Learning Acceptance: Bugzy Malone Interviewed

Learning Acceptance: Bugzy Malone Interviewed

The vital MC on his new album, connecting with his roots, and settling his clash with Chip...

The King of the North has been teasing us with new music over the past couple of months, but he's finally ready to unleash a new record.

The artist who made his mark during a historic Fire in the Booth which helped reignite the grime scene, still has the same level of hunger in his music now. Bugzy Malone’s new album ‘The Resurrection’ is a demonstration of how the Manchester artist can paint pictures with his words. It might rank as his most honest and vivid storytelling to date.

Whilst the past year has been challenging for most, Bugzy was involved in a crash that nearly took his life. Luckily, after a road to recovery the artist is back stronger and with a new outlook on life.

Clash spoke with Bugzy over the phone to talk through his new album and what inspired it.

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How have things been for you the past year?

To be honest I’ve enjoyed it. It’s different and I like when things get switched up and it’s out of your control. So I’ve found it challenging in some respects but mostly I’ve enjoyed it.

It feels like this album has been a long time coming. Are you looking forward to the prospect of people hearing the whole project soon?

Yeah I think with releasing any project, you get to a point you just want people to hear it. But what I’ve found with this project is that I kind of revisited it to finish it off. What that kind of made me realise out there is that there’s maybe albums or EP’s that I’ve done that could’ve been finished more professionally. Whereas this project for me feels totally finished. To the point that there’s nothing left for the album other than people to hear it.

Do you feel that most artists have the same issue when they look back, there’s always places you could improve?

Ah bro, it’s annoying. Like earlier projects, I would have four songs that I felt wouldn’t stand the test of time and shouldn’t be on there. Whereas with this project it’s getting to the point where I’m refining to maybe two words that I might have changed. But it was getting to the point where I’m nitpicking.

In the album you mention artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Salvador Dali – has there always been a connection you’ve felt towards these artists who painted their lives?

Recently I've gotten into this pursuit of excellence, I’m trying to master something. I’m 10 years into making music, and five or six years I’ve been paid well to live off what I do and for that I’m very grateful. But, regardless of what I get paid as an individual, I'm creative so I’m just trying to do what I do naturally. Now that I’ve got an audience and a fan base I’m trying to fine-tune it in a way that’s not boring and allows people to get to know me better.

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You mention in the album that it’s a prequel, talking about the stories in your life we haven’t heard yet. But for you can it be quite tough dealing with the past again to give us these stories?

You took me by surprise with this question, it’s a very good question. For me, my first Fire In The Booth was one of my biggest moments early in my career. I talk about how I drove past my mum's old house, on Bury New Road, the one I got evicted from. It stuck with people, for whatever reason.

So what I had done within that section, is I’ve tried to go prior to that. The whole thing is like a jigsaw puzzle for people who are invested in my brand and story. It’s just interesting because I’ve tried to go back and paint the picture as early as possible as to what happened before Bury New Road, because I feel like I’ve spoken a lot about that place, living there and types of things that went on there. But I’ve never really gone before that.

Does revisiting the past help you heal mentally?

For me, music is largely therapeutic. I’ll be honest with you, previous projects took me back to the past when I revisited it. It almost broke me down physiologically. I would go to a stage in my head where I would go volatile. Dealing with some serious bits of trauma. I believe the average person doesn’t get to deal with the trauma in their life, so It was helpful. But when you’re going through it year in, year out it was getting to a stage of I couldn’t do it anymore.

This is the first time I’ve been able to go back and revisit things and kind of feel like I’ve already had an understanding. I’ve studied enough things on psychology now and trauma to have an understanding. Not only why these things have happened but to also take the positives out of those things. So, yeah, this time... it was a lot less painful than previous albums.

So it was more draining in the past to make these projects?

Yeah, I’m stronger now and that’s why this project is called ‘The Resurrection’ because for previous albums there were a lot of demons I was battling in my head, but it was me being stubborn. I wasn’t accepting of a few things.

And then when you go through an accident where you nearly lose your life. To this day, I think back to the moment when I crashed and think, fucking hell many a man has died from less of an event. The fact that I didn’t wrap around the lamp post, and just tumbled off but instead bounced because I was so athletically strong at the time. It’s just a crazy blessing and it’s given me a new outlook on my life.

So when I was revisiting the past this time round, I was built for it. Before I felt I was being a bit more soft almost.

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Obviously it was just over a year ago since you were involved in the crash, did this life moment change the direction of the album?

Yeah, I think a lot of people think I’m dragging out the crash or I’m going on about it. But, they’re obviously people that have not had a life changing event happen to them. When I started making the album before the crash, I only had a couple of songs. One song is unreleased and the other is ‘Welcome To The Hood’. Then I had the crash, and afterwards was writing from a place of recovery. I was creating from the hospital bed.

But what that meant was I’ve never felt so vulnerable, since I was a six year old kid, then I did when I was on crutches, on one leg with a fragile existence. So a lot of the songs come from quite a vulnerable aspect which people aren’t used to hearing with me, because normally I’m big and strong. So when I looked at the album, I mean it’s good and it’s got my heart and soul in there, but was missing an element of strength. It can’t be a resurrection without the conclusion of it. So I feel like I had to get back to full strength and write about it from that aspect as well to create the journey.

Other journeys might have come to a conclusion too. You’ve got a feature on the album with Chip. Obviously the beef was squashed years ago, but does it feel like a full circle moment?

Yeah because the lifestyle I came from, Chip was already years into the industry when me and him started clashing. Whilst I was coming straight from the streets. So the situation kind of remained street for rme. There were a few violent situations that came from the clash. Chip wasn’t necessarily involved but he kinda sat it out and was professional. But it’s probably one of the biggest UK clashes to ever happen.

It came around full circle, naturally too, like it wasn’t forced, no begging on either side. To get the opportunity to sit in the studio and speak about what happened was more fun than the other version of events of if someone ended up getting hurt or it went over the top.

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'The Resurrection' is out now.

Words: Joe Hale // @Joesquestions

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