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Kate Tempest started out when she was 16, rapping at strangers on night busses and pestering mc's to let her on the mic at raves. Ten years later she is a published playwright, novelist, poet and respected recording artist. Her work includes Balance, her first album with band Sound of Rum; Everything Speaks in its Own Way her first collection of poems, the critically acclaimed playsWasted, Glasshouse and Hopelessly Devoted.  Brand New Ancients, her self-performed epic poem to a live score, won the Ted Hughes prize 2013 and the Herald Angel at Edinburgh Fringe.It has sold out tours in the UK and New York and is published by Picador. Her second collection of poetry, Hold Your Own, will be published by Picador on October 2014. Her debut novel, The Bricks That Built The Houses, sold in a highly competitive auction to Bloomsbury and will be published in territories including the UK, US, France, Holland and Brazil in Spring 2015. Excitingly, each track on the record correlates with a chapter in the novel, in a groundbreaking cross-genre experience. 

Her single Our Town, with producers letthemusicplay was recently released on Greco-Roman records. Kate has featured on songs with Sinead O Connor, Bastille, the King Blues, Damien Dempsey and Landslide. She has toured extensively, supporting Billy Bragg on his UK tour, as well as supporting Scroobius Pip, Femi Kuti, Saul Williams and John Cooper Clarke. She is 2 x slam winner at the prestigious Nu-Yorican poetry cafe in New York and has played all the major UK and European music festivals either solo or with Sound of Rum. She's headlined Latitude festival and has been featured on the BBC's Glastonbury highlights, Channel 4, BBC Radio 1,4 and 6, as well as XFM and the Charlie Rose Show (Bloomberg) in the US.

Kate's new album Everybody Down is released in May 2014 on Big Dada records.  It was produced by Dan Carey aka Mr Dan who is one of the UK’s best known and most highly-rated producers. When the two met, Carey invited Tempest to come through to his South London studio to muck about on a track or two. In a burst of intense creativity, they put down the whole twelve track album in a fortnight having spent almost a year developing the characters and story. Kate is currently working on a new collection of poems, (to be published by Picador in 2014). 

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Kate Tempest started out when she was 16, rapping at strangers on night busses and pestering mc's to let her on the mic at raves. Ten years later she is a published playwright, novelist, poet and respected recording artist. Her work includes Balance, her first album with band Sound of Rum; Everything Speaks in its Own Way her first collection of poems, the critically acclaimed playsWasted, Glasshouse and Hopelessly Devoted.  Brand New Ancients, her self-performed epic poem to a live score, won the Ted Hughes prize 2013 and the Herald Angel at Edinburgh Fringe.It has sold out tours in the UK and New York and is published by Picador. Her second collection of poetry, Hold Your Own, will be published by Picador on October 2014. Her debut novel, The Bricks That Built The Houses, sold in a highly competitive auction to Bloomsbury and will be published in territories including the UK, US, France, Holland and Brazil in Spring 2015. Excitingly, each track on the record correlates with a chapter in the novel, in a groundbreaking cross-genre experience. 

Her single Our Town, with producers letthemusicplay was recently released on Greco-Roman records. Kate has featured on songs with Sinead O Connor, Bastille, the King Blues, Damien Dempsey and Landslide. She has toured extensively, supporting Billy Bragg on his UK tour, as well as supporting Scroobius Pip, Femi Kuti, Saul Williams and John Cooper Clarke. She is 2 x slam winner at the prestigious Nu-Yorican poetry cafe in New York and has played all the major UK and European music festivals either solo or with Sound of Rum. She's headlined Latitude festival and has been featured on the BBC's Glastonbury highlights, Channel 4, BBC Radio 1,4 and 6, as well as XFM and the Charlie Rose Show (Bloomberg) in the US.

Kate's new album Everybody Down is released in May 2014 on Big Dada records.  It was produced by Dan Carey aka Mr Dan who is one of the UK’s best known and most highly-rated producers. When the two met, Carey invited Tempest to come through to his South London studio to muck about on a track or two. In a burst of intense creativity, they put down the whole twelve track album in a fortnight having spent almost a year developing the characters and story. Kate is currently working on a new collection of poems, (to be published by Picador in 2014). 

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Young Fathers were christened in 2008, named after the fact that all three members were named for their fathers..

They are:

‘G’ Hastings, from Drylaw, Edinburgh, Alloysious Massaquoi, originally from Liberia via Ghana and Kayus Bankole, born in Edinburgh to Nigerian parents but partially raised in Maryland in the USA, all 27 years old. Their live shows are complimented by Steven Morrison (drums & DJ) and Lauren Holt (AKA LAWholt - vocals).

The group formed after meeting at an under-16s hiphop night at the infamous Bongo Club in Edinburgh when they were all 14 years old. Almost immediately they started writing and recording together, initially on an old karoake machine plugged into a cheap cassette recorderat G’s parents house.

After going through various guises over several years and after hooking up with a local production company, they eventually settled on the name Young Fathers and recorded their first album with Tim Brinkhurst (AKA London) as producer. The recordings included their first single, Straight Back On It, which was given a limited release in 2009 and was received well enough to get them a couple of TV appearances, plays on BBC radio, some festival dates and the support slots with Simian Mobile Disco and Esser on UK tours.

Straight Back On It, a bang-on-the-money pop song built around Afrika Bambaataa’s reworking of Kraftwerk, was indicative of the rest of the album, Inconceivable Child… Conceived, in as much as the album was a state of the art teenage pop collection. Unfortunately the album was never released; however, another single, separately recorded, Automatic, was given a limited online release, but failed to have much impact.

In 2011 and after writing and recording yet another, unreleased album, the group decided a radical change was necessary and they finally disconnected themselves from the local production company and took control of their destiny. Recording mini-album (or ‘mixtape’ as it was called) TAPE ONE in just over a week, finishing a track a day and having it available for download within two weeks of recording gave them renewed vigour. They quickly followed this up by recording TAPE TWO in a similar fashion. Los Angeles based alt-hiphop label, Anticon, discovered them online and within a few months had signed them up for a short deal that saw both TAPEs officially released in 2013.

The group, meanwhile, continued to tour, gathering an impressive reputation as a fierce live act. They played all over Europe and made their US debut at SxSW in Austin, Texas, in March 2013.

Following support from the BBC’s Zane Lowe and Lauren Laverne, and an appearance on influential USA talk show, Jimmy Kimmel in 2014, TAPE TWO won Scottish Album Of The Year (‘The SAY Award’) and this was followed by their latest album, DEAD, released this time on Anticon in the USA and Big Dada in the UK and Europe, receiving the Mercury Award for best album of 2014. They won as the underdogs and there was a minor controversy because they didn’t look particularly joyful at the presentation and because they refused to speak to some of the more right wing press covering the event.

Immediately after winning the Mercury, YFs travelled to Berlin where they continued making their new album in a freezing basement in a building near the railway yards. Returning to the more familiar (and warmer) basement studio in Edinburgh where most of their recordings were made, to finish the album, they ended 2014 by playing a home town show at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay New year’s Eve festival in front of several thousand people.

The new album, White Men Are Black Men Too, has been recorded at various places around the world, including Melbourne and London as well as Berlin and Edinburgh and features the Leith Congregational Choir on a couple of tracks.

Young Fathers played over 140 shows during 2014, including On Blackheath Festival (curated by Massive Attack). They toured the UK, large swathes of Europe and did a six week stint in the USA. The new year already has them booked to play even more. White Men Are Black Men Too is due for release in April.

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Young Fathers were christened in 2008, named after the fact that all three members were named for their fathers..

They are:

‘G’ Hastings, from Drylaw, Edinburgh, Alloysious Massaquoi, originally from Liberia via Ghana and Kayus Bankole, born in Edinburgh to Nigerian parents but partially raised in Maryland in the USA, all 27 years old. Their live shows are complimented by Steven Morrison (drums & DJ) and Lauren Holt (AKA LAWholt - vocals).

The group formed after meeting at an under-16s hiphop night at the infamous Bongo Club in Edinburgh when they were all 14 years old. Almost immediately they started writing and recording together, initially on an old karoake machine plugged into a cheap cassette recorderat G’s parents house.

After going through various guises over several years and after hooking up with a local production company, they eventually settled on the name Young Fathers and recorded their first album with Tim Brinkhurst (AKA London) as producer. The recordings included their first single, Straight Back On It, which was given a limited release in 2009 and was received well enough to get them a couple of TV appearances, plays on BBC radio, some festival dates and the support slots with Simian Mobile Disco and Esser on UK tours.

Straight Back On It, a bang-on-the-money pop song built around Afrika Bambaataa’s reworking of Kraftwerk, was indicative of the rest of the album, Inconceivable Child… Conceived, in as much as the album was a state of the art teenage pop collection. Unfortunately the album was never released; however, another single, separately recorded, Automatic, was given a limited online release, but failed to have much impact.

In 2011 and after writing and recording yet another, unreleased album, the group decided a radical change was necessary and they finally disconnected themselves from the local production company and took control of their destiny. Recording mini-album (or ‘mixtape’ as it was called) TAPE ONE in just over a week, finishing a track a day and having it available for download within two weeks of recording gave them renewed vigour. They quickly followed this up by recording TAPE TWO in a similar fashion. Los Angeles based alt-hiphop label, Anticon, discovered them online and within a few months had signed them up for a short deal that saw both TAPEs officially released in 2013.

The group, meanwhile, continued to tour, gathering an impressive reputation as a fierce live act. They played all over Europe and made their US debut at SxSW in Austin, Texas, in March 2013.

Following support from the BBC’s Zane Lowe and Lauren Laverne, and an appearance on influential USA talk show, Jimmy Kimmel in 2014, TAPE TWO won Scottish Album Of The Year (‘The SAY Award’) and this was followed by their latest album, DEAD, released this time on Anticon in the USA and Big Dada in the UK and Europe, receiving the Mercury Award for best album of 2014. They won as the underdogs and there was a minor controversy because they didn’t look particularly joyful at the presentation and because they refused to speak to some of the more right wing press covering the event.

Immediately after winning the Mercury, YFs travelled to Berlin where they continued making their new album in a freezing basement in a building near the railway yards. Returning to the more familiar (and warmer) basement studio in Edinburgh where most of their recordings were made, to finish the album, they ended 2014 by playing a home town show at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay New year’s Eve festival in front of several thousand people.

The new album, White Men Are Black Men Too, has been recorded at various places around the world, including Melbourne and London as well as Berlin and Edinburgh and features the Leith Congregational Choir on a couple of tracks.

Young Fathers played over 140 shows during 2014, including On Blackheath Festival (curated by Massive Attack). They toured the UK, large swathes of Europe and did a six week stint in the USA. The new year already has them booked to play even more. White Men Are Black Men Too is due for release in April.

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Brendan Angelides aka Eskmo is a San Francisco based electronic music producer and live performer. His multi-genre compositions have been featured on influential labels like Warp Records and Planet Mu, though while Eskmo's tracks encompass a wide range of electronic styles, he avoids classification. Bleep.com called his tracks "masterfully produced...sophisticated, post-Dilla hip-hop funk" while sites like Boomkat describe his music as "[putting] Eskmo on his own electronic plateau.

In the past five years Eskmo has released over a dozen singles and EPs, most recently a collaboration with Amon Tobin as Eskamon, as well as touring as a live act throughout North America and Europe, opening for Flying Lotus, Amon Tobin, STS9, and The Glitch Mob amongst many others. Over time, he has come to be recognized by top-tier producers as having his own distinct 'Eskmo Sound'; as Pendulum said this in a recent interview, "There are good producers, then there are dudes who..you never catch..and don't even try. He's one of those guys."

[links] =>

www.eskmo.com

Facebook
Twitter
Soundcloud

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Brendan Angelides aka Eskmo is a San Francisco based electronic music producer and live performer. His multi-genre compositions have been featured on influential labels like Warp Records and Planet Mu, though while Eskmo's tracks encompass a wide range of electronic styles, he avoids classification. Bleep.com called his tracks "masterfully produced...sophisticated, post-Dilla hip-hop funk" while sites like Boomkat describe his music as "[putting] Eskmo on his own electronic plateau.

In the past five years Eskmo has released over a dozen singles and EPs, most recently a collaboration with Amon Tobin as Eskamon, as well as touring as a live act throughout North America and Europe, opening for Flying Lotus, Amon Tobin, STS9, and The Glitch Mob amongst many others. Over time, he has come to be recognized by top-tier producers as having his own distinct 'Eskmo Sound'; as Pendulum said this in a recent interview, "There are good producers, then there are dudes who..you never catch..and don't even try. He's one of those guys."

[links_clean] =>

www.eskmo.com

Facebook
Twitter
Soundcloud

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Mr. Scruff: DJ, Producer & Cartoonist

As a DJ, Andy Carthy aka Mr. Scruff plays across the board, flitting between soul, funk, hip hop, jazz, reggae, latin, african, ska, disco, house, funk, breaks, soundtracks and loads more. As a producer he makes music that draws on these influences, with a large dose of cheek and good humour. His cartoon drawings illustrate gig flyers, record sleeves and CD covers, and usually accompany him at gigs as live animated visuals.

Carthy’s first encounter with mixing was as a 12 year old in late 1984, when a friend played him some of his uncle's electro records, notably the Streetsounds LP Crucial Electro Volume 1, opening his eyes and ears to the art of mixing records. Soon after he was constructing his own crude pause-button mixtapes, inspired by the electro compilations and various radio shows on stations such as Piccadilly, Radio Lancashire & Southside that exposed him to electro and hip-hop, soul, reggae and early house music. Shouts to John Peel (of course), Greg Wilson, Robbie Vincent, Richard Searling, Stu Allan, Lee Browne, Ranking Miss P, Scotty, Tony the Greek, Steve Barker, Gary Hickson, Sam Brown & Waxmaster.

Little by little Andy was building a collection fuelled by this knowledge, all the while improving his DJ skills. By 1987 he was proficient at turntable mixing and editing, although he was still using primitive home hi-fi gear. His first break came in 1994, when he met Barney Doodlebug, a DJ/Doodler who gave him his first Manchester gig, on a Sunday night in a venue called Dry Bar. He also passed on a demo tape to local label Rob's Records, which resulted in them releasing the first Mr. Scruff 12" single.

A regular on the Manchester scene through ’94-’95, he released a string of 12”s on Rob's Records subsidiary Pleasure, as well as sides for Echo Drop, Grand Central & Cup of Tea. His work for Grand Central with Mark Rae inspired some four-deck club performances, including friendly “battles” with DJ Food, which introduced him to the Ninja Tune fold.

Gigging across the UK (with Electric Chair, Off Centre, Fat City and Tru Thoughts) and Europe (with Grand Central), Mr. Scruff signed to Ninja Tune in 1998. His debut album Keep It Unreal arrived a year later, featuring the certified classic "Get A Move On", kick-starting his Manchester club night of the same name, borne of a desire to play exactly what he wanted, rather than having to fit in with the music policies of other club nights.

These were the beginnings of his famed “all-night-long” DJ sets cheerfully spanning blues, jazz, soul, funk, 60s R&B, disco, boogie, deep house, reggae, ska, rocksteady, dancehall, electronica, electro, hip hop, African, Latin, drum & bass, breakbeat… and bolstered his standing as a passionate, digger, collector and, above all, an unrivalled selector of the good stuff.

Trouser Jazz (2002); the epic mix CD Keep It Solid Steel (2004); and Ninja Tuna (2008) cemented Scruff’s rep as a premium freaker of frequencies, the latter featuring collaborations with the likes of Quantic, Danny Breaks, Alice Russell, Andreya Triana, Pete Simpson, Kaidi Tatham and Roots Manuva.

A fistful of EPs and singles populated 2009-2013 including Wobble Control (2011), Feel It / Bounce (2011) and Be The Music (2012).

In 2010 Big Chill Festival invited Mr. Scruff to host his own tent, testament to his inimitable raw dancefloor magnetism as are his regularly rammed-to-the-rafters Keep It Unreal sessions at Band On The Wall (Manchester) and KOKO (London).

After receiving a mighty nudge by the giant elbow of Ninja, the majority of 2013 was spent in the studio recording new album Friendly Bacteria, featuring Denis Jones, Matthew Halsall, Phil France, Vanessa Freeman & Robert Owens.

[links] =>

www.mrscruff.com

Facebook
Twitter
Soundcloud

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Mr. Scruff: DJ, Producer & Cartoonist

As a DJ, Andy Carthy aka Mr. Scruff plays across the board, flitting between soul, funk, hip hop, jazz, reggae, latin, african, ska, disco, house, funk, breaks, soundtracks and loads more. As a producer he makes music that draws on these influences, with a large dose of cheek and good humour. His cartoon drawings illustrate gig flyers, record sleeves and CD covers, and usually accompany him at gigs as live animated visuals.

Carthy’s first encounter with mixing was as a 12 year old in late 1984, when a friend played him some of his uncle's electro records, notably the Streetsounds LP Crucial Electro Volume 1, opening his eyes and ears to the art of mixing records. Soon after he was constructing his own crude pause-button mixtapes, inspired by the electro compilations and various radio shows on stations such as Piccadilly, Radio Lancashire & Southside that exposed him to electro and hip-hop, soul, reggae and early house music. Shouts to John Peel (of course), Greg Wilson, Robbie Vincent, Richard Searling, Stu Allan, Lee Browne, Ranking Miss P, Scotty, Tony the Greek, Steve Barker, Gary Hickson, Sam Brown & Waxmaster.

Little by little Andy was building a collection fuelled by this knowledge, all the while improving his DJ skills. By 1987 he was proficient at turntable mixing and editing, although he was still using primitive home hi-fi gear. His first break came in 1994, when he met Barney Doodlebug, a DJ/Doodler who gave him his first Manchester gig, on a Sunday night in a venue called Dry Bar. He also passed on a demo tape to local label Rob's Records, which resulted in them releasing the first Mr. Scruff 12" single.

A regular on the Manchester scene through ’94-’95, he released a string of 12”s on Rob's Records subsidiary Pleasure, as well as sides for Echo Drop, Grand Central & Cup of Tea. His work for Grand Central with Mark Rae inspired some four-deck club performances, including friendly “battles” with DJ Food, which introduced him to the Ninja Tune fold.

Gigging across the UK (with Electric Chair, Off Centre, Fat City and Tru Thoughts) and Europe (with Grand Central), Mr. Scruff signed to Ninja Tune in 1998. His debut album Keep It Unreal arrived a year later, featuring the certified classic "Get A Move On", kick-starting his Manchester club night of the same name, borne of a desire to play exactly what he wanted, rather than having to fit in with the music policies of other club nights.

These were the beginnings of his famed “all-night-long” DJ sets cheerfully spanning blues, jazz, soul, funk, 60s R&B, disco, boogie, deep house, reggae, ska, rocksteady, dancehall, electronica, electro, hip hop, African, Latin, drum & bass, breakbeat… and bolstered his standing as a passionate, digger, collector and, above all, an unrivalled selector of the good stuff.

Trouser Jazz (2002); the epic mix CD Keep It Solid Steel (2004); and Ninja Tuna (2008) cemented Scruff’s rep as a premium freaker of frequencies, the latter featuring collaborations with the likes of Quantic, Danny Breaks, Alice Russell, Andreya Triana, Pete Simpson, Kaidi Tatham and Roots Manuva.

A fistful of EPs and singles populated 2009-2013 including Wobble Control (2011), Feel It / Bounce (2011) and Be The Music (2012).

In 2010 Big Chill Festival invited Mr. Scruff to host his own tent, testament to his inimitable raw dancefloor magnetism as are his regularly rammed-to-the-rafters Keep It Unreal sessions at Band On The Wall (Manchester) and KOKO (London).

After receiving a mighty nudge by the giant elbow of Ninja, the majority of 2013 was spent in the studio recording new album Friendly Bacteria, featuring Denis Jones, Matthew Halsall, Phil France, Vanessa Freeman & Robert Owens.

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Kieren Gallear aka DELS is a new type of rapper (which is another way of saying that he’s more than just a rapper). Applying the kind of attention to detail, micro-management and macro-vision which Jay-Z used to build a business empire, DELS makes art. Popular art mind you, but art all the same, an album of emotional peaks, musical innovation and surreal, brilliant lyrics, held together by a strong, unique vision.

Gallear “never set out to be a rapper. It just happened. I was always obsessed with words. I was always cutting out random letterforms from newspapers or books because I liked the way that they sat on the page visually. This lead to me scribbling random thoughts into the back of school books and eventually picking up the mic to record those thoughts on a beat. I loved the freedom of how words can sit together in hip hop.”

An early break came when Suffolk resident John Peel heard DELS and his crew rapping at a local event and asked them to come on to his show on Radio 1. Ten years later and Gallear was back recording a session for the DJ’s spiritual heir at the station, Huw Stephens. But the intervening decade wasn’t wasted on selling weed, or unemployment, or running with a gang or any of the cliches of “urban” music. In his methodical, thoughtful way, Gallear put his efforts into his education. “Studying illustration, film, photography and Graphic Design. Attempting to forge a career within the arts, which then led to me combining it all with my music. ‘I’d been working on GOB since 2007, behind the scenes,” he says of his 2011 debut LP.

Gallear worked with three complementary but very different producers on his debut album. One of the people listening in on that Peel session was Joe Goddard, then of an unknown band called Hot Chip. He got in touch and the two began working together, cementing a friendship which finds its pinnacle in their collaborations on GOB. Micachu, on the other hand, is best known for her work with her band The Shapes, their classification as “indie” largely ignoring her classical training and long-term interest in grime. Kwes, recently signed to Warp Records in his own right, has worked with Damon Albarn, The XX, The Invisible and Speech Debelle. “They all provided me with challenging, but very inspiring music that enabled me to roam free creatively,” DELS explains. “Kwes, Joe Goddard and Micachu helped me shape a sound that is very difficult to box within one specific genre tag, which is exactly what I wanted with that album. I wanted the music to take on a life of it’s own. And not take itself too seriously!”

After the record's release, Gallear went on the road with a three piece band which completely re-wrote the rules of live hip hop, finding a sound which was as near to New Order as it was to the Roots. He has toured all over Europe, playing festivals and clubs and developing further his reputation for a kind of emotional openness which is pretty much unique in hip hop. Over the last few months, DELS has begun to work furiously on a new album. The Black Salad EP, which received repeat plays from Zane Lowe, Annie Mac and Huw Stephens at Radio 1, is a taster of what's to come. Lead track Bird Milk made its debut in an earlier form on the Kwesachu Volume 2 mixtape and DELS is keeping the same core of collaborators while reaching out to new producers for his second album.

That album is now complete. A stunning consolidation of everything that makes DELS great, as well as a giant leap forward sonically and imaginatively, Petals Have Fallen is an ultra-modern hip-hop masterpiece.

Kwes took a more hands-on, directorial role on this record, stepping forward to executive produce the album. Other collaborators represent the renaissance of fruitful, purposeful experimental music that’s come of age in London of late. Rosie Lowe, singer, songwriter and instrumentalist, recently signed to Paul Epworth’s Wolf Tone label, lends her shimmering vocal skill to the starkly beautiful Burning Beaches. Micachu, fresh from creating one of the most startling and effective soundtracks of recent years for Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, re-appears to lend her inimitable, visceral sonic genius to standout RGB.

South London avant-songstress Kerry Leatham has one of the finest voices and most original approaches to her craft that the capital has produced in recent years - she lends her considerable talent to Pulls. Add electronic music powerhouse and Ninja Tune legend Bonobo into the mix, as well as Mizz Beats, Eli-T and Kwes’ brilliant younger brother Coby Sey, and Kwes had a potent arsenal of musicians at his executive producer’s fingertips.

The album was recorded and produced in Kwes’ shipping container studio in London’s docklands, over a period of 18 months. Most of the actual writing took place in DELS’ flat in Peckham. ‘I found it difficult to write during the day,’ DELS says. ‘The songs always seemed to come together late at night as I laid bed, writing down my thoughts on my phone.’ Though this may have been a tortuous method for the writer, it’s an approach that’s delivered in spades for the listener. Petals Have Fallen is imbued with a late-night, soul-baring intimacy that’s rare on any sort of album, let alone in hip-hop. Like all the best records, the album is a self-contained universe, a window into DELS world that draws you gratefully in.

The album is also highly visual, casually littered with striking images. ‘The most ritualistic thing I did whilst I wrote the songs was pinning up visuals around me for inspiration. I’d often have movies that have meant so much to me over the years, like Akira, Blade Runner, Alien and The Shining, on in the background with no sound,’ DELS says. ‘I also had a few of my own landscape portraits and illustrations pinned up on the walls too.’

Petals Have Fallen is one of the first classic albums from a scene of musicians that has been years in the making, and marks a true resurgence of artistically worthwhile but viscerally thrilling music from London.

"I met most of the artists and producers that contributed to this album on MySpace back in 2005," DELS remembers. We had a page called “Loners", where myself and the likes of Kwes, Micachu, Ghostpoet, Sampha, Coby Sey, Elan Tamara were all featured – way before anybody knew who we were. We always said that we'd do a proper album together eventually. Petals Have Fallen is probably the closest thing to that collaborative album happening to date’

Petals Have Fallen is a classic album from this astonishing musician, and his talented crop of friends.

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[image_upload_id] => 19780 [label_id] => 2 [twitter_username] => iamdels [instagram_id] => 4524854 [instagram_username] => dels__ [link] => [listed] => 1 [sortname] => DELS [created] => 2010-07-17 22:15:59 [modified] => 2014-08-08 14:19:55 [slug] => dels [fuga_id] => [description_clean] =>

Kieren Gallear aka DELS is a new type of rapper (which is another way of saying that he’s more than just a rapper). Applying the kind of attention to detail, micro-management and macro-vision which Jay-Z used to build a business empire, DELS makes art. Popular art mind you, but art all the same, an album of emotional peaks, musical innovation and surreal, brilliant lyrics, held together by a strong, unique vision.

Gallear “never set out to be a rapper. It just happened. I was always obsessed with words. I was always cutting out random letterforms from newspapers or books because I liked the way that they sat on the page visually. This lead to me scribbling random thoughts into the back of school books and eventually picking up the mic to record those thoughts on a beat. I loved the freedom of how words can sit together in hip hop.”

An early break came when Suffolk resident John Peel heard DELS and his crew rapping at a local event and asked them to come on to his show on Radio 1. Ten years later and Gallear was back recording a session for the DJ’s spiritual heir at the station, Huw Stephens. But the intervening decade wasn’t wasted on selling weed, or unemployment, or running with a gang or any of the cliches of “urban” music. In his methodical, thoughtful way, Gallear put his efforts into his education. “Studying illustration, film, photography and Graphic Design. Attempting to forge a career within the arts, which then led to me combining it all with my music. ‘I’d been working on GOB since 2007, behind the scenes,” he says of his 2011 debut LP.

Gallear worked with three complementary but very different producers on his debut album. One of the people listening in on that Peel session was Joe Goddard, then of an unknown band called Hot Chip. He got in touch and the two began working together, cementing a friendship which finds its pinnacle in their collaborations on GOB. Micachu, on the other hand, is best known for her work with her band The Shapes, their classification as “indie” largely ignoring her classical training and long-term interest in grime. Kwes, recently signed to Warp Records in his own right, has worked with Damon Albarn, The XX, The Invisible and Speech Debelle. “They all provided me with challenging, but very inspiring music that enabled me to roam free creatively,” DELS explains. “Kwes, Joe Goddard and Micachu helped me shape a sound that is very difficult to box within one specific genre tag, which is exactly what I wanted with that album. I wanted the music to take on a life of it’s own. And not take itself too seriously!”

After the record's release, Gallear went on the road with a three piece band which completely re-wrote the rules of live hip hop, finding a sound which was as near to New Order as it was to the Roots. He has toured all over Europe, playing festivals and clubs and developing further his reputation for a kind of emotional openness which is pretty much unique in hip hop. Over the last few months, DELS has begun to work furiously on a new album. The Black Salad EP, which received repeat plays from Zane Lowe, Annie Mac and Huw Stephens at Radio 1, is a taster of what's to come. Lead track Bird Milk made its debut in an earlier form on the Kwesachu Volume 2 mixtape and DELS is keeping the same core of collaborators while reaching out to new producers for his second album.

That album is now complete. A stunning consolidation of everything that makes DELS great, as well as a giant leap forward sonically and imaginatively, Petals Have Fallen is an ultra-modern hip-hop masterpiece.

Kwes took a more hands-on, directorial role on this record, stepping forward to executive produce the album. Other collaborators represent the renaissance of fruitful, purposeful experimental music that’s come of age in London of late. Rosie Lowe, singer, songwriter and instrumentalist, recently signed to Paul Epworth’s Wolf Tone label, lends her shimmering vocal skill to the starkly beautiful Burning Beaches. Micachu, fresh from creating one of the most startling and effective soundtracks of recent years for Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, re-appears to lend her inimitable, visceral sonic genius to standout RGB.

South London avant-songstress Kerry Leatham has one of the finest voices and most original approaches to her craft that the capital has produced in recent years - she lends her considerable talent to Pulls. Add electronic music powerhouse and Ninja Tune legend Bonobo into the mix, as well as Mizz Beats, Eli-T and Kwes’ brilliant younger brother Coby Sey, and Kwes had a potent arsenal of musicians at his executive producer’s fingertips.

The album was recorded and produced in Kwes’ shipping container studio in London’s docklands, over a period of 18 months. Most of the actual writing took place in DELS’ flat in Peckham. ‘I found it difficult to write during the day,’ DELS says. ‘The songs always seemed to come together late at night as I laid bed, writing down my thoughts on my phone.’ Though this may have been a tortuous method for the writer, it’s an approach that’s delivered in spades for the listener. Petals Have Fallen is imbued with a late-night, soul-baring intimacy that’s rare on any sort of album, let alone in hip-hop. Like all the best records, the album is a self-contained universe, a window into DELS world that draws you gratefully in.

The album is also highly visual, casually littered with striking images. ‘The most ritualistic thing I did whilst I wrote the songs was pinning up visuals around me for inspiration. I’d often have movies that have meant so much to me over the years, like Akira, Blade Runner, Alien and The Shining, on in the background with no sound,’ DELS says. ‘I also had a few of my own landscape portraits and illustrations pinned up on the walls too.’

Petals Have Fallen is one of the first classic albums from a scene of musicians that has been years in the making, and marks a true resurgence of artistically worthwhile but viscerally thrilling music from London.

"I met most of the artists and producers that contributed to this album on MySpace back in 2005," DELS remembers. We had a page called “Loners", where myself and the likes of Kwes, Micachu, Ghostpoet, Sampha, Coby Sey, Elan Tamara were all featured – way before anybody knew who we were. We always said that we'd do a proper album together eventually. Petals Have Fallen is probably the closest thing to that collaborative album happening to date’

Petals Have Fallen is a classic album from this astonishing musician, and his talented crop of friends.

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Artist Date City Venue Buy
Kate Tempest Friday, Aug 22nd Reading, GB Reading Festival Buy
Young Fathers Friday, Aug 22nd Northamptonshire, GB Shambala Festival Buy
Eskmo Friday, Aug 22nd Atlanta, US Terminal West at King Plow Buy
Mr. Scruff Friday, Aug 22nd Brooklyn, US The Roof at Output Buy
DELS Friday, Aug 22nd London, GB Power Lunches Buy
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