10 Questions: Bucket Hat Jack
Since smashing stages down south as one half of Oxford's infamous Train Robbers duo, Bucket Hat Jack made his mark on UK hip-hop hosting weekly Itch FM podcasts promoting UK talent. Having finally released his solo, self-titled Bucket Hat Jack EP last Friday, we put Jack in the hot seat for a change to discover more about his debut project.
How long has this EP been in the making for - when did you write the first track?
I made the first track June last year. I was living in a warehouse at the time. It's a bit stupid really, there was this girl that was around here who liked hip-hop. I thought I'll try to impress her, I'll make a beat in the morning and then record some rap and put it to the beat. So I did that and that's what VHS is - one of the tracks off the EP. So I did it in the morning and it worked, she liked it... But that's how I made the first track, then it continued from there.
Were the 8 tracks the only ones you made for this project or just the ones that made the final cut?
Nah I made like 10, probably more. I had loads of beats and I twiddled it down. Funny enough, the ones I worked the longest on I ended up getting rid of. Maybe I just went crazy and heard it too many times, or they weren't that good and I was just trying to work on it to make it good. But just listening to it, I sacked it off and binned like four tracks. They're sat on my computer and will probably never be released.
Can you give the people any insight into what the skits involve and who features on there?
The skits are just recordings - I do a lot of radio stuff, so I like recording people's conversations and I like having actual chats. Not just pre-made conversations on an EP, I like it organic because you get a bit of an insight. Whenever I listen to albums and hear an actual recording of someone, it's a real nice insight into their life and you get an idea into the character. So I thought it was a nice idea on that side and I wanted funny moments. I want to be an old man, listening back to the EP and go: 'Ah yeah, I remember that time.' It's just recordings of me, a few from when I've been on holiday with people. They're good times of me joking with people.
What makes your EP different yet still a traditional hip-hop vibe?
It's the same as everyone else, I don't know. I made the beats and wrote it all. It's all me basically, except for one beat actually from Casa Blanca. Everything you hear is me except Water which Casa Blanca made. Funny enough, he made that beat which was one of the first ever beats he made on FL studios. He sampled another mate of mine we went to school with called Sam Martin. He made that beat and at the time we were gassed playing it loads. Anyway, I put it on when I was at work once just to listen to it. Then I thought it'd be funny to write something to this, so I wrote and recorded it that night. It made the EP because I like the vibe.
You dropped a visual for V.H.S, how did that happen?
I do videography which is my main full-time job. The video is important to me because it paints a picture. Back in the day when everyone bought vinyl, that's how you got to know the artist, through the information on the sleeve. Now it's the videos, I think it's important to make it look good. Same with the artwork - when I listen to music and don't like the artwork, it puts me off the music. I know that sounds bad, but I just feel its so integral and gives me that visual aid for what the sounds are like. So I did the artwork myself then I gave it to my mate Alec Williams to touch up and put on a computer. I wanted to do the artwork myself as well so I can put the blame on myself if I didn't like it in 10 years.
So what happens in the videos?
One of them is a boxing video, he wanted to charge me £60 to use his gym but instead I just made a promo video for him and then he let me use it for free. He also found me some actors. Another one is done with a green screen in a warehouse. I've got all the props, I got mad props. It's going to be like this one shot thing for the video, everyone's going to be throwing me the props. It should look good, it could look shit. I don't know. (Laughs)
You seem to be covering all the angles yourself. What is inspiring your drive right now?
It's just fun to do it. I wouldn't do it if I didn't like it, so... I'm not really thinking about making money out of this, I'm going to give the EP out for free anyway. Like I said, when I'm old I just want to look back and go 'ah that's funny, I did all that crap.' It's enjoyable, it's cool making something and putting it out which people like. It's a nice feeling.
Are there any UK artists - except Cracker Jon - who you've been watching recently?
Loads. I do a UK hip hop show on Itch FM so I've just been constantly looking for UK artists. There's a guy called Lloyd Luther who's doing really nice stuff at the moment. Pupils of the Clock are doing big things too, I know them in real life as well as rap life. Verbz and Mr Slipz, their album together bangs throughout - that's probably my favourite release of recent. There's so many though, I don't want to single out any, but I guess I already have.
Will you be making any appearances on any tours? I know you've had some good showcases in the past with Train Robbers... Can you handle the stage on your own?
I hope so. I've not actually done any [solo] shows yet, I think I'm going to do a lot of the shows with Casa Blanca anyway. We'll mainly just do Train Robbers stuff and then a bit of Bucket Hat Jack stuff with it as well. Hopefully it won't be too different.
What other projects are keeping you busy except for this project?
Me and Casa Blanca aka TRAIN ROBBERS have a new ep that's finished, called Expect Delays, six tracks, we've got verb t, cracker jon, and call.me.tiece on it, honestly we're well excited to drop it, i think it's a big step up from the last ep. Should be coming in a couple months or so.
I've dropped the EP on Polar Opposites, a record label run by a good mate of mine. We've been working together for a while now, first met up in Barcelona. Made a few tracks together. Basically i'm real lazy and he's up for doing all the promo stuff that I can't be bothered to do so it's working like a dream from my end, big up Lucid Behaviour everyyytime.
Bucket Hat Jack, thank you for your time.
Words by Evo