Sharky Major Talks Grime Originals In New & Exclusive Interview

Grime Originals
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Grime Originals, the club night, is now the first point of contact to experience true Grime culture. Only 5 events in, and the event is on its way to becoming a staple in the culture, filling a gap in the market – providing that well needed opportunity to skank out to authentic Grime in nightclub settings. Calling in names from Grime’s past, present and future, Grime Originals have, in actuality, covered the whole spectrum. The performers? D Double E, Skepta, Jammer, Ghetts, Lethal Bizzle, Lioness, Teddy Music (Silencer), DJ Spooky, YGG, Yizzy, C Cane, Footsie and even Durrty Goodz. And these are just a few of the names you can expect to see, live, on this exciting bill. The man responsible for drawing in these dope names is a Grime original in his own right; Sharky Major. An MC whose introduction is best put in Kano’s lyrics (former crewmate of N.A.S.T.Y Crew): “Who put metaphors in this Grime sh*t? Man like Sharky and I did. Old school”.

A businessman that has the benefit of insight into a genre he champions in multiple ways, he sits with us to discuss Grime Originals, the event, branding and now a record label.

 

How did GO come about?

Sharky Major: It began as an event, the first being on 5 March 2017 at Birthdays in London, Dalston. Approx. capacity of 250 people – now we’re at venues of over 1000. I’ve always wanted to put on events. I felt there wasn’t enough core Grime – the era I came from that has built the scene. It was important to me that it wasn’t just about old school MC’s, but also about the new generation. “Original” doesn’t just mean founders, it just means that you’re all about Grime. There’s nothing wrong with other types of Grime, but it’s important we don’t forget how Grime has got here.

Yes, it’s history is just as important. Tell me about the label. When did it launch?

SM: February 2018. Fumin, who’s got I Want In dropping soon is currently working with us, as well as MC Ears and Hitman Hyper. The first year of Grime Originals was about building with the former events. After 3 at Birthdays, we changed the venue to Fire in Vauxhall, London. These were sold out – over 1200 people. We’ve got a UK tour planned this year with the Southampton event at Switch, 14 April 2018 coming up. The next event (Easter Special, 29 March 2018) will be in London and it’s gonna go off!

As a night for Grime fans, what issues do you think GO solves? Besides throwing back to Grime roots

SM: People love to hear MC’s spitting, live – whether it’s this or an open mic night where you may not know who the MC’s are. It will just catch you. Live performance and not knowing what will be said next – people enjoy that. That’s what Grime Originals is built on. We have special guests, so you never know who will appear. We still have PA’s to take it off Grime for a bit for some club bangers –  it’s not just about live emceeing. In Room 2, there’s Funky Originals – Funky House DJ’s and even some Garage Originals so the Originals brand is definitely popping.

Which event has had the most overwhelming response, to date?

SM: They’ve had different responses. The first wasn’t rammed but the energy and feedback was good, especially with the audio that circulated. People thought “this is sick, I’ve got to be at the next one.” At the 9 July 2017 event after Wireless, Skepta, D Double E and a bag of other MC’s came, and it was mad. Later at the 22 September 2017 event, Wiley showed up.

A lot of people were happy to see him, so, overall, those were the best ones. Some people have been to most of them and say “this one was better than the last one”, then change their mind. When people get to relive it or experience it for the first time, they come away from it saying “that was a sick night” so long may that continue.

For sure. A lot of fans knowledgeable of Grime’s past will attend for the classic reload bars. As Grime is known for lyrical clashing, which can be healthy, do you ever worry the message of the movement might get lost?

SM: Everyone has respected it so far. Grime Originals isn’t built off of clashing – it’s built from love of the movement. A large percentage of the Grime scene (old and new) have been involved, and want to be involved to represent. If things went left, those artists need to think about what they’re doing this for – as it’ll only mess up progression. It’s about positivity and work ethic. A clash can be entertaining, but Grime Originals isn’t advertised as a clash. It’s MC’s coming together and collaborating, and the label have releases that feature artists that you may not have expected to work together.

Has Form 696 been problematic for the event at all?

SM: It hasn’t been a problem up until recently, but has been a problem for Grime over the years. Rumour has it there’s different variations of 696. Technically, form 696 has been scrapped but authorities still want to know who’s performing, with potential that you could be told your event isn’t going ahead. Grime Originals has been nothing but a success – no violence, no trouble. Now we have a track record, we can say: look, we’ve been doing this for a year, plus – with no problems. Back when Grime raves used to get shut down, that was one of the reasons there was no Grime Originals for a while. Some Grime events have taken a different direction, possibly because of 696 having just live PA’s, or watering it down. There are well-educated, middle-class students attracted to the genre, all around the world.

True, it does capture a wide audience. With regards to social media, you’re active on this, gaining feedback from fans to gauge what they’d like to see. Do you feel pressure to include more upcoming/recent artists outside of the New Gen sets? AJ Tracey, etc?

SM: We’ve had New Gen sets since the start. Artists like Capo Lee – unfortunately he was unavailable for a previous event. Obviously, there are artists that don’t want to be referred to as “New Gen”, but with Grime Originals you can be as the basis is my generation started 1999-early 2000. That can be considered the first batch. After is a next set of MC’s. At some point, you’re going to come to the forefront. We’ve had artists like Reece West come and rep. AJ Tracey and Big Zuu would be good. There are other artists on our radar we still need to call in.

So you’re not against it?

SM: One hundred percent not. It’s part of Grime Originals. It’s important people understand that it’s called this, as you’ll come to the rave, you’ll hear classics, and some man that you may have not heard for years shutdown the dance, more so than someone that’s charting. But it doesn’t mean the New Gen aren’t involved – as they’re the future and will carry the sound.

Black Steve, C Cane and Yizzy have been part of the New Gen set. As a Grime Original, what advice would you give to the upcoming, younger generation?

SM: Stay consistent. Try not to get disheartened, take the rough with the smooth. There will be times where it may not be going your way, you may not be earning enough money. If you do well enough in music and you can afford to focus 100% on it, it could potentially pay off quicker, but be strategic and don’t be silly.

Grime has shifted from what it was with your generation of artists. Does it ever get to you that at times it can still feel grassroots?

SM: In music, things aren’t hot for long in some cases, so we must keep giving it to them regularly. A tune may get played for a few weeks, and you may not hear it ever again. It is hard. There’s a lot of talent out there, a lot for people to choose from. That’s what’s good about Grime Originals, they’re all under one roof  -smashing it to bits. People like Skepta, JME and Stormzy have promoted independence. If I sat waiting for someone to ask me “do you want to put on an event? This is the agreement” etc, I may not have done it. But I want to do it – it’s a DIY thing. If you can get the right deal for you, there’s nothing wrong with that either.

The producers are as core to the Grime scene as the MC’s. Your Grime Originals track produced by Biggaman is out now, along with the remix ft. Manga, Fumin, Bruza and Maxwell D. Have you considered doing all star tracks with the throwback beats of the genre?

SM: We’ve got things in the pipeline. In terms of sound and style, some tracks will definitely have the original feel and vibe, and some will be current. Balance.

We look forward to it! Before we ask this question, we’d first like to give our condolences for your loss. Stormin, a friend of yours and MC well known from Grime’s roots, affiliated with your Major Muzik Entertainment label. He was at the first Grime Originals event. How will you ensure he continues to be celebrated as the Grime Original he is?

SM: On 1 June 2018 at Fire & Lightbox, London, we’re having a This is Your Hype celebration event. Any proceeds related to Stormin’s legacy, events/merchandise, will go to his family. That was my right-hand man. We started from early. We have some unreleased songs from Stormin.  You know, for years, people tried to discuss who Teddy Bruckshot was and we shut it down, but I think everyone now knows Stormin was Teddy Bruckshot.

Thanks for answering. We’ll stay posted on the event.

SM: It’s okay, Stormin’s my guy. At the end of the day, there’s nothing but good things to say. He had a great send-off – one that he would have enjoyed if he was still here. We celebrated his life, it wasn’t just doom and gloom.

Much respect. Touching back on the Grime Originals brand, you now have a Rinse FM show every Tuesday 9pm-11pm. What’s the vision and where are you looking to take it?

SM: All over, not just the UK but Europe, generally, and we’re also looking at a few dates overseas. If things go to plan, festivals too. We want to take it as far as we can to showcase Grime in its purest form. The bigger Grime gets, the more people need to know about its history – just like Hip Hop. People will ask “how did this genre come about?” They’ll pull up the old N.A.S.T.Y Crew sets, they’ll pull up More Fire Crew tapes, Roll Deep songs and now they’re gonna be able to bring up Grime Originals footage. If you stopped caring about Grime for a bit, you’ll be able to relive it. There are 18yr old supporters that have come to the event raving with their mum. There’s a wide range of people at Grime Originals from different walks of life that just want to enjoy it.

With Sharky’s steady push to sustain Grime’s essence, it’s clear Grime is where his heart is, as Grime Originals is what Sidewinder and Eskimo Dance was for him and his contemporaries during Grime’s genesis. To the converted, uninitiated, and long-time skankers, head to the Grime Originals site for tickets to their next events that will see President T, Scrufizzer, Ribz, Rude Kid and more take stage.