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Duo Jimmy Rocket and LVNDLXRD Talk Their New EP, and the Notts Music Scene

11 June 22 interview: Elliot Farnsworth
photos: Curtis Powell

There aren’t too many duos doing it better than Jimmy Rocket and LVNDLXRD (aka Curtz) right now. Having been part of the musical fabric of the city for years, the lyrical/producer match-up is garnering praise for the release of their latest EP, Bespoke Verses, which also features the likes of Rico and Vandal Savage. Music Co-Editor Elliot Farnsworth sat down with the pair fresh off the back of a string of shows to find out more about one of the most exciting recent collaborations in the Notts music scene…

You’ve been working together for a little while now, how did the collaboration first come about?
L
: We’d been making tunes for ages but only really brought them out in 2020. This new EP was made in lockdown, and one of the tracks goes back even further than that.
J: We made Bill It And Sip It around the time of our first EP, which was a lot faster and a bit more dubbier. But we sat on this song for time, and couldn’t think of an idea for the video. There was a track missing on the newest EP, so we played this song and it went seamlessly with the rest of the tunes. Music is so timeless like that - it feels like it could’ve been written at any time. 
L: It was all from the times when Jimmy used to work with my little brother. We were always jamming together and getting in the studio, and it kind of just blossomed from there. Two EPs later, and there’s so much more still to come.

Does it require much adapting to each other’s styles?
L
: I kind of work on a whim, and Jimmy works like that too. I’ll ask man in the room, “What are we feeling?”, “Gimme a track” or “Gimme a tempo”. And we’ll just take it from there. 
J: That’s the beauty of it, we’ve hardly had to change. It’s just a matter of getting to know what each other likes. My boy Vandal Savage is one rapper I’ve always looked up to, so back in the day when we first started working together, I probably made adjustments to bring my A-game.  
L: Forcing music is so see-through, man. When it comes, it comes. At the end of the day, there’s a formula to making music, but it doesn't always need to be the same.

Has this EP felt different?
L
: Yeah, this one felt way different.
J: We were a lot more organised this time, we properly sat down and put a plan in place. Even the sound’s a lot more musical – there’s a newer sound for Curtz, too. 
L: Everyone who knows me probably links me to Dubstep, Grime, Garage. This EP is so different for me; it just felt good to have the chance to make something more emotionally-driven. Different lockdown pathways sparked different creativities, and the emotions came out in the music. 
J: Always jammin’ in the studio, either making music or not, I like that we’ve built a friendship first and then the music follows.

The only thing I would say about Notts is that there just needs to be a bit more recognition from out of town. There’s still a ceiling there, but now it’s only made of plasterboard

What is it like trying to push forward and develop as artists in Nottingham?
J
: I love it. Born and bred. For a few years I was living in London, and before that it felt like there was a ceiling - it was too small. Since moving back, I’ve fallen in love with the city – the right people are with the right people, it’s just working. We work a lot with Mimm, Nathaniel [Coltrane - Owner/Creative Director] is a good friend of mine. Through things like that, I’ve realised the advantage of networking and taking time to learn what someone else is doing.
L: Nottingham’s always been part of the whole thing. I started making music when I was fifteen, I’m 32 now. I’ve always been sending beats to old-school MCs, like Shxdow, Kriptik and Vandull. The weight of what I’ve done in the last fifteen years has had a massive benefit on what I do.
J: The only thing I would say about Notts is that there just needs to be a bit more recognition from out of town. There’s still a ceiling there, but now it’s only made of plasterboard. 
L: I feel like that’s got to come from the people here in Notts. There are a lot of creatives working together, but there could and should be more. For the people moving out of town, the key is to never turn your back on where you’re from.
J: This is why I keep it that way. Organic. 

What music’s been getting you through the week? 
L
: What’s that one…?
J: Benny the Butcher’s newest album, Tana Talk 4.
L: Oh my god, amazing.
J: It's very street rap, but it’s palatable for everyone. There’s a good balance. Then Kendrick’s new one, too. That pulls on some heart strings.

Bespoke Verses is available to stream now  

lvndlxrd.bandcamp.com/album/bespoke-verses
@lvndlxrd_uk 
@younastyson

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