As the producer of one of Grime's most iconic instrumental releases back in 2005, East London's Treble Clef is a name soon to be synonymous with the scene once again. Despite a near on six-year hiatus, 'Ghetto Kyote' is a track that has stood the test of time in an ever expanding genre, so much so that it is due to be re-released on the formidable 'Butterz' label. With a clear vision and new-found drive, I caught up with the man behind the tune on everything from belt-drives to 'Iceberg History':
"I've been doing music all along, just not always in the public eye really. I was part of the whole 'Kamikaze' thing back in the day and 'Ghetto Kyote' came off the back of that really. Regardless of all the love it got, the scene wasn't really structured and back then it wasn't long before things just started to fall apart and I just felt it wasn't right. During the time I've been away, I've been acting as a Youth Music Mentor, teaching young kids about the practical side to music down in Lambeth but I've never stopped making new tunes. I've continued to send stuff out to deejays and what not but I just feel now is the right time to come back fully and show everybody the levels that are still there! I remember logging onto 'Grime Forum' a couple of months back and seeing discussions about 'Ghetto Kyote', even after all these years, and it just gave me that boost to think I could come back - don't forget I've got a five year old back catalogue behind me too! The music's always been there for me I just took a back seat."
With 'Butterz' due to re-release the track, renewed interest has given Treble the perfect platform to re-establish himself as one of Grime's most talented producers:
"Elijah's actually been overly on it for a while now but it's not until now that he's gone public with it. I thought I might as well go for it while the iron's still hot and go fully in off the back of the re-release - it just makes sense. I was scrolling through 'Grime Forum' one day and saw links to 'Ghetto Kyote' and people were making noise about the track - next thing I know, Elijah's got in touch via the forum and said he wanted to re-release it. We got talking and it wasn't long before I gave him the green light to run with it and since then, it's just been non-stop. The Internet's been a real help so far because back when I made the tune, things like 'YouTube' and 'Twitter' weren't about so promotion was really difficult but now it's a lot easier.
Off the back of the release, I'm trying to make sure that I stay within the 'Grime' bracket for the forseeable, even though I know I can do a lot more - i need to re-establish my name first so that's gonna be the main aim. Thinking about it though, 'Ghetto Kyote' isn't actually a Grime track - it's at 140 BPM but its got a melody and the whole vibe is quite chilled and reflective but the love it got from emcees and Grime deejays at the time ensured it was always gonna be a Grime anthem. It was different for the time so I guess that made it stand out.
As for the name 'Ghetto Kyote', that was a bit of a group decision with the rest of the 'Kamikaze' lot. We'd had the tune done and sent out to deejays for a couple of days without a name - guys like Maximum were playing it on 'Deja' already so it was crying out for one! I remember it all came down to one of the guys wearing an 'iceberg History' jumper with 'Wiley Kyote' on the back and we were just like, 'Yeah, that's it' - simple as that!"
Six years on and the scene continues to expand, aided exponentially by the combination of Grime's 'New Wave' of young, talented emcees and the recent resurgence of Instrumental Grime. However, Treble points to the Internet as the main difference in relation to how things were as opposed to how things are now:
"The scene is looking pretty healthy at the moment - there's lots of talented artists about and everything seems to be more efficient and organised than it was when I first started out. There were a lot more raves back in my day though and that seems to have died out a bit at the moment - I'm from East so the scene was kinda held together by nights at places like the 'Palace Pavillion' and 'Club EQ' . Radio was also a big part of things too - stations used to almost spare with each other over who had the best guys on or whatever, it used to be a key part of everything we did. Nowadays though, it's mainly down to the Internet - you've got so many avenues to push your music, from YouTube right the way through to Channel AKA on TV - it's incredible really. It's certainly a lot easier for artists now but I'm not bitter or anything, the scene is looking all the better for it."
With clear aims and ambitions for the coming year, 2011 looks set to be a defining twelve months for a rejuvenated Treble Clef:
"It's gonna be a case of re-establishing the name first and foremost. I've got a few guys I want to bring through with me too - 'A Fernandez' and a producer called 'Bangles' who's been working a lot should hopefully get some recognition this year. As for me, I've got a few projects in the pipeline - I've co-produced a tune with Wiley that we put togehter and I've also got D Double E to vocal a beat of mine too but I'm unsure of when they're both going to be released / put out. After the Butterz re-release, I want to focus on dropping a few digital releases and I'm hoping to have an independent label set up by then too - that definitely seems to be the way forward. Definitely gonna make sure I'm utilising all the new media formats too and if anyone wants to work with me, I'm open to anything! I've also got a thing with 'Tim & Barry' actually - gonna do a show with them to produce a beat in ten minutes - all of it is just a case of showing everyone that TrebleClef is back and about! Hopefully Logan should drop a few exclusives over the next few weeks too.
I'm also looking at bringing fusion to Grime - I don't want to go too far just yet but I definitely don't wanna keep making the same old sound. I guess I want to push the boundaries! I did a big house compilation CD last year - twenty or so track concept made up of everything from Soulful to Grimey to 4X4 House. I'm nearly done with a Dubstep CD too! The work is most definitely there, it's just a case of hopefully getting all my music out!"
After a brief off-topic discussion about the successes of Tinie Tempah, Treble was then also keen to praise the work of various artists, from the likes of Katy B to Kano:
"Katy B's definitely done a lot over the past year. Looking back at Grime, I still really rate IceKid and I've never forgotten about the obvious guys like Wiley, Kano and Ghetts. Dot Rotten and P Money are also pretty special and I'm feeling Wretch's 'Traktor' tune. If MJ was still about then he'd have to bless one of my tunes and it'd be a dream to work with Timbaland!"
As for the prospect of ever taking to a pair of decks:
"I had some belt-drives when I was younger but it's never appealed to me really. I was always just on production, the mixing side was never much more than a hobby. I felt the quality of records at the time was pretty low too and I found the whole process a bit long. Having said that, I could get back on it if I wanted to and given the opportunity, I'd be more than happy to oblige. I appreciate the fact it's a craft though - I couldn't just jump back on it and be automatically back to grips with it. I'm a perfectionist too so I'd have to be fully on point with my mixing before I'd even consider getting on a stage. It'd be a different type of challenge for me though."
With new-found recognition on the cards, Treble's long term goals reflect the ambition and understated self-belief of a producer with the potential to make a significant contribution to the scene:
"For me, it's not and never has been a fame thing, it's just fully what I do. I will still be doing this in five years, irrespective of whether or not I'm particularly successful - it's just me! I do want to be at the top though and the dream is to be making music with international artists you know? World domination is the aim! I especially want to help rep the UK and emphasize just how much talent there is over here - it'd be nice to be able to help other guys come through too. It sounds cliche and everyone says similar stuff but I have a genuine desire to make it all happen. I've seen so much talent go to waste over the years so it motivates me. On a personal level though, yeah, I want to be smashing the UK scene cross-genre. I can do whatever because I'm musically grounded and I want to show that this year. Domination is definitely in my sights!"
POW POW POW
(Treble Clef Remix)