10 Questions: Vice beats

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Vice beats for Wordplay Magazine by Jack Cullis

Welcome back to 10 Questions, and this time round it’s something a little different. Vice beats has been at the helm of the Wordplay Podcast since 2015 and is the Managing Editor for the magazine, but we don’t wanna talk about that! We want to find out more about the music this fella is making. So, welcome fine reader, to 10 Questions with Vice beats!….

1) Contestant, what’s your name, chosen craft and where are you based?
My name is Vice beats, I’m a producer, youth worker and the managing editor of Wordplay Magazine. I’m based in Bristol.

2) How would you describe your sound?
Chilled, Soulful, definitely jazz-tinged. I love boombap, so there’s that influence too. So basically, jazzy lyrical and instrumental hip hop and soul!

3) Who / what do you consider to be the biggest influence on your music?
I used to always say Dilla, but i think as time goes by I’m realising that I’m more influenced by producers who aren’t necessarily creating straight hip-hop but come from that as a root. So artists like Ollie Teeba (Herbaliser / Soundsci), TM Juke, Quantic, Bonobo, Mecca:83, Tall Black Guy. There’s loads, but as a pure head nodding situation it has to still be Dilla beats!

4) What’s the proudest moment to date for you as an artist?
Being played on Craig Charles and getting an AWUGA! was pretty damn cool! Playing a sunset set for BBC Introducing in Birmingham was pretty amazing, but actually, it may sound small but I recently recently my debut solo production project, and seeing the response from that was amazing. Especially seeing people adding it to playlists and saying such lovely things about the tracks. To date i’ve always collaborated with other artists, be it Delegates Of Rhyme / DOR (shout to Donnie!), Genius Collective, Great Scott, C-Froo, Garda etc, it felt great to step out of the shadows and do something for me. I’m produ of my Tribe Called Quest remix actually, i love that track and it took a long time to feel confident enough to create a sample free tribute to Phife. 

5) Do you have any advice for our readers who maybe trying to play the mad game of music?
Be yourself and set your own goals. Don’t attempt to follow in the footsteps of others, people see right through it. Be genuine, develop your own sound and most importantly be kind and polite to everyone involved. It sounds obvious, but burning bridges with promoters, DJs, blogs, artists etc. can stop you succeeding big time. I’ve seen loads of artists get so far and then realise they’ve aggravated pretty much everyone on their rise! This is meant to be fun, creative and developing a community of like minded people.

Vice beats for Wordplay Magazine by Jack Cullis

6) Name 3 people you would love to work with and why?
TY –
Always! I love his lyrics, voice, and dedication to his music. He is incredibly humble, kind and a cool guy, He’s boosted me in so many ways in the past and it would be amazing to work with him!

J-Live – I love his lyricism and creativity, he’s so diverse, and he’s humble, and such a pure ambassador for hip-hop.

Loyle Carner – He’s an artist that’s got me excited about the UK scene. The whole team he’s part of with Tom Misch, Jordan Rakei, Rebel Kleff, OthaSoul etc, it’s an amazing movement. Loyle is an incredible performer. He’s genuine, focused and so good to watch live, he knows exactly how to get a crowd involved and vibing.

7) What have you got planned for the not so distant future?
Well i released DIrections in March, and I’m planning to drop another project later this year, in the meantime, a few artists i’ve worked with are releasing songs i produced. I’m hoping that the Delegates Of Rhyme album – Assemblage, with Donnie Numeric will finally be finished and released, that project is sounding SO good! Plus I’ve been working on an EP with Phil Jeong, the vocalist who features on Sirens on Directions, he’s a remarkable singer and he’s yet to be unearthed, I’m really looking forward to finishing that. PLUS i’ve got a pet project that i’ve been working on for a couple of years now featuring some of my musical heroes, so I can’t wait to get that finished off. So…basically, lots of stuff!

8) What’s the album you’ve played more than any other?
Man! That’s so hard to answer. I think probably TY – Upwards, TM Juke – Maps From The Wilderness or Y Society – Travel At Your Own Pace. They’re all incredible and I’m not sure how to quantify how much i’ve played them, they all just played a really prominent part in my life at different times.

9) What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? And where?
Hmmm, that’s tricky. seeing Bonobo perform whilst the sun set at Mostly Jazz Festival was pretty special just for the atmosphere. Maybe KRS One, years ago at Space 2 in Birmingham for the BASS Festival, he’d recently lost his son and it was a really small crowd, so he just freestyled, got into the crowd, started getting the breakers involved, it was crazy. That or seeing Jazzy Jeff with a full live band at The Jazz Cafe, the voalists started doing each others parts, that was so much fun, and he was super chilled and nice to talk to after the show. I think i judge good shows on the vibes of the artists. Certain musicians do amazing shows and then they come across really stand-off-ish aftwerwards or just disappear! I hate that!

10) Name 3 things you can’t live without?
My daughter Alex –
she is an inspiration, a whirlwind and the coolest little girl in the World, i can’t imagine being without her.
My incredible family –
My wonderful, beautiful, talented and perfect girlfriend Sam, my Mum and my Grandma who are both massive role models and two of the kindest and sweetest people i’ve ever known, alongside my Dad, Step Dad, all of my grandparents and my uncle and cousin who have always been in the background pushing me on.
Passion – I think it’s the key to everything, if you’ve got passion then you can achieve anything because it gives you that drive to overcome fears, challenges, anything. 

Lastly, can you nominate another contestant and provide us with a question for them on your behalf?
There’s a number of artists i’d love to hound! The one who spring to mind is Ollie Teeba. I’d like to ask him –
“You’ve collaborated with so many artists over time, have you got a favourite?!”

Any last words/shoutouts?
A huge shout to my Wordplay family and especially Nev-Neville-Tha Boss! my musical friends and everyone I have had the pleasure and experience of collaborating with, my family, and YOU for taking the time to read this!