Killa Kela & MC Trip

Scris pe 12.11.2006 de Sun|Rah

R-re-ready or n-n-n-not, here we come, y-you can't h-hi-hide.. Dupa ce ne-a fermecat cu ale sale jonglerii, Killa Kela, multi-vocalist si beatboxer, a fost de acord sa ne ofere un interviu, sortit sa dumireasca publicul gura-casca aflat in Club Eclipse, pe 10 noiembrie. Despre cum reuseste sa reproduca atat basul, cat si vocea pieselor originale ce le interpreteza cu ajutorul lui MC Trip, aflati in continuare...

First of all, are you a real Killa, Mr. Lee?
Kela: (laughing) Yes, I am! I'm here live and direct for you funky heads alongside the mighty MC Trip in the back just waiting for a fag and a diet coke (laughing).

I think many people would like to know how you came to choose your stage name.
Kela: Uhm, I got the name Kela first ‘coz I used to grafitti. I used to tag it and I got that name thru other grafitti writers’ names there where I lived. And then Killa came when I went on one of my first tours, with DJ Vadim and Swollen Members, and they where like “Yo, you kill in every show, we gonna call you Killa Kela” and that's how it set ever since.

People often see you as a beat boxer, but then they realise you’re more then that. When did you start singing?
Kela: I started singing about like 3 and a half years ago. It wasn't so much about trying to sing or being a singer, it was more about opening doors to beatboxing, not just pushing my voice a little bit further and knowing what I can do, but also pushing beatboxing further in a more commercial direction, and create more awareness of it.

Is it really hard to bring beatboxing to a commercial level?
I think it is, I mean, you know, Justin Timberlake is doing a great deal of publicizing when he beatboxes, and a lot of hip hop acts in the US beatbox as well as a lot of UK ones so, I think in general there’s more awareness than it used to be.

Pharrell from The Neptunes has championed you, he said you're the greatest in the UK.
Kela: I try, I try (smiles)...
MC Trip: In the world!

How would you explain the concept of beatboxing and the elements involved, to someone who doesn't know anything about it?
Kela: It depends what you mean: beatboxing or Killa Kela, cause I can explain Killa Kela a lot more. I do multivocal, i try and adapt my music into all different vocal disciplines. If I beatbox, I like to beatbox with other vocal things happening like spoken word, singing or rapping, but then you have beatbox elements too, like you scratch the words or you do the beat and sing at the same time and stuff. That's why I call multivocal, as with the beatbox, I think a lot of it is percussion based in a human sense, it's something that you could never really get from a beat machine or drum kit.

You grew up in a musical environment, your father was a drummer, your mother was into Motown and soul. I’ve read that your father didn't let you play his drum kit, and so you tried to copy the sounds.
Exactly, so I learned my own style!

When did it first occur to you that you can and should actually release a record? Because it's more difficult then emceeing or other acts...
Kela: Yeah, we had to break the boundaries of what we could do. I wouldn't say, you know, my beatbox album is by any stretch of the imagination the most innovative of beatboxing albums, but for what I wanted to do, I created an album conceptually, that was my deal for making an album. That's one of the reasons why when there was an opportunity to do it, I wanted to do it that way, and those opportunities came because I got big enough as an artist to be able to do that, especially on a major label at the time...

You're the first beatboxer that has signed with a big label.
Kela: Yeah, and it won't be the last time I do. I think that the general vibe is always trying to make an album that pushes you further than where you’ve got to, in order to make yourself bigger to a more general public. If it wasn't for Permanent Marker, I wouldn't be here, and if it wasn't for Elocution, I certainly wouldn't have come to Bucharest.

Who have you worked with, who are you "feeling" right now in music, and who would you like to work with?
Kela: I’d love to work with Timberland, I think he's amaizing. There are these other guys in the UK caled “Does it Offend You, Yeah?” and they’re like the new Daft Punk, just that kind of sound - it's incredible. And Rahzel, I mean, no fucking around. I'd like to work with Bobby McFerrin too. I just want to work more with my crew Spit Kingdom, do bigger and better things alonside them, and build up projects around that, I mean, I like to think that all the artists that I have worked with and do work with, are of a good quality and of a good nature. If my judgement serves me correctly, any artist that comes up to us and says “do you wanna do something?”, as long as they’ve got that right vibe, yeah, we know we’ll do something.

Related to this, how was your collaboration with Roots Manuva?
Ohh, that was dope. Like, Roots is such a chilled out guy. The song off the album, “Here Comes The Submarines!", was originally meant to be with Dizzee Rascal and we did the whole track and everything, and then at the last minute his album got pushed back and he didn't want to release the tracks, because his album wasn't ready yet. So, then we started doing stuff with Roots Manuva anyway , and he got hold of this track, and it was just so weird how he fitted in. I personally thought if fitted in a lot better than Dizzee, because he’s always a bit tongue-in-cheek, cockney, english, very english. So I just felt “Submarines” as a song reflected that, because the whole Beatles reference of Submarines, and the quirkyness of the dub sound on it that maybe Rodney leaned to a little bit more, so yeah, it was dope and he was just good fun. He didn’t stop drinking brandy (laughing).

Most romanian hip-hop fans have heard Rahzel's stuff when it comes to beatboxing, because he's the man of the old school. Did you ever battle him, and if not, when do you plan to?
Kela: (laughing) We don't battle, we better. I did a show with him about a month ago, in England and it was really interesting because his style is different to mine, you know, when you hear Rahzel do his thing, no one else can do what he does. Like you say, he was one of the originators, so it’s like you just wanna make a difference than trying to compete with his ability, and, I don't know, it's like you imitating... What instrument you play, do you play an instrument?

Uhm, no, just DJing and producing.

Was he your source of inspiraton?
Kela: No, I just had a lot of respect for him, and he set the bar, you know, in the early '90 he set the bar for beatboxing as it mostly stands today. He set the whole beat and singing at the same time thing, he set two of the main snares at that time in beatboxing. And of course he’s got so many signature sounds, and my whole thing is trying to avoid those sounds and just try to be original. (Looks at MC Trip) I’m inspired by Trip, when it comes to attractiveness, I’m inspired by that young man right there. He’s more than an MC. (smiling)

I've heard some time ago that a beatbox battle will take place in Romania - what advice would you give to younger artists?
Kela: The hip hop world has that competitive elements, you can't escape that, but I think when it comes to doing battles and stuff, just make sure that you’r attempt to push the envelope a little bit more, you know, really push the art form more, rather than try and win the prize. Because it’s the competing that counts, you know.

How do you find the german beatboxers?
Kela: Beatboxers in Gemany, Switzerland, France.. pro-european, man, I'm just like pro european. I think what they do, I think everyone that has input into the beatbox comunity, that's so important! German beatbox is wicked. I’d rather work with Rahzel, because he already approached me to do work, and I think it’d be a good idea, we could do remixes and stuff and it’d be sick. I need someone that knows making beatbox on records, so that’d be dope, and I think it’d be good for the scene. As for the comunity in general, I think the more beatboxers, the better. Even Justin Timberlake, I think it's dope, more beatboxers..!

Many people consider beatboxing the fifth element of hip hop, how do you see it in the next 5-6 years?
Kela: In the next five years, I think it all comes down to a big test of how far we could take it on an industry level, I think we've got to the stage now where beatboxing is happening in so many different countries, I can come out here and play to a really cool crowd, because that they’re schooled about beatboxing and they know what to expect. So your level’s got to be tight, but even if your level’s not, I think the next step has to be on a commercial level. To take the beabox thing out of the clubs and into the venues. For sure.

Other releases for the future, what can we expect?
Kela: Yeah, I mean, we got the Jawbreaker coming out in Germany in about 3 weeks time, that's alongside Sammy Deluxe. We'll have the Elocution album over here, coming out in february next year with a big show to come...

The single Secrets was out in April.
Kela: Yeah, I think you had the video on tv. Also this new tune that we got out in UK coming out at the end of february called Reveal Your Inner Self, which is like a whole new song for the UK, but you can buy everything at the shop that will be set up online very soon. And also Trip's new song Summer Sundays that's out now on limited edition 7". More shows to come, more music, more remixes, more everything, and more importanlyt: Elocution!

What's the difference between doing regular MC work and working alongside a beatboxing act?
MC Trip: Obviously, beatbox originally was made for people to rap over, and a lot of the emcee work I do if I’m not doing my own shows is, you know, hosting drum'n'bass or hip hop battles, that kinda thing. So when I get to work with beatboxers like Kela, it's a privilege, it's an honor, because he's the best at what he does, so there’s no better platform for me to work off, you know, it's like, it's like the best of the best. I get to rhyme over the cleanest beats, it's much better than doing normal emcee work.

What sets emcees and beatboxers in the UK apart from ones in the US seems to be that you also do other types of music like d'n'b or grime. How did you actually get into that, and besides hip hop and d'n'b what else do you do in the live shows?
MC Trip: In the live shows, besides hip hop, jungle and d'n'b, I do everything over 2 step, over grime, over reggae, bashment, I sing - if it’s a beat, it doesn't matter what tempo it is, you can rhyme over it, sing over it chant over it, there’s always endless possibilities, and I like emceeing over 2 step, kinda grime, that's cool cause it’s in between hip hop and d'n'b, you have to adjust your flow’s cool.

And what about dubstep?
MC Trip: Dubstep is wicked, I love dubstep. I got a friend in London called DJ Excalibur, he's mad into his dubstep, we go out and I love to sing over dubstep, to rap over dubstep. I got a lot of friends in south London, in Brixton who, you know, they love ska, bashment, reggae so they kinda enforce it.

During the show I saw you did this trick when Killa Kela was singing and you put two fingers on his throat or something like that. What was that all about?
MC Trip: He does a mimic of a Terror Squad tune "Lean Back", and he does the beat and the snare, but he needs his vocal chords to be shaken in order to get the right effect to replicate the original records, so, yeah, I get to touch him up. (laughing) In a very platonic and heterosexual way.

Ok, if you say so...
MC Trip: Yeah, I say so... (laughing)

One last question, when you do your shows, what's usually the best trick that gets people’s attention, the hook?
MC Trip: We didn't get to do it tonight one of the things we like, cause we have some sounds samples, like, I love freestyle, I''m a freestyle emcee. We do a section in a longer version of the show where we get everyone to get stuff out their pockets, to say some stuff out and then Kela will do a beat and then we just rap about whatever people hold up. That’s the thing I love most, aside from Kela's routines. That's a crowd pleaser you know, because the crowd like that because they can see it's spontaneous, it's not premeditated.