Roska im Interview

Funky mag hierzulande jenseits von Dubstep-Parties a la Sub:Stance noch nicht ganz angekommen sein, das gerade auf Rinse FM erschienene Debüt-Album von Roska könnte (und sollte) das ändern. Der ehemalige UK Garage MC ist im letzten Jahr endgültig zum Aushängeschild der noch jungen Szene avanciert. Tracks wie “I Need Love”, “Love 2 Nite” oder “One City” fühlen sich nicht nur in jedem House-Set und im weiten Feld von UK Bass Music wohl, sondern haben auch ein ungemeinen Pop-Appeal. Ähnlich wie UK Garage Ende der Neunziger (nur das Funky nicht ganz so frivol-champagnerlaunig ist). Der Hype auf der Insel ist groß. Haben die Majors schon Blut geleckt? Wir haben Roska, der gerade in den USA auf Tour ist, ein paar Fragen per Email geschickt.

You are on tour in the US at the moment. How is the tour so far? It’s not your first time over there, or is it?

This is my first time in the United States and Canada. The tour is going very good. I am happy with the response I am getting when showcasing ‘funky’. I think a lot of people can relate to funky if they have listened to garage, grime and dubstep.

What’s your crowd over there like? Are there already local funky scenes or do you rather play house/dubstep nights?

The crowd seem up for anything, which is good. They’re into hearing new sounds. The promoters over in the States are helping to bring the sound in as early as possible to the US and Canadian crowds. So by bringing me over it helps me and the night to educate those who have heard the sound but need to hear more or hear it live in order to understand it.

Funky has made huge waves in the last year. It seems to me, that one of the big achievements of funky is that it made house music appealing and cool to grime and dubstep kids. Thanks to funky, house is being played on pirates again. How did you get involved with house? What attracted you to the sound?

I started listening to funky house in 2006 same time i was listening to broken beats. So it came hand in hand when i decided to ditch grime and garage for it. Funky is an in between of grime, house and garage, like i said, so it helps these scenes come together. House has always been on the pirates through the likes of Circle and Clairvoyants, who play a lot of deep house music and push it to the masses. And because that sound is part of funky, people, who want to hear more of that sound can go down that route to explore it a bit more.

Was there a point, when you thought to yourself ‘Yeah, here is a scene and a sound developing, I wanna be part of that’?

Nope. I just stuck by my sound and kept working on tracks and releasing them until listeners and DJs understood what I was doing.

What were the main influences on your way to develop your sound?

My influences come from far and wide, I have a background of soul, reggae and hip hop. Then in my later years drum and bass, garage, grime, house and broken beat.

You started out as a UK garage MC, which, like your sound, had a strong affinity to house (I am thinking of people like Wookie or MJ Cole). Do you think that funky is a way of reclaiming a few sonic paths that got left behind after the music went back underground and got darker (and eventually became grime and dubstep)?

It’s too early to define what will happen to this sound. it depends on where everyone would like to take it and if it will work. Because at the end of the day we do this for the crowd and they decide if its good or not.

In the late 90s there was a big hype surrounding UK garage including major labels trying to cash in on it and squeeze as much money out of it as possible. Do you see parallels between the development of UK garage and funky? What are the challenges this young scene is facing at the moment? Is there a danger that it becomes too big too quickly?

Funky needs to stay underground. Major labels don’t even know what they want. They don’t do what we do, so they come in when they see hype and fuck off when its ‘dead’. Funky is not big enough yet to become mainstream. A few artists got a single deal but to be honest they wasn’t promoted correctly and didn’t do as well as the ‘funky’ scene wanted it to do.

What are the most exciting developments for you within funky (or dance music in general) lately?

My Album which came out 5th April. We need more releases that will help the scene a little more.

I’ve read that the kids in Norwood, the part of London you come from, like to shout your name on the streets. You are a hero for them. It all happened quite fast, innit? What do you make of that?

I don’t know if they do. I keep my self to my self, so i wouldn’t know. If they are, I hope I am making a good example to them. in doing something positive.

Do you still MC every once in a while?
Na, I gave that up time ago.

Future plans?
Working on a second album, i have a release from DJ Naughty called “Firepower” on Roska Kicks & Snares, plus I am doing a release with the Numbers label alongside Untold called Myth.

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