Words by: Gus Sutherland
Thanks to Tom for the exclusive tune and photos.
Tightface’s Treasures of The 5 Boroughs mix was uploaded on One Handed Music label owner Alex Chase’s Soundcloud around a year ago. An audacious concept mix providing an audio journey through New York’s neighbourhoods, incorporating a number of original beats and ambitious Hip Hop remixes of some heavyweights (Nas, Biggie, Busta, Ghostface, Kweli…); Tightface absolutely killed it.
A year later on and I’ve found little information anywhere on the reclusive London Beatmaker, other than two of his brothers (Mo Kolours and the lesser known Jeen Wilda) also make incredible music. Thanks to Callum Liddle’s blog for that info & music…High Rise
It’s refreshing these days to hear an artist who has a dedication to the craft where he’d rather be in the studio making beats over anything else. You’ll not find Tightface overpromoting his latest Soundcloud beats via Twitter & Facebook (he’s not on any of those…). We caught up with him ahead of his Belfast debut on May 18th.
In the blurb for The Five Boroughs mix you’re described as one of London’s best-kept secrets. Would it be right to think you’ve been making beats for a while?
Yes…Have been playing with sounds since very young. Been recording and producing music for around eight years.
Is music your fulltime occupation?
Not quite, but it’s slowly turning in that direction.
Are there any producers who have been influential in getting you into music and your development as an artist?
So many influences from all corners of the music spectrum…too many to list…as far as production is concerned.. DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Rza, Diamond D, JayDee, Madlib, Kankick, Georgia Anne Muldrow…. The list goes on and on…
In a video interview with your brother Mo Kolours I noticed he described a major feeling in his music as a simple rawness. Do you both share approaches in terms of the emotional content of your music?
Yes. Most definitely. Music with heart. It’s powerful when you can hear and feel the artists’ emotions in the music. My brothers’ music is a strong example of this. I hope I achieve this myself sometimes.
With yourself, Jeen Wilda & Mo Kolours all making beats it brings to mind other musical siblings like Madlib & Oh No. Is there a history of musicians in the family/any other brothers & sisters we should be aware of?
No more musical siblings you should know of.. It seems we are the first generation in our family to have taken music and recording to a more serious level. Members of both sides of our family seem to be naturally rythmical/musical. There’s some good voices in our family.. but none made any music.. There was great uncle maurice on my dads side who was known to entertain people making instrument noises with his mouth.. trumpet, drums etc.. Crazy.! baring in mind this was in the 1950′s in mauritius.. Maybe just being a close group of brothers helped push us forward.?
A lot of Beatmakers in recent years have deliberately seperated themselves from rappers in making intentionally instrumental music. Would you say your compositions are predominantly made with or without a vocalist in mind?
I kind of just make stuff and if the music works with vocals so be it…I try to make music with freedom to an open end…
It’s apparent from your productions you’re a serious cratedigger. Have there been any recent finds that have really resonated with you?
Been doing a bit of record shopping recently…Been getting hold of quite a few African LP’s…So much great music. A special one I picked up is a record called ‘New Track’ by an amazing musician, poet and writer called Francis Bebey. Check it out.
The upcoming show will be your first in Belfast, what can people expect from a Tightface DJ set?