Exclusive Mix & Interview
May 17th, 2018
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Reggae / Dub / Soul
The Hempolics. Introduce yourselves to our audience.
Yo. We are The Hempolics, a band that started up in London. We write, record, produce, and mix our own music in the basement of Grippa's house in Greenwich. There are normally 6-7 of us on stage. Craig Boorman on drums, Lorenzo on bass, Leon King on Guitar, Dandelion on vocals and melodica, Nubiya Brandon with Vocals, and when he’s about, Dandelions older brother Harry Collier, sings a couple of tunes and does guitar too. And yes, the gang leader Grippa on Keys, Samples, and Vocal FX.
What connections do you share with each other that makes your relationships so special?
There are quite a few connections that make us special, I reckon. Craig and Lorenzo are best of friends. Leon and Dandelion are also best friends. Nubiya and Grippa are best friends and she also goes out with Grippa's son Blue, who also takes the photos for the band. It's pretty different. It's a family for sure. A gang to be exact. We are all pretty close and I think that it definitely comes across when you see and hear us live.
" There are quite a few connections that make us special..."
Tell us about your most recent European tour. Any special moments you’d like to share?
The tour was cool. A hell of a lot of driving with just one of the Mondays off from driving. Met some really nice, cool people again and rocked quite a few of the venues. Everyone seems to want us back, so that's good. We got pulled over by a load of German police on the motorway and got taken into the services where there was more of them and they went through the van for drugs and guns, asking us ”What is the name of the your band?” Grippa had 10 grams of Amnesia down his pants, but we all got out of it with no problems and drove to the show.
Studio sessions. Any rituals you have that get you started in practice or before & after a show?
Well before the shows, Nubiya does her vocal warm up scale thing. Grippa has a few fat ones. Dandelion has a little skinny joint. Craig has a couple of beers. But overall, we don’t really get that nervous before shows. Just look forward to performing and learning the tracks even more. The energy goes up in the dressing room before a gig and the banter goes up a few notches, so we are all pretty synced when we hit the stage.
What’s it like being a musician in one of the most expensive cities in the world?
It’s really actually quite hard. We are lucky because we have the van, but if we had to piss around with taxis… Having the studio and the live room also help as it cuts down on hiring rehearsal and recording rooms. Venues don’t pay as much anymore and a lot of them have closed but we always love a home gig as we have some amazing fans and the energy is off the wall.
"We are all pretty close and I think that it definitely comes across when you see
and hear us live."
Can you tell us about some of your upcoming projects and collaborations?
Yes. We have just released a 12" vinyl with our version of "Riding for a Fall" with an instrumental, and a new riddim we wrote for Nubiya to voice. She started to write something new to it and then she stopped and said, "Hold on let me try something out." So I went back to the start, dropped her in record and literally in one take she did "Come as You Are" Nirvana lyrics. One take, done. That's what is on the other side of the release. We also nearly finished an EP with Dubmatix in Canada, which should be ready for the summer. And just today I was recording a Hempolics version of one of my favorite records ever "Fu-Man Chu" by Desmond Decker. That is gonna be released for some trojan ting soon.
3 tracks you each can’t live without?
Fu Man Chu - Desmond Deckker
Nature Boy - Nat King Cole
I’ve Got the Soul - Carlton and the Shoe’s
Trash - New York Dolls
Africa Rankin’ - Dread
Best hemp products store in London?
Alchemy on Portobello Road, west sides. It is the only one I know of and have been to in London. CBD Oil is getting known about more and more every day by people.Every fucker is chatting about it over in Europe now. Grippa uses it every day and it's great stuff. Good hemp paraphernalia shops are hard to come by nowadays. Camden has a few that have been around for years.
The Hempolics, in a few sentences. Tell us about this mix you made for us. Where did you get your inspiration? Is there anything special you want the audience to know?
The mix we have done for you guys was really inspired by you guys from Smelly Feet Records by asking us. That was proper nice of you to ask and it kicked our arses into doing one after talking about doing one ourselves for a while now. We wanted to mad it up and have some fun with our collection of Hempolics productions. It's all about preparing so I prepared the day before and went through all my dats, film clips, and all the Hempolic wav’s - everything that we wanted to maybe try and put in the mixtape.
We also got some of the acappella’s off our album and tried them on other instrumentals we had done. Also, put a few remixes from Hollie Cook, Mannassa, Jstar, and Dubmatix in the mixtape. They are all our friends too! Also, some unreleased Hempolics specials to spice it all up! The two new covers we released on record store day "Come As You Are" & "Riding for Fall". I also dropped in a live recording of "Serious" we did with Redbull music at Christmas on a rooftop in Dalson.We play to a click so it was easy to mix in to the instrumental of the original into the live recording. Also shot the Macka B unreleased remix of "Ever Played a 45" plus shit loads more bad boys as you will hear. Hope you lot think it's dope, because we do! Respect from the UK. Big love.