Hello there Busker Rhymes (I always bloody spell that wrong…)! Great to have you in this month’s POTM with TSA! Tell us a bit about you guys to start us off then, who, or what, is Busker Rhymes?
Rory O’B: Well, I had been playing folky rap music around Glasgow for a few years at various nights. Pretty soon after that I started jamming with Liam (Phat Controlla) at parties, then at gigs- just me, an acoustic guitar and both of us rapping.
Diamond: That’s where I ran into those two. It was at one of Mark McGhee’s from the Girobabies “Overheard” events a couple years ago. I got a wee break from doing the sound and jammed along with Rory and Liam with me on the Cajon. We kind of started the band by accident and a couple of months later we had our first gig at Deoch an Dorus festival on the isle of Arran before we even had a name chosen!
Rory O’B: That was pretty much the start of it. Since then we have had interchanging members and roles within the band. We’ve settled now with a line up of 6, all of which have a wide range of influences and taste in music, from country to jungle but- we all agree on hip hop!
Diamond: Aye. Hip Hop for Hippies, that’s what we call it.
So let’s get right to the name then, why did you opt for that specific moniker? Was it thought up during one of your well known buckie nights.
Diamond: Well we used to be called “The Tenement Selkies” but that was a bit of a mouthful. I think it was during soundcheck the first time we played King Tut’s that Rory came up with it. He’s always the first one in the band to come up with puns.
Rory O’B: After we changed the name to Busker Rhymes we kind of got stuck with it. Some people love it, some absolutely hate it- we are too lazy to change it.
So tell us a bit about your gigging chronicles then, you guys have gigged quite a lot over the past year, what would you say has been your best experience, and why that one? Do you have a worst experience you can talk about too, or have you been sworn to secrecy?
Rory O’B : It feels like we didn’t stop gigging last year! That’s why we took this January and most of February off. We managed to play all over Scotland, as well as eight festivals. It’s hard to pick a favorite but mine would probably be supporting SCOPE at King Tut’s late last year. That was our third time playing Tut’s and the room was packed right to the back. I remember breaking a string on my acoustic during the first song. Luckily someone in the crowd has a spare guitar in his car. I can tell you, at a hip hop gig that is not very common.
Diamond: Aye, that was a belter.
I think my favorite one is also my worst. We played Kelburn Garden Party last year and I had spent the day beforehand drinking various things from a hollowed out pineapple. The gig went great- we got lots of our friends up on stage to guest MC and it felt like the sun had come out especially for our set but by the end of it, I managed to whitey off the side of the stage during the last song. I don’t think anyone noticed but the stage manager was pissed.
You guys have shared the stage with some amazing acts in your time, is there any that you are dying to gig with that have escaped you so far? What would be your ideal 3 (or 4 if you have a late licence in your imagination…) band Glasgow line up to have in 2018?
Diamond: That is such a hard question, man. There are so many acts that I would love to play with. Off the top of my head I would say The Mouse Outfit, Dizraeli & DJ Downlow, Babylon Dead and C R P N T R. That’s a full UK lineup of some of the best hip hop going… Can I get a 5 band bill? Give the Moods from Manchester. They have one of the best live shows going right now.
Rory O’B: Aye that is a difficult one! I’d have to say probably… Streetlight Manifesto, Sage Francis, Ciaran Mac, Mountain Goats and Cat Empire. I know that’s a pretty bizarre line-up but it would be amazing!
Diamond: Streetlight Manifesto are the f*cking Kings! Absolute best rhythm section in any ska band ever. They are the reason me and Rory became friends in the first place.
Rory O’B: There is so much talent kicking Scotland and the rest of the UK right now. We could fill multiple festivals with just our friends. I mean, look at Colonel Mustard and the Girobabies selling out the barras themselves a couple of years ago. No big promoters just grassroot talent and dedication.
What is your personal favourite track to play live from the Busker Rhymes setlist? Why that choice? Do you think the fans agree, or is there a general clear fan favourite that is demanded when you guys play?
Rory O’B: I think the ultimate fan favourite would be “The Job Centre Song” …We play it at the end of every set and they seem to go mad for it. It’s one of the oldest songs I’ve written. It’s about signing on and the general demented feeling I had when I was unemployed. I guess that resonates with a lot of people.
Diamond: That was the first song we ever jammed on. It’s a folk punk protest belter with hip hop overtones. It’s been really fun watching that song evolve over the year. It’s gone from being a man from Oban with an Acoustic Guitar to a full on punk/reggae hip hop track. At one point in it’s life it even had a trumpet solo and a French verse in the middle. That was wild. I think everyone in the band has their own favorites but for the crowd, that’s the one.
So the floor is now yours! Any exciting plans that you can share with us? Big gig news, new releases, super sneaky promo plans?
Diamond: So after a year with our full line up, we are finally ready to release tracks to the public. Currently we are sitting on 5 recorded singles. The first of which, Mercy Me, is to be released on the 30th March.
Rory O’B: We thought that would be a Good Friday to release it on.
Diamond: F*cking puns….
Aye, so that’s the plan. Keep an eye out for a gig announcement to go with that as well. The other singles are to be released once a month leading up to festival season.
I can’t wait for festival season! Roll on the summer.
There are a few ones we can’t announce yet but we are happy to tell you that this year at Eden Festival we will be closing the Rabbies’ Tavern Stage on the Friday.
Diamond: I’ve been going to Eden since it started ten years ago. After dark, Rabbies is such a riot. It’s full of tuechters rocking out in a muddy pub in the middle of field. We are hyped to be sharing the stage with Holy Moly and the craxkers, Heron Valley and Footerin’ Aboot- The Gnarliest celidh band in the world.
Rory and Diamond:
Finally, shout outs to:
Tam, Kyle and the van, Mark McGhee, Have Mercy Las Vegas, New Hellfire Club, Yellow Movement, Panda Futurology, Mistah Bhoze, Tickle, T3xture, The Honey Farm, Josephine Sillars + the Manic Pixie Dreams, Michael the sixth Dijon, DopeSickFly, David Blair, the other David Blair, parallel prints, Sleevy Clothing, SKOOP records, K9 Kev, MugStock Festival, The Being, Sketchy Beats Café, Ciaran Mac, fail better and the countless others we have forgotten.