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Feral Is Kinky Interview

Reggae | Tuesday 18th June 2013 | Annalisa

 

Celebrated as one of the most unique voices in the UK dance scene she fell in love with reggae and bass music from the age of 8 years old. Being one of the first ever white female reggae/ dancehall MC’s, she is not afraid to conform to the masses. With her new track out #Tweet, she brings us a unique dancehall-infused beat.

 
 

You started out with E-Zee Posse alongside Boy George and Jeremy Healy and had a Top 20 hit with ‘Everything Starts With An E’ how much of an impact did that song have on your career?

Radio 1 and national TV banned the track, so although it got to  No.15 it was stopped from spreading any further. I wrote the lyrics in 1987-pre social media, so  the track  grew from live performances and pirate radio. I made money from live shows and the video was fun to do, it was the 2nd professional track I‘d written so it’s a big part of my musical  history.

 

You have worked a lot with Boy George and featured on his second solo album with ‘Kipsy’. What was the best thing about working with him?

There were some good times, it was an exciting time in music and I got to play some phenomenal shows all over the world, as well as having the chance to collaborate on Generations of Love musically as well as featuring on it. I haven’t had anything to do with him since the early 90’s.

 

When did your love for reggae music begin?

I grew up on top of a betting shop, from when I was born until I was in my early 20’s in a mixed neighbourhood in Central London. My granddad worked as a bookies runner on the streets before betting was made legal in England, so he sorted the flat. It was next door to a Blues (West Indian after hours reggae party) - which started pumping the bass up into the flat late at night after the clubs shut and was still rocking as I left for primary school in the mornings – this could explain my love of bass. I loved English Language and Literature at school; I enjoyed writing and was obsessed with reggae from around the age of 8 years. When I was a small child, I lived on top of a betting shop, next to a shebeen (after house reggae party) which started late at night and didn’t close until after I left for primary school in the mornings. Although I was deeply into hip hop, the bass and most of the beats didn’t excite me like dancehall did. The first set of lyrics I wrote and recorded were in a dancehall style, it developed from there and had remained the basis of what I do.

 

Are there any particular artists or MCs that influenced you to get into this music?

Jamaican DJs like Big Youth and U-Roy and later dancehall MC’s,plus a lot of Bowie, Marc Bolan, Kate Bush, reggae, particularly Bob Marley, and then electro and hip hop as they emerged, followed by House as it developed. My mum played a lot of rock; she liked Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones. When I got older and started going to gigs regularly, it was to see the Special AKA and the other two Tone bands. My taste has always been quite eclectic and it’s remained that way. I’m into heavy bass and sweet melodies.

 

 

You were one of the was the first ever white female reggae/dancehall MC’s. How did you find being in such a male dominant industry?

Being female and not a typical girlie, big titted blond, can have its drawbacks at times, but that depends on how you view the situation, we all know it’s largely a male dominated world, but you have to work with what you have and try not to compromise. I’m confident in the music I write and produce and the lyrics I write and record, if you please yourself, chances are other people will be into what you do. It’s not about conforming or fitting in its about creating something you can feel positive about and not worrying if its going to be accepted on a mass, often generic scale. I’ve never had any problems based on my colour, in fact black people have always bigged me up and been really positive about what I do. People often assume I’m black if they haven’t met me, but I’m happy in my skin and although I’ve got balls, I haven’t grown any real ones yet.

 

You’re hitting Glastonbury and Lovebox Festival this year, you looking forward to these and what other events are you looking forward to this summer?

I’m  playing in Vienna for the MQ “Faceless “Opening with Bogomir Doringer and designer Rebel Yuths, straight after Summer Rites and 2 shows at Glastonbury, after that I think I’m in New York for September for live shows and DJ sets.

 

What was your first experience on a dancehall cut?

I recorded my 1st track” “Reggae gone Kinky” over the Kid Ralph – Little Twitch Instrumental- I even recorded a dub version mixed down live at the Cockpit. I took the master tape up to Music House in Seven Sisters and cut my 1st dub plate on acetate, I was well pleased with myself and even took it down to Record Shack (Dub vendor) in Ladbroke Grove, where I used to buy all my 7” pre’s and played it to Redman who worked there. I’ve still got that 10”.

 

How much can you relate to Feral, how similar are you both?

FERAL is  an extension of me, I’m not schizophrenic it’s a vehicle for my performance practice and music/ art.

 

How would you describe your sound in three words?

Unconventional, real, lively.

 

You have a new track out #Tweet, what was the idea behind the track?

It’s a moombahton track that’s got a partly sexual vibe, I it wrote back in 2010 as a twitter and social media parody. I gave it a re-rub for the Play Me release, I’m really happy because it’s currently at No.19 in the Beatport glitch hop chart and Spenda C’s remix went to No.13 in the hip hop chart. The video, directed by UK director and visual artist Ladypat is out on Monday 10th June. It came about after I linked with Munchi on SoundCloud back in summer 2010; I was into his Datsik Firepower remix we decided to do a collab and recorded the vocals with my engineer in London. His schedule got mad and he wasn’t sorting the track then had the seizure in Hawaii, so I decided to go ahead and write and produce the track alone. It’s all good though I hosted and performed at the Valtifest moombahton stage in in 2011 alongside Dillon Francis, Brenmar, and Brodinski MC-ing with Munchi for the finale and we hung out with some of the other Moomba lot in Miami.

 

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Not a lot, when I write I concentrate on where I’m at, when I’m getting ready to go out I play a mixture of styles, up and heavy.

 

What is the most exciting thing you are looking forward to this year?

Releasing the rest of my solo  tracks and collaborations , performing more shows and continuing to travel.

 

 
#Tweet is out now. For more information check out www.feraliskinky.com or follow @FERALisKINKY
 
 
Words by Tabatha Taylor
@tiptoptab

 

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