Fallacy & Fusion Interview (by Redeem)
“It’s a hip hop track from it’s heart,” Fusion announces with pride. “It’s not us trying to sing, it’s just us representing HipHop music : but the fanbase is vast, you know, people listen to house music, the people who listen to punk, people who listen to Garage, all take something away from that, so they feelin’ the vibe of it, and that’s without us delivering the remixes, just the original version. So from one song to be, you know, in favour through so many different peoples’ eyes is a positive thing “.
“GroundBreaker is a very positive song,” beams Fallacy. “Hopefully it’s aspirational and inspirational. I hate hearing these people, the first thing they do when they rap is talk about how fucking hard everything is ya nahmean, and how to do this and how to do that, you know we all have our own troubles and strifes and little demons to tackle and whatnot. It’s kinda like being thankful – not everything is roses but you make the best out of what you got and push forward. So it’s more like a celebration of people that are striving for something better. Every different kinda person, and saying that, not even necessarily poor people, or not even necessarily working class people whatever you wanna call us, you know, something for everybody. If you’re working for something better, then that’s breaking new ground, and that’s something to celebrate. So that’s what it’s really what its about, people everywhere and in any situation, good or bad, just pushing things forward and making life better in general.”
It’s good to hear artists with the intellect and experience, that can ACTUALLY portray these qualities in music and still make it a dancefloor filler. ‘The GroundBreaker’ has received praise from close to every magazine available, ‘the energy rush is irresistible’, Jockey Slut. ‘light years ahead of the competition ‘, Ministry, to quote but a few.
The duo are obviously proud of the press response, but Fusion knows its the heads on the streets that ultimately count, as that’s where the influence was born. “Musically its a soundclash of styles : you know, growing up in London, you can’t get away from Jungle, you can’t get away from Garage : all this music, it’s a real melting pot of sounds. Now, my heart’s really in HipHop but I draw from so many different things, so GroundBreaker is probably one of the best examples of that. It’s got the Motown kinda drive to that track, melodies from the 80’s, hard drums that some people might wanna draw power to UK Garage but all of that is kinda stirred together in a way which I believe is 100% hiphop”.
Fusion displays an open mind to music, that too many artists are too quick to close. “I personally think that people who have come into Hip Hop at a certain point, haven’t come in and looked all the way back to the roots of the music. Planet Rock, the inspiration for that didn’t even come from America, you know : Kraftwork provided the inspiration for that : German futuristic music. Bambaataa said to them ‘Well bwoy, I flip that with this beat, and we vibe on it and do this and we can do something. It takes that kind of pioneering spirit to make music. Sampling is nothing but a time machine. It can take you anywhere, and I would hate to just use it to take sounds from HipHop to make HipHop. The GroundBreaker’s definately got it’s fans, anyone who’s a true believer in music, progressing, evolving, is pretty much being a supporter of the track. Those who wish things would stand still will perhaps have their reservations “.
The HipHop scene here in the UK is anything but standing still. With many acts now being signed or starting up their own labels, and live shows and festivals a common occurence, you’ve gotta be prepared to work hard to keep up with it all. The two have been doing that for years, before they had even met each other. Fallacy was becoming known around the clubs and venues. “[I got into it] seriously around ’95, more open mic’s, I put in the work : Madskillz came to London and did a one-off at Subterrania, and he decided he wanted to play this kinda rhyming game, like a freestyle knockout kinda thing. So he called a few people onto the stage and I was one of them at the time. Shorty Blitz pushed me up there actually, and at that time I was real young, I was about 16 at that time, and by the end of it, it came down to just me and him left, and we went line for line, line for line, for the longest period of time, and he had to get on with his show cause time was running out.”
Fusion was in the audience of said show, yet to meet the young gun who was taking on the big Yank. “The competition was just drawing on and on and it got to the point where it was like, bwoy, it just got to be a tie. And just being a fan of HipHop : I mean Madskillz was like the freestyle don at the time, and for someone from the UK to step up on that stage and hold his ground as an equal for that night, just made you proud. A lotta people left that night thinking, ‘yeah, whoever that cat was, bigup’.”
One of those cat’s thinking along those very lines was Taipanic, and it was only a matter of time until Mr. Tony Rotten and Fallacy, a.k.a. Danny Vicious, properly hooked up. “That was it I suppose. From there I met Blak Twang shortly afterwards and he’d seen me around on the circuit and took me on. Man, I was the Blak Twang hype man for the longest time, doing ’nuff live shows up and down, all around the place. My debut on vinyl was ‘The Homegrown’ which was off the ‘Dettwork SouthEast’ album that didn’t come out. And since then I’ve put in a whole heap of work, I’ve done 15-20 posse cuts, and untold live stuff, worked with MJ Cole doing a little UK Garage thing and toured the world doing that. And ya know, all in between that, just generally being a part of it all man, and here we are : here we are.”
The duo itself didn’t come together until afterwards, both men stemming from different backgrounds. Fusion, like most, fell for HipHop during his school days, graduated to pirate radio in the early 90’s, which offered the perfect outlet to perfect his DJing techniques, and became the DJ for ‘The Grizzly Crew’, “But that wasn’t paying so I started journalism, started writing for HHC, doing live reviews, and from there went to Westminster University, but dropped out after a year. My tutor said ‘You know what? One thing I know for sure, you’ll never make it as a writer’. And this is the guy who’s supposed to guide me!! Obviously he’s a failed journalist, here just to bring everyone down. So I went for a job at Ecko’s, a black music newspaper, and got the job as staff writer. I started there, learnt the ropes, worked my way up, started my own section called ‘Code Of The Streets’, and really that kinda gave me an overview of the scene. ‘Cause I was talking to up and coming UK artists, and American artists. Jay-Z, Puffy, Busta Rhymes, learning what experiences they were having and watching the experiences of the up and coming rappers in the UK, and I just took it upon myself to try and champion what was going on in this country. I did a compilation called The Homegrown, which was just really 16 or so UK HipHop tracks, from artists as far as Leeds, Nottingham, and London based MC’s, all together on one compilation. It was inspired by the Blak Twang Homegrown track, and obviously that’s the first time Fallacy came out, so he was on that track, along with Ty and Shortee Blitz, Funky DL, Skitz, Roots Manuva. This was back in ’96, so from there really, I kinda got to know Fallacy a lot better, he saw me in the club and said ‘Yeah, did you produce the intros and outros?’ He was the first person from the circuit who came up to me and was feeling it. And we kinda agreed to link from there. It’s been a long time coming. My background’s Media, his is a different perspective, bringing the two together.”
A long time indeed : time enough for the drama of the ‘regular’ life that all unsigned artists have to face (unless your name’s Brian Austin Green), to take it’s toll.
“The beat for Groundbreaker had been sat on my shelf for months, probably about a good six months and I’d never gotten around to dealing with it,” Fallacy reveals. Fusion was writing for Ecko’s, editing the ‘darkerthanblue’ website, and also holding down a presenting slot on MTVs Base, with his partner T-Max. “So I was juggling a full time editor’s job, half a day filming for MTV Base, and the other half of the day, I would bunk off work to go to the studio and Fallacy would come down, like, every Wednesday, under that kinda pressure, to do GroundBreaker and a few other tracks. It was only really when Rawkus took the track seriously and we had meetings and we discussed signing to a label, that we both took a chance, sort of backing away from the day jobs and seriously messing in the music career and profession.”
But the dream start didn’t quite take off. Fusion continues. “We signed, and startted developing the song, getting ready to put it out through the label, and we ran into distribution issues. Ended up going to Universal and rather then get caught up in the whole mess and wondering when they would put us back on schedule, we decided to leave with the single and find somewhere else to promote it. Wordplay had been down from the start. So it was a simple thing to leave Rawkus, and sign on the dotted line and get on with it.
Fallacy speaks up, warning about the mistakes of blind expectations from the industry. “Some people think we’ll sign a deal and we won’t do nothin’, but get waited on hand and foot, which is largely what they expect and sometimes they get it : but : you cant trust anybody who’s on a salary, and at the end of the day, as soon as 5′ o’clock comes they can turn their phone off and go home, compared to how you can look after your product like you can. That would be my advice to anybody, just make sure you got a hand in what goes on.”
“If you’re clued up,” Fusion pipes in. “At least when they have the conversations about your release date, or what they call your ‘product’, you can agree with them ’cause it makes sense, rather then nodding your head ’cause you’re clueless. Because giving them the benefit of the doubt is not a very bright idea. If you look at what the Garage boys did, the Jungle boys, you know, it wasn’t a case of waiting on the majors to even understand the genre of music that they were pushing. It was, ‘Right, we have a fanbase, cause I know what we do at raves, there are 2,000 people here. And they like what I do on stage, if I get that guy there to make the hot beats that eveyone’s feeling, put the two together, we can market this.’ And that’s why those boys are not getting single deals, they’re getting label deals, with extra zero’s on top and they bloody well deserve it.”
It seems today’s pop charts are changing for the better. Although, it’s still rare for a UK HipHop song to achieve a top ten placing, the Garage and 2 Step scenes are becoming more and more successful. Is this gonna have a backlash with the rap community? Well, for most people, it’s all love for any black music that is gaining money and success, and that’s true of Fallacy and Fusion, so could we soon have a whole batch of UK artists ‘selling out’? The ex-bouncer doesn’t agree.
” I don’t think it’s possible for any artist to sell out. I mean right now, I believe that we’re in a time where the days when these large corporations would get somebody and put them in some shiny fucking clothes and tell ’em to dress this way and walk this way and cut your hair this way, and don’t say that, don’t say this, take this song and sing, is gone! It’s gone, and you’ve got these companies now that have a lot more younger execs, young people that know what is what. And I think that the music has taken a twist where you want real people. Even in pop music, you got these crazy fuckin’ white boys like Robbie Williams, walking around saying it as it is and putting their fingers up. Nah mean? ‘Cause everybody wants a real person. So I don’t think there is the whole sell out argument : M.O.P. went to number one – are they selling out? They went to number one and the first words to come out of Billy Danze’s mouth were ‘FUCK HIPHOP!!!’ Nah mean? CAN you sell out?”
My initial thought on Fallacy, was that he would be ‘the big silent type’, but the man has obvious knowledge of the industry and of what the two, and the street, wants and has a powerful way of getting his points across. You can’t help but pay close attention to every word.
“I think people want real personalities now more then anything else, ’cause people want something they can relate to, not something they can aspire to never be. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a little glamour, ya nah mean, it’s showbusiness, it has to be special. But right now, the general public might change their minds tomorrow, ’cause the general public is fickle. I’m a member of it, I should know. So it’s like, they might change their minds tomorrow and want all the big crazy glam, but as far as I can see, everybody wants something real. It’s changed, there are more people that like to see these kinda acts on Top Of The Pops or whatever. Even the more underground acts : like when More Fire Crew went into the charts and did TOTP’s, people was talking about it. But they wasn’t talking about ‘was it good or was it bad, was it a good or bad song, or does it deserve to be charted where it is?’ Just the fact that they were there was a big thing to people, nah mean? And it is good ’cause people are starting to realise that when these things happen, it’s a representation of them as well, that’s what I mean about people identifying with acts now, rather then having this big mad machine that you can’t even get close to. When I see acts like that on TV, I’m like ‘Yeah, thats my people and they’re from where I’m from and they speak how I speak.’ And I love it. I love it. And I’m hoping that’s how everybody else sees it as well.”
“I think more time people are buying into the underground more then ever “. Fusion, the quieter of the two, adds. ” You got artists before like Britney Spears that might have been considered pristine pop music, now they’re all begging a remix and production from the Neptunes! People need to get off this whole ‘if it’s underground it doesn’t sell’ bollocks – at the end of the day, the only division, is good and bad music “.
And as Fallacy describes they, themselves, “We’re like the good cop, bad cop. Although, he’s too nice : he’s the good cop.” The duo have an understanding together, which has surely been born from years of hard work – the self confessed ‘obsessive beat maker’, Fusion; and Fallacy, a talented MC, who “fucking HATES being in the studio!”, make an interesting mix for sure. ” I like going in, and laying down the words. I hate going in the studio and being in a situation where you have to write in the studio, ’cause that ain’t it. I like to write at some stupid times of the morning where it’s real quiet, and I come sit down at the kitchen table and put the music on and just write – that’s me.” Fusion has a similar preference : “I don’t like being in the big studio too long, I like being in my room with an MPC, playing about with sounds and ideas, that’s my comfort zone.”
Well the comfort zone has become a LOT more busy, with demand coming from every side of the country. They’re no strangers to touring – from playing the Montreal Jazz Festival, Netherlands, Germany, NY, Atlanta, Japan, the list continues. The two speak with the knowledge that comes only from mass touring, realising that what they are doing is appreciated from us Southern Softies, to the Northern Bastards and beyond. From nightclubs like Fabric, to the diversity of festivals, Fusion confesses,
“I think it’s nice to see a broad scope of people, you get heads that breeze through, they might have been at the dub tent all day, they come through your tent and if you rock the crowd, you’ve got an extra fan. [We] just trying to take in as much of the country as possible, we’re London boys but the scene is massive, UK wide, we went up to Nottingham, done like Luton, Southampton, Sheffield, Bristol as well.”
Fallacy jumps in, excitedly, “Bristol is about to explode, there’s a wealth of talent in Bristol and all of the emcee’s are absolutely on fire, believe me! People like Surplus and Kane, you got Kels down there who’s been the daddy in Bristol for about ten years or some shit, nahmean, so it’s like yeah I think Bristol is set to really put itself on the map and explode.”
That’s one of the best things about our scene over here. It seems every artist that is getting a little, or big, success, is eager to make it known that there is so much talent around the whole country. But for now, everyone else is talking about Fallacy and Fusion and ‘The GroundBreaker’. The remixes have been completed – one from MJ Cole, a Garage Dub version, a Shy FX Jungle mix. In Fallacy’s own words, “We did a total re-vocal for Shy FX, so it’s like a new tune. [We trying to] set a standard, make some big waves, be inspirational. Not everything [from us] is gonna be double time or quick, but it’s all gonna be of standard.”
There’s an album on it’s way, although right now, they’re keeping the information and title to themselves. So we’ll have to hold tight, until June 10th, when ‘The GroundBreaker’ hits the stores. Be sure to pick this up, ’cause you don’t wanna be defenseless against the attack of this Summer’s REAL National Anthem do ya??!!
Thanks again to Fallacy & Fusion for taking part, and to Serena at Source for hooking this up.