EXCLUSIVE: Foreign Beggars MC Orifice Vulgatron on touring, technology and new album '22 Karma'
Foreign Beggars are a sensational UK trio known for electronic, genre-hopping crossovers in hip hop, dubstep, drum and bass and more and have collaborated with a whole host of major names including Skrillex, Noisia and Snails as well as supporting the likes of The Prodigy, Snoop Dogg, Amy Winehouse, Deadau5, Public Enemy and De La Soul. Set to release new album 22 Karma in just over a week, here MC Orifice Vulgatron AKA Pavan Mukhi talks to Mandy News about touring the world, technology, rap apps and Foreign Beggars' new music.
For those not already in the know, tell us who you are and how you guys came together to be Foreign Beggars?
Foreign Beggars are a rap group from London. Dag Nabbit and myself, Orifice Vulgatron, moved to London from Dubai in '99 and started the crew in about 2001/2 times. Metropolis and DJ Nonames were part of the crew called Focused Few, south London based live soul and hip hop band joined a little later.
Dag Nabbit and myself had mostly recorded our debut album Asylum Speakers when Metropolis joined the crew towards the end of 2002, as we were getting ready to release the first single "Where did the Sun Go?” in 2003.
We have subsequently released five albums 4-5 mixtapes and hundreds of joints, initially on our own label Dented Records and later on or new label Par Excellence, with projects on Never Say Die recordings, Mau5trap, Ministry of Sound and Skrillex’s Owsla label.
You’re back with a new album and a lot has happened in the time since The Uprising and I Am Legion – tell us what you’ve been up to, what’s changed for you, what you think of what’s been happening musically and what can be expected from this album.
Since "I Am Legion" with Noisia and "The Uprising", we released a couple of EPs and collaborations, namely the "Modus" EP and "The Bits". We continued to tour a lot in this period however, had taken some time to work on personal projects including my work with Brapp, setting up Par Excellence as a management company and also taking time to introspect and live life as we have been on the road pretty much for 12 years solidly.
It was important as we wanted to take time to experiment and refresh our relationship with music. This album has bangers on it but is definitely a rap album top to bottom. There is a lot more introspective material as we’ve been through quite a bit in the last few years as well. A musically deeper venture, I’d say.
Tell us how you balance your extensive touring time with getting in the studio and making new material.
It's definitely a balancing act as we tour a lot and always have a lot of deadlines. Writing/recording and tour/travelling life is extra complicated by my visa situation meaning I have to travel back and forth between London and Dubai to make visa applications.
We’ve recorded a lot separately however in the last two years I think we’ve found a balance with touring and recording and understanding what projects we are taking on. Not overdoing it is key and also focusing on things we really want to do rather than things we feel we should do simply because people reached out to us etc.
It’s not easy, but If you want something you get the f*** up and handle your business. Our management is incredible and I feel they work even harder than us, so to not bring our A game would be a disrespect to the whole team.
What have you got coming up?
Right now with the launch of the 22 Karma, we have a couple special singles including the collab with Flux Pavilion, OG Maco and Black Josh ‘Waved' and we're following up with an amazing piece we did with Bangzy, Bionic from London Posse and the legend that is Kate Tempest.
We also have a single coming out with Subculture Sage and Dizmack soon after the album. And remixes for the album soon after. We also have more projects with the likes of Alix Perez, Killa’s Army, Problem Child, Monster, Florence and a couple we can’t let off yet plus more transatlantic stuff in the pipeline.
Touring-wise we’ve got a US/Canada tour, a UK tour with a big album launch and a whole heap of European dates. We are also throwing an album launch party in our home town in Dubai and playing in South Africa for the first time.
You’ve launched the Brapp app – tell us about it for those that don’t know.
Brapp is a social network that puts the studio in your pocket. Essentially it’s a sharing network laid out like Instagram except you can repost other peoples content but the magic is that producers can upload beats and if you like a production, you put your headphones on, record a video on top of the beat, give it a studio mixdown with powerful effects and share with your friends and followers – at which point the producer received a notification that someone has just performed on their track and can connect with them if they like what they hear.
You can download it right now for iOS devices at www.brapp.tv/app
Whose music are you digging at the moment?
Musically, right now, I swear it's all about the girls, you know? They are literally blowing up on my left right and centre. Princess Nokia, Sevdaliza IAM DDB, Joy Crookes, Lay Fullstop, Graziella, Roxxxan, FFS Why Though, Jaja Kisses. Really feeling Octavian, Kasein, Cult Mountain, the whole Blah Records family, the whole 616 movement thing... Right now is probably the best time for UK rap music there has ever been!
Every aspect is getting represented and the artists and music coming out is world class.
What excites you about the musical/technological landscape at the moment?
I guess it’s just the new opportunities and avenues to express yourself – new platforms and hard/software to pour creative energy into to make ish that has never been done before. Whether it’s actually making the music or releasing the music, making videos or creative content, right now music and fashion are linked as much as ever.
Currently, there is so much energy and so much opportunity for young creatives to go from zero to infinity without having to sell your soul to some big industry machine. There are so many ways for people to really break ground on their ones with whatever they wanna do.
22 Karma is released on February 9.
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