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Playin’ Me: Cooly G

It’s an exciting time for South London artist Cooly G, aka Merrissa Campbell. She has been a strong presence in London’s dance music scene for a few years now with highly regarded releases on Hyperdub, her own label Dub Organizer and DVA Music, to name a few. Cooly G stands out from the crowds of similarly hyped producers in that her talent stretches way past the beats alone. Her exquisite vocals have been a part of her music since day one, and in her forthcoming album there’s a real focus on the aforementioned.

Next Wednesday, June 13, Koko in Camden plays host to the next of Tiger Beer’s celebratory event series; ‘Tiger Beer Presents: The Hidden Depths Of Hyperdub.’ Label boss Kode9, special guest Laurel Halo, Actress, Scratcha DVA, footwork DJs Rashad & Spinn and Cooly G will be providing music on the night. Head to the Facebook event for more info and ticket details.

In anticipation of the night, we had a quick chat with Cooly G to talk over Hyperdub, details on her album and aspirations to write music for film.

Hi Merrissa. Can we first talk about the Hyperdub x Tiger Beer: Hidden Depths event. You’ll be playing a live set, whats the idea behind it? And how long have you been doing it?
Its basically just arranging the tracks on the album, and performing them in a certain way. I’ve been playing live for about a year now, so i’ve been learning a lot; how to do the soundcheck, about the equipment, getting the mic right, how to carry my stuff, there’s a lot behind it – not just the performance.

How different is the sound to your DJ sets?
Man it sounds very different to my DJ sets, there’s two different ones I do. The one i’m doing now, is performing the album so it’s quite laid back. The other one is mainly beats and effects, they’re very different.

The line up spans from juke in Rashad & Spinn, to a more experimental sound in Actress. Do you think that’s what Hyperdub’s all about?
Yeah it’s quite dramatic to be honest. Everyone’s different and doing there own thing.

Which of the artists on the label do you associate your sound with most? Do you play a lot of their tracks?
Definitely Kode9 and Scratcha DVA. I’ve started playing a King Midas Sound a lot too. I’m into Darkstar and Martyn too, obviously they’re not so much with Hyperdub though.

Is there quite a strong bond between the artists on the label?
Yeah, it’s great – when I first joined and started going on shows, everyone was so nice! We’ve become like a family!

I’ve just had a listen and noticed it features your vocals a lot more than previous releases, was that something you particularly had in mind? It’s wicked by the way!
Yeah, I wanted the album to be more something you can chill out to, and get to know me through the music. When I’d made like ‘Phat Si’ and stuff, they were all heavy weight kind of tracks. I think the album is better to zone out to.

You’ve just released a compilation on your label, Dub Organizers. What’s coming up for the rest of the year?
Basically there’s a volume II to the compilation, with all the same artists and more. After that we’ll start doing their solo EPs.

Now you have an album out, a live show and a label; what’s next?
Yeah the live show’s popping off now, I want to make tunes for films next! There’s so much other stuff too!

Interview: Richard Akingbehin

Cooly G’s album ‘Playin’ Me’ is released on July 17 on Hyperdub Records.