29th April 2014 By BOBBY SIMCOX
NATURAL SELECTION - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
The Trail: Let's start with the name, Natural Selection is quite suggestive, what is it that it actually encompasses and how does it help separate you from others in the game?
Dee: When you break it down like that it sounds a little arrogant on our part which was not the intention at all haha. Obviously Natural Selection means survival of the fittest but it's not some step on our rivals to get to the top thing. Our unique sound differentiates us from others as we don't use samples so everything is live and comes from us and the core of musicians we choose to work with.
BB: Haha, yeah, I guess it could be viewed as the whole 'survival of the fittest' thing...it was definitely never meant like that! It just seemed to fit with the way we make music naturally.
The Trail: How has becoming a collaborative duo changed your thought processes and how is it different to performing solo?
Dee: It's definitely different. As a solo artist you can be selfish as it's all on you and as a group you have to make sacrifices which can get quite heated sometimes. My wife jokes a lot about our arguments, like we're married, but I think we always get to the right point and the disagreements help us to critique the creative process.
BB: Haha, yeah, we have our moments! But we both come from a background in bands so we're used to working in a group, so for me my thought process hasn't really changed. But it's inevitable when two people have invested in something and are passionate about it and what we're in to musically is quite different so we definitely have to compromise. It's all good though...like Dee said, it helps us critique it and having another person’s opinion is always gonna help. In regards of performing, I only DJ occasionally as a solo artist so performing in Natural Selection and helping with the bars is definitely different!
The Trail: You guys are quite creative with your music videos and overall style. Do you feel it's an important element to include or is it all just an after-thought to the actual music?
Dee: Music is consumed mostly using video so having a suite of entertaining visuals definitely helps boost the audience. Originally the intention was to have a video for each track so you could "watch" the EP as it were. In reality this wasn't possible so the videos came after the music rather than alongside. The way ‘Got That’ came about was collaborative as the director came to a meeting with the idea of doing a cooking program and I thought; "How could we make something with the 5 elements of Hip Hop?" Mike (Beatbox) then brought some ideas to the table so end to end we all had an input.
BB: I don't think it's something that we consciously think of to be honest, it's just the stuff we wanna do and it's flattering that people see it as creative. Like Dee said, music has now got to the stage where it's consumed through YouTube etc, so if you can put something out there that's a bit different and stands out then it's definitely gonna help.
The Trail: Your new EP 'Rawganic' is out today, what can people expect and what's the idea behind it's interesting packaging?
BB: I think musically, it's definitely progressed from the previous releases. With the way the other stuff was made, Rhythm by Numbers was much more chopped up, with natural sort of sounds. Tape Decks was moving towards more of the synth based stuff and Rawganic kinda combines the two. I'd say although it's the shortest release out those three, I think it definitely holds its own and will be good to lead on to the new shit.
Dee: the artwork came after the music as we wanted to have the juxtaposition of a play on the word "organic" and then an image of some dirty food. I said (jokingly almost) imagine we could release this in a burger box with a track (and video) on each CD forming a layer of the burger. The label then took that idea and scaled it in to a workable package - hopefully it gives it an edge on other releases as it stands out.
The Trail: So what's next for Natural Selection, will we continue seeing collaborative efforts, or maybe an album?
Dee: Definitely an album next. We kinda did this whole thing the wrong way round but I feel confident now that an album is the right step, although in the modern world full length projects are not such a necessity.
BB: We'll see what happens... I'll just keeping making beats until we've got something we wanna put out. In the short term, doing more gigs, videos and promoting Rawganic are the priority.
The Trail: Speaking of collaborations, are there any names in the UK scene you'd both want to work with? Who out there is getting you guys excited?
Dee: For me there's a bunch of classic artists I'd love to work with like Jehst, Kyza, Mystro and Sundragon for instance, but there's a lot of raw underground talent in the UK now and some of the people I hope we can work with would be Lee Scott, Onoe Caponoe and Rag and Bone man. As a solo artist there's always producers I would want to work with but people that are currently catching my attention in the UK are Ghost town, Sam Zircon, Boot (Jazz t and Zygote), Jack Danz, Pete Cannon, Leafdog, Theorist, Apatight and loads more but hopefully I can get some work in with them at some point.
BB: Jehst for sure man...I definitely rate SonnyJim, Micall Parknsun, Dr Syntax, Sparkz and would be down for getting on some shit with those guys.
The Trail: What did playing the main stage at Boom Bap festival mean to you both and will you be returning this year?
Dee: It was the first time a dedicated Hip Hop festival had existed in the UK, so I felt quite honoured to be asked. Our set didn't go quite as planned due to technical problems on the stage but we made the most of it. Would really like to get back there but we haven’t been able to make it happen so far unfortunately.
BB: It was definitely a cool thing to be asked to do and especially getting the main stage considering the other acts that played were dope. If we got asked to play again then we'd be up for it but there's so many dope peeps wanting to get on it we appreciate that it might not happen this year...hopefully next year though.
The Trail: Finally, what would be your top 5 collaborative Hip Hop albums of all time?
Fugees - The Score
Madlib and MF Doom – Madvilliany
Raekwon - Only Built for Cuban Linx
Mobb Deep - Infamous
De La Soul: AOI: Mosaic Thump
Common - Like Water for Chocolate
Gang Starr - Moment Of Truth
Black Moon - War Zone
Jaylib - Champion Sound
Black Star - Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are...
You can check out 'Rawganic' on Natural Selection's Facebook page:
FACEBOOK - https://www.facebook.com/naturalselectionuk
Yesterday, Basingstoke Hip Hop collective Natural Selection see the drop of their new 5 track EP; Rawganic. It concludes years of graft, and two previous EP entries from the crew’s curiously rhythmical library and looks set to lay a new path for the duo, into some quite serious territory. The two responsible for the beats & bars are emcee Deeflux and producer Brother Beatbox, and they were both nice enough to sit down and talk about their sound, their style and all things Natural Selection.