Interview with BangBang
Some people get into the music industry for the money, some for the fame, others cos they enjoy the music, others fall into it, but some go deeper than that. Some see it as an art-form used to express themselves the only way they know how, like a platform to live the way they need to live – I recently interviewed someone who is that very way inclined. I’m talking about the British emcee, poet, artist, that is… BangBang. We talked about expression, influences, tattoos, oh and music too. Read it for yourself…
Gav: Thanks for staying up late to do this interview, I appreciate it. Do you wanna start by explaining who you are and what you do?
BangBang: First of all my name is Johnny, but BangBang is the spirit in me that looks for ways to keep me alive. I’m a work in progress. I’ve found art can change matter, so I’m exercising my talents, to see matter as something not to be ashamed of, i.e. the particles in me were donated by my abusers. This made me insecure about even my own composition. Art is my argument to my perception of negative reality.
G: So you use your art as a way to express yourself? Like an outlet? Makes sense to me. Can you explain your art though? I’ve seen your MySpace page and it seems there’s a real hip-hop vibe, but further than that it seems you are a spoken word artist, is that an accurate assumption?
BB: My philosophy is hip-hop and I’m a stickler to it. Free verse and phonetic juggling is an endless style, so to someone who knows… what I’m doing… is true hip-hop! Taking my minimum means and manipulating them, innovating them to the point that the originality resembles the artist’s fingerprint. That’s self-esteem, that’s I’m gonna be me, that’s I’m gonna shine while I’m alive, that’s hip-hop, that’s BangBang.
G: Where did music begin for you? Where did it all start?
BB: Music, as soon as I got my coordination, was a means for me to sedate the world I was afraid of. I learned to move to it, and learned to convince people that the way I was moving is exactly what the notes would love themselves to be expressed like. I was like a human video clip to the songs I danced to. That got me friends and admirers, i.e. a group of people I could turn to.
G: What sort of music do you like to listen to? Any favourite artists or groups?
BB: Mos Def, Kubus, Tricky, Lauryn Hill, FMF, Gnarls Barkley and Street battle rappers.
G: Do you also see those artists as influences to you in the hip-hop game, and where else do you draw influences from?
BB: Of course, my other influences are people lovers, all the prophets of God, most of all Mohammed (peace be upon him), the Dalai Lama, fight trainers, nutritionalists, mentors and guides to peace.
G: So as the artist BangBang, where are you right now? Have you released any EPs or LPs, or is there something in the pipeline?
BB: I’m looking to get out and do gigs right now and perform the tracks I like to an audience. Then I’ll analyse the responses, and the songs with the strongest reaction I’ll make an album with. I’m featured on a couple of projects at the moment but whether the public get to hear them is down to the ingenuity and belief of the producers whose projects I’m assisting on. Once I’ve got the Kubus album out the way I’m gonna be pushing to get a budget for me and FMF to put our album out. Right now that situation is exciting me.
G: Ah yes, the Fantastic Mr. Fox, I featured him on here a few weeks back. The Origami Sounds lot are a good bunch. Going back to your sound, and I don’t know how you will take this comparison, but when I heard you I thought “ah, a thinking man’s Mike Skinner”, that was more on the spoken word tip, your tracks seem to contain deep thoughts about serious issues, what can you tell me bout that?
BB: I’m a black mans Mike Skinner, serious issues, what can I say about that? Let’s get some self love and sort the fucking shit out.
G: Amen to that. Well I know what I’d rather hear on my stereo, and it certainly isn’t some fella trying to make lots of irrelevant words rhyme for no real reason. From that sense I reckon you’re going places. From a musical career stance, what is your aim in the game? Where would you like to get to?
BB: Right now I’m looking for a spotlight for my talents. I have group ideas, poetry books, I’ve written a few scripts and I know quite a bit about anger management and getting off drugs. So getting some sort of celebrity status, on an integrity level of course, could make it easier for me to be taken seriously in my contribution ideas. God willing they are.
G: Two questions I want to ask! Firstly, those tattoos man, you’ve got loads! Are there meanings to them, or are you just an ink addict? Secondly, I saw that Coke advert on your MySpace page, how did you come to be in that?
BB: My ink is a coat of arms, reminders of my great acts, and the coca cola advert my girl got the job. She’s the one in my arms on my slide show kissing me on the shoulder, on my page, the shot is from my back. Yeah she got the job, I was looking after the baby while she was rehearsing her scene. The director thought I had the right look to represent the most adamant symbol of cynicism that only a Coca Cola could make smile.
G: Ah, I see. What do you think of the hip-hop scene in general and also in the UK at the moment? Which UK artists are you particularly feeling?
BB: The UK more represents hip-hop to me. They have found an original way to express reality exactly in the twang of the “have-nots”. What’s going on in America I don’t recognise as hip-hop. Cause instead of having their own language, they’ve learned and mimic the twang of the “have-more”. Stupid house niggers, standing next to the abuser, chinking glasses laughing at us in the fields… wait till I catch one walking through mine.
G: It would seem the riches are too big of an incentive for some of the American guys, I wrote an article bout that a couple of months ago actually. I respect people like Roots Manuva, that repeatedly knocked back the big offers to keep it real, plus he doesn’t rap about bitches and shooting people. I know you’re soon to be working with FMF, but which other UK producers and emcees do you like?
BB: I like Envy from Manchester, the Mitchell Brothers, Kano, and a kid called Broken Voice Tones, when this kid finds himself he’s gonna show us all what to do with the English language to make it sweet you for days.
G: I’ll have to look out for him then. I’m looking forward to hearing the stuff you’re doing with FMF, so you’ll definitely have to hit me up with it for a review when it is ready! Before we go though, are their any messages you’d like to give, or shout outs to make?
BB: First of all I have to shout out the smart rascal that laughs at the stiffs that want us as retarded as them, the smart rascal in me, my wife, my step father, my grand dad, my aunty Nelly, Dillyn, Norman, Paul, my brother, little Tim, Graham, his wife, Mandy, Dez, Mohammed, Bruce, Stewart, Trevor, Sven, and all humans that refuse to be under any insecure cunt that wants them crying and begging for mercy. Power to the peaceful.
G: Fair play to you! Well, thanks again for your time, I do really appreciate it, and I hope everything goes well for you in the future.
BB: Peace my friend, kick to stay alive.
BangBang was also kind enough to send me over an mp3 to share with you all. It’s a track he featured on for the Dutch hip-hop producer Kubus, this one’s on a slightly more dnb tip, give it a listen…
Kubus – Double My Level feat. BangBang
>> download <<
This download is a sample of the music only and must be deleted from your computer within 24 hours of downloading. This download link will expire on 27th July.
Don’t forget to check out BangBang’s MySpace page, listen to that array of tracks on his player, oh and peep that Coca-Cola advert! If you like what you hear, show some love and leave him a comment or two, a few words of encouragement and/or appreciation never hurt anybody.