Interview: Sangy talks Manchester, his debut EP and Amy Winehouse
Manchester is bristling with talent right now, and one of the freshest sounds slipping off its conveyor belt is being pushed by Sangy. Whose debut EP Second Best
sounds like the output of a seasoned pro, not a youngster who has only been in the music game for three years. Peep our review of it here
We had a chat with him about what makes him tick, what Manchester has to offer and just how important Amy Winehouse is…
Blatantly Blunt: Hello Sangy! It seems that your music draws a lot on your past and your experiences – it almost feels like we know you already, but tell us a bit about yourself.
Sangy: I’m from Manchester obviously, I’ve been doing music for probably around two and a half to three years – definitely more like two and a half in terms of releasing music and playing gigs. Yeah, I would say that mostly I just write about things I see and hear around me in everyday life and I imagine that to some people that probably makes me seem quite relatable as they themselves might have gone through similar experiences and been in the same situations.
BB: Your music and lyrics have a connection to real life – why is that? Do you think it’s important for music to have that connection?
S: Definitely, like I said I rarely sit down and think “I’m gonna write a song about this” or try and write a specific, focused story like some people might do – I’d say a lot of my music is almost me just thinking out loud and putting it into a form in which other people can appreciate it on a number of levels.
Music for me should always have some form of connection with who you are and what you do in real life, and while you don’t necessarily have to put forward a “message” you should definitely have something to say within your music – that’s not to say it all has to be save-the-world conscious rap where you are constantly trying to put forward something positive though, because a lot of the time life isn’t like that.
I think really if you do your thing in a creative way that isn’t really played out and hasn’t been heard loads of times before people are gonna want to listen to you.
BB: The Manchester scene is huge right now, with LEVELZ in particular really exploding with the Red Bull Culture Clash and their LP – how does that feel? What is it about Manchester that is inspiring these sorts of sounds?
S: Yeah the LEVELZ lot have been smacking it, their music is obviously of a very high standard and their shows are sick too – me and Free Wize Men played with Jack Red-Eye at their Rowdy Badd party the other week which was a buzz.
I dunno man, being from here it’s difficult to see things from the perspective of people from outside the city who maybe didn’t know a lot about the scene until it started blowing up recently – for me this type of sound has been prevalent around here!
Groups like Broke-n-English and Virus Syndicate were doing things from when I first started listening to rap music about 10 years ago, so the talent has never been in question – I think it just needed that external exposure for people to really see how strong the thing we have going on here is and how different it is to the sounds people are coming with down south.
I’d definitely say the whole thing is a lot less image-based up here, no-ones really arsed about a names and who you are; if your thing is good people will back it.
BB: You’ve got your debut EP out – and it’s fire! How long did it take to put together? How did you find the process?
S: Safe! Yeah it should be out soon, the people I’ve played it to so far and the people who’ve had it as promo have all been pretty positive about it which is good. I made ‘Blind’ with Jack Red-Eye over a year ago and we really liked the sound and style of the track – it was a lot different to anything we’d done before and so we decided to do an EP together from there.
Putting the tunes together was the easy and fun part, this is my first proper release that I’ve got masters done for and had properly promo’d so I’m still getting used to the process of waiting for people to get back to you about things and things taking time. Patience is a virtue and all that!
BB: You’ve also been featured on the Red Eye Hi-Fi record – how did that come about?
S: I’ve known Jack since we were both about four – we went to primary school and high school and college together. When you’re close with someone outside of music it makes the creative process so much easier – we’ll go studio and sit there talking rubbish for hours and sometimes won’t come away with anything, but when the whole vibe is a natural one and it’s not forced that doesn’t matter cause you know next time you’ll get something good down.
It’s important to have someone who is gonna be brutally honest with you about your music too – I’ll play him some things and he’ll tell me they’re sick and other things I’ll play him he’ll tell me are whack, and vice versa with his music too. He got me into doing music really, I recorded my first tune with him on a 58 sellotaped to one of them bendy lights in his mum’s basement.
He’s also been doing the soundsystem thing for years and putting nights on since before we were old enough to go as well. My tunes on his EP are all daft ones that came about as a result of being in the studio all day and drinking too much – two of them I’m not credited on so see if you can figure out which ones they are…
BB: What are your influences, musically and lyrically? When and why did you start making music?
S: I wouldn’t say I had any direct influences of people I try to sound like but there’s definitely a few people who have inspired me to write in a particular way or talk about particular things in my music. I must have listened to both of Amy Winehouse’s albums more times than I can count, I love how raw her lyrics are and how unafraid she is of putting forward an image of herself that isn’t necessarily a strong or positive one because a lot artists aren’t confident enough to do that, it’s all about how cool you are and how much money you’ve got most of the time.
I think that’s something that really resonates with me , someone just being “real” in the full sense of the word and that why I like people like CAS and Future so much – on the surface you could listen to their music and say you’ve heard it all before: drugs, women, guns, and money – but if you listen to their lyrics its much more thought-provoking than that and they manage to combine having very high quality, (largely bass-driven) listenable music that would lick down a rave with something that is actually very personal and introspective and that’s a balance that I feel like most artists struggle to find.
I honestly started doing music a few years ago because at that time i wasn’t rating most of the people I was hearing who were getting a lot of attention on a local scale, and I remember discussing it with someone one day and they made a passing comment of something like “could you do better?” and so from there I thought fuck it why not have a go and I just ran with it from there really.
BB: What music do you listen to outside of the scene you’re working in?
S: I don’t actually listen to loads of rap music if I’m honest – a lot of heads will trawl through mixtape sites but I tend to just kind of stumble across things I like or stuff people have recommended to me. A couple of rappers I have been listening to are Jesse James, he’s sick. B!sk from Blah Records is cold too. I like singers, if I could sing I wouldn’t bother with this rap thing! Recently I’ve been bumping Bryson Tiller, The Weeknd, Isiaiah Rashad – I just like what I like I suppose. Amy Winehouse has to get a daily spin too.
BB: And finally, what is your dream collab – any genre, anything goes.
S: Me, Ric Flair, Barry Chuckle, Andy Cole and Mr Blobby b2b 16 for 16 with Dick and Dom on production. That one would be a shellerz, wheelums on wheelums. They probably wouldn’t have time for me though so probably Amy Winehouse or Marvin Gaye, they’d do. We could make a supergroup and do one world tour before we all blew out and ended up bankrupt or summet. Sick.