Wiley chatted with Disorder magazine back in 2012 around the time he was launching his summer-lovin’ track Heatwave. He talked music, major labels and feuds.
Wiley returns (not that he’s been away for very long) with an homage to a summer we all wish for with Heatwave; a track that requires you to do one thing – put your hands up and shake your butt. We caught up with him to ask some pertinent questions… about music, major labels and all those feuds we love to watch unfold over his Twitter account.
Heatwave is a summer club anthem – was this always your intention or did it evolve from something different?
That was always my intention, to make sure it touched the clubs and holiday resorts.
You filmed a video on an island with lots of bikini-clad babes, describe the experience for us…
It was phenomenal, the vibe was really really cool, I was over the moon at the video shoot. I’m lucky I got up and done it with the energy because I had some chicken and chips and it nearly knocked me out. The villa was great, the females on set… WOW.
You’ve now signed to Warner but your relationships with major labels hasn’t always been harmonious. Tell us about the decision behind this move after being with the independent label Big Dada.
This decision was one we wanted to make anyway, it was one we wanted to work towards. Sometimes when you’re not even searching for a song or an instrumental.. it turns up and it becomes something. I am glad it went like that, we weren’t looking for a major situation but we just never had the record as of yet.
How do you see the relationship working as you are constantly releasing music/free singles and you don’t normally conform to the usual album/single release pattern. You seem like an artist who works to your own schedule.
This is the thing. In this day and age and the game I’ve come from, everyone’s cutting deals, in and out of them. When you’ve been in so many you understand the importance of being with a major or independent and even having your own because if you didn’t have any of these you might not be in the major’s eye. So I do believe I’ve learnt how to play the game to an extent but you won’t ever change the person. The Jekyll and Hyde side might turn up here and there but it’s the battle with that for me, the balance.
You’ve never been shy with slagging matches, the list of people you’ve had beef with, real or rumoured is an impressive list! Do you genuinely get angry with other artists or is there entertainment in it?
Some people take a jab, some people have steered it in my direction, sometimes I have. When you come from battling, it’s always gonna be there, it’s an underground thing. A lot of people have met via confrontation in the grime scene. I don’t know what’s wrong with us!
Do you regret with anything you said in the past, or wish things turned out differently?
The only thing I regret is if I get in an argument with a nation of people, like people from Norway or some Jay Sean fans from wherever, it doesn’t matter what colour they are. Sometimes I think I could have avoided those things, no one needed to say ‘Wiley, look…’. I understood it as it occurred, it’s just the heat of the moment. You either will or you won’t. I believe people who go far learn the ability not to go mad, but to keep calm even though they’re raging inside… so I’m trying to get that!
One of the most common words used to describe you is ‘prolific’, how does this manifest itself in your day to day life? Do you get up every morning wanting to write, or are there short intense periods of creativity?
I wake up in the morning with that word ‘prolific’ in my head as well. When I wake up I always make sure I’m doing something to do with my job – I might ring the lawyer or manager and try and communicate to where we are heading. Sometimes you’re on the path and you come off it; now we just want to head to where we were always meant to, that’s what I’ve been doing lately. I also try to keep my ear away from too much of what people say, I try and ignore them and do what’s right. I try and search for a path that’s comfortable for me and the label.
You’ve been called the King of Grime, do you believe there is truth in that title?
I am the king of grime, not because I’m the best MC, not because I’m the best producer. I believe I’m the king of grime because of how much work I do and how I help people in spirit musically, (though) I’m not saying they wouldn’t make it themselves. This present time, I realise I could be the king of grime in 2 seconds because no one cares about it at the moment.
I’ve done step 1 to 10, the mixtape and then all of a sudden everyone cares, everyone’s calling me with their tunes, and I think I’ve done the right thing there. The underground’s there and on my side, it gives me more confidence and energy to do overground stuff and try and be more open minded. It’s only alright when they like you. When they don’t, that’s when it can piss you off, but at the moment they’re with me!
Given that Heatwave feels like a party anthem is this the frame of mind you’re in at the moment, will there be more like this to follow? Or is this just a one off mood?
This was a one-off record only because I didn’t know if I had another one in me. I’d done some songs and this one stood out. Luckily it’s the one I had in me, so I’m glad. Since then, I’ve listened to different stuff and recently went back to the producer and asked him for a follow up. Said let’s go on that page, don’t copy it too much, but make it a follow up like Tinie did with Pass Out and Frisky, but let’s not be too obvious. So he’s sent me a track back, I listened to it and now he’s changing a few bits.
You’re renowned for supporting up and coming artists, but who is really exciting you musically at the moment?
Angel, Parallel. I like Jessie J, I like Gotye too, that Donny! Also the Laura Marling new album. I listen to other music, it unlocks different doors.