The Nextmen

The album "Get Over It" has been 3 years in the making, but it's well worth the wait. The follow up to the critically acclaimed debut "Amongst The Madness" Dom & Brad bring in a host of MCs and collaborators including Rodney P, Dynamite MC and Cutty Ranks. Jumping and fusing genre's together it sees the duo expanding on their hip hop stylings and bringing in dancehall, drum & bass and breakbeat influences on an album which is seen as a mere stepping stone to the cutting edge 3rd album. Designer Magazine caught up with the guys to discuss the plethora albums they're working on at the moment including an acoustic album, breakbeat album and a hush hush production job on a well known rock band.

Q: Cambridge - not the exactly the hip hop capital is it guys?
Dom: The thing is there are a lot of people from Cambridge who are involved in music, but most of them leave when they're in their late teens because there's nothing you can get on with. You have to move somewhere else to expand your career if you wanna do music. It never gets any props at all because people leave and because it's not famous for anything else other than the university. The University runs the town and they don't want it to be famous for anything else than the university

Brad: It's surprising the amount of bands and producers that have come out of Cambridge. Tim Lovely and Groove Armada through to people like Katrina and The Waves and Pink Floyd.

Q: So as kids into hip hop where did you find your records. Was it a case of travelling to the big smoke?
Brad: There was a really really good record shop called Jays which has now closed down. They ran a really good mail order company called Assassin Records which was the biggest Hip Hop mail order company in Europe so they always had amazing hip hop records.

Dom: We were lucky with that because we didn't know that that was good. When I was first going in there buying my first Eric B and Rakim record I just thought these were really good - I never thought this record shop is really good.

Brad: They're probably partly responsible for us being able to get so much hip hop. The guy that used to buy the stuff knew what he was doing so he would get the cream of what was coming out and as a result there was a thriving scene of people playing clubs when we were younger. It kind of died off for a while, but now there's a night in Cambridge called Rawganics which is probably one of the best hip hop nights in the country.

Q: How did you get from listening to Jeff Young and Westwood to actually making records?
Dom: We've both got music in us. Were from musical families. I started on the drums so rhythmically we knew what we were doing, but I started making music about 11 or 12 when I was playing the violin but I gave that up after a year. Then I started making beats, really awful beats on a pause tape, and learning to scratch on a deck I found in a skip.

Q: That's the thing that separates the Nextmen is that your were musicians before you became producers. Would you agree?
Dom: One of the reasons that there is so much substandard stuff about there is that it costs a few hundred quid to get all you need to make a record. It means that people who can't make records are doing it and there's a lot of crap out there.

Brad: We both grew up in households where there was always musical instruments kicking around. I played piano, my dad always had a piano in the house, and then I pestered him to buy me a drum kit which I sold to buy turntables. There's no turning back.

Q: The second album "Get Over It" took 3 years in the making if you include all the tracks you scrapped. Was it a case of perfectionism overtaking the vision?
Dom: It probably took twice as long as it should have done. 18 month to 2 years would have been more acceptable really because we left it too long. We looked around basically and saw what else was going on and wanted to do something that was vibrant and a bit more progressive. We looked at the album as it was and there seven tracks on the album that did not meet that criteria at all.

Brad: I don't think it's about whether they were good or not. It was just about the fact that they weren't enough of a progression from the first record - they just sounded like a slightly more polished version of the beats from the first record. We still didn't totally achieve what we wanted to achieve, but maybe you never do. If you're complacent and totally happy with what you do how are you ever going to improve or expand what you do.

Q: So are we ever going to hear these tracks or are you gonna sell em to Posh Spice for her hip hop record?
Dom: We could do another unreleased project. Some people would like them, but they make me turn white.

Brad: I don't know whether Posh Spice would be feeling the beats. Beckhams a bit more of an R&B boy as well, he definitely looks like an R&B boy anyway.

Q: On the first record you were accused of working with too many American MC's and you've kind of balanced it out a bit on this album. How do you feel about the accusations in retrospect?
Dom: That's one of our things that we've had from the beginning - the classic UK inverted snobbery really. I can see the point of  "no only support uk stuff" but it's not about that, it's about music isn't it and if were making a difference in other areas I don't really understand the accusations any more.

Brad: Sometime something just happens and other times we'll taylor make a beat for a particular MC or singer, which is more likely these days. Were not generally the kind of producers, like a lot of hip hop producers that have a beat tape which has a 100 beats on it and they shop it around - we try to make fewer and make the beats better.

Dom: I'd say about 1 in 10 of our beats gets on. None of them are bad, but every time you try and make a beat it won't always be the killer beat - it just comes from nowhere.

Q: What do you think about the state of hip hop right now - on a British Scale and over in the US as well?
Dom: I don't think anybody could say it's in a great state and there's loads of high quality and intelligence going into it. American hip hop is now out and out pop music and mixes various genre's especially R&B now. Again we talk about signatures and motifs that people are using for choruses which make it a catchy records. It's become less underground, but I also think that the overground has become more underground because people have been exposed to hip hop for a long time now.

Brad: You kind of sit there sometime and think hip hop is really crap and then you look how hip hops always been. For me anyway 90% of it's always been really crap and 10% has always been really good.

Q: As well as your hip hop records, The Nextmen are now branching out into other areas?
Dom: Basically were hungrier than we've ever been to be creative. Were working on with songs with a piano and guitar, no beat. People always say I love your beats so it makes you think let's do a track without drums.

And were working on some more upbeat tracks as well. I think something really good is going to come out of this breakbeat scene and it's going to allow producers to be as creative as possible. Were working on a lot of stuff around 130bpm, no garage, but breaks and were just being as open as possible.

Q: And finally this rock project you're working on soon. What's happening with that?
Dom: There's a big label involved and us and that's all i'm telling you about that. A lot of good rock records are recorded naturally and sound like a good rock record would. And in some cases we would let that happen and just record them well and in other cases depending on the song you could probably offer something else, especially coming from a beats background.

We are doing stuff that is a little bit secret, but i'd rather than do it all first and present someone an album that they had no idea we were working on rather. There's nothing worse than rumours about making a record that doesn't come out for 10 years.

The Nextmen Look At Yesteryears Next Big Things

Q: First up the Ruthless Rap Assassins. Often said to be the greatest British hip hop act of all time. Would you agree?
Brad: Woah, that was just a Manchester thing wasn't it. I bought the first album, but I was never a huge fan.

Dom: Best British Hip Hop acts? We loved the London Posse and the Demon Boys. They were really really good, but I think there was a tragedy there...

Brad: of them died with a burning tyre round his neck, that's what i've heard I don't know if it's true).

Dom: I think "20 Seconds To Comply" is still the most successful British Hip Hop single ever. It was a European Top 20, nothing else has touched it.

Q: Another Northern band. They were credited with bringing out that whole Puff Daddy 80s sampling style - Kaleef?
Brad: They were signed to Payday for a while and had a song with Prince Naseem. It was good because they were the only UK act signed to Payday alongside Ja Rule, it was good but I never liked their records. And i'm sure Puff Daddy came along and did it to a higher standard

Q: Bringing it forward a little - Credit To The Nation?
Dom: Oh My God. They released a couple of really good tunes and they had a Top 40 that was all over the radio all the time. I'd have forgotten about them completely if you wouldn't have mentioned them then.

Brad: They were another group who sat on the periphery of hip hop. If you were into hip hop you wouldn't necessarily have liked them. When you're younger your snobbery about your musical tastes is much more magnified and as you get older it widens a little.

Q: Again another band that tried to aim themselves at the indie kid - Mark B & Blade?
Dom: I rate them and they were an important group. They did bring UK Hip Hop to the charts and to the forefront more than anybody else...

Brad: ...but by doing the Feeder thing they ended up alienating all of their fans

Dom: I tell you why they alienated all their fans. If they'd have just done it and forgotten about it, but they made such a big deal about. Feeder this, Feeder that, this is the equivalent of US Sports Rock. No it wasn't!!! To be honest i'm not sure where they are now. I think Blade's doing an album on his own now. I don't think they'll work together again.

"Get Over It" is out now on Scenario Records
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