RUN IT UP DOUBLE UP
It’s July 2018, it’s hot – the day of Lovebox. I’m at my house with our mutual friend, Walid. We’re showing each other music. He’s played a track. The intro is mad dark, then all of a sudden these trumpets come in, the beat is slapping and I’m asking him to pull it up. Fast forward to December 2018 and I linked up with Kasien + Kelvin Krash off the back of their release, “6FT UNDER”. After hearing it ringing off in every party I’d been at, it is definitely the start of a new era. Kas and Krash came through to office, we sat, caught a vibe and spoke about their journey so far. I wouldn’t even call this an interview, this is just the product of an honest, hour long conversation
Who is Kasien in your own words?
(Kasien) Who’s Kasien? A ball of passion, no discussion. That’s it.
(Krash) An expression of the name. Everything I do, represents the name Krash.
The sounds, the visuals, it’s all Krash. So I just try and portray that imagery in everything I do.
Where’d you grow up?
(Kasien) I grew up in South London, between Clapham Junction and Streatham.
I also lived in Nigeria for 3 years from the ages of 14 to 18.
So yeah, I got kicked out of my school when I was in year 9, went out there and then came back.
So that was really like my teenage years, my pre-teens were more in like South.
Obviously growing up in South London, 14 is obviously a crazy time to move somewhere with a completely different way of life. Being a street-smart 14 year old in South London and then being on the streets of Nigeria must have been a wild transition. How was it for you?
(Kasien) Trust, I mean my school was alright man – I went to BTG. It was in an area where there was like, Gipset, Krept and Konan and that. RA and all of them man. There was a lot of gang stuff going on, there was members in my school. More time teachers would call people by their tag names and shit. It was like that, but I was in a situation where most of my family members were about that life, so I got my street-smarts from them. When I’m at school I’d be dibble dabbling in it, and then when I went home they were really doing it and encouraging me not to, so I ended up doing dance, to try and keep away from it, it was there but it was well guarded from me at the same time.
So by the time you came back from Nigeria I guess, you were kind of over even wanting to do any of that shit?
(Kasien) Straight up! I went through some shit, my Dad just passed and my Mum was remarrying the same year. My Mum wanted to go to Nigeria for a fresh start. I was in a bad place obviously with my Dad just passing
Do you take any musical inspiration from Naij?
(Kasien) 100%, I used to be one of them kids, I used to write grime bars. All the older kids would be like “Yo come down and spit something” They were all in year 10 or 11 going mad, I musta’ been like year 8 or something thinking this is kinda lit you get me! I thought it was cool but I was never really taking it seriously, my Dad was a DJ so there was always music around the house.
When did you first experience with music properly, in the studio?
(Kasien) There was this rapper from P2J Project in my school who was in year 10 who was properly taking it seriously. He had his tune all up in the Top 10 on Channel U back in the day and shit.
(Morgan)If you had your tune on Channel U back-a-day you’re the guy. I can’t even imagine being in school”
(Kasien) That’s what I’m saying. I remember because he was on TV, the teacher used to allow him to use the one studio that they actually did have for recording. They used to leave it for like an hour after school for him. If you get picked by him it was a thing. So one day he picked a bunch of young guys and I was one of them. We went through and I was just like, shit this is madness! So that was my first time properly in the studio. I was like 12 or 13.
Over to you Krash, my guy. Where did you grow up and what’s your mix?
My parents are from Ghana, born and grew up here in North West London, in Willesden.
(Liv) Really?! North West Gang.
So, I went to primary school with Nines and shit.
Laughter breaks conversation again.
(Krash) Yeah I know it’s hilarious. So yeah, I was always moving around, I was always in West because a lot of my family are from West. I used to go to my cousins house, Dot Rotten, Ice Kid all of them lot would be there. I’d just be in the room soaking it all in. They’d be going on Pirate radio and shit with Wiley and shouting me out. “Big up my little cousin”
So I’ve just been around music and stuff from early. Like, even when I was in secondary school, all my friends would be like, what music is coming out? So I was always aware of what was going on. My brother started producing because my cousin was doing music, so I kind of just got into it.
Whenever he’d go out I’d sneak into his room and try and make a beat. These times I’m like 14. Then I’d be like, “Yo listen to this!” He’d just say “What are you doing in my room!?”
I’d be like “Please man just listen to this!” He’d hear it and be like this is actually alright. I was just doing it for fun –
(Krash) Oh wow, who’s playing that? You’re a madman. Very very rare Tommy Wright tune. Wow.
(Tommy Wright – Still Pimpin plays in the background)
So when did you properly start experimenting with music as well?
(Krash) I guess when I was about 14, my brother had a studio in the house – he kind of broke the ice for me to do anything like that. Do you know what I mean? He got in all the trouble, staying late after school. Going to radio stations and shit, basically just being the bad kid. So it made it easier for me. Making noise in the house. I was like 14 and I had tunes with Ice Kid so it definitely made it easier for me. Just MSN days, I wasn’t really taking it seriously still. I was just having fun really. It’s cool that I didn’t know what I was doing, maybe I would have approached it differently. I had about 300 beats before I played anything to anyone.
I guess being comfortable with yourself first is the best way to master your craft, that way you don’t really care by the time other people come to hear it. It bangs and you know it bangs.
(Krash) Word! When I was playing beats I was like this is my best one out of everything I’ve made, you better like it!
So when and where was the first time you actually made something that someone actually put something out?
(Krash) I think the first time I made a tune – like I’ve made songs before this, even me and Kas had made tunes before this but like the first time, but like being in a big studio.. I think that must have been when we was doing the P+F Tape’s. We were in a big studio with a big mixing board and engineer. It wasn’t one man on a tune it was bare man from London called “What’s Next”. It turned into one of those things they used to do back in the day, what did they call them? A train of..
(Kasien) A cypher?
(Krash) Yeah yeah yeah! I thought it was crazy you could spark that energy just from people being in the studio and vibing.
(Morgan)I think that’s where a lot of artists are going wrong for me these days. Too many man think using type beats from Youtube is making music. Or email music. It’s a good starting point yeah. That’s not creating music though and the product is nothing like what it could have been.
(Krash) Yeah facts, I much prefer being in thew studio. Cos’ I can play you 50 beats in the studio. But I can send you 5 or 10. To find out what you really like, you need to be in the studio. You can watch something that’s got nothing to do with music and be inspired like that.
(Kasien) Yeah then you can go straight into it.
(Krash) More time that’s how we make shit, we just be chilling and yeah.
(Kasien) Yeah it’s just a back and forth.
This ones kind of to both of you I guess. Artists and producers both working on the full track together has a completely different outcome than just laying your lyrics on his beat. The artist knows best what sounds they like so isn’t being present while its being made more organic than jumping on Krash’s final project.
(Krash) It’s just a back and forth. Even how he like, delivers his bars. I’ll be like “Ah, maybe you should say it like this” I remember one time. We was in the studio and it had no windows, it was bare hot. Then I was like rah, this is slyly making the tune hard. Cos’ we’re hot, frustrated and this room had no windows. Kas was like “Open the door!” And I was like “Nah we’re not opening the door, let’s keep it hot.” It brought out like a next energy. And yeah, that energy went into the song, it was kinda mad. We bounce off each other, we’ve got a good working relationship. Some people, you try make tunes with them and you’re just like, you’re not on my wave.
(Kasien) A lot of people bring a lot of ego to the studio. In order for you to collaborate, the ego just needs to leave the room. You need to respect each other just as much and be able to go back and forth. I need to be able to listen to him he needs to listen to me.
So obviously, you both just dropped “6FT Under”, which is doing the mad ting right now. At every party. It’s been played at all the brand events. I think the first time heard it was back in July, the morning of Lovebox. Walid was at my yard, and he must have showed me one of the first mixes. I just remember bobbing my head and saying, “Bro who is this?” He just kept saying don’t worry. Weeks are going by now. And I still had no idea.
(By the time of this articles release Kasien has performed the song across Europe and even in Nigeria.)
(Kasien) He was actually the only person there in the studio when we were making it. He was there for the vibes.
(Morgan) soon as I heard it, I knew how people were going to receive it, So did Walid. From your perspective, how’s the reaction been.
(Krash) It’s been been sick, I don’t really know what else to say.
(Kasien) I dunno, leading up to it was like –
(Krash) We didn’t know what to expect.
(Kasien) These times there’s a lot of stress going on, in real life. We’re tryna’ put the tune out, and the tune – is like having a fucking yout. We just wanna put the shit out and get it out there and we’re having distribution problems. As you would know.
(Krash) People are like approaching us and saying the tunes sick rah, rah, rah. We’re just like, go away, we’re just going to put it out. With no stress. So the fact it gravitated to people is sick.
(Kasien) I remember the first proper performance. We did at KoKo, we had no dressing room, no rider. But we still got there before, sat with the lighting lady, made sure all of the visuals were right. We had matching blue and green hoodies. The venue was PACKED, it was sold out. I remember getting a bottle of some butters drink and I just swigging it. Then I saw Krash warming up and turning it up so I was like fuck it lets get it.
(Krash) I just remember thinking, I’m here. I remember saying to Kas, I can’t believe we done it so perfectly.
(Morgan) So, you obviously did all the visuals for the performance as well, but you’re at the peak of visual artistry when it comes to videos.
How long have you been doing videos?
(Krash) I’ve been doing videos since I was like 17. I was bunking school to go to Dexter’s house. Dexter Navy, he does sick videos. So I used to go to his house, just chill and edit videos for him and shit. We’d go to the shop and buy snacks. Yeah like, I dunno – I was always interested in videos. It comes hand in hand with music. I was shooting stuff for random people. You know, like Mikey Trapstar. That’s why I was in West London a lot, cos of that shit. I was just trying to be around cool stuff. I always had a camera, so people would always let me into places, just because I had a camera. I’m just the little kid with the camera. Then I just kept doing it, more people were like asking me to film this and that. That’s really how I met Rocky, just from filming shit. Someone was like, “He wants to film something in the studio.” I went to the studio and then he heard about the rest of everything else.
(Kasien) Man said you just brought the camera that’s mad.
(Krash) That day was the maddest day, I just came back from Amsterdam, I was living there. I was like fuck! I don’t have a camera, what am I gonna do? I went on gumtree that same morning, I had 80 Euros, no Pounds. I found this guy, went to Whitechapel – he had 2 cameras I said to him, “Bossman I’ve got no pounds, take it and just give me the camera.” That same evening he was like, Rocky’s in the studio he wants to film something. There was one tape on there that the guy left in there. He texted me like, “Yo, there’s a tape in there with some stuff on there, could you bring it back?” I aired him and that’s the video that got me to develop a proper relationship, that – was a mad day. I dunno who was controlling that shit.
The baitest of questions but, how did you two meet?
(Krash) I dunno, we kind of knew about each other –
(Krash) Cos like, he was doing his thing, I was doing mine.
(Kasien) It wasn’t like a big wave, but you know like the circles. Our friends, the people we were around.
(Krash) There was always like, one person between us. Imagine our friend Uzzee was always in West so Kas was there and I was always in west. We’d see each other and be like wagwan but we wasn’t really doing anything. Before the music.
(Kasien) We’d speak and whatever but whenever we’d meet it’d be out.
Thanks to the guys for running with us on this idea.
Words by Morgan Lockwood – James
Photography & Styling – Olivia Jank
Produced by Morgan Lockwood – James