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29 Jun 2011

Cen drops by after EMW Presents for a quick interview.

Just off the back of performing at EMW Presents first night at the Parrot, Carmarthen. Cen (pronounced Ken) drops by to chat about his current projects, how he has come to work with Billy Phono, Skipper The Eye Child and Sativastorm, after choosing one of his tracks off of his forthcoming EP to spit over.

Photo by Dai Eastwood


HJ: Hello and welcome to EMW. Please introduce yourself to EMW readers.

C: Hey what's happenin, my names Cen, From around Ammanford way

HJ: How did you get into Hip Hop?

C: I've been into hiphop for years but more commercial stuff at the start until early on in secondery billy phono gave me a cd with some Sage, Benefit, Buck 65 and Aesop Rock and it really grabbed my attention as to how many different styles Hip Hop has.

HJ: So a strong American influence from the offset? Were you aware of a Welsh Hip Hop scene back then?

C: Yeh really strong american influence at the start because of just how different it sounded, and all that seemed to be around at the time was garage influenced stuff which I didn't get at all, but as we got more into the underground scene in the uk we found Flea Pit and Head Case Lads which was so inspirational to us back then.

HJ: I remember catching Head Case Lads back in the Riv! Was this your first live gig?

C: Yeh man the first live gig that has been promoted and actually planned, me and Billy phono did do a gig before in the jolly tar, which was his e.p Gross blank point, it went well for the very first thing we'd ever done, we had Cenfyn play live sax for us which was amazing!

Photo by Dai Eastwood

"Yeh man the first live gig that has been promoted and actually planned, me and Billy phono did do a gig before in the jolly tar, which was his e.p Gross blank point..."

HJ: Is it true that you played off of a CD player you found in a skip that night?

C: Yeh man! Good times, thats when you know its time to start saving your pennies for kit!

HJ: So the set you performed on Friday was all original material by producers Billy Phono, Skipper The Eye Child and Sativastorm. How long have you known these guys for?

C: Ah I've known Bill for years man, since like the first year of secondary and I've known Sativastorm (gabe) for a fair few years now too, but i only just been linked with skip through Billy Phono, he makes a lot of stuff with MPC's so its a really raw old school kinda sound to his beats.

HJ: What was your overall thoughts on EMW Presents first night?

C: Well man i was so impressed by the level of everything from the sound system to the artists doing the canvases to all the acts, I think the headliners from c.diff really represented well and gave me so much inspiration to really work the crowd up and get a sick vibe going on, the venue is a lovely little intimate place with the awesome Carmarthen locals showing mad love for who ever stepped up onto the stage, couldn't have gone better really man, Sick night!

Photo by Dai Eastwood


HJ: What can we expect from future projects from yourself?

C: Well I've been working on my e.p Disgusting Situations for a while now, so thats all coming together nicely then theirs a e.p with Skippertheeyechild thats in the motions and me and Sativastorm have been talking about doing a chopped up mix tape from his Trees Are Weird beat blend.

Skippertheeyechild Featuring Cen - Shoutout to Bigmouths by Cen {Ken with a C}

Phono. Featuring Cen-Semantic response by Cen {Ken with a C}

Producer: Billy Phono Track: Finalfarewells By: Cen by Cen {Ken with a C}

HJ: Which producer would you most like to work with at this current time?

C: To be completely honest man who ever has a sick beat that just makes me want to grab the almighty Bic and start writing is who I want to work with at the time, it could be some dude from the sticks who is just an unknown bedroom producer too peeps like Mister Digital who has been doing stuff for so long with so many sick mc's so its just about what inspires me there and then.

HJ: What advice would you give to any MC wanting to start out?

C: WRITE!!! write like its your life, write everything, little silly angry paragraphs, uplifted deep verses, straight up slammin head nod hip hop, poetic inspirational stuff, just do it coz you love it, don't have any mis-lead notions about making money or anything other than self expression, i can honestly say that through the hardest part of my life after loosing my dad a few years back it was a real blessing and form of therapy to be able to explain all the mad feelings you have inside and not be ashamed that you do feel lost or scared because once you put it in a verse and your actually saying it to people you never know that person may just be going through the same or similar, and hearing someone else say it makes you feel a lot less lonely, so yeh, just put it in ya pad!

Photo by Naomi Griffiths

"WRITE!!! write like its your life, write everything, little silly angry paragraphs, uplifted deep verses, straight up slammin head nod hip hop, poetic inspirational stuff, just do it coz you love it..."

HJ: From the heart. When your not writing down rhymes or performing what do you do to relax?

C: I surf, use to be a heavy into rollerblading but got fed up of always bashing myself up, still roll when i can but work has to come first sadly, but surfing is a wicked way to see so much of the coastline that you wouldn't normally visit.

HJ: Just after pulling off your latest live set and chillin in the club. What beverage keeps you going?

C: Ah its gotta be the rocket fuel, Red bull or Relentless, with or without vodka, i don't know whether it actually makes you do stuff faster or its just your mind going at a hundred miles an hour! haha

Big shout to Tom Cen. Let's leave you with a nice story...

Backinthedays: Cen & Phono Disgusting situations Early version by Cen {Ken with a C}

Photos from Electronic Music Wales Presents by Dai Eastwood

Additional photo from spoken word night by Naomi Griffiths

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