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Linguistics interview

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Having toured stages all over the world, from the heights of the British Airways i360 and Shangri La at Glastonbury to Loco  Loco Cantina in New Zealand. Linguistics has spent years of hard graft honing his craft.  Mic man for Friction and an outstanding MC, he’s just as versed in the world of hip hop. A true lyricist with a superb flow and delivery, he truly lives up to his name. Having caught him on Channel 5 discussing the coronavirus, we decided it would be a great time to hit him up with a few questions of our own.

Thanks for agreeing to the interview, firstly I just have to ask how are you getting on? On your Twitter you mentioned you were not feeling too good… how are you feeling now?

Yeah, I’m doing much better thanks, just trying to adjust myself to a new normal like everyone else… feeling a lot more settled than I was.

You have always been very open talking about your mental health and have been very supportive of others in the scene doing the same. How closely do you think physical and mental health are related? Have you got any advice on either to offer our readers during such testing times

Yep, providing a world where people feel like they can talk about how they are feeling without the fear of being judged, is something I feel very passionate about. I will always do my best to try and contribute towards making that world a reality. I see so many people opening up these days, a lot of high profile people with big influence and followings and the positive difference that makes is immense. It will save lives, it’s so powerful. People are slowly starting to realise that physical & mental health are the same thing…they both impact each other. You let one slip then it will impact the other, so it’s important to look after both.

I think in times like this it’s important to let people move at their own pace. What we are effectively experiencing is a worldwide collective trauma and it’s important we recognise that people deal with trauma in different ways. Some people may want to go in on their fitness, some people may want to lock themselves in the studio for 20 hours a day, some people may want to hustle harder than they ever have & come out of this as a yoga expert who’s learnt two new languages. That is their way of coping and adapting.

But then there are people who may want to slow down for a bit and take some time to process their new way of life which is also fine. I see a lot of posts on social media at the moment ‘Now is your time…’ …’If you don’t come out of a lockdown a better version of yourself then you were lazy’. That is completely untrue. If you’re privileged enough to be able to do all those things above, then good for you, go and do it and be proud of your achievements. Just don’t shame other people who can’t.

My advice is to do what you can to keep yourself as happy and healthy as you can, and if you feel like you need to ask for help at any time, then that is absolutely fine. A worldwide pandemic isn’t a time for competing against each other, it’s a time where helping each other is needed more than ever before.

You were heavily involved in the Get Ahead festival and you’re currently project manager for them. Can you shed some more light on these please and let us know of any current/future projects? Have they got anything planned/in place in support of the current social distancing guidelines?

Yeah, I’ve been part of Getahead since it started in 2018. It’s a community where people come together to share tips on wellbeing and how they look after themselves really. One of the things we do is a festival where we have speakers and performers from all over the world join us to talk about their experiences and share them with everyone. Obviously, with everything that’s happening at the moment a festival in its generic sense isn’t possible so we have decided to launch our first virtual festival. It’s similar content to what we have at the regular festival but we’ve asked people to film their classes and talks from their home and we’re going to stream it live to the world on Friday April 17 from 10am. It’s free for everyone and you can get a ticket here.

You’re also a massive advocate of running. I run myself and have to say it has definitely been a lifeline throughout this. Are you still managing to keep it up? Any tips for beginners?

Running is great! It’s something I really fell in love with. Unfortunately, I’ve been injured long term so I can’t run like I used to but hopefully I’ll be able to get back to it one day! The best advice I can give to anyone starting is to forget time, forget distance, it doesn’t matter AT ALL. Just lace up and get out. Also, look into joining a running crew (which is not a running club).

I really liked your latest Instagram post in which you mention in light of everything going on your own anxiety levels have actually dropped. It’s great to see positives in what are clearly hard times. Have you seen any other positives coming out of all of this?

I’m hopeful that a lot of positives will come out of this. On my mum’s road, for example, they have a Whatsapp group so people can stay in contact with each other. The clap for the NHS is a prime example of people coming together. The realisation of how lucky we are to have the NHS and all of the incredible people that are keeping it going during this pandemic is another positive and I hope people never take it for granted again. Extraordinary circumstances unite people and I hope once all this is done, that ‘in the same boat’ spirit is something that sticks with us.

Touching on that post again you say that that the corona outbreak has helped you put things in perspective and develop an ‘I don’t give a fuck attitude’, particularly relating to certain fears in your life and your career. You mention both material output and the idea of a live hip hop show, are these things we can look forward to seeing when this all blows over?

Yes, 100%. I’ve put it off for too long because I’ve been too scared to do it for many reasons. It’s definitely something I’m going to push myself to overcome. I’ve been working on a lot of new music so there are no excuses now 🙂

How do you find balancing your love of hip hop and drum & bass and how much do you feel the two cross over?

I’ve never really thought of love of different music genres as something I needed to balance really. There are certainly elements to d&b and hip hop that are linked, the most obvious for me being that they both have MCs and vocalists that are an important element to both genres. I’ve got a huge love for both.

How’s learning to mix going so far? Always great to add another string to your bow, any other projects on the go?

The mixing thing is on hold for now… I’ve got a friend who’s going to teach me once this is done. Me and Ad-Apt actually had a little mixing sesh once. He’s a lot better than I am.

Off-topic but I just need to ask how that Channel 5 interview came about?

I got put through to them by a good friend called Grace who also has a big part in Getahead.

We also have a handful of questions we are asking everyone we speak to – a sort of quarantine question time. What are your three lockdown essentials?

Laptop, PS4 with Fifa, crisps.

If you had to self-isolate with one other d&b artist then who would it be?

Be a bit harsh if I said anyone other than Friction here wouldn’t it… would be good to have Flowidus there with us as well if possible, although that would probably be dangerous.

How can fans best support their favourite artists while social isolation is still recommended?

Buy merch, buy music direct from them, lock into streams, share and like posts.

What are your top 5 ‘Tunes to quarantine to’ ?

Not sure I can do single tunes! Friction’s podcast (not just saying that, it’s actually really good), Loyle Carner – Loose Ends, Anything by GLXY, Frankie Stew & Harvey Gunn – Breathing Exercises and the
Commix, Eksman & Stamina set from Warning.

Any lockdown projects you would like to share here…

I’m working on a d&b EP and a hip hop project as well. Also got a single coming with Flowidus and TREi as well which you’ll hear about soon.

What long term impact do you think the Coronvirus will have on the d&b scene worldwide?

I’m not sure, I think it’s going to take people pulling together to get us through it and out of it. Promoters, agents and artists are all going to need each other once this is all done. We will get through it though I’m confident. Drum & bass isn’t going anywhere. I can’t wait for that first rave!

Honestly, how many toilet rolls do you have in your house right now?

I think we’ve got about 10.

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Jake - Tenth Letter - Kmag writer. Resident DJ for Kmag, Circles, Good Riddims and Rompa's Reggae Shack.

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