2016 has been a big year for DJ, MC, producer, radio host (and CALM ambassador!) Majestic – with the release of his Pure House & Garage mix CD, a top 5 single, weekly Kiss FM shows and a jam-packed gig schedule. CALM caught up with him in Greece to get the low down on trolling, the troubles of touring and grime’s self-image…
Hi Majestic! Last time we spoke you’d just produced the Slamber Takeover track for CALM, working with renowned trolls, the Slamber City Facebook group, to turn their usually impish and anarchistic behaviour into something positive. What motivated that?
I was doing one of my Facebook live streams when all of a sudden I was
bombarded with ‘SLAMBER TAKE OVER’ and loads of people typing ‘M9!’. I know most trolls are looking for a rise or reaction, so the best way to deal with them is to remain calm. I looked into what this ‘movement’ was and realised there was a big community that were making a lot of noise by acting silly on the net. What I tried to do was use this community to try and raise both awareness and funds for CALM.
Do you think young men get something from these anonymous communities that they lack elsewhere?
Ironically once some of the members started getting more involved in my live stream, a lot of them started to really pour their hearts out about their own problems. People find comfort in belonging to something. There are so many people who feel detached from society so when you’re faceless and nameless online you can almost create a whole new persona and escape the reality of being you.
What about social media in general – we get a lot of writers talking about the difference between the social self and the actual self. Is the Majestic we see on twitter different from the one we see in real life?
I would like to think that the majority of my online presence is 100% me. On social media, there’s an immense pressure to be seen as having the best car, best meals, best nights out, best friends etc. I’m seeing it really affect reality as well. People are so concerned with how their snap chat story looks that they miss the actual moment in reality.
Grime is having a big moment. The scene’s attitude to masculinity can look quite macho and competitive, with possibly a narrow idea of what it means to be a man, but on the other it’s a channel for dazzling self-expression with a vast array of styles and colourful personalities. Do you feel grime is a positive influence and outlet for men expressing themselves?
I feel any form of art where people can express themselves is a positive thing. Look at punk for instance, when that first came to fruition ‘angry! scary! repulsive!’ were all words people who did not understand it would label it with, but it gave a generation a voice and an outlet. It’s the same with grime, it gives people hope. A young kid in a council estate in south London is going to relate and aspire to become the next Stormzy rather than the next Olly Murrs.
So, this CALMzine issue focuses on body image. Grime definitely has it’s own distinct look and attitude. Skepta accepted his MOBO in a black tracksuit “I used to wear Gucci, threw it all in the bin cos that’s not me”. With names like Big Narstie and Tinchy Stryder there seems to be acceptance and ownership of body shapes, but there’s also pressure to have the best clothes, certain brands…
Being friends with Skepta for a number of years, it was amazing to see something switch in his mind to throw the Gucci away. I think he realised these kids that were aspiring to be him and dress like him simply couldn’t, because rappers were making unrealistic targets. Now you can go to your local JD Sports and look like your favourite rapper. As long as there’s advertising there’ll always be pressure to have the best clothes and the best trainers. Someone like Big Narstie really does prove that if you’ve enough personality and talent it’ll shine through regardless of body image.
It’s great to see more DJs like Benga and Ben Pearce opening up about mental health, and there seems to be more discussion about the pressures of the party lifestyle and constant touring. Do you find the lifestyle can be tough?
Well I’m currently writing the answers to this in a boiling hot room in Greece as this is the only part of the hotel with wi-fi… the touring lifestyle is intense. I’ve cracked under the pressure of touring: the flights, the traveling, the lack of sleep, the loneliness. We’re so blessed to be doing what we’re doing that sometimes you feel guilty if you feel down when on the road, but we’re human. Being away from loved ones, not eating properly, no set routine, it can really mess with your mind. The likes of Benga and Ben Pearce talking about it is really refreshing to see and makes it feel less of a taboo.
What are the top three tracks doing it for you at the moment?
I’m obsessed with The Best on the new Giggs album feat Young Teflon and Aystar. Micky Slim has made a dancefloor banger called MAKE EM SHAKE IT which is seriousss! Also loving Charlo – Anybody Out Here.
What’s next for Majestic in 2016?
2016 saw me release my first ever mix compilation and hit the top 5, become part of the UKG All Stars for Red Bull Culture Clash and performed all over, it feels as if I should take a break… but no. The big focus now is my first ever live headline show in October at Islington Academy, and I’m starting to piece together an album!
Catch Majestic mashing up the Kiss FM air-waves every Thursday 9pm-12am and Friday 11pm-12am. Tickets for his first ever live show on October 21st at 02 Islington Academy are available now, go get ‘em!
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