Grand Central, the collaboration between Mr Drastick and Kinetik – two successful british artists in their own right – has been busy this year releasing a mixtape, creating a brand, and making plans to tour in 2011. I had a chat with Kinetik about the importance of being more than just an emcee, possible new additions to the lineup, and who’s really the best emcee in the group…
OD: Unfortunately we’ve not got Mr Drastick here today…
K: Yeah, unfortunately he’s had to go tend to his niece and nephew so he can’t be with us, so it’s just me today!
OD: Okay so to start off, Grand Central as I guess a brand xx you’ve got your videos, website, t-shirts and merchandising, how important do you think it is to be more than just two disembodied voices over a track?
D: Well, when we started Grand Central we looked to other artists that we’d seen blow up, you know, the Wiz Khalifas of the world, we looked at Currency over in America, over here the Tincy Striders of this world… even though that’s not the kind of music we make, we took lessons from what they did, and applied it to what we do. What we found was that nowadays people don’t just want to listen to music, they wanna buy into a personality; the fans that Kool G Rap has are different to the fans that A Tribe Called Quest have, because they’re two different personalities. We wanted our fans to feel like they’re a part of Grand Central as well – that’s why we call them Centralites. They can go to the website, all our information is there, they can download stuff, email stuff, it brings the artist/consumer relationship closer together – so in terms of having a website, merchandise, and so on, it’s very important, because it elevates us above what I would call MySpace musicians; we’re actually musicians.
nowadays people don’t just want to listen to music, they wanna buy into a personality
OD: Gotcha. I liked things like the intro to the songs in the videos, like in Baby You Know as you’re chatting in the café to explain your way into the song…
K: You know, the intro to Baby You Know was completely freestyled, not scripted or anything – it was just a conversation we caught on camera, everything was off the cuff. What we try and do with our music that I think a lot of people appreciate is the fact that our music is almost like a fly on the wall that captures what we talk about when the microphone’s off and we’re not in the studio. We just bring that into song form, and people really like that because it’s real.
OD: Like in the video to Famous Girls where you’re just chilling out at the end?
K: Exactly. Again, that was just off the cuff, the engineer just left the microphone on and caught us talking.