Killa Kela Interview
interview 0345 added 02.11.05 words: Ben Spurr
Having spent the last couple of years working
on the recently released LP ĎElocutioní, Killa Kela is back
representing his Spit Kingdom crew with explosive shows all over
the UK. Performances at the Urban Music Festival at Earls Court
and all over the rest of Europe have made Kelaís live shows an
experience not to be missed by anyone who appreciates the art of
beatboxing. Donít get it twisted though; the new album proves
Kela to be much more than a Vocal Percussionist as he sings over
a range of eclectic beats that are laced with sweet strings and
other live instrumentation.
After a recent performance, the guy who would surely be a
contender for the Ďnicest guy in the music businessí award,
should one exist, took time out for a tour bus chat with ukhhís
own Ben Spurr.
donít realise you are more than just a beatboxer, how long have
you been doing your singing thing?
Iíve been doing it from about the age of 11. It kind of took a
sideline, I went from singing and rapping to beatboxing and then
I started doing shows and what not at a real early age. Then
over the course of building this album I kind of built enough
esteem and confidence to be able to put it across on record. It
took a minute though because Iíve been beatboxing for so many
years and then I found myself doing like a whole heap of
different multi vocal based stuff; but itís good to be here and
be able to do that.
ď...I was nervous about the UMF with Jay-Z because there was a
lot more people than before...Ē
What was it
like performing in front of all those people at the Urban Music
Festival in London and was it your biggest crowd?
No it wasnít my biggest crowd- I performed in front of ten
thousand people at ĎBattle of the Yearí in 2001. I was nervous
about the UMF with Jay-Z because there was a lot more people
than before, that was big. We were literally on just before
Jay-Z so that was wicked, the one afterwards was just after Will
Smith- that was cool but it was by no means bigger than the
more about the Spit Kingdom movement?
We do a weekly sound system night every Tuesday down at Herbal,
we also do that same thing across Europe; Berlin, France,
Romania, Munich, Hamburg, Lithuania. We do it as regularly as we
can like Spit Kingdom nights. Itís all about trying to bridge
gaps- whether itís Drum and Bass, Hip Hop, RníB or Bashment;
itís not contrived and itís not false, itís real thatís how
weíve come up you know. Itís all about coming up and doing
personally think the album is heavy but Hip Hop Connection
magazine gave your album only two stars out of five and said up
to track eight it is a Ďmess of swirling spacey vibesy sounds
that go nowhere at all.í So how do you react to your negative
Let me tell you about Hip Hop Connection right, Iíve been
supporting that magazine for a long, long time and in all itís
fairness, as much as I love it; itís a small island man and we
think bigger than the island, we think bigger than the scene.
Thereís a lot of contradiction that goes on within that
magazine. You know what brother, opinions are like arseholes-
everyoneís got one! Theyíve got a lot to say in a very short
space of time and their going to say what they think. It isnít
Hip Hop man, Iím not going to lie to you, beatboxing is like the
fundamental part of the instrumentalisation of Hop Hop but I
donít see it in there. Itís further a field than that and anyone
who wants to question that can talk to me in Wembley Arena!
ď...Spit Kingdom is all about trying to bridge gaps- whether
itís Drum and Bass, Hip Hop, RníB or Bashment...Ē
think that beatboxing has a future inside the mainstream music
scene as the culture develops?
Thatís what Iím trying to do, Iím by no means a catalyst to
vehicling the scene to were itís got to go but itís further a
field to Hip Hop so you want to appeal to as many different
people outside of Hip Hop as you can. What I do with my album,
what Sterio MCís did with their album, what Nenah Cherry did
with their album, what Soul II Soul did with their album itís
appealing further a field. Youíve got to feed people a scene and
if that scene is stagnant then thatís a shame.
think ĎElocutioní is better than your last album ĎPermanent
Markerí and do you feel it marks a progression where you have
developed as an artist?
Yeah, I found with ĎPermanent Markerí you canít really make a
beatbox album, thatís my conclusion.
ď...beatboxing is like the fundamental part of the
instrumentalisation of Hop Hop but I donít see it in there...Ē
So the live
shows always going to be better than the audio version?
Yeah, youíve gotta convert that shit, from live to what you do
on an album to the people. When you come to doing an album
youíve gotta put that shit across in the best possible light you
can. The thing with ĎPermanent Markerí is it was so purest
beatboxing, I was so young like I was only twenty three or
twenty four. But you take peer pressure away from what your
doing and youíve got to come with the goods man. At the end of
the day, ĎElocutioní is as definitive as I can make it, vocally,
multi-vocally, beatboxing- youíve got to take a chance man.
ever thought about releasing a cover album because the crowd
love it when you do beats that they are familiar with such as
the Neptunes tracks?
I did a lot of shows with Pharrel and Justin and I was fortunate
enough to do the shows with them and the beats that they
created. That was more than enough for me. It wasnít really
about doing an album based off all of that. I just want to hit
people off with some original material that kind of pushed
Check the web site
www.killakela.com, get as much information as you can.
Youíll know when weíre on road, youíll know where we are going,
you know the dates section go and check it out cos as soon as
you know where we are on road then you know where to go to check
the shows. Check the album ĎElocutioní. Listen, itís all about
the people, Iím not gunna front itís because of people like the
readers that have got us signed and got us to the place we are
right now and Iíd do anything to give that back. So go and check
the web site, shows and album and go and check what youíve made,
what the people have made.
ď...I found with ĎPermanent Markerí you canít really make a
Killa Kelaís album ĎElocutioní is available now on Song BMG
records at all good (and a few bad) music stores.
Killa Kela live in Cardiff
Killa Kela live in Cardiff
Killa Kela live in Cardiff
Killa Kela @ Higher Learning