Thursday 12 August 2010

Artrocker Magazine: JP Meets Riko!

Joseph 'JP' Patterson recently caught up with legendary grime MC, Riko. In this in-depth interview the east Londoner talks about everything from getting a new record deal and his plans to dominate the music industry, to what he thinks about Roll Deep and fellow grime MCs making commercial music. Artrocker has the exclusive.

So Riko, how have you been? The last time I saw you were at my first ever ChockABlock club night over 3 years ago…

Yeah, that was a big rave, I remember that. Since then, I will be honest, up until about three or four months ago I wasn’t really doing a lot, music wise you get me? I was doing the wrong stuff, but then I got a little deal. It isn’t a major deal, it’s an independent deal, but I decided to knuckle down and started making tunes.

How did this deal come about for you?

It came about from just doing work. My manager, he met them before and showed them what I did before with Wiley and other people. They wanted to work with some grime artists, they’ve never worked with any before and they have been in the music game for 20 years, but more on the dance music tip and now they wanted to venture out and work with some grime cats. My manager is also my close friend, so he knew what I wanted to do and he put it to the label and they liked what we were coming with. With this deal it isn’t like you go to the studio and you don’t know what’s going to happen to your tunes, you get me? With them, the tunes will get pushed out, it may not be tomorrow, but they’re on it. That’s all I’ve ever needed, a good team, because you can be talented and if you haven’t got the right team behind you then you’re not going anywhere.

OK, so you’ve got your deal, but people want to know what the situation is between you and Roll Deep. A lot of people still aren’t sure if you’re in the crew or not…

I’m still in Roll Deep, but how can I say it? It’s not like a backseat thing, but I’m more behind the scenes. I haven’t left and we haven’t fallen out, we’re just going different ways. Obviously they’ve got their number one, so they need to push that. Everything happens for a reason, you get me?

Speaking of their No.1, what do you think about the type of music they’re making now?

They might have made a few commercial tunes here and there, but they make overall grime bangers. You can’t really blame them if they want to make a commercial tune; if it can go to number one then it can’t be that wrong…

While you were away, did you ever watch or follow the grime scene?

Nah, to be honest I didn’t. It used to make me realise how much I wasn’t doing, you know them ones? So I used to try and run from it. Right now I’m running into it, my head is in the right place now.

There’s a new batch of up-and-comers in the scene right now. What are your thoughts on them?

Maxsta is hard. I’m also rating Realist, he’s hard. Couple little youngers that I’ve seen on the internet, I don’t really know they’re names, but they’re spitting hard to grime and it’s a good look.

There’s also a lot more MCs spitting over dubstep these days, what do you think of it? I remember back in the day you used to MC on a lot of dubstep sets and it went down well…

Yeah I like it, because a lot of it is on a reggae tip. Dubstep is like a second nature to me, it’s easy to work on. I’m doing a thing with Rusko soon, I saw the article that you did on him for The Guardian and he mentioned that he wanted to work with me, so my manager hooked that up for me. I’m looking to do a few things with Kode 9 too, so we’re just going to try and work on a few little things. If there is anything worthwhile then I’m going to jump on it.

So what can people expect for your first single release?

Me and the team don’t even know yet, you have to wait and see. There’s going to be three singles, three videos and an album, we don’t know what single is going to be first just yet or what we’re going to push first. We’ve got bangers ready, but we don’t know if we’re going to make a few new ones or go with what we have already. I reckon we’re going to make some new stuff before anything gets released.

With all of this new music, are you going to plan on taking it to the mainstream?

I’m going to try and keep me, but you know what it is? You’ve just got to use your brain. If you’ve got talent and you can spit, you’ve just got to use your brain man. You don’t have to sell yourself out, but what is selling yourself out? I know people say that when certain man start making pop music, but…

So what do you think about Tinchy Stryder and all the other grime MCs that have made pop music?

I don’t see what the problem is. You might hear a poppy tune on Radio 1 or something, but if you get their album or mixtape you’ll find bangers on them. Nasty, gritty grime, you know what I’m saying? They’re just supplying demand. Why shouldn’t I make a tune that most of the country would want to hear?

Do you think that your style and flow will appeal to the mainstream audience though?

You know what it is? Right now I’m grateful that I have the right team behind me, because I’ve never had that before. If you keep on putting in the work then something will pop, trust me. Whether it’s borderline cheesy or some hard dubstep, it could even be reggae or even jungle, you never know, as long as you’re not rubbish and you have people pushing you in the right direction, then something will go right for you.

Lastly, is there anything that you’d like to tell your fans out there?

Just wait, just wait. I’ve done talking before and I’m done with talking, so for everyone that has been supporting me over the years, just wait!

Stay up to date with Riko on Twitter

Words: Joseph 'JP' Patterson

This also appeared over at Artrocker Magazine: HERE