November 2009 | www.kultmag.co.uk October 2009
Contents / Credits
Women 158 _04 Rory Doona _10 Adam Bletchly _12 Secret Wars _14 Epok _16
Jack Sparrow _22 Return Of Raekwon _26 Reviews _29 Kult Mag October 2009
Contents / Credits
Assistant Editor: Orlando Bowie email@example.com Journalism: Nina Reece firstname.lastname@example.org Music Editor: Huw Bradbury email@example.com Advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org Further Assistance from: Legoman, Nut, Ashes 57, Epok, Jaysus, Rob Dale, Charlie Mcveigh, Ella Dickenson, Andy Shinobi, Euan Indecision, Sophie Harrison, Rob the Controller and Hedley Smith.
The Kult Team
Editor & Designer: Ralph Peskett email@example.com
Sketching Out Women 158 ‘A man of hope’ would best describe Neil Parkinson, aka Women 158. A recent graduate of Leeds University, the illustrator and graffiti artist has taken inspiration from experiences good, bad and ugly, his ambitions, dreams and fears, to create an exceptional portfolio of divergent and emotive pieces populated by his distinctive brand of fantastical characters; and his artistic flair is as impressive as his client base, which includes such big names as Edding and Oxfam. Working throughout the UK and Europe, performing at live events and painting under bridges as he goes, his message is loud and clear: everyone should be able to own ‘an original’! How did you develop your interest in art? I’ve always been drawing since I was little. I used to just sit and draw all the time, and listen through my parents old records; it’s never been a conscious decision to do what I do, it just kinda played out like that. I think my earliest memory of vandalising something was at the age of three, when I drew boobs on all the characters in my postman pat book, including Jess the cat... How do the creative challenges of street art differ to those of canvas? They’re just different disciplines entirely; it’s like the difference Kult Mag October 2009
between origami and sculpture. I love to do both. Walls are so immediate - you only spend a few hours on a piece, its big and bright, and everyone gets to see it; canvases are good cos you can throw any media on it and take your time with it. Influences? I’m mainly influenced by things I’ve been through and my own experience. I try to rely more on that than anything else, because it’s more honest; but inspiration can come from anywhere: learning about new and old cultures, overhearing conversations, the thoughts that flicker in your mind at 4am, current events etc etc.
As for artists, I’m mainly influenced by the people I like to paint with, and the people I can bounce ideas off. Sune has always been a big influence - I don’t think in terms of style or anything like that, because we do stuff very differently, normally arguing about it all the way - but I grew up thinking his shit was awesome; then we started painting together and I learned a lot; and now he’s a good friend and I get to bounce ideas off him. Similarly, I wouldn’t say they’re influences as such, but Diaz57, Moe, Cube and NKA are people I respect, and who probably helped me out without realising.
â€œMy earliest memory of vandalising something was at the age of 3, when I drew boobs on all the characters in my postman pat bookâ€?
“I’m not looking to sell loads to stores, or get rich off it”
Can you tell us about the creative process you go through when producing a piece - do you have a formulaic, technical approach, or are you more random? Completely free flowing - I never force an idea; I just start drawing and let what wants to come out at that moment come out. Some of my favourite concepts have come from random accidents and happy coincidences; if you labour too much over it you miss all that good fun. You have a clothing range coming out soon: can you tell us a bit more? It’s called Matriark. It’ll all be screen-printed by hand in the studio – so probably limited editions - with little prints as tags that’ll be signed and numbered; so you get a mini artwork with each item, and you’ll know there aren’t a million people wearing
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the same threads as you. I think the motivation for this isn’t the same as that of other clothing companies - I’m not looking to sell loads to stores, or get rich off it - I’m just sick of prints on clothes being so damn boring, just plain ugly, or a logo advertising some brand. Do you think street art has become more accepted as an art form by the public and the media? Yes and no: I think while the media have given it attention and advertisers have started utilising it more, local councils have increasingly taken against it. Legal walls are being shut down at an alarming rate - once upon a time, Leeds City Council pledged multiple legal walls in every area code of Leeds; instead they’ve closed every single wall - only one remains because it’s privately owned...
What advice would you give to anyone trying to find their own creative style? Sketch, and sketch some more; only through all those little tweaks you accidentally create will you find those little touches that make something yours... Also, don’t worry what other people think - what the fuck do people know?! What future projects / exhibitions have you got lined up? What comes along comes along; I ain’t one to chase jobs or projects. I’m happy painting a wall with my boys, having some beers, and having a good time in the process. But mainly I’ll be working on finishing off building the screen printer and utilising that. I’m also taking part in a group show in Singapore. What gets your creative juices flowing - do you find music inspires you? Music is certainly one of the biggest influences on my work; some drawings are based on snippets of songs - either a lyric, or the feeling it can create, or the sense of movement in the sound. Some bands are just limitless in the inspiration they give, and every lyric is a new concept for a drawing. I’d say some of the bands and artists that really make me want to draw are Bear vs Shark, That Handsome Devil, Modest Mouse,
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The Thermals, Broken Social Scene, Primitive Reason, Johnny Cash, Mountain Goats and hundreds of others - too many to name. Which of your creations makes you most proud? I have an odd relationship with most of the stuff I do: even if I love it at the time, I look back a week later and think, ‘I can do that better now’. Everyone seems to think I’m really prolific because I do a lot of work; but for every one piece I show, there’s about thirty more locked away or thrown in a folder that I don’t want people to see! I never used to keep hold of work until about 3 years ago - it used to be thrown away when I’d finished it. Now I’ve started keeping it, I have a sketch archive of more than four thousand inked drawings. I’d have to say my favourite piece is always the next one I draw. Interviewer: Ella Dickenson myspace.com/women158
Hicks, London Series 3 Champion
www.secretwars.co.uk London • Birmingham • Southampton • Brighton • Cardiff • Dresden • Malmo • Copenhagen • New York Glasgow • Dublin • Bristol • Oslo • Helsinki • Stockholm • Melbourne • Berlin • Zurich • Beijing • Tokyo • Los Angeles Photo by Phiilip Gabriel www. phiga.de
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Freshness! Rory Doona
Age: 23 > Area: Bristol Youâ€™re obviously inspired by Japanese anime, what is your favourite anime film? Laputa Castle in the Sky How exactly do you create your pieces, what is your creative process? Ideas sketched on paper first, more complicated outlines developed on Photoshop with a Wacom graphics tablet. Colouring nearly always done using the tablet to sketch and paint straight into Photoshop. And finally, 3 artists you think we should check out? Hayao Miyizaki, Makoto Shinkai and Sam Bevington. rorydoona.com
Adam Bletchly Age: 21 > Area: Banbury What’s your background in design? I got into illustration when I started doing graffitti about 4 years ago - I loved the characters I saw alongside pieces. I recently graduated from University, and now I’m seeking new clients. Who are your influences and what inspires you? My main influence is the aesthetics of the 1950s. I get a lot of inspiration for my creative work from things I see or think about. As for artists, there are too many to mention, but to name a few: Kevin Dart, Ryan Snook, Ryan Heshka, Elph, Chris Garbutt and Tim Biskup. Do you have any plans in the pipeline? I’d really like to get into advertising and magazine illustration. I’m currently working on my new website and a load of new digital work.
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Kult Mag October 2009
Secret Wars Text by Charlie Mcveigh
“Secret Wars is happening now, you just don’t know it” read the flyer... Intrigued, I decided to head down to Soul Cellar in Southampton to find out what all the hype was about. As I turned up, I heard the muffled bassline of DJ R-Kidd pounding through the walls. Inside and up some stairs, I walked into a ram-packed room, full of cheering and sweaty bodies; up-front on stage were two artists in combat, wielding their weapon of choice: an Edding pen! The sight was reminiscent of a scene out of Fight Club; the excitement hit me immediately. The concept is simple: two artists battle each other on a white board, in front of a crowd and a DJ, against the clock. There’s just one question in everyone’s mind throughout – who will reign supreme?! Secret Wars has grown by word of mouth, and past competitors include the likes of Inkie, Tek1, Gustav, Alpha, Phil Blake and Dirty 30 to name but a few. From its London roots, the concept has spread effortlessly round the globe, with battles in Brighton, Bristol, Lisbon and New York; and now the Secret Wars crew have upped the game again with the announcement they are recruiting for team battles, as well as working on new side projects!
Now this might all sound a bit high-strung: it shouldn’t be forgotten that the focus of this kind of engaging performance art is the interaction of the artist with the audience ultimately they decide who wins. And with some raw tunes thrown into the mix – in Southampton, beatboxer Reeps 1 enthralled the crowd with his vocal dexterity - it’s a sure-fire recipe for artistic soul-food and good night out. Having been to numerous live art events throughout the country, I have to say Secret Wars is unique: the format clearly echoes the legendary lyrical battles that were so important in the development of Hip-hop and the urban culture associated with it. And for sure I want to see more! So if you’re an artist who wants to show ‘em what you’re made of, get invovled: YOUR CITY NEEDS YOU!! Series 3 is about to kick-off and the next Secret Wars line-up is going to be announced soon. Stay ready!! secretwars.co.uk
Retro Chavs What Paint Shit
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Epok, KTF WHAT DOES KTF STAND FOR? Keep Things Fresh, or Keep the Faith. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PAINTING FOR? I made my first mess in ‘96, so 13 years so far. WHAT HAS INFLUENCED YOU? WHAT ARE YOUR ARTISTIC ROOTS? My main influence when I started out came from my friends at the time. Skateboarding and being a bit of a social outcast at school both contributed. Travelling to London, travelling tracksides from Fumtrack sides DDS really made me think about getting up in my area. But it was the few like-minded people in my close group of friends who really gave me that urge to see what I could do.
As far as my roots in ‘art’ go, I don’t really have an institutional background. I was encouraged to draw from an early age - my Dad used to project images of engines onto the wall at home for me to trace. I was about 7 or 8 then, and remember him asking me to try and draw a zebra without using an outline.... All I wanted to draw were people shooting each other and space ships! WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER INTERESTS? Outside of graffiti, I’m a screen printer. It’s not something I learnt in college, but I found myself drawn to it and now make a living from it. There’s something about the process of hand printing an image that’s timeless: it feels more like you’re crafting the image, coaxing it until it’s correct, not simply pressing the ‘print’ button. In my eyes, it’s more of a craft than a process: the slightest change in pressure or angle and it
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will look different. Physically it’s also very demanding, and requires long periods of concentration; but I love it. WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES A GOOD PIECE? HOW DO YOU CULTIVATE THIS AESTHETIC SENSE? What you’re talking about is style. Not something that anyone can teach, it’s something you learn from painting a lot and not being worried what people will think... I guess things like balance and poise - also composition - all play a part; but at the end of the day you have to slay a few dragons to get to the princess... In terms of what I like personally, it’s all about letters. You need a strong understanding of form, with a unique twist or flow. But I don’t believe in pigeonholing yourself: there are many different styles to be explored, and I think it’s a shame to churn out the same outline over and over... HAD ANY RUN-INS WITH THE BOBBIES? Don’t know a writer who hasn’t! My stories will be the same as many others - as long as you’re still getting up in the end, it’s a good one!
WHERE ELSE HAVE YOU BEEN PAINTING? Painted in most big cities in England; also Germany, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Prague... Really want to get out to South America sometime soon, and spend some more time in Berlin. It’s all about Germany for me: I lived out there for a while and was blown away by the level of commitment and dedication those guys have! Also, painting the autobahn is something every writer should experience. FAVOURITE FOOD? Olde English Cider. FAVOURITE CITY? Bristol. FAVOURITE MUSICIAN? My brother. FAVOURITE ARTIST? Me. FAVOURITE WAY TO RELAX? Socks off: cider and shouting really loud. Interviewer: Ralph Peskett flickr.com/epokone
ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR CURRENTLY INSPIRING YOUR WORK? Just the city I live in. Bristol is a good place to be a writer - full of different styles and people who have been killing it for years. Obviously the KTF & ASK Family; SIREN, RIKS, SOKER, SEPR, 3-DOM, KAI-ONE, PONK, DEVAS, TES, 45-RPM and all the WHAT crew; as well as the new comers to the city, FAIRY & DEAMS. There are way too many writers who influence me to name check them all here... Best come and see for yourself!
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p _23 Event Photography - Documenting - Creative Thinking
Dubstep has been firmly established in Leeds for some time now. The Exodus and Subdub nights have become epicentres of bass driven music in the north, and their unique sound can be felt reverberating across Europe. Jack Sparrow is the offspring of these irresponsible parents. His melancholic creations recently captured the attention of Radio 1’s Mary Anne Hobbs - he was a special guest on her show in June; and Bristol’s DJ Pinch, perhaps the biggest name in Dubstep outside London, has just signed him to his influential Tectonic Recordings.
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Can you describe your style of Dubstep? It’s hard to explain: no two tracks ever sound the same; they each have their own character. My tunes are quite dark, but I like to put some uplifting bits in there too. For me it’s all about atmosphere - deep drums and crossing other genres with dubstep. I’ve been feeling carnival style drums and basslines for a while, and anything Latin really love the movement of the drums and general vibe… I’ve just made it dark in my own way.
What’s your background in music? As long as I can remember, I’ve had a special bond with music. I would say it’s up there with oxygen for survival. My dad had thousands of tapes and vinyls that I used to be really curious about, and that started off my obsession with collecting music. I was 17 when I bought my first audio PC and started building a studio - I was completely obsessed with music by that point. I became a bit of a loaner at school… a bit like now actually. How do you produce your tracks? Firstly, I need tea, biscuits and late nights. I use Logic 8 - I have bonded with that program really well, and it’s really user friendly and powerful. I’ll start with drums, and then layer incidentals, beeps, crackles etc over the top to create atmosphere. The bass takes the most time though, because Dubstep relies on a deep, moving bass - a bit like jungle. I can end up spending days mastering a song that took two hours to complete; I just love playing around. After all’s done, it’s sent off to the cutting house to play that weekend. How important has the Leeds scene been to your development as an artist? The Leeds scene is growing and growing. Exodus and Subdub at the West Indian Centre are massive, and now there’s a handful of local DJ’s making moves on the scene. We’re all really good
mates, there’s a real community vibe going on - we all just like dubstep. What’s special though is that we’re all from a range of backgrounds musically speaking. I just want to see more of the Radio Frequency boys getting abroad and spreading the Leeds vibe in Europe – that would be wicked. Mary Anne Hobbs says you’re making some ‘absolutely incredible moves’; how does it feel to have the mother of electronic music backing you? When I heard Mary playing my track I did a little dance. She’s been very supportive of my sound, and she’s really cool to chat to. She’s asked me to do a mix for her show, which is going to be really personal. A lot of my new stuff is going in it and it’s really symbolic of how I feel right now. You’ve been working with DJ Pinch as well. How did that come about? Pinch is an absolute legend; he has pretty much built up Tectonic Recordings in Bristol to be one of the top three labels on the scene. He is a wicked producer too - I’ve done four tracks for him now, and I’m working on an album for him, so things are just getting started. I sent him a track called For Me last year, and it got his attention; since then we’ve worked close developing my sound and releasing tracks. The Bristol sound is my favourite - it’s so
technical and thought out. Pinch’s album was a masterpiece, and he’s recently signed amazing stuff from Flying Lotus and Joker. I feel at home with the Tectonic and Earwax labels. You’ve played overseas quite a bit now; how well is your music going down abroad? My gigs in San Francisco, Poland and Croatia really stick in my mind. The crowds just love music there; it’s like going back in time to when the scene started and it was fresh - they just go nuts for it. Do you believe Dubstep has a spiritual element? Yeah. It’s a physical thing, and anyone who’s been to one of the nights in the West Indian Centre knows what I’m talking about. It’s like having a bath in bass; it’s amazing. I won’t get into the specifics, but certain bass frequencies can do strange but positive things to people. Dubstep will be around forever, there’ll just be people moving forward all the time, creating new sounds and rhythms. Mala’s blog on Myspace is a very interesting read if anyone wants to know more... When he asked me to play London DMZ, I was so honoured, as that’s where dubstep started, and you could really feel the roots of it all and see what he’s talking about down there.
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Who do you think is making the biggest moves in Leeds? I would say on the doing front, Signus from Radio Frequency - he can seriously mix! Also Dom Ruckspin from Ranking Records; the guy’s very talented and his tunes always leave me wanting more from him. Finally, what’s next? I’ve got my album coming out; and I’ve started doing a lot of UK Funky tracks and a few remixes of big commercial artists. Interviewer: Rob Dale myspace.com/sparradubz
Kult Mag October 2009
Return of Raekwon
Return Of Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. 2 August 1st 1995. Not many people would have woken up that morning realising one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time was being released that day. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… still to this day remains one of the most brilliantly produced, thought provoking, cinematic records. With Raekwon’s ‘personality and humour’ and Ghostface Killah’s ‘incredible wordplay’, it broke new grounds in the hip-hop world. After hearing rumours of a sequel, I was not the only one thinking that nothing could live up to what Rae achieved first time round. Only built 4 Cuban Linx…Pt. 2 is, as Angus Batey states ‘the best hip-hop album of 2009 so far’. Fact. Here is why: the disappointment that the album is not entirely produced by Rza is soon squashed when you hear who has provided beats for the record. List all your favorite hip-hop producers and they all feature here, from Pete Rock and Eric Sermon to Marley Marl and The Alchemist- it is hard to be disappointed with the array of beats that bless this album. The album kicks off with the J-Dilla produced House of Flying Daggers, already feeling like a Wu banger with the chorus twisting Gza’s hook on Clan in Da Front and fantastic verses by solid Wu soldiers Inspectah Deck and Method Man. The music video itself is one to watch for all you designer peeps, with superb illustration by 1000styles.
Click here for video: ‘The House of Flying Daggers’
The album remains raw; a simplistic beat provided by Necro gives Ghost and Rae a perfect backdrop to tell their street narratives and is followed by the triumph of the album, the song New Wu. A classic Method Man chorus calling out to the listeners to give him a ‘suuuuuuuu’ takes you right back to ’94, and the haunting choir sample brings the track to life and makes you think- why did Rza not produce tracks like this for 8 Diagrams?’ Dilla features again on Ason Jones, the most moving tribute to ODB any Wu member has recorded so far. Lyrics such as ‘He had a heart of gold, intelligent soul from day one’ are passionately rapped by Rae. Have Mercy surpassed my expectations, being not the greatest fan of Beanie Sigel. He delivers the best verse I have ever heard from him, lyrically illustrating life locked in prison, the claustrophobia of a cell and how it affects you ‘my skin getting brighter, my hair getting thinner see, when you stressed out, you could age fast in here’. And of course any Wu fan will instantly recognize the voice of Blue Raspberry. Ghost and Raekwon unite with Cappadonna on the final Dilla track 10 Bricks as we enter the final part of the album and arguably the best. We Will Rob You is a personal favorite. After hearing Slick Rick describe this track as
Return of Raekwon
‘one of them old Raekwon crime joints’ Raekwon jumps on describing how he was walking through the parks in his wallabee clarks. If this isn’t enough to make your heart start beating faster, Gza and Masta Killa’s first contribution to the album is unbelievable. Gza raps like he is recording Liquid Swords for the first time and Masta Killa’s verse is extremely satisfying. If your heart is beating hard now, what happens next makes it explode. The end of We Will Rob You tumbles into the next track which hits hard with a banging Dr. Dre beat (About Me) with Rae supported by an on form Busta Rhymes whose verse is one of the highlights of the album. The most suitable song to end with is Kiss The Ring. As the song begins you start to hear a large crowd screaming ‘Wu-Tang’ over and over before a huge beat drops. This is Wu-Tang’s tribute to themselves on the album, as Inspectah Deck raps ‘so salute, and toast to the best who done it’. I can definitely raise a glass to all three verses on the song provided by
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Raekwon, Inspectah Deck and Masta Killa. It is Deck however who shines as he commonly does as the usual thought goes through your head… probably the most talented rapper of all time. However it is not an Inspectah Deck album, it’s a Raekwon album and it’s Raekwon to whom all the credit should go. It was him who realized hip-hop needed this album. It was him who got such incredible talent on board and who decided to bring a long lost concept back to life. It’s an outstanding album, up there with the Ticals, Liquid Swords and of course its prequel Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.... In the same month of release, Jay-Z made another attempt to recreate his classic, The Blueprint. However, Raekwon has succeeded where Jay-Z failed. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…Pt. 2 is sure to be seen as a modern classic in its own right. Text by Huw Bradbury myspace.com/raekwon
Vacuum Boogie EP
Let’s Take Off (Far away)
Since making massive waves in 2008 with his sublimely simplistic remix of the 1983 Real to Reel classic, Love Me Like This, Sam ‘Floating Points’ Shepherd has swiftly emerged on the house scene as a unique and forward-thinking producer. The Vacuum Boogie EP takes this production to new heights, exploring exactly what he has to offer.
What’s your cuppa tea - early 90s G-funk? Wonky, bass-heavy, experimental Hip hop? 80s Boogie?
Syncopated grooves, mellow floating pads, and deep bass mark this new E.P. on Olde Boy Records from Glasgow based beatsmith Scatabrainz. Having released tracks with the charity ‘UNITE: Love Music Hate Racism’ and the organisation ‘Young Scot’, this is a man who knows how to pay his dues.
Making a name for himself as a regular fixture at the CDR nights at Plastic People, Floating Points’ productions are always awaited with baited breath. The three tracks here explore a variety of rhythms, incorporating elements of Hip hop, House, Disco, Boogie and Funk, with a contemporary twist. Eglo Records have released a comprehensive package of killer beats here, even the artwork alerts you as to what awaits within: spaced, disparate, brooding, funkinfused boogie - the work of a true master-craftsman. By day, Sam’s actually a genuine, bona fide scientist, and claims “music is just a hobby”. Shit me mate, if you can come up with this in your spare time, I don’t really want to even think about what you’re cooking up in the laboratory! Scary stuff...
If any of the above falls within your musical remit, then DãmFunk is the man for you! While striving to stay true to the roots of the early 80s Boogie movement, LA’s ‘Ambassador of Boogie’ throws in big helping of cuttingedge Hip hop to shape a sound he describes as ‘Modern-Funk’. The recent Let’s Take Off (Far Away) (Stones Throw Records) is one of his best EPs to date. This slice of analogue genius was produced, recorded, written and ‘sincerely funked’ without any loops or samples - every sound on this 12” originates from an ultra-retro synth or some obscure vintage drum machine. Killdat aka Killdatmotherf**ker and Hood Pass Intact are the tracks to watch out for here – and the Ambassador’s debut album, Toeachizown, is in the pipeline. Go support the Modern-Funk movement: buy it!!
After making some noise in the Scottish hip hop scene as one half of Speech Therapy, Scatabrainz has taken this opportunity to make a foray into the more ambient side of the instrumental hip hop sound. I Know Your There is the standout for me on here, with gritty percussion pushing along a beautifully chilled vibe. But coming six tracks deep, this is an E.P. of quality head-nodding beats that is sure to provide something for everyone, especially those with a yearning for the deeper or more experimental side of things. Check it out - it’s free! By Sam Carpenter
By Rob The Controller
By Euan Indecision
ben the illustrator
Kult Mag October 2009
Issue 3 Release date - January 2010