10 Questions - Aristocrats
Hailing from the West Midlands, the Aristocrats were a four-piece hip-hop collective based in Bristol. They became a unity after each member ended up living and collaborating in Bristol. Made up of emcees Stil Bizzy and Gus Stash, producer JMax and talented beatmaker dubL $w£ggrz, the group released their debut Aristocracy EP in 2013. Becoming closely affiliated to Lost Mind Productions and Sika Studios, the group started releasing visuals for singles and touring nationwide circuits. Aristocrats became more widely known following a live spoken word session at the BBC Introducing Bristol studios in 2016. Months later they were invited back to talk about their then-upcoming project, the L.I.K.R LP. Just as their hard-work was beginning to show and their momentum started to grow, a devastating period arose involving the death of their long-term friend and in-house producer, dubL $w£ggrz. Dealing with such a personal loss, understandably the Aristocrats took some time out from music, lasting up until the summer of 2018. Returning more motivated than ever before, in loving memory of their close friend, Aristocrats performed remembrance sets over a string of UK festivals. Following a standout performance at Nozstock Festival, Wordplay met the Aristocrats to discover their story and what they may have in store for future.
Before Nozstock, how long had it been since Aristocrats had performed live?
Stil Bizzy: “We've done a few festivals this summer, the last one was Nass festival 2 weeks ago. Before that we had one at Eastnor Castle. I think Nozstock is our third performance this summer. We've got Upfest in Bristol next month which should be sick. The whole festival slots have been tribute performances, because of what happened recently to our boy who was apart of our collective. R.I.P. to dubl $w£ggrz, our boy and was our producer. We were a four part band, now we're a three part band. Since then we've been making new music, but it's mainly been tribute sets. All of those sets literally got confirmed weeks after he passed away, so it's a madness really. Everybody has been coming together, it's all love.”
Could you let people know what went down during the Aristocrats set?
Stil Bizzy: “We dropped the L.I.K.R. LP about a year and a half ago, we were throwing out hard copies into the crowd last night. We are currently working on a new EP which is probably going to be a bit more of a smaller project, because the LP was 14 tracks. I've been doing a lot with Hold Tight Records, working on solo and collective shit as well.”
Do you remember the setlist?
Stil Bizzy: “We opened with a hard-hitting track to get the energy up called 'Horse', then we dropped into the dubl $w£ggrz productions, we played 3 of his tracks after that. After we closed with L.I.K.R, which is JMax's invention. We only had a 20 minute set, it was a bit of a short ting.”
Gus Stash: “My name is Gus Stash yeah, we came in - me, Bizzy, Jmax yeah, and we played a set that was very, very heavy. dubl $w£ggrz production, and we shut that shit down. We got a crowd from like, 50 people to 300 people.”
How did the Nozstock set compare to your previous summer shows?
Gus Stash: “Last night was the best set that I've ever played with Aristocrats. That was the best set I've ever played. All of the crowd were loving it, they were all getting involved. There was people who knew our lyrics, and a lot of people understood that it was very heartfelt, with it obviously being a memorial set.”
Stil Bizzy: “Nozstock was the first festival we ever played as the Aristocrats, then after that we done about 3 or 4 different festivals around the UK with Sika Studios. It’s only recently we stopped doing the Sika Studios thing. So yeah man, Nozstock is the hub. It's the home.”
JMax: “We're from a place which is probably about 20 minutes down the road, so we are probably locals. We've been doing Nozstock for a while.”
Are Aristocrats tied to any labels?
Stil Bizzy: “Nah we ain't ever really had any interest from labels in the past. If anything I feel like the whole independent flex has taught us the majority of what we need to know in order to apply ourselves through music. It seems like self-releasing is the way that a lot of artists are rolling these days. Respect to In The Balance records though, they've shown us some love and are killing it at the moment.”
Bizzy, did you release any projects this year solo or collaborative?
Stil Bizzy: “My debut solo project got dropped earlier this year. You can find the Meaning O’ Trife EP on all major platforms, our YouTube, Bandcamp, all of that. We’ve got an Aristocrats EP on the way, more news on that very soon.”
What’s in store for the rest of 2018?
Stil Bizzy: “We just wanna keep it moving really. Stash has been busy setting up DUBL Studios in honour of Tom, so a lot of attention has been going towards that recently.”
Can you reveal any exclusive insights into what’s coming 2019?
Gus Stash: “I’m dropping my first solo album early 2019 with some big features from some of Bristol’s finest up and comers, it’s a big step in the right direction for me personally as I’m finally putting tracks together I’m happy to release instead of leaving stuff at 90%..”
Could you each name at least one UK artist you’d like to collaborate with, who you haven’t met before?
Gus Stash: “Personally my favourite artists in the UK right now are the guys who are really pushing boundaries like Octavian, Slowthai and 808ink any of those guys would be a dream collaboration.”
JMax: “Artists I would wanna collaborate with would be Children of Zeus and Hawk House.”
Stil Bizzy: “I’ve been listening to a lot of Samwise and Kojey Radical lately. They just seem to be bringing a whole different type of flavour.”
Aristocrats, thank you for your time. Any final shout outs?
Gus Stash: “Shouts to the VRBL gang, Emba, Twisted Pennys and Bazza.”
JMax: “Shout out to Chillman and Verb T.”
Stil Bizzy: “Big ups to Wordplay y’know.”
Gus Stash: “Rest in peace dubl $w£ggrz. Four has become three, but you'll never leave us.”
Words by Evo