Interview: Teddy

Bearded catch up with Ghanaian grime producer Teddy and find out about his new record and what the future of grime music will become.

Posted on Jun 25th, 2010 in Features and Interviews, Teddy / By Deluzzion
Interview: Teddy For those of you who don’t know, grime music is starting to filter through to the mainstream. Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, Tinchy Stryder, Tinie Tempah, Lethal Bizzle and Chipmunk to name a few have all been part of the scene but it’s only been within the last 18 months to two years that the producers have been getting the recognition they deserve.

One of the biggest producers in grime right now is Teddy (formerly known as Silencer), 21, hailing from Stratford, East London and he’s worked with some of the biggest names. His beats are being played up and down the country, either on radio or in raves and he’s just released an instrumental record alongside fellow producer G.Tank called Ghanaian Fire.

Deluzzion caught up with Teddy to find out where it all started and the reason behind his recent change of name.

You produce for a crew called Underground Unit. Who are they and how did you get involved with them?

I’ve been involved with them from when we were at school. We’re actually good friends; it’s more than just a music thing. Underground Unit are a collective of 6 artists involved in all sorts of genres and we’re very versatile when it comes to music.

Did you start producing other genres before you began producing grime?

No. I started making grime from the start. When you open FruityLoops (production software) it’s set at 140bpm and I started from the grime tempo and sounds.

Why did you pick grime?

The basses are crazy and it’s got a swing that drives me crazy. No other genre can make me go crazier than grime; that’s my music!

You've recently undergone a change of name from Silencer to Teddy. What are the reasons behind it?

I just want to be seen more as a professional. If a label wanted to know who made a track and my name came up, I might not be taken seriously or they could be very hesitant about even calling me up for a chat or to arrange meetings.

To people who are unaware of what grime music is, how would you describe it and what does it mean to you?

Grimy, rough, energy, drive, power, bassy, tough, raw. I’m sure I haven’t missed out a word than can describe the genre of grime. It’s a fast paced music with a bounce and energy that enables you to dance and enjoy yourself.

What would you say separates your sound from other producers?

I bring a different style that no one has brought to the scene so that’s what makes people request my music more because it’s rare. If you’re imitating someone else’s style, it’s easier to be forgotten so I try and keep it original.

Which artists are you currently working with aside from Underground Unit?

I’m currently working with Ghetts on his mix CD, Frisco, P-Money, Blacks as well as Lethal Bizzle. I also gave a track to Tinie Tempah and I’m just waiting to see if it gets added to the album he’s bringing out.

You've worked with some big names such as Skepta, Tinchy Stryder, OG’z, Jammer etc. Who would you like to work with next?

I’d like to work with Chipmunk, Wiley, Sway, and Wretch 32; those are the main people off the top of my head. They’re talented artists and it would be nice to mix it up with experienced artists in the studio.

Grime artists such as Newham Generals and the OG'z are now rapping more regularly over more dubstep sounding instrumentals but crews such as Virus Syndicate have been doing this for years. Do you think grime artists rapping over dubstep instrumentals is good for grime?

No, because then all the people making grime are not getting the exposure they need. Grime won’t be evolving, it’ll be dubstep, so I think they need to stick with their routes and then everyone will pay attention to grime.

Lots of producers have released instrumental CDs over the last two to three years; Davinche, Terror Danjah, Maniac, Rude Kid, Wiley, Dexplicit etc. Why do you think this is and what do you think has prompted this wave?

I think everyone just wants to get themselves out there because there isn’t that much exposure for producers. For example, if you look on twitter, artist 'A' will have 67,000 views of a track on say youtube and the producer of the track will have 500 followers. Now there's something wrong there if the producers aren’t getting promoted in the correct way, so they’re pushing their own music as much as they can which is a brilliant idea. Big up all the producers putting in the work!

Rude Kid via Twitter recently said that 2010 was the year of the producers. Producers have always been an integral part to the grime scene and ultimately its direction, so would you agree with Rude Kid's statement?

I agree because from my point of view, producers within the scene are going about their business in a more professional manner. We leave our slogans (audio tags) in our tracks so it allows our fans to recognise our music when it gets played so now we’re the hype of the scene and we’re getting the exposure we need. 2010 is ours; Rude Kid dun know!

You worked with General Tank on The Lunchbox and also on your new album Ghanaian Fire. How did the link up with General Tank first come about?

He's my friend but we never really discussed collaborating as we like producing on our own but we tried it out and we made a sick tune ('Ghanaian Fire') so we did another one ('Haunted House') and then we thought we might as well do a CD and see how it turns out. We just made a few tracks and now we have Ghanaian Fire!

Tell me a little bit more about Ghanaian Fire; why you chose that name and what can we expect to hear on it? Is this an extension of The LunchBox or this something different?

G.Tank and I are Ghanaian and both of us make instrumentals that are as hot as the temperature of Ghanaian Fire so we got a distribution deal and now its out for everyone to buy. We released a pre-release called The Lunchbox; six instrumentals, three each. People were going to be waiting a while for Ghanaian Fire so I though I’d sort out a pre-release so everyone can buy it before the main one. First it’s The Lunchbox and then when the main release comes out (Teddy & G.Tank Present - Ghanaian Fire), that’ll be dinner!

Aside from music, do you have any other plans? For example maybe a clothing line or a label maybe?

Yeah, I want to start my own label and also my own website and merchandise so the fans can buy my music. I also want to get into promoting so that we can have more grime raves in order to make the genre can expand. Instead of it staying in one circle, my vision is for our genre to branch out more.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Partially running the scene and being a veteran in the game. I want to be making respectable music that people of all ages can listen to and last but not least, being famous!

Where do you see grime in five years time?

As big as any other genre and it can go mainstream in five years depending on how far grime artists want to take it.

What's next for you after Ghanaian Fire?

I’ve got Wow Bass Level 3 coming out and Teddy Presents - Run The CD Again. I’ll then start looking into doing a vocal album which will definitely be a smash!!!

Teddy & G.Tank Present Ghanaian Fire is out now!