Ello! So, Wordplay HQ are back again with some words and questions, in a particular order, to help you find out more about artists you love, or are yet to discover. We keep the questions loose to let them expand on their answers. This week’s lucky contest is Verses Bang, from down-sauf! He’s a rather talented fella, as he explains…..
1) Contestant, what’s your name, chosen craft and where are you based?
Josh Jarvis, sometimes known as Verses Bang, from sunny Southend On Sea.
2) How would you describe your sound?
I don’t think I really fit into any category/genre, as cliche as that sounds. I’ve certainly not got that road rap, crack shotter steeze, and I also don’t think I really fit into the typical ukhh “multi syllable, boom bap beats” kind of genre either. I’d describe my sound as a mix of old and new, Dimitri Payet meets Billy Bonds.
3) Who / what do you consider to be the biggest influence on your music?
As corny as it sounds, the main thing I’d have to cite as an influence would have to be life. If I’m feeling a certain way, what i write will reflect that. If I’m pissed off and bitter at the world I’m probably gonna write something depressing and angry, if I’m in a good mood, eating cheetos and watching red tube, I’m more likely to write a stupid verse full of cheap jokes.
4) What’s the proudest moment to date for you as an artist?
Over the last couple of years I’ve done a few things which I was happy about. Performing at Boom Bap festival with my fellow Troll Gangster Skrabl is def one of them, also done a fair few shows with him across the country. Getting Genesis Elijah and Verb T on tracks was also a good look as well as being approached by Sektion Red to do a video. Overall though,i’d probably say my proudest moment was putting my first cd ‘Focused’ out 10 years ago. Even though I probably sold a maximum 200 copies, the internet wasn’t what it is now, and the fact I had a 20 track cd, largely produced by my brother Gutta, as a hard copy pressed up, I remember feeling a real sense of accomplishment. I’ve seen loads of people take the piss out of rappers selling CDs in the street, but in them times, it was one of the only ways of getting your stuff about. I remember travelling up to Dark N Cold and Deal Real records, getting them to put my CDs in the shop just to try get a few quid and hopefully gain some out of town exposure. These are experiences that most people making music now have never been though. A lot of people talk about what they’re gonna record and release, have lots of plans, but don’t actually get up and do anything. I’ve by no means had success as I’m still unknown, but the fact I actually put together a project and had it there to hold, was probably my proudest moment. ( I have released other things since then by the way!!)
5) Do you have any advice for our readers who maybe trying to play the mad game of music?
I’m not really in no position to give advice, but I would say don’t expect anything from people. Try reminding yourself that nobody owes you anything and to get something done properly, you have to do it yourself. I’m probably sounding cliche as fuck again, but I really think that’s the only advice I can give. If you start out making music thinking ‘I’m gonna blow up, my video will get this amount of views, I’ll sell this amount of CD/downloads” etc, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Don’t even expect your closest mates to support or get behind you, that way, any love you receive will be extra appreciated. Something like that anyway.
6) Name 3 people you would love to work with and why?
Kurt Cobain, Sticky Fingaz and Big Pun. Sometimes I’m depressed, sometimes I’m fucked off, sometimes I’m hungry. Honourable mentions would have to go to Joe Budden, he Talks on a lot of subjects rappers don’t go near, and also Killa Cam!! He is probably a very unpopular choice to underground rap heads but he’s done been the swaggadon.
7) What have you got planned for the not so distant future?
I released an EP earlier this year called In The Dog House, and dropped four videos from that. I’m currently recording another solo EP which I plan on putting out later this year. Look out for that!! Aside from that, I’ll definitely be releasing music with Troll Gang (myself, Skrabl and Oozhe) at some point this year.
8) What’s the album you’ve played more than any other?
When I was younger I’d buy a album and keep it in rotation for weeks on end. Nowadays that rarely happens. I’m not sure if that’s down to so much being released so often now, or if I just preferred what came out then. The one I must’ve listened to most though, would probably be Cypress Hill-Black Sunday. I was 9 or 10 and my brother had the album on Cassette.As soon as he’d leave the house I’d go in his room, turn on the Super Nintendo and play either Black Sunday or Onxy Backdafucup on repeat. Gangster.
9) What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? And where?
I’ve always preferred going to live shows/concerts than to nightclubs/raves etc, I must’ve been to at least 50 hip hop concerts. Ghostface and Rawkwon at Koko Camden was sick, so much energy going on. Rock the Bells tour with EpMd and Nas was ridiculous too, seeing EPMD performing the old bangers from strictly business was something I thought I would never see, and Nas’ performance was flawless. The more independent artist have a lot more intimate shows as the venues are obviously smaller, ILL BILL and Vinnie Paz, Necro and even Slaughterhouse a year or two ago, performed at small venues and all killed it. The one that stands out though was when I was staying with family in America in 2000. I was 15 and the Up in smoke tour came to Mikwaukee. My uncle offered to do the three hour drive so my brother and I could go, at the time the Marshall Mathers LP had only been out a couple months and I was so gassed. Seeing Snoop, Dre, ice cube, Kurupt, Xzhibit, and especially Eminem, especially at that time, was surreal.
10) Name 3 things you can’t live without?
West Ham United, dogs and sedatives.
Any last words/shoutouts?
Check out my last couple releases on versesbang.bandcamp.com and watch my videos past and present on the Gutta Recs YouTube channel (verses playlist). Big up anyone whose checked my music and showed any love, safety to Gutta for holding me down and supporting erry thang I do, and shout out Raphael, Leonardo, Michaelangelo and Donatello. I don’t know where I’d be without the four of you.