Irish hip-hop is undergoing something of a purple patch right now, with some excellent acts coming through the ranks and making waves further afield.
One of them is young Dublin trio Hare Squead, aka E-knock, Jessy and Tony, who signed a deal with Columbia Records earlier this year and who play Dublin's Button Factory next Wednesday, September 28th.
We caught up with the cheeky
brats young men to find out what makes them tick, how getting drunk before gigs is a bad idea and what they have planned for the future.
Can you explain how you first met and started playing together?
E-knock: Me and Jessy already knew of each other through the internet as we used to upload covers, and Tony was my friend already. We were in Temple Bar one day, just about to get chicken fillet rolls, and we bumped into Jessy. He looked the same as us - black skaters - and we just clicked.
Was music a part of your home life from early on?
E: Yeah it was. I was born in a church, and I was forced to learn how to play the piano for the church as they didn't have anyone. We didn't have money for lessons, so I taught myself by ear.
Who were your childhood heroes when you were growing up?
J: I never had any heroes, it's between myself and E-knock - but I'm starting to gravitate towards Jane Elliot.
You're all from African backgrounds – how much do you think that that flavours your sound and your lyrics?
E: It plays a part; I don't know how big or small, but it does. I grew up in a church - not a typical american gospel church, more African-influenced - so everything I learned to play on the piano was traditional African music and melodies and rhythms.
When did you first realise you wanted a career in music?
E: When I saw Shawshank Redemption.
You've been around for several years at this point, but signed a deal with Columbia at the start of the year – how did that come about?
J: Well… two and half years to be exact.
E: My aunt is Beyoncé, and she was able to make it happen and pull some strings.
Hmmm... well, you've released a single so far, 'If I Ask' – can we expect an album anytime soon?
E: A lot sooner than you think - we have an EP coming out next month, too.
Tell us a little bit about what inspired 'If I Ask'?
E: Nothing, it was all an accident. We’re really, really shit.
Right, so. In three words, describe the minute before you walk on stage.
E: Where is Jessy?
How do you wind down after a gig?
E: I go to a tree and I hug five trees.... nahhh I'm just playing, my parents will think I'm gone crazy. I really just text my brother.
J: I don't. I'm crazy, baby.
What’s your favourite venue to perform in?
Your best and worst gig so far?
E: The best is the one we’re about to play on the 28th in The Button Factory, and the worst was supporting De La Soul in the Olympia. Oh my shit, we were as drunk as the English who voted out of the EU. Hahahah... we thought we were on fire, but we were so bad. Never drinking before a show again. Never again.
You can only have three albums on your phone/in your house at any one time - what three would you pick for today?
E: D’Angelo - 'Black Messiah', William McDowell - 'Sounds of Revival' and Matou Samuel - 'Fongola'.
J: Feist - 'Let it Die', The Internet - 'Ego Death' and Stevie Wonder - 'Hotter Than July'.
You’ve been given €100,000 to spend, but only 1 hour to spend it. What do you buy?
E: Some self-esteem (insert happy emoji here).
What are your ambitions for the future? Any major things you'd like to check off your bucket list?
E: The oath of fellowship awaits for success in comprehensive manners which lies further in man's upper excretion so never contradict what's been portrayed as the strength of the weakest link in order for faith to overcome passion through determination.
Hare Squead play The Button Factory on Wednesday, September 28th. Tickets are €13 and on sale from usual outlets now.