Certified Banger: Yo Instance. What’s going on? What’s been happening since the last time we interviewed you?
Instance: Hello sirrrrr, good to be back, it’s been a while (early 2008 I think). Things have been sweet man. Since we last spoke I dropped my last LP ‘Demographic’, and got on the grind promoting that out of Leeds. We had the usual problem of getting a decent distribution deal for the physical product. We thought f**k it so and me and Mike D from Subterrania rinsed the North with street promotion, think we sold/blagged/traded to the tune of 2000 copies. Since then there’s been another 2 free mixtapes; ‘Collision Course’ and ‘Heavy Rotation’ which were pretty unconstrained and lots of fun. Apart from the studio stuff, I put on a few hip hop nights in Leeds. Despite having a few run-ins with the council and environmental health our nights were always packed and live-o! Big up to everyone who came, even if you did graff up the toilets! NOTHING compares to the nerves you feel before you hold an event that you’ve put £1000 of your own money into - your balls are on the chopping block as a promoter! It’s a different sort of rush though! Erm, what else? I’ve been expanding my design portfolio, including a handful of album art work covers namely for Defenders of Style and Northern Hostility. I’ve made some more links, burnt a few bridges, but that’s life.
CB: So, what’ve you got coming to us?
Instance: I got two musical projects dropping, a free EP called ‘Fly EP’ which is a slick little 5 track ish to remind everyone I’m alive and kicking! It’s basically 5 tracks which I’ve had hanging around for a while, they didn’t quite fit into my album but they are still seriously dope and need to be on your ipod! Once that’s hit your ears, I reckon the heads will be primed and ready for my second album, ‘The Superegular ‘.
CB: Do you think your style has changed over the last couple of years? Will the new release have a different vibe?
Instance: I think I had to evolve. Demographic was heavily influenced by my time hosting DnB raves. Back in 2007 Dubstep had only just blown and grime dominated the UK, that first record reflected what was going on at the time, things are different now. Like ‘Demographic’ ‘The Superegular’ is also eclectic, but it doesn’t have those electronic or dub elements that I put on the last LP. I’ve also designed this record for ipod and portable players, so I guess we’re more aware of how music is listened to as well. Style wise it’s more of a celebration ofHhip Hop and sticks more within the genre. I’ve spent a lot of time choosing the right beats that work, there’s boom bap, Triphop, RnB, 3/4 and glitchy Flying Lotus type steez. Despite the variety I made sure it all fits. Lyrically its content-rich and not too self indulgent. At times it’s spooky, at times it’s smooth but I guarantee its nothing less than my best bars.
CB: If someone only had time to listen to one track from it, which one should it be?
Instance: Errrrm that’s like choosing a favourite child man, I’ll randomly say ‘Lucid Dreams’ as it’s a track you won’t get to hear unless you buy the album; a deep New Yorkshire Hip Hop joint with Mike D on the beat! It’s about how negative aspects of my life used to come out at night in the form of dark dreams… lyrically dope! If you don’t fork out for the album you’re likely to hear ‘Keys Open Doors’ with Jack Flash, again, sick!
CB: There’s a couple of cool hook ups on the album – tell us about them and how they all came about?
Instance: Ok, I have three well known heavyweight UK producers Wizard, Mike D and Kelakovski who have contributed to ‘The Superegular’ as well as Organised Mess who you should also check out. These boys more or less have it all covered. I go way back with Mike D and record at Subterrania so he has the most slots! The Defenders of Style introduced me to the production of Wizard from Hastings and Kela from Brum, we used to cipher over their beats anyway. In terms of MC features I got Jack Flash who is one of the best MCs and my friends the Defenders of Style who standardly hold Leeds down as well as SonnyJim who I first met along with Kelakovski after I booked them to play my night in Leeds (big up Sonny that afterparty was jokes).
CB: Last time we talked a lot, it seems, about Lil Wayne! Who’s on your rap radar right now? Who’re you listening to?
Instance: Ha! free Weezy! I was on that before everyone jumped on it! I wanna give the biggest props to the UK underground and people who keep it true! UK wise I’m definitely feeling Trellion, check out the ‘Judas Clock’ and ‘Dive By Night’ EPs and Bradford artist Lunar C who I think is one to watch up in Yorkshire! Others who I rate are Jack Danz, Chief Wigz, No-Change, Lowkey, Stylah and Devlin to pick a few.
CB: Which chart MC (ie Tinie Tempah, Devlin, Dizzee etc) do you rate the most and why? If you could do what they’re doing would you?
Instance: I call it ‘swagger pop’! Would I make it? I don’t think so, but who knows? It’s hard to say until you get an opportunity. I dislike the UK scene for constantly saying artists are selling out. I think properly blowing in the UK would present any underground artist with a dilemma. Do you want to make serious money out of music or not? Do you wanna keep a certain sound or do you wanna play the big festivals? I think some swagger pop artists have earned their stripes and probably deserve to blow. You could diss Tinie all day, but this guy was dropping tunes like ‘Wifey’ which were getting rinsed out in every rave without ANY help from the majors. I guess you could hate but I wouldn’t simply write off these guys as puppets of manufactured music. They hustled the music game 100% harder than most to get on the radio and I have to rate that. Plus Devlin is gonna be ill even if he’s commercial, you’ll see!
CB: How does the music around you, not just Hip Hop, inspire you? How easy do you think you’d find it to make music if you never listened to other music?
Instance: I don’t watch much TV or even films, its literally all just listening to music and making music for me. I’m a music fan firstly, but a fan who makes Hip Hop. Everything inspires me even the wackness inspires me to keep the style ill. You could listen to solely mid-nineties east coast all day and yeah probably perfect a certain style related to that. Personally I think you’ll become a better artist by listening to as much as possible. It’s the best way to innovate. I’m into boom bap, but how are you gonna take these classic formulas and add to it, bring a fresh twist to it, and set your music apart from everything before. For me keeping people guessing about the next steez and being multi-dimensional is key to staying relevant, my new record will prove that. Be brave, explore and do your thing.
CB: Is it true you’ve moved to London? What’s all that about then?
Instance: Yep its true! I felt like I needed a change and a fresh perspective on things. On the surface things looked OK but it was time to apply the brakes and remove myself from a negative situation. Leeds will always be home and I’m there a lot, but I reached a stage in my life where I had to make certain changes to get to where I wanna be. Apart from some amazing friends and strong links with the Leeds scene, I felt like I wasn’t investing time effectively enough in myself. Right now I’m keeping out of mischief, meeting new heads and doing random stuff like learning Spanish and going to museums, which is cool! My dad once said I should live in a place where I’m constantly learning things. I was providing too many answers and not asking enough questions. London gets a bad rep but it’s an inspiring city and things are going well.
CB: The end – anything else to add?
Instance: Big up yourself cos this site remains tough! Click the Fly EP download link – IT’S FREE: http://instancevx.bandcamp.com/ My second LP ‘The Superegular’ will be out soon - buy it and help support all the underground artists who keep the scene dope. Shouts to Mike D, DS, Crackhouse, Speak to the Streets, Fresh Jive and the Leeds Fam! Visit www.myspace.com/instancevx and subscribe to my youtube channel ‘instancevx’ for exclusives. Peace!