Having spent most of the past five years causing carnage and scaring the life out of students over most of Manchester, club promoters cum live band Murkage are ready to kick off the summer with their main stage appearance at the Parklife Weekender.
The transformation from Murkage (the clubnight) to Murkage (the band) has been and slick and, using their violently energetic brand of rap-dub-hip-hop mayhem, they tore apart Lovebox and Reading and Leeds Festivals last year. Their lyrics and music seem to reflect popular taste and social tensions simultaneously (see 2011 single ‘Torches’), just one of the many reasons the rise of Murkage looks set to continue through a very exciting summer.
As luck would have it, I got a bit of time to catch up with frontman Murkage Dave ahead of their Parklife appearance in June to find out exactly what kind of trouble they’re going to be causing next.
First off, recommendations, what are you listening to right now?
Mainly Sneakbo. aside from that Ab Soul, John Talabot, New Jersey Street Klan, Elite Gymnastics, the new Wiley freestyles, loads of stuff .. but yea.. mainly Sneakbo.
What have the Murkage boys been getting up to recently?
Shagging doe-eyed fans, bullying Ranen, writing epic emo stadium rap anthems, all the usual shit man.
Is there an album planned in the near future?
Yeah man we’re gonna drop another EP this year, album early next year, since we dropped Paperweight last year we’ve been on some jet fighter roller coaster journey, the records you’re gonna hear have got all of that in there.
Murkage tracks seem to reflect a growing disillusionment within young people towards the government and the police – do you agree?
Well we just wrote tracks like ‘Paperweight’ and ‘Torches’ on what we were feeling at that point in time, that we’re tapping into a general consensus within the youth is a vindication.. there were people who felt we shouldn’t have made those records and played it safe instead, we didn’t give a fuck though, what’s the point of doing this music ting if you can’t speak on the real issues that weigh on your soul??
What’s the one message you would like people to take out of your music?
We just want people to think, open up their eyes a little… that’s what I loved about that Black Mirror series that Charlie Brooker did, it was one of the only things on mainstream television recently that made people think. I don’t really care what conclusion you come to as long as you think beyond what what’s right in front of your nose.
What i’m saying is: reject the role that society foists on you. You don’t have to break all the rules for the sake of it, I’m saying look at what rules work for you, and which don’t; roll with that.
How have you found the transition from club night to live act?
For us it’s been totally natural, and also a big help. We went from hyping over other people’s records to rapping over our own stuff, you can’t get more seamless than that. There are people in Manchester who feel we shouldn’t have done it because they think we started off as promoters but at the end of the day I’ve been doing music in various guises since I was 5 years old, I’m a musician. I couldn’t give a monkey’s what the wannabe blogger brigade think, keep working on those layouts guys, you’ll get there one day.
Murkage are still doing a lot for Manchester music, like the weekly Murkage Club night and also the Murkage Presents parties, are these events important to you?
That’s where the whole thing came from, I don’t think we’ll ever stop putting on parties man. Plus there’s that side of me that will forever be a fanboy; when I get enthusiastic about an artist I have to put them on. I want to be part of what they’re doing! Plus there’s a new generation of exciting acts in Manchester that we can support through these events, artists like Bugzy Malone, Hypes, XP, there’s loads man…
Why is Parklife a good event for Manchester? What do you like about it?
Parklife is great for Manchester because it puts a massive flag in the sand for the city. In the same way that we have two world class football teams here as beacons, we now have a world class festival that does the same. A lot of Manchester based festivals are still stuck in the past, trying to push through the same dry indie bands that nobody cares about, but Parklife’s programming is forward thinking, embracing the best of electronic and urban too. There’s a hell of a lot of buff chicks in short shorts as well; I like that the most.
You’ve been described before as ‘the angriest man in grime’ – how are you going to mix that with the summer festival vibe?
Yes that’s right, I wake up every morning angry, brush my teeth aggressively, rip one of the taps out of my sink, walk out of the house and beat the first person I see unconscious… I will be heavily sedated for all of our appearances this summer though so festival-goers have nothing to fear.
Are there any acts you’re really looking forward to seeing at Parklife?
Yeah man, obviously Labrinth, if you know me you’ll know I overly bum him. Araab Muzik definitely, Mount Kimbie, a local producer called Damu, he works on the bar in Joshua Brooks! Jackmaster, Jessie Ware, Joy Orbison, Juicy DJs, Julio Bashmore. Okay i’m just reading those in alphabetical order off the polaroid based lineup but yea seriously, there’s fucking loads of people I want to see.. be good to catch up with Todd Edwards again and I’d like an opportunity to chirpse Kelis too, she is fiiiiine…
What’s next for Murkage? Touring in summer?
Yeah man we’re all over Europe, Parklife and Bestival in the UK, Putte i Parken in Sweden, Dour Festival in Belgium, Splash Festival in Germany and Eurockeennes, Marsatac and Le Rock Dans Tous Ses Etats in France…we’re busy boys this summer!
To find out what Murkage are listening to do and doing in more detail, visit thebookofmurkage.blogspot.co.uk