The vibrant voice of rhyme architect Rider Shafique is one half of the hotly-tipped reggae inspired outfit Black Canvas. With the duo's debut album ‘Rise’** blowing up the underground radar, and a slot in our Room Two on the 17th alongside Peverelist and Pinch, Rider Shafique’s summer looks like it is going to be very bright indeed. We decided it was about time we held a one-on-one session with the man himself…
(**click after the jump for a chance to win a copy of 'Rise'**)
Can you give us an introduction to yourself and what it is you do?
Hi I'm Rider Shafique; I'm a lyricist and one half of the group Black Canvas.
For those who have never heard one of your tracks before, could you describe your sound?
Well, honestly all of my tracks are very different but usually there is a strong reggae feel. I have featured on tracks from many different producers and musical genre's ranging from hip hop, dancehall, dubstep, reggae, and drum & bass. I pride myself on my lyricism so the lyrics are usually very deep and thoughtful.
The tracks on the latest Black Canvas album 'Rise' reflect on life in the UK and the rich mix of cultures and sounds. This the project I have been most involved in both lyrically and production-wise, so you will find the best example of my sound there.
You are originally from Gloucester in South-west England - do you think coming from that part of the country played much of an influence on your musical style?
Yes for sure. There is a strong West Indian community, so growing up I listened to a lot of reggae music in its many forms. Both of my parents listened to lots of music, music was always being played at the family home. We are also very close to Bristol which is renown for its influence on British music to this day. Keep your eyes on the South West!
What artists have played a big influence on your musical output?
Growing up I was attracted to the whole Jamaican dancehall scene. Artists such as Shabba Ranks, Ninjaman, Supercat etc originally sparked a desire inside to create my own music and an individual style. I was also moved by the messages and lyrical depth of hip hop so I tried to emulate the dancehall style and flow with the depth of hip hop lyricism. There are many artists that influence me one way or another; if the message is real and from the heart, I usually like.
What inspires you beyond music?
Being around creative people who take pride in their art, whatever that may be, is inspiring to me.
What excites you most about the current music scene?
That my foot is in the door and nobody ain't doing it like I do.
How did the Black Canvas collaboration come about?
Both myself and Mr Melody (the other half of Black Canvas) are from Gloucester. We were both doing our own thing respectivley but knew each other. Mr Melody had been working with Pressure Drop and introduced me to the guys. We then recorded a few tunes with the guys and toured together as part of the Pressure Drop soundsystem. It was a natural progression to take things further and we made the album and thus formed Black Canvas.
What inspired the album title ‘Rise’?
It is named after a track on the album 'We Rise'. We felt it was a fitting title as the overall message of the album is a positive one that will hopefully uplift the listener.
How long did the album take to record? How happy are you with it?
Overall I think the album took around two years to record. The studio is based in Brighton so we had to travel up to Brighton to record and finish tracks - there were lots of motorway journeys. The actual music business side of things took even longer so we are real glad now that we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.
Personally I am very happy with the album, we have been getting some great reviews and lots of attention. It is a Black Canvas album and all tracks were produced by/with Chubby J from Pressure Drop, making it a three way project, not just 100% Rider Shafique, so at times you do have to compromise. Like I said though, overall I am very pleased with the album.
What do you know about Fabric? Are you looking forward to playing here on July 17th?
I have been before when friends were performing. The queue was crazy long and I had a hard time getting in, even tho I was on the guestlist! I got in eventually and had a great night so yeah, I'm looking forward to playing and hopefully you'll invite me back!