We Love Jungle presents: An interview with T.R.A.C

We Love Jungle presents: An interview with T.R.A.C

What does Jungle mean to you?

To me, Jungle is vibrance. It’s soul music. It’s a way of moving, and personally, for me, it’s hip hop. It’s the love of the underground and the struggle of the under-appreciated. I know I’m coming off a bit poetic, but I can’t help myself. To still be around through all the good and the bad times here in the States, it’s become a special part of me. I’m really proud to be here doing my part of this Jungle resurgence of sorts.

Where were you in the ‘golden’ age of Jungle?

I started to get involved in the Jungle scene around 96-97. At the time I was pretty much a hip-hop kid coming up interning at music labels. This is where I bumped into a fella named DJ I-CUE of Digital Konfusion. At the time, he was helping me with my hip-hop demo, but he always wanted me to jump on a DnB tune. So, when the time came and we finally did it, it became my first piece of vinyl ever. It was called “Next Level $hit” and was released on Liquid Sky in 2000, which was pretty much near the end of that golden era. That was my lone contribution. Big ups to Soul Slinger for making that happen.

Who are your influences past and present?

Once again, I have a hip-hop background, so my initial influences were poets and musicians. A Tribe Called Quest, Pete Rock and CL Smooth, Gangstarr, Marley Marl, Jay Dilla, and Wu Tang among many others. My Jungle influences were mostly New York natives who showed me the way. I loved a lot of what Full Circle was doing including that Roni Size – ‘Reprazent’ album. I also consider Shy FX’s ‘Diary of a Digital Soundboy’ one of my favorite albums as well. In the present, I like Lenzman’s album along with some of the Liquid V Compilations…just overall good, progressive music. It doesn’t really matter which genre.

Has your approach to MCing changed since you first started out?

My approach to MCing is mostly about being confident and having style. Sometimes you step onto that stage and see the size of the crowd at whatever concert hall and you automatically get a bit nervous. What I realised over the years is that this is mostly a good thing. It means that you’re human so you just go with the flow in your own way. It’s what will set you apart from the pack. Technique-wise I kind of stay away from signature chants and verses. It’s about spontaneity for me, now more than ever, which might mean an off the dome freestyle here and a crowd chant there. Lastly, and probably most importantly, is knowing when to “turn it on” and when not to. You could be the most talented wordsmith in the world and it wouldn’t matter, that one thing can make or break you.

What’s your top Jungle tune at the moment?

Rowpieces has this new EP out which is my favourite so far. It’s called “Tell Me” a song by Abstract Source with Elliot Chapman on vocals. It’s an emotional, but dope, remix.

What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done at a gig?

I’ll tell you this once. Last year, I did a big night in DC with a classy, legendary “Liquid DJ”. At the show, he had a good bottle of Sailor Jerry’s with some soda chasers behind the booth. That area pretty much became my place to go and get drinks. So, upon another return for a refill, a good friend of mine had stopped me from getting a new drink and gave me theirs. What I didn’t realise was that their drink was way stronger than what I was looking for. I’m usually good with drinking but now here I am pretty much drunk, slurring on the mic and taking my button up shirt off. Lucky for me this happened at the end of the set. We went to a Denny’s restaurant afterwards and, said, famous “Liquid DJ” took a pic of me slumped over the table passed out. This pic made it to Twitter for a quick bit. Embarrassed? Yes! Still it was a really fun time.

If MCing wasn’t your job, what would it be?

MCing isn’t my job. It’s my life!

Any new projects coming up?

Intrigue Music just dropped their Intrigue 12 compilation. I made it onto 2 cuts, one with Jaybee called “Holding Pattern” with Ella Jones, and another with Raw Q called “NY State of Mine”. Also Submorphics and I teamed up for a Shogun single for later in the year. Finally, Bryan Gee has me working hard on my debut album release on V. I’m blessed to have these things going on. Thanks for the interview.
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