As part of the Newham General's, Footsie has been in the game since the beginning of grime, signing to Dizzee Rascal's Dirtee Stank label alongside D Double E in 2005. He's maintained an output of quality music over the course of the last 10 years as both an MC and producer, recently lending his skills to Kano's 'Wavy'. The Wrap Up's James Walsh caught up with the pioneer from East London to discuss the beginnings of his musical journey, his new track 'B.O.G' and running his own label...
The Wrap Up: Good to speak with you today Footsie! Let’s start by going back to where it all began. Who were your earliest musical influences when you were growing up?
Footsie: My earliest influence was my dad. He's a sound man and used to take me to the studio as a youth. He makes reggae and roots music so I was listening to people like Black Uhuru and obviously Bob Marley. When I got a bit older, jungle was my first choice and I'd listen to Stevie Hyper D and Skiba.
TWU: At what age did you start MCing yourself?
Footsie: I must have been about nine when I wrote my first lyric. I started MCing over roots and reggae and then I moved onto drum and bass; it was about then I started spraying on jungle too.
TWU: How did you then progress on to making grime music?
Footsie: I wasn't really feeling garage. To me, it felt like there was nothing to MC on and most of it was just hosting. I stayed on drum and bass as long as I could but I started to lose my Jamaican accent and sound more like a Londoner. Then one or two grime tracks started creeping in that I liked; so I sprayed on them and became part of N.A.S.T.Y Crew. Once they split, me and D Double E formed the Newham Generals. We were mates so it happened naturally.
TWU: Cool. Bringing things up to date, you have a new single out, 'B.O.G' (Bag of Grease). First off, how did the track come about?
Footsie: I went on Logan's Kiss FM show and did an afterhour’s session. I had a hook and I was looking for a beat for and then he played this instrumental... I did the hook over it and sprayed some other bars. I then phoned Logan who got me booked in with Darq E Freaker who produced the beat and the rest is history!
TWU: How would you describe the track and why the name B.O.G?
Footsie: It’s a bass-laced banger! [Laughs] It's just such a dirty sounding track, it sounds as if it's just bubbled up out of a bog!
TWU: What do you hope the listeners take away from the track?
Footsie: It's a beacon for the work I've been putting in and I want people to really get a sense of all my efforts, not just on this track, but all of them. It's my sixth release of the year already and nothing's been s**t so far; the level of the music I'm putting out is consistently high.
TWU: I hear that. Your tracks this year have been getting a lot of airplay and they have had some big remixes too. How important has the positive reaction to all your music been for you?
Footsie: To be honest bruv; it's paramount. It's one thing to be doing it for time; it's another for people to be caring after time. I can't ever sit back and think I'm a legend and get the smoking jacket and slippers out. I'm always looking forward, never sitting down and revelling. There's only a short list of guys here from the beginning. People need to keep the fire in the belly to keep going or the new guys will eat you. I thrive on that challenge.
TWU: You also have a label. Can you tell us a bit about Braindead Ent?
Footsie: Yeah, me and DJ Tubby set it up over 10 years ago and Dirtee Stank has been the blueprint for it. We've now hooked up with a guy called Kristian who runs the label for us; we have everything in place and we're properly releasing music again now. I'm bringing myself forward and need to put the label back in its right place before trying to help other artists achieve their hopes and dreams, but there's a few that I'm watching.
TWU: Great stuff. Finally, what else can we expect from Footsie over the coming months?
Footsie: I've got a load of festivals coming up, the new Newham General's single is coming soon and I'm working on stuff for my solo album too. I've already released 'Do U Get Me Boss?' and now 'B.O.G'. I'll probably drop a couple more big tunes so people will know a few tracks on the album by the time it comes.
TWU: Do you have a release date in mind for that yet?
Footsie: It'll be this year. I'm working with the mind frame that when it's ready, it's ready. I won't rush it and in the meantime I'm gonna keep hitting people with new music. 'B.O.G' has been going down well live, it's got a catchy hook and people have been jumping off, so definitely check that out!
Stay up to date with Footsie on Twitter - https://twitter.com/#!/ITSFOOTSIEAGAIN
Words: James Walsh (@JW_DittoMusic)