‘Good music hits home whatever the genre’
Nov 10 2008 by Katie Campling, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
HUDDERSFIELD hip hop maestro Jack Flash is making another assault on the UK music scene – and this time he’s bringing a new band with him.
Jack, 21, is celebrating the release of his album, The Union Jack, which came out in high street record stores and online on October 26.
The album has been long-awaited – it was originally scheduled for release last year, but Jack and his label, Klinik Records, decided they wanted everything to be right before they launched it.
The album was written by Jack, all about his life experiences, but the production has been taken care of by Klinik Records.
Jack has been busy promoting the album, doing gigs all over the UK and in London, where he gaining respect on the UK hip hop scene. He’s even won a trip to perform two gigs in New York, thanks to showing off his MC-ing talents in a London competition recently.
But it’s not just underground hip hop fans who are loving his work – he’s tapping into the mainstream too.
He’s winning fans not just among lovers of hip hop and soul but among fans of rock and indie, managing to unite two of the most disparate groups in the music industry.
This is no surprise to Jack though – he believes that a good song will be liked, whatever its genre.
“Regardless of genre, good music will hit home with people. It is whether or not the listener gives it a chance.”
The album is a fusion of hip hop and soul influences and features collaborations with artists including Appetite and Tabo, who is a talented soul singer.
But Jack is keen to experiment with other musical styles.
“I’ve got lots of ideas. I have about 20 tracks, some of them done, some half written, that I’ve tried to do over the last year.
“Hip hop is a genre which is naturally inclusive for elements from other genres. Artists go to their preferred genre and mine was soul at the time.
“But I am likely to look to rock, Indian music and even Italian opera. When it comes to sampling you are looking for a certain sound and the options are limitless. As long as it connects with me and the song, then it’s fine.”
Jack got into hip hop at 13, listening to his brother’s Fugees albums. He started collaborating musically three years later, seeking out local artists and he is now a member of Groundwurq Entertainment — a collective of around nine artists, DJs, MCs and producers from all over the UK.
They collaborate on shows and records and help each other get gigs in different areas.
A prime example of Jack’s love of collaboration is his new band, Extracurricular. Jack is joined on vocals by Tabo and Huddersfield jazz singer Ruby Wood plus her acoustic duo partner Noah on drums and two saxophonists.
The band formed a year ago, after Jack performed some guest vocals with Ruby at a gig with her live covers band, Rare Groove Ensemble.
Jack said working with a band had been an eye-opener.
“I hadn’t had experience of a live band before. It is a totally different dynamic from performing on your own with a DJ. It’s a really big sound.
“But I have had time to get used to it now and I think it brings a lot more qualities to the songs. It brings more energy too and makes the music more accessible to Joe Public, who maybe aren’t into niche hip hop.”
They have been testing their tunes at venues around Huddersfield, including Bar 1:22, Sleepers and Marsden Jazz Festival, where they went down well.
Jack said: “People were really responsive. The biggest reaction we get from people is surprise – that it works, that they have never seen anything like it before and that they relate to it.”
If you want to surprise yourself, you can catch Jack and Extracurricular on Saturday at Bar 1:22.
For more, visit www.jack flashuk.com, www.klinikrecords.com or www.myspace.com/klinikrecordshome and www.myspace.com/jackflashgroundwurq.