INTERVIEW: ROOTS MANUVA
Through a haze of alcohol, and some other things that perhaps I should not mention, I had for sometime been trying to work out where my Mad Ferret Festival level three security wrist band would let me go. I hadn’t at this point tried to push too hard the limits of my freedom. Was level three higher than one and two? Would it let me gain access to the main stage itself and allow me to dance around like a maniac, or would it simply enable me to gain access to the side entrance? You never know until you start pushing it.
I love music and I really do strive hard to be professional, but the thing about journalism is that no matter how much experience you have, when you come face-to-face with the man who is widely considered the most respected man in British hip-hop, the fear of embarrassing yourself creeps in.
Having witnessed a mighty fine set from the UK’s finest rapper, it didn’t cross my mind to interview the man until a friend of mine suggested I play the game and work my way back stage and wangle an interview with Roots Manuva. It was surprisingly easy. A brief stroll later I found myself watching him cornered up against a tree being interviewed by a small number of film crews. The PR lady, not entirely unfairly, suggested that I was on one long jolly. Star struck I was a bit too nervous to express myself, and though the interview elicited little more than a series of metaphors from the main man, it went pretty well. He was obviously well relaxed and unfazed by a night onstage, and warmly charismatic in a surreal manner. Here it is:
How have you enjoyed the festival so far?
I only arrived at 6pm, I haven’t got my swerve on yet.
How do you get you swerve on?
Copious amounts of tea cakes…Eccles cakes.
Ah. They’re made near here. How do you feel about Manchester?
Manchester is like home. I’ve lived all over the UK, I’ve spent time in Edinburgh in Scotland, Cornwall too, but work’s primarily in London…so I have friends everywhere.
Where do you get the inspiration for your lyrics? For instance my favourite line is, “I slap the bacon out your mouth and dance upon your sarny”.
A lot of my lyrics are metaphorical. In this case it’s in the context of being a crazy major trying to get his troops together, playing with my toy soldiers.
What other festival are you doing this summer?
Glastonbury. Every other weekend we’re flying somewhere. After a while when it gets heavy they all merge into one. I never realised, it’s a whole mission moving into the festivals for some people. Some have chartered trains and buses moving into the villages. I don’t know what it’s like for the villagers.
A bit like American Werewolf in London?
With the tumbleweed going past.
What was the best gig you ever played?
Canberra, the crowd is always on it. I remember playing in Germany for 3 hours and they didn’t let me stop, to the point where there was nothing else to play. I just free styled.
And that was it, a typically enigmatic interview from a great musician. Short, sweet and interesting.