We've always seen Chinese Man Records as a phenomenal independent music label that kinda started from scratch (literally) and grew up into one of the most influential French collectives, bringing together some of the finest hip hop, funk, dub, reggae & jazz artists. It's not only about releasing music together, but rather a family. And we're happy to help spread the CMR story.
We're kicking off with one of their most elusive members - Scratch Bandits Crew. The Lyon-based group started as a project mainly for showcases, spreading the love for vinyl hip hop, but turned into something much more. Their sound is pretty recognisable and if you fancy electronic hip hop, but haven’t heard them yet – you will most certainly be impressed. We got to talk to Syr, who shared some insights on their creative process, plans, their latest release The Groove Sessions Vol. 5, and more. Oh, and he crafted us an amazing hip hop mix to accompany the read:
- Medley Scratch Bandits Crew
- Boston - Edo G
- The Wickedest Flows - Rise
- Seven - Asamov
- Shut En Down (Pe-Te Rock Mixx) - Public Enemy
- The Rythme (Feat. Godfather Don, Juju of the beatnuts, Lord Finesse & Fat Joe)
- N.Y. State Of Mind - Nas
- Ign'ant - Al-Shid
- Slow Burning (Street) - 13
- Jfk 2 Lax - Gang Starr
- Behold My Life (Radio) - Defari
- 360 Degrees - Push Button Objectifs
- How Many Mc's - Black Moon
- Streets Of New York - Kool G Rap & DJ Polo
- 24/7 - Hi-Tech
- The Next Level - The Alkaholiks
- Want What's Yours - Styly Cee Feat. Scorzayzee
- The Light - Common
- We Run Things (It's Like Dat) - Da Bush Babees
- I Got A Love - Pete Rock & CL Smooth
- The Enemy - Big L Feat. Fat Joe
- World War I (Mykill Miers) - M-Boogie
- Wylin Out (Rjd2 Remix) - Mos Def & Diverse & Prefuse 73
- Medley Scratch Bandits Crew
Hey, guys! I am really excited to learn more about you. So, can you tell us about the beginning of the Scratch Bandits Crew – how did you guys come up with the project?
Scratch Bandits was created in 2002 around the passion for hip hop and scratch music more precisely. At the beginning, it was designed for scratch battles or short showcases, but quickly it has become much more artistic. Since, 4 records have been released, and we made a huge amount of gigs.
You’ve joined CMR five years ago, did anything change for you as individuals and artists? How?
Beyond the benefits of having a label for the structural side, one of the CMR’s specifics is that there are always a lot of interactions between all the bands that create a big artistic emulation. The Groove Sessions Vol. 5 is a glaring example.
So, The Groove Sessions Vol. 5 – an amazing collaboration with not one, but a few members of the CMR family. Can you tell us about the process – working with Chinese Man, Baja Frequencia, Youthstar, ASM?
With Chinese Man and Baja Frequencia, we left for a week in a big house isolated in the french mountains. There, we’ve created 18 tracks altogether. Back in Marseille, we’ve invited all the MC’s to join us for two days in the studio for 5 tracks, again all together!
We’ll be more than glad if you share some “behind the scenes” moments from your CMR mountain gathering that took place in February 2019. Is there anything you would definitely never forget?
We had a lot of work and all the days were very busy. But between the work sessions we took time to be all together, cooking, chilling in the mountains.
I always pay attention to the song titles. What is the story behind “Ayalamih”?
Precisely, it’s a hidden tribute to the mountains.
There is a certain diversity regarding the energy of the tracks. Like – on one hand you have “Hold tight” and “Leg It Off”, on the other – you have “To the Beat” and “Not so Samba”, for example – completely different moods. How does it feel – being able to convert and combine all that through music?
With the three bands combined, most of the tracks have a lot of energy! But as in the records of every band, there are also softer and quieter songs. It’s important for us to have different moods, it creates momentum and dynamics.
If you have to use this album for a soundtrack, what would the plot of the movie be?
Most of the time it would be an action movie but also with a lot of poetry ;)
Is there anything new that is ongoing?
We’ve worked hard on the live version all together on stage, with an exclusive scenography, we can’t wait to show it!!
With reference to the current pandemic situation and the lockdown, is staying at home helping you to be more creative? Or exactly the opposite?
It depends on how you feel, but also your family, friends… so every day has its own mood and energy.
For me, creativity is the best way to express my feelings and manage my energy, so I’m always creating. But for now, the most important thing is to be here for those I love.