We're always on the lookout for emerging talent from all over the UK here at The Wrap Up. Having introduced you to Scotland's Madhat McGore at the start of 2012, we now bring you fellow north-of-the-border outfit Stanley Odd. The six-piece Edinburgh collective have made strong strides in the industry with their brand of alternative Scottish hip-hop and live band element. The Wrap Up's James Walsh caught up with lead emcee Solareye to talk about their coming together, notable achievements to date and their intriguingly named album, 'Reject'...
The Wrap Up: First off can you introduce yourself and let the MTV readers know the part you play in Stanley Odd?
Stanley Odd: I’m Solareye, I basically rap at people while the band play and Veronika makes it bearable by singing something melodic... whenever I shut up long enough to give the opportunity.
TWU: When and how did you all meet and where did you come up with the name for the band?
Stanley Odd: It started with Veronika Electronika and myself, we were meant to do a DJ/emcee-type set but the DJ couldn’t make it so we got a couple of friends to play live drums and guitar. The band grew from there.
TWU: What does Stanley Odd stand for?
Stanley Odd: I like the idea of Stanley Odd being this awkward character, who constantly feels out of place in social situations, with his shirt buttoned up wrong, singing to himself on the bus. I think there’s a bit of the Stanley Odd about everyone. He’s the tongue-tied, clumsy everyman.
TWU: Which artists inspire you?
Stanley Odd: In terms of hip-hop it started for me in the mid ‘90s with Cypress Hill and Snoop Dogg, then it progressed to Nas and Wu-Tang, then to Taskforce and Skitz… then suddenly it was like ‘hold on, there’s people in Scotland doing this too!’ So now it’s Hector Bizerk, Loki, Mad Hat, Scatabrainz, Bigg Taj. That’s a join the dots from South Central to Central Scotland in two sentences right there.
TWU: What's been your career highlight to date?
Stanley Odd: Highlights have been playing T in the Park; playing at Edinburgh’s Hogmannay Street Party just after the bells and doing the Christmas’ Radio One Introducing live in the studio with Mad Hat, Kobi Onyami, Smiler, Merky Ace and Lioness.
TWU: What differentiates yourselves from other artists and how would you best describe your sound?
Stanley Odd: I feel like hip-hop in Scotland is in a very creative and important place just now. Lots of acts are evolving in different directions and getting airplay and recognition. It’s a good time to be involved. We just do what we do. We were described in a review last year as ‘cerebral geek-rap’ – I’ll take that as a genre.
TWU: Can you tell us a bit about your latest album and why it's named 'Reject'?
Stanley Odd: Before ‘Reject’ came out we spent a year working on our own production sound; we released three EPs to develop our production and song-writing. For the album we wrote the music, recorded it and then chopped it up, pulled it apart and rebuilt it again in a sample-based format. I think this led us to be more creative in terms of structure and sound. Lyrically it’s got plenty of social commentary, as is the Stanley Odd standard, but there is some more personal content in there too.
‘Reject’ as a title has raised a few questions. If you take it as a noun then a reject is someone or something that either doesn’t fit in or is not accepted for whatever reason. If you take it as a verb it means to reject something: an idea or a law - don’t just accept things at face value. So it’s a collection of stories about rejects and rejection.
TWU: What do you hope listeners take away from the album?
Stanley Odd: I like story telling in music. If someone hears a tune and can picture the story then that’s a good thing. Other times, like on ‘Marriage Counselling’ I’m telling the story of a dysfunctional relationship between Britannia and Caledonia so the Independence Debate gets a bit of an airing. [We are] just trying to write things with a bit of honesty that might capture people’s interest really.
TWU: What's the plan over the next six months?
Stanley Odd: I’ve put out a wee solo EP called ‘The Pageant’ which is available for free download and produced by Dunt (ABAGA Records) who also happens to be the drummer in Stanley Odd and Harvey Kartel. We wrote, recorded and released that in four weeks as a antidote to the length of time we spend on a Stanley Odd release.
After that the plan is to get working on writing a new album and a full summer of festivals.
TWU: Finally, where do you hope to be in five years time?
Stanley Odd: Shouting words at people and hoping that they’re listening.
Words: James Walsh (@JW_DittoMusic)