Whether he’s fronting for Ram’s man-of-the-moment Rene Lavice, hosting at the legendary Renegade Hardware parties or dishing lyrical wit on his own label Nation Of Shopkeepers, Stapelton remains one of the UK’s most versatile and enduring MCs.
This week he’s teamed up with Northern trio North Base for a wonky, squelchy slice of future grime on his own label. Coming complete with a variety of remixes, we’ve just copped the Need For Mirrors remix right here. Check it below then read on to find out where Stapleton’s at right now…
Interview: Damian B
Hey Stapleton, how’s it going? How’s 2015 been with you thus far in general?
It’s great. I’m drinking loads of Belgian beer, eating copious amounts of fast food and ageing at a rapid rate. Life couldn’t be better.
Can you talk about what you’ve been up to over recent times?
Apart from effectively working on being a skinny dude with a fat belly I gave Major Look the elbow after festival season last year and concentrated on rebranding my label Nation Of Shopkeepers as a platform to release collaborations with my peers in the music scene.
I’m back on the hosting circuit and have had some superb memories performing with my good friend – Audio from Ram Records and toasting the mic at the legendary Renegade Hardware. I’m now working closely with Ram Records’ very talented Rene LaVice. A stand out gig has to be hosting for Rene in front of 10,000 people at Alexandra Palace while he Supported Prodigy on their UK tour
I love the work with North Base and Can I Live… that is ‘sign of the times’ music! How do you approach lyrics… is it spontaneous? Or are you always writing?
Thank you. Both, it depends on the track I’m writing to. I’ve always got something written as it genuinely a hobby I enjoy. It’s a therapeutic release for me. So I sometimes test material I’ve written on new beats or write something fresh if the project has a theme or concept.
Who are some lyricists that inspire you? Influential ones from any era…
I generally listen to older music from past generations. A few of my favourites lyricists that have definitely influenced me are: Andre 3000, Damien Marley, Zack De La Rocha, Gill Scott Heron, Curtis Mayfield, Jonny Cash, Paul Weller, Techn9ne and Run The Jewels.
If we are talking from my own music scene. I have to mention the emcees I grew up listening to: Navigator, Rhymetime, Conrad, Skibadee, Det, Shabba, Times 2, the Ragga Twins & GQ.
Let’s have a chat about Can I Live. The NFM remix is phenomenal.
The track was actually written a year ago. We had been sitting on it for ages due to release issues with a label. So we decided to release it on my own label. I got NFM & Resound on the remixes as they are good friends and knew they would excel in their own right. North Base got SIGNS on the other mix and I must add they all did a great job.
Tell me about some of the highlights you’ve had in the music over recent times, and what changes you’ve felt happening on the live front.
Progressing as a club emcee to recording music artist, then getting signed to a major label & performing on main stages on the festival circuit as Major Look over the last few years has been a great experience and I have learnt alot in this time. Going back to hosting duties and releasing music as Stapleton again has made me realise how much I’ve missed it. I’ve got my love for music back.
Are there strongholds in the music that you feel… certain cities, towns, venues, countries that yield different reactions?
There will always be strongholds in music across all genres from different cities, towns, venues and countries based on current culture and music created from artists in the past who have innovated a particular style of art and created a culture or sub culture of their own. It’s happening all over the world. It’s great, it’s what keeps things fresh varied and diverse. There will always be different reactions, it’s expected. You just roll with it.
How do you yourself pick up on new music, is it word of mouth, radio, Soundcloud… how does it work day to day?
I try to pick it up from all these outlets. I don’t have much time to listen to other people’s music on a day to day basis at the moment as I want to solely focus on my own creations. Although I do need to do it more. There is so much good music out there, it’s hard to keep up with it.
What’s up next? Where we can hear you live?
You can hear me live, performing with Rene at some up coming festivals including Parklife, Download & Glastonbury. Also selected Ram nights and remaining Hardware events including Fabric & Outlook festival. Look out for new DNB releases on my label Nation Of Shopkeepers in the autumn and winter. They are already lined up ready to go, just waiting for remixes and visuals.
Big up Audio, Rene La Vice, North Base, Resound, Slang Banger, Chef, Fuzion UK, KG, NFM, HLZ, Rockwell, Khanage, Loxy, Ink, Clayton, Focus, and anyone I forgot it’s all love.