TRCH Full Monty

1st Blood Release Creativity Crisis After a Five-Year Album Hiatus

25 September 18 words: Ashwin Balu
photos: Curtis Powell

Pete Chilvers is the man behind Nottingham hip hop camp 1st Blood. His day-ones include Ty Healy, Louis Cypher, Liam Bailey and Cappo, to name just a few, and in his younger years he was under the wing of Bristolian monolith Tricky as a label signee. After a five-year release hiatus, 1st Blood have stuck a new album into the airwaves, so we thought we’d catch up with the man on the buttons...

How would you describe the new album?
Well made, well thought out, well catchy, well good. On the album we’ve got Ty Healy, Louis Cypher, Scorzayzee, Liam Bailey and myself. We’ve also got Nappy Roots who are a multi-platinum, Grammy-winning group from Kentucky I met through a remix competition I won years ago. That remix got put on their album and I was really honoured, we got on well and I ended up doing more production for them. They even shout Nottingham out in tracks we’re not on. Through the love of the music, we kept working together; we’ve done six or seven tracks now.
 
What’s changed in your artistry since the last 1st Blood release a few years ago?
The amount of control and the decisions about what goes into each track. It’s more stripped back, but what’s in there is used in a more powerful way. I’m happy with how it’s all been reined in. It’s more true to my heart as a hip hop album and it’s got a bit of a cheeky edge to it too.

It’s got this mad theme of life and death running through it, which just happened unintentionally. As we went through the songs at the end of the recording process, we realised that every song had made references to life, death or religion or something along those lines. Even the first bar from the guys in America was “this song ain’t about religion.” Scorz was rapping about the devil and Liam was singing about Saint Michael. There was a collective consciousness or something weird going on. Life is short, do what you gotta. It’s made me wanna get my next album done in six months.

Scorz was rapping about the devil and Liam was singing about Saint Michael. There was a collective consciousness or something weird going on

What are the most important things for you when it comes to musical projects?
I’m blessed to have a team of people with me who will constantly be there. From when we were kids getting deals with Tricky and Blue Mountain to now, people stick around because they care about each other and they care about music.

I feel like I’m getting closer to the sound I want to achieve. We practically lived at The Dairy Studios when we were getting our mixes done by Roy Merchant. I’ve tried to get my stuff closer to his mixes without having all the equipment you’d have in a big studio like that. On the last album I was getting it right in almost every way, but not quite. This album is even closer to that mark so I feel like I’ve got more control over things.

What advice would you give younger artists starting out now?
Years ago when me and Liam Bailey were younger and working at Domestic & General, we had no idea what was just around the corner. Liam once sat in a studio with Busta Rhymes while he was making tunes with Salaam Remi. Just stick at it. We were just some kids making tunes and trying to make stuff happen. Even when you feel like nothing's happening, just stick at it and something will come up. It’s almost like the dry bits are there to test you. Effort shows and people respect it; it doesn't mean you’re going to get everything right away but if you give up, you’ll never get anything. You’ve got to put the 10,000 hours in to master your craft.

The way the industry is sold to people is such an illusion. Music is sold as a way for people to get attention instead of a passion and a craft which means that many people don’t care about the actual musicianship, just the fame that comes with it.

Creativity Crisis is available now

1st Blood on Bandcamp

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