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Once Upon A Grime Meets Nico Lindsay [Interview]

(Photography by Kids of Grime)
This week it's the turn of Nico Lindsay. Fresh off the back of his release On My Mind alongside producer Exo Remedy, Nico talks about recording the EP, working with other producers plus Rap and Dubstep. Nico also gives his views on who'll make it big in Grime in 2011 and working alongside his cousin Trim.

For the viewers who may be un-familiar with your music, could you quickly sum-up yourself and your musical style…

My names Nico Lindsay and I’m from North London. I would say my music is a representation of myself and what’s going on in today’s world. I’m not trying to stick to being a particular kind of artist and talk about one particular thing all the time. 

It was about a year ago Trim brought you along to Tim Westwood’s Crib Sessions. Do you think this was the real changing point in your musical career for you?

Yeah, I feel like that opened a lot of doors for myself. We went to Kiss last year to promote the first Monkey Features alongside P Money, Lee Brasco and Blacks, and that was a good set to feature on, but I feel like that was more focused on the artists everyone else was interested in, I was just there. I was the least known artist on the set. But I feel the Tim Westwood set did really push me out there a lot more.

Have you got any work lined up with Trim we should know about?

I’m featuring on the two new mixtapes coming out soon, Monkey Features 2 and Wrap. Trim put Blackball from my Observation EP on Monkey Features 2 and put the Rap tune Driven onto the Wrap. Other than that we should be working on a couple of projects, me, Trim and Obese. We’ve just been here working out how we’re going to form our own little CD together. But we’re working together; there are a lot of things going on between us.

Last year you gave away the Observation EP. Looking back on it would you say it was the right thing to do releasing a short EP? Or would have a full-blown mixtape benefitted you more do you think?

Personally I feel like it was the best thing to do as I was a fresh name to hear. I would give the listeners a minimal amount of tracks to listen to so at least I’m not giving them too much at once. If people like your music, then this’ll make them want to hear more of it. I feel like it was a good decision.

What are your thoughts on free downloads personally? Should artists give away a small EP full of quality tracks rather than quantity? Or do you find giving away a mixtape full of various sounds of Grime could benefit the artist more?

If it was a free download, I would defiantly recommend a short EP because really and truly free downloads don’t really get paid attention to. Once you release a free download after the first week the hype usually dies down. At least when you release a project to sell, and it’s fully blown, with a continuous amount of tracks, let’s say twenty tracks, people that like it will talk about it, and people that don’t know about it will carry on talking about it. If it’s for sale a lot of people won’t normally purchase a CD until they hear a lot of people talk about it. From there more people could purchase it and you can never really know where it could go from there. Free downloads, they just drown in the internet more or less.

Away from the free downloads side of music; you recently released On My Mind with Exo Remedy. Many artists are now trying the one artist one producer formula. Of all of the producers out there, why Exo Remedy?

I feel like Exo Remedy’s a very unique producer in Grime. There are a lot of Grime producers, but I feel like they’re trying to make a kind of sound everyone else is making. Exo Remedy has his own sound and his own particular way of approaching Grime.  It stands out and has a more professional sound to it. I feel like Grime’s sinking towards the direction where everyone is trying to aim towards the rave scene. It’s all good to aim towards the rave scene and that, but out of the rave scene if you wanted to make music just for people to listen to, where’s the Grime? I felt like there wasn’t enough Grime getting put out like that (non-rave Grime music). So I felt that Exo Remedy was the best person to work with when it came to that.

How did you go about recording the joint project?

I went up to Shoeburyness in Essex (Southend) and just banged it out all in one day. Exo Remedy mixed it down closer to the release date and then we just put everything else together.

Are you pleased with the feedback?

Yeah the feedback has been nice. A lot of people have been telling me it’s a very good CD, they weren’t expecting to hear anything like that from me. So the feedbacks been good, it’s been very good.

Are you still working with Exo Remedy now? Or are you looking to work with other producers?

I’m still working with Exo Remedy, but then I’m still working with other producers at the same time. On future projects there will defiantly be a feature from Exo Remedy and a lot of the other producers from the Just Grime 001 project as well. That includes Mooney, Jack Daniels and Bouncer.

Is that the end of the On My Mind project? Or can we expect a few videos from the release?

There’s going to be a visual from On My Mind for Basement which will be released via Get Some UK. But it’s not going to be like a Volume 1, Volume 2 or Volume 3. It was just a project to put out there for the minute.

What other producers or artists would you like to work with in the future?

At this moment I’ve been doing a bit work with Dexplicit and Skillioso. There’s been a couple of people, I’m looking to do some work with Mr Mitch. The main work I’ll be doing will be with Beat Creatures. Artist wise I’m looking to organise a couple of collaborations. I want to work with Dimples this year, Styler, Kwam and Avalanch of course and try and branch out as well. Everybody already knows the circle I work with. I want to do some work with Rewd Adams if possible and Klashnekoff if that’s possible. At the minute I’m just trying to network.

Who can you see doing well this year? Who’s going to be coming out of their shell?

Right now it’s a bit unpredictable. I see every artist putting in the work and everyone making an impact in the scene, but I don’t know if it’s going to last as long as everyone’s expecting it to last. But the person I can see making an impact if they get given a chance is Kwam, I can see Kwam making a very big impact in the Grime scene if he can boot through that door. He’s got a lot to say and he could do a lot.

Last Wednesday you had your Warm Up Session Freestyle with SB.TV. How did that go? And how did it come around?

Personally it went alright; I just can’t wait for it to be release now. But it came out by me showing SB a couple of my tunes last year. We were supposed to organise a Warm Up Session late last year around December time, but I was working on On My Mind and other projects came up. 

When can we expect to see the freestyle?

SB told me it should be out in a couple of days, but the release date at the moment is a bit rough.

Sometimes you also float between Grime and Rap. Which do you prefer and why?

A lot of the people around me most of the time would prefer me to stay to Rap because they say I sound better on Rap. I’ve been doing Grime since I’ve starting MC’ing and I feel it’s something I could never really let go of. To be honest I’m just going to be doing both. I’m not here to stick to just one genre; I want to be doing both, do a bit of Dubstep as well.

Nico Lindsay - Tempo Switcher (Dubstep)

So can we expect a full Rap CD in the future? Or are you looking to blend the Rap tracks into your release in general?

Right now at this precise moment I’m not too sure, I’m just waiting to see how things pan out, I just want to mix and blend. I didn’t want it to be “I’m just going to make a full on Grime CD and then a full on Rap CD then a full on Dubstep CD”. Inside the Grime scene as soon as they see you do something else they say “ahh you’re a sell-out”, and then if you try to return to Grime they’re like “don’t come back” sort of thing. I just want to make music for everyone. I don’t want to stop making Grime because people say I’m better on Rap.

Buy On My Mind now via Amazon. Follow on Twitter too, @NicoLindsay.

Words by Graeme Day