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Thread: WOEBOT and Heronbone at Rinse FM.

  1. #1
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    Default WOEBOT and Heronbone at Rinse FM.

    Back in April when Bossman Reynolds was over I excitedly pitched him the idea that I was going to attempt to go down to Rinse to write a piece for my mag FACT. Simon replied kind of casually, "Oh I'm going down there with Martin Clark tomorrow night." I was totally crest-fallen. Just typical I thought. I was green with envy when i read Blackdown's subsequent note here. Later on I mentioned to Martin Clark aka Blackdown in an email that I would have loved to had the chance to visit the station, but thought it was pretty much a done deal. So I was surprised when he said he didnt think it'd matter at all. I plucked up courage and asked Reynolds, who also didnt seem to mind. Subsequently, thanks to Blackdown, I made contact with the station's management and arranged a date. Also luckily for me the man Luke Davis agreed to come along and keep me company. We've both (Luke and I kept shtum about the visit online) really out of deference to Simon, but as Blissblogger has pointed out the Rinse visit was only one part of his incipent piece. Whats more FACT has been on the streets for nearly a month. Anyway, without further procrastination here's my uncut version of the piece replete with photos.

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    Wiley/Trim/Maximum/Jammer/Syer

    (See this Photo I took at the Rinse Website as well)

    Darren and DJ Glamma pick Heronbone and I up at the tube. We're on the way to Rinse FM, London's most notorious, high-profile pirate station, running now for over ten years it has recently reached a critical momentum with it's Friday night DJ, Logan Sama (the Tim Westwood of Grime), being picked up by Kiss FM and Roll Deep, the station's biggest resident crew, about to make a media splash with their debut LP in May. The ever-modest Rinse management have kept the ball rolling since the twilight years of Jungle and its the continuity of presence which they've given the station, as much as their skill in maneuvering within the charged political atmosphere of Grime and their flair for picking artists for the station's roster, which has been instrumental in its success.

    Wiley lets us into the studio. We hasten to the basement. The space is divided in three parts, an unlit area visible only with the light of one's mobile phone, comprising a kitchen (a transmitter's LEDs blinking beside a chrome sink in the dark) and toilet. Further on one enters a long low ceilinged room, the floor carpeted in red, with walls of grooved varnished mdf and sporting two flouncey sofas (from Courts?) which nestle beside the sound booth wherein Tubby martials a scorching set from MCs Bruza and Footsie. It's a shock to be confronted so intimately with artists whose work I've followed for some time, whose personas I feel so familiar with. The last time I came this close to Wiley was at Eskimo Dance in November 2003 when he and his entourage performed a walk-by surveying the length of the thousand or so strong queue. In such intimate company it's easy to forget what a huge cultural presence he is. He's introduced to us William and cadges a Stella off us.



    Skepta reading off the missed calls.

    See this Photo I took at the Rinse Website

    Darren feels a little defensive about the station's illegal stature. Certainly we don't care. The DTI's stated reasons for shutting down pirates and impounding transmitters (at 400 a pop) is that they interfere with frequencies reserved for the emergency services. This is quite obviously rubbish, it's clearly commercial imperatives which motivate the policy to keep real estate on the FM dial clear for license payers. However you'd be wrong to assume there was any money to be made in pirates, Darren reflects somewhat ruefully that at the end of the month, even taking into account the financial contributions crews make for the honor of going on air, they usually are out of pocket. Of course Rinse is but one part of a mini-media empire, operating as a promotional focal point for other more profitable ventures (an Rinse CD is mooted right now), but it still disappoints them that they will imminently lose one of their better DJs in Logan Sama to a major station (where he'll earn good money, better money than Darren does) and that Radio 1xtra can descend with it's chequebook and rebrand their innovations. I ask him if they ever intend going legal, but it would be costly and in going off-air for three years (as the DTI stipulates) it would be difficult to maintain momentum. Wiley hi-jacks the conversation. It'll only take one person to strike gold he counsels us and it'd be sorted, then we'd make the station legal. It's sobering to reflect that the government aren't their only problem. The placement of transmitters on certain tower-blocks frequently inspires a territorial response from "Urban" music fans themselves. Time is often wasted explaining to irate callers that, no, the equipment isn't being moved on their so say so. Apparently for smaller stations this is a wearingly persistent problem. Transmitters are also frequently stolen.



    Wiley

    See this photo I took at the Rinse Website

    DJ Glamma fields a call from Dogzilla. Dogzy is pushing a fifteen-year-old MC on Rinse. Darren wearily insists that the guy isn't ready yet and again Wiley intervenes. Wiley has been down in Dagenham recently and, perhaps with a trace of humor, insists that Dagenham is overflowing with talented MCs like Dogzy and Roll Deep's own Syer. I was down there the other day, he says, and everyone one was coming up to me, greeting me, "Hey Wiley!" There's something in the air right now in Dagenham, he volunteers, again with something like a grin. Darren insists the guy isn't ready yet, but Wiley, who seems to telescope in stature at times during the evening (you could swear he was eight foot tall) persists in fighting the case for this unknown white 15 year-old he's never heard or met. It's weirdly touching and precisely the reason Grime has a future. I remark to Darren that it must be difficult to strike a balance. It is he insists, enjoying Wiley's entreaties but at the same time obviously a little put-upon. I suppose that was Jungle's weakness I remark, that it's self-appointed cabal failed to let new talent through. They did us a favor, we got our own thing, comes back the answers, but even now not without a shade of bitterness and regret.

    D Double arrives sporting a Dirtee Skank t-shirt, some kind of indication that the rumors of him being signed to Dizzy's own label are true, looking incredibly focussed, maybe even glowing with some lambent energy. He shakes hands gently before wandering through to the sound booth. Cloudy with sinsemilla smoke, and throbbing with Tubby's mix of his own slickly-produced Grime and the latest dubplates. Two decks face the east wall and a black and white TV screen trained on the studio entrance rests in the far corner. D Double hits his stride: "more bars than the west end" as we press against the back wall. He's so nimble and ferociously angular it's breath-taking. The house mobile shows 70 plus missed calls, people registering their delight. It's interval time and the adverts roll.

    Roll Deep's DJs Maximum and Karnage sidle through. In the meantime other members of the Roll Deep entourage file in, appearing first as ghostly figures on the street on the CCTV. Trim, Flow Dan, Syer, Roachie, producer Skepta in turn cram into the tiny room and the rhyme temperature rises. Grime MCs are very much like super-heroes in a Marvel comics vein, put five or more together and their magnificence increases exponentially, each of their special powers complimenting the others, collectively united against a common foe. Wiley steps up and tips the balance. The vibe begins to reach fever pitch, Maximum starts pulling rewinds as the massive ignites like a chorus of drunken pirates, chanting eachother's verses. Just as Trim takes the mic and bemoans the absence of key crew in the form of Riko Dan (the acknowledged MC don dada) and Scratchy D, we're thrown a complete wild card, and none other than Jammer pitches up. Everyone's sheer glee ratches up another few notches, Jammer (though strictly speaking not an MC) takes the mic and delivers a hoarsely hilarious set. Shouts of "nekkle" and "shower-face" trigger yet more rewinds.



    Tinchy Stryder

    See this photo I took at the Rinse Website

    Roll Deep melt away into the night, supplanted by the less rambunctious but more tightly focussed Ruff Sqwad. I talk at some length to Tinchy Stryder their slyly intelligent ring-leader, complimenting him on their latest tunes "Bring it down", "Jam Pie" (apparently a collaboration with Jammer) and Tinchy's new track "Underground" the video of which is now heavily rotated on Channel U, before myself slipping away, reflecting on what couldn't have been a more enervating experience, a memory I'll always treasure.

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  4. #3
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    Innit. My editor Sean was really kind with his cut so most of this actually made it into FACT. Thanks Sean and thanks to FACT, the best magazine in the world, for giving me a good reason to muscle in there. As a result of the piece I got a kind of angry email from R*y Pau*l who runs 1Xtra, my reply to him and that letter will be in the next issue of FACT.

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    good piece........

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    excellent piece

    great photos

    will have to show this to english mates

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    that white 15 year-old from Dagenham (Devlin) is really fuckin good, actually. You can hear a freestyle from him over the 'Heat Up' beat on the Dogzilla set that's in the downloads section on Riddim.ca. it's about 17 minutes in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WOEBOT
    As a result of the piece I got a kind of angry email from R*y Pau*l who runs 1Xtra, my reply to him and that letter will be in the next issue of FACT.
    Haha - when I picked up a copy of FACT I thought 1Xtra might not be happy at that slight! Pretty much on the mark of what everyone believes, it will be interesting to see if the response digs them into a hole regarding nicking Rinse DJs

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    Quote Originally Posted by WOEBOT
    Subsequently, thanks to Blackdown, I made contact with the station's management and arranged a date. ....
    Blackdown's Tours at your service. Next week: Bruza goes to the Ritz...

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    Brilliant piece yeah. I often get the feeling that this period is gonna make one hell of a book one day...

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    Great bit of reportage, you should be proud Matt. You can write even better than that though!
    paul.meme
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    great piece woebot

    *jealous*

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    Wicked Woebot. Two can play that cretfallan game, Matt- I was well jealous when I heard you'd been down to Rinse.

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    im also incredibly jealous and just wanted to say those pics are fantastic. really give off the atmosphere of the place.

  15. #14
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    BIG article. Where can i find this mag in the states? I collect magazines (got old Source, Vibe, Deuce, ATM...you name it) and i always look out for articles on these things. Much respect for making it happen.

    mega
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    Thing with Grime is, it's amazing what you can get if you just ask.

    I don't think I've ever said no to an enquiry for help from a journalistic type for anything.

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