Dubstep rather than taking Dubstep elements to make the tune sound like Dubstep if you get what I mean? It's something we found ourselves doing from our early days of production and I think it's due to the fact that when we started we had a very limited set up and sound libraries. So we had to make do with the little and use that to craft our sound. Since then it's just become part of the way we build our tunes.

Ryan Balistiq: Precisely - all our tunes are just vibes man. No boundaries - I doubt anyone will be able to tell our style even in 10 years 'cause the range and versatility is all over the place. Might have to start tagging our tunes again hahaha

Andrew Balistiq: That's a point you know, we ain't tagged nothing for ages have we?

Blackdown: Is there live instrumentation on it?

Andrew Balistiq: Yeah there is, the main riff that runs through the tune is live. Everything else was programmed by your favourite production duo.

Blackdown: The grime MCs that flow “yard” are slightly different to other grime MCs: to those of who don’t know can you explain the difference?

Ryan Balistiq: I love the MC's from Grime that flow Yard - it's always fresh and classic...check out our tunes with Doctor, Stages and War.

Andrew Balistiq: It's the accent by and large. That's the main difference. A lot of people will have some sort of Yard twang in their lyrics but the ones who are known for it - the likes of Shizzle, Killa P, Riko etc they stick out like a sore thumb. They'll tell you themselves they are influenced by the Dancehall/Reggae artists who they've listened to over the years but bringing that on a Grime/Dubstep tune gives it a different vibe. Similar to when MC's would do the same over Jungle tunes. It's a different vibe that changes the sound of the track completely.

Blackdown: What is the epitome of “yard” for you? What does it mean to be “yard” or “from yard?”

Andrew Balistiq: Exactly what I said on the intro: Yard food, Yard tune, drinking Sorrel - Yard juice. Can't forget a pair of Clarks boot either haha. Nah but jokes aside, I don't own a pair of Clarks no more but I did when I was going school out there in the mid 90's. To be Yard ain't something you can just acquire. You're either from there or you ain't. I got NUFF bredrins who you would bet your house on that they're from Yard but they just love the culture I suppose. I aint got no problem with that. My only gripe is when you get the ones who try and convince the whole world and it's dog they are Jamaican when the closest they've been is looking at the poster down the travel agents.

Ryan Balistiq: You have to be from yard to be from Yard, but if you're Caribbean you get a bly as its all the same culture. It's how you are raised, what your nan cooks and the banter you have with each other that's all yard. It's amazing how one small set of islands can take of social culture like it's like the language people speak to each other in. I'd say the epitome of Yard would be walking into a barber shop and not understanding one word from a geezer in dreads, who's got a gold tooth eating curry goat, rice and peas, coconut drops and a festival with a grape bigga saying something about some Dancehall rave and you only catching 1 - 2 pieces of info and replying with "...yeah yeah". I weren't born there ha. Oh and bulla cake.

Blackdown: You guys work out of Cable Street studios, home over the years to legends like Roll Deep, Scratcha DVA, Trim and more. What’s the vibe of the place like?

Andrew Balistiq: Cable is bless. It's away from where we live and that's always a good thing 'cause you can just escape so to speak and get on with things. Also when we go Cable we know work is gonna get done as opposed to going somewhere local and end up socialising. Setting our base up over there allowed us to work with a lot of people as well, being in the same building as Roll Deep, Scratcha, I think even Slew Dem had their radio station up there at one point.

Ryan Balistiq: If you wanna know what Grime looks like, go to Cable Street Studios

Blackdown: What’s the most #badmancommuter thing you’ve ever seen or done?

Ryan Balistiq: Walking from the back of Liverpool Street Station to the front with some fake screw face and watching the crowd part like say I was Moses #BADMANCOMMUTER

Andrew Balistiq: Hahah #badmancommuter. For me it was one time on the train I was standing in the middle and had about 3 bags on me and one round my shoulder. Train was rocking side to side, left and right like mad, everyone was holding on to something. Had to get my #badmancommuter stance on real quick to show them the stability levels without falling down. To be honest I don't think no one cared but I felt like a champion on that carriage. Big up Scratcha though 'cause he started the #badmancommuter movement on Twitter!!

Blackdown: What’s the single funniest par you’ve ever heard?

Andrew Balistiq: There's way too many to single out one but lemme think of one quickly now, erm...hahah I shouldn't even say this but it was joke. When we had just done a track with Wiley (Headbanger) he asked us not to send it to no one till the album dropped. I had DJ Mak 10 (Nasty Crew) on my case about it. He wanted it badly. I kept telling him wait till next week when the album drops I'll send it but he was adamant. So you know what I done? I ripped the audio from Logans show that week where he played it and saved the MP3 at 320kbps so the file size would seem like CD quality. So I sent it to him and said make sure he holds it down and he was like "Yeah respect for that". Obviously later when he opened it and heard Logan shouting all over the tune and dropping bombs he weren't impressed. But credit to Mak he saw the funny side of it and didn't take it the wrong way. That's just one of many pars, if I got started we'd be here for ages. Big up Mak 10 everytime, got mad amount of respect for that guy!! And yeah I did send it to him eventually.

Ryan Balistiq: I don't know if its funny, it weren't for me at the time but might be for you - but recently I was in Helsinki Finland working on some orchestrations for this track we're doing, I left the studio late and ordered a cab which never arrived - the cab station instructed me to wait at the nearest taxi line. It was 12am -18º my hands were too cold to even text anyone..after an hour a cab come but all the Finnish natives jumped in, I tried to get in and hand the driver my phone to talk to my Finnish friend, he gave it to the passenger who then told me, sorry we're not going your way. I got out the cab but when I spoke to my friend he goes they thought I was trying to scam them - PAR! Only black guy in Helsinki at 1am, what the flip would I be doing trying to scam you? I'm tryna get to bed!..I eventually stopped a cab that was empty and got back safe hahaha.

Andrew Balistiq: Remember the time in my house when we were building that tune and Simon ate your burger meat and left you the bun?

Ryan Balistiq: HAHAHA that was a STRONG par. Me and Andrew were making this tune and I was round the computer at that moment. Our mate Simon asked me if he could have a bit of my burger that I had just bought from Mc D's so I said yeah. So what does Simon do? He ate the meat and left me the bun and the gherkin. Oh and the chopped onions. What's the point of that?

Blackdown: [Following a funny Tweet by Balistiq] Would you sleep with a random girl that broke into your yard? Why?

Andrew Balistiq: Mate, I don't care how criss she is, breaking into my yard is violation first and foremost. It's never a sleep with an intruder ting, ever.

Ryan Balistiq: HELL. NO. ya mad? It would be a straight BAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT to the knee on a Tempz vibe.

· Find Balistiq Beats on Twitter and Facebook. “Yardman Riddim” EP is released at the end of February on digital and 12" on Keysound Recordings

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