Not only is A.M SNiPER a producer, artist and part of the legendary So Solid Crew, he’s also an entrepreneur in the entertainment business. He has a number of ventures out in Ayia Napa, including the NapaRocks Festival, which hits the resort on July 28th. We caught up with the multi-talented man to chat about SNiPER SKiLLS, So Solid and swimming pools.
How’s life treating you? What have you been up to recently? Your new video for ‘Bye’ with Oxide & Neutrino has been getting a lot of love.
Thanks for asking, I feel a bit under the weather as we have been working non-stop for the last few months but other than that, health is good, family is good, the team is good, business is good, so I can’t complain. I have had a fair share of personal ups and downs since the end of 2014, but that’s how life is, you can’t control everything (although at times I really try!) I’m sure all will be fine and I just want to say thank you to Jack Steven who is my mentor, “consiglieri”, and my “father” in this music business. This year I have stopped caring about making music “for… ", be it for it to be successful, or for the radio, or for this or for that. I feel the 2014 releases surpassed everyone’s expectations as we had more sales, streams, and views than certain new artists on major labels, and all without that major label radio play, so after that where do you go? I went straight back to the underground and straight back in the studio just to let out the sounds that define A.M. SNiPER and helped us get to where 2014 took us. This lead to the release of SNiPER SKiLLS, a mixtape project that came out in May, which was a collaboration between the legendary DJ Jaguar Skills and myself. The fact that it also charted as an album at number one in some regions and in general made charts internationally was an incredible bonus. We picked one of those tracks off of the mixtape that features Anamate (who was on ‘Bus Pass’ last year) and my So Solid comrades Oxide & Neutrino, and we gave it a visual interpolation that matches the themes of the mixtape. It premiered on THUMP and the responses I am getting are incredible, one comment I liked was one of my fans saying it sounded like “exotic summer grime”. I liked that. You can listen to the mixtape on SoundCloud or check the video out here:
I also regularly ship out hard copies to my hardcore fans that follow me on my Snapchat @snipermusic or my Twitter or Instagram, although I must admit my most active social network is Facebook, we are almost at 50k likes so make sure you join our movement as well. I am currently working on my album and there will be a new single coming in July!
What was it like growing up between London and Cyprus? Did you get the best of both worlds?
It depends what point of view you are looking at it from. I would say I got the best and the worst, the gift and the curse, which then allowed me to make my own decisions on what is the best for myself and my team from both of these worlds. I would like to think we are doing extremely well with a lot of room for improvement still. I am proud to have my Cypriot culture and traditions, even though that includes my granny still yelling at me to go to church and asking me when I will stop making music and opening new venues and festivals in order to get a proper job!? At the same time I am blessed to not be a square, and to see life from outside the box, with everything and anything I do. British urban culture defined my sounds and my brand, and pretty much all the major achievements we have and will have in the near future. In terms of lifestyle I am not too sure you know many people who love Ribena with halloumi cheese! However my doors are always open to anyone who wants to join the “Halluminati”.
Give us a bit of insight into the So Solid days, it must have been a crazy time right?
It was a lot of work and a lot of time between friends and family that shared a vision, all that craziness was 1% of what it really was, but that’s the 1% that everyone wants to talk about and deal with so you get what you ask for. People wanted more crazy so that’s what they got, but put all that aside, So Solid defined British urban culture and to this day no one has surpassed the brand awareness, sales, and achievements that the brand has had, and on top of that add all the new achievements that will come, that is still part of what So Solid is. Crazy for me is normal so you are welcome to come and party with me when you are mentally prepared…
Can you pick out a highlight from those days?
Yes, the time when we were in Ayia Napa and the So Solid craze peaked. Overnight, without social media or the Internet in general world, whoever was coming to the island was saying that they were part of So Solid just to get into the clubs and other venues. It took all the locals a good week to catch on to it, by then they probably heard that 20,000 people were So Solid Crew members, it was hilarious. I even had people coming up to me saying, “Sniper told me I can go in…” not knowing that was me.
You’re playing at NapaRocks in July, sharing the bill with Chris Brown, you must be excited for this one?
I’m excited for so many different reasons. Number one, the event itself, it is the second NapaRocks and we are looking to make this an annual brand that guarantees top tier acts and an incredible party. Secondly it feels like a new age Woodstock, not for the music style as Chris is a mainstream pop icon but the fact that he is banned to perform in the UK and so many people will travel from the UK to come to Ayia Napa to see him. That gives me goose bumps and I am so happy we have achieved that. And shout out to Showcase PR, Double and Nick for helping Ayia Napa step up the levels this year. And of course the fact that I will smash the show is something I would do regardless of how big or small the event is. I love performing, I get up to all sorts of madness.
Have you got anything special planned for the show?
Of course I have some incredible special guests but I can’t let you know! You have to wait and see…
What else have you got going on in Ayia Napa this summer?
I’m literally doing 2-3 shows a week, that includes the Kandi Beach Party on Fridays and the Kandi Street Party on Mondays at our new venue the Circus Square, which is the biggest open air bar complex on the island, if not in the whole Mediterranean region. It’s all circus themed with acrobats, stilt acts, magic shows etc.
Do you think the scene in Ayia Napa has changed since you first started performing there?
200%, there is so much on the table. It is a cross between Miami, Ibiza, and Monte Carlo. The impression that people have is so 2005. No resort can compare; the facilities, the infrastructure, the services and the budget plans are the best. The amount of time I hear people say, “I had no idea this is Ayia Napa” hence why it has been growing year by year, with people coming from the UK, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel, Germany, France, Switzerland, it is just an international destination that no place can compare with.
Is there somewhere that you’d love to perform that you haven’t made it to yet? Like where’s your dream place to play?
I haven’t really thought about it yet, I’m just getting started on the touring life. My dream was to have my own bus and travel Europe, so I hope that will happen soon. My team, the bus, the studio on the bus, I feel it will be a memorable experience.
You’ve collaborated with a lot of people, is there anyone that you’d really love to work with?
I like quite a few acts, and although I haven’t been collaborating heavily, once I get the hang of it I will do a lot more collaborations. It is not just about fame or status, for example my team really likes Funk Volume, an incredible independent rap movement in America that includes Hopsin and Dizzy Wright. I would really like to work with Dizzy Wright. Then there are rap legends like 50 cent and The Game that I’ve always wanted to connect with and many others. I am also very happy to be recently be made brand ambassador for Armand De Brignac champagne, aka Ace Of Spades. Jay Z bought the brand out and has full ownership so I’m happy they felt I fit the bill for my region. Memphis Bleek is like my big brother so the relationship is strong.
Have you got anything else in the pipeline that you can share with us?
I think I have shared as much as I possibly can. I don’t think I have much more to add apart from I’m really looking forward to the Premier League starting after all the summer madness, and as a natural born gamer I have already pre-ordered FIFA 16 so get at me if you want to have a quick game!
What are you listening to right now?
My air-conditioning, I need silence during interviews, OCD remember? No to be honest I recently got time to go over the Daft Punk album as I want to try something different soon. I found the album quite special.
What’s the first record you bought?
Jay-Z’s The Dynasty: Roc La Familia album vinyl edition. I was always getting Roc-A-Fella CD’s as gifts as a kid, as I grew up with their sound, but the first one I bought was that one as I started DJing then. Still got it.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever gotten in trouble for?
I would rather not say as it has caused issues for me up until this day, things that go bang have been around me for as long as I can remember, and they probably will be. I think from school days until today, we need to do a whole other interview called “The Trouble List”. From smashing into bus windows to Ayia Napa brawls, London adventures to being stranded in Paris, and people trying to rob our car boot in Serbia, I am not too sure where to start. I once got caught stealing cookies from a cookie jar at my auntie’s.
If you could fill a swimming pool with anything, what would it be and why?
This is not a fair question to put to someone who owns a waterpark! I got 30 pools! Water in pools is all I know! Clean water that gets tested every morning at 7am and report is in my email by 7.45am! Hmmm I would say boobs and booty because they are safe, soft and comforting. It would also make me feel that I’m swimming in Ayia Napa. Oh come on everyone likes boobs and booty, imagine a whole pool of them! I’m adding this to my bucket list!
Get tickets for NapaRocks on July 28th here.