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Interview: Cappo

5 January 08 interview: Jared Wilson

"There are always hurdles to overcome, but this album has been in the pipeline for two years. I’ve been making beats and filing them away"

Despite still only being in his late twenties, he’s been an integral part of the scene for a decade. His debut album Spaz The World was released internationally by Zebra Traffic and he’s worked with many of the best in the UK and beyond. Known for his prolific material, he’s been underground recently working on new material. We caught up with him to find out more…

When did you start rapping?
I started at school, I used to write bars in media class with a long time friend called Labels and also used to spend a lot of time freestyling with Stryder and Labels in my garage. We would record on an old tape player and spend ages finding samples off old records and pause button looping them with drum breaks. I was deep into graffiti as well, that’s where I first started respecting hiphop and realising how important it was to me and how much I wanted to be part of it. A few years later I saved up and bought my MPC 2000XL, which I still use today. That’s when I started concentrating solely on the music.

How did you get your first record deal?
In about ‘98 or ‘99, Zero Theory let me borrow his Ensoniq 16 Plus sampler for two weeks. I produced about fifteen tracks and made a demo called The Cap Tape Vol. 1. I got about forty pressed and sent them off to record labels and radio stations. That’s how I got in touch with Son Records. They put me in touch with Styly Cee. I met him at his house and we got on well, we started making tracks together and he produced a track on my first EP, and we’ve been tight ever since.

Styly has been something of a mentor to you…
He’s always been an influence in my music. When I first got to know him he used to play me loads of original loops on vinyl that hiphop producers had used, such as the Nas Illmatic album, and I’d have to guess what tracks they were. Through him, I started to get more live shows and meet artists like Blade and Joe Buhdha and I appeared on Westwood. Working with Styly has helped to establish my name and Son Records has put my work out internationally in places like Japan.

Then you hooked up with the P Brothers…
We made the first EP Heavy Bronx Volume One and worked together on festivals and shows. I used to just listen to them and watch how they worked and take in as much as I could. A lot of my production capabilities were learned by listening them. They would always go on the turntables and cut up break beats before they produced a track. They knew about the essence of hiphop and it made me realise how deep the history was and how much I had to learn. Every release was a solid progression for me, building up to Spaz The World.

Tell us about that, your debut album…
It’s still the pinnacle of all my releases. It was really demanding to make and is still the release I’m most proud of. When I hear it, it still shocks me how the drums sound. When I look at my new album I know I’ve got to put exactly the same amount of effort into it, and combine that with the knowledge I have gained since releasing Spaz The World which is why the new material is taking a while.

When can we expect the new album?
There are always hurdles to overcome, but this album has been in the pipeline for two years. I’ve been making beats and filing them away and I’ve got about ten or eleven tracks that are almost there. When I get into the full process of writing the lyrics, I want to travel around Nottingham like I used to and spit bars with everyone. So I can get my mind running to full capacity. I’d be happy for it to be heard and bought by as many people as possible, but the main thing is that the real hiphop heads in Britain, Europe and especially in the USA get to hear and know that it follows the protocol of how to make real hiphop with no ifs or buts or compromises.

After Spaz The World, you made the two Get Out albums…
Yeah, we made them so I’d have something to sell at shows. I used to go round to Zero Theory’s house and write rhymes while he would make the beat from scratch. We made thirty songs for the first and the second was made a couple of months after that was released. I passed on a copy of the second to Rob Life at the Breakin’ Bread label and they took a selection and released the Get Out EP on vinyl.

Tell us about the people you’re working with at the moment…
I’m always working with Weight Bench and Rukus Regardless, who’s got three albums out called Code Of Practice 1, 2 and 3, which I made all the beats for and Midnyte who has an album called Revision. Me and Konny Kon have also been working on new material. Styly Cee has produced three burners for a new EP we’re going to release called The H Bomb which I’m very proud of. I’ve been writing to a new track for ED 209’s new project and I’ve also been working with First Blood for a track on their album. I’m happy to work with people I trust and know are talented. It’s like a never-ending catalyst for me.

What was it like going on tour with The Herbaliser?
 It was a real eye-opener to work with people who have been monetarily successful in the UK music industry. By the time I met them, they were already well-established, so being able to record and tour with them and see how the cogs work on a large scale tour was an honour. We played Belgium, Ireland, Glasgow, Manchester, France, Slovakia and festivals all over the place. I was just happy to be there, it was such a learning process.

Tell us about your current mix tape…
The Directors Commentary Vol.1 is my history tape. It’s 24 tracks and lasts over an hour. It spans almost a decade of my music and features every section of my career. I had a lot of music that hadn’t been heard, but I felt needed to be released, so I did a juxtaposition of tracks from past to present with some new freestyles and exclusives on it as well. It features work I did way back in ‘99 with DJ Prime, unreleased gems with Styly Cee, Zero Theory and ED209, and also has a track I made with The Herbaliser and some tracks from my Resilience EP. It features Rukus regardless, Midnyte and Konny Kon. It also contains demo tracks from Spaz The World produced by the Akai Professionals that didn’t make the album but which I felt needed to be heard.

Anything you’d like to say to LeftLion readers?
My new album is in its final stages now and I’m working harder than ever towards it. The plans are in action, the cogs in the machine are working and I’m at a good point at the moment. Look out for the new Weight Bench compilation coming soon.  Capps is back in the building… 

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