Time to chill – HandyCat on Norwegian hip hop
HandyCat is an up-and-coming beatmaker from Oslo who co-founded Bonsaiety Records, now independently putting out releases with a bunch of like-minded artists, including her album ‘International Rap Foreplay’. In the interview she talks about what’s good about hip hop in Norway & one of her biggest strikes to date: a remix with former Def Squad MC Keith Murray. Oh yeah, and she makes her beats on Fruity Loops, 9th Wonder-style…
What types of music/artists do you like?
Underground hip hop first and foremost. I like several of the artists on Rhymesayers, Strange Famous, Anticon, Def Jux etc. I also like different types of electronic music, and even some good ol´ progressive rock sometimes.
How did you make the remix with Keith Murray and Denku happen / how did it come about?
I was asked to do it by Taiyamo actually, we´ve worked together before and we got an EP in the works.
Tell us more about your record label, Bonsaeity Records: who’s involved with that?
André Jensen and myself founded Bonsaiety in the summer of 2008. The idea was to gather original artists that we like, know and/or have worked with, because its easier to promote ourselves together as a label. We help each other out in every way we can, and many of the artists work together. On board now is Chosen Fume (rapper), Delario (rapper(producer), Kjartan (rapper), Paul Bernard (rapper/producer), MesAyah (rapper), Invisible (anonymous group), Stonefish (HandyCat & Adrift), André Jensen (rapper/producer), and myself.
How did you get into making music?
I´ve always been extremely interested in music. Started up with the violin at 6, then piano and singing at 7. In 2003 I was randomly introduced to Fruity Loops, shortly after I was addicted.
Your beats are quite different from the usual diet of hip hop instrumentals. What kind of elements do you think make a good tune?
Personally, I’m into very melodic stuff. Variation is important. The best tracks come out when you try new things, try not to get stuck in a pattern.
I watch a lot of movies, listen to music, and travel when I can.
Are there any good club nights or music events going on in Oslo/ Norway that you can recommend?
Well, there’s some gigs coming up that I’m really looking forward to; Keith Murray is playing in January, Talib Kweli in February and Brother Ali in March – and there´s always Goodshit Radio, live radio show from a place called Skuret every other Monday. That´s always fun!
Whats cool about the Norwegian hiphop movement?
The people in the scene are nice. Musically its still kind of underdeveloped. Hip hop is a huge trend here nowadays, and overflooded with rappers and beatmakers. So it will be interesting to see the outcome of that.
Any fresh music that you’re listening to right now?
Lately I’ve been listening a lot to Buck & Del – Weakdays and weekends which is the latest release on Bonsaiety Records, and it can be downloaded for free at www.bonsaiety.com. Mos Def – The Ecstatic, Felt 3 – A tribute to Rosie Perez, Brother Ali – US, Bike for three! – More Heart Than Brains
Have you got any plans to release a new record in the next year, any plans to do a tour?
I am indeed planning a new record! No plans for a tour this year, but perhaps the next!