Slugga Tee exchanges words with Evil Ed
Hey Ed, cheers for the interview, hows things with you man?
I'm cold, this weather's grim!
Most UK heads should be more than familiar with yourself by now but for anyone that doesnt know can you give them a brief introduction to who you are, where your from and what you do?
I'm a Hip Hop producer and make beats for MC's for their projects or my own releases. Basically I make simple, stipped down, no fuss Hip Hop beats for people to rap over. I'm from the old school of Hip Hop, I have been a fan since 1984 and prefer the proper shit to all this rubbish that is masquerading as Hip Hop these days. It's wack. I'm sometimes ashamed to say I like Hip Hop now as the everyday image of it now is N-Dubz, Chipmunk and Tynchy Stryder. That aint Hip Hop to me, I like what used to be called Hip Hop which was skilled MC's, raw beats, scratching, you know, Hip Hop not this other stuff!
What got you into beatmaking and how long ago did you start to take it seriously?
I got into beat making through DJing. I was doing mixes as far back as 1985 and I started making beats on some cheap eqiupment back in 1989. I suppose I took it seriously from the start as in I wanted to make records, but I don't think I've ever taken it that seriously, I just bang out beats on a 950 and see what works. I do it all by ear and I take it seriously only in that I try to make stuff that works and that people might want to listen to. I suppose when the records started getting played on radio and I got decent reviews in magazines I started pushing myself to keep up that momentum, so that was probably around 2000 when I realised I could make beats that people wanted to rap on, and that DJ's wanted to spin, but when you have a taste of that the pressure is on not to fall off.
I did hear a little verse from you on your blog not so long back..are there anymore tracks from back in them days that your hiding from us?!
A verse. No don't go there. Sometimes I listen to rappers who just shouldn't be doing it, whether it's their voice, lack of flow, poor lyrics or whatever and I think I could have become one of them, luckily I don't like public speaking anyway and realised I wouldn't be a good MC and had the insight to stop even trying to do it, I wish more people would do that! If I had a go now at all it'd be just for a laugh, but I'd probably have to be very drunk.
How did the name Evil Ed come about anyways? knowing you personally i would say you are one of the most un-evil people i have met?!
You've never seen my evil side! Those that have, they never lived to tell the tale. Well, to be honest I was a big fan of Evil E, Ice-T's DJ, I used to try and copy that scratch he did on 'Ya Don't Quit' off of Falco's 'Rock Me Amadeus'. 'Rock it Evil E ya don't quit'! One of my fave old school rap records, one of the first 12"'s I owned. There were a few Evil Ed's back then, all named without knowledge of the others. There was Evil Eddie Richards a big house DJ from back in the day. At the time I was tagging as 'Zombie' everywhere and then I had to choose an MC name because I ended up rapping on Radio London on Dave Pearce's rap show in '88 and Evil Ed was one name I'd been thinking of so I just used it and then stuck with it ever since. I was a wanabee MC (I'd cringe if I heard it now) and a DJ back then!
You were part of the YNR team werent you? how did that come about?
That came about through a chance meeting with Jehst in 4th Wave Records in Huddersfield. I used to live there from '97 - 2001 and I used to go into 4th Wave to buy vinyl and I'd play my demos to the guys who ran the shop. I'd seen Jehst on stage in around '96 as a kid with this guy called Dave The Ruf and Jehst smashed it even back then. So I bumped into him and he heard this tape I was playing then he came round to mine one day and I played him some beats. He said he was going to record an EP and press it up on vinyl which was so exciting back then. We worked on 'Liquid Diction' together and he also picked the Star Wars beat for 'Deadly Combination' the track with Tommy Evans. I went over to the recording sessions at a studio in Leeds (before we had home recording facilities ie. my digital 8-track) and there I met Nmonic, Tommy Evans (who was a doing a rap when I walked in the room), Usmaan, Asaviour, Nexus, Taharka, some of them I met at the studio, some came round my place, it was an exciting time. They were a crew already and I was accepted by them all. After the first few releases which we funded ourselves (ie. Nmonic funded his EP, I funded 'Tournament 1' EP, Jehst moved to London and I decided not to become a financial partner in the YNR label with Jehst, Tommy and Cee-Why (who I hadn't met at that point) as I thought that four of us would be too many and it'd get compliacted so I let them take it forward and just wanted to be an artist.
And what about now? are you doing everything under your own label?
No. I'm on other labels. I set up HID Productions in 2002 to put out my own 'Tournament Round 2' EP and then put out the 7"'s and the 'BBQ' and 'MILF' 12"s, but since 2006 I've being doing stuff with Conspicuous' Ottomanelf Music label and more recently with Germany's Project Mooncircle label. They've both got good distribution so I can just make the music and not have to worry about trying to sell copies myself. Saying that, I am going to be putting some money into a new label next year called Chakra Sounds alongside Hey! Zeus (the MC/producer from Obba Supa). As for HID, it's on hold at the moment.
For anyone who wants to check some Evil Ed produced gems what would be the pick of your releases to date?
Any of the old YNR stuff
Tournament 1 & 2 EP's
The Enthusaist LP
Asaviour 'Field Of Dreams' from his 'Borrowed Ladder' LP
Any of the HID records, the 7"'s and 12"'s
The Get Together album by me and Conspicuous
Edstrumentals CD for just the beats
Have you got a single release where you just think..damn im never gonna top that beat/track?!
The 2 that got the most club spins were 'The Tournament' feat. Task Force (even Tim Westwood played it on his show and Skitz used to play it out) and 'Nico Suave' feat. Yungun. That got played on Radio One by Zane Lowe. That's pretty tough to beat!
One of my personal faves is the Junq Waffle posse track which featured Junior Disprol, Skeleton, Alkaline and a young Jehst how did that come about?
Junior Disprol got my number from a guy called Blokey (he is one person who I can never give enough thanks to as he really helped start my production career by hooking me up with Gunshot which lead to a track I did with them, Jehst and Taskforce, again that's how I got the link with Task Force) for one of Disorda's UK Hustlas mixtapes (Disorda is another one who had my back from day one, from the Hidden Identity days) and then Junq-Waffle.
Me and Disprol had made 2 tracks (Fight Club and one with Usmaan called 'Circle The World' that never came out due to some BS) and we just decided to do a posse track with some other MC's, including some veterans, I suggested Alkaline, we had that link by then and Disprol wanted Skelaton on there and I brought Jehst on board. We all got together in Alkaline's lounge and just put it together as we went along and the back up's are just one track with everyone crowded round the mic.
Sticking to the posse theme, if you could do a posse track featuring any 6 emcees (UK or U.S past or present ) who would you pick?
Fuck, that's hard. Hmmmm. If I could go back in time and record them at their peak then some of my all time faves have been Melle Mell, Roxanne Shante, T-La Rock, Kool G Rap, Rakim and Slick Rick, although Slick Rick still sounds incredible.
I know alot of people are asking this but is there finally going to be a sequal to the Enthusiast LP?
Maybe in 2012, that's what I'm aiming for, it may not be until 2014, if I do it it's got to be right, I can't put out a half baked album. It has to be all or nothing.
So what is going on in the present/near future for you is there anything we need to be looking out for?
I have a remix out now, something mellow I've done for the Obba Supa crew with Jon Robinson aka Lil Sci on it, that's out on 10" on the Project Mooncircle label and is called 'Midnight Mathematics", other than that everything else is still in the pipeline, so pick up 'The Get Together" and "Edstrumentals" CD's if you haven't already.
Finally, is there any people you want to give a shout out to?
Everyone that knows me!
Cheers Ed for the interview, have a good crimbo and keep us posted with any news and releases bro!
Evil Ed @myspace