Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beats & Rhymes: FlamesYall Spotlight at Kevinnottingham.com


Here's a nice interview of a guy who has helped me out a lot as a rapper, FlamesYall. He's probably one of my favorite beatsmiths, and I'm lucky enough to rap over some of his jawns. We are currently working on a group album, titled Goose&FlamesYall:StudyAbroad, and he talks a little about it in the interview.

He has appeared on my last 2 projects, providing 2 beats on A Dorm is Not a Home ("Wish You Were Clear" and "Apathy") and producing a bulk of my mixtape Dear Hip Hop, Sincerely Charley Brown (check those projects out at www.gooseohio.bandcamp.com)

I have appeared on two of his albums Featurin'... and LowEndYall (which consists of all ATCQ samples). And he has also released a trilogy of instrumental albums (all of which can be found at www.flamesyall.bandcamp.com.

Producer Spotlight: FlamesYall

by J. Rizzle on November 8, 2010

UK producer FlamesYall has contributed too many projects for KevinNottingham.com most notably Nas & Olu Dara: The Family Remix Album. He has worked with talented emcees like Goose, Keb0, Tokyo Cigar, Logic Rhymes, MC Baz, Ryan Lucas, z1 Tha ESSENTIAL, TommyLux, Black Disciple, Mars, Luke, Duce, and many others. His latest release LowEndYall: ATributeCalledQuest is produced solely by himself. So now it’s time to hit the jump to get to know the talented beatsmith and cratedigger.

Where you reppin?

I’m from a town called Grays, Thurrock in Essex, UK. I’m not sure it’s known for it’s Hip Hop. Certainly, when I was at school/college, there was about 4 people who listened to any kind of Hip Hop/Rap. I think the nearer to London you get, the more Hip Hop heads you’ll find… I’m about an hours train journey away. The Hip Hop population doubles with every mile travelled.

Introduce yourself:

Erm, I’m FlamesYall, a 34 year old Hip Hop producer. I produce randomly and ad hoc when I get an opportunity and when I feel creative. I let it all come out organically, and naturally. (Mainly when my wife and kids are out/in bed…).

Where did the name FlamesYall come from?
Ha ha. It’s an odd one! About 10 years ago, I was asked to perform a DJ set at a local University. My first! They needed a ‘name’ for the flyers. I didn’t have one, so I panicked and said ‘Stu.Flames’! The ‘Flames’ stuck. When I started producing, I wanted to introduce myself, so I dropped the ‘Stu’ and added the ‘Yall’ as an address to the masses.

Main musical inspirations:

I’ve always been a fan of soul, like 70′s and 80′s soul, plus my Dad had me listening to The Beatles and The Kinks, etc when I was little. So I like the ‘raw’ unpolished feel of music – that dusty vinyl feel. My Hip Hop inspirations, is all producers – It is the music that grabbed me, the lyrics came second. I’d have to name The Bomb Squad, Preemo, Pete Rock, Marley Marl, QTip, Ski, Prince Paul, Large Pro, RZA… And more recently, J. Dilla, Kev Brown, 9th, Madlib, ?uestlove, J. Rawls, Zo!… So I guess my style is a mixture of the two eras. Plus, all the independents who do it for themselves in their homes and work hard at the craft. The guy’s on Kev Nottingham’s site have propelled me far more than I would have motivated myself. Plus, I gotta give a big shout to one of my boys, a massive musical inspiration with his hard work, ethics, creativity and beliefs – Scroobius Pip (…And Dan Le Sac).

When did you fall in love with hip hop?

I was aware of a few artists, and a few songs, but when I was 13, I was at this girls house (As friends!! We were 13, yo!) and her older brother had ‘Fear Of A Black Planet’ on vinyl… I remembered ‘Can’t Do Nuttin’ For Ya Man’ from House Party, so I ‘borrowed’ it and listened to it, beginning to end, over and over (Using my headphones as I didn’t want my Dad to hear!). I still have it 21 years later! From then, I was in love with vinyl; record shopping, crate diggin, the smell, the dust, the romance, B Side remixes, coloured vinyl, promo pressings, US Imports (BIG over here…), 7″ singles, Technic 1210′s… You name it, I loved it! You should see my Hip Hop vinyl collection!! I’ve got some classic heat in there!! I remember taping Yo! MTV Raps, every Friday at midnight. It was the only time you would see, or hear, any Hip Hop on the TV or the radio! I mujst have had about 30 VCR tapes full of Ed Lover and Dr. Dre (And T Money). The next era was the Tribe/SV kinda vibe… That’s when it became part of me, emotionally.

Current projects we should be looking out for:

The latest is ‘LowEndYall:ATributeCalledQuest’, my tribute to my favourite ATCQ tracks, re-flipped and rhymed on by some amazing MCs… Quest are my favourite music group of all time.

Previous work that we should know about:

My first project was ‘Featurin”, which was a compilation of all the tracks I’d produced featuring Mcs from around the US and one from Luxembourg! Download here -> files.me.com/stumangan/ hs41pg

What’s your equipment setup like?

My set up?! All I use is my 20″ iMac and Logic. No more, no less. I don’t have any samplers, keyboards, decks, nothing. Just my mouse and my Mac, in my living room! (Plus a big ass sample library on iTunes and a collection of drums…). The first 3 years of my production was all on GarageBand, but I moved to Logic about 6 months ago.

If you had to pick one song that defines your career to date, what song would that be?

One of my songs? I’d say ‘FlameOn’ Feat. TommyLux. It’s the first proper track I put together and had an MC work on… There had been a few in the past (Big up, SkanWon), but this was the first properly conceived and produced one. It also defines what I love doing with my productions, chopping a sample and having a heavy drum sound. After that, the one which I get the best feed back on is ‘Next Message’ featuring Ryan Lucas.

If you weren’t doing music, what would your occupation be?

Well, music isn’t my occupation, so I guess I would be doing what I am doing… I work for Apple, so I guess I kinda have the best of both worlds. I’m surrounded by very talented people at work every day, who teach and inspire me which in turn pushes my music production. If I wasn’t at Apple, if I could choose… I would be a producer. Or a footballer, playing for Sunderland, the greatest football team in history (ahem). Or run my own coffee house/bar which only played the dopest, most beautifullest music.

Why should the readers and fans give you a shot and listen to your music from here on out?

Because I only make music for the love, not the fame. I make my tracks with a nod to the artists who were around during the 21 years of my Hip Hop affection. I want people to appreciate music for music’s sake, not for ends, bling, money, cars, material goods, just for the emotion, vibe and heart. Imagine a world, a life without music – Cold and barren. One of my favourite quotes is ‘After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible, is music’.

If you could only take one record on a deserted island with you, what album would that be?

This is a hard question!! Every album/song has a different vibe to it… I need one that is gonna cover everything… Erm, one that is gonna cover every thought and feeling that I have when I’m stranded on a desert island… One that is big enough for me to sit on and row to safety… OK, either ‘Donuts’, ‘Low End Theory’, or ‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back’…

Tell us one thing that very few people may know about you.

Funny enough, ironically, not many people know I produce… I keep this ‘alter ego’ for the internet and my music friends… I don’t even use photo’s of myself with my stuff (Although I did put a pic of me on the back cover to ‘LowEndYall’… That hurt! Hardly anyone at work knows! And I don’t play my music for my close friends, either… Odd eh? Oh and you guys may not know I’m married and have 2 girls. I’m not your usual hip hop guy on the outside…

What’s next for you?

My next project is with Goose, who is on ‘Featurin’ and also on ‘LowEndYall…’, We’re doing a concept album called ‘StudyAbroad’ which runs 12 tracks long and is a linear narrative of his journey from the US to the UK and back, studying and partying with girls! After that, myself and UK producer BlacKeys should have a tribute to Idris Muhammad complete… Then hope fully some more collaborations with Subwoofer Science – z1 and Ryan Lucas – Those guys are amazing!

Any shout outs or last words?

Yeah, a shout to all the MCs who have appeared on my tracks, a shout to Scroobius Pip, Muttt 3000, Emonomy, Overview, RoscoIlla, a shout to Kevin Nottingham and all the guys who contribute and post, a shout to J. Rizzle, who has been an amazing support for my music, a shout to my 2 daughters, who haven’t shut the f@@@ up while I’ve been trying to type this interview.

Contact FlamesYall via


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