What’s changed between J Fresh’s ‘Pineapple’ and ‘Banana’ EP? Well, the change of fruits indicates that things are juicy.
Still, that doesn’t mean that the broadcaster, DJ, interviewer and producer hasn’t been busy in this short space of time. He’s worked and interviewed with the biggest US artists of our time, which includes Omarion, Wiz Khalifa and Snoop ‘Doggy’ Dogg. Indeed the artist/DJ/producer never sleeps as he’s always looking for new talent to work with and bring the UK sound to the international masses. On his ‘Banana’ EP, he has Koder.
With his quadruple talents comes J Fresh’s sense of passion for UK music since the early days of Garage. The blessings of featuring talent on his EPs always occur spontaneously. It allows J Fresh to known them as a person and an artist at the same time. His new EP ‘Banana’ sees him collaborate with another DJ/Producer known as Dots Per Inch.
Not only is J Fresh passion is in music, it’s also in the equality for success for all in music. Especially female rappers. He talks in more detail as to why he decided to work with Koder and his thoughts from his perspective, the rising surge in Grime/Urban sales. There’s also his condolences to the recent passing of Mobb Deep that you should read about too.
1. What’s the secret to being a quadruple threat of a broadcaster, DJ, interviewer and producer?
The secret is a healthy diet. You know where that comes from? That comes from good fruit. I’m not a vegan, but I do try to eat as much fruit as possible. It’s nutritious, cheaper than junk food and it gives you ideas in the name of records.
2. Would you say that your journey (as a man with many talents) stems from your interest with the UK music?
Yeah, yeah of course. I mean it was the early days when UK garage that kind of got me into the idea of music first. I cover a lot of different places. Being a DJ you’re always searching for new music and new artists who are sick artists that you’d like to make a record with (interviewing people). The passion for UK music is obviously a key thing. We’re lucky that we have a great music in this country and quite diverse music in this country. It’s only now that everyone else is taking notice as to what we as a country are doing, which I think it’s sick.
3. How do feel with the recent passing of Prodigy from Mobb Deep? Since you’ve DJ’ed for American artists such as Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Angel Haze, Omarion and French Montana
Prodigy was a tough one, you know because I love Mobb Deep. They make sick records. I’ve been buying their records for years. It’s always like a bit of a shock when you hear that someone’s gone. If it’s someone who you’ve been a fan of their music, you’ll first be in denial. So that was like really hard because first and foremost you think about his family and friends…it does hit you hard because these people and the music of these people are like…a key part of a stage in your life, and you kind of feel like that it’s been taken away from you.
Sounds bit selfish…it’s hard man. That really kind of hit home for me.
4. The BPI has reported a surge increase in sales with Grime. You’ve worked with big names that have secured themselves number ones: Krept & Konan, Skepta, Wretch 32, Kano. Has opening shows for these artists have made you a hot demand internationally as well as nationally?
You are in demand when you continue to go further afield. Do shows abroad and people begin to get to know more about you like a snowball thing. The amazing thing of opening a show for an artist. I opened for Kano on his last gig of his ‘Home Sweet Home’ gig, which is over ten years ago. To see what he’s doing now his music is amazing. I’m still a massive fan of him and the music he does. I have my little back story about this moment in my music career. Krept & Konan are now superstars. They’ve been grinding for a while and to be able to be there and witness them from performing at their shows and gigs to where they are now is great. It’s good to get to know people, their work ethic and personality.
It’s to see stats on paper. It’s mad because it takes that for people to go ‘oh right’ and actually realise the music in this country and the great people that we’ve got making these records, and the established artists that we have…
It’s amazing to see their progression. Amazing to see doors open for people and now it’s like…one is signed to a major record label anymore. Everyone wants to do their own thing and want to distribute their own work because they now have full creative control of their records. Some of the names that you’ve mentioned, you can do a great mixtape and with their strong fan base, you get into the Top 40 charts, which then means that you’re doing more shows, getting more money and have more doors open to you.
It’s sick, about time (not in a rude way), but I don’t see this as a pinnacle as yet. Recently, there was a picture with Skepta with Mick Jagger in the studio; that’s like a photo that is beyond music almost. What Skepta has achieved in terms of the ‘popular culture’ success that he’s had makes him even bigger than music. It’s just sick when every one time we talk more names comes up and more progression has happened. If you’re the guy or a young girl who’s looking to get into the industry you can now see that there’s a root to success. It can be done and for a long time, whatever their role was in the music industry, there’s been always that sense of doubt of ‘Can I do it?’
All the success of the people that we’ve talked about has been great, but I notice that the success has been obtained by men. Why not the females? There’s so much talent out there, regardless whether you’re male or female. You’re talented and there are so many people out there, but for some reason, we have seen the success with the females that we’ve seen with the males. Not saying that’s anyone fault, but I would be happier if there were parity and women from the scene who are also getting that Top 10 records. That would be sick. Again, this might be the world that we live in. It is male dominated. There should be equal achievements across the board.
5.How is the new EP ‘Banana’ differ from your current ‘Pineapple’? Does the interesting names to your EP provide hints to what each new compilation entails?
That’s an interesting question. The answer is sadly evidently (but not directly). If I need to call a recording something at the time – which is that I eat fruit all of the time. ‘Pineapple’ was from eating pineapple chunks. ‘Banana’ – I eat Bananas every day so there you go. The first EP had….This EP has Tubby Boy, Koder. To me, there’s a lot of interesting people out there. I keep working with new people and there’s the EP is an extension of that. You learn from their relationship and their approach to music.
Keep supporting new music and keep supporting new artists.
6. So you’ve revealed on the fact that you’ve got a couple of upcoming releases with Koder and Tubby Boy in celebration of the release. What attracted you to work with both of these artists?
With Tubby Boy, him and his collective ‘Yeah Boy’ (as they do events as well as music), I’ve known for quite a while. He’s a cool artist and I just thought ‘let me make a music record, ‘ which was what I had in mind. With Koder, I met him at the studio in Brixton where we did some stuff there. He’s a very interesting artist; a creative guy. He’s also been doing stuff on his own as well. So I was like ‘Yeah I’m going to make a record that’s going to work for him and show the fans where’s he’s at. I told him that I had a record for him and his response was ‘RAH this is mad.’
7. Are there other exclusive collaborations on your forthcoming ‘Banana’ EP that you’d like to share?
Well, the EP is out now. There are those two records that you have previously been talking about.
Dots Per Inch is a very good friend of mine. Despite the fact that we operate in the two musical worlds, he’s also on the garage grime. He makes dope music and gets supported by key radio stations…it was just like a natural step, as I did a remix with him a month or two ago. I had the record with Koder and I was like ‘Ay Dots, man needs a remix’ and he smashed it. So it was all simple.
8. We hear that you’ll be in Lewisham for the People’s Day Festival! Meaning that this is your only DJ gig in London?
Most of this summer I’ve been working in the studio recording other projects, which you’ll find out a bit later. We’ve done a lot of dates abroad this year. Been to Ibiza. Napa for a couple of days. London Festivals just come as of where and when really. Lewisham was cool as I haven’t played in Lewisham for a while. The vibe was mad.
We’ve done so many so far. We Are Festival, Oxford and Southampton for the Common People…At the moment I’m really am in the studio every day.