BiG BEAT BRONSON are an “exuberant hip hop quartet from Newcastle upon Tyne” according to their entry on the BBC website, following an action-packed performance on the BBC Introducing stage at Scottish festival T In The Park earlier this month.
The band, consisting of rappers Baron von Alias (who Trivial Pursuits ran an article on in December 2011) and MistaBreeze, soul singer Eliza Lawson and DJ LKP came together in 2012 and musically resemble a crazy hybrid of the Beastie Boys, Dizzee Rascal and Chase & Status. Much like the former of these comparisons, they bring a light-hearted sense of fun to the often po-faced world of hip hop, and resultingly their stage shows are fast growing a reputation for carnage in the North East.
An average BBB set will, for example, usually involve the band decked out in their trademark jumpsuits (with tails on the back, naturally) and numerous extras charging around dressed as the Boogeyman, Chucky or any other character that takes their fancy. All the while a Victorian butler waits at the side of the stage with a tray of drinks, which proved somewhat precarious at T in the Park when a frying pan (a passing reference to Vic & Bob’s classic joke) escaped the sweat-greased palm of Baron von Alias and nearly cleaned him out (see 24 seconds into the video below).
Baron von Alias (a tweed-clad, time-travelling gentleman MC from the early 1800’s) and MistaBreeze have been recording together for some time and originally played the Introducing stage at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in 2011. After joining Eliza Lawson and LKP on a full-time basis to form BiG BEAT BRONSON in 2012, the band were signed by Bad Boy Records earlier this year.
Since then, they have opened the main stage at Newcastle’s Evolution Festival, appeared at T in the Park and even played at a Lithuanian Festival (Loftas) with Kelis.
Ahead of the release of their exciting and Radio-1-playlisted debut single New Me, on 4th August, Harry Harland caught up with the band and poked around in the collective minds that make up BiG BEAT BRONSON…
First things first, how are you guys all doing after T in the Park?
Eliza Lawson: Fine and dandy thanks! Still buzzing from my very core at how much fun it was and how lucky we are still to have the Butler still with us.
Baron Von Alias: Alright thanks.
DJ LKP: I’m really excited for the future, it’s a great opportunity to play for BBC Introducing again with all the extra exposure that that brings.
MistaBreeze: My beard has a certain level of fame since T In The Park… I feel a little in its shadow, so I’ve felt better, haha! I’m still buzzing though, I can’t believe how amazing it’s was. I feel we played a great set and I’m happy we got to show what we have to offer on such a grand scale.
Has Baron apologized to the Butler yet for throwing a frying pan at him?
EL: It’s been a tough time for us all, but the Baron has taken it pretty hard. I mean the Butler has been there through everything… I don’t think the Butler is happy.
LKP: The Butler doesn’t need an apology, it’s in his contract that he may well be disfigured by flying skillets.
MB: I’ve always said the Baron was a slave-driver, the poor Butler just didn’t pour water fast enough for the Baron, so he had to show him tough love.
BVA: I was trying to take the Butler out, he is getting too big for his boots and needs to be put back in his place. Plus he has to remember he is my slave.
Did that trump your performance at Radio 1’s Big Weekend or opening the main stage at the Evolution Festival in Newcastle?
BVA: My opinion is controversial.
EL: I think it’d hard to separate them as they were both such brilliant events with such different and equally huge amounts of buzz around them both… But in terms of heat exhaustion in our onesies, near death experiences, cataclysmic barrier diving and crash helmets I reckon T in the Park just about comes up trumps.
LKP: Every gig is different, and it was a really good one. To go and play on a main stage in our home town is hard to compare to being asked to go and perform for the BBC at a major festival.
MB: I think each big performance helps the other, without experiencing the Big Weekend or Evolution festival, then I wouldn’t feel so at home on such a big stage. It’s all experience, but ask me again next year after we have played main stage at T In The Park…
Those signature red jumpsuits must have been pretty warm! Where did the idea for them originally come from?
EL: Well it was Bronson’s decision really. He is the beast in charge… He told us what he wanted and we made it happen with them being custom made by my lovely sister… And yes they are sweaty as holy hell!
LKP: They are like a Bronson skin! If his skin was made of therma-fleece that is. Yeah, it did get a bit sweaty, even for me, and I didn’t do any jumping from the stage into the crowd.
BVA: It’s just what I wear in bed.
Did it take much persuading to get Baron to part with his traditional Victorian tweed for them?
BVA: Yes, they are all massive twats.
EL: YES! He screamed like a right little girl. However as a time traveler he has had to be pretty open minded about fashion over the centuries, and Bronson can be pretty persuasive.
LKP: Also he had a new red top hat to try out with the costume so he was happy.
How did you guys first meet?
LKP: We have been friends for years, but the official line is that a time travelling Baron chose us from birth to be united in later life as a Geordie hip hop colossus.
MB: No no no, let the truth finally be known. I actually met the Baron on a dating website, he was posing as a woman. LKP and I used to play water polo together at Oxbridge and Eliza and I met on X Factor when I was an original judge.
BVA: MistaBreeze is full of shit… He is actually adopted by Mr and Mrs Breeze, although he doesn’t actually know this.
How would you describe the Big Beat Bronson sound and what bands most influenced it?
LKP: Big beat sums us up best. Beastie Boys, Chase & Status, old school hip hop, bass music, pop all come into the melting pot. We listen to an awful lot of new and old music and it shapes the sound really.
EL: Yeah, I guess it’s simply ‘Big Beat’, hence the name. Big exciting breakbeats, heavy bass lines, synths, soaring melodies and generally just kick-ass and catchy as STD’s. Our influences really vary and I think that’s why it works.
MB: The sound is so original, we all are influenced by sounds we listened to growing up. Personally myself I bring that Chino XL, Slum Village rap style but it clashes with the Prodigy and Chase and Status sound…
BVA: The sound is whatever Steesh (BBB’s producer) wants it to be…
You’re big in Lithuania. How on earth did that happen?
EL: I mean I wouldn’t say big, but they definitely like what we do haha! We supported one of Lithuania’s biggest Hip Hop bands G&G Sindikatas in Newcastle and their manager Justas really like what we did. He has been a total legend in setting us up with gigs, radio shows, TV interviews and festivals. Everywhere we go over there people seem to just love us… And long may it continue!
MB: It’s amazing over there, those guys are so passionate about their music. They really are a great crowd to play live to. We just showed them what we had to offer and they seem to love it.
BVA: Yeah, they love that Bronson shit.
It must have been exciting when you signed with Bad Boys Records earlier this year. Did you run around singing in giddy celebration, like in Wayne’s World when they get signed?
LKP: Pretty much! We had a trip to London to put pen to paper, and then we sat and travelled back with some very, very drunk lawyers, which was hilarious. Some of our dances made it onto MistaBreeze’s vine… No dancing from me though, second rule of DJing is never to dance…
BVA: I took it all in my stride… And then sharted… And then went back in time to prevent my sharting by going to the toilet. To sum it up, I knew it was all going to happen anyway. Oh the joys of time travel.
MB: I can’t even remember what happened, they plied me with Champagne.
EL: I did a happy dance, piddled in my pants and then had a Steak Bake to celebrate…it was epic.
Compared to the usual hip hop attitude, you all seem pretty civilized and grounded. Who’s the most ‘gangsta’ in the band though? And what’s the most ridiculous thing they’ve done? Anyone driven a Rolls Royce into a swimming pool yet?
LKP: I did that last week. I don’t really know about gangsta, but I had the most rapper-esque beard, until MistaBreeze grew his festival beard and looked like a skinny white Rick Ross.
EL: I love this question. I think the most gangsta thing I have done was to insist on having as actual afro hair-do for Evolution festival, big shout out to my hair dresser Chris for being such a talented craftsman… erm…I tend to be the one who drinks all the free beers and then go looking for fights with large rough looking tradesmen…gangsta enough? Brrrap!
MB: I’d say LKP is the most gangsta… He turns up at shows and lets everyone know who is boss. I once saw him scratch on the decks with a pistol in one hand and in the other he had rolls of £50 notes. He’s pure G.
BVA: No comment.
A lot of your lyrics contain very English references (Vic Reeves, Keith Lemon, etc) or even Geordie phrases (Get Wild, Gan Mental). Are you proud to be representing English music and specifically the North East?
LKP: Way aye like, course we are man like hinny! We might as well be ourselves, no point in talking like everyone else!
BVA: Just keeping it real. No-one wants to sound like The Saturdays with their false American accents, it’s cringe worthy like the use of words such as ‘safe’ and ‘fam’ and ‘bruv’… It’s just not Geordie. And if a Geordie is using those words seriously then they are friggin’ dicks.
Do you watch Geordie Shore?
MB: I actually do, I think it’s too funny!
EL: Every… Single… Day… Repeatedly.
LKP: I can’t. It hurts my eyes.
BVA: Bollocks… Massive scrotums.
EL: Bloody hell Baron you’re proper sweary today…
BVA: Fuck off.
You seem to have a lot of fun putting together your music videos (see Action Man, below, for example), in another life do you think you would all have liked to be in the film industry?
EL: That’s my future plan! How did you know? Once we have dominated the charts and had success in the music industry, I fully intend to be the next LL Cool J. I can’t wait to do a refix of Deep Blue Sea.
LKP: Maybe… I think The Baron may have a future in both industries!
BVA: Why another life? What’s wrong with this one mother-fucker? Don’t hold me down bitch!
MB: I’m only in the music business to get recognised and then I’m gonna sell out and play Batman in Hollywood! I’d love that!
Back to the music, your first ‘official’ single “New Me” (out on August 4th) has a real dubstep feel about it. Is this a change in direction for the band or just something you wanted to play around with?
EL: In the words of my good friend Forrest Gump ‘Our tracks are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.’ I think it’s just a reflection of our musical diversity and love for different musical genres.
LKP: Its an clash of lots of styles really, lots of old breakbeat influences, some more commercial dubstep sounds, Eliza’s soulful vocals, and some Geordie rap. The bigger the beats the better. I think people will understand our sound more when they hear the album. Plenty of influences done in a very English manner.
MB: We aren’t pigeon-holed with our sound. We try to make it as big as possible. We want to expand and incorporate elements from many genres into our ‘BiG BEAT’ style music.
BVA: If you needed my summery explaining then you’re a fucktard and our music probably isn’t for you.
When can we expect the first Big Beat Bronson album?
EL: Early next year I think
Lastly, when can we expect to see Big Beat Bronson in London?
LKP: Bad Boy Records are busy helping us line up a couple of gigs soon, so keep an eye out for our name on some flyers and in the London listings.
BVA: We might be down there on a tweed shopping trip, so keep your eyes open in and around Covent Garden… And also around the West end, MistaBreeze loves a musical!
Trivial Pursuits would like to thank BiG BEAT BRONSON for their time. Their debut single, New Me, is out on Bad Boys Records on 4th August. Pre-order your copy at iTunes now and join the Bronson revolution!