Chimpo: The Eyes Have It!
When it comes to distinctive deliveries, Chimpo deserves some big fat shiny medals. His dark, demonic vocal style is recognisable within a matter of seconds. Moody Mancunian murderation: Chimpo’s mic-mastery first came apparent in 2011 on the cold, chilling Narrow Eyes with Dub Phizix and Fox, establishing him as a truly unique MC talent armed with some seriously witty rhymes.
His production skills are equally commendable. If not more. Last week he unleashed the Chimpo EP on Soulr. Rich in contrast, Buzzin (a co-lab with Dub Phizix and Skeptikal) is a growling meanie, all steppy and tricked out with dungeon reverb and venomous subs. All Over is a quintessential deep roller while Frontline sees him teaming up with Fox again for a cavernous, subbed up exploration of contemporary dancehall paranoia. What’s more, it comes with a steaming rub from Calibre.
There’s more to come too… Chimpo reveals he and Fox have an entire album ready to roll as The Eyes. Peppered with myriad styles and sounds, it has potential to soundtrack every summer from here to judgement day.
With all this in mind, and plenty more, it’s high time we caught up with this multi-talented man from Manchester…
Is Manchester the frontline right now?
Defo! Manchester’s looking good at the moment! There’s always been great music but recent successes have given people a kick up the arse a bit. Everyone’s vibing off each other. We’re about each other all the time, we’ll play each other something and it makes you up your game. And anything that any of us does opens more doors. The last couple of years people have been like ‘what’s going on up there?’ So we got to have some stuff to show them innit!
Indeed. Now last time you and Fox were together was on Harder…
Yeah man, we’ve been busy though… We got a full album ready to go! It will be as The Eyes. It’s proper mixed up, some reggae-ish dubby bits, some soully stuff, some dubstep bits, some drum & bass. It’s not so dancefloor, it’s more stuff I’d buzz off listening to in my yard. Fox has killed it on every track. We lived together for a year so we worked on it every day. I can’t wait to get the album out, I’m not too sure when but it’ll be coming your way on Estate.
Let’s talk about Start Again on Calibre’s album… One of the highlights on Spill, it must have been a pleasure to do.
Oh yes! Marcus signed Frontline and he told me he was going to ask Calibre to remix it. I thought ‘sick!’ Then it turned out we could do a favour and I could do a track on Calibre’s album. I was buzzing about that! I’d have paid to do that!
Big time. Back to the Soulr release… All Over is serious deepness. It is the deepest thing you’ve done?
No way man, I’ve done much deeper stuff. Especially on The Eyes album. I do so much stuff but a lot of it isn’t released. The stuff I’ve released is more dancefloor oriented. I’ve been playing with loads of different styles and flavours. I got loads of riddims. I got a few tracks with Trigger that need releasing. More tunes with Fox that need releasing. I’m upping my game, man. Before I used to make tunes and send them to DJs to play but now I’m getting things out to more labels and thinking a bit more strategically.
Seems to be working! You’re one of the best all-rounders in the game… MC, producer, DJ. Which came first?
DJing mate, just lots of parties. A load of mates would all MC and do these little battle raps that would always boil down to ‘your mum’ disses. They’d always been dissing my mum and I couldn’t let them do that so I had to start MCing to fight back. So yeah, I only became an MC to protect my mum! It was always a bit of a sideline. Me and DRS did tracks years ago but the last couple of years I’ve been upping it a bit more. I’ve got a few more tracks coming with Dub Phizix. People seem to like it so I’ll keep on it doing it.
Keep doing it scarily, you mean? You’ve got the most demonic MC style sir!
Haha! I don’t think I’m a scary guy! I am big, I’m 6 foot 4, but I’m not scary. It’s just a style I’ve developed. I spoke to Lowqui the other day and he said ‘you pitch your voice down don’t you’ and I explained I don’t… I go into the studio and I have to go like ‘yo yo yo’ until I get that right deep tone. I might do something in future with the less scary tone… We’ll see.
Chimpo – Chimpo EP is out now on Soulr.