MC Carasel serves up ‘Dreams Of Paradise’, his sophomore album featuring a string of guest producers from the Drum & Bass scene.
We caught up with the man himself to dig a little deeper and find out more about how the album came together, his writing process & of course his memories of the late, great MC Skibadee…
2nd album dropped this week & it sounds great! It must feel good to have it out there?
Thank you! It’s a very caethartic feeling letting it all go after a long build up. It has been put together through hardships and pain, personal suffering spliced with absolute elation and joy.
The last couple years have been wild!
How long has this project taken from start to finish? 13 tracks is a fair amount of work
So we started talking ‘Album’ before the birth of my first Son, I was steaming into it making great progress then the pandemic hit so at first that was helpful as it gave me lots more time to work on it!
Then Leo (my son) arrived which was incredible but we quickly realised something was not right, he was later diagnosed with serious liver disease & we were told he would need a transplant. We ended up staying in hospital for over 100 days in Birmingham!
Obviously this was so hard to deal with we came so close to losing him on a couple occasions and even when we got home our world was flipped upside down with all the extra meds and care.
I guess this is a long way of explaining that it has been super hard! It’s taken longer (for obvious reasons) than I liked but we got there. You will also hear me talking on this on the album so the experience also helped form the tone.
D&B Producers Doing Hip Hop
This is a hip hop album but you’ve bought a lot of people from the drum & bass scene onto this album, hence us talking about it here. Crissy Criss, Jam Thieves & Break on production, MC’s Inja, DRS, Navigator, Harry Shotta & Dynamite on vocal duties. Was that a conscious decision to cross the streams?
I live and love D&B! I’m out in the clubs every single weekend so naturally a lot of my collaborations are found from this side. I also love hip hop and the freedom it gives me to be more expressive and create songs with deeper range of content rather than bangers for the club.
Don’t get me wrong I’m determined to do this with D&B too I have firm sites on a vocal album but it was the space I was in at the time, you make a few tracks and things take a direction and shape.
All the features on the project are people I love and respect and all bought their A-game.
Crissy Criss & Break came with some serious beats for you! How does that process work, are they write the tracks specifically for you, or did they have the instrumentals for you to choose from?
Me and Crissy did a tour of America and he played me some bits from the archives, the guy he is sat on so much fire and I couldn’t understand why it’s not out there, so I just convinced him to let me loose on them.
Crissy has probably an albums worth of hip hop with huge artists! I am not sure if they will ever see the light of day but maybe me shouting about it here will spark the match!
Break had been mentioning to me he had some hip hop beats for me every show we did together for what felt like a couple years! After a while It was almost like he was teasing me and I’m like don’t mention them to me again unless your gonna send it!
Eventually he did and what a blessing! Good things come to those who wait. Break also mastered the whole album, guy is a genius.
Tell us more about the writing process. Do you start with a concept or does it start with a freestyle and build from there?
Some beats just instantly inspire, some may have hooks already done so that gives direction and on rare occasions the producer may give you an idea which I always like because I enjoy the challenge of being told to write about something.
It’s actually mad how often especially in D&B I have been inspired by the name of project file the producer sends me, it’s often the only spark I need and I just run with it.
You’re just as apt spitting over both D&B and hip hop, do you have a different approach to writing for each genre?
Just that with hip hop I’m trying to craft songs and drums I think about hyping a lot more and I may write a sharp 16 with lines that might build or increase an impact of the drop but on tracks I am thinking about the whole song.
I write a lot of D&B tho, anyone can (and should) pick up any of my studio mixes on my Soundcloud and you will struggle to hear any bars repeated.
Nice to hear UK rap legend Rodney P on the album! If you could work with any MC / producer, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Jeeeez big question, on the D&B side I would love to work with Calibre, make something timeless.
Hip-Hop wise it’s gotta be Premier! Everyone wants a primo beat right?
MC wise it is harder to pick one, the list is endless I’m a huge fan of so many but I’m gonna stay positive and say anyone alive is still a goal so I’m gonna say the 3 Bigs! Pun, Notorious and L.
Listen To Dreams Of Paradise
MC Skibadee’s Influence
Finally the D&B scene lost the legend MC Skibadee this week. How influential was he to you as an MC?
Man this week has flattened me I actually wanted to move my album release date because I was so upset & doing promo felt so irrelevant and insincere but I couldn’t.
Skibba is the GOAT let’s be clear, to be at the top from pretty much the moment he came in to when he left us is unbelievable.
Every part of my journey he has been there smashing it from the moment hearing d&b for first time, to scribbling rave line ups on school text books before we could even attend with his name at the top, to the legendary tape packs sessions to my first rave Sanctuary Helter Skelter when I blagged my way in at 15, he was the big pull for me.
He is an icon and I recognise without him, there is no way I MC today and if I did would MC culture even be where it is? It’s a such a huge loss.
Any stand out memories of him that will stay with you?
Obviously we have the track together ‘Headbanger’ so I’m very blessed to have made music with him, the day recording the video was so much fun and we were catching so much joke, shouts to Critical Impact and Jakes.
I remember going b2b with him at Warning a couple times with Crissy Criss and Hazard.
From a raver point of view their are so many! I remember him and Det in all white at global gathering lighting up the stage.
I used to rave at MC Conventions, SAS at Brixton Academy, One Nation, watching him collect numerous awards at Accelerated Culture, so many memories every time he landed on stage it was fireworks and he was like a vacuum that sucked in the crowd I am not sure whether we will witness something like that ever again.
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