Bless Beats, the man behind the hit record ‘Wearing My Rolex’ is back with a new single entitled, ‘Let It Go’. Laura ‘Hyperfrank’ Brosnan caught up with the super-producer to talk grime, electro and...Andre 3000? (MTV WRAP UP)
Let’s start from the beginning shall we. What has your journey been like up to this point?
I'm from Bow E3 and I’ve always made a range of music throughout my whole career, like hip-hop, but grime is where I come from. I’ve worked with so many people when I was starting out, like obviously Wiley, Roll Deep, Jammer, Frisco and Chipmunk, to name a few. These collaborations all came about just by networking, I used to go to places like I Luv Live and The Jump Off to talk to other creative people and things went from there.
You've also dabbled in MCing, why was it producing that you focused more on?
It’s all just fun for me, I thrive off of making music, I get kicks out of it. I’d always be late for work, if I had a job now I’d be constantly late, because I just love making music so much. If you can turn your passion into work, have fun and make money, then that’s the best job ever!
‘Wearing My Rolex’ in 2008 was the signature track that the mainstream and underground world recognised you for. How did the song come about?
I was just making a few dance beats and I found a BSK sample just to see what it would sound like. So all I had was the beat and a few of my mates really liked it, so I gave it to Wiley and he had it for a week, sent it back to me and that was the start of ‘Wearing My Rolex’. It wasn’t a manufactured track for the charts, it all just happened so quickly.
What does the track mean to you now?
It’s a good feeling; it’s a part of my career. It’s my most successful tune, but I don’t look at it like it’s the be all and end all. I’ve got ones that are better than that in my opinion, but it was a foot in the door and I respect the tune for what it did for me. At the same time I feel like I got a lot more to come and a lot more to do in terms of music. I don’t think it’s selling out, because if you’re in an underground rave or in a pop commercial rave, that tune will smash up the whole dance. I understand the selling out argument, but selling out is when you’re going places that you’ve never been before and you’re not appealing to your initial crowd. That’s what I think selling out is. I don’t feel like I have left my initial crowd and I don’t think they think I have either.
You’ve been signed as a producer, right? What does that kind of deal involve, compared to a rapper/MC?
To me, I see it has a chance to make tunes with a range of different people, but sometimes I may make a tune with someone and a lot of the input maybe all mine in terms of concepts etc. It’s not like I just give them a beat and they go away and do what they do, sometimes artists are artists because of the producers. It’s a good deal though, because I get to put across ideas of the angle they should take, I see it as if I was an artist myself. I’d have an idea of what music I’d like to make and people I’d like to work with, but I’m doing it as a producer. Remy Nicole, Wiley and De La Soul might have never worked together if it wasn’t for me thinking from a producer’s angle thinking what would sound cool, what would sound good and who would complement each other.
How has having record deals changed from being in an independent situation?
That’s a hard one, because off the back of ‘Wearing My Rolex’ I got a deal for a single ‘Sex In The City’ last year. I released a single with another label with Wiley called ‘My Mistakes’. I’ve had singles signed with collaborations with Skepta and Ironik as well. So I’ve been in a label situation before. I’ve recently worked with Dionne Bromfield (Goddaughter of Amy Winehouse) on a few singles. I’m working with labels but also independently on my own projects, so it’s all a bit mismatched. I’ve learnt a lot of things while being signed that might of took me longer if I had stayed clear of labels.
Who have you been working with recently?
I’ve got an artist called JLB who I’ve signed, I’m staying quite close to her in terms of what I’m working on. I’m just having fun, putting my album together, but also trying to break a new artist. I’ve been working with so many different people: Maxsta, RoxXxan, Ironik, Sam Sparrow, there’s so many things happening it’s hard to keep track.
What would you say to someone who said that you’ve sold out on grime and the underground for electro-pop?
I’d say, ‘Maybe I brought money to grime?’ Thing is, if you listened to Pete Tong’s radio show, Rolex sounds nothing like anything on there; it’s not a proper dance record. ‘Wearing My Rolex’ had the basics like a grime record does; if you talked to a hardcore dance critic they’d totally understand what I’m saying. Just like a grime critic would say that it isn’t a grime tune. It doesn’t fall into any specific box, it’s easy to think that because of the sounds I used. It’s not about selling out; it’s about a career for longevity. I’ve got a mixtape coming out of solid instrumentals and like 80% of that CD is grime beats. I can make grime tomorrow with my eyes closed and I will continue to do so. I can also however make a ballad; I’m capable of many things. Part of that is just me being real to myself.
Who would you really like to work with?
I’d like to work with Andre 3000, I think he’s sick. Based on OutKast albums, he’s very open minded, diverse and not afraid to experiment music wise. If it sounds good, it sounds good and I like people who take that attitude to making music, rather than sticking to a formula. I understand playing it safe, but sometimes you have to be outgoing with your sound, do what you do, rather than what you have to do. I’d like for Gary Barlow to write a song for my beat, he’s big. Bjork is sick, imagine her on a grime beat, there’s just too many. Obviously I’d jump in the studio with Drake or Lil Wayne, it would be sick, but you know what? It wouldn’t be anything you haven’t heard before; it would be a good tune, but still...
What artists have you been working with that we should check out?
Bless Beats: Janee, who I worked with on ‘Sex In The City’ and on Roll Deep’s ‘Do Me Wrong’ with. Obviously JLD, who’s working on some great stuff. Look out for Maxsta; he’s always on the grind. Most Wanted, who’s a dance producer has a few EP’s dropping which I’m involved in. Watch out for my latest single with Wiley, Remi Nicole and De La Soul’s Plug One called’ Let It Go,’ the official remixes to that are big as well. I’m in the studio every day, it’s all productive. Keep locked to my Twitter on a day to day basis of what’s bless.
Bless Beats featuring Wiley, Remi Nicole and Plug One: ‘Let It Go’ – is out Monday 14 June
Stay up to date with Bless Beats on Twitter – www.twitter.com/BlessBeats
A Version of this appeared on MTV WRAP UP