Interview by Chris Fishlock
One year since his release of the infamous ‘Red Is Not Dead’ EP I caught up MC Amalgam to talk about what it’s like to be a french rapper based in England, politics and collaborating with folk punk bands…
Cat On The Wall: You recorded and released ‘Red Is Not Dead’ EP under new label Downtown Digital and you were the first release, did recording somewhere new and on a label that’s brand new did that affect the sound of the EP and the experience recording?
MC Amalgam: The actual people behind the label have been doing it for a long while, Patch Harmonix and Kyzro-P both have years of experience so it was a really professional. It was even easier than using most studios as it had a really friendly feel, it was chilled and professional at the same time, no pressure, we took our time and made sure we did what we wanted to do.
COTW: Recording with people you’ve known and been friends with for quite a while do you think that makes a better recording?
MC Amalgam: I didn’t know Patch for so long but I knew Fabian for a long time, I think it can be up and down, to know someone you can be familiar with them and let yourself go but maybe not have the consistency or professionalism that you have with someone you don’t know. I think I had good professionalism with Downtown because Patch and I only knew each other for a year or two only through music and professionally where as I knew Kyzro-P for ages as a friend so it had a good balance.
COTW: How was releasing the EP on a new label, how have you released in the way you have?
MC Amalgam: We released through bandcamp to start with because I wanted to release the Red Is Not Dead EP for either free or really cheap in a way the mentality and the way it’s been done is that it was meant to be accessible to a wide of audience as possible, as well as to be available as it’s my first release a lot of people don’t deal with physical copies any more, it’s not really a choice anymore, you have to release digital copies. It also makes it less difficult to release in more than one country, I released my EP on an English label but I wanted it to be accessible to French people as well.
MC Amalgam: It’s both interesting because I get to really work on the performance, music and way I sound a lot but it’s really really frustrating as well because I think I’m a good writer and it’s a shame that a lot of people are missing out on what I have to say, some people come up to me outside of gigs who tell me they find me interesting and that I’m passionate but it’s a shame that they can’t understand what I’m trying to say, but that’s why I’m trying to work on as many ways for English people to have access to a translation of my lyrics but we’re working on having a real time translation of lyrics during my gigs.
COTW: How do you feel an English crowd differs from when you’re playing to a French crowd?
MC Amalgam: With French crowds they understand what I’m saying so people appreciate more what I have to say, in England I get the novelty effect which can play in my favour as well.
COTW: You collaborate often with a folk punk band called Will Tun and the Wasters, how did this come about?
MC Amalgam: I had seen them live once quite randomly and I spoke with Joe in the first place and ended up putting them on live at a charity gig and during their set Will Tun broke a string and while he was replacing it, the drummer and the bassist did a little jam so I grabbed the mic and did a little rap and after the gig we spoke and said let’s do a collab at some point, which happened at another of their gigs and it just snowballed from there, it was all pretty natural we didn’t really think about long term or what was going on, we enjoyed working together and did it bit by bit and ended up collaborating quite a lot.
COTW: You’re soon to be releasing a collaborative EP with Will Tun and the Wasters, what can we expect from it?
MC Amalgam: It’s gonna be four songs, ‘Red Is Not Dead’ ska version, the Will Tun and the Wasters song ‘Raggamuffin MC’ and two remixes, the first one a hip-hop remix of ‘Gypsy Road’ by Patch Harmonix, I’m gonna rap on it and Ivo [bassist of Will Tun and the Wasters] is gonna rap on it. The forth track is going to be a surprise remix which I’m not going to say by who, it’s going to be a surprise. I think it’s going to be a really eclectic EP.
COTW: How was recording the new EP and how does it differ from recording ‘Red Is Not Dead’ EP?
MC Amalgam: We’ve been playing the songs live since summer, so I think the songs were pretty laid down before we went to the studio, the actual recording of it was pretty easy, Patch did a really good job producing.
COTW: Communism and Anti-Fascism is a strong theme in your music and imagery, where do your views stem from?
MC Amalgam: My music reflects me, or more specifically my personality, I’m very politically engaged and charged on a day to day basis so my music just relects that, it’s not something I try to make or push to be like, I live and think with my political consciousness, it’s not really a choice to make my music political it’s more because I am.