North London birthed one of the leading players within UK Hip-Hop and although some may be oblivious to his accomplishments, Ahmos will continue to develop and perfect his musical craft. Having grafted his musical abilities within production, engineering, artistry and worked with some of UK’s finest artists, Ahmos defeats the selfish and egotistic behaviour by consistently participating in other projects besides his own.
Currently hailing from Roots Manuva’s Banana Klan, Genesis Elijah’s Escape Route Music, Hip Hop collective’s Mosaicx and ICX to name a few, it’s time to represent Ahmos as a distinguished talented individual. This is the highly anticipated accreditation of Ahmos…
You’ve been working within the music industry for quite some time, when did you start to pursue your musical interests?
I was 16 and part of a crew called North West Collabo along with Micall Parknsun, RAM, Kysa, ME,Selom and many more. We had done many shows together and Radio appearances and were generally loved amongst the small Hip-Hop Community in London at that time. It was back then that I decided to really push at it and try my best to perfect as many styles as I could, whether it be writing, spitting, producing or engineering (coz I knew that whether I flop in one, I can progress in another). It was when I hit my 20’s that I decided to study Sound Engineering at University, first at Kingston and then finally graduating from TVU.
How were you promoting your projects and getting your music heard?
At first it was all word of mouth and then people who had heard of me would ask me to collaborate on a few things, and then play that to others who would then ask for me to feature on a track!! To be honest it was after Breakin Bread released Green Fingerz, a track I wrote produced by my boy Tom Caruana that people really started taking notice!! I think it became a Union them to a certain few!! I also released tracks on various Mix Tapes like the “Answer and Genesis” collection and the MySpace generation also helped, without it I wouldn’t have realised I had a fan base not only in the UK but abroad as well. But I think the biggest boost was “Deh Pon Road” Genesis Elijahs Album that featured me on it that got people really taking notice. I also send tracks to DJs across the country who play my tracks on the regular and have helped contribute to my success like Lady Jay in Manchester amongst a few.
It’s obvious you enjoy all elements within music but what motivates more?
Seeing others learn from what you have to teach them. I remember teaching Music Production workshops at Youth Centres around London and seeing these young kids, who have had to deal with the rest of society turning their backs on them, itching to learn how to produce a track, mix a beat or write a few bars and at the end of a 4 – 6 week period & progress so much more than you could of expected because you showed them the time no one else would.
What comes first for you as an artist, production or lyrics and why?
The thing is I’ve been accused of being a perfectionist, either spending to much time focusing one very detail within my beats or spending so much time on perfecting each word and sentence within my lyrics!! You never stop learning (as said on the intro to the “Preparatory Works”) and I guess I’m still learning how to juggle my talents all at once and at the same time. I can’t help but dedicate as much time to each of my styles, that’s probably why it has taken this long for the Mix Tape to drop!! But better late than never considering…
What important elements are needed in producing a flawless track?
Determination, Patience, taking time instead of rushing it!! These things usually turn out better when you are really in the vibe and I mean…. that isolated place where you cant hear anything but your beat. I’ve come home from studio after mixing other stuff and fallen asleep in my chair listening to the latest track I’ve created, man’s is on about from 11pm at night till 4am in the morning.
How would you describe your music as an artist?
Hhhmmm……….Versatile and only for the real!!
You regularly work with various producers and artists, do you ever find it difficult to produce and record your own projects without mimicking the peers around you?
Not really, I mean I work with very talented people don’t get me wrong but I can never allow myself to ever copy anyone. That’s not to say I won’t emulate their style slightly when featuring with them as an MC whilst staying original at the same time as being themselves. But as a producer you have to go with the times and try to improve structure & redesign pallets of music that others have already prepared for you.
Mosaicx released the highly acclaimed ‘Gun Talk’ single and has been involved in various projects; will we be hearing any more big ones this year?
Oh YES!! “Preparatory Works” our first album is already out on road to buy Some know but others don’t, but for the next instalment we have some real bangers in the making as well as a new member “Blackmale”. So be warned!!!
Let’s get this straight. You work within production, engineering and artist development at Banana Klan Records, you’re part of collective of producers called Mosaicx and Hip Hop trio ICX, you also work with Escape Route Music as well as doing your own projects…Anything else we should know about? And how do you find the time to commit to all of the above??!!
Well what can I say….We haven’t got it easy in the UK as in other places around the world when it comes to our Musical Art Form, so therefore have to work 10 times as hard to be appreciated and even then our own wont support us when it comes to physically buying our work. As to committing to what I do… sleep can come when I own my own home. Until then I just keep dipping my fingers into as many pies as I can.
You’re currently working with Goodfellaz (So Solid) for the forthcoming mix tape, what should we be expecting from this?
A Very, very, very,very heavy Mix-Tape!! Serious my boy Blackmale hooked me up with Clue to Master the track “UK” for their video!! After that they wanted me to mix and master this project for them and all I can say is it features some of the best talent the UK has to offer, both production & Lyric wise, and really touches upon what really goes on in the City we live in.
Out of all the artists and producers you’ve worked with, who’s been the most inspiring?
That’s not fair…..all I can say is they all have lol…
What are your views on the UKHH scene to date?
It needs to improve and sharpish otherwise some other style of music will come along and take its place like Garage in the 90’s (and YES Hip Hop existed in the UK them days).Being Londoners when me, Genesis and Answer have toured, we tend to get more love outside of London then in the City we are from itself. In London mans wants be screw face acting all bad, when every where else they want to rap your lyrics to you.
Being an artistic-productive-business minded musical Superman, if you had the power to change the industry overnight what would this consist of?
Taking over the Major Record Labels and personally slapping each A’n’R that overlooked a real UK Urban artist in order to sign some forged group or Solo Act, structured on their definition of Inner city Urban culture. No honestly, if I had the opportunity to change things I would battle to get the exact same funding that is pushed into Pop acts and use that to re structure the whole UK Hip Hop and RnB Scene. Re introduce quality control, because a lot of week stuff seems to be seeping through the net.
What’s been your hardest musical obstacle and how have you overcome it?
Learning to make tracks without samples!! I have always been a drummer, so making beats are never a problem but replacing that background sample with something original took time and a few set ions with some excellent artists who played other instruments, to learn how to create just by feel of the vibe instead of by the norm.
How have you seen yourself develop as an artist and producer since you first started out?
I’ve learnt how to adapt my technique and style according to the times, instead of sticking to the same old routine. Back in the day I didn’t really rap sense where as now I do. When it comes too production I have always said the same thing to others, experiment as much as you can, learning what things do in order to affect a sound in a certain way and be prepared to throw away beats because the more you develop your technique the better your newer material will be compared to the old. Now I can make around 5 skeleton beats in an hour compared to spending an hour on just one beat, so I have seen myself become faster in making beats compared to when I first started out.
You’ve toured across the UK and beyond, maybe with your skills you’ll be the first to hit Mars…AHEM…what’s been your most memorable performance and why?
Me, Gen and Answer have probably covered most of the UK and parts of Europe, but for me the most memorable ones would have to be doing Glastonbury for the first time, Manchester with Hip-Hoperation where I was approached for the first time by fans who started rapping my lyrics to me on the street and Poland where we were treated like superstars (Apart from when I took a fat drop in the club!!) But I have to admit that warming up the crowed at Fabric with Gordon G and DJ MK for Roots manuva was a big high for me as gracing the stage with legends is what every artists strives to do.
What advice would you give to up & coming artists and producers?
Stick hard at it even when you feel doors are closing on you, you have to keep your spirits up and believe in what you are doing. Don’t be afraid to take your time on projects, in order to perfect your style before releasing material because everybody is a critic and they will pull you up on your mistakes.
What’s been your biggest musical achievement?
So far I can’t say I have reached what I would class as an achievement, as that would be Placks and awards. But completing my Mix-Tape would have to be a personal best so far.
What’s lined up for 2008 besides sleep?
Well this year I plan to release my mix tape “Scandalous Britain” that has been long overdue, featuring Genesis Elijah, Joker Starr, DubbleEdge, Wordsmith, Kay-K, Ricky Ranking and many more with production by myself, Tom Carruana, Ninth Letter, Blackmale and Beezwax. I am also producing the first two releases for Oliver King, the UKs most aspirating up and coming artist on the Trailblazers label, so look out for him as he is going to be big.
Where would you like to see yourself 4 years from now?
Laying on a beach in Sharm, surrounded by awards and plaques!
– Nina Carmela