Interview with Flowdan
Flowdan is one of the Grime artists who was there from the beginning. In the early 2000s he founded the grime crew Roll Deep with other well-known artists. Among them was Wiley who is considered the godfather of Grime. Since then he has published many Grime and bass heavy Tunes, whereby he always remained true to his roots. Among others, renowned bass producers such as The Bug, DVA, Swindle and Kahn were involved. Flowdan is generally an artist who likes to collaborate. With Spentshell he has founded his own label to promote not only his sound but also that of other up-and-coming Grime artists like GHSTLY XXVII and YGG.
Mid September he performed at Bassism in Berlin and we took the opportunity to ask him a few questions. We wanted to know what the East London MC has to say about Berlin, German Grime and his latest album Full Metal Jacket.
Lead single, "Welcome To London" tackles the daunting nature of the city; one that may seem welcoming and beautiful to tourists, but not to those who experience it in day to day life.
As Grime Fans by ourselves we are always gassed to see Grime Artists from the UK perform in Berlin. But you are not a stranger to this city as we have seen you linking with The Bug and his Pressure event series before. How do you see the Berlin Music scene compared to London?
Flowdan: To be honest I’m not up to date with the Berlin scene, I’m not well versed in any 'scene' really, especially anything overseas but what I can say is that; whenever I am there my performance is well received and that’s always a positive thing, that response shows me that Berlin is a place that’s open to different styles and different energies.
There is a small community of MCs outside of the UK who rap in their native languages on Grime beats. What do you think about Non-UK Grime Music? Did you ever get in touch with german Grime Music?
Flowdan: It’s a positive thing that Grime is international. Any time anyone decides to pick up a style of music and make it their own it’s always a positive thing. It shows that we’re having a positive influence on people who may not even speak English. I don’t really link up with many German Grime artists and that’s just because I generally keep to myself in my studio working with my own artists - I wouldn’t say no though.
Through our work on Grimelist we quickly realized that there are mainly two types of events. There are the Dubstep/Grime and the Afrobeat/Grime events. Grime seems to be broad enough. How would you define Grime Music nowadays?
Flowdan: Grime music today just feels like an established genre that still gets the short end of the stick for many reasons, but at the same time it’s here to stay. It began as just expression, experimental expression so in comparison to how it was, now it’s kind of formed, there’s a formula to it and there’s certain expectations when you hear Grime, and sometimes Grime suffers because of that, which is sometimes a good thing. I’m still undecided on where we need to go with it, but today it’s in a strong place, in 2019 it’s been around for nearly 20 years, so I don’t really see it stopping. I do honestly think it needs to be more experimental and more expansive to grow in a healthier way though.
After releasing two EP’s in the last months you dropped your third album Full Metal Jacket in May this year. Can you tell us something about the main motivations behind the project?
Flowdan: The thought process on Full Metal jacket wasn’t any different to the process I had on Disaster Piece and even on One Shell Fits All EP - mainly I just didn’t stop recording so Full Metal Jacket kind of put itself together naturally after lots of listening to the tracks I’d already completed and to beats I wanted to work on.
I wasn’t really sure what was and wasn’t going to make the album, I was just sure that I was going to continue making music, then I started to hear the project forming and the direction in which these particular songs were going so I began deciding what to do on the following tracks to compliment these tracks I already had. I always knew that the overall concept of the project needed to be a step on from where I left Disaster Piece, which was mainly about trying to be positive when the worst is happening, staying positive and remaining strong when things aren’t going great. And Full Metal Jacket is about not giving a shit about how things are going and just always being ready for whatever is going to happen, because even if you’ve had a major disruptive event in your life that doesn’t mean that’s going to be the last one. So Disaster Piece was like training, and Full Metal Jacket is what you need to have to survive.
Just some weeks ago your new Single “Start Up“ with Boylan was released. Could you talk us through the track? We are mainly interested in the process of the making.
Flowdan: As normal, the process was the same as normal for me when I make music, I just found that this particular instrumental was a very imposing beat, very bassy, very noisy, so I wanted to allow that to still come through even with my vocals on there - so that explains the style of my verses, the poetic talking, making statements, as opposed to being more rhythmic and using more lyrical patterns, but I still wanted to bring some type of Flowdan vibe to the track to get the listeners moving whilst still maintaining and even elaborating on the message in the verses. I wanted to compliment Boylan’s music and not get in the way with my vocals but still enhance it.
Thank you for the interview.
UK Grime Event Updates