Interview: Jay0117, Deadly and Dimpson at Love Saves the Day 2018

Deadly (left) and Jay0117 (right). © O. Bailey Photography / Olly Bailey

Jay0117, a torchbearer of the Bristol grime movement, has just shelled down a set on the jam-packed Lonely Hearts stage at Love Saves the Day festival with Sir Hiss on the decks. They brought out Dimpson as a special guest, and Birmingham MC Deadly was waiting in the wings too, although he didn't get a chance to perform. We were lucky enough to organise a group interview with the three MCs, which you can read in full below.

Jay, does it feel like your life has changed much since Red Bull's Grime-a-Side?

Jay0117: Yeah, bruv. It did actually change. I feel like that was a little bit of a crossover point... I'm still a Bristol MC. Of course I am. But it got me recognition for being a Bristol MC, and it sort of brought me into the scene a bit more. More time, all these grime fans are sheep. If somebody likes someone and they get the cosign from someone else, the fans are gonna say 'oh, well, my man likes him, so I like him now.' I love grime fans, don't get it twisted, but most of you are sheep.

Since then, you've appeared at DJ Argue's Hell in a Cell 2; it seems like you're becoming quite the professional clash MC.

Jay0117: That sounds funny, man. I don't wanna typecast myself as a clash MC. I love clashing. From primary school, I've been taking the piss out of guys. Not as a bully tactic, but as in, like... bruv, I can take the piss out of guys. All I've gotta do is make it rhyme and that's a clash. It's easy. Way easier than writing bars about life. Really, if you just give me a target, I'll break him down. It's easy as that.

Jay0117 and Sir Hiss on Love Saves the Day's Lonely Hearts Club stage. © Luke Ballance

We're loving your new collaborative project 'Win/Win' with Deadly. That seemed to come out of the blue. Did the two of you meet up to record the tunes or did it all take place remotely?

Jay0117: We did it all in Bristol. I've got my own studio on Stokes Croft. We did it in four recording sessions. Out of nowhere. We were sat on it for about a month. We recorded all the tracks in a week, and then just got it mixed and mastered from then. Like you say... out of the blue. But, bruv, [points at Deadly] he turned me into an alcoholic! [laughs] Nobody don't have timekeeping like this guy. Every session, he'd turn up at eleven o'clock at night. We didn't do any studio session before 9PM. This guy is fucking nocturnal!

So Deadly, what put Jay on your radar?

Deadly: I'm living in Cardiff at the moment because that's where my daughter is. Back and forth to Birmingham, 'cause obviously that's where my family's from; that's where everybody is. Now, my management put me onto Jay0117 and said 'listen: you're both in the south west, you're both grime MCs. You need to make a song'. We've obviously made a song. But then we've realised how fast the work rate is and thought 'we might as well do an EP'.

Jay0117: We can write very quick, both of us. And the beats was there. So from we did one tune—in like two hours, probablywe were like 'fuck it, let's just slap an EP together' and we kept it under lock. We didn't tell nobody it was coming until the month.

Jay0117. © O. Bailey Photography / Olly Bailey

How did you decide who to put on the hooks? Was that a difficult decision?

Deadly: Nah. We played the beats and we'd just go with the vibe. Like, I'd say one word, Jay would say one word, I'd say one word, Jay would say one word... And then something would be created and then we'd just base it on who we think should say it. We were just going with it; it was all authentic.

One for you, Jay: why do you think so many MCs from other parts of the country gravitate towards Bristol?

Jay0117: I don't think they do, fam. Bookings-wise, yeah, the money brings them here. I reckon London MCs more time get more bookings in Bristol than they do in London. Say, like, P Money. Blud, he's always here! He's eating in Bristol. That's sick, 'cause he comes up and he gives Bristolians a good set. But same time, I reckon P Money makes more money in Bristol than he does in London, and I reckon a lot of other artists do. Just 'cause of bookings. 

Jay0117 on Love Saves the Day's Lonely Hearts Club stage. © O. Bailey Photography / Olly Bailey

It must be pretty lucrative. I've seen Capo Lee three times in Bristol since last summer.

Jay0117: Capo as well! He's always in Bristol. There's a set of grime MCs that have really realised there's money in Bristol.

Deadly: You're always gonna have out-of-towners getting more bookings than the actual artists from your hometown, which is backwards. It's the acts from the hometown that are gonna hold the most weight. The reason why is because it's homely. It's easier to support. It's more easy to know the words. All these things. Yeah, it's good to book acts from out of town, but if you haven't got home acts supporting, the night's not gonna be the same, because the home acts can do the real damage. They can really get the crowd going the most. They can talk about their scene, they can hype the crowd up to a different level. That's why I can perform in Birmingham and people will go mental. People will be hanging from the roof. Because I've done so much for this city and I've emphasised the fact that I represent the city. I'll never get a reception anywhere in the world like the reception I get in Birmingham. That's a fact. Just because I'm from there.

Jay0117 on Love Saves the Day's Lonely Hearts Club stage. © O. Bailey Photography / Olly Bailey

Jay0117: I feel that, one hundred percent. You've seen the set today. When I was doing the hook, I said to everyone: when I say "don't ask where I'm from", you shout "Bristol City". The whole crowd shouted "Bristol City". And every time I say "yo, this is why I love my city; Bristol", the people go mad. And I feel there's too many artists that'll try and shy away from the fact of where they're from. I'm from Bristol. I speak like I'm from Bristol. I'm in Bristol. You come out to Stokes Croft, you're gonna see me. I'm local. I'm active. So I feel... yeah, in certain ways, Bristol don't get the shine that Bristol artists deserve, but if you're putting in the work, you'll get the shine! You can't just expect that 'I'm from Bristol and I'm doing music, so respect me and support me'. Go and do your graft, fam, and the city will see that you're doing your graft. Go out of the city, and shout "Bristol!" And that's when they'll be like 'oi, you know what? I've got something to be proud of here. I've got something to fucking support.'

There are a lot of darker beats on 'Win/Win'. Was that intentional? It's such a stark contrast from the R&G on Jay's previous project 'It Is What It Is'.

Jay0117: The EP is crud. That's why we put "Badman" at the end. Like, a little curveball, 'cause we was very aware that it was just crud after crud after crud... but same time, it works! Every tune bangs.

Deadly: And I'll tell you what, yeah? I feel like it's something that the scene needs. The real hard grime fans are waiting for something like that. They've been dying for it. We thought: 'you know what, we'll fill a gap there'. I can't personally say I've listened to anything that's been gully all the way through for about five to ten years. I've heard the mixtures where it's up and down, but I ain't really heard the straight gullyness. And to be honest, in grime, that's an important thing. The commercial stuff? That's all for radio and TV. When you're at the clubs, you wanna hear dark, hard grime.

Jay0117: That's why we dropped them tunes. It goes the fuck off, fam! We dropped "Who's Bad" and "That's Life" in Lakota. The ting went off. I just did "That's Life" without Deadly on the stage, and it still went off. 

Deadly: I was getting walked through. It was long. It was all mad.

Jay0117: Deadly got in here at ten past four. I was performing until half past and he still didn't make it on stage. I could walk there and back in twenty minutes.

Shame you couldn't be up there, Deadly. Speaking of special guests, the features on the EP seem to be pretty carefully picked...

Jay0117: There's Bristol man, London man, and Birmingham man. All angles. Like, yeah, cool, grime's from London, so we'll go and get London man on there. I'm from Bristol, [nods at Deadly] you're from Brum. The features fully make sense. 

Deadly: Because we was working at such a fast pace, we had to holler at people who work at the same pace as us for features. A lot of people didn't; they wasn't quick enough. The pace that we was on: 'we're getting this done now, if you wanna be involved, you can be involved; you've got a week.' And the features that you hear on there was the people that was like 'I'm going studio right now'. It shows the levels.

Jay0117: And the energy. The same energy throughout. Come on, man. The project's sick.

Deadly (left) and Jay0117 (right). © O. Bailey Photography / Olly Bailey

What's next for Cheese&Bread, Jay? And have we heard all the results of your Red Bull sessions with Sir Hiss, or is there more up your sleeve?

Jay0117: Oh, nah, you ain't heard fucking ten percent of mine and Hiss's EP! The only tune you've heard... you've heard two. "Welcome", and "On Tings", but that's not even out yet. So all you've heard is one. We've done a whole project. We've got tunes featuring Manga on there, Nikki S and Nyke, Darkos, Cally, Shogun... bruv! Bare people on there. Beats from everyone. We've done one session up there. We've gotta go and do another three days and then we're gonna wrap it up. That's gonna be a mad ting. Dimpson's just arrived. That's the other half of Cheese&Bread. I'm the cheese, he's the bread.

Yes, Dimpson! Good to see you. You and Jay seem to be pretty inseparable; how did you meet each other? 

Dimpson: I've been doing music for a long time and I seen a group of youngers making music. I jumped on the ting and me and Jay had the same hunger for it. Out of the whole group of people on the first original cypher, it was only me and him that gelled together and no one else had the work rate that we had. So we basically stuck together from then and made music after music after music, video after video after video, and literally just set a pathway for everyone. Did Grime-a-Side and set a pathway for the whole Bristol scene to hop on. Let's all do this.

Dimpson. © O. Bailey Photography / Olly Bailey

Who was your inspiration growing up? Were you looking at the London guys or were there Bristol MCs inspiring you too?

Dimpson: I used to do grime when I was a kid with school. So, obviously, I grew up on your Wileys and that, but in Bristol, the grime scene back then was pretty strong. Buggsy, Joker; they had a crew called KHK who was on Bristol radio every week. I used to record it on tape. I'm a producer as well. I got OH9[1] into producing... I'm talking a long time ago. Years ago now. I've been doing grime for a very long time. It took a certain spark in Bristol for me to say 'yeah, let's do this'. And then here I am.

Good to have you here. Have you got anything forthcoming that we should know about? 

Dimpson: I've got a brand new single coming out, produced by OH91. It's a hit. It's been played by Hi5Ghost and all the Blast lot. I just played it there actually, onstage. It went off. Massive. So that's my next single, video, and a remix. It's called "Tek". Coming soon.

Looking forward to it. Thanks for your time.

• • •

Check out the rest of our Love Saves the Day 2018 interviews below:
Sir Hiss

Win/Win by Deadly x Jay0117 is now available to stream and purchase.

Find Jay0117 on Twitter (@_Jay0117) and Instagram (@Jay0117_).

Find Deadly on Twitter (@Deadlystayfresh) and Instagram (@deadly_r3al).

Find Dimpson on Twitter (@Dimpson0117) and Instagram (@Dimpson0117).