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Hearing All That with Goldfinger & Tigs

We catch up with Goldfinger & Tigs to hear all about their massive new track ‘I’m Not Hearing That’ and loads more from the MC and producer.

With their new track I’m Not Hearing That, out now on Raw Tactics, Melbourne based producer Tigs teams up with Manchester’s finest Goldfinger for a high octane anthem full of quick fire rhymes on top of warped bass and synths and the massive track goes hard. We caught up with both Goldfinger and Tigs to hear all about I’m Not Hearing That, how they came to work together, what the response to the track has been like so far and the anticipation of live events coming back as well as delving deep with both artists about their music, how they got started and what they have coming up in the future.

You have just released your track I’m Not Hearing That. What has the response been to the track so far?   

Tigs: The response has been great, it’s been good to have the track out and have people putting in their playlists / radio shows

Goldfinger: It’s been amazing as I’ve not had so many DJ’s go out of their way to tell me they like a track for a long time. The number of Playlists it has gone on alongside household names and “established stars” of the scene too is a real plus.

How did the creation of the track go and did you work remotely with the pandemic going on?

T: Goldfinger is Manchester based and I’m now In Melbourne, Australia! The basics of the track were down when I sent it over to him once he laid the vocals down we worked through time zones and Whatsapp calls until we were both happy with it.

G: Yeah Tigs is in Australia and reached out to work on something together so it was a back and forth process making little changes along the way. The track you hear now isn’t too far off the original idea but I did a bit of editing on the track which Tigs was cool with and I also brought in Keyz Kartel, a producer friend of mine who gave the track a once over and some input too.

How did you both link up to start working together?

T: I made the beat with Goldfinger in mind and sent it over to him for the collab, he liked it so we continued making it together

G: Tigs reached out and said he had a track that he made with me in mind. (Flattery will get you everywhere with a narcissistic, ego-driven rapper). I was really impressed with the track and that someone had created something especially for me that was exactly my personal taste too. In general I’m happy to work with anyone who’s music is quality. I’ve known people who place reputation or fanbase size over everything when it comes to collaborations. They’d literally check their numbers of followers and make a decision before even listening to the track and I absolutely hated that mentality. I believe in quality over everything and loyalty to those that actually support you.

Have you got any plans for new music together at any time in the future?

T: Yeah we are just finishing off the next project now, that’s gonna be for his label ‘Case load’ – after that we have a few more we are planning on working on

G: 100%. Tigs is currently mixing the next one as we speak and I’m recording the one after that this weekend.

Would you consider doing a full EP or album together at all?

T: If people want it yeah, personally I enjoy doing regular singles & Instrumental releases right now

G: I’d love to make an album with Tigs but we are both independent artists managing ourselves so at the moment it’s important to stay busy and have projects continually rather than one EP and then that’s that for the next 6 months.

Are you looking forward to getting I’m Not Hearing That played out a proper system when it is safe enough to again?

T: Yeah definitely, it’s always good when you hear your music through a sound system, clubs are opening up here again so hopefully it won’t be that long

G: Yeah for sure, I think I’m Not Hearing That would have been one of those tracks that got the crowd singing along throughout so lets just hope it’s still being spun when events open the doors again. Plus the bass is a madness so it would be a good test of who has a proper sound or who is moving with a tin pan sound.


How do you think that the global pandemic has affected Bass music when it comes to its live scene?

T: The live scene has definitely suffered, I think it’s made musicians more inventive with how they stream live and interactive more with people who listen to their music  – I also noticed a lot more music has been put out too which has been a positive

G: Massively, from a financial perspective obviously a lot of people have lost out on money that comes from live shows and really I feel for them. From a music appreciation side I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing though because it’s given everyone the time to step away from the whole cliques and cool kids scene. It’s become more about individuals collectively appreciating music rather than the highest profile DJ telling people what they should like. For the 18-21 year olds it must be like hell though. A whole year of not going out to clubs and festivals was unthinkable at that age.

How do you think it will recover as things start to return to normality?

T: I don’t know. It’s a slow and unknown process isn’t it?! – I think people won’t take live music for granted as much that’s for sure!

G: I think young people are resilient and will be out in numbers the first chance they can get. I think not having it for a year will make this generation more than any other really appreciate going out and making the most of the time that they can. I can remember as a kid being told you can go out next week or missing one night out isn’t the end of the world. If you’ve been on lockdown as an 18-21 year old you’ll never want to hear that again

We talked to Goldfinger about the other music he has released and what he has planned for the future as well as his influences, how he got started as an MC and highlights of his his time in Virus Syndicate and beyond.

You have had a prolific 2020 with a number of big tracks released like Off With His Head and Get More Likes. Did you want to be as prolific as possible with everything going on over the past twelve months?

Yes, that was the plan for sure even before 2020 I felt like I could and should be doing more.  So I made the decision to get shit done and not wait around. I felt like I was wasting a lot of time waiting on other people and I remember having a moment of clarity where I was like I’m getting at least a release out every 2 months in 2020. I was actually sat on the beach in Dubai at the time (first holiday in years) and was Whatsapping a couple of people I worked with like ‘yo we gotta up our game and be consistent’. Unfortunately they didn’t really have that same energy but I definitely wasn’t waiting around.  So yeah, when Covid-19 & lockdown hit I was already on the mindset to focus on releases anyway so it kinda worked out well. I just kinda thought with more people at home they’d have more time to listen to music

Do you feel re-energised as an artist?

Yeah I feel like those releases in 2020 have helped to put me on the radar with people who probably didn’t know I was putting out solo stuff. I’ve had quite a few approaches to work with Artists and Labels and that’s exactly what I wanted to achieve. I think as a solo artist, it’s also given me the confidence to know that I can create music people like without the platform or in some cases the shield of the collective.

How has your new music been received?

So far so good I mean publicly I only really get to see the positives. I’m guessing I’m not likely to hear too many negatives though. I mean you usually just keep it moving and skip the stuff you don’t like and feedback on the stuff you do like.

It’s mad though cos you do get people going out of their way to tell you they like something and I kinda use that as a guide that they weren’t as into the other stuff. One thing I will say is some tracks have done a lot better than I expected but they have all led to new opportunities. As a solo artist it’s almost like a 2nd life because I’m able to do things I just couldn’t do as part of a collective. I’ve always been about concepts for every track up until now I had to try to squeeze my whole concept into16bars or guide the others to follow my vision without encroaching too much on their creative freedom. Don’t get it twisted it was great to be able to work together and bring different elements and thought processes together, but this is a whole new experience and the response has been great.

Have you got any more music coming this year?

Yes definitely, I got Covid-19 in January so it totally slowed me down for the first three months of 2021 but I very much intend to carry on as I did in 2020 with releases every 2 months as a minimum. I’m sitting on a few releases now it’s just about getting everything in place to put it out and as I’m doing everything independently, it does take a bit longer than when you have agents managers publishers and labels all working with you to achieve your goals.

Are you looking forward to playing  live sets again when you can?

100% I love performing and love all the preparation work that goes into a live show and seeing an audience react to your music is the best possible indicator for how well you are doing. To hear some of the tracks I’ve been releasing on a proper sound system is gonna be goosebumps – (Providing they don’t clear the dancefloor)

What is the set that you’ve performed that sticks in your mind as the best you’ve ever done?

I’ve done quite a few that were really good shows. When you are doing a different country every Friday and Saturday you forget where. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so word perfect performances, amazing crowd reaction and responses were always my favourites. Global Gathering and Sundown festivals stand out in my mind as great performances in the UK, and then I remember one event at the Moulin Rouge in Paris where I absolutely smashed it if I do say so myself! Paleo festival went really well.

What were your beginnings as an MC?

I started out rapping/mcing at what we called the blues or a “shubz” short for Shabeen. Basically an after hours party. We would be “working” out of a house on the estate. Today people call them trap houses and at the end of the week we’d throw a party or after party there. Those places were hot as fuck, Guns everywhere, pitbull dogs and some of the most dangerous people you could imagine and then there were the girls looking for a badman. Over the years I’d bought a load of equipment so I was always responsible for setting up the sound system and sourcing the DJ’s. Most of the DJ’s in Manchester were too shit scared to ever come there but you had one or two who really didn’t give a fuck and the odd friend who was a bit naïve. After a while they became the places all the up and coming DJ’s and MC’s wanted to be able to say they were playing at. Everyone had their own little team and their own “lick shot gaff” or bases around the city so the parties would rotate between them. Then there would be the ones other people held at other ends like in Cheetham hill, Rusholme, Hulme, Longsight or Levenshulme. I could go to most of those parties and be able to grab the mic as generally I was welcomed as someone who could spit. It wasn’t always positive though a good few people got shot at those parties and a few were killed.
Fast forward 2 years and I found myself on holiday at “Her Majesty’s Hotel”. (Another story for another interview) But once I came home I decided to take things a bit more seriously. I went college to study Music tech and started working with a few friends from school and some other guys who were their mates. We used to practice out of one the DJ’s – DJ Dre’s bedroom at his mums. We decided to become a collective and Virus Syndicate was born. By this point Dre’s Mum had enough of the noise so he got himself a flat and we moved practice there. Initially there were about 7 of us and over the years more members joined like Plastician & JSD. We used to travel down to London every week and had a show on Rinse FM as well as a midweek show on Manchester’s Unity Radio. We did that every week before we started getting bookings at the big Grime events in the UK. Following that, we had album releases under Planet Mu and started touring even further afield. By the time we got to our 3rd LP we had set up our own label whilst the touring continued even further. We visited the USA and travelled all over Europe as Dubstep became the biggest sound coming out of the UK.

Who are the biggest influences on your style as an MC?

I take influences from all over but Wiley has to be one of my biggest UK influences. Growing up he was the King of Grime the MC everyone wanted to check out on the tape packs and CD’s. I tried to draw influences from other Mc’s and Rappers too though. As a kid I grew up listening to Master P’s No Limit records and a lot of West coast Hip hop. Artists like Mystikal for his speed and energy, Kane and Abel for their storytelling ability, Master P for his Delivery, C Murder and Soulja slim for their realness. I also really liked the double time abilities of Twista, Bone Thugs, Tech 9ine, and Busta Rhymes and then that laid back comedic approach of Eazy E, Snoop Dogg and Devin the Dude. As I got older I really started to listen to Jay Z more. His commitment to intelligence whilst still being a hustler was something I always wanted to emulate. I was schooled by Jamaican dancehall artists and sound systems who placed an emphasis on ensuring the audience were engaged and dancing, Jungle/DnB MC’s who had stage presence and delivery, Grime MC’s who were able to craft more of a recording artist style in to their performance and then rappers from the US who had the ability to create a structured song.

You started off as a member of Virus Syndicate. Do you look back on your time with the group with fondness?

Yeah it was a great period in my life and definitely taught me some valuable lessons. To be honest I was from a very different background to the other guys in the group so being a part of that helped me to slow some of my road shit down a bit. There were some great experiences that being with friends really helped me to make the most of. Every tour date and every gig was like a boys night out or a holiday with the man dem. I know DJ’s who are touring on their own and talk about how lonely that can be. I never experienced that side of things.

What are some of your most memorable moments from your time with Virus Syndicate?

I dunno I tend to move on quite quickly from each experience and can’t easily recall all of the memories. I know we had a lot of fun though. I can remember once we were playing in Miami and decided rather than go back to the hotel fuck it we’d just go to Venice beach as it was across the road. After a few hours we all fell asleep and didn’t wake up until around 2pm. I was fine, I’d never had sunburn and I guess me being the only black guy helped me! But the others, Nika D and MRK1 were fucked! Like seriously fucked (lol) and none more so than JSD who woke up looking like Harvey two face! Literally one side of his face and body got completely cooked purple. He went into shock and all sorts and had to stay in bed for three days. We called out a doctor who said it would be $3k to help him. We decided that was a bit too expensive so J might have to die. We gave him some Aloe vera, a bucket of ice and left him to it. Fortunately, he lived! I can remember at the airport when we were coming home, everyone was staring at him. He had boils and blisters and all sorts all over his face not a pretty sight. We obviously thought this was hilarious!

We have had some amazing events where the hospitality was amazing Gold plated beds in Russia, 6 star hotels that I didn’t even know existed and then other gigs where the promoters wanted us to sleep in the garage on a bunch of gym mats with blankets. I said it looked like a wank pit and I’m not sleeping in there – I’d heard of doing it for the love of the music but that last one was a step too far and I completely lost my shit with the promoter!

We made every experience a laugh. There were a lot of wild nights, messy mornings and missed flights. My birthday weekend usually resulted in the best events though. Once upon a time someone decided to put on an event in a strip club in Leeds with all the dancers working too.  The whole club singing happy birthday was surreal. That was an amazing experience. Afterwards we all went back to the Hilton Hotel. There were so many of us staying that it worked out that we’d booked out a whole floor. I’m not sure if it was coincidence or they put us all together to keep us out of everyone else’s way. But we had the whole floor. I’d stayed there before and remembered they had a 24 hr pool as well.

I bought bottles and bottles of champagne for the afterparty. My uncle knew a guy who knew a guy who “conveniently arranged” for quite a few boxes to fall off the back of a lorry so we had about 30 bottles of Moet for the pool party. My birthdays were legendary! In fact now that I think about it the Miami “Harvey two face” incident was on my birthday too.

Do you feel that Virus Syndicate were one of the first from outside London to bring shine to that dark grime/dubstep sound?

Yeah 100% we were pushing the sound from the start. We wanted a sound that allowed MC’s to perform and actually say something meaningful.

Garage what was there before was very much about fun times and female singers. We liked the tempo but the sound wasn’t really the direction we wanted to go in. Garage had tracks like “Sweet Like Chocolate” but we were more influenced by Oris Jay/Darqwan “Brand Nu Flava” and “Said The Spider”. Oris was MRK1s Mentor and lived in Sheffield where Mark lived at the time. Oris played a massive role in pushing our name. I can’t thank him enough! Back in 2004, an album called Grime came out on Rephlex records and I think other than 4 tracks from Slaughter Mob all the other tracks were either from Mark one (MRK1) or Plasticman (Plastician) both were Virus Syndicate DJ’s and Producers at the time so technically it was a Virus Syndicate production.
Those sounds heavily influenced our musical direction for years and paved the way to a more Bass heavy dubstep sound. When Virus Syndicate started out there was only us outside of London. By the time the Grime Album came out we were already on Dubstep. I remember we had our own night in London at the time and invited this new upcoming artist from Leeds to come and play at it. He was called Rusko and turned up with some demo tracks on CD one of which was called Cockney Thug. I still remember me doing the equivalent of a one man mosh pit in the club. Moshing wasn’t the done thing in those trendy London clubs! But yeah, I’d like to think as kids coming up we did our bit to bring a shine to the sound.

Did it make you feel proud to rep Manchester with your music and does it still continue to do so?

Yeah, It’s a proud feeling. I see a lot of artists from Manchester who are doing amazingly well and enjoying pop star level success today. Knowing that, the journey all started with me travelling up to London every week. Or being the first Grime MC from Manchester that a lot of people will remember is a good feeling. Most of these artists won’t have a clue and probably won’t even see the part I played in opening doors for them but I’m not here for nostalgia. I just want to see the scene move forward. When I got into this I always said it would be the generation after us that saw the real paper but as long as I still like the sound of the production I’ll continue to put my bars down. And like I say, as a solo artist it’s almost like I’m the newcomer.

We also talked to Tigs about his beginnings as a producer, who he would love to work with in the future, his prolific work output and the bass scene in Australia.

Have you got any other new music on the horizon that you can tell us about?

I’ve got a few projects…a few more with Goldfinger we are working on. A release every other month from myself is what I’m after. I’ve also been able to put more time into my label ‘Raw Tactics Records’ this year so watch out for some of the artists coming out on it – Lenzez, Zemon, Angus Green, Dubzta & Fork And Knife!

Your release output has been consistent, are you constantly in the go making music?

I try to be yeah! Even if it’s just an idea, get it down and build on it later down the line, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Having a label gives you more freedom with releases – that’s definitely helped with that

Who when you loved working with the most and who would you love to work with in the future?

I enjoy all the collabs i’ve done so far… especially the vocal ones as it puts a new dynamic on the track that wasn’t there before! ‘Peppery – Silent’ tune was a good example of that! It’s cool seeing how other people hear your music and what their spin on it is  – Work wise people i’d like to work with are Kano, Sam Smith, Jamie xx, Ghostface…that’s just a few there’s way to many

Do you find it a therapeutic experience to make music?

Making music’s fun and it’s a great release, going in with an empty logic project, starting with a basic idea and seeing where it takes you is a buzz – Sometimes you come out with a tune and sometimes after a few hours you can just come out with a shady Kick drum sound…. I think a lot of producers can relate to that one though.

How did you get into production in the first place?

I used to be in a band when I was a teenager, every time we went to a studio I was the annoying one sitting next to the producer asking what all the buttons did and touching stuff….they would ask me to sit on my hands! – when I moved to Brighton I got a laptop and realised you make tunes on it that was it..I’ve upset a lot of neighbours and housemates learning how to produce along the way haha! The programme I use for production is Logic.

You’re originally from the UK but now based on Melbourne. What are the similarities and differences between the Bass music scene in the two?

It’s similar but on a much smaller scale obviously! It’s pretty influenced by the UK sound… before covid a lot of decent UK artists were coming over to play Australia so it was good to be able to check them out – I do miss the proper raves and festivals though it’s not quite the same

What are your music plans for the rest of the year?

The plans to build on the label ‘ Raw Tactics’ more and start working towards an album for next year. I’d love to get a multi genre album out there with some good features, kinda like what Chase & Status do.

What tracks of yours are you the most proud of producing?

Goldfinger –  I’m Not Hearing That {Prod by Tigs} ….of course!

The first tune I put out too ‘Brap’ on Slime Records – that put me in touch with a lot of the garage heads and my first plays on radio

Has grime always been an influence on you as a producer?

Yeah I remember we used to sit in my mate Blake’s car listening to the Sidewinder tapes and it blew my fragile little mind, so that whole garage / grime crossover sound has always been a big influence. I think it’s good to not get boxed into one genre though

What have been some of the highlights of your career so far?

Playing Garage Nation & Secret Garden party, DJ Impact giving me my first live Radio interview on Flex and recently getting settled enough in Australia to be able to slowly build up a home studio…now it’s hard to get me out the house!

I’m Not Hearing That is out now. Buy here.


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