Rapper Danso Speaks On New Single ‘Bring Me Down’, Sibling Rivalry And Resisting Chicken Wings

Danso

London rapper Danso sat down with SB.TV to talk about his new track Bring Me Down featuring Miss Angel and Klayz, his latest 2-part EP Son of William and the two biggest threats to his gym routine – chicken wings and pizza…

Tell us a bit about the track Bring Me Down and getting together with artists Miss Angel and Klayz…

Bring Me Down is a record I made about a year ago, I produced the beat. It ‘s about my struggle coming up in London, my ambition, and some of the things that I’ve gone through in my life. I thought that Klayz brought a nice reflective verse to the track because of his own struggles coming up in urban London, and trying to chase a positive dream. Miss Angel is actually my sister and so we’re always working together and writing, she co-produces a lot of the stuff that I do.

When you get in the studio with Miss Angel does all that sibling rivalry come out?

Yeah, the sibling thing comes out – it’s like a war.

[Laugh] is it really that competitive between the pair of you?

Yeah, so I’ll think of a line for a chorus and she’ll be singing it and I’ll be like ‘I thought of a great line’ and she’ll say that she thought of it first. There will be plenty more collaborations though, I’m actually working on producing a few records for the EP that she wants to release next year.

Bring Me Down is taken from your latest EP, which will be released in two parts right?

This EP will be released in two parts; the first part – which Bring Me Down is from – will be released in December and is entitled Son Of William. Part 2 will be coming out in the first quarter of next year. The title is a tribute to my father, I had the name of the EP before I had the EP. I worked on it for a very long time because I feel like my first impact on the scene has to be right. I’ve spent as much time as My Ish would allow me to work on it.

The EP is like a door to who Danso is and what I’m about, in a sense it’s like you’ll be reading my diary because of all the experiences that I’ve gone through in the music industry and just coming up as a young man. Some records are dark, some are positive and uplifting – it’s different to what a lot of UK artists will be bringing out because it’s self-produced.

Give us the lowdown on My Ish, this collection of artists and what you guys do…

My Ish is a brand building company as well as a management company, I’ve been with My Ish since 2008 and they’ve helped me develop as a producer as well as an artist. I’ve taken time to build my craft and develop my sound because as a producer that’s the key thing. Anyone can sit down at a computer and make a beat but you have to have your own sound.

Since 2008? That’s quite a bit of time…

I’ve got a big back catalogue of stuff, I’m not gonna be one of those artists that you see for a minute who then disappears – I’ve got a lot to bring out for 2014. We’ve got rapper Incisive on the team as well as Julian Marley and singer Troy who I think is gonna kill the R’n’B scene – she’s got some impressive records due to come out. I’ll be working on some records for all of them soon, but I’m just finishing up tracks for the second part of my EP.

Regarding your father, it’s twenty years now since his passing. Can you talk about his legacy and the imprint he’s left behind on you – and Miss Angel?

I feel like it’s deeper than rap and it’s deeper than music. In my mind and my heart, I feel this is something that cannot fail. I think he’d be proud of what we’re doing [pauses] the legacy is alive.

I read some interesting write-ups online regarding your teenage years. It seems your passion for music ultimately overrode all the trouble you apparently got into…

Like most young males in London, regardless of your race it’s a struggle. There’s a lot of competition, there’s a lot of influences and there’s a lot of everything. I come from one of those areas where there was a lot of trouble and so you’re either with the trouble or running from the trouble so to speak. It got to a point when I asked myself ‘do you really wanna be in Feltham Young Offenders with the rest of your friends or do you wanna do something positive?’ After getting kicked out of one school I just had a moment and I made a choice and I chose to do something positive with my life.

Tell us about your history with music production…

I’ve been producing music since the age of sixteen, I’ve always been into music and music was always in my family because my father was a record producer. My earliest memories are literally of me being in the studio. I went to college and studied it for a year and then I dropped out because of the pace was too slow for me, and thought that I could do a lot more in my own time. I built myself a home studio where I produced and networked, after two years I was in recording studios working with some of the best producers like Paul Stacey who produced for people like OasisBlack Crows and Madonna. I’ve had people like that guide me through the in’s and the out’s of being a producer, and what it takes to make a record. It’s been a journey…

I came across a piece about rapper J. Cole who alluded to the pressures of releasing self-produced material and depending on oneself to produce ones own sound. I’d love to get more insight into that…

It is pressure because as a producer you’re always trying to be ahead of what is happening. You’re trying to make something that has never been heard, you’re trying to develop your own unique sound. There are beat makers and there are producers – a producer will sit down and make a record. A producer will want to give you something that will sound timeless.

You went from producing songs to one day deciding that you wanted to hear your voice on them, that’s quite a jump…

I wasn’t the greatest emcee when I started out, I started when I was eleven ‘coz I was a fan of So Solid Crew and everyone was doing it. The moment that made me want to be a rapper was when I was in a rap battle with a guy called Canine from Stockwell/Brixton, he went to the same school as me. We were battling and I found out that this guy had metaphors, punch lines and the structure of his lyrics were deeper than what I could’ve done. I was just rhyming cat, bat, hat and sack! [Laughs] This guy embarrassed me in front of so many girls and I told myself ‘I’ve got to get my rap game up.’ That experience made me want to be a rapper – that was the deciding moment for me. I was making beats at the same time and so I wanted to rap on my own beats.

So you still take beats from other producers?

Yeah I’ve worked with a few producers like our in-house producers BPM, their sound is very unique and so I like working with them.  There have been other producers like Delirious, he’s doing good things – like working with Lady Leshurr and Paigey Cakey.

You co-signed a Pusha T quote online, where he spoke of rappers having to act more like rappers in the industry spotlight…

It’s true…

Can you speak on that, how is Danso at home different from Danso in the spotlight or industry party?

I’m totally different [pauses]. In the music industry you have to play the game, you have to be polite, you can’t take things personal no matter how disrespectful someone might be. The way I relate to people on the street, I like to treat everyone like we’re on the same level – I don’t ever look down on anyone. But in this business if someone is ahead of you in terms of the music a handshake may not be as certified as it could be or a response that you might get in person is not the same as what you’d get on Twitter, if you know what I mean. It’s testing, but you’ve got to play the game at the same time and be true to yourself.

I personally don’t have any problems with anyone, I can’t see myself competing with anyone or making a diss record. I don’t cause problems, that’s one thing I don’t do. I can’t imagine someone getting on a record saying I’m this or that. There’s a lot of competition in terms of trying to get to where you wanna get to. Everyone wants to be number one, no-one wants to share their stardust or limelight but for me I’m coming from an angle where it’s just about the music. I don’t care if you’ve got ten number ones or if you’ve just recorded your demo – I’ll work with you if I like your talent. If an artist is trying to play the star thing with me, then I can’t relate to that.

You have a pretty solid gym routine right?

[Laughs] yeah, I’ve been trying…

I’ve heard about your love for Nando’s but tell us about some of the other foods that tempt you to abandon your focus…

It’s the wings man, it’s the wings and Domino’s pizza – the struggle is real!

[Laugh]

Domino’s pizza, they’ve got this special offer right now and so it’s hard to refuse. You get a small pizza with the wedges and a drink…the flesh is weak. I design the pizza as well; barbecue base, pepperoni, spicy beef and chicken. If the pizza doesn’t have that on it then I can’t co-sign it.

What have been your favourite tracks of the year?

The Weeknd’s whole album for me was sick, that album is on replay [pauses] my stuff has been quite epic I must say [laughs]. Drake’s had a few tracks I liked, but Pusha T in the Hip Hop world has been the artist that’s come back from the dead. He’s never been dead in my eyes but he is the truth right now in my opinion.

Looking into 2014, what’s on the cards for Danso?

Producing and just getting better at performing, and that’s something that I’m I am really looking forward to – my live shows.  I feel like that’s when I get to bring the artist onstage and give the fans and supporters something different rather than just looking at my videos and listening to my records. I want to show them what these records mean to me, so I’m looking forward to that.

Find the original piece here at SB.TV

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