Interview #04 - Jonny Steele

Blitzing stages with his vocal ballistics Jonny Steele always brings a unique catalogue of flows to the Bristol Hip Hop Scene. If, like us, you're a fan of good vibes, extensive vocabularies & old video games, you're about to add another all encompassing element to that list. His latest album 'The Death Of Loki' dropped recently. We held an inquest, these are the findings.

Q. What was the first rap you ever heard?

The first rap that I probably paid attention to would have to be MC Hammer… obviously Stop, Hammertime! Ever since I saw those parachute pants; I was enthralled, it took me and I thought, I wanna be like that guy.

Q. Which Hip Hop album did you first get your hands on?

My brother had vinyls, 3 main ones I remember him bringing them back one day; it was Queen Latifah, De La Soul & Public Enemy. I remember vividly, being on my bunk bed, looking at the vinyl covers and being like Wow! As it was a very Christian household I wasn’t allowed to listen to em, so I had to sneak around to have a little listen to them on the record player.

Q. Where and when did you first get on the mic?

I used to go to church and I used to be in the gospel music club. When I was in that I had a beautiful voice… then, as I got into my teens, my voice broke and it all went downhill from there.

Q. Who’s in your crew and who else are you working with at the moment?

In my main group, The Scribes, is Ill-literate (rhymer & producer who I’ve known since primary school), Lacey (our Beatboxer) and DJ Kenny Hectic (playing nothing but the coolest Funky House), they all live down in Plymouth. I’m the only one in Bristol and a few years back I met up with my boy Astro Snare.

Q. New albums out, ‘The Death Of Loki’; what influenced the title?

Cleaning out the closet, so to speak. I wanted to use a load of old raps that had been hibernating for a while, when I met up with Astro Snare the beats just fitted perfectly. Loki was my previous name and now I’ve gone back to Jonny Steele, it was good to get out all my old wordplay and battle raps and now I can put it to the side and move on o my new stuff… progression!

Q. You have a verbally acrobat rhyme style; do you put in a lot of practise or does it all come naturally?

Bit of both. Growing up listening to American rap and being heavy influenced by it was a good starting point. By the time I was old enough to get on open mics, UK Garage, Jungle and Drum & Bass had come through, all these different influences were going round. The main thing was being able to just jump up and do it. Playing more live shows, I get to practise more but things can sometimes go wrong (with equipment, sound etc.) I’ve had to work on my freestyling. Basically from things falling apart I’ve become very easy going with music.

Q. If you could collaborate with any artist (past, present or future) who would you choose?

Pharaohe Monch… his delivery and wordplay made me realise what rap was all about.

Q. What’s in store for 2014?

We got the new Scribes album coming very soon and my next album - ‘The Birth’ with Astro Snare. Plus there’s some nice collabos coming up and working on another new Scribes album. It’s gonna be a busy year!

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So next time you're out and something hit's your eardrums faster than a speeding bullet; it wasn't a bird, it wasn't a plane it was most likely a speakerful of Jonny Steele. You can call on the caped crusader using the links below:

Follow Jonny Steele on Facebook 

Buy 'The Death Of Loki' Album

Listen to The Scribes


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