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Stereo MCs - Pumping On Your Stereo

Author: Rezo
Friday, 31 August 2007
London electronic hip hop duo Stereo MCs are hitting Oz for Parklife. In the words of Rob Birth, expect “everything from breaks to rap to dub and dance hall… I might even pick up the microphone and say hello!” 3D’s Rezo got connected.

The boys are curled up in their studio in South London. Brixton is enjoying the thrills of the tail-end of its English summer and Birth and Nick Hallam are quietly pondering the success of their next project. Hip hop is in their blood, although it is hidden under the penumbra of a creative urban soul – if there is such a thing.

“Our albums sound the way they do because we produce all of our own records,” Birth says. “We’ve learnt to do everything ourselves through experience and therefore we don’t want too many people tampering with it; you just want to get your own feel out.”

Having spent months listening to their last album Paradise (which was in Birth’s own words, “incredibly well received”), I must say I am a huge fan of the Stereo MCs.

“We were on this massive high from the whole thing,” Birth says. “We loved the touring – maybe overdoing it a little – but at the end of the day it allowed us to put ourselves on a musical map and give ourselves longevity. It was our third album and enabled us to get it right; we spent a lot of time thinking of where we were going to.”

I suspect the crew got there quite comfortably. Though their raison d’etre remains unflinchingly the same.

“We wanted to continue making records at a time when other groups had split up and evaporated – bit the proverbial dust” he jokes. “It was difficult of course, but in the long run, we were glad that we had the opportunity. You can either go for the ‘We’re hot now so let’s bang out hit records’ or you can do what you know and what you respect. We admire people who can do that but we had the attitude that it wouldn’t be worth the name. In order to do that, we had to go through a few ups and downs. And I guess those are the repercussions of having a successful record.”

Of course, the boys have been back in the studio thinking about what they are going to do next.

“I think the philosophy behind any of our records has been to make music as naturally as possible and get the basic song written painlessly and efficiently,” he says. “If you don’t, your brain takes over like a film censor and you start questioning whether you can do this or that. When you’re having fun making a record about a soulful subject, it becomes the rhythm of your musical life.

“What we’re actually doing now is finishing off that new album. We’ve got a 12 Inch and are about to kick it off, and we want to do a concentrated DJ tour and we want to let people know we’re coming!

“What to expect- I don’t know. There is a groove that we’re going to be looking for. We want to reach diverse feelings that feel free. It’s like the Plump DJs gone punk. It could be anything really. We’re not trying to be like anyone else. We just want to soak up the vibe and get the groove on.”

WHO: Stereo MCs
WHAT: Play Parklife
WHEN: Sunday 30 September