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Back in 1996, Kid Koala became the first North American artist signed to UK label Ninja Tune. In the years that followed Kid Koala released a string of remixes and toured North America with fellow Ninja artists: Coldcut, DJ Food and DJ Vadim. But it was not long before his skill, innovation, and performance style led him to attract attention from those outside the club community. In 1998, he was invited to join Money Mark’s band, and then went on the road to open for the Beastie Boys on their 'Hello Nasty' world tour.

In 2000, Ninja Tune released Kid Koala’s debut album 'Carpal Tunnel Syndrome', which received international praise by the press for having defied expectation. The album featured a video game and a 32-page comic illustrated by Kid Koala himself. Following the release of the album Kid Koala toured extensively in North America and Europe as a member of groups such as Deltron 3030, Lovage, Bullfrog and on his own, opening for some of his favorite artists, Radiohead and Bjork.

While on the road, Kid Koala kept busy with pen to paper, illustrating a 350-page book called 'Nufonia Must Fall', accompanied by a soundtrack that he composed on the piano. Shortly after the release of this book came the release of his second album, 'Some of My Best Friends are DJs' complete with a 50-page comic book and mini chess game. This album was supported by a cabaret-style tour known as 'The Short Attention Span Theatre', which featured 3 DJs on 8 turntables, a slide show and a bingo game among other quirky surprises. Following this tour Kid Koala performed DJ sets in Australia, Asia, Europe, Russia, North America and South America, all the while working on a new book.

Kid Koala's most recent release on Ninja Tune was 'Your Mom’s Favorite DJ' in 2006. On this record he shows that his chosen means of expression (the turntable) is used not as a way of showing that he can do faster crabs than anyone else, but as a way of telling stories. Although there is the romance, silent movie comedy and swing that your mother may well smile at and even shake her booty to, the enthralling deftness and complexity you’d expect from Kid Koala is also here - woven together with classic hip hop beats, breaks and generous swathes of heavy guitars.

In 2009, Kid Koala put together 3 'Music to Draw To' performances in Montreal for which he basically invited people to come and draw while he played records. There was no dancing allowed, but people could enjoy a free cup of hot chocolate, purchase some treats and either draw or do some writing. These events were initially created just for fun, but they became a huge success. As the series progressed, he received more and more requests for us to take our event to other parts of Quebec, North America, Europe... Even South America and South Africa...

Later that year, Kid Koala embarked on another journey, that of presenting a project called 'The Slew' – live with the former rhythm section of Grammy Award-winning Australian rock band Wolfmother. Featuring drums, bass/keys and DJs working across a truly excessive six turntables, the set featured raw guitar cuts and heavy beats that set out as a one-time-only tour across North America. Due to the high demand by fans for a return and the amount of fun the band had playing together, they toured the North American Jazz Festival circuit and also appeared at SONAR Spain and Chicago. Somewhere in between their busy tour schedule the ex-Wolfmother rhyhtm section joined Kid Koala in the studio to lay down some new songs. Currently Dynomite D is working on the songs at his studio.

In late 2010, Kid Koala finsihed his latest graphic novel and soundtrack titled 'Space Cadet'. To work out the accompanying live show and gallery exhibition, he took part in an artist residence at MASS MoCA (Massachussetts Museum Of Contemporary Art) in December. The Space Cadet Headphone Concert and Gallery debuted on December 11 with 2 shows. The novel and soundtrack are set to be released during 2011 through Pigeon Press and a world tour will commence soon after.

[links] =>

www.kidkoala.com

Facebook
Twitter
Soundcloud

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Back in 1996, Kid Koala became the first North American artist signed to UK label Ninja Tune. In the years that followed Kid Koala released a string of remixes and toured North America with fellow Ninja artists: Coldcut, DJ Food and DJ Vadim. But it was not long before his skill, innovation, and performance style led him to attract attention from those outside the club community. In 1998, he was invited to join Money Mark’s band, and then went on the road to open for the Beastie Boys on their 'Hello Nasty' world tour.

In 2000, Ninja Tune released Kid Koala’s debut album 'Carpal Tunnel Syndrome', which received international praise by the press for having defied expectation. The album featured a video game and a 32-page comic illustrated by Kid Koala himself. Following the release of the album Kid Koala toured extensively in North America and Europe as a member of groups such as Deltron 3030, Lovage, Bullfrog and on his own, opening for some of his favorite artists, Radiohead and Bjork.

While on the road, Kid Koala kept busy with pen to paper, illustrating a 350-page book called 'Nufonia Must Fall', accompanied by a soundtrack that he composed on the piano. Shortly after the release of this book came the release of his second album, 'Some of My Best Friends are DJs' complete with a 50-page comic book and mini chess game. This album was supported by a cabaret-style tour known as 'The Short Attention Span Theatre', which featured 3 DJs on 8 turntables, a slide show and a bingo game among other quirky surprises. Following this tour Kid Koala performed DJ sets in Australia, Asia, Europe, Russia, North America and South America, all the while working on a new book.

Kid Koala's most recent release on Ninja Tune was 'Your Mom’s Favorite DJ' in 2006. On this record he shows that his chosen means of expression (the turntable) is used not as a way of showing that he can do faster crabs than anyone else, but as a way of telling stories. Although there is the romance, silent movie comedy and swing that your mother may well smile at and even shake her booty to, the enthralling deftness and complexity you’d expect from Kid Koala is also here - woven together with classic hip hop beats, breaks and generous swathes of heavy guitars.

In 2009, Kid Koala put together 3 'Music to Draw To' performances in Montreal for which he basically invited people to come and draw while he played records. There was no dancing allowed, but people could enjoy a free cup of hot chocolate, purchase some treats and either draw or do some writing. These events were initially created just for fun, but they became a huge success. As the series progressed, he received more and more requests for us to take our event to other parts of Quebec, North America, Europe... Even South America and South Africa...

Later that year, Kid Koala embarked on another journey, that of presenting a project called 'The Slew' – live with the former rhythm section of Grammy Award-winning Australian rock band Wolfmother. Featuring drums, bass/keys and DJs working across a truly excessive six turntables, the set featured raw guitar cuts and heavy beats that set out as a one-time-only tour across North America. Due to the high demand by fans for a return and the amount of fun the band had playing together, they toured the North American Jazz Festival circuit and also appeared at SONAR Spain and Chicago. Somewhere in between their busy tour schedule the ex-Wolfmother rhyhtm section joined Kid Koala in the studio to lay down some new songs. Currently Dynomite D is working on the songs at his studio.

In late 2010, Kid Koala finsihed his latest graphic novel and soundtrack titled 'Space Cadet'. To work out the accompanying live show and gallery exhibition, he took part in an artist residence at MASS MoCA (Massachussetts Museum Of Contemporary Art) in December. The Space Cadet Headphone Concert and Gallery debuted on December 11 with 2 shows. The novel and soundtrack are set to be released during 2011 through Pigeon Press and a world tour will commence soon after.

[links_clean] =>

www.kidkoala.com

Facebook
Twitter
Soundcloud

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The story of the most fun new force in electronic music goes a long way to explaining just why their music is so good. Letherette are two childhood friends with a current of empathy between them so strong that they seem more like brothers than anything else. Their serious intent is always expressed endearingly; they never take themselves too seriously, but they do want their music to be seriously good.

Richard Roberts and Andy Harber were both born during a deep snowstorm one December - at the time the worst since 1960 - that prevented the ambulances that came to get their mothers from reaching their houses. They grew up thirty minutes away from each other in Wolverhampton, and met at the age of 11 when they were sent to the same secondary school. Andy threatened to beat Rich up if he didn't invite him to join a football game, and they took things from there. It's perhaps helpful to know that whilst Andy was the same height then as now, Rich used to look entirely physically different. He went so suddenly from blonde to dark haired that his father claimed he was swapped in his teens.

The pair quickly became firm friends, their (now friendlier) football games lasting long into the night, and remaining their main pastime until they discovered girls, cigarettes and, most importantly, music. Both had strong musical experiences early in their lives. Andy had two older sisters and was 'made' to sing along with them and his mother in the car. They'd harmonise along to The Carpenters on their annual journeys to Wales. He also loved guitar music: Jimi, The Beatles, Moody Blues and T Rex. His first purchase was an MC Hammer tape, and his eventual love was the electronic music of Orbital and Aphex Twin and the avant-garde work of pioneers like Stockhausen.

Rich had a profound early experience when he heard "Reach Out and I'll Be There" by The Four Tops. To this day, whenever he hears it he remembers how excited he was at the capabilities of this thing called music. His dad has a massive soul collection, and he devoured it happily in his youth. Later, he taught himself guitar by freezing videos and copying chord shapes. He used to go to Andy's in order to make use of his friend's more expensive gear.

They began making music together, initially just hitting record and improvising for hours and hours, making experimental music. 'We'd just smoke joints and indulge ourselves,' they say. It seems it was a fertile starting point for their career. 'Wolverhampton is perfect,' says Rich, 'because there is nothing to do. It was recently voted the 3rd or 4th worst city in the world, with some shanty town in Brazil the next worst.' Easy then, he says, to get into creativity. 'We couldn't live in London,' they laugh. 'There'd be much too much to do.'

They did make the most of what little music there was in their hometown though, soaking up the commercial house music at Wolverhampton's two main clubs, The Canal and Light Bar. Andy worked in the latter as a glass collector at 16, and the pair clubbed at both together. You can hear the influence of these days in their own exuberant, unrestrained music, which moves the feet as much as the mind. Despite their regional upbringings, they are firmly part of a generation of artists taking electronic music to a new level, making the artform richer.

Actually, they went to a sort of anti-Brit school for young electronic talent; Actress was two years above them, Alex Nut in the same year. The latter introduced them to Bibio - still a great friend and contemporary - and like him and Lee Gamble, they attended courses at Sonic Arts college. This mixture of musical pedigree and regional boredom was a strong tonic for the young duo. Myspace was a real tool for them, and they met Kwes, Machinedrum, Jimmy Edgar and Brownswood records via the social networking site. They remixed Machinerum and Bibio in 2009, and were then invited to submit a track for the ‘Brownswood Electric’ comp in 2010. They played their first, ‘awful’ gig with a crashed Ableton at the comp’s launch, in front of Gilles Peterson himself.

A mix for Andrew Meza’s BTS radio was a huge turning point, as were the two EPs Alex Nut released on his Hotep label. For a while after that they felt slightly stuck, they say; they were talented beatmakers with potential, but needed inspiration to move on. That inspiration appeared in the form of manager Greg Eden (Mark Pritchard, Clark) who told them he’d take them on if they took a step up. They put their heads down, worked hard, and won him over within only a few months.

And the work they made to do so became part of the demos that saw Ninja Tune eagerly pick them up in 2012. Ninja ‘saw the light,’ they say, and helped them to do the same. Now, they are full time musicians whose stunning debut album is winning applause from all sides. People fall in love quickly with Letherette, whose playful, ‘70s referencing, sexy stylings and joyful music are infectious.

They want, says Rich, ‘to be in a position where they make great albums playing to great people.’ 'We always want to be in touch with what's good,' Andy adds, 'and to make music we're proud of and never go stale. If that ever happened, in my ears, we’d call it a day.’ May that never come then, because it would make the musical landscape a significantly poorer place.

[links] =>

Facebook
Twitter
Soundcloud

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The story of the most fun new force in electronic music goes a long way to explaining just why their music is so good. Letherette are two childhood friends with a current of empathy between them so strong that they seem more like brothers than anything else. Their serious intent is always expressed endearingly; they never take themselves too seriously, but they do want their music to be seriously good.

Richard Roberts and Andy Harber were both born during a deep snowstorm one December - at the time the worst since 1960 - that prevented the ambulances that came to get their mothers from reaching their houses. They grew up thirty minutes away from each other in Wolverhampton, and met at the age of 11 when they were sent to the same secondary school. Andy threatened to beat Rich up if he didn't invite him to join a football game, and they took things from there. It's perhaps helpful to know that whilst Andy was the same height then as now, Rich used to look entirely physically different. He went so suddenly from blonde to dark haired that his father claimed he was swapped in his teens.

The pair quickly became firm friends, their (now friendlier) football games lasting long into the night, and remaining their main pastime until they discovered girls, cigarettes and, most importantly, music. Both had strong musical experiences early in their lives. Andy had two older sisters and was 'made' to sing along with them and his mother in the car. They'd harmonise along to The Carpenters on their annual journeys to Wales. He also loved guitar music: Jimi, The Beatles, Moody Blues and T Rex. His first purchase was an MC Hammer tape, and his eventual love was the electronic music of Orbital and Aphex Twin and the avant-garde work of pioneers like Stockhausen.

Rich had a profound early experience when he heard "Reach Out and I'll Be There" by The Four Tops. To this day, whenever he hears it he remembers how excited he was at the capabilities of this thing called music. His dad has a massive soul collection, and he devoured it happily in his youth. Later, he taught himself guitar by freezing videos and copying chord shapes. He used to go to Andy's in order to make use of his friend's more expensive gear.

They began making music together, initially just hitting record and improvising for hours and hours, making experimental music. 'We'd just smoke joints and indulge ourselves,' they say. It seems it was a fertile starting point for their career. 'Wolverhampton is perfect,' says Rich, 'because there is nothing to do. It was recently voted the 3rd or 4th worst city in the world, with some shanty town in Brazil the next worst.' Easy then, he says, to get into creativity. 'We couldn't live in London,' they laugh. 'There'd be much too much to do.'

They did make the most of what little music there was in their hometown though, soaking up the commercial house music at Wolverhampton's two main clubs, The Canal and Light Bar. Andy worked in the latter as a glass collector at 16, and the pair clubbed at both together. You can hear the influence of these days in their own exuberant, unrestrained music, which moves the feet as much as the mind. Despite their regional upbringings, they are firmly part of a generation of artists taking electronic music to a new level, making the artform richer.

Actually, they went to a sort of anti-Brit school for young electronic talent; Actress was two years above them, Alex Nut in the same year. The latter introduced them to Bibio - still a great friend and contemporary - and like him and Lee Gamble, they attended courses at Sonic Arts college. This mixture of musical pedigree and regional boredom was a strong tonic for the young duo. Myspace was a real tool for them, and they met Kwes, Machinedrum, Jimmy Edgar and Brownswood records via the social networking site. They remixed Machinerum and Bibio in 2009, and were then invited to submit a track for the ‘Brownswood Electric’ comp in 2010. They played their first, ‘awful’ gig with a crashed Ableton at the comp’s launch, in front of Gilles Peterson himself.

A mix for Andrew Meza’s BTS radio was a huge turning point, as were the two EPs Alex Nut released on his Hotep label. For a while after that they felt slightly stuck, they say; they were talented beatmakers with potential, but needed inspiration to move on. That inspiration appeared in the form of manager Greg Eden (Mark Pritchard, Clark) who told them he’d take them on if they took a step up. They put their heads down, worked hard, and won him over within only a few months.

And the work they made to do so became part of the demos that saw Ninja Tune eagerly pick them up in 2012. Ninja ‘saw the light,’ they say, and helped them to do the same. Now, they are full time musicians whose stunning debut album is winning applause from all sides. People fall in love quickly with Letherette, whose playful, ‘70s referencing, sexy stylings and joyful music are infectious.

They want, says Rich, ‘to be in a position where they make great albums playing to great people.’ 'We always want to be in touch with what's good,' Andy adds, 'and to make music we're proud of and never go stale. If that ever happened, in my ears, we’d call it a day.’ May that never come then, because it would make the musical landscape a significantly poorer place.

[links_clean] =>

Facebook
Twitter
Soundcloud

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Restless as a DJ and adventurous in his productions, Illum Sphere (real name Ryan Hunn) is both a key player in the Manchester music scene and a unique presence on the global stage. Deliberately oblique in his approach, he’s had a vital impact on electronic music, and it’s about to get bigger.

Hoya:Hoya, the club night he founded in 2008 along with Jonny Dub, has steadily expanded its reputation in and outside Manchester: they now boast Eclair Fifi, Jon K, Lone, and Krystal Klear as resident DJs, as well as mic skills from Chunky, Fox and visuals by EMN.

That’s a hotbed of talent from which radio stations, festivals and record labels outside Manchester draw. Hoya:Hoya  also brings names like Four Tet, Dabrye, Ikonika and Kuedo to the city, helping to build its reputation as a nightclub singular in style, and simply as one of the best parties in the country. It’s well known that you can’t fully predict what music you’ll get on a Hoya:Hoya night, let alone from one of Illum Sphere’s own DJ sets. He’ll skip effortlessly between hip-hop, psych, techno, boogie and myriad more styles, before you even know what’s happened.

It’s partly through this reach that Illum Sphere has attracted international attention. He’s played parties everywhere from Low End Theory in LA to Sydney, Australia. XL Recordings asked him to remix Radiohead, who then invited Illum to appear on the seminal King of Limbs remixed edition of Boiler Room, alongside Caribou, Jamie XX and Lone, as well as to DJ at the afterparty of Radiohead’s 02 concert.

Besides releases on Manchester’s own Fat City, he’s released music on a plethora of electronic music’s best imprints: Martyn’s label 3024, Pinch’s Tectonic and Young Turks.

Now, he’s found a permanent home in Ninja Tune. As with his boundary skipping DJ sets, Illum Sphere’s releases are marked not by a regulated approach beginning with tempo or genre, but a free-spirited attitude that encompasses a range of genres. With his series of EPs for Fat City, Illum Sphere started out in sci-fi atmospherics and loosely slung beats, before quickly venturing into more exotic grooves. "Titan" (on 3024) achieved a new, bleepy dancefloor leverage while "Dreamstealin" (on Tectonic) is a trip, awash with warped and droned strings, far out rhythms and a soothing boogie comedown.

His Young Turks EP saw Illum Sphere stepping out with a new 4/4 fearlessness. Both tracks are dancefloor to the max: while "h808er" effortlessly sweeps you up into storming  Drexciyan techno and then lifts unexpectedly into breezy psychedelia. "Birthday" is full on bump, coupled with Illum Sphere’s distinct musical humour.

Just as his DJing style fuses the explorative and the unexpected, so do his productions, and with the talent to match his idiosyncratic style, he is now achieving a newfound confidence and artistic distinction.

Photo by Louis Reynolds

[links] =>

Hoya:Hoya

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
SoundCloud

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Restless as a DJ and adventurous in his productions, Illum Sphere (real name Ryan Hunn) is both a key player in the Manchester music scene and a unique presence on the global stage. Deliberately oblique in his approach, he’s had a vital impact on electronic music, and it’s about to get bigger.

Hoya:Hoya, the club night he founded in 2008 along with Jonny Dub, has steadily expanded its reputation in and outside Manchester: they now boast Eclair Fifi, Jon K, Lone, and Krystal Klear as resident DJs, as well as mic skills from Chunky, Fox and visuals by EMN.

That’s a hotbed of talent from which radio stations, festivals and record labels outside Manchester draw. Hoya:Hoya  also brings names like Four Tet, Dabrye, Ikonika and Kuedo to the city, helping to build its reputation as a nightclub singular in style, and simply as one of the best parties in the country. It’s well known that you can’t fully predict what music you’ll get on a Hoya:Hoya night, let alone from one of Illum Sphere’s own DJ sets. He’ll skip effortlessly between hip-hop, psych, techno, boogie and myriad more styles, before you even know what’s happened.

It’s partly through this reach that Illum Sphere has attracted international attention. He’s played parties everywhere from Low End Theory in LA to Sydney, Australia. XL Recordings asked him to remix Radiohead, who then invited Illum to appear on the seminal King of Limbs remixed edition of Boiler Room, alongside Caribou, Jamie XX and Lone, as well as to DJ at the afterparty of Radiohead’s 02 concert.

Besides releases on Manchester’s own Fat City, he’s released music on a plethora of electronic music’s best imprints: Martyn’s label 3024, Pinch’s Tectonic and Young Turks.

Now, he’s found a permanent home in Ninja Tune. As with his boundary skipping DJ sets, Illum Sphere’s releases are marked not by a regulated approach beginning with tempo or genre, but a free-spirited attitude that encompasses a range of genres. With his series of EPs for Fat City, Illum Sphere started out in sci-fi atmospherics and loosely slung beats, before quickly venturing into more exotic grooves. "Titan" (on 3024) achieved a new, bleepy dancefloor leverage while "Dreamstealin" (on Tectonic) is a trip, awash with warped and droned strings, far out rhythms and a soothing boogie comedown.

His Young Turks EP saw Illum Sphere stepping out with a new 4/4 fearlessness. Both tracks are dancefloor to the max: while "h808er" effortlessly sweeps you up into storming  Drexciyan techno and then lifts unexpectedly into breezy psychedelia. "Birthday" is full on bump, coupled with Illum Sphere’s distinct musical humour.

Just as his DJing style fuses the explorative and the unexpected, so do his productions, and with the talent to match his idiosyncratic style, he is now achieving a newfound confidence and artistic distinction.

Photo by Louis Reynolds

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Vice 10th Birthday


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Vice 10th Birthday


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Richard Kylea Cowie (born 19 January 1979), better known by his stage name Wiley, is perhaps the most prolific British producer, rapper and recording artist to emerge in the last twenty years. He has made pioneering music in the fields of jungle, drum & bass and UK garage, but is best known as the originator and Godfather of Grime, the uniquely British take on rap music which roared out of east London in the early noughties. Since then he has straddled the mainstream and the underground, irritated and amazed people in equal measure and carved out a unique career path which he has more or less had to make up as he has  gone along.

Wiley's earliest recordings date back to 1997, when he featured on pirate radio rapping over jungle beats. In 2000, Wiley joined with "The Hit Squad" garage crew with school friends DJ Target and MC Maxwell D. They achieved some success on the UKG scene but then decided to combine with rival crew Pay As U Go to become a "super crew," containing the Ladies Hit Squad members plus DJ Slimzee and MC's Major Ace and Plague. God's Gift, Flow Dan and Riko joined soon after. In 2002 the collective achieved a top 40 hit with "Champagne Dance"

Soon after, the crew disintegrated due to individual members having differing ideas of the direction the crew should take. Wiley went on to form the Roll Deep collective, which included Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder as MCs. Wiley’s vision saw him stripping the generic melodies and sickly harmonies out of garage music and developing the drums and basslines. For a while there was no name for the genre he did more than anyone to create, but eventually the label "grime" was the one that stuck.  From 2001, Wiley produced a slew of instrumental singles on his WileyKat Record label, the best known being "Eskimo", "Avalanche" and "Ice Rink". The underground notoriety he achieved led to his being offered a recording deal with the legendary XL Recordings.

In 2004, Wiley released his debut album, 'Treddin' on Thin Ice' with his new label. Singles from the album included, "Wot Do U Call It?" which mocked the various names given to his music, and "Pies”, which showed his humorous side. Reviews such as in Pitchfork Media made comparisons between Wiley and his previous labelmate Dizzee Rascal, who had achieved success with Boy in Da Corner the previous year. Alexis Petridis of The Guardian noted the "comically polarised" fanbase Wiley had accrued; "At one extreme, its sonic experimentation has attracted the kind of people who run music blogs... [where] lengthy essays are posted on issues as the differentiation between Humean and Kantian views of motivation in the lyrics of Bonnie Prince Billy. At the other extreme, it is favoured by inner city teens who appear to communicate entirely in an impenetrable mix of street slang and patois."

During this period, Wiley occasionally referred to his music as "Eski", short for 'Eskibeat' – the name he initially gave to grime. He also released mixtapes under the name "Eskiboy". He explained his choice of name for his music and the continuing theme in his song and album titles such as 'Treddin' on Thin Ice', partly because he likes the wintertime, but mainly meaning cold in spirit. "Sometimes I just feel cold hearted. I felt cold at that time, towards my family, towards everyone. That's why I used those names.”

Many of Wiley's early vinyl releases, such as 'Eskimo', were released under the alias "Wiley Kat", this name was derived from a character in the cartoon Thundercats. However, the 'Kat' is never officially used by Wiley anymore, only being mentioned loosely in some of his songs.

In 2006, Wiley released his second album 'Da 2nd Phaze' on the Boy Better Know label. The album consists of 20 tracks that had been put together by Wiley from the past three years of work, including exclusive bonus tracks from God’s Gift, Alex Mills and More Fire Crew, the latter signaling the end of the Wiley-Lethal Bizzle feud.

This was followed in by Wiley's third album, 'Playtime is Over'  on Big Dada Records, which combined artistic control for Wiley with a full scale release on a recognised label. Wiley was thrilled at the opportunity to be allowed to make a grime record as he saw it, and he formed a relationship with the label that outlasted any other he’s had in the industry.

In May 2008, Wiley found mainstream chart success with the hit single, "Wearing My Rolex". The instrumentation (such as the slower, house style beat and lack of sub bass) caused some unrest within the Grime scene, as Wiley had publicly vowed that he would never leave grime music to break into the mainstream. In the same month, Wiley released his fourth album entitled Grime Wave, which was described by The Times as a "very pre-Rolex album. With its roots firmly based in the harsh, bass-heavy rhythms of the scene".  

This album was followed by See Clear Now, in October 2008 which included the mainstream hits "Wearing My Rolex", "Cash In My Pocket" and "Summertime". This album took Wiley in a mainstream direction. Despite its success, Wiley has disowned the album as he was "very angry" with the label, Asylum, about the production and also unhappy about his management at the time.

Now on his own label, Wiley went on to make another album, Race Against Time. This was released eight months after his previous album in June 2009, on Eskibeat Recordings and again he had much more creative control, if little time and few resources to organise the release effectively. The album includes the 2009 hit "Too Many Man", featuring Boy Better Know.

In 2010 Wiley released 11 Zip Files for free download on his Twitter page, containing over 200 tracks of old and unreleased music, including tracks from the forthcoming album 'The Elusive'. The following year, Wiley announced his return to the Big Dada label, and the release of '100% Publishing' . The album is perhaps best remembered for “Numbers In Action” and its innovative video, for which Wiley won a Video Music Award. 

Less than six months later, he released his third album with Big Dada, 'Evolve Or Be Extinct' , including skits set in taxi cabs and at immigration as well as lighthearted bangers like “Boom Blast” and “I’m Skanking” alongside harder material such as “Scar”. Soon after the record’s release Wiley began leaking grime freestyles over grime beats and releasing them for free via Twitter. This collection was released chronologically with the names "Step 1", "Step 2" and so on. After "Step 10", all of the freestyles were compiled and released as a mixtape titled It's All Fun and Games Till, Vol. 1. Alongside working on his "Step" freestyles, various other promo songs were released. Wiley carried on with his "Step" freestyles, releasing Vol. 2 of It's All Fun and Games Till.

In June 2012, Wiley released his summer single "Heatwave", featuring Ms D and produced by Rymez. On 5 August 2012, "Heatwave" peaked at number 1 on the UK Singles Chart, making this Wiley's first solo number 1, selling an impressive 114,000 copies. His next single, announced in late August, titled "Can You Hear Me" featuring Skepta, JME and Ms D, was released in October 2012. The song was renamed to "Can You Hear Me (Ayayaya)".

Alongside a series of harder-edged releases on Big Dada, Wiley devoted much of 2013 to the promotion of his Warner album, ‘The Ascent’, inclduing his infamous appearance at Glastonbury that summer, culminating in his all-time classic Tweet: “Fuck them and their farm.” On 11 October 2013, a petition was presented to Tower Hamlets' mayor Lutfur Rahman signed by over 2,000 Wiley fans, requesting that a monument to the artist be erected in Bow. On 19 October 2013, Wiley was awarded 'Best Male' at the MOBO Award's 18th Anniversary. 

Wiley remains one of the biggest characters and wildest talents in British music. Whether helping younger artists break through (Dizzee, Chipmunk, Tinchy), offloading hundreds of unreleashed tracks on Twitter, rowing with detractors or doling out private insights on the web – he is always in the studio. Ultimately a workaholic, he’s the kind of artist one can imagine making groundbreaking, avant-garde music well into his old age. A true maverick and an artist in the truest sense of the word, we’re lucky to have Wiley. We should make the most of it. But he probably won’t let us.

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Richard Kylea Cowie (born 19 January 1979), better known by his stage name Wiley, is perhaps the most prolific British producer, rapper and recording artist to emerge in the last twenty years. He has made pioneering music in the fields of jungle, drum & bass and UK garage, but is best known as the originator and Godfather of Grime, the uniquely British take on rap music which roared out of east London in the early noughties. Since then he has straddled the mainstream and the underground, irritated and amazed people in equal measure and carved out a unique career path which he has more or less had to make up as he has  gone along.

Wiley's earliest recordings date back to 1997, when he featured on pirate radio rapping over jungle beats. In 2000, Wiley joined with "The Hit Squad" garage crew with school friends DJ Target and MC Maxwell D. They achieved some success on the UKG scene but then decided to combine with rival crew Pay As U Go to become a "super crew," containing the Ladies Hit Squad members plus DJ Slimzee and MC's Major Ace and Plague. God's Gift, Flow Dan and Riko joined soon after. In 2002 the collective achieved a top 40 hit with "Champagne Dance"

Soon after, the crew disintegrated due to individual members having differing ideas of the direction the crew should take. Wiley went on to form the Roll Deep collective, which included Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder as MCs. Wiley’s vision saw him stripping the generic melodies and sickly harmonies out of garage music and developing the drums and basslines. For a while there was no name for the genre he did more than anyone to create, but eventually the label "grime" was the one that stuck.  From 2001, Wiley produced a slew of instrumental singles on his WileyKat Record label, the best known being "Eskimo", "Avalanche" and "Ice Rink". The underground notoriety he achieved led to his being offered a recording deal with the legendary XL Recordings.

In 2004, Wiley released his debut album, 'Treddin' on Thin Ice' with his new label. Singles from the album included, "Wot Do U Call It?" which mocked the various names given to his music, and "Pies”, which showed his humorous side. Reviews such as in Pitchfork Media made comparisons between Wiley and his previous labelmate Dizzee Rascal, who had achieved success with Boy in Da Corner the previous year. Alexis Petridis of The Guardian noted the "comically polarised" fanbase Wiley had accrued; "At one extreme, its sonic experimentation has attracted the kind of people who run music blogs... [where] lengthy essays are posted on issues as the differentiation between Humean and Kantian views of motivation in the lyrics of Bonnie Prince Billy. At the other extreme, it is favoured by inner city teens who appear to communicate entirely in an impenetrable mix of street slang and patois."

During this period, Wiley occasionally referred to his music as "Eski", short for 'Eskibeat' – the name he initially gave to grime. He also released mixtapes under the name "Eskiboy". He explained his choice of name for his music and the continuing theme in his song and album titles such as 'Treddin' on Thin Ice', partly because he likes the wintertime, but mainly meaning cold in spirit. "Sometimes I just feel cold hearted. I felt cold at that time, towards my family, towards everyone. That's why I used those names.”

Many of Wiley's early vinyl releases, such as 'Eskimo', were released under the alias "Wiley Kat", this name was derived from a character in the cartoon Thundercats. However, the 'Kat' is never officially used by Wiley anymore, only being mentioned loosely in some of his songs.

In 2006, Wiley released his second album 'Da 2nd Phaze' on the Boy Better Know label. The album consists of 20 tracks that had been put together by Wiley from the past three years of work, including exclusive bonus tracks from God’s Gift, Alex Mills and More Fire Crew, the latter signaling the end of the Wiley-Lethal Bizzle feud.

This was followed in by Wiley's third album, 'Playtime is Over'  on Big Dada Records, which combined artistic control for Wiley with a full scale release on a recognised label. Wiley was thrilled at the opportunity to be allowed to make a grime record as he saw it, and he formed a relationship with the label that outlasted any other he’s had in the industry.

In May 2008, Wiley found mainstream chart success with the hit single, "Wearing My Rolex". The instrumentation (such as the slower, house style beat and lack of sub bass) caused some unrest within the Grime scene, as Wiley had publicly vowed that he would never leave grime music to break into the mainstream. In the same month, Wiley released his fourth album entitled Grime Wave, which was described by The Times as a "very pre-Rolex album. With its roots firmly based in the harsh, bass-heavy rhythms of the scene".  

This album was followed by See Clear Now, in October 2008 which included the mainstream hits "Wearing My Rolex", "Cash In My Pocket" and "Summertime". This album took Wiley in a mainstream direction. Despite its success, Wiley has disowned the album as he was "very angry" with the label, Asylum, about the production and also unhappy about his management at the time.

Now on his own label, Wiley went on to make another album, Race Against Time. This was released eight months after his previous album in June 2009, on Eskibeat Recordings and again he had much more creative control, if little time and few resources to organise the release effectively. The album includes the 2009 hit "Too Many Man", featuring Boy Better Know.

In 2010 Wiley released 11 Zip Files for free download on his Twitter page, containing over 200 tracks of old and unreleased music, including tracks from the forthcoming album 'The Elusive'. The following year, Wiley announced his return to the Big Dada label, and the release of '100% Publishing' . The album is perhaps best remembered for “Numbers In Action” and its innovative video, for which Wiley won a Video Music Award. 

Less than six months later, he released his third album with Big Dada, 'Evolve Or Be Extinct' , including skits set in taxi cabs and at immigration as well as lighthearted bangers like “Boom Blast” and “I’m Skanking” alongside harder material such as “Scar”. Soon after the record’s release Wiley began leaking grime freestyles over grime beats and releasing them for free via Twitter. This collection was released chronologically with the names "Step 1", "Step 2" and so on. After "Step 10", all of the freestyles were compiled and released as a mixtape titled It's All Fun and Games Till, Vol. 1. Alongside working on his "Step" freestyles, various other promo songs were released. Wiley carried on with his "Step" freestyles, releasing Vol. 2 of It's All Fun and Games Till.

In June 2012, Wiley released his summer single "Heatwave", featuring Ms D and produced by Rymez. On 5 August 2012, "Heatwave" peaked at number 1 on the UK Singles Chart, making this Wiley's first solo number 1, selling an impressive 114,000 copies. His next single, announced in late August, titled "Can You Hear Me" featuring Skepta, JME and Ms D, was released in October 2012. The song was renamed to "Can You Hear Me (Ayayaya)".

Alongside a series of harder-edged releases on Big Dada, Wiley devoted much of 2013 to the promotion of his Warner album, ‘The Ascent’, inclduing his infamous appearance at Glastonbury that summer, culminating in his all-time classic Tweet: “Fuck them and their farm.” On 11 October 2013, a petition was presented to Tower Hamlets' mayor Lutfur Rahman signed by over 2,000 Wiley fans, requesting that a monument to the artist be erected in Bow. On 19 October 2013, Wiley was awarded 'Best Male' at the MOBO Award's 18th Anniversary. 

Wiley remains one of the biggest characters and wildest talents in British music. Whether helping younger artists break through (Dizzee, Chipmunk, Tinchy), offloading hundreds of unreleashed tracks on Twitter, rowing with detractors or doling out private insights on the web – he is always in the studio. Ultimately a workaholic, he’s the kind of artist one can imagine making groundbreaking, avant-garde music well into his old age. A true maverick and an artist in the truest sense of the word, we’re lucky to have Wiley. We should make the most of it. But he probably won’t let us.

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In a production career spanning the best part of a decade, Part 2 has been consistently ahead of the game, many of his innovations pre-figuring the current Black Music renaissance in this country. As producer for New Flesh he has been described as "a master of a variety of styles" (Sunday Times Culture), "the sound of the UK underground at its most sublime" (The Face) and an "unassailable" producer (DJ). In addition, Part 2 has remixed and produced for a range of artists including Roots Manuva, Ty, Serge Gainsbourg, Trilok Gurtu, Wu-Tang's Killah Priest and Saul Williams. Alongside this, he has had a highly successful career as a spraycan artist, exhibiting in the UK and across Europe and universally respected as one of the pioneers of the hyper-realist style. In addition to his production work on the the three New Flesh albums, Part 2 released one solo album for Big Dada in 2005, "Live From The Breadline."

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In a production career spanning the best part of a decade, Part 2 has been consistently ahead of the game, many of his innovations pre-figuring the current Black Music renaissance in this country.

As producer for New Flesh he has been described as "a master of a variety of styles" (Sunday Times Culture), "the sound of the UK underground at its most sublime" (The Face) and an "unassailable" producer (DJ). In addition, Part 2 has remixed and produced for a range of artists including Roots Manuva, Ty, Serge Gainsbourg, Trilok Gurtu, Wu-Tang's Killah Priest and Saul Williams. Alongside this, he has had a highly successful career as a spraycan artist, exhibiting in the UK and across Europe and universally respected as one of the pioneers of the hyper-realist style. In addition to his production work on the the three New Flesh albums, Part 2 released one solo album for Big Dada in 2005, "Live From The Breadline."

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