Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Introducing: LaCrate and Amanduh Blank

LaCrate_Amanda, originally uploaded by chantelle.

Blues & Soul meet Aaron LaCrate, 30, B'more gutter music producer and CEO of Milk Crate Records alongside vocalist/rapper/girl about town and nu-wave style icon Amanduh Blank, 23... Words: Chantelle Fiddy.

UD: First off, what's Baltimore gutter music?
Aaron: It's a new musical genre, like crunk on crack. I've spearheaded it, the gutter music project was Amanduh Blank, Spank Rock, me, Low Budget (who's a great DJ). We grew up with Baltimore club music and it was getting popular in Philly so we decided to do a mixtape featuring a heap of exclusives. It got a lot of press and created a lot of attention for everybody. We're like the next generation of Baltimore club beats, Amanduh rhyming over it is different, they normally just have chants.

UD: What's the crowd like who go to these nights?
Amanduh: It is kinda fashion. Every city is different, west London is fashion crowds but Philly is more hood. You get a diverse mix of kids.

UD: We have problem here putting on grime events, is that something that happens over there?
Aaron: It's the biggest form of music in Baltimore and people do get fucked up in some clubs but it's your typical urban experience.
Amanduh: I feel we stick out more when we're in the UK at parties, it's just different, like the way i look everyone in Philly looks this way with the door knocker earrings and loud hair and make up. There's a huge difference in the dancing too, I'd like to go to a dancehall club over here cause I reckon that's where people really get down. No one in Philly stands around trying to look cool, there's limbs everywhere, it gets really sweaty.

UD: Have you been surprised by the success of Spank Rock in Europe?
Amanduh: I've known them before they were Spank Rock, when Niem? had dreadlocks, it was just like 'damn'! He's like my best friend so I was joking around with him and had some fun, the song ended up coming out cool and going on the album.

UD: Has the mixtape helped you get remix work like Alesha's 'Superficial'?
Aaron: Pretty much yeah, the music just hit pretty hard over here cause UK dance records, like Shut Up And Dance had a massive influence on Baltimore club music when it started. They were getting played in all the clubs over there. It's kinda come full circle.

UD: Would you work with someone you weren't into if the money was right?
Aaron: For me remixing is different, what we do is nasty, hard and disgustingly horrible, so if someone wants me to do that to their tune, if you wanna pay me to do that then I'm gonna do what I do. If I can put a pop record out with 'mother fucker' with gun shots and explosions then cool.

UD: How did you both meet?
Aaron: It was about two years ago and we just clicked, we had a similar sick sense of humour and we could vibe.
Amanduh: I couldn't work with someone I didn't share those things with.

UD: What's your background, cause you seem to have come from nowhere?
Amanduh: I haven't been in it too long, Spank Rock really got me into it and since the mixtape I've been on some remixes, I'm in a band as well so I've performed with them. I'm just an attention whore, I'll do anything to be on stage.

UD: What's a typical set for you?
Aaron: They'll be Baltimore classics mixed with a lot of my own stuff.

UD: And Milk Crate is your label?
Aaron: The mixtape came out in November 2005 and that was the first proper release, before that we'd put out stuff randomly. Milk Crate was originally a fashion label which me and my girlfriend run, that's been out here since '96.

UD: Plans for the music?
Amanduh: Lots of shows and making new music. I'm looking forward to going to Russia, I plan to shop.
Aaron: 'Blow' is out now featuring Amanduh and I've done the gutter remix of 'Smile.' I've known Lily before all this, she represents something that speaks to a big demographic.

UD: Worst live experience?
Amanduh: I was doing a show and these girls who didn't like me stood at the front, booing me under their breath. But it was cool, cause I still got their money so they could get the fuck out. Generally I just don't like people standing, staring and looking at their Blackberry. It's like why did you bother coming out?

For more info www.myspace.com/amanduhblank, www.myspace.com/aaronlacrate and www.milkcraterecords.com.

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