Interview conducted & written by: Chris Kelly.
Blind MIC is quickly proving to be a prolific voice in the Manchester Jazz & Hip-Hop underbelly. His latest album Love & Retribution, displays his adept ability as a composer and creator or complex and challenging schemes. His sound has never been one that he confines to a specific genre, Love & Retribution embodies such non conformity as John Coltrane like melodies meet the Drum n Bass patterns that soundtrack a life in Manchester .
Quick 3: Where are you from? How long have you been making music? Who are some of your favorite mc’s ?
“I’m from South Manchester, well I’ve been doing music since i was about 8 years old but i would say I’ve been doing music seriously, like putting music out and stuff like that, since i was about 15/16. As for favorite MC’s, there are too many to name in one thing but, in America i would say Retchy P from New Jersey, Maxo Cream, Freddie Gibbs. In the UK, I’ve got to go with P1caps, Murkage Dave and probably Skepta”.
Genesis is an awesome beginning to the project. Why did you choose to start the album off with an instrumental? And who is the saxophonist just killing it on the track?
“I wanted to start the album with an instrumental because pretty much every tune ive put out since i was 15 has been Rap music. So i wanted to show people the other side of my skill set, sort of as a composer and ya know someone that writes music. The Saxophonist is a guy called Jimmy Stuttard, who in my opinion is probably one of the most talented Jazz saxophonist in the UK.”
On ‘Falling’ you by no means make things easy for yourself, the flow is extremely complex and varied, do you purposely try and push your wordplay to make it a challenge for yourself to see what you are capable of ?
“Haha, yer Falling is a bit of a mouthful, it is definitely the song that took the longest to record vocally. But honestly na i never put that much though into pre-writing the rythems or flows or even lyrics, its more a case of when the song is finished, there is an idea there and you just kind of go off that. I pretty much wrote the album in the order in which it is released, so i wanted to tell the story from start to finish. Not much thought ever goes into the structure of the lyrics, but i do like to write down the name of the song before i write any lyrics and base it off how the instrumental makes me feel.”
Your instrumentals are clearly deeply Jazz inspired, yet the drum tempo makes the songs ride like a drum n bass tune. What genre hybrid would you define your music as if you had too ? And which (non hip-hop) artists have inspired the beats you pick?
“I actually got mad into Jazz about 6 months before i started working on the album but i was actually only really listening to two people and that was John Coltrane, in particularly Resolution by John Coltrane, which i listen too all the fucking time and A Love Supreme, i was just fucking rinsing that album all the time. I was also rinsing Views from the 6 by Drake, those where kind of the biggest influences on me at the time i was making the record.”
“In terms of Genre, it really does vary from project to project. I would probably call this project just Jazz really. I mean there is bars and lyrics written over the top but fundamentally . Being from Manchester, there is always going to be a bit of a Drum N Bass influence as that’s just the environment that i grew up around. But then the next project i’m going to be dropping is going to be mostly Dance music, then there is also a couple of rock songs that i’m gassed to put out. The next EP after that is definitely going to return to Jazz because i’ve been writing so much but sadly due to corona and shit, we ain’t been able to get in the studio with a band the way we usually would”.
Who is the female vocalist on Talkdayway? Was it easy deciding who you wanted to feature on the album?
“There is actually two female vocalists on Talkdayway, actually if you listen to the whole project any female vocals that you hear, other than IAMDDB, is the same vocalist. They are Ellen Beth Abdi and Laura L , they both have there respective careers or solo projects. Ellen is actually the lead singer of an amazing Jazz band called Agbeko, they are defo worth checking out if you haven’t heard of them. In terms of who i wanted on the project it was really simple, there was never much reaching out it was much more just involving those i was around, Like the song with IAMDDB came about cuz i was lierally just chilling at her house. I had finished that skrrt tune a few days before and planned it as an instrumental, but i put that beat on and she literally just one taked it.”
What it like working with IAMDDB? How did you start working together?
“I started working with IAMDDB a few year ago, she was on one of my tracks Codeine Blues. Its fucking sick working with her man, shes one of the few people in the world, at least out of the ones that ive met that when your in the room with her, you feel like your a part of something really special ya know, and i cant really say that about a lot of people.”
If you could live in one other decade and see 3 concerts while your there, which decade would you pick and who are you going to see?
“This is the first question i haven’t had to think about! The 60’s. 100%. I would go see Carlos Santana at Woodstock. In fact i would just go to Woodstock and see all three of these people. Carlos Santana, Canned Heat & Jimmy Hendrix”
What is your approach to writing, Do you have to be alone or do you work better just vibing in the studio with mates? do you have an idea about what you want the tune to be about or do you pick the beat first and just see what comes out?
“My approach kind of to writing changed depending on what song it is, so if its my own music or just a solo tune, i really hate being around people when Im getting into an idea, i like taking my time and getting into things my own way, being completely comfortable. I just need to be by myself, there is maybe one or two people that ill share a studio space with and be cool making my own tunes. But if I’m making a tune with friends or on anyone else’s project then i cant be alone i need to be in the mix with them. I kinda enjoy the pressure of it.”
Who did the album art for the project & what was the inspiration behind it?-
“So the artwork was kind of inspired by the title. I was looking up what retribution meant in different contexts and in the olden days it meant bringing people to justice. So i wanted to have this fucking scene depicting a stylized witch hunt. It was done by a bloke called Patrick Clifton, who’s a fucking sick artist”.
Lastly, If i were to go to your home town, where should i go to eat? where can i see some sick live music? Where can i get a good pint ?
“If you want to go see sick live music in Manchester, the oldest and kind of best Manchester venue is Band on the Wall. I’ve seen some amazing gigs there, and played some amazing gigs there. So big up Band on the Wall. But there is also an amazing, fucking sick little bar called Bunny Jackson’s on first street that is open till like 4 in the morning every night, and a lot of the guys in my band play there. So that’s defenitly one of the best places to go drinking and see some live music and just get into some fucking deep waters man haha. As for food, my favorite gaff in Manchester is a place in Chorlton called San Juan, which is a romantic little tapas bar, that’s the best spot to go eat!”.