Verb T - Interview
This Friday saw the release of the long-awaited first collaborative album from Verb T and Pitch 92, and here at Wordplay, we are pretty darn excited about it.
Good Evening perfectly captures both artists musical personas, with former Mouse Outfit producer Pitch 92 on production and MC Verb T spitting verses. We already had a taste of the highly-anticipated High Focus Records release, with singles like the organ heavy I Arrived Late and disco-popping Sugar, but listening to the album in its entirety is a whole other story.
Pitch 92’s pioneering production technique has laid out a perfect broad backdrop of beats for Verb T’s direct verses, whilst a heavy line-up of guest features including Jehst, Ocean Wisdom and Kashmere add extra depth and flavour to the mix. All in all, this project might’ve been a long time coming, but Verb T and Pitch 92 have masterfully proven that great things come to those who wait.
To celebrate the release of the album, Wordplay Magazine had a chat with Verb T to learn how the idea behind Good Evening first came about, his favourite track off the album and the veteran MC’s writing techniques.
Good Evening might be a new edition to fans listening collection, but the concept behind the collaborative project first came about over three years ago when both artists met on tour. Verb T began the interview by telling us how the idea behind the new release first came about.
“I first met Pitch when he was touring with The Mouse Outfit and I was touring with Four Owls. We often played at the same venues and when The Mouse Outfit were working on their second album Step Steadier, they asked me to feature on three tracks. I went up to Manchester and recorded the tracks, but after that Pitch just started sending me beats and it went from there. Originally, we were only going to do a few tracks, but we ended up working really well together, so we decided to make a full project.”
“I’d say maybe a year and a half ago we had enough for a full album and we could’ve put it out then, but it just didn’t feel finished. We had a lot of songs but I knew I needed to write some more material. We actually ended up cutting stuff we didn’t feel was as strong. I’d say we finally finished the album only earlier this year.”
With Verb T based in London and Pitch 92 up in Manchester, it meant both artists didn’t have much time to sit in the studio together during the creation of the project, but Verb T explained how working alone works to his advantage when it comes to writing.
“Most of the album was created by Pitch sending me over batches of beats and I’d write from there. For me, when I write my solo stuff, it’s something I like to do by myself. I’ve never really had that thing where I wanted to sit in the studio with other people and write. Obviously if I’m doing a collaborative project then I will, but when I write my solo stuff, I enjoy being in my own zone and my own space.”
“Our music making process for this project really worked for me in that respect, because I would receive these ridiculously good beats through email and then just sit there and write. We talked all the time online and on the phone about the project, but apart from that it was quite a separate experience.”
As we started to dissect the new album Good Evening, Verb T talked us through what his favourite stand- out track is from the release.
“We’ve just put a new video out for the track Mechanical and that’s definitely one of my favourites. It might not be one you can listen to all the time though, unlike some of the other tracks that you can just listen to at any given time. It’s not necessarily fast, but I think the beat is banging and the drums hit hard.”
“It’s tough to choose though, because we really have taken a lot of time to make a full project and fit it together as one piece, so it’s kind of hard to pick it apart. We haven’t got a list of tracks that all sound the same, it really switches up. There might even be styles in there that we like but others don’t, but with all the variation in there, I think it all flows together real nice.”
Along with Verb T’s seasoned style and Pitch 92’s exhilarating beats, Good Evening is jam packed with a whole host of guest MC’s, including members of High Focus crew, Fliptrix, Ocean Wisdom and Kashmere, plus fellow hip hop veteran Jehst and Manchester’s very own drum n bass MC, DRS.
“There’s a nice mix of MC’s from London and from Manchester featuring on this project as we thought it would be good to represent where we are both from.”
“The decision of who was going to feature was done on a track by track basis. The first guest we got was King Kashmere and most people know him now as the MC from Strange U, but people who have been following my career since Low Life Records will know that me and Kashmere did one of our first projects together on Low Life. It was good for him to be the first one on there because it was like a full circle. We’ve done a bit together over the years but it was important for me to get him on this project. He just fitted the beat perfectly.”
“Sometimes when it comes to deciding, I listen to a beat and I can just hear a certain person on it. For example, for the track we’ve got with Sparkz, I just knew that would be right for him as soon as I heard the beat. I was so impressed with everyone that featured though and they clearly contributed some of their best verses.”
Verb T’s lyrics have always stood out for their quick wit and genuine content, from his early days over 15 years ago with Low Life Records, right through to his more recent projects like Morning Process and Medicated Dreams. As the MC’s honest style continues to shine through in the new collaborative project, we wanted to know why Verb T wears his heart on his sleeve in his verses.
“It’s not something I consciously decide to do. I’ve always said to myself that if I write something and it’s good, then it’s going to go out and I’m not going to second guess it. When I write, it’s quite rare I will think of an idea and go and write a song about one specific thing. It usually takes me a few hours of just sitting there listening to music to then find something I really want to say. Sometimes it won’t start with something I want to say, it’ll start with a phrase or something that gets stuck in my head. But when I do think of something to say, I don’t hold back, because I feel like what I’m saying has come from somewhere. It’s something I obviously want to get out and put on paper.”
“I think in general, it is important for people to speak from the heart and be honest. I get that music is about having fun though and some artists like to play a character which I think is ok. It really depends on what type of music you are making and what your aim is. But it’s a form of entertainment, so I don’t really mind what people want to do with it. Everything has its place after all.”
As the interview draws to an end, Wordplay couldn’t resist finding out what other projects Verb T has in the pipeline for the near future.
“Right now, I’m just focusing on this release with the tour and getting the album out there. There’s a few things in the pipeline, but it’s all early stages so you never know. I tend to work on more than one project at a time, but it’s then deciding what gets pushed and what doesn’t.”
“I recently produced an entire album for Moreone and a couple of tracks with Rye Shabby, so listen out for that. Both of these artists feature on Good Evening as well, so it was really good working with them on all projects.”
“Me and Pitch are aiming to work on another project in the near future, and I still have my follow up album with Illinformed. There’s also been talks of another Four Owls album too, so watch this space.”
Verb T and Pitch 92 are currently on the road with their album launch tour, so be sure to grab your ticket and cop a listen to what we believe is one of the best hip hop releases to come out of 2017.