Sonnyjim and Sleaze are two Birmingham, UK based emcees who have come together to release an EP – the forthcoming Writing In Mnemonics. Both of them are heavily involved in running their independent imprints Eat Good Records and Greasy Vinyl, and they had some great insights into releasing music independently, being part of a scene, and staying true to their art…
Oh Drat: So, I was trying to work out whether Work In Mnemonics is a pun or not…
Sonnyjim: Well, Sleaze is the best to answer what Work In Mnemonics actually is and the breakdown of it…
“we’re from the same ends so we’re on the same page anyway even before the music” Sonnyjim
Sleaze: You can look into it a few ways man, there’s not just one meaning to it, do you know what I mean? One way we’ve started working, we’re putting in work, that’s one way to look at it, nahmean, also people work in journalism, work in radio, we work in mnemonics.
Oh Drat: Okay cool… and as far as you two working together, how did the decision to put out a joint project come about?
SJ: Basically… shit. I can’t remember where it was but I heard about Sleaze on the internet somewhere in, when was it Sleaze, ‘09?
SZ: What track are you talking about man?
SJ: Erm… I can’t even remember where I heard him but I when I did I was like ‘ain’t nobody sounding like this guy’, innit, and he sounds just like where I grew up so I though, yeah, this guy’s reppin, he sounds like a proper Midlands geezer innit. He’d just dropped his album Theolovision and so I looked on the CD and he had this feature from a guy called Ruffstylz and I know Ruffstylz from back in the day so I hollered at Sleaze, he came to the studio and had a blaze, and we had this one Beat Butcha beat. The title track on Work In Mnemonics was the first track we made – it came out really good so we just thought fuck it, let’s do an EP, basically.
OD: Was the fact that you two are from the same area something you looked out for – there’s not a great deal of Birmingham emcees in the game, really…
SJ: Yeah there isn’t man, it’s all still quite London centric… but you know what, every area they’ve got the same mentality but also they’ve got their own individual area’s mentality too and we’re from the same ends when it comes to the country as a whole so we’re on the same page anyway even before the music.
OD: And how do you guys approach being… a niche in a niche, I guess, in that you’re British musicians, not from London, and you’re not really making the style of hip hop, or perhaps more broadly ‘urban’ music that’s got the largest following at the moment?
SJ: Erm… shit you know there ain’t even no formula for it, we just do what we do and thankfully some people just pick up on it.
“So everytime we put out a new record the fans are on it because they know we ain’t gonna put no wack shit out” Sonnyjim
SZ: It can be a bad thing and a good thing you know what I mean? A lot of fans can turn their back on a band or whatever if it’s different but with hip hop, people from your ends, the fanbase will build and be strong BECAUSE it’s unique, that’s the difference.
SJ: Yeah you know what that’s a really good answer actually. We’ve got a tiny tiny cult following, rather than being flavour of the month and then being forgotten about in a few months’ time when the next chart person comes along, do you know what I mean. Obviously some people have long ass careers or whatever, but… the fans that we do get, they become fans for life, do you know what I mean and then they just believe in what we do. So everytime we put out a new record they’re on it because they know we ain’t gonna put no wack shit out, and you just build up a core fanbase really, that’s that only way to survive when doing a niche within a niche man.
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