She’s Like When You Free…
Blaze has been popping up on my radar solo and with the rest of House of Pharaohs for the last 3 years. The last 6 months have been ones to watch with BlazeYL. Restarting his solo run at the end of August releasing “Profits”, produced by Honeywood Six. Following up soon after with “Boss”, that’s shutting it down all over London. You could tell with the energy alone from this initial offering that the next year no games were being played and it was work season.
He then came through at my request to shell our Christmas party at Borderline. He’s got an extensive bank of unreleased music, ranging different styles – so the next year is looking even more promising for the H.O.P resident and the collective themselves. I caught up with Blaze about how the group was formed, the new House of Pharoahs x Nyge mixtape, “Seasons” and what’s next.
Who’s Blaze in your own words?
Who’s me? A 19 Year old from South East London, I’m from Kennington. I’m part of a group called House Of Pharaohs, I’m a H.O.P resident. I’m on my music ting. Yeah man, we’re jugging, we’re grinding – we’re ‘deya. Really the youngest in charge right now.
So tell me about Kennington and growing up there, however you want to tell it.
Kennington. Obviously there’s such a culture in South, we’re so close to Brixton and whatnot. For me, the way I grew up, was just ‘kinda learning of others. Not always being the one that always has to talk. When I was growing up I was on sitting and taking stuff in. Growing up in Kennington obviously it was rough and that, South – round them sides it was a bit sticky sometimes still. I loved it though. Kennington where it started, real life.
When did you first start trying to do music?
Man was doing music from school days. Like secondary school days. I used to go Lambeth Academy in Clapham. I went there for a bit, I left there, went to the Brit School. From Brit School it was straight into a whole new surrounding. You know, like the skater boys and that different lifestyle, ‘cos I was just from the hood. I feel like that, ‘kinda brings into my style, not only do I have that hood side of me, I’ve still got the other side of me that combines together to make my sound. Spitting bars back then, especially Brit School at lunch time or whatever, we’ve go out and spark a spliff or whatever, fling a beat on and just be ‘vibsing. I’d hear these guys rapping in a different way, I’d just kinda take it in.
What was the first thing you put out, whether it was Soundcloud or YouTube days, the very first track?
The first thing I put out was on Soundcloud, Soundcloud used to go off – if you know you know. Back then to start your wave, to start your music career – even now I’d say if you’re ‘tryna start out. Start slapping your tracks up on Soundcloud. Obviously back then I feel like Soundcloud was a bit more popping than it is now. But yeah man, started out putting a ‘lil one, two tracks on there. The first one I put out was with a producer called Tariq Disu – he’s an artist as well, shout out to him. I started off just going to his bit (his house), and feeding off the energy that was there – ‘know what I mean? To be honest, I wasn’t even writing back then, I was just free-styling ‘cos that’s all I knew from secondary. I just used to go to sessions, I had a spliff, I was high, you know when you’re high, things just flow off your head. I was just in a vibe. Check that though if you haven’t heard it, Playaround – my first track.
So you was making music before you met the House of Pharaohs lot?
I was always around music, so I could say yeah I was doing music. But I don’t think I ever recorded a song until I met the mandem. I was always performing and whatever, so doing auditions and this and that.
You were into dance before right?
Yeah yeah, I mean it was more like musical theatre. You know, Thriller Live, Michael Jackson, all of that ‘kinda stuff. I came up off all of that yeah, when I was younger though I knew I was only doing it for the bread. Music’s always been in me but I didn’t know how to bring it out as much.
Who was the first person you met from what would come to be House of Pharaohs?
I’ve known Nish from back in the day. Nish knew Sam, we started to get close, found out Sam was from Kennington. I was like 13 or 14 at the time. Sam knew AJ, he was around a couple others at the time like Kevin. Sam and AJ kind of brought us all together ‘cos they went to the same school. Norwood. At first it wasn’t even a group ‘ting we were just like “Rah let’s roll together, it was more of a mob thing. We was known as the guys that would come to your party and turn your party up. One day AJ was like we should do this music ‘ting and then yeah. We were at Nish’s house going back and forth with names, I think Mally, Mally Chinks out of no where just came up with House of Pharaohs. We always knew it was ‘gonna be House of something because there was such a big group of us, there were more members back then.
That’s a little bit about House of Pharaohs and where you came from. Tell me about the first time you felt a proper buzz or reaction from something you or the mandem dropped?
The mandem been popping! We’ve been known, but music wise we got a little buzz off “SixShots”. We were different with it, no one in the UK was really doing it like us. We were jiggy with it. The one that everyone went mad at though was “1:11.” That one there went different still. That solidified for us that people really rock with the mandem ‘cos we’re so different. Go check 1:11 if you haven’t seen the video for it. That one really put us on the map.
So just about takes us to where you’re up to now. The last year or so you’ve been putting in a real solo shift. I think the first track I came across was a Blaze a feature. K-Trap came up spitting back-to-back with Mischief. The first track I heard you on was “Nokia” with Misch. These times I didn’t even put two and two together and realise it was Blaze from HOP. I think the first time I heard HOP was on a radio show maybe, maybe Radar?
Yeah yeah you can cut that one still.
Must be time later now, I’ve obviously seen the music video for “London’s Finest.” Which was obviously sponsored by Nike. Time goes by, then you pop up again, you do, “She gimme Oouu” with Riley JH, tell me about how you two met?
How did I meet Riley? I think he just hit me up he wanted to do a video for me. “On and On” I think it was the first proper ‘certi one. I forgot how it happened, but he just hit me like “I fuck with you I ‘wanna shoot something” So yeah, he came through with a camera and we shot that on the ends.
Then there’s “Hit A Lick”…
Yeah that one come around mad still. Shout out Haze Productions for producing that one. Him and Ty Savage, he’s an up and coming artist aswell. Recorded it, got Honeywood to come and shoot it, so that was when I first started fucking with Honeywood. He sent me a couple beats, and said he wanted to film some stuff – that was how me and him ‘kinda got into it.After that one would be “Profits”, this is the first one I heard that made me realise that something special was going on.
After that one would be “Profits”, this is the first one I heard that made me realise that something special was going on.
That one there came about real naturally. Honeywood was sending me a couple beats, he just started elevating in his production ability. He was getting a bit harder, at first he was sending me things – and I remember thinking like this ain’t really it. When I started seeing the progression, I was like – nah this guy can actually go far and his beats are hard. I went to his yard one day, just fucking around. He played a couple joints, and then Profits. He was holding the beat for someone else originally. Then he said “Nah you’ve got to have this one ‘cos I’ll know you’ll fuck it up differently. That was a good one, we came round to shooting the music video for that one. Shot it in his bits. You can’t not flex to that one.
Then “Boss” comes through to finish your year with a slap.
My bro TenHush, it’s mad you know. I’ve never met him in my life, he shouted me ‘outta nowhere.
Can you imagine if you didn’t check that email, wow..
Brooo, if I didn’t check that email, I don’t know where I’d be right now. From before I even dropped a hook on it I knew it was a banger. Boss came around real naturally, even the video. I just shouted BKAS, shouts to them. They knew from jump that it was a banger, that’s why they were so on doing it. I went Chucks’ yard, linked up with him. Went to his bit in North. I had everything there, so I laid all the vocals that day and Chucks’ mixed it down.
When you heard the final mix did you know what it would do?
There was something in that track, from the vibes I was getting when I was previewing it. I could just tell. I wasn’t even trying to make a jumpy track like that it just came. Properly organic.
So let’s chat about the party. How was it performing there, obviously that was like 300+ people.
Your ‘ting? Basement? Woah the Christmas Party you already know, I knew from the jump. Actually tell a lie, I didn’t. When I saw the flyer and that I was like yeah, cool. When my manager told me –
Shout out G Lo, “One phone call from G Lo if they wanna talk business then it’s business.”
But yeah man, he ‘kinda showed me about you man a bit more. At first I was like yeah, quick booking. Quick show, I didn’t even think too much of it. But when he told me that Basement are ‘kinda big, pretty verified, I was like yeah. Until I got there and I saw the types of people that were going. All these jawns, all these man. I was like alright, it’s popping like that. I thought nah, when I got there, I had to bring it. Shut it down quickly.
Broo that night was a good night. Everyone came out, bag of man on stage. Security were on us the whole night to empty the stage but…
Trust me bro haha.
HOP Tape? Coming soon right?
Yeah man, like I said. I’m a House of Pharaohs resident, as well as the solo ‘ting. Me and the mandem have got a joint tape coming with Nyge. House of Pharaohs x Nyge. That shit’s called “Seasons” You get me, bangers loaded. It’s gonna be crazy, when this tape comes out it’s really gonna put us on the map. It’s gonna go off bro trust me. We’re not no boyband, we’re a collective and when we bring our sounds together it’s mad. Yeah man, Seasons.
What’s next for Blaze?
For me bro, it’s straight work. Straight music. I mean dropping music and videos. I got one single and a video coming out soon. If they’re lucky, if the receptions good. Maybe a little more, a little EP, Album or something. I’m not on no fake shit, everything I’m saying is real. Narsaaaye.
There’s some tracks you’ve been playing me that you already know you need a feature for and who you want on it. Not mentioning any names. Are there any artists that you know you could do a madting with?Recently and UK Based?
Anywhere? Boy, you know I gotta get a track with my n**** Gunna though!
Obviously there’s a lot of American artists I fuck with but from London – I don’t know, there’s a couple of artists I fuck with but I don’t really mess with anyone on a big scale like you were saying. I’d rather fuck with someone that’s real with it, you know what I mean? Shout out my guy L3 we got something loading. Chris da Prince, JatzTheKid a load of underground artists. Obviously my brother Loski, I’ve known him for a minute. I Grew up with him, me and him could probably do something sick still. Me and Mischief have worked together already but we have more shit in the pipeline.
Photography by Vicky Grout
Styling by Daisy Deane & Libby Carradice
Produced by Morgan Lockwood – James & Vicky Grout