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The Comedy of Errors

Interview: The Afterdark Movement

15 August 12 interview: Paul Klotschkow
photos: Carla Mundy

Your brand-new Future Sound of Nottingham winners and Splendour-openers spit bars, bend notes, chop beats, defy pigeonholing and kick arse. They’re the Afterdark Movement, and we managed to get two of them - Bru-C and Trekkah - to stand still long enough to hear their story...

Congratulations on winning FSN.
Bru-C: It’s been amazing. We just couldn’t believe that we had won. Unbelievably happy. I wanted to put my all in, to make sure that people were watching us. Try to get a reaction from the crowd, engage with them, and it seemed to work.
Trekkah: We went in with a confident set - we proper worked it. We also re-worked some of the tunes to make it fresh for ourselves.
Bru-C: We entered last year, but we didn’t take it seriously and didn’t push ourselves to get votes.

And you got to play the Market Square in the FSN semi-final...
Bru-C: We did it more easy-listening for the Square. People were walking past and nodding their heads. We didn’t try to play the bangers to get the crowd going, because you are never going to.
Trekkah: People were just walking past with their shopping. No one wants to dance when they are carrying carrier bags, do they? Saying that, we did have a few people dancing...
Bru-C: They were all of our friends, though.
Trekkah: But there was one guy with rollerblades who was having a dance on his skates. That was crazy.

What's your opinion of ‘battle of the band’ type competitions in general? Don't they usually boil down to whoever has the most Facebook friends?
Bru-C: There are loads of different ones. Some are an absolute rip-off where you have to pay for loads of tickets, and you have to bring this and that. But Nusic make sure it isn't like that.
Trekkah: At first I didn’t like the Facebook voting, but I don’t think there’s any other way to do it.

Has the reaction to the band changed since you won the competition?
Trekkah: A hundred percent. It also tied in nicely with the recent EP launch, so everyone in the band has had to switch up, start taking it a bit more seriously, and start planning our route. The EP that we have done - ADM - has been made off our own backs, paid for by gigs. Guy at Random Recordings did a brilliant job.
Bru-C:  We actually scrapped the original recording - the whole thing. We worked for days on that,  and I was fuming when they said that they didn’t want to use any of it. But listening back I could hear that it wasn’t as strong as it could be.

What was it like to play the Wireless festival at Hyde Park?
Trekkah: We finished our EP launch on the Saturday night/Sunday morning at 3am. Then we had to be up at 7am on the Sunday to go down to London in the minibus.
Bru-C: I had been to London that day for a rap battle and had been on my feet all day. I had three hour's sleep on Ben’s sofa and then it was straight back to London.
Trekkah: I was a bit pessimistic by the time we got there; it was raining, everyone was inside the big tent, and It wasn’t looking good. Then the sound guy told us that they were staggering the stages, so when Stooshe finished the whole audience came over to us, and we all just thought we'd make the most of it. We just expected some passing trade like when we played in the Market Square; someone will listen to us for five minutes then go and watch Jessie J.
Bru-C:  But they didn't. The sun came out just as we came on, no word of a lie. And as people were passing, they stayed and they cheered.

Why did you all decided to get together and form a band?
Bru-C: We didn’t decide. Trekkeh was making some electronic music, and was good friends with my sister, and I was already doing my solo rap stuff. He saw my videos on Facebook and inboxed me, asking to hang out and have a beer. Then I saw a video of Devlin and Ed Sheeran doing an acoustic thing and liked the idea of rapping against acoustic guitar.
Trekkah: We did a few electronic tracks, then we tried a song on guitar and we got one idea down. Then we were like, what would that sound like with drums, and then guitar, and then another vocal? Before we knew it there was six of them.

What was it like starting out getting your first gigs?
Trekkah: Me and Martin used to play in a metal band called Zenith so we had links at places like The Maze, and a lot of the Junktion 7 staff went off to different places and I knew them from when I worked there. We never struggled for gigs.

Any nightmares?
Trekkah: We played at a skate park. Middle of the day, open skate park, people skating. The Lord Mayor came out halfway through our set, stopped me mid-way through a verse, and said; “Can you tell these kids to pick the litter up?” I just looked at him and couldn’t believe that he did that like it was urgent. I thought he was going to say someone had broken their leg on the skate park and stop playing. It was bizarre. I hope that doesn’t happen at Splendour.

What are you trying to do with the band?
Trekkah: We don’t know yet.
Bru-C:  That’s the best thing about The Afterdark Movement, everyone has come from different backgrounds and genres. We don’t fit any formula - anything goes.

What support has the band had from Nottingham?
Trekkah: We’ve had a lot of support; people have been cool with us, and the people that aren’t cool are pretending that they're cool. When you do start playing as a new band, people are going to hate. Bands are bitchy; when I worked at Junktion 7 as an engineer I used to watch bands being bitchy, but no one says it directly.
Bru-C:  Coming from rap music, everything is internet-based now and it’s so negative with people disliking and leaving hateful comments. In this band there are no negatives. Keep quiet, haters.

What’s the local grime/hip-hop scene like at the moment?
Bru-C: Hectic. It’s just come back to life. You need to check out MC called Sparks; he’s only seventeen and he’s strong. There is a collective of MCs called Non-Stop Bars. A guy called Marvin who’s from Sneinton. They are all good at what they do in the grime scene, definitely.

How would you say the local rap scene compares to ten years ago?
Bru-C: I have an uncle who is a hip-hop DJ and it sounds like the scene was a lot stronger and had more of a foundation back then. In the grime scene there is no one that wants to get together. I struggle. There is a lot of ego, but I think rap battling has brought the scene back.

Any final words?
Bru-C: Massive thanks to Nusic, LeftLion... everyone who was involved in the Future Sound of Nottingham final. Big thank you. We are so grateful to be able to do what we are doing. It feels like we’re living the dream.
Trekkah: Did you practice that? It touched me, man.

The ADM EP is available now

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