Archives for posts with tag: Example

Specifically in music. I’m conflicted here. I will explain why. In 2006/7 me and one of my friends chanced upon an up-and-coming rapper whose guise was satire. He’d rap about topics in a light, almost nonchalant manner which would belie his often serious observations. It was witty. It was real. It wasn’t important that he was relatively unknown. We didn’t much care for that; “hipster” was a dirty word yet to be invented in the universe we inhabited.
So what’s my problem?
I can’t decide if it is morally just to completely change everything about you as an artist, because you know that is what appeals to record label suits, and people who listen to Radio 1. Is there merit in distancing yourself from your niche, from where your true talent resided in order to play festival stages at 3pm.
I feel at this juncture I ought to explain that I have no problem with a natural progression of styles. I love “Humbug” just as much as I love “Whatever People Say I Am…” for example. What concerns me, is how quickly and willingly artists are shedding their former skin for a chance at pop success.
I am also aware that living as an impoverished artist is not ennobling. Alas, we all need to have something we can market and exploit for financial gain. That is sadly the state of the world. But to what end? Is it callous and cynical to switch from making challenging music about nuclear weapons to songs about saying nothing? It is not that it sounds like the sort of thing that the blokes from Panic! At The Disco and The Killers would throw up after a heavy night out “clubbing”, but; there is no substance.
Also, I suppose with the change in target audience, there is (paradoxically) a lowering of expectations and criticism from your fan base. If the only reason they listen to your music is as a soundtrack to drinking holidays in the south of Europe or for lounging in a field, then they aren’t really too fussy. So long as it has absurd synths and vocodaed vocals. The more successful you are, the more your fans think you are capable of driving the bus per se.
This is not an anti-Example rant. I own lots of his early stuff on records, I’ve seen him in intimate venues and supporting Faithless. He was just the best example I could find, when considering wholesale changes in style for popularity. I wish him all the success he can garner, I really do; I just wish he would sometimes acknowledge and perform as his persona from What We Made.
Artists should never be bound by convention, that is a given. True art is forever pushing taboos and tastes and expectations. That is what art does- it holds up a mirror to reflect how distorted a people we have become.

 

If Example’s latest stuff is reflecting the true state of this people, and this generation then I am definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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you CAN rap, EG

This may surprise some of you kids out there, but; back in 2007 Example wasn’t the behemoth of chart supremacy he is now. He didn’t make dark, accusatory splices of dubstep pop.

Nah, he was a rapper.

The first record to be catalogued, by virtue of it arriving in the post today; is his offering “You Can’t Rap” b/w “Yes Please”. If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard the b-side, it is probably due to artistic integrity refusing to be censored. It’s rude, and funny. As all EG’s early stuff was.

You Can’t Rap really is a showcase for his funny wordplay (Attention seeking, how far should a man go?/ Cut his ear off like Vincent Van Gough?) whilst really addressing perceived notions in UK hip-hop well summarised in the eponymous line (You can’t rap my friend, you’re white and you’re from Fulham/ Please put down the mic there’s no way you can fool them).

Great songs on both sides of this 7″ promo disc, on the newly resurrected Beats label (yes, Mike Skinner blah blah…protegé…blah) catalogued as “BEATS39” and “for promo use only”.

Result.

Yesterday was one of those rare days, when the stars all aligned to create something special. My last two A Level exams during the day, Italy knocked out of the World Cup by the footballing power house that is Slovakia, then off to Camden’s cosy Jazz Café to see the one and only Example.

The venue took some finding for two country lads, going in completely the wrong direction up towards Camden Lock, when if we’d been less giddy about the gig we would clearly have seen it opposite the tube. A nice day, to boot and there was anticipation in the air. The Café was pretty special, despite having extortionate prices. Little nooks and crannies with staircases taking you under the road to get to the toilets. Doors were, rather optimistically, at 7pm. Ah good, we thought, he’ll be on soon. How wrong we were, a seemingly never ending wait was only punctured at about 9.20 with Messrs Wire, Sheldrake and Dave ambling on stage to rapturous appreciation.

We all knew this most intimate of gigs was going to be special. Example, in typical frontman fashion then appeared clutching a mic in one hand and two albums of lyrical wizardry in his head. Cue frenzied cheering, applause and anticipation.

The purpose of the gig was to celebrate the release of his new album “Won’t Go Quietly”, fittingly the set was peppered with new songs, but there was also elements of the artist previously known as Example, when his band started the intro to the oft-overlooked “Eyeballs Painted Black”. Phenomenal, I really thought I was going to have a heart attack when my good friend Sam looked at me, mouth agape, pointing at his eyeballs.

“Me and Mandy” was also performed, another slight surprise given that it is now 3 years old. A rousing performance ensured that the older material stood shoulder to shoulder with hits like “Kickstarts” and “Watch the Sun Come Up”. Mr. Gleave is now a seasoned performer of course, and his instructions were obeyed to the letter by the gaggle of hardcore fans, new album fans and those who appeared to have just wandered in, off Camden Parkway. A glorious demographic.

Other than the tunes being pummelled at us, the other impressive thing was just how energetic the show was. Pogoing galore, with many songs ending in a knackering one-arm-aloft-I-love-this stance. It was truly a brilliant atmosphere, as my good friend Sam said “For an electronic show, it was well energetic” it was. From Example down to the scenesters stood propped up by the bar drinking cocktails, everybody seemed to exude a special, telekinetic energy.

With Glasto around the corner for everybody’s favourite man from Fulham; it would probably be crass to suggest this show was a homecoming, or a watershed moment. But to the lucky few in that ol’ Café steeped in history, it sure felt like it.

The journey home, in fitting with the above notion of the stars being aligned, was atrocious. We got to Euston at 10.24, with the option of two trains, one in 10 minutes, another at five to eleven. We opted for the later, faster train. Faux-pas. Everything running smoothly on a quite crowded train until just south of Watford. We left London at 10.54, and I did not get at home until 01.40. That train was supposed to be in Leighton at 23.20. God knows why it was so difficult to get the train out of no man’s land.

That little episode did nothing to dampen the night, however. As with ringing ears and aching backsides we finally made it home.