Dollars to Pounds: Egyptian Hip Hop

January 27, 2010

There are four members of Egyptian Hip Hop. If you were to add up all their ages, they'd still be younger than Keith Richards. Mathematically, he could be their great-granddad. They are very young. Keith is very old. They have a name so awesome that its awesomeness has to be noted in everything written about them. They don't sound like much else around, but if you were to put them on a mixtape, they'd sit snugly between Late Of The Pier and Ariel Pink.

Their debut double A-side single, "Wild Human Child" / "Heavenly" is out soon through Hit Club/Zarcorp. Here is "Hazel Groove" as remixed by their fellow Mancunians, Modernaire. I asked Nick from the band the questions that matter, like "What's your favourite Brad Pitt film?"

Download: Egyptian Hip Hop, "Hazel Groove" (Modernaire Remix)

Pyramid pop, doss-pop, paranormal pop, doss-wave. A few terms used to describe your music, some of which you made up yourselves. Is it flattering that people are making up new terms to describe your sound?
It's interesting that people are trying to pigeonhole us. We've said in every interview we've ever done that it's a stupid task to try to undertake because we have no idea what we're trying to sound like either. The genres we've come up with are basically taking the piss of the stupid genres make up for us. It's cool that we don't just slot into one genre though, so at least they're acknowledging that. And no way is it anywhere near as annoying as, Where did the name come from? You're neither Egyptian, nor hip hop!

The NME called you slackers, but you're 17, in college and have a band. That's not very slack.
I think NME (despite all their love of us, for which we are very grateful) were sort of trying to make us something we aren't in that article. A couple of the members could be described as a bit slacky but as you said, we are only 17, in a band and doing college too. College does however seem to be taking the back seat a bit, but we haven't thrown it out of the car yet...

What's your favourite Brad Pitt film? I like Cool World, mainly because he has sex with a cartoon. Do you think Brad has heard "Rad Pitt"? I bet him and Ang and Maddox love that jam.
It's totally obvious but we have agreed on Fight Club. Speaking of Brad Pitt, he wants to play Nick Drake in the film of Nick's life and our guitarist is called Nick and he likes Nick Drake and so that means Brad has probably heard Rad Pitt.

There are a few good bands in Manchester at the moment. What other local bands do you like?
Local bands that rock are our friends Waiters, who are making some awesome, awesome reverbed grungey shit right now, and their singer's other band Sir Yes Sir, who we used to share our practice room with are also great. They're supporting us at our single launch hopefully.

I read that you guys know Johnny Marr.
We don't know Johnny Marr. We're setting this straight now or it'll get out of hand. Our guitarist Nick used to be in a band with Johnny's son and so inevitably he met him once or twice. He did teach him a couple of Smiths tracks on guitar and give him a pair of trainers (because apparently he thought nick was poor) but we DON'T KNOW HIM. Sorry everyone.

Your new single is produced by Sam Eastgate (of Late Of The Pier). How did that come about?
Well basically, our manager met up with people from Zarcorp (LOTPs label) and we all knew Sam was a great producer so eventually we met up and it clicked. He's a really great person to work with because he understands the way bands minds work, in fact "Nifeo" came about just because we decided to start looping a sample of Sam testing out the drum mics during the recording of Heavenly, I think. We then jammed over this drum loop and it worked. Was definitely the best jam ever, and we wouldn't have got that at all if we were working in a conventional recording set up.

You played a few shows last year, including one in London that turned into a fight. Which was your favourite?
Alex: Well we've had a lot of awesome shows. I think the most exciting shows are the ones that go wrong. We played one once where the keyboard started fucking up completely so Hewett (singer) got really pissed off with it and pushed it over and by the end of the set he was swinging up on the ceiling and wrapping his legs around my neck [Alex is the drummer] which was great. I loved it.
I think the best show for who we were supporting was when we recently supported Ariel Pink, who we all love and have for some time. That was pretty incredible come to think of it. I even saw his belly when he was changing shirts. We played with the Pan I Am in London some time ago and they were amazing live too. Oh yeah, that fight was some DJ who was a bit coked up and the sound guy. The DJ was queuing up tracks and cutting out Louis' keyboard so the sound guy said stop and the DJ pushed him into my drum kit. It was chaos for a few minutes but he has since apologized so we have NO BEEF.

At the end of your song Heavenly there's a weird sped-up sound. Is it a hidden message? I tried slowing it down, but it just sounds like a monkey.
Well when we were recording "Nifeo" (which later turned out to be an old ritual dance for summoning spirits) we started seeing shadows flickering in the corners of our eyes and later on we found a whole track of these strange sounds had been recorded without our knowledge. We believe the space we recorded in actually used to be a place where they stored dead animals before they went to the taxidermist, so we think the sounds on the tape were actually the spirits of these creatures trying to make themselves known.

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Dollars to Pounds: Egyptian Hip Hop