Brixton Academy, London. This world famous architectural wonder has showcased some of the biggest names in music from The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Madonna, Arcade Fire, Bob Dylan, Iron Maiden, and the Prodigy. Having been voted London’s venue of the year twelve times by the UK’s New Musical Express, Brixton represents all that is true London music. This year, one of the UK’s most well-known dance music labels, Hospital Records, celebrates its 18th birthday; and what better place for a sold-out birthday jam than O2 Academy Brixton? Hospital: We Are 18 headliners include the likes Metrik, Fred V. and Grafix, London Elektricity, and High Contrast, thus providing the need for equally pleasing, crowd riling MC’s. Luckily, Hospital has not disappointed, pulling names likes Dynamite, Ruthless, and Texas and Carasel of the Ambush Family. I’ve sat down with MC Texas himself to discuss tunes, life, and the smashing mecca of music that is the United Kingdom.
VF: Hey Tex, how are you? Where do I have the pleasure of connecting with you from? Hope you’re catching more sunshine than I am.
MCT: Hey, I’m good thanks. I’m sat in my flat in sunny Bristol, it’s been a decent summer for us!
VF: It's my pleasure to personally speak to you for several reasons, so lets get right to it. September is a busy month for you. From Bristol shows all month to a performance at the epic O2 Academy Brixton in London 26/09, to the famed Viper Records party in Luton September 27, it surely sounds like you've got your schedule full. How do you prepare for all these events? Would you say you walk into these shows prepared or feed off of the crowd instead and go from there?
MCT: I like to feel prepared but some of the best sets are unexpected and off the cuff. In any case I’m always practicing or writing new lyrics to try out at gigs. If the crowd are lively its easy to feed off their energy but sometime its up to me (the mc) and my job to hype the crowd up! oh and its always good to have a disco nap before a long night!
VF: Ah yes, the magnificent disco nap. I couldn’t agree with you more. So besides growing up in the UK, (more specifically Bristol), what Influenced you to get into the drum and bass scene? Name 3 artists that you have really truly respected and been inspired by since day one.
MCT: I 1st heard Jungle back in '94 when I was 12 but I was much more into hip-hop back then, Warren G with his G Funk Era album was a massive influence on me. When I was 15 i got in UK Garage and was the 1st style of dance music I was into where DJ's and MC's interacted, but it wasn’t till i was 16 and someone lent me a tape of SHY FX with MCs Skibadee and Fearless; it blew me away. I was hooked on D&B from there, not just the tunes but the energy the MC's bought captivated me, I’d never heard anything like!
VF: Let’s hear about some fellow emcees you're really into at the moment, outside of the Ambush crew.
MCT: Outside of Ambush I’m in to quite a few MC's. There’s too many to mention, but there’s not many that have the flow and lyrical content of Harry Shotta and Eksman, or the stage presence of IC3 or Dynamite MC. I’m excited for newer MC's like Impact and Azza B. Like I said before I could go on and on about MC's who I like or have inspire me but there’s not enough time.
VF: Do you ever attend shows just for fun? What was your last show you saw, what was your favorite show you've seen, and what shows are you anticipating most to see?
MCT: Yeah I often go to raves even when I’m not booked or have a free weekend. Recently I went to see Marcus Intalex & MC DRS and i'll always make an effort to go and see DJ EZ for some garage vibes if he's in town.
A few years back I went to see Prodigy, and that was like a rave and a rock concert in one; I’ve never been so sweaty in all my life!
VF: The do put on an excellent show, such a classic. How would you describe the music scene in the UK compared to other nations? And the crowds? Obviously the best of drum and bass passion is pouring out of the United Kingdom.
MCT: I’m not sure how to describe it compared to other nations because there’s so many different sub genres, our scene is forever moving and tastes change quickly, but drum and bass seems to be stronger than ever in the UK. I’ve seen D&B become something completely different in other countries; variety is the spice of life and we all like different flavors.
VF: You're surrounded by a large underground scene in your home, – one that is possibly larger than any other major city. Do you prefer the real passion rawness of the underground versus much successful, big room, and commercialized electronic music out there?
MCT: I like both, smaller intimate parties with the crowd right in front of your face ad massive venues and festivals can really take your breath away. Bristol is a great place to be not just for D&B, it has a rich heritage for all styles of music.
VF: Describe the feeling of emceeing for your first major crowd, if you’d be so kind. Talk about a rush, no? I bet you couldn't wait to get up there and do it again.
MCT: To be honest there’s not many better feeling than performing in front of a crowd, its where I feel at home and I guess I crave moments of showing people what i can do – maybe its because I’m the youngest of 3 and I enjoy the lime light or showing off, i don’t know, it could just the best way I can be creative and let go and be myself.
VF: Lets talk about your lyricism. Years of practice must make the flow of words through your head rather natural. Do you ever find yourself writing with a pen and paper as well?
MCT: I try and spend as much time as possible writing lyrics, sometimes they come easier than other times but I feel it important to push yourself and write new stuff, whether on my phone or pen and paper, I write regularly.
VF: Finish the sentence for me, please: if given the choice, I'd be most thrilled to MC alongside this DJ…
MCT: Given the choice, I’d be most thrilled to work with either DJ Hazard or Marcus Intalex.
VF: DJ Hazard is a regular the Fabric London, and Marcus Intalex also recently played a six-hour set there. The story of legends continues this Friday then… You're involved with the label AFT. Who's the brains behind it all and can you tell us anything about upcoming releases the label has coming up?
MCT: AFT is an extension of Ambush, it actually stands for Ambush Family Tree. Carasel is the brains behind it really, he had the vision of a platform for our music being showcased on our own label and he controls most of the day-to-day stuff. They have 3 releases due to drop before Christmas, drum and bass and hip hop that are sounding absolute fire, plus we do a bi-monthly event that has been at capacity every time. It’s early days, but really exciting and I look forward to showcasing some of my own vocal stuff on the label soon.
VF: Being a part of the Ambush Family, how accurately does the word family describe the relationship between all of you? I imagine you all as something like brothers.
MCT: It describes it perfectly, we’re brothers from different mothers! Most of us have known each other for at least 10 years and some of us went to school together so our roots run deep. It’s more than just music, its friendship, through ups and down we're here for each other in all walks of life. Ambush till I die!
VF: You've recently started your own YouTube series called Texas+Friends. Where do you plan on taking this project? Is it related strictly to your label mates or do you seek talent outside of the Ambush family as well?
MCT: I’ve just finished recording No. 5 and 6 so I’m getting there. I already had MC Toddlah from Coventry, who’s not part of Ambush, but he’s a guy I’ve made friends with through D&B over the years and I rate him, so that’s the vibe I’m looking for. It’s all about quality over quantity for me and hopefully I’ll get to No.10 by November and get a special guest in!
VF: When you're not emceeing, making music, or performing where can we find you and what are you doing?
MCT: Playing, watching or talking about football (soccer), I love it!
VF: Naturally. Lastly, can you give us some real UK insight? We know about the tourist joints, but perhaps you know of some hidden gems involving music and socializing while visiting town?
MCT: One of my favourite places to visit is Cornwall right at the bottom of the South West of England – there’s some beautiful beaches down there and not bad if you like a bit of surfing.
VF: MC Texas (and all his family and friends), we thank you. Following a busy month, you can still catch MC Texas month at the Hospital Records “We are 18” party at the famed O2 Academy in Brixton and at the Viper Records party in Luton the 27th of this month. We’ll be checking back in with you very, very soon.