INTERVIEW: Nick Black 2


090f7c135cc3c224491cdb5520fe94c6It’s hard to imagine an old-skool Sega release being the inspiration for a mixtape, but Nick Black has managed to dust off the 20-year-old arcade game Outrun and repackage it as his debut solo effort SMBS (Select Music By Steering).

Outrun players enjoy a third-person perspective of the driver of a red drop-top Ferrari making its way through the pixilated landscape of the 80s classic, and those listening to SMBS have a similar experience – well almost.

Rather than blue skies and 80s electronica being pumped through the speakers, SMBS takes you on a ride with the East Londoner in a world which is often dark and atmospheric and smothered in hazy flows.

“My sound reflects the fact I’m quite a zoned person at times and makes you feel as if you are in a daze. It’s quite surreal I think,” says the east Londoner before adding: “And I also spend most of my time high while making this music, so I think that comes across quite a lot.”

The 28-year-old is part of an ever increasing breed of multi-talented artists. Rapping since he was 16, he then added producing to his arsenal when he taught himself to use the Native Instruments Maschine two years ago. “I’ve worked with some really good producers over the years who are friends of mine. I just woke up one day, got my own equipment and just found out I really enjoyed doing it and couldn’t stop.”

SMBS is a break away from his usual sound when working with group FlickaDotCircus, where the aim there is to produce something he describes as being “hype” and geared towards live performance.

The prevailing mood on the 13 track project is quite dark, but there are smatterings of light according to Nick. “I have a couple of songs that have melodic choruses. It’s a journey through a lot of sounds and styles and I have experimented with tempos that I don’t think some rappers would rap on, but I have.”

Although Nick showcases his ability to convey life and experiences lyrically, being a producer his favourite track on the mixtape is ‘Four Horsemen’, one of two instrumentals on there. “I just love the openness. It’s one of the few songs that can be bright and dark at the same time. You can play it on a really sunny day if you’re having a barbecue and it will be really pleasant, but at the same time if you’re in a dark place it will also work.”
19681_819088461461583_4728448418766799869_nCurrently doing the rounds is ‘Isaacs Boyz’, which uses a mutated version of Isaac Hayes’Hung Up On My Baby’ (famously sampled on Getto Boys’ ‘Mind Playing Tricks On Me’).

With SMBS dropping in June, fans can also look forward to a 14 track project with FlickaDotCircus called VHX Tape, due to make an appearance towards the end of the year.

SMBS (Select Music By Steering) is released 1 June 2015


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.