To coincide with this week’s release of Sane and Lowpass Luke‘s The Moving EP on Brain Scran Records, we caught up with Sane for a chat on Leicester, family and what went into the new project…
Sane, thanks for taking the time. What’s good? Where are you locked down?
Easy brother. Yeah I’m bless man, I’m locked up in Leicester, in a yard big enough for three, but alone – its perfect.
What’s been filling your time during quarantine? Any tips on how to stay Sane? (Not even sorry about that pun but promise not to do it again.)
Nah keep the puns coming haha (I don’t take myself too seriously don’t worry bro) – and this quarantine shit has so many chapters for me, I started off working out 4 hours a day and now I don’t do shit but write music and record. I write a lot, and I play a lot of X Box, and I cook so much that someone on Instagram asked me if I had a separate account they could follow for my music updates haha, that was peak. Honestly, if we we’re doing it all again, I’d just say, I’ve been being really easy on myself, taking a break from any and everything possible and just taking mad pleasure in taking care of the self and having time to do so – that’s how I stay sane.
Is there something in the water up in Leicester? Feel like it’s still due the recognition it deserves, but the ‘little city’ as you’ve put it before has been punching way above its weight for a while. What do you think it is about Leicester that’s led to this creative boom?
Bruv in all honesty – there’s been no BOOM, we’ve just been so under represented for so many years and so this current period of a midlands rise up feels like some kinda chemical reaction, magic shit, but we been here, working. Midlands has always been tough, too northern for the southerners and too southern for the blah blah blah – we’re just starting to get a little light shone on our ting and its great.
You came up as part of BLG crew with Twisted Pennys and Kamakaze, who’s been doing bits on the grime scene. Is there any new BLG material in the works?
BLG will never die. That’s all ama say for now. There’s 8 of us by the way, I’ll list em quick. Sane, Twisted Pennys, Kamakaze, Cornelius, HK, Maniscooler, DubPilot & RTik One.
Any Leicester artists to shout out that people should be watching?
Yeah 100% and I know I’m get some hatred for missing a name or two but I’ll give you a few names I’m really excited about right now. Jafro is hard, go check him out, Strizzy Straus is holding it down for Leicester Hip Hop scene and Morgan Munroe is an insane insane singer. Skeemin, Ceejay and Kay P are just three of many hard hard grime artists in the city and HQ Recordings represent a collective of artists that are producing some heavy work right now. There’s a lot going on, way more than I just said – come check out the city yo.
The Moving EP is your second collaborative outing with Lowpass Luke. How did the link up come about and what’s kept you making music together?
Bro I can’t actually remember how it happened, Lowpass was a mutual friend and I’d heard his music but at the time I was pretty BLG focused. We made a song and then another, before long it was a one on one ting, beats and bars being dashed across whatsapp until we were half way to an album. It’s been three years now and we’ve probably got other ideas to take us another three. Me and my brudda just work init.
You guys dropped Growing Backwards back in 2017. Stylistically there’s a trademark sound that links the projects but The Moving EP sounds like a new chapter. What’s developed between now and then that’s made this project different?
Yeah man so I guess that another thing that kept me and Lowpass so glued together artistically over the past few years was the fact that we were both mad cosy to admit that we were developing together at the same time. We’re working on a sound, still to this day we got tracks to make. I think this EP is us saying, ‘ait, this is where we’re at now’. Growing Backwards was the back story, The Moving EP is a statement and what we release next will be a novel in itself, I’m hoping anyway.
From the cover art to videos for singles ‘Blue Love’ and ‘Moving A Lot’ the ocean/water theme is something that you’ve chosen to represent the project. What’s the reason behind that?
I’m glad you noticed. Honestly I just felt like water, I used as a stimulus for every track in some way and I plan to try something else next. I’m not stuck on water, it just helped me this time. I’m big on feel, maybe too much at times, it helps me know that I’m creating suttin from a sincere and connected place.
It seems like sometimes talent runs in the family. With Mahalia as a sibling, is it a safe bet that music was a big part of your upbringing?
Huge but not in the way that people assume. We just had bare music around us, music playing parents and music around the house, conversations about music probably even arguments. I don’t have a history of music lessons and performances, and neither does my sister. It was more just absorption really, nothing forced.
What’s it been like watching your little sis get mad famous?
Haha, I really wish I could say how weird it’s been but it just ain’t. She was picked up really young so it’s the same way as ever, when you watch something grow from up close, every new success just kinda makes sense. She’s sick too, really really sick at what she does, in a way I don’t think her fans would believe, so it all feels really deserved.
Stylistically you’ve kept things diverse since day. Clocked some old Rinse FM session where you were a beast with grime bars and the videos and material you’ve put out over the years have incorporated heavy influences from hip hop, UK rap and R&B amongst other things. Is there a particular direction you see yourself heading in next? Or influences you want to draw on more?
I like being able to do it all man. I just graduated from acting school, I write plays and I’m working on a screenplay with my brother right now too. The diversity thing is wider than music for me cus it all revolves around words, I like words and I like plating them up different depending on how I feel, kinda reminds me of cooking which I also love. I’m aware that musically people need a little cohesion in order to fall in and so I won’t ignore that – I think me and Lowpass thrive best on harder, faster tracks, like ‘Problems’, ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Moving A Lot’, so am definitely working on an album that focuses on that as a strength, but I can’t promise there won’t be a few wild cards in there – I’ma make some fucking shoegaze if I feel like it, I don’t give a fuck man I’m tryna see some shit.
If you were to try and categorise the new project into a genre that shit would be difficult. Beyond easy labels for the sound, how would you describe the vibe of the music you make with Lowpass?
Alternative Rap, or Psycho Rap, because alternative rap sounds boring and shit. Nah honestly I’m in the same boat as you, I don’t know how to describe what we make. “Smoke weed and cry rap”?
What’s new from the point of view of Sane as a lyricist in 2020? What’s been the inspiration for topic material on The Moving EP?
“Keep it fucking real darg”. I got a few rules that stick to, I rap what I know, I don’t try to confuse, trick or even impress, I keep it honest and as close to how’d I’d naturally express myself as possible. I got a lot of love for rap and spoken word in all forms, and I’m glad that some of it spins me and makes me feel like I’m back at school again, but for my own content I just want that shit to be felt, and understood. The Moving EP is about love and mental health.
The world’s just gone and changed beyond all recognition recently. How has this affected you creatively? At a guess (assuming it’s not already written) what are some things you would expect the next Sane project to be written about?
Haha, Never assume man. I think me and Lowpass have enough unrecorded content for another two albums, and I write more all the time, but in terms of subject matter I guess I’m still letting that come together. I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time rapping about myself, I’d like to go further than that with what we create – but other than that, I just wanna keep telling stories about miliseconds, little feelings, bars that make people think they wrote them themselves.
The Moving EP is out now on all platforms. To cop on digital or limited edition CD CLICK HERE.