Q&A: City Hack / Foreign Beggars

by Kyle McCormick
Kyle McCormick
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on 24 August 2015 in Features

City Hack is a competition which aims to reward the creative talent of three teams selected for participation. Arranged by UKF and Desperados the teams will undertake a number of challenges, with the help of specially selected and talented mentors. One of these mentors is Pavan “Orifice Vulgatron” Mukhi, or just Pav, from English hip-hop masters Foreign Beggars.

What we have for you here is an interview with Pav, which briefly touches on both City Hack and his “day job”, in order to bring you a little more information on that exciting duo of topics. Following an extensive and prolific career thus far, Foreign Beggars are poised to return with excellent new material; and the City Hack initiative is currently ongoing, so hopefully we can inject some anticipation into your life via one of those fronts. But first, some questions and their answers:

First all, give us some background on Foreign Beggars for those who aren't familiar?

Foreign Beggars are a rap group from London. Essentially a hip-hop group heavily influenced by UK underground bass and soundsystem culture.

Having been a part of that entity for many years, what would you say are your greatest memories and achievements in that time?

Touring the world, working with incredible artists from all walks of life, and still being a group after 13 years in the game.

Foreign Beggars have been associated with various other artists over the years, are there any upcoming collaborations that we should know about?

…under wraps for now…

You are to be a mentor for the City Hack initiative, how did this position come about?

Through the lovely people at AEI and UKF. They understand our approach to performance and presentation, and needed someone who’s been front centre of stage to mentor the teams.

How would you describe this scheme and its benefits to those wishing to know more?

City Hack is a really focused program. It has sourced real talent and dedicated individuals who have been pushing their art forms and disciplines, and given them the platform and necessary direction to collaborate on a much larger scale. Honestly, seeing these individuals come together to create something so much bigger than the sum of their parts has been really inspiring.

How far along are plans for your next record, and what details can you disclose about it currently?

Currently recording an EP… sorry, can’t say any more than that.

Given the current state of UK politics, what would you say are the country's most pressing issues, and what would you pose as a solution?

Right now, as with any right wing government, we’re seeing much propaganda in the scaremongering media and regarding issues like immigration and the re-appropriation of public funding. One issue that affects us directly is the fact that migrant workers who don’t earn above £35,000 after six years will have to leave the country. This massively affects many skilled individuals like doctors, most nurses, artists, and individuals from a whole host of industries who have been building their lives and contributing to the fabric and economic growth of the United Kingdom we know and love.

Having been involved in the music industry for some time, which artists would you say have yet to receive the recognition they deserve?

Oh wow, there are loads here, and recognition is a funny thing to define. Let’s see…

I’d say there are loads of rappers over the years that need recognition, as well as producers, but time does tell. The commercial world is a very funny place. The list could go on for pages. How about the entirety of UK hip-hop, rap and grime?

How does the Foreign Beggars songwriting process generally develop, does one person take charge, and what outside factors tend to influence the creative direction?

Essentially we listen to a beat. Every beat / track has a story, we try listen to that and bring it to life through our writing. We record and work on the track until we feel it’s ready. Sometimes the producer will take the track and add musical elements, and perhaps some arrangement and we’re good to go.

What are your favourite albums of the year so far, and which releases yet to come are you particularly looking forward to?

Jamie xx’s ‘In Colour’, Jme’s ‘Integrity>’, A$AP Rocky’s ‘AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP’, Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’, Alix Perez & EPROM’s ‘Shades’, and Ivy Lab’s ‘Twenty Questions’. Dead Players’ album is the one to look forward to, as is Ocean Wisdom’s.

Now that you’ve had some personally delivered information on Foreign Beggars, here’s a little more on the City Hack competition… There are three teams: Shifted Spaces, The Big Smoke and Rain City Movement, from Bristol, London and Manchester respectively. Currently, as part of their first task, they have all produced alternative music videos to some great tracks, which you can view below (full details are available from the official City Hack website):

1. Shifted Spaces: 'Original Selector' by Mediks 
2. The Big Smoke: 'London Living' by Plastician (feat. Jammz)
3. Rain City Movement: 'No Messin'' by Sam Binga and Chimpo

Finally, here’s a taste of Foreign Beggars’ uniquely wonderful blend of hip-hop and dubstep, which will flush out any mainstream-fuelled gunge in your listening holes:

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