'His Royal Grimeness’ - An Interview with Footsie 4

‘His Royal Grimeness’ – An Interview with Footsie


Could veteran MC/Producer, Footsie, have earned himself the title ‘His Royal Grimeness’ with the release of King Original Volume 3?

It’s a sunny afternoon in Shoreditch and a rather inconspicuous bar is playing host to a series of interviews with Footsie — producer and MC extraordinaire.

Word that the latest instalment in his King Original series is about to drop has music heads from a range of publications excited. Volumes one and two were critically acclaimed, both bagging an album of the month nod from Mixmag; and that’s before you even mention his status as one of grime’s elder statesmen, or to use the appropriate lingo: ‘older dons’.

Footsie has been involved in the genre in one guise or another since its infancy. Whether it be as beatsmith or MC-ing alongside fellow Newham General compadre — the iconic D Double E — the East London native earned his stripes long before some in the game even knew there was one.

The King Original series serves as a reminder, or an introduction for those that don’t know: Footsie’s been doing this! Whereas the first two releases take a look back at some of the tracks that have helped certify Footsie as one of grime’s premier producers, KOv3 brings us right up to date with a sound that’s ‘2014 polished but with some 2003 still mixed in there.’

Smiling, he refers to this latest edition as the ‘hat-trick’ and it’s an accurate analogy seen as he has definitely scored again. While serving up a mixture of grime, dubstep and trap, Footsie acknowledges: ‘There’s some surprising musical elements you might not know me for.’ These come courtesy of ‘Cold Winter’ and ‘Tekky where the filthy, dark bass and drums associated with grime play second fiddle to the trippy pianos and synths that normally lend themselves to acid tracks.

That said, beats, bass and underground bangers are the backbone of the project which is no surprise considering Footsie’s background. King Original is homage to his Dad’s sound system of the same name, so it stands to reason that anything the guy produces is designed to reverberate through your body and threaten your ear drums with tinnitus.

‘I always hear my tune on a big sound system with bass that’s over bearing,’ He tells me laughing. The bass junkie in him can’t get enough of it and he confesses: ‘The tune that’s on my computer first will always be too bassy, especially if I make my music late at night and I can’t have it loud. I’ll turn up something I can feel like the sub. When I put the CD on in my car, I know I need to clean it up because the levels are f—ked, but for that moment that’s what I needed: too much bass.’

Ever since Kanye West revealed himself to be somewhat of a synesthete (someone who is able to ‘see’ sound as colours and shapes), I’ve always been curious about how other producers interpret the beat that’s kicking around in their head.

‘Moves,’ he tells me when I ask what it’s like for him. ‘If there was a camera watching me while I build [music], there’s definitely some funky movements going down.’ Laughing and giving me a demonstration of sorts he continues: ‘I build to the move, like I know at this part, you should be doing this move.’

It’s amazing when you think that careers are built off of shapes and colours or ‘moves’ no one else can see, but as Footsie says: ‘That’s when you become a producer: when the song that’s in your mind is on your computer.’

Talking about computers provided a nice segway into the most game changing thing that happened to the music industry: the internet. The effect it has had on ‘Urban’ music in particular has been profound. With major record labels and commercial radio stations tending to turn their noses up at authentic music; and the pirate radio stations and raves that champion the underground falling foul of the law, the internet has proven itself to be a valuable tool.

Not only has the web made it possible for artists to push their music, Footsie tells me it has also changed the way people receive music. ‘I personally feel like you can have a better rave in your house than you can in any club.’ Describing situations where people are practically having mini sound clashes on their iPhones, he tells me: ‘I’ve been in parties where it’s been live. I’ve been amazed like “where’s the DJ?” Everyone just takes turns, pops out the wire and plugs in their phone and it’s a full blown party.’

This desire to only have ‘banging music’ on your phone has resulted in people shunning albums in favour of buying a couple of tracks with the mentality: ‘You’re my favourite artist, but I’m still not going to buy your whole album.’

With that in mind, it’s a no brainer that the key to success would be to churn out bangers, but what about longevity? ‘Not blowing your own trumpet. I think the day you start blowing your own trumpet, you’re out of the game. Mid-blowing, some other guys just came up so you need to pay attention to what’s going on.’

Grime fans should also pay attention to what’s going on. Even though Footsie is riding out solo for KOv3, he has paired up with Double to deliver ‘Piff, the infectious ode to ganja released via Dizzie Rascals Dirtee Stank.

‘That’s my theme track right now, thats me all over” Footsie says with a hint of something in his eyes that let’s me know when this interview is over, he will be puffing on something pungent.

After listening to KOv3, I can honestly say that even if he is about to get ‘faded’, there’s no chance of his career following suit any time soon.

King Original Volume 3 is released 24 March on Braindead Entertainment





God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.