After years of making a ruckus up in his hometown of Manchester, local legend Chimpo is finally starting to get some much deserved recognition further afield. Festival appearances and a gun-finger inducing Boiler Room set have built up a wave of momentum that is about to capped off with the release of the ‘Frontline’ EP. Coming on Marcus Intalex’s Soul:R, the label’s grimy vocal led title track is backed by a unsurprisingly brilliant rework from Calibre, the anthemic ‘Buzzin’ (a collaboration with Skeptical and Dub Phizix) and liquidy roller ‘All Over’. Showing production skill with bags of personality to boot, it’s on course to be one of the Drum & Bass releases of the year – dropping this Monday 15th July.
To go with our exclusive stream of ‘Frontline’ feat. Fox, we caught up with Chimpo for a chat about monkey suits, grime and Home & Away…
Hi Chimpo, thanks for chatting to us. Where are we talking to you from today?
I’m on the roof.
The Frontline EP is dropping soon on Marcus Intalex’s Soul:R, just to explain to us how the whole release came together and what to expect from it?
Marcus (Intalex) signed ‘Frontline’ with Fox and sorted out Calibre doing a remix. Me, George and Skeppy had ‘Buzzin’ done ages ago but it wasn’t signed so George suggested I put it with ‘Frontline’ and make it an EP. I made ‘All Over’ for the EP as the final track.
Two of the tracks on the EP (three if you include the Calibre remix of Frontline) feature hard hitting vocals. How important do you think these are to your work?
Yeh, well Fox is an awful vocalist. The worst. Somehow I managed to make him sound okay on ‘Frontline’ so I left him on there. My verse on ‘Buzzin’ was supposed to be on the next Beyonce single but Jay got jealous and blocked it so it ended up on this.
Things are changing, but traditionally Manchester is associated with bands like the Roses, the Smiths etc. and House music. For those who aren’t in the know, just explain to us the scene that you grew up in?
I literally grew up with all my friends in school trying to MC like Trigga and Bassman. I was the only DJ at my school so everyone would come mine and I would mix Jungle and all my mates would MC. A bit older, we got more into Hip Hop and would all rap and I’d do really bad scratching.
There’s a lot of different sounds to be heard in your work and DJ sets, from Dancehall to Garage and of course Drum and Bass. What was the first music that really grabbed your attention when you were a kid?
Jungle and Hip Hop from young. Then Garage came around in my last years of school and I got into that. I only really got mega into Dancehall when I left school around 2000.
You featured on Big Dada’s excellent Grime 2.0 compilation. How closely do you feel associated with Grime as a genre and what or who was it that first got you in to it?
I never felt part of the scene particularly cuz them guys live Grime. They do like 45 radio sets a day. Grimes never been my main thing. I just love it. And a lot of the big producers, DJs and MCs have had nuff time for me so big up them. Sick guys.
A recent set on Boiler Room was dominated by your own dubplate versions of tunes. How important do you think it is for a DJ to be carrying these kind of exclusives with them?
Its Reggae/Dancehall culture init. I love all that stuff man. I just like being able to play things that no one else in the world can play. I’m never gonna be as technically lordly as EZ unless I start practising 10 hours a day like him. I’d have no time to cook chicken. It’s not gonna happen but my one-away dubplate specials mean I can still walk in the rave like Lennox in Belly ‘Who wan test me?!!’
The video for your collaboration with Enei, ‘Headtop’ sees you clowning around in a monkey suit on the streets of Manchester! How much fun was that to film? Did you get dodgy looks?
That was one of my favourite days of the year. Too much fun. I got a couple funny looks but that old lady who opens her back gate near the start, she was loving it. I need to give her a knock.
We know about yourself, Dub Phizix, Skeptical and Strategy, who else from around your way should we be keeping our eyes on?
Skeppys not from our way. We’ve tried kidnapping him and his Mrs but they escaped. They’re the best though. Others up ere though – Fox, Trigga, Skittles, DRS, T Man, Chunky, Rolla, Metrodome, Fabz… Theres too many. I’m getting dizzy thinking. It’s overwhelming. My little sis Problem Child is the visual don too. She’s does graphics and photography for nuff of us.
We saw you play at Gottwood last month for Hit and Run, how was that? What was the rendition of the Home & Away theme tune all about?
Aww shiiiit.. I just got caught up in the moment. I cant remember a particular reason for doing that. I remember it fully went off though when I dropped Pulse X when the chorus licked in. Big forward.
Any plans to hit up more festivals this summer?
Yeh, Outlook in Croatia and Sun n Bass in Sardinia. Avoid me. I’ll be a nightmare.
What are your plans musically and personally for the rest of 2013?
Get a monkey. Do a tune with T Pain. Bring sexy back…