For every city with a thriving, envied music scene, pretty much anywhere in the world I’d be willing to bet, there are heaps of other towns and cities where the music scene is not so much underground as virtually non-existent. ‘There’s nothing happening in Aberdeen,’ sighs Shy from Shy & DRS down the ‘phone one Friday night. ‘Even on the rock scene, there’s nothing happening.’
After all those years when UK Hip-Hop seemed to be a cult thing, the last few years have seen it blossom, thrive and explode. Here in Scotland, there was suspicion about the idea of Scottish Hip-Hop, until people realised that a) it was actually happening right under people’s noses and b) it’s actually pretty good.
Shy recalls that when he and his brother DRS (possibly not what their Mum calls them, I suspect) people simply thought they were trying to be Eminem. Now Mr. Marshall Mathers’ band D-12 will feature on their debut album, due out next year at the end of January.
It’s not their only collaboration. One of the songs on their forthcoming album features Dan McCafferty of of Scottish rockers Nazareth. ‘It ws a totally random collaboration!’ Shy tells me. ‘We were sampling lot of stuff, but it was costing a lot [in terms of clearance]. One of our lawyers suggested getting Dan.’ The resulting track was recorded in Germany -‘a good, weird experience’ and will be released as a single next year.
In the end, the only sample they ended up keeping for the album is from Marillion’s 1985 single ‘Kayleigh’ which features on their debut single out this week ‘The Love Is Gone.’ This features vocals from Sandi Thom, still best known for the no.1 single ‘I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker.’ ‘ We recorded it back in 2009 -that’s how old it is -with Sandi. It was the opener, it sparked the rest of it [their recorded output].’ We knew Sandi, she was signed with Sony at the time. She liked the idea of Scottish rappers. We were going to put it out ourselves, then we got new management -and finally it’s out!’
It may have taken for now for the Scottish Hip-Hop scene to flower -something Shy puts down to the changing attitude of people ‘now that the English Hip-Hop scene is blowing up’-and things are starting to get busy for them. There’s plans for a Scottish tour next yearas well as that debut album. For now there’s only a few gigs lined up -but they are playing a mini-tour with Sandi Thom. They have yet to actually meet the likes of Young Fathers and Stanley Odd, but it is surely only a matter of time…
Oh, and performing in front of Royalty, too, it would seem. ‘We’re going to be playing in front of Prince Edward at a Community Centre in Aberdeen!’ exclaims Shy. The only way is up.
‘The Love Is Gone’ is out now on Guardian Angels Records.