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interview // re:flex the architect

Where did you get the influence to become an emcee and producer?

Well, I got my influence originally, from DC Talk. They were the first ever hiphop group I heard when I was about 11 years old. But when I finally discovered 'real' hiphop, I guess it was people like Grits, Mars Ill, LPG, Cross Movement, E-Roc as well as Mos Def & Talib Kweli. It's probably the same thing for producing, although, I'm into non-hiphop stuff like Jamiroquai, Daniel Bedingfield, Todd Edwards, James Brown, etc, etc.

How did you begin producing?

On a 100 Yamaha keyboard, with some of the wackest sounds ever. My folks bought it for me to start learning music with, because they saw a passion & a love for music in me as a young child. So I used to play the factory preset "hiphop" beats with my own chords & write my own rhymes or song melodies over the top. It was cheesy, but I look back on it with a smile.

What types of equipment do you currently use?

Currently, I use & completely endorse Making Waves Studio. For anyone who says you can't make music on a computer, never saw Making Waves coming. I also use Computer Muzys to run some of my VST instruments, a Yamaha PSR740 keyboard (although I'm never using factory preset music ever again), I've got a pair of congas & I'm trying to learn the bass at the moment & have already played some live stuff on some songs.

How did you hook up with the Scribbling Idiots?

It's all that dude, CAS METAH's fault. Basically, I was invited to join a crew called Essence of Existence, which was CAS, Kaboose & Elias, & then EOE merged with the already existing Scribbling Idiots (JustMe & CAS) to become the S.I. you know & love today. My role in the crew is mainly one of production, alongside JustMe & Mattman, I believe it was a God-ordained thing, because being in a crew with some amazingly talented MCs & Producers, has helped me up my game a lot. Plus, they're honest. If they're not feeling a beat, they tell me so, which is what every producer or artist needs to be able to grow.

Which artists have you produced for?

So far it's mostly up & coming cats like myself. People like Rezadent, Oakbridge (both from Australian crews), Re:Son, Absent (from Hyborian Warriors), The Psalmist2, Sentimental (Kaboose & Obstacle's crew)and others. At the moment, I'm working for two or three artists that have already established a name, I've got a beat on Sintax the Terrific's upcoming album, a song that will feature Mouf Warren, CAS METAH & Justme as well as Mr Terrific. Also I might be working with Luke Geraty on a song for his "Carpenter's Hands" project, as well as a few other people. I would like to produce for a lot more British cats too, 'coz it feels strange, me living in Britain & all my work has come from either the US or Australia. So if you're a dope British MC, hit me up.

Are there any plans for a follow-up album to your EP entitled If You Don't Know...?

Well, I'd have to release "If You Don't Know" first!!! lol. Honestly, making that E.P. has been such a steep learning curve. But to answer the question, yes. I'm working on... wait for it... an album! Which will be featuring my rhymes & will be mostly produced by myself, but some guest beats from JustMe & DJ Deftone. It will feature cats like Mouf Warren from S.I., Griffin from TRz, Richy D from a UK group called Dynamis, and a track with some of the sickest UK artists you've never heard. Lyrically, I'm actually starting to develop a lot, I think. I've got crazy punchlines (which is sort of my trademark to people who've heard my stuff outside of the internet), but my flow & cadence have gotten stronger & I'm at a place where I can really speak from the heart on stuff that matters to me. 'Coz I feel like I haven't been placed in hiphop to say the same old Christian cliches that secular heads have heard over & over again & are probably now immune to, but I'm here to share my life for people to see how God works in me, through me & hopefully be affected by that.

Where do you get your inspiration for your beats?

Hmmm, hard question. Lil Jon, of course, is my inspiration (you think I'm joking, don't you!). Really, though, it's usually like songs or samples I hear, or rhythm or chord patterns that I think of, write down & then flesh out into a beat. 'Coz I think it's important for beats to make musical sense. At the moment, though, I'm experimenting with things like making my own samples. So for example, I'd work out a chord structure on my keys, use sampled notes or VST instruments & drum programming to create, let's say an 8 bar soul loop & then eq it & then drop them on top of my track. I only started doing this, 'coz my turntable is broken, so I can't really sample from records, but it's REALLY inspiring. A lot of the stuff I'm producing for CAS METAH's various projects are like this & if a picky MC like CAS (had to throw that in there) tells me it's bumping, then I guess it is. Love you really, CAS (a.k.a. Mr-How-Many-Crews-Can-1-MC-Have?)!

On an average, how long does it take to create a
Re:Flex the Architect beat?

Depends. Usually about a couple of days to flesh out the bare bones of the track, but the most it's taken me is about a month, if I'm not happy with the track.

What is the hip hop scene like in the UK, does it differ from the style of the US?

It's dope. It's starting to create it's own styles away from the US stuff, which is nice. I see a bit of blending dancehall & hiphop lately as well as urban genres like "Grime", which is like a more - hiphop version of UK Garage. Dizzee Rascal would be considered 'grime'. As far as regular hiphop goes, well, MCs are talking about what they see, so England being in some ways, very different from the US, the subject matter reflects that. Plus England's got that 17-stone mic monster known as Re:Flex the Architect, so you can't really go wrong there

What can we look forward to in the near future from
Re:Flex the Architect and Scribbling Idiots?

Hopefully, a LOT of really insanely good music. We've (S.I.) got most of our MCs working on solo projects, as well as the CDs we've got out at the moment, but there's a group project on it's way, so hold tight for that. If you see a CD with Mattman's production on it, BUY IT! 'Coz that guy has skills dripping from his sweat pores or something. As for me personally, look forward to me getting more active in the British hiphop scene, making beats for some more really dope artists whether known or unknown, losing weight (yeah, right), & developing a stronger relationship with God.

Any last words?

Thanks to Majeye for this interview. I'm feeling what you're doing with Aphire. Bigups to all true hiphoppers. Also, to anyone doing what God has called them to do. Take the vision & run with it. Don't let anyone but God & the people HE has put in your life to guide you, tell you any different, 'coz at the end of the day, it's Him who you will give account to.


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