With his third tape set to drop soon on freshly conceived Be Ripe Records, Wordplay caught up with Alecs DeLarge, whose love for lo-fi and distortion is making him someone to watch as the UK enjoys a resurgence in it’s home-grown dusty hip-hop scene.
I sit with Alecs Delarge, or Joel Holmes to his friends and family, chatting over rollies and Tesco instant coffee in a converted student bedroom in Bristol, better known as 10Twenty radio. Here Joel and his housemate Felix (Dank Lotion) broadcast their show every Sunday across the globe. The show further adds to Joel’s repertoire of rapping, beat making and producing music.
Joel’s days are consumed leant over his hardware, developing beats and rhymes as he works on his craft. The sound of distorted piano loops melodically coil around wonky drum samples as they are eaten up and spat back out by a lambent SP-404 which he imported from Japan. Joel’s style incorporates a lot of samples, he says he loves using vinyl and cassettes due to the hiss and warmth they produce, yet refuses to let that limit him:
“I don’t like the snobbery of saying you can only use vinyl for sampling. You can do anything. You can sample ducks in the park and with enough effects you can make it bang.”
Hailing from Sheffield, Joel has been in Bristol since 2014. He believes there is a distinct contrast between the North and the South’s sound:
“There’s a whole other vibe. The vibe down here is more party like, whereas up North it’s grittier sounding. I think it’s to do with the economical situations, there’s not a lot of opportunities for people up there so that’s what they talk about.”
Music has been a part of Joel’s life for as long as he can remember. He attributes his father and uncle for sparking his passion:
“They were making music all through the nineties and noughties, which was when I grew up.”
Sadly his father has had to put music on the backburner in recent years
“He’s done it all, he’s fed up of the music industry. He still plays the guitar better than anyone I know.”
He moves on to talking about where UK hip-hop is at in his opinion:
“I’m proud to be a part of something that has been neglected since it started really. Now we’ve got brands like Blah Records who are doing really well. High Focus and Bad Taste too.”
Joel wants to make more beats for rappers, he praises the UK beat makers who are coming through such as Drae Da Skimask and Joe Corfield:
“I want to get more into producing beats for rappers, and working with those guys. There’s a lot of guys coming through who have so much talent.”
Alecs DeLarge’s new tape – Astrolivin’ is set to drop very soon on Be Ripe records.
By George Devereaux