Blazin' Squad Cross The Road To Success


by Amir Hussan & Aneta Tadeusiak

Blazin' Squad They're an up-and-coming collective of ten 16-year-old MCs and DJs. They've been friends for five years, and have already enjoyed underground success with a limited edition release of "Standard Flow". Favoured by many of their peers, among them the Dreem Teem, Blazin' Squad are on the verge of a huge chart hit with their official debut release "Crossroads", a cover of the 1996 Bone Thugs-N-Harmony classic. Their unique musical style has given rise to comparisons with the So Solid Crew - not to mention that they both have several members!

UKMIX was lucky enough to meet five of the group to find out more about them.

UKMIX: To begin with, how would each of you describe yourselves in one word?
Reepa: Laid-back.
Krazy: Crazy.
Tommy B: Cool!
Spike-e: Funny.
Freek: Not a freak!

UKMIX: OK, so there are ten of you in total. Do you really think you need ten members?
All: Yeah.
Freek: Each one of us does something different. So, say we didn't have one person, that part of us would be missing.
Tommy B: The more the merrier.
Spike-e: It's not like So Solid, they've got so many members.

UKMIX: Who's the "boss" then? Or is there more than one leader in the group?
Spike-e: We're all equal. We all put our own ideas in - no one's less than anyone else.

UKMIX: Your GCSE results are published on the same week as the release of your single. Which result are you looking forward to the most, the single's chart position or your GCSE results?
All: The single!
Tommy B: But if the single doesn't work out we've got something to fall back on.

UKMIX: Your first single "Crossroads" is an R&B classic. Are you nervous of how your version will be received?
Spike-e: Yeah. It's hard to compare ours to the original 'cos it did so well. We'd like ours to sell as much as theirs 'cos it was such a massive hit.
Krazy: But we'll try as hard.

Spike-E, Tommy B, Krazy, Reepa, Freek UKMIX: So that's the first single from your album. What will the rest of your material be like? Have you done any other covers?
Freek: We've got only one more cover from the album and that's about it. All our music has the same sort of feeling, but with different sounds and styles.
Tommy B: R&B, hip-hop, laid back stuff. A bit of everything.

UKMIX: People have compared you to the likes of the So Solid Crew and the More Fire Crew... is that a fair comparison?
Spike-e: In some ways 'cos there's so many of us, but in some ways it's not - we're not the same type of people.
Freek: We're different and we respect them, and it's a compliment to be compared to them. But we're not them.

UKMIX: Speaking of the So Solid Crew, a few of them have broken off and done solo projects like Asher D, Harvey and Romeo. If the opportunity came up for some of you to do solo work, would you be interested?
Freek: Not at the moment, we've got to release our single first!
Tommy B: Not at the moment, no. But in the future maybe, we'll have to wait and see.
Krazy: We need to get our Blazin' Squad name out first. That's more important than solo projects right now.

UKMIX: If you weren't in music, what would you like to be doing?
Reepa: I'd probably be working in somewhere like Virgin.
Tommy B: I'd just like to get a bit of money.
Spike-e: And then spend it!
Freek: I'd probably be doing journalism 'cos that's what I wanted to do. Then I could criticise everyone!

UKMIX: Obviously you're not a manufactured group. What advantages do you think this gives you over manufactured ones?
Tommy B: We know each other so we can tell each other exactly what we mean.
Spike-e: If someone steps out of line we can tell them what they've done wrong without it being a problem.
Freek: No one's perfect, but we've known each other so long - we know what we like, what we don't like. Sometimes we might not agree, but there aren't big bust ups. At the end of the day we're all mates.

UKMIX: So what do you think of Pop Idol? Is it good for British music?
Tommy B: They're talented people but it's not for us.
Freek: It's not really our sort of thing.
Spike-e: To win Pop Idol is still a massive thing 'cos you've got to be talented to win. Anyone who wins has obviously done something right.
Krazy: Will Young and Gareth Gates are talented people. It's not our kind of thing but they're good at what they do.

UKMIX: OK, it's not your kind of thing. So what is your thing, what songs do you like at the moment?
Spike-e: J.Lo and Nas is a good tune.
Tommy B: P. Diddy and Usher, "I Need A Girl".
Krazy: Nelly, "Hot In Herre".
Spike-e: Nelly and *N Sync as well.
Freek: We like R&B and stuff like that.

UKMIX: Which artists inspire you the most?
Freek: Eminem.
Tommy B: So Solid, Bad Boy Family.
Krazy: Heartless Crew, Usher.

UKMIX: And which artists would you like to work with?
Freek: Anyone who likes us!
Spike-e: J.Lo, and any fit girls!

UKMIX: Slightly controversial question now. A lot of young people like yourselves try to start out in music by messing around with their CDs and creating samples on their computers. Would you mind if your record company released your CDs in a restricted format so your fans wouldn't be able to do this sort of thing?
Krazy: It's a privilege if someone wants to copy our style.
Tommy B: We understand why record companies might do something like that, but it wouldn't be our decision to say "you can't play this on a PC".
Spike-e: It's about inspiring lyrics, that's how we all started out. But if it stops people becoming like us then perhaps it's not right.

Spike-E, Tommy B, Krazy, Reepa, Freek UKMIX: What's the best thing about being in Blazin' Squad?
Spike-e: Girls!
Freek: Yeah, the fans. We get a good reception wherever we go, that's cool.
Tommy B: Having a laugh with all your mates.
Spike-e: When you leave school, there are people you wish you could still see but you can't. But obviously we're all still together.
Reepa: But most of all - performing!

UKMIX: Try and picture yourself in a year's time. What do you see for yourselves?
Spike-e: We'll be taller!
Freek: Ha ha, yeah! Hopefully a No. 1...
Spike-e: Yeah, and our album doing well.

UKMIX: Do you think you'll manage to break other markets?
Freek: Yeah, we'd like to do well in places outside the UK like America - anywhere really.

UKMIX: Good luck guys!

"Crossroads" is released on 19th August on EastWest Records.
LINKS: Blazin' Squad Official Website (requires Flash)