Homelessness is one of Greater Manchester’s gravest issues, with the ‘A Bed Every Night’ scheme and numerous other charitable endeavours aiming to tackle the problem. It’s an issue that concerns many musicians and DJs in Manchester, as was evident with last year’s Love For the Streets party at Hidden, and is so once again with Sweet Nothing and Room2 records’ collaborative fundraiser at Band on the Wall, this Saturday. With a host of Room2 affiliated artists taking to the stage, including Berry Blacc, Flex The Foreigner, The Frisko & Deepo Show, MISSPHIZZLEDOTCOM and Truce, this is your opportunity to enjoy some top notch Manchester hip-hop and help fund efforts to tackle homelessness and poverty in the process. Ahead of the night, Room2 head honcho Kydro kindly took the time to express his thoughts on the issue, as well as touching upon some new and forthcoming music.
You’re working with Sweet Nothing and Mustard Tree for the forthcoming night at Band on the Wall. Can you share your thoughts about the importance of those issues in our city and how the artistic community has responded to them?
Kydro: ‘I know that homelessness is an issue that myself and the artists on the line-up are very aware of and are passionate about. It’s a problem that I have seen grow and grow in this city over the past decade pretty much. I see more and more people on the streets, younger and younger faces. People who simply have less support than you or me, there’s no net left to catch them and they end up sleeping rough. That’s why we jumped at the opportunity to team up with Sweet Nothing and put on a top quality event for a deserving cause.’
What can you tell us about the music that Flex The Foreigner has in the pipeline? Having produced his Sorry I’m Late EP, have you developed a particular workflow or creative approach in the studio together?
Kydro: ‘Yo me and Flex have soooo much dope music we wanna put out! He’s a super multi-talented artist and we have developed a process that has yielded a lot of material so far. It’s been a couple years we’ve been meeting at least once a week and we have now got our sound and momentum closer to where we want it be. It’s funny, I used to make beats like all day everyday. A lot of the time I’d send ‘em out to my guys I thought would sound good on them and see what happens. That’s not really how I work anymore… I like to sit down with a vocalists and start something from scratch or maybe build on a simple idea I started on my own. I’ve found this way I have a way more focused approach and a lot more of the songs I start get finished and I feel happy enough with them that I wanna release em. Fabio (Flex) has fitted perfectly into that process, in fact I’m pretty sure he said to me the other day he can hardly write to beats at home anymore, it’s just way more fun and organic to create something together rather than one after each other, if you get me?’
MISSPHIZZLEDOTCOM came up in battle rap. In your opinion, is there a difference between MCs who’ve cut their teeth battle rapping and MCs who haven’t stepped foot into that kind of arena? Do you think that the pressure situation sharpens MCs and gives them particular skills?
Kydro: ‘Yeah the battle thing is funny for me, I’ve never been a massive fan but I do like the comedy side of it. I think it’s hard for artists trying to transition from battles to releasing their own music. Rap battle fans aren’t necessarily hip-hop fans, they’re not even necessarily music fans, they are fans of YouTube and rap battles to be honest, so the exposure rarely follows someone into their music career. That being said I think there is usually a level of honesty and comedy that battle rappers can bring to their music which is often very endearing. I think MISSPHIZZLE and Frisko both have that raw honest element along with not taking themselves too seriously which a lot of people can connect with. They are funny and witty, in very different ways lol, but you can see how battles have sharpened those skills and given them a bit of that ‘I don’t give f*£%’ mentality.’
In terms of A&R and linking up with artists you want to work with, how have you gone about assembling the Room2 roster? Have deals and collaborations arisen naturally, or are you actively out there looking for new artists to work with?
Kydro: ‘The Room2 roster is completely organic. It started as a way for a bunch of us to let people know that we were all affiliated and working together and that really hasn’t changed much. Artists have grown, sounds have developed and new faces have popped up but we all know each other and pretty much all live in South Manny, lol. I don’t scout for talent on the internet really, we do accept demo submissions but I think it would take something real special to make me think I wanna sign someone without meeting them. Usually someone on the label will shout me and say they got someone they wanna collab with, that’s how I meet and gage new artists, in the studio. I have to know someone’s energy, vibe, motivation before I even consider if they’d fit with the Label. To be honest I feel like we have an excellent core of younger and more established artists and I’m happy to focus on growing their profiles for the time being.’
What’s exciting you music wise at the moment, and what are you excited to drop on Room 2 in the coming weeks and months?
Kydro: ‘We are really trying to pick up pace in terms of releases at the moment. There’s a lot of noise out there so you gotta be active and in people’s faces to get noticed I reckon. Soooooooo we got plenty on the way! Me and Flex have a series of collaborative tunes with some of Manny’s best rappers on way featuring the likes of Ellis Meade, Blind MIC, KinKai and a few more sill! MISSPHIZZLE’s #SigSadWorld project still has a few more crazy episodes to come out. Deepo has a series of singles nearly ready to go that are sounding weighty… and Dubbul O and Clay have a collaborative EP coming out soon too…. I think that’s most of it for now, lol.’
Photo: Zeyd Ayoob