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New Album, aka Where do I Start!?

Creative Block

For the past month or so, it has been my goal to start work on a full new album to follow up on last year’s ‘Laying The Gauntlet‘. That project was aimed at being a conceptual one; I wanted to try and recreate the atmosphere of the Hip-Hop music that was so inspiring to me in my youth, and frame it as a modern radio show. In the time that has passed since then, I felt that although I did succeed in this goal, I only really scratched the surface of what my true connection to Hip-Hop is. Sure, I aired some feelings about the way Hip-Hop has gone now, and drew some musical lines back to producers like J Dilla, 9th Wonder, Nicolay, Madlib and the like. But attempting to mimic the sounds that certain individuals spoke to me with seems somewhat superficial. What I really should have targeted was the foundations that these artists built from – powerful kicks, soulful melodies, experimentation, individuality. Overall, if I’m honest with myself, ‘Laying The Gauntlet‘ is not the Hip-Hop roots homage that I set out to make.

 

So the question I now find myself wrestling with is: do I want to try broaching the same territory again, but improve on my previous effort, or do I try something totally new?

Though targeting my musical influences is still important to me, I’m finding that other aspects of life are dominating my psyche at this time. My personal progress away from the depression that has dogged my life for so many years yields lots of hope and ambition, but I still find myself drawn to the darkness and solitude that have become so familiar to me. It seems no amount of music in this ilk can fully express the bounty of emotion that has built up inside me over many years, nor can it help me to find what is truly at the core of it. I also find myself hampered by the other aspect of life that is currently clouding my vision: the desperate state of the world and this country; my contempt for the government that controls us; the media that influences us; and the ignorance of the masses who are so easily led by those two powers. The problem with this is that I feel I already approached this unrest, and the anger that comes with it, in the Snypa D Delic album ‘Bullet Tooth Snipes‘. I featured heavily on this album, and produced the majority of it, and I feel I vented a lot of my frustrations there.

Bullet Tooth Snipes, new album

Bullet Tooth Snipes

So where do I go with my new album? Having listened fanatically to Kendrick Lamar‘s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly‘ over the past 6 months or so, I envy the fact that he found such profound inspiration from travelling to Africa. As a white British/Irish man, there isn’t such a strong cultural identity for me to discover (at least, none that I’m aware of) that could provide such inspiration for my own brand of Hip-Hop. I find myself always looking inward for inspiration, driven by emotions and thoughts that are barely influenced by other people as I mostly live such a solitary lifestyle. Recent local events, such as the stabbing of a young man near my place of work, open my eyes to the suffering and loss others experience, but this has all been covered countless times by every Hip-Hop artist you could care to name. If I am to make new music, it needs to be just that: ‘new‘.

The search for some genuine inspiration for a new album continues as of this point in time. I am yet to find an answer to the questions that have plagued me since I first decided to work on a new project. My approach has been to start making beats at a high rate, in the hope that something might inspire me organically as I go. It strikes me, as I proceed with this, that most vocalists do not also make their own instrumentals, so I go on to think about whether it might help to search for beats made by other producers to use on my songs. Collaborations and features have been a strong presence in my previous Hip-Hop albums, and this is perhaps something that I would like to do differently this time around. Ultimately, I want every album I make to be a work of art, and I’m determined that I will one day produce my masterpiece. But at this early stage, I am yet to lay the first of my foundations for this new album…unless this process of wrestling for the right inspiration is an essential building block along the way.

I would love to know the thoughts of some other artists; what is most important to you when starting a new project? How do you go about finding inspiration? Either comment on this post or get at me on Twitter to let me know!

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Bullet Tooth Snipes: Music for the Revolution!

Will-Powerz's first project of 2015: the new Snypa D Delic album 'Bullet Tooth Snipes'

Will-Powerz’s first project of 2015: the new Snypa D Delic album ‘Bullet Tooth Snipes’

 

After a very productive first year of existence, myself and my fellow Latent’s Records managers Tim and Ali needed a small lull in the releasing of material for every facet of the record label. Between the three of us, we have built a significant online presence for LR and its affiliated webzine Krazed Mag. In 2014, we have:

  • Developed, and created ongoing content for, the official Latent’s Records website and Krazed Mag
  • Laid the foundations for a creative community for independent artists of all types in Krazed Mag
  • Expanded the Krazed experience with regular podcasts and newsletter updates
  • Created a footprint on social media with our Facebook pages and Twitter profiles, as well as the recently launched Instagram account
  • Expanded our roster to 12 acts/artists in styles ranging from underground Hip-Hop, to Grime, to Acoustic, RnB and Pop, to Psychadelic Rock and even Thrash Metal!
  • Released 14 studio albums/EPs
  • Begun sharing music with listeners through services such as YouTube and Sound Cloud
  • Established a rich corner of Bandcamp, from which consumers can purchase, or download for free, every musical release
  • Distributed albums through iTunes, Spotify and other commercial music services
  • Had two of our acts appear on online radio shows, with their music getting regular airplay
  • Had acts perform live shows around London

I personally released 3¬†of my own projects, almost entirely self-produced and written, constituting a total of 33 songs. In addition to this, I was producer on 9 songs from the debut releases of Gareth Paul, Snypa D Delic and external artist Whale from Nigeria. I provided vocal features for Lovutta, Snypa D Delic and Gareth Paul, and was involved in the mixing of almost every one of the releases for the year! Whilst simultaneously writing blog content for Krazed Mag, building my own website, attending events, handling promotion matters, designing album covers, implementing all the album releases…basically, I was very busy!

But the lull is now over, as our first release of 2015 is about to land!

SnypaGFLRBullet Tooth Snipes is set for release on April 10th, 2015, and will be the second release under Latent’s Records for rapper Snypa D Delic. It will be a potent mixture of Grime and hard-hitting, underground UK Hip-Hop. With No More Mr Nice Snipes having been a debut release that was a great introduction to what Snypa can do, both he and I agreed that for this second release, we would aim for some concept that would add a deeper dimension to the project. As he selected instrumentals that I had prepared, including some from my own albums Volition and The Noble Truth, the direction his writing took him almost spawned the concept automatically. This album would become a musical expression of discontent with the state of the United Kingdom; aggressive, revolutionary and just downright pissed off! This tone carries through the album, always retaining a sense of purpose and genuine cause to be angry – we were conscious at every stage of the potential for this tone to descend into mindless aggression.

The challenge, on my part, was to produce the album in a way that differentiated it from the Hip-Hop sound I had crafted for myself. Snypa needs a musical sound that is more fitting with his identity as a former Drum & Bass MC turned Grime, and eventually Hip-Hop, artist. This challenge was particularly present when mixing the songs he had written to the instrumentals I had already used myself (incidentally, these instrumentals were for the songs Built For This, A Simple Life and Watching Me). As the album developed, delayed at times by a number of factors relating to personal issues from all camps involved, the sound began to develop into a melting pot of urban styles, incorporating a number of features from myself and fellow LR singer Gareth Paul, as well as members of Snypa‘s Milton Keynes Grime/DnB collective Gasmask Formation.

The end result will be available for your perusal from April 10th, 2015, and I think listeners are in store for something a little bit special. In a climate of a UK that is preparing itself for a very close-fought general election in May 2015, the message of Bullet Tooth Snipes couldn’t be more relevant. As a voice for the ordinary people, this project carries a lot of weight, and as a fresh interpretation of UK Hip-Hop and Grime, it is progressive and meaningful at every step.

Grab your copy when Bullet Tooth Snipes drops on April 10th, 2015 – join the revolution!

-Will-Powerz

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Krazed Podcast #2 featuring Snypa D Delic

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Krazed

Listen to the Krazed Podcast for FREE

Some readers may be aware that I, Will-Powerz, am not alone in the murky world of independent music. In fact, I am a proud founding member of South London-based record label Latent’s Records and a regular contributor to its sibling blog Krazed Mag. We at the Krazed team have just launched our second monthly podcast for your listening pleasure, which contains a spectrum of conversation ranging from the intriguingly intellectual to the profoundly nonsensical! I join the four members of Latent’s Records band The Way It Ends to discuss Eurovision 2014, UK battle rap and the Don’t Flop 2014 April Fools event, new films, Star Wars, a shared hatred of Will.I Am and Diddy, and much more. We also feature an eye-opening interview with Milton Keynes rapper Snypa D Delic, discussing his EP No More Mr Nice Snipes along with a bit of background to his musicianship and things to look out for in the coming months. Come and join our motley crew of wannabe-intellectuals, caffeine addicts, government haters and walking punchlines as we laugh, groan and cheer our way through the murky world of ‘entertainment culture’. The Krazed Podcast is here…and you thought transgender popstars, anti-Semitic battle rap, science fiction and Fantastick weren’t related! Pshhhh…

Addendum: the Krazed Podcast has been accepted into the iTunes podcast store – just search Krazed Podcast in the iTunes store and it’s yours for free. Don’t forget to subscribe to ensure you don’t miss out on future podcasts!

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