One of grime’s most recognisable voices, Footsie, is also one of its best producers.
While famed with everyone from students to road man for his role as one half of Newham Generals alongside D-Double-E, Footsie’s productions have been setting the underground grime world on fire since the very beginning.
2013 saw the release of the first two volumes of his ‘King Original’ series, reaching back into his vaults and finally sharing unreleased gems and instrumentals from as far back as 2004, and last week he unleashed the third in the set – ‘King Original Vol 3′.
Named after his dad’s reggae soundsystem, the compilation is out now and features 13 exclusive new Footsie instrumentals. Trap caught up with Footsie to find out more…
‘King Original’ is named after your dad’s soundsystem and you recently brought him to play B2B with you on Rinse to help promote the new CD. It seems he was a big influence on you musically?
Yeah, I wanted to do something different to promote the release and, at the same time show the importance and connection my dad has to my sound. A lineage. He’s been a big influence throughout my life, taking me to the studio from early, showing me the ropes as a youngster. My dad is King Original.
Beyond what you heard at home, what was the first music you got into when you were younger?
It was jungle first. I was part of a crew called Bass Injection. There was DJ Tempo, Pappa Clippa and moi! We had an early graveyard set on pirate radio to start with, but worked our way up. Jungle has had a lasting influence on my sound, because it’s a very well-made and technical sound…I’m still learning from it now. Jungle also has a heavy reggae influence, which I can relate too.
So, today, I strive to create a tune that gives me the same kind of emotions that I feel listening to those jungle classics. Even as I made the cut for ‘King Original 3′, I was listening out for the tunes that had that power and impact.
“Logan leaving KISS isn’t a negative in my opinion…”
Can we expect more Newham Generals material soon?
If you go onto YouTube now and type in ‘Newham Generals – ‘PIFF”; that’s our latest track. It’s doing really well at the moment, following on from our last big single ‘Passion’, and we have a lot more in the wings. The Gens will be releasing a string of singles this year on Dirtee Stank. Stank is da label!
What do you think about the state of grime at the moment? Its an interesting time, what with tunes such as ‘German Whip’ taking over the radio, while Logan Sama has just lost his show on KISS…
Grime’s in a very good place and I think it’s getting picked up on in other areas because the scene is putting out better songs. I think the wave has changed and people are more into raving than a particular artist right now. That means the playing field is open – you just gotta come up with the right banger. At the moment, there’s no telling what will happen and that’s sick.
Logan leaving kiss isn’t a negative in my opinion. I believe he now has the freedom to do what he wants and still be able to push himself and the scene forward.
If you could do an ultimate collaboration tune, who would you produce for?
Has to be Damien Marley. I’ve never heard a bad tune from that guy and he’s shown his versatility by working on lots of different genres. I think we could definitely cook up a MADNESS… haha!
Who have you been listening to recently?
I’ve been listening to Migos a lot recently. I love the beats and vibe they’re bringing. On a grime one, I’ve been listening to Chronik, Big Narstie and Merky Ace – all of who have a lot of unreleased stuff on my computer! I also listen to the scene in general, because if you alienate yourself, you lose sight of the bigger picture, so I try to stay up on what the scene’s doing.
After ‘road rap’ seemed to take over for a while, there seems to be a few younger MCs coming through again in grime. Have you noticed this? If so, who do you rate?
Whatever the kids are choosing to do – be it rap or grime – there’s success in both areas now, so there’s something to aspire to. There wasn’t anything before, so I think it’s making kids more free spirited, with more faith in UK music. I rate Merky Ace as a good new young MC. I also like his crew Family Tree; I can hear the old-school attitude within their music.
What’s your favourite grime tune of all time?
It’s hard to say. There are a lot of tunes that I will always go mad to any time I hear them! But if I had to pick one, then I’d say ‘Frontline’. That tune dropped at a good time in terms of the growth of the grime sound and still sounds like no other tune to this day.
You’ve talked about your love of reggae before. Is there one tune or any particular artist that had an effect on you and what you do musically?
My favourite group is Black Uhuru. My dad bought me their album when I was four and it had a tune called ‘Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner’ on it, which went on to be a personal favourite. Through them, I also became a big fan of the lead singer, Michael Rose.
And finally, what should we look out for from you this year?
Well at the moment it’s all about ‘King Original 3′ and ‘PIFF’ – both of which are out now! This year, I’m planning to shoot videos to some solo tracks that I’ve done, and put out big singles to complement what the Generals are doing. I’m also releasing a burst of vocal and instrumental EPs – watch out for those!
Footsie’s ‘King Original 3′ is out now, click here to buy it now from iTunes.