Oxide and Neutrino
As the rest of So Solid gear up for their debut single releases, it's easy to see why Oxide & Neutrino are So Solid Veterans. Their debut album "Execute" sold over a quarter of a million copies, every publication in the country featured it as one of their albums of the year and they got a Mobo award to boot. So how do they follow that one? By taking it to the next level, bringing in hip hop and R&B into the mix and making every other garage acts look like the pale imitations they are.
But more than that it sees a band maturing and heading off into dual personalities, the hilarious "Amsterdam" and "Dem Girls" sit snugly next to harsh tales of the streets like "Return Of The Supa" and Roads Crazy". We caught up with MC Neutrino to find out about the 200 tracks they recorded for this album, the deal with the 2nd So Solid Crew album and how they're answering their critics on vinyl.
Q: You've been out of the limelight for a few months now. "Dem Girls" out in stores 16th Sept. How does it feel to be back?
A: It's kind of weird because we've just been locked up in the studio doing lot's and lot's of material. It does feel kind of weird doing the promotional side of things - getting up early. I'm not a morning riser. Normally wake up at five or six in the afternoon and work throughout the night.
Q: The album "2 Steps Ahead" is really taking it to the next level. Dropping in hip hop and R&B flava's amongst the garage beats. Was it a case of not wanting to make "Execute Pt.2"?
A: Basically, from "Execute" it's us getting older and trying to take it to the next level. A lot of people when they're starting garage are doing what we did 3 years ago. If you wanna get into this and be big you've got to compete with us because we are the biggest - you've got to keep on our level!!!
From Day One it ain't really been garage, it's something completely different. We moved away from it time ago. Behind the scene's we've been doing that for a long time and I think the first people heard of it was when we threw "Rap Dis" out.
Q: So many different flava's on the album. From the serious tracks like "Rap Dis" and "Road Crazy" to the jokey tracks like "Amsterdam" and "Dem Girls". It doesn't always come across with you guys, but would you say this is the Oxide & Neutrino feeling right now?
A: How you feel when you go in the studio is what kind of tune comes out. You might be aggressive or a bit p**sed off or whatever and other times you might be happy and you get a vibey song.
Q: One of the tracks "They Think It's Easy" takes it from the beginning to the present day. When you were first MC-ing on the pirate station did you think you'd be in this position of getting the shit from the press?
A: I didn't expect to be here. That's just one of the weirdest things ever - being thrown in the deep end straight away. I don't think about, but at times like now you get reminded that you're famous. You can't walk down the street anymore without getting mobbed. You know, you walk down the street but sometimes you do walk into situation where you get attitude and stuff and when we get attitude it's worse than all these pop people get. Ours is on street level and they probably haven't even seen the streets in their lives. A lot of us are from the streets, so sometimes you go back to the streets and there's love there - but sometimes there is a lot of hatred!!!
Q: "2 Steps Ahead", the second album for you guys, while the other guys are just releasing their debut singles. You're almost like So Solid Veterans. What's happening with So Solid at the mo?
A: Were like So Solid Granddads, but that's what it planned to be from day one. Everyone in So Solid get their stuff out there, make money and help each other out as individuals. But at the end of the day everyone in So Solid is a big family.
We try and meet up every Sunday to sort out the business side of things, and of course it's personal as well. But it is kind of hard now because everyone's doing their solo stuff. We do see each other, it's not like we disappear for 3 months and then it's like hi - it's got to be organized!!!
Q: So what's happening with the 2nd So Solid album. From what I've heard it's going to be darker underground stuff with the new kids coming up. Fill us in?
A: It's focusing on the younger people in So Solid because all the older people are doing their solo projects right now. They've been given that leg up and it's all about bringing the new talent threw. The new stuff is like what we've done on "2 Steps Ahead" - not that's it exactly the same, but you know the tempo's are different and it's not just garage no more.
It is darker, but it's more versatile. Were just catering for everyone. People are listening to samplers of the album and everyone's got their favourite tracks. It's not just like one track and were getting people who never listened to Oxide and Neutrino listening to us. That's the thing with the So Solid album.
Q: Touching on "Return Of The Supa", the focus point of the album. Would you like to tell the readers more about it?
A: Basically with "Return Of The Supa" people were saying what's happening to you lot, you're over, you've gone bankrupt and all these stupid rumours because you've been in the studio working hard. People think you're always in the limelight and that's that, they don't think you have to go away and make more tracks.
The kind of thing we'll work on is that we'll do a whole heap of tunes and choice from those tunes. It's not like we get told to do one track as a single. I reckon just me & Oxide there's over 200 tunes there!!! We just write for fun everyday and to us it's like someone playing a game of football everyday. Were not just some pop act who gets told to come in the studio for half and hour to lay down the vocals.
Q: One of the lines in it does sum up what's been happening, "7 times more likely to be stopped cos I'm black". A lot of the bad press is down to racism isn't it?
A: I don't know whether it's down to racism. I just saying that a lot of is that they've never seen a bunch of people from the street, and the majority of us are black, come into the music business like that. And without being manufactured or whatever. It's a shock to them. People can't get grip of it - it's like no way, what's going on!!!
I think the people that understand it are like yourself, you sit down and tell me that line from "Return Of The Supa", but certain people will focus on a lyric like "gun" and the next day it will be in the paper that I'm going to kill someone or do this and that to them just cos they interpret it wrong. On a track they don't listen to what you're saying, they just pick out a phrase here and there and then say you'll do this and that which ain't true.
Q: I've always looked at you guys and thought what would be great is if one So Solid member went down the route of Public Enemy or Dead Prez and moved away from the Bling Bling. Agree?
A: I won't preach or tell people what to do. At the end of the day you might get the message across, but it's another thing if people are going to do it or not. You can't turn round and tell people what to do. If you're going to turn round and tell people to stop selling drugs or stop the gun crime it's wrong to get involved with it because for certain people that's their way of living. And you can't say to someone stop that - because they will turn round and say well how am I gonna survive.
Of course Asher D's views on life are gonna change because he's been locked up in a cell by himself. His views on life are going to completely different from when he was out so it will be interesting to hear what he has to say when he does his new album.
Q: Finishing off, you guys are doing the first group gig in god knows how long in Glasgow this month. Do you think the authorities are going to be a bit more relaxed about So Solid gigs in the future?
A: I think they're gonna have to understand where were coming from. I think what happened with the tour was that there was just simply a lack of understanding.
The Single "Dem Girls" is out September 16th
The album "2 Steps Ahead" follows on September 30th
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