The Blunt Smoker’s Guide: In conversation and in conversation with Plastician
– Leroy Brown
- Capable of molding or of giving form or fashion to a mass of matter; having power to mold.
- Capable of receiving and of responding to environmental impulses which induce more or less rapid evolution of an organism as a whole or of certain of its organs: the opposite of conservative and persistent.
- Capable of being influenced or formed
“Just be yourself. ” Plastician
“Just do you.” @m18j92t
Life happens in a funny way. On a Saturday, about two weeks ago I’m rollin through the streets of Braamfontein with Imali. We were walking up the street about to hit the corner between that haunted hippie van that sells dead peoples clothes and Kitchener’s’ daytime door, when I bumped into a young connect whose name at the time I was completely incapable of recalling. I had met him at an Alex Theatre gig about two weeks prior. Brief niceties and the rapid recollection of a sequence of seemingly lost events aside [we had had a good time #blazemob], this young connect reminded me that he worked for LiveZA. I should have realised this because he was out promoting #FutureMusic Rising and had a gang of flyers in his hand. I was in the mood of promoting this wordpress so I told him about it and he offered to put me in touch with his network [BIG UPS HOMIE]. We swopped numbers, Imali and I offered to help spread some of the flyers and we went our separate ways.
About a week later the event organisers release the line-up and I discover that I’d like to interview some of the artists publicised to perform, so I bell a brother. True to his word he promises to put me on and he does [along with Raytheism – Brother from another Mother].
On the night, complications begin to arise. There were issues with cellphone coverage; so calls aren’t being connected. Calls are being missed due to let loose beats being banged at loud volumes on Friday night soundsystems. This, however, did not deter me from reaching my goal to interview the international act playing. So I linger around
enjoying the party with my good friend the Raving Lunatic. At one stage of the evening, around about the strike of the dark side of noon, we were downstairs in the basement having a young #blazemob with Skeletor’s nephew: Skelemton
I just so happen to step out the sparsely furnished closet where the organisers apparently thought it was a good place to keep their skelemtons, who do not sit down. “What about the Skelemton’s guests” I thought, “at least they should get seats.”
Alas no. Maybe they thought that we would all just kneel like the fans Kanye West invited to attend his North America tour.
YEEZUZ: tour poster
So right there I bump into Chris, politely greeting him as he passes. Later, after the smoked salad starter, we float up to the main stage at about the same rate as the rising smoke let out of the hotbox in Skelemton’s closet. As luck would have it I roll up right next to Chris like reefer inna Redman blunt. He seemed to be enjoying the sounds of some home-grown talent which, now that I think about it, was strange ‘cause I remember that show. I got bored, bored beyond REASON, left to go toke one and came back just in time to speak to MPH and see Plastician start his set. Taking this as the knock from that visitor you parents always reminded you one day would come by, I ask, “Hey Chris, would you mind if I had a couple of minutes of your time after the set to ask you a few questions for my young publication?” to which he willingly obliged. That time I’m like ‘whoo hoo’ in my head. Score! So now I’m killing time lounging around, bunnin a ting or two and jamming as the man formerly known as PlasticMan threw down the #FutureMusic headlining set.
The set was POWER and was thoroughly injoyed; as was the young jam with H-Bomb who I hadn’t seen in a minute. After the set I had to dodge a few heavily set men incredibly dedicated to going home [or kicking everybody out] to get back into the backstage area as I had neither an artist, nor a press pass.
Down some stairs, round a corner, eish. Door’s locked.
Back the other way, up some stairs, down some stairs, through another club and into the backstage of that club. This is the part where the bouncer realised I didn’t have a tag for that party and tried to stop me from getting to my goal. Not a chance. I gave him the good ole,
“I can’t hear you over the music so I’m just gonna mouth something that looks like I’m saying ‘It’s alright, I’m supposed to be here. You can trust me to go back stage.’ and point at the useless tag on my arm.”
This is usually a sure fire way into the guarded entrance of almost any establishment. Up the stairs past the now infamously toked out closet, up some more stairs, right back to where I was supposed to be. Success.
I walk up to the DJ stage and find the Plastician involved in a conversation with parts of the organising team talking about how lots of the artists that he knows are mad OCD about they weed situations. I walk into the conversation when he’s like, “… if they get off the plane, and you don’t have no weed for them; they won’t go anywhere. Nowhere! You gotta go straight from the airport to the dealer. No question.” says the Plastician. So I interject conveniently, “Yo, Chris. You smoke weed man?”
“Yeah, not all the time like but I do on occasion. Even with my wife, in fact I spoke to her on skype from the hotel and was (pulls a face clearly meant to convey goof’dedness).”
Letting in that visitor I referred to earlier in this piece I ask, “You wanna get high man?”.
“What, right here? You sure?” asks uncertainly looking around and seeing more of them heavyset types I just dodged to get this interview. Now… I’m the Blunt Smoker’s Guide right? So I’m all like, “Nah stress man, I know a place. We can bun one back in one of the closet’s downstairs. Safe. “
“Yeah, cool then” he says as he’s packing up the last of his gear, “I’ll meet you down there.”
“Sweet, Imma go and skin this spliff up solid like. Seen?”
A couple of minutes later I’m in the closet next to the Plastician’s putting the final touches on another exceptionally rolled reefer, when both the Plastician and the Raving Lunatic arrive. Finally I get to have the interview I’ve been chasing for the past week. Blunt ready, we sing the Jefferson’s intro as we relocate to the Main Act’s closet. We sit down (yes, the international’s closet had chairs), spark up da spliff and start talking about his experiences in the country so far. How he went on a tour to Vilikazi Street (looking at how the African’s live) and saw the township from a tourist point of view. Personally, if I was invited to a new country and all I got was the tourist view, I’d feel Iike a transaction rather than an invited guest. Couple of rotations on the blunt later and the interview went a little something like thiiis:
The Blunt Smoker’s Guide:
Yo, uh, Chris. The visuals that played during your set were pretty intense.
I could kinda feel the vibes behind me.
Did you design them or get someone to design them? In short, where did they come from?
You know, I have no idea. I had nothing to do with it. That’s South African talent?
[The reason I asked this question and responded with the afore-mentioned “WOW!” is because the visuals playing were fucking intense. It was all like reptilian eyes, sharp teeth, writhing tongues. Animated of course, but that also gives it a surreal, almost dreamlike or nightmarish effect, if you know what I mean. Particularly if one has indulged in some Wobs or other party enhancer].
Based on what I’ve gathered from the young investigation I managed to run on you before this interview, you strike me as a person that really enjoys the music they play and sharing it. What was the highlight of your set and did you play any songs that we should know about?
It’s funny actually. I’ve been listening to a lot of Kwaito while I been out here to try and kinda like, find out what’s in the ear out here. There’s this guy, INK, from Glasgow. He mainly produces Grime but some of his stuff has kinda got that beat…
Yeah! The percussion, exactly. I thought that it would go down well and it did. It was that point, that one point where everybody started to pick up a bit yeah. [And] Then towards the end, the really fast kinda, footworky stuff; that went down pretty well. Mark Pritchard, Joker [inaudible]
Since you started producing and playing you have been pushing music that pretty much hadn’t been heard before. Now you are doing the same thing both in terms of the music you are playing and making. What keeps you motivated?
I love new music. I love hearing something I’ve never heard before. That is what keeps me motivated. Log onto my SNDCLD, check out the people I follow. People pass me stuff I’ve never heard before . Discovering new artists, new music. That keeps me going man.
Who have you discovered lately that you dig?
Wow man. This year has been mad. I think, if you listen to my radio show this year, and you look at the tracks I’m playing, even when I look … I did a track list this week [for the first time] … I’m looking at it and it was like … some of the artists on there, a year ago, no-one would’ve known who these people are. And even now I think not many people would know who they are. To me, I’m like, these guys have come and sent me a track. Imma play it. Over the years it’s been more about good music than names. If I find something I like, Imma play it. I think that’s the future.
Have you been seeing more international collaborations and cross over acts in terms of genre? Coming from where?
I’m down to collaborate anywhere. I’ve been collaborating with some guys from the states, they’ve been sending me some of their music. Even coming here today, hearing some of the South African music. I’m going down to Cape Town playing again (hyperlink the assembly); I’ll listen to some dub on the way down, on the flight. I’ll check out some YouTube, just checking out what you guys done and what everybody’s been doing, you know, immersing myself in it.
Had you heard of any SA acts before you came down here?
No. I mean I met Das Kapital at Rinse FM not long ago. Met him briefly, checked him out on SNCLD; but apart from him … not really. You know, being out here has been an eye and an ear opener for me.
I’ve been picking up a lot of Trap and Dubstep getting played and gaining traction here, crossing a lot of musical boundaries. A new generation of emcees are even dabbling, rapping over the kind of beats more usually associated with the EDM side of music. Can you perhaps tell us why Grime rappers are so angry all the time?
Don’t Fuck With Me!
[Laughs] I don’t know man. I think it’s that old rogue mentality. Like, even when they are earning MAAAD dough, they still need to have that anger. I think a lot of them feel they have to be angry. I remember starting being a producer a lot of Grime artists were spitting over my track. I was just cool with it all. You did meet people who kinda had that ‘Don’t Fuck with Me!’ attitude. It stuck yeah. It stuck. Some of the kids making Grime now are geeks but they still got the attitude. I don’t know. I don’t know…
Where is your music going? Where are you taking music to?
At the moment I’m enjoying exploring all these different sounds and tempos. It’s more about the vibe for me now. It don’t need to be a specific genre. It doesn’t need to be instrumental or anything you know. If I like it Imma find a way to make it work so … That’s more where I am at the moment just finding it. Find a way to melt all this music that I like into one without just being that guy that only plays one genre. I don’t wanna be that guy. I just wanna showcase all this different shit that I like and show it to lots of different people. I think tonight went well like that. I started out a 120BPM, by the end of it, it was like 180BPM and people were there you know. Kind of like interested to see what was coming next you know.
If you were to advise ay cats coming up in the game, how would you? I mean what would you say to them?
Just be yourself. Play what you enjoy and don’t read the comments on the internet. You don’t need that. You don’t need that. That is it.
Thank you very much
Wait, hold up. I got one more question. What was the livest performer you’ve seen this year?
Livest? You mean like lively?
Yeah, mean besides Kanye… you know YEEZUZ he’s got Mt. Yeezuz and his own personal white Jesus…
Live performer? Good question. The livest performance would have been this band from the U.K., the Gentleman’s Dub Club. There’s like 8 guys performing, all playing instruments. Those guys, their energy is something special. The Gentleman’s Dub Club, yeah. Check them out.