Sunday, 3 February 2008

Old Wiley Interview (2007)

Do people always expect to hear you make grime?
Yeah if I make one tune that isn’t they do, but I’m at the top of the genre. So’s Dizzee. No one can tell me or him what to make. When you clock your genre you can go to any genre and do it. I love that tune Kano's done with Kate Nash, I’m looking forward to hearing that again.

Highs and lows of your career. It’s a long time span. Do you ever find that times you previously thought were bad times were actually good times?
Life is like that, up and down, definitely. Before I was immature, if something good or bad happened. Now I look back at bad stuff and although I didn’t want it to happen, the fact it all has has helped in a sense.

Was it 96 you started?
Around then, I can’t quite remember.

There was Nicoles Groove, why was that a one off?
It was me and Danny S, together we were Phaze One, he was the engineer. A lot of the time in them days it was just boom, boom. The people I was working with were at a slow pace so by the time you heard Nicoles Groove I was way past it.

Was that the only garage thing you did?
No I did loads. It was an era but that was the one that got signed. Most of it stayed hidden but there might have been some other remixes floating about.

With garage making a comeback are you going to do anything with the back catalogue?
Yeah I’d love to or someone to do it for me under an alias. I’ve been doing funky house under another name too…

Why an alias?
Because I’m not allowed really, I’m such a legend in grime I shouldn’t be allowed to wander off. Well I am, but the scene will get funny with me.

So there’s a lot of pressure on you to stick to grime?
Yes, I can do what I want, but realistically there is. You can only say fuck you to an extent. I look at how they view and perceive me and think I have to stick with grime really.

Where you’ve stuck with grime when other people have perhaps gone off to experiment, is that why you’re still where you are?
Maybe, I’ve dibbled and dabbled but never left.

Pay As U Go was 99, then Roll Deep was 2002, then it was the same situation, creative process done you wanted to move on, as always…
Yeah with the Roll Deep album, we sat down, spent loads of money and made an album for the country and then ‘Pow’ came out and I realised that he did ‘Pow’ which meant top 10 so we didn’t need to stop doing grime to get into the charts.

Why’s there not been another ‘Pow’ then?
There’s not because that was for the time. Loads of people have tried to do Pow’s since then and even before but not with that selection…

Yeah but the MCs on it weren’t even that good…
True but at the time it worked and the beat, Lethals vibe was good too.

How do you feel now you have a daughter?
That’s what I’m tryign to say. By the time she’s 16 I don’t even want to know. I was 13 when I lost my virginity to a 16 year old girl.

Has it changed the way you approach your music or your life?
Yes you have to be careful with a daughter, especially if you’re a man sleeping with this one and that one. You think what if she was doing that? It restrains you from doing it.

And has it made you think more about who you’re choosing as partners because of how easy it is to have a baby?
You won’t believe this but I’ve got another one on the way.

Don’t lie!
That’s why. It wasn’t planned, It’s hard but it’s made me do this. Kids are the best feeling in the world. Me and the girl aren’t together. But when you have a baby it’s your face lodged into their face, they’re beautiful but it makes you remember work. All the time I’m being lazy at my mums I think I can’t be. Jamie rang me about the interview and I have to do it for the nappies.

What’s been the most surprising thing about fatherhood?
When I first had it I thought yes, get mature, but at first I got madder, out clubbing and drinking but then you realise you don’t want your child to grow up and hate you, your child to grow up and resent you, your child to grow up and be like you…. I used to be like ‘dad, where was you?’ You don’t want your child to do that and it makes you not as judging towards parents.

One thing you just said that made me laugh, you know how you always contradict yourself, you said it makes you more wary being with a girl but then you reveal you have another baby on the way…
Yeah but when the other one came on the way as I’m just getting used to the first one, it was a kick. I wasn’t nothing. I’ve got one already who’s one, now I’m having another one in October so I’ve got to work twice as hard. At first I was shocked.

Is It harder having releationships because you’re Wiley...
I can’t lose a clash because someone does that (or something with my girl), I will rise above, you can’t be afraid to say anything. I wouldn’t want to put the girl in anything and I would try my hardest not to mention something about theirs…

Is that a strength to not want secrets?
Well guess what, I don’t think that… Some people do lyrics and I think 'you didn’t need to say that'. What you’re doing, that wasn’t on your brain but now you’ve said it to yourself, your brain, you’ve made it an issue. Something that's bad on my brain I’m letting it go. Some stuff people say I’d never say. I do understand. ‘MCs are pride and ego’, and some are. What we’ve all done with the grime is connected, we all know each other, whatever, but one thing is once you get past a certain age you have to let go. If you do music and I do music, it’s who you meet, and why shouldn’t it be?

Were you much angrier when you were younger?
Yes because I couldn’t understand, people would do stuff to me that I’d done to them and I couldn’t understand why.

Is there any one point in your career that stands out as being the most important?
Yeah I think it was the day when NY, Dizzee and me were in the studio in Sheffield and Dizzee was recording his 1st album… obviously she was my girlfriend and Dizzee might have liked her slightly, he’d probably say he didn’t, but I was a bit jealous he might like her and that day I made a decision… Nick was the manager and I could see he was stirring stuff so I told him I was leaving and he was no longer my manager… which was a bad move and a good move. Sometimes I think I shouldn’t have done that.

But don’t you think it was inevitable that either you or Dizzee would have to sack Cage?

As much as you didn’t want to be seen as rivals you were and you are…
Exactly. It was about sales.

And do you remember when you were stabbed the last time, you said to me ‘it’s the first time you realised you could of died from a stab wound…’ I was thinking, it’s taken you to be stabbed this many times for you to realise that! Did that have a profound effect on your life?
Definitely, it was a wake up call. You can still end up in beef but it was a wake up call like ‘stop pretending you can’t die’ and I realised I could kill or be killed. So walk away. When I was in the hospital bed I was upset, why am I going through all of this, But it was my fault. If I’m going to say on the mic ‘i’m going to do this, leng you down, I hate you,’ the more I say the more I’m drawing it towards me.

So have you stopped all that?
I’m still saying it partially. I’m not over every issue.

But all the times you’ve been stabbed is over silly stuff…
Before you get to the stabbing, the argument might have been anything but the stabbing comes naturally. It’s the mentality. It’s normal, it’s not bad.

You don’t think it’s bad?
I can’t judge someone who’s stabbed me when I have once pulled out a knife... That’s what it is. It feels so horrible and it’s maybe why it happened back to me. It’s a horrible feeling. Anyone who glamourises it is a dickhead. An idiot. You feel silly after. The ones who brag and boast about it I don’t know what happens to them.
I couldn’t judge something on something I’ve done myself.

So you’ve been stabbed 14 times?
Seven one time, seven another. Two occassions. Oh and I’ve been poked and got scars before.

A lot of people who’ve been through what you’ve been through would have opted for the quiet life and thought ‘fuck this’ and be really bitter. You don’t seem to be either?
I am bitter inside. Because the truth is, any day I could snap or turn, that’s what it’s done to me. Any one split second, with my friend, or not my friend. It’s a combination of stuff I’ve done and stuff other people have done to me.

People throw a lot of shit at you – paedophilia and coke or crack…
I don’t really hear crack.

A lot of people think you smoke crack...
Nah I know about coke but I’ve never even tried crack. I’ve sold crack and heroin, to me they’re scary. Never ever. Cocaine I sold it but the curse is trying it. I’ve never even had a pill. I only started smoking weed when I was 20. I was late to it but selling drugs from 16. Weed makes you paranoid, snap… I’ve slowed down. I think with or without weed you are who you are. I don’t smoke cause I’m down, I use it for studio. I’m even past drugs, I’m past all of that, none of that can bring me down.

You’ve been broke before?
I’ve been at zero. I’ve made about 250,000, maybe more out of the back of my boot but it’s how much I’m work. I’m not getting shitter at what I do. I’m getting better. All the money I’ve spent I’ve cried about before, I can’t cry anymore, it’s how much I’ve shelled out and an much. Now I’ve got to earn the money back and not spend it so in 10 years I can say ‘oh shit, I’ve been working for 10 years and still have money left from 2008’.

But isn’t it harder ot make the money now?
Nah. People say that, but it’s not, I’m Wiley. I’ll be making money until I’m dead. I’ve got mix CD’s, a record deal. I look at myself as a commodity, a brand, ‘hang on you’re Wiley, you’re Kylie, you’re Eskiboy, you’re someone’ sell your self and your product. Look at how Jamie’s doing it with the T-shirts.

Is there a formula?
I’ve got a million formulas. Ice Pole remix with the gliding snares was a formula, the tune Scorcher done about labels, that beat was a formula. My formula is more in the beats than the lyrics. I can’t be touched when it comes to beat making in this country. There are people who are good, more musical than me, whatever, but look at what I’ve done.

Does it frustrate you to think where you might be if you lived in another country, say America?
I’d be like the master of the lords but it doesn’t, cause I earn my money and go to America and my money doubles up so I’m smiling.

Who’s your equivalent in America?
There isn’t an equivalent of me in the whole world. There’s no one like me. Timbalands spitting level is no where near mine.

Have their been certain people you’ve bought in, taken under your wing so to speak, then found out they’re not your friend?
Yes cause they’re not. They might look at me in the same way. Mates, friends it’s just a word.

They say to you girlfriends come and go but friends are for life… it’s a bullshit saying don’t you agree?
Yes, some of your friends will sleep with your girl. Families are the only thing that are constant, they bicker but they’re blood and they’ll always be a connection.

So the Dizzee situation, to a lot of people it seems like you and him are still going on about it 3/4 years down the lie…
Obviously they still care about each other or they wouldn’t say a word.

I thought you and him had spoken and sorted things out?
We did. I bet you if I went to Devons Road now and saw him he’d say ‘hello, what’s going on?’

Do you ever get bored of clashing?
Yeah but then I get bored when im not doing it. It’s a bit of a mad one. I’ll clash anyone because I feel that confident. And it’s not about what could be said, I might clash just for the skill factor.

Sales wise, Kano, Dizzee and you have different markets, some people would say in terms of grime you’re the best but you’re probably going to sell the least?
Yep and that’s the wickedest ting – I am not going to sell less. I am more powerful than both of them. I told the label to release me on the same day as them but the whole thing comes with what you’ve done before, where you’ve toured, what you’ve sold before.

Do you think the record companies play a major part in it?
No they’re idiots. See record companies all they are is money, they lend you money to make you believe you are someone. It’s like going to the bank. They want to get their money back.

So it doesn’t make a difference which label you’re with?
Nah, I used to, look at Kano on 679, they’re not bigger than Sony but he looks like he’s on Elektra the way they’ve made it look. He’s on that Def Jam game. Maybe it’s brain power within the label. Worthington is not an idiot. Mike Skinner. Not an idiot. I don’t have to bread or like them but they’re not idiots.

Why don’t you release vocal versions of your old stuff?
It’s often what the label wants. I understand what you mean but on a lot of that material I don’t know what to say yet.

The albums going to come out on Big Dada, a 50/50 split?
Anyone could ask for 50/50 it’s all to do with what you take up front. I took a much smaller advance than I needed to. What is made from net profit is what counts. They’ve also got an option on the next album but that won’t be solo, that would be all collaborations with the scene.

Outside of the album?
Eskiboy Recordings, Tunnel Vision 6-10, I sell about 2 or 3,000 of each one. Roll Deep’s Rules & Regulations has sold 10,000 already. That’s my main source of income at the moment. I’m going to keep bringing through new people, wants you know who you are you’re a prick. Once I rub off on you you become a prick.

So you think you’re a prick?
That’s how people perceive me. A young person rings me for a beat and I don’t give it to them, they think I’m a prick. That’s because I know who I am. The kids are tomorrows world, the people out there now will get licked down by these kids because I’ll put them on a path and they’ll be past someone who’s been in it for 7 years.

Lastly, the album...
I’m only 28, I’ve got a better album in me. Dizzee will go to the studio, make an album, it gets refused. I’ve never been refused.

No comments: