Archive: Karime Kendra interview December 2000

Interview: Karime Kendra
Date: December 2000
Location: The Pharmarcy, Notting Hill Gate, London
Words / interview: Des Berry
Photo: Dan King

2012: Setting the scene . I thought I would add a few more things from the “archives”. So here is the first of a few old bits. I really cannot remember anything about this interview other then it was at The Pharmarcy. 

You might have seen her name and heard her voice alongside many a tune or read about her recent work with Red Snapper, but there is more to Karime Kendra then just another collaborator. Wrestling, strip joints and Roni Size puking in a bucket are just a few of the secrets to tell about this diva in waiting.

The final piece in Breakin’ Point magazine

We’re in The Pharmacy, Damian Hirst’s restaurant in Notting Hill. There are no dead sheep hanging around, don’t worry. In fact its pretty dead and an ideal place to start spreading those secrets. The only trouble is every person coming in seems to be an old friend of Karime’s. “I actually used to work in here, but I had to stop. If I worked here I couldn’t party here.” Priorities, I like it.

Coming from LA five years ago after getting a deal with Talkin’ Loud, people kept calling her to fly over to the UK and work on various projects. Finally it made sense to settle in London. With subsequent changes at the label Karime fell victim to the usual release date stalling. But with fresh label backing and ideas we’re about ready to hear a new solo LP.

“I’ve been involved with so many projects.” Damn right. Everyone from the likes of Outside, Unsung Heroes, Landslide and Nigo have been touched by the hand of Kendra. However don’t go thinking that Karime is just another session singer.

“After the success of a track I did with DJ Die in ’97 everyone expects me to be drum ‘n’ bass diva. Even though I could have been financially better off I didn’t want to be another session singer. With the people I work with there is a mutual respect of each others previous work.”

“On the new Red Snapper LP there are two songs I co-wrote. One is the ‘Rough & The Quick’ and the other is ‘Shellpack'(?) Both are very different songs with the ‘Rough & the Quick’ being about sex.”

Right. “Yeah the lyrics go like this.. ‘Come on my tongue – lick my clit – rub a little bit of your spit – thats it’…the chorus, ‘I want the kind of night that I read about – you know the ones you find on the top shelf.’

With valentines day around the corner its definitely a song for the more romantics of people out there, then? Eat ya heart out 2 Live Crew!

Believe it or not Karime was an introvert as a kid. Growing up in a family where the mother was a successful Northern Soul singer and the father a producer, Karime’s voice was seen as squeaky and the least expected to follow the musical path.

“My break came when my agent heard me singing when I was wrestling”. What alongside the likes of Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks and some Saturday afternoon World of Sport tag team special?

“It was on American TV, but it was a show called Powerful Women of wrestling. No mud or anything like that. There were always the really cute looking girls. That was me! We were the smaller ones, quite sexy. Then there were big burly manly women like Matilda the Hun who at 6ft tall would eat raw meat. My name was Destiny. Initially I was a bad girl, but I turned against my tag team partner ‘Hot Rod Andy’ and became a good girl, a heroine.”

“I used to do the moves where you would jump on their shoulders and they would get pissed off so they fall backwards and drop you down. My left rib still clicks due to an injury and I’ve scratches under my eye.”

“I had an agent who said why don’t you do that, get used to doing auditions. I was athletic. I thought hell that would be cool. Make a grand a week. Get on TV. Do my thing. I’m gonna be a star anyway. So this could be the way. When you’re an entertainer you cut your teeth on whatever. I then sang one day and my boss heard me singing in the ring. After that I did backing vocals on a Herb Albert LP and then I really got a taste for it.”

So do any of the moves ever come in handy?

“When Ed (of Scenario Records and Karime’s man) is annoying me, we move the tables away, take off our rings and watches and I say, Ed, I’m gonna kick you ass.”

Even with the work coming in back in those early days in the UK Karime still had to fall back on other skills between studio time.

“I worked as a waitress at the Windmill club in Piccadilly, London. A strip joint. I was in there for 2 nights as a waitress, but I decided it was not the place for me. Like, I’ve seen strippers, but these women, fingers going everywhere and I’m like whoa. I realised I couldn’t get a tip. Because why give me a tip, while the girls are giving up the whole beaver show!”

Karime’s musical influences come from her family background, a love of female vocalists like Gladys Knight, Roberta Flak, Chrissie Hynde and Mary J Blige. Writers like Elton John and entertainers like Madonna and Michael Jackson.

“When I’m on stage I’m an entertainer. With the Red Snapper shows the front person needs to be full on.”

Recent sell out performances with the band will back that statement up.

“It was really wicked on stage. When the first stabs of the Rough & The Quick came on in Holland, I made a little joke about the women telling me that the men hadn’t been doing it right there. They hadn’t been satisfying them in bed. And the men cried “No its not true!’ and I replied, ‘well if it wasn’t true i wouldn’t have had to write this song’. They knew the song and started screaming. It was just the best time.”

Okay, so finally what’s all this about sickboy Roni?

“Well I’m old mates with Roni Size, Die & Krust and we (Red Snapper) were playing alongside them. It was also Roni & Die’s birthdays. So that night we just parted so hard. We were drinking champagne and smoking before the show. So then we both go and rock our crowd. They were nervous because I was there, but I was nervous because they were there. You can perform to thousands of people, but when you’ve got friends and family there its worse.

It was a great show and then we just partied! Champagne, blunts, tequila. Then Roni got so fucked he was puking in a bucket. He had to be carried out to the bus! First it was cool, Roni puked a bit and then suddenly he’s sitting on the floor. Luckily I turned my head and I see him about to heave again, getting him a bucket just in time.”

Sounds like a top night. True rock ‘n’ roll excess, but one you might want kept secret maybe? At least for Roni’s sake.

“Please put that in, but say Karime loves you Roni and Die. Happy Birthday, belated, but I had to tell that story cause it fuckin’ happened!! Roni puking in a bucket! Ha, Ha!”

Originally published in Breakin’ Point 05.02 March 2001

Archive: Space @ Bar Rhumba flyers 1998

Following the sad news of Kenny Hawkes passing last Friday, I thought I would post a couple of flyers from the achive.  From early 1998, Space @ Bar Rhumba.

Listen: Kenny Hawkes – Play The Game

Moby @ The Roundhouse 02/06/11

Maybe it was the hangover from the night out before (and the morning of the day) celebrating my birthday, but Moby at the Roundhouse was very, very disappointing.  Should I really have expected anything else?  Maybe not. This is after all a rather dull man who makes rather mundane music, that more than often gets used to promote mundane products aimed at mundane people and their mundane lifestyles.

The audience was very much that “look, we’ve paid out on a babysitter so we’re gonna let our hair down tonight right” crowd.  The type of person who maybe has a couple of these “dance” acts on their i-Pod. Filed alongside Groove Armada, Faithless and put on a playlist that’s good to work out to at the gym or jog to etc.

I’m no longer a fan of Moby as you can see. Maybe 15 – 20 years ago there was some appeal, but so much as moved on since that his sound is irrelevant.  I don’t even know what that sound is.  On the night it varied from poppy dance music, of a kind you would play at a 8 year old’s party to weak acid jazz and a horrible cover of ‘Whole Lotta Love.’

Also when a performer is reduced to taking photos of the audience (rather then blasting their minds)  throughout the encore you know things are not right.

Lets remember this and only this from Moby…

Archive: An interview with Rough, Stormie & OneMor

Interview: Rough, Stomie & OneMor
Date: June 2002
Location: Clapham, London
Interview / words: Des Berry

2011:  Setting the scene. After a recent visit to DJ Food’s blog (a source of great inspiration and recommended to all) I thought I would post this interview with artists Rough, Stormie & OneMor from 2002.  Rough has recently been involved in a huge mural and gallery show in Vancouver and you can read about that on DJ Foods blog here.

This interview took place in Lavender Hill, South London on a very wet day in June 2002.  The guys were great and really easy to interview. Rough gave me a copy of the Rigidmouth book which is pictured below.

The photographer took some great photos but for some reason decided to give them to a competitive magazine when the PR people requested them. As a result we never got use them as they had already featured elsewhere.  I think this might have been the last interview I did for Breakin’ Point. Back to 2002…

What A Load Of Rubbish.

Is it me or does it occasionally rain televisions? Tell me if it happens country wide, because in the capital it seems to be a regular phenomenon. You’ll wake up one morning and there is likely to be a couple of TVs on separate street corners on the way to the tube. Or if its not TVs its a mattress. Forget this low paid writing lark I’m getting shares in a mattress company, because round my way people are buying them silly and throwing out the old ones.

Renowned graffiti writers Rough, Stormie & OneMor are three artists who look upon such streets as an art supplier ready for pilfering. After years of seeing walls and trains as a canvas to their work they now see the potential in the very rubbish that we discard every day. From the cardboard that boxed that new hi fi to the door off that burnt out car that has sat on your street and doubled up as a tramps toilet for the last few months they can see the beauty in it. Okay their not using TVs and a mattress but you get the idea.

‘Everything we’ve used we’ve found. For example on the street or in skips,’ Rough explains ‘You’ve always got to look in skips as you never know what’ll you find. One mans rubbish after all is another mans treasure.’

From the rubbish around them each artist has created something from those discarded objects. Where the likes of you and me might curse and get on the phone to the council to pick up this trash the trio have taken it and transformed it into original, innovative and highly desirable pieces of art. Rough has created three dimensional works from wood and similar materials. Stormie is producing drawings and paintings on card and handmade cardboard boxes and OneMor is painting directly on to scrap metal obtained from wrecked cars.

‘Sometimes its good to be limited because it makes you more creative. It pushes you harder,’ states OneMor. ‘If you have everything then you are spoilt for choice. If you’ve got it hard looking for stuff things can go mad. Its not always bad to be restricted. I’m working on bits of burnt out cars. Where do I find them? There just around wherever you find burnt out cars! You know that spot where you always find a burnt out car!’

Together the trio are pulling together their rubbish and working on a project called ‘Third’. All have worked with each other before, but this is the first time as a ‘threesome’ to put it politely.

‘Three plays a big part in this project. Three artists. Three mediums, cardboard, wood and steel and finally the third generation of an item. That’s the main focus, the third generation’ OneMor points out. Someone owns something and then discards it. What we are doing is taking what has been discarded and re-generating it back into a worthy item.’

The third life of a item.

‘We are bringing bits of the environment that we work within, into the gallery,’ OneMor continues. ‘Its important to lose that transition where a bit of graffiti has been ripped out of its environment and put in a sterile gallery. If you paint in another environment you find that they are an integral part of each other.’

‘People can often put graffiti on a nice clean canvas and hang it in a gallery, but it loses a certain edge,’ Stormie adds.

Whatever your views on graffiti and street art the project should help bring the medium to an even wider audience. People who aren’t familiar with late night track walks or train yards. However don’t be fooled in to thinking its another gallery exhibition filled with colourful pieces hanging on canvas to a hip hop / breakdance soundtrack.

‘As a project Third is going to be pretty ground breaking’ Rough points out. ‘We’re using the graffiti moniker, but its all about furniture, lighting and installations. There is no graffiti on canvas at this exhibition.’

‘The kind of art we do is a very collaborative form of work. Most group shows you go to, there might be 10 different artists and they are all saying something different. What we’re doing with this is trying to say a similar thing but through a different lens.’

The trio have a long history in graffiti. Having met in the early 90’s they have collaborated ever since, both together and alongside Ikonoklast, a collective of left of field artists featuring the likes of Part 2, Juice 126 and Prize amongst its members. Individually they have exhibited and painted for clients as diverse as Budweiser, Nike, Size to the Bug Bar, Brixton. This year saw the publication of Rough’s book ‘Rigidmouth’ containing contributions from all three as well as others such as Attica Blues’ Charlie Dark, Juice 126 and Lucy McLauchlan.

Rough was in his early teens when someone came in to his school with the book Subway Art. A starting point for many in the early UK graffiti scene.

‘I thought I’ve got to try that out. So I researched the whole dynamics of it. Things like how the paint works, how you can get it, how its made, different surfaces, characters, letters. I wanted to do everything. Like straight away. Portraits, letters, wild style. It took me 16 years to get there and I’m probably still not there.’

‘I was doing both illegal and legal stuff. I wasn’t just bombing. I’d go up to people and say you’ve got a nice wall there can I paint it? If the answer was yes I’d draw something up, show them and paint it. I wanted to build up a reputation as a good artist. Be good at my trade and craft. That was the main focus, just to be a good artist. Its still my focus.’

OneMor grew up in Edinburgh. ‘When I started painting I was like the second generation of painters, I’m talking about a year or so. There was about ten painters around Edinburgh and I hooked up with 2 guys and we started feeding ideas off each other. We we’re quite isolated living in a small city and we couldn’t really go out on a train and see stuff.’

Stormie’s start was even more isolated then OneMor’s.

‘Living in Perth Western Australia, I was on my own, because the scene was non-existent. I didn’t know any other writers. There wasn’t any. I used to go out and paint on my own.’

Trouble with law resulted in his parents sending him to his grandparents in Wales. As OneMor points out he was sent the other way. But it was a move that was of great benefit.

‘Even though it was a lot colder over here, the good thing was the access point from Wales to the rest of the country. Which was great. I just went out and did things at different events that I would never have got in Perth.’

With their commercial work often dictated to by marketing people the Third project gives the trio the chance to display their work to a wider audience. One that is not too familiar with late night track walks.

‘The good thing about this project is that we can do our thing on our own terms’ OneMor adds, ‘ we can show what we really do rather then the commercial aspect. A lot of people don’t tend to often see what you do on walls apart from other writers.’

Third opens this month at The Maharishi Gallery, Covent Garden, London. Rough’s work as one third of The Reptiles is due for release on Jazz Fudge and a book from Ikonoklast is planned for late 2002.

Originally published in Breakin’ Point 03.04 August 2002

Re post: Archive: flyers from Blech @ The Powerhaus, April 1998

Here is a re-post of a page from almost a year ago.

I stumbled over DJ Food’s website the other week after I came across a link on some Ghost Box records he purchased. (Hopefully he got them from Greedbag) Anyway as I trawled back through his posts I found links to the Soundcloud mixes he had done for Warps 20th anniversary.

I thought this would be a nice opportunity to re-post the flyers from those Powerhaus nights.

Anyway to the music. Here is part 1 (below) and you should follow the rest and DJ Food here.

Blech - April

3 examples of the flyers for Warp’s club night Blech. There are a few more which I’ll put up the next few months.  Great design from the Designers Republic.
Blech - April

Blech - April

Did you ever attend a night at Blech? If so please leave any memories in a comment.

Archive: Kool FM – Supreme Team Session 08/04/94

Another treat from the C90 archives!

Like the earlier post from April this is from easter weekend 1994. Originally recorded in the bedroom onto a TDK D90, its now available to listen to care of Soundcloud. This is side A and side B will follow in due course.


Archive: Londons Burning April 1990

The previous Saturday riots in Trafalgar Square and London’s west end as covered in The Indendent magazine. Crazy times.

A free history lesson here.

Archive: Kool FM – Supreme Team show – easter 1994

Heres an Easter Sunday treat for all you ravers around town. Originally recorded on to a C60 back on Good Friday, 1994, a Supreme Team show from London’s premier pirate radio station at the time, KOOL FM.