Since the release of their debut lp, One Self have created somewhat of a stir with their unique sound of sublime and soulful hip-hop. A hip-hop super-group with DJ Vadim on the production, the contrasting but complimentary vocal styles of the inimitable Blu Rum13 and the lovely Ms.Yarah Bravo on Mic Control. And lets not forget Vestax and ITF world champion, DJ Woody, with the funkiest cuts this side of Cleck Huddersfax.

They go together like spam and brown sauce (a delectable combination for those who have yet to sample this culinary delight) and with a touring schedule as ridiculous as theirs, you should probably check yourself if you haven’t heard of them by now. Bonafide caught up with Vadim and Yarah over some cheese and a can of special brew to see what the big deal is about.

Bonafide: Is there an overriding concept to the One Self project?

Vadim: We are just a group of people who have been touring and working together for a long time. The vibe between us was so good it has developed into a recorded project. I’ve been doing DJ Vadim tours and The Russian Percussion, all kinds of things for a long time. Yarah and Blu Rum were both, at one point, the main MC’s in that. We just took the Russian Percussion content one step further and became a group.

What is your mission?

Vadim: We don’t have a political aim as such, which of course there’s nothing wrong with, we’re just making music because we love making music. We’re musicians and we’re just trying to put out music that we believe in, have fun, travel the world and meet people. If in the process we can inspire people to be creative, whether they do music, whether they do artwork or what-have you, that’s great. If we can raise awareness about a solitary subject, whether it’s racism, social issues, or third world debt then that’s great too. But we’re not a political group. Maybe we’re just like an average person is, sometimes you want to have fun and have a laugh, sometimes you want to think about deeper things.

Can you tell us about the ‘Reclaim the Streets tour that you did?

Vadim: We just did some busking in London last October/November. The reason it came about was just through sheer frustration, not being able to get our music out to the people you know. I really feel that there is a gap between what people want to hear and what is offered to them through distribution, through the record stores, maybe even the magazines. There’s a big gap and there’s a growing gap. People want other music, people don’t just want to listen to 50 cent, some people love that shit, but some people want to hear an alternative and they’re failing to find that. So yeah, we wanted to take the music to the people. We had a drum machine, a portable turntable, a guitar amp, 2 microphones and we did it like that.

How was the reaction?

Vadim: Amazing, it blew people away. I didn’t think it would be that successful. We’d just done one, to see how it would go.

Did you advertise them or just show up?

Vadim: The first 3 we did, then following that we just went there and did it. We met so many people who’d never heard of One Self, just through busking. People were buying the CDs who’d never heard of Ninja Tune, don’t know DJ Vadim, don’t know Yarah Bravo, don’t know Blu Rum 13, but just loved what they saw. You’re lucky to sell more than 15 CDs at your own show full of 400-500 people and we were selling more on the street.

One Self

I think a lot of people have the wrong idea about hip-hop music sometimes, all they’ve seen is what’s on MTV. As a hip-hop fan, when people question me about musical preferences, it’s almost a chore to explain, you can’t mention hip-hop music without putting across the wrong idea to those who aren’t already aware of the spectrum it encompasses.

Vadim: That’s the thing, hip-hop is so big. You can’t really say these days you’re a rock fan. What does that mean? You could be into heavy metal. That’s rock music. You could listen to Oasis, that’s rock music. There’s so many different styles, The Arctic Monkeys don’t sound like The Beatles, The Beatles don’t sound anything like Santana but it’s still labelled as rock music in the store.

Where does your artwork come from? It’s nice to see artists putting effort into the total package of an album.

Vadim: Every album is done by different people. My first solo album, the artwork was done by Strictly Kev (DJ Food) he does a lot of the Ninja Tune stuff. ‘Life from the other side’ was done by Delta, a graff artist from Amsterdam. The last DJ Vadim album was done by Darko, another graffiti artist from Paris. The One Self album was done by a graphic designer called Inogma from Barcelona. The new Vadim album is designed by a guy called Boldy from Burnley, he did Yarahs website, Mark B’s website, a lot of stuff with DJ Woody. I’m always looking for designers, I’ve always got projects coming up. It’s always one thing I’ve tried to do. People can download your music but they can’t download the packaging. I always put a lot of effort into that to make it a complete thing.

Excerpt taken from Bonafide magazine – you can check the full article in Bonafide issue 01

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