Colonel Red in Conversation. Brum as F*ck.

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Colonel Red in Conversation. Brum as F*ck.

With over 30 years experience in the music industry, Colonel Red can share a story or two.

An older brother of a good friend of mine back in the 80s, I have seen many of the highs he has achieved and am also aware of his struggles along the way.
This conversation will cover all of them… from international record deals to conquering the mean streets of London and beyond.

good afternoon everyone good evening welcome along it is Inspire and be inspired your weekly motivational conversation occasional life hacks today I am joined by Colonel red a gentleman who has been in the music industry for over three decades hailing from Birmingham uh Nick and I go back sometime and it’s going to be my pleasure to share his story with you he’s going to tell us about the Mean Streets of Birmingham how he signed a record deal in the early 90s that took him far-flung places uh we’ll be talking about details of Birmingham that I am a little sketchy on and then he’s going to tell us about how he continues to put out some incredible music I’ll always begin by saying to anyone with us life please feel free to leave a comment feel free to ask any questions and to all the crew coming back on the recording I invite you also to leave a comment and let your friends and family know that you are are enjoying the Stream we’re broadcasting primarily tonight on Inspire and be inspired the page and then we’re going to go live over on Facebook as a Premiere uh I correct myself we’re going to go live on YouTube as a Premiere so I would say good evening to one and all let me go over to my esteemed guests and say good evening to Colonel red uh how are you sir can you hear me you can hear me I can hear you loud and clear nice to hear you could you hear me then on the intro or had I muted myself absolutely not wonderful wonderful okay there I am good good so you know what’s going down we are uh gonna be discussing uh how you got into this music industry but because this series is called Brom as [ __ ] I am also Keen to uh peel back some of the layers of Birmingham in the 70s into the 80s um so to to get a little bit of context um we should really find out the year you were born or roughly when you were born roughly where were you roughly born okay um I was born 1962. okay um in in birming Addington Birmingham by the way I was one of them that was born at home and um yeah 1962 Birmingham Addington 1962. erdington is uh not that far out of the city center it’s an area that I myself moved to and it’s how Nick and I uh what would you rather me refer to as Nick Reds uh you know we we go back too far for me to worry about it um so yeah going back too far uh I moved to the area that uh Nick lived and I became very good friends with his younger brother and it was through one of uh Nick’s brothers who I would get to know him we had a very quick catch up earlier when we were doing a tech test and it was quite funny actually piecing all of the the uh jigsaw puzzle together and uh remembering the final details uh so uh 35 years plus Nick and I have known one another and I’m looking forward to getting to know him just a little bit deeper and refreshing my own memory um okay so Birmingham 1962 that’ll take us up to the 70s 71 72 that’s right what was life like in erdington erduck you know erdington Birmingham was if if I cast my mind back it was about kids playing out and um us with music funny enough and dancing was always a part of what was on the street because we were just Street kids we didn’t have all the distractions that they have now with the eye generation you know we was planes we were scrumping we was playing um British Bulldog tracking you know and that’s actually how we got to know everybody in the area you know I still see people now um that I knew in the area purely through playing the games that we were playing on the streets um and pretty much everybody who was playing in the area went to the same schools so we was influenced by all the same things so um so walking around the area and having the friends that I had like Roy Lynch and the burns brothers and was was all about you know uh what we were sharing from our own arms yeah the area that you grew up eventually would become quite multi-racial Multicultural but back at the back in the day you must have been only one of a handful of people of color right that’s right am I correct yeah yeah I mean my father was always proud to be that he was like the first black man on the road to to to in buy him one yard and so like he was um him and then there was another uh black family that lives down the road so um that was always like uh made a point of that you know we’re one of the few basically and uh it didn’t matter to us on the street to be honest the I think the first time that that color came into it uh although we we we heard it all in the home about the differences between what was going on in our home and in our life and our community and what was going on in the community outside the first time I actually come to terms with the difference between us was when I first heard Bob Marley being pumped out of one of the houses in the neighborhood and I remember that was my first connection to my own identity because I wanted that voice that sound that music I wanted in and I realized that I had the privilege of being able to run in to to alian Rasta uh movement and and the p and the friends that I had you know they could relate so that was the first time I could go oh yeah because the there’s white and then there’s black do you know what I mean so being from a mixed being from a mixed race household it took a little while for that to sink into yeah um yeah I think that was largely because although my father I mean when we we came from uh a household that was very uh predominantly um a Jamaican household if you come into our house you’re going to see the the plastic Lino at the door the plastic over the furniture the gram in the front room the the cocktail bar all the things that you could not touch because it would mean your life was over you know what I mean so um my dad kept a very strict black household so it was clear that you was coming into a a Caribbean household and my mother kind of assimilated you know she only really cooked what my dad wanted so the food we ate and the music we listened to which was old scan blue beat um everything about our house and our premium and our environment was black when I say that the the distinction in terms of color was the first time I felt a sense of Separation so it wasn’t that we didn’t sort of know that we were children of color because a lot of things that happened to us coming up had already decided that the way people were responding to us at school because the school was predominantly white so in the area there was definitely a a separation but we still played with our white friends and our Asian friends and we still played football and we still kind of aspired to and Christmas bonfire night was all about fun but when the issue of color became something of an arrest was when Mali and the whole Rasta uh uh explosion happened that’s when suddenly you felt for the first time there was a side to stand up okay and that was the first time I think we we had to turn around and go I wish that I did that pan you know what I mean you know that’s kind of where that that kind of began so that’s what I mean by when I say that you know in terms of music and in terms of what was exposed to um I think some musics were sent to bring us together and some music at that particular point was sent to separate us gave it gave you a very strong identity I want to say hi to Mr Jefferson Jeff Jefferson says hello to both how are you my friend um anyone else that’s watching feel free to say hello uh we are currently discussing life in the early 70s so get in that stamp of your identity and and Latin answer Bob Marley um was it at that point that you realized uh you were trying to emulate him maybe with your own voice or did you not realize you had a voice at that point um well I was singing from before then because my secret my laptop secret that is for the world to know is that I was actually one of part of the choir that sang on the uh I wish it could be Christmas Blockbuster um let me ask you to roll that back let me ask you to roll that back and and reveal that again in all it’s good this was this was pre-identity you know I mean okay so the the the infamous Roy wood I wish it could be Christmas that’s right you are one of the voices on that massive how many points how many points did you get [Laughter] imagine yes well if you split a point down to as much as um thank God for PPL that’s all I’m saying uh PPL give us the opportunity to act because I I get paid for um my appearance on that that record and I’ve been paid for quite a while now um but that was only because uh the guy that actually came out to coordinate us getting paid was the same guy that also got the guy the kids paid for the um brick in the war the Pink Floyd picture so it was this he basically he used the same uh method which was uh and a performance royalty it’s it’s not a writing royalty in fact there wasn’t a particular category that could pay us unless they would give us cash under the table at the time but considering we were all 10 and 11. um so at that time we we appeared at the behest of whatever averages were around us at that time so um so yeah but that’s been a that’s been quite an experience because that track I worked out that that song has now been pumping for like 49 years um which which is why I’m always a bit reticent about talking about the years because according to all these years I’m like I’m I’m sorry it’s like I’m not supposed to be working anymore I’m like you know what I mean I’m touching pension I was gonna say your boss will be coming through the door any day yeah well I I already get um uh free prescriptions so what can I say incredible okay so let’s let’s skip forward then to uh a pivotal moment in your early teens that will immediately spring to mind when I ask you about your early teens tell me something that you think yeah this was a turning point okay the turning point for me was the the moment that I kind of described to you earlier because that actually was the pivotal point that told me that music was the way I wanted to go okay I didn’t need I didn’t need to think I’d never ever that that would have been when I was 13. um and that’s kind of when I started to write songs I immediately started to write songs and I was fortunate enough to be hanging with because I went to Stockholm green school and I went from Marshall primary school that was quite a very sort of time um Fair mix of kids to Stockland green which was Radical it was like a radical move because by going to Stockton green school yet again I had an identity check I seen I was mixing with uh more kids that came from Jamaica originally and Barbados and all the small islands and the thing about this wasn’t about color actually this was more about culture because this was about mixing with kids who had come up in church and they’d been playing guitars and bass and drums since they were tiny kids so so I was starting to go to a school where I already had these musical rudiments you know I was walking with a bumps I was always tapping on the desk always wanting to sing always wanted to express and then I met a Hollywood people at school in the first and second year that was already doing that for real so I was mixing with the Cunningham brothers and and people who were playing guitars and I was starting to straight away I was hanging at their houses and these were the pivotal this was the pivotal turning point for me was mixing with my secondary school and straight away music was the most important thing uh so any any kind of uh stereotypical garage band uh I mean we didn’t really have garages in erdington didn’t we cut Social Club Center where was where was the flex well we we had we had a stock and green Methodist Church where a lot of the kids would assemble and get their groove on I mean let’s face it you know we was listening to James Brown and and skenge so like you’ve got you you’re in a club because we had school clubs we had St Mark’s uh I don’t know if you remember Saint Mark’s son stuck on green at the top of Bleak Hill no on the top of blue cool Road you I about Saint Marks which was like a table tennis Den but also we used to do a little disco there then we had the method of this club there was a guy named James who used to run all so all of these deep reggae Rub-A-Dub style musics that came out that that a lot of people had to kind of hope that they could hear the big venues we were here in the little kind of Club school discos and and you know and I like so like um so yeah that was a large we had we had Broomfield that was down Slade Road with them we had the YMCA uh upon in earns in six ways that was doing dog nights that everything was influenced with mostly reggae to be honest it was all reggae venues reggae clubs and reggae and a little bit of Soul we even had a place upon what we used to call the front line because we used to go to a place called The yenton it was a social club and that’s where we’d hear like James Brown and Al Green and all of these tunes that were Soulful but also there was a lot of tension because we was coming over we was crossing the the line actually because we was going to yenton where it was really a lot of all the kind of Stills quite racist white boys and they didn’t like the fact there was hordes of these young black nudes who was coming into the clubs there was dancing dropping foot and it was creating a little bit of catch it in the lady’s eyes no doubt well that’s exactly what it was doing you know it was like we were storming the clubs and we was the shuffle was acting you know what I mean we had the skank and we had the shuffle so we were for every for every piece of music that would come up um we had dances for and if you was just to walk around King’s Road and all the gullies right I don’t remember King George Slade Road but all the goodies down them sides if you was to go into the gullies you’d find that all of us were like learning the new dance moves you know that was kind of our thing our thing was to dance for me is definitely something that stands out in my mind of you uh as as the years progress uh you know I can automatically say big influences James Brand and Prince two of your Idols right absolutely okay so uh mid 70s punk rock um new romantic sound systems on and on uh let’s touch very briefly again on uh growing up in Birmingham the first the first Ventures into town well um I think for us it was um again it was the soul stroke reggae club so we had places called like Rebecca’s um we had um well you see even then we we had places like like a lot of people associate the car now to pick up joints that used to happen on the Friday and Saturday nights and then the old days that used to happen as a result of the kind of jazz funk scene that was happening in that during that period but I have memories of being at lacana when I was a kid too you know pre-teen before we even got to 16 17. um lecano top rank which then become the hummingbird all these were places where we were going and again for the same reasons but fast forward to Rebecca’s pollyanna’s sloopies those were like we’re talking about the late 70s just before turning into the 80s um but I was fortunate enough to to discover the ROM Runner I remember a real dear friend of mine uh named Phyllis Morris I’m sure you know Fitness um she had her 21st birthday I was only 16 at the time and she uh had her party at the Romana and she had invited uh obviously all the heads and this was like Carl and Lance Ricky and Ty the twins um the baker the I think the Barker ball backer Brothers um and these guys were on a whole other level dances and I went to um phyllis’s 16th birthday party and it completely changed my life completely from from an aspect of the a different set of people or the way people were moving or the music that the DJ were playing a combination of all all the above I mean um I was coming from a very much a roots and and Funk background I always had dancing in my step but that came really from my father um but when I went to Romana I seen something that I’d never seen before and uh it was it was like it was like seeing seeing something alien happen um I’ve seen these guys dancing I heard the music that they was dancing to um it was jazz fusion something that I just hadn’t heard I hadn’t seen people move to that and I hadn’t seen the way people dress and I thought that’s what I went I was like [ __ ] I felt like I don’t you have you ever walked into something that you feel like how did I miss this yeah yeah yeah yeah well that’s how it felt how I’ve missed I’ve missed something and I can still remember as I’m telling you I’m shaking because um that was a huge part of not only me wanting to transform into someone who could become just like the people I was watching the clothes they wore I wanted to know what that was eating where they was going where it all come from where did they live what was this what’s that music anything that triggered that evening from that point onward was it and that kind of helped solidify and shape how I was about to pursue a musical career okay so let’s let’s touch very very briefly on uh your siblings uh you have a brother Carlton who’s also big in the music scene I remember him as playing saxophone that’s right was he rolling with you back then as well yeah I think that would have that would have been the the battery in in a lot of what I pursued in the music as as a as to to shape it into a career that came from the strength and the camaraderie of Carlton and myself we became United in knowing that this is what we wanted to do this is what we wanted to pursue and on all levels from Fashion to dance to music everything that we’d been doing as kids because everything that I was learning I was taking home and influencing Colton and vice versa so everything that we was doing amounted in the fact that we want to make music and we want to develop our art and we want to become artistic performers and and it was then we realized that all of the Early Childhood from dance music everything that we’ve been exposed to was was about now shaping it into something that we could turn into a career okay so what were the what were the first steps for you to uh get into that career um well first of all we’re funnily enough I mean we knew that we wanted to be good musicians we didn’t just want to make music and there’s something in us that was saying look be the best we could so we was as much practice in our scales and developing our musical sensibilities but um we also had a Keen Eye for image I mean we really seen and understood the importance of having an image we knew that if we’re going to get somewhere with this we’re gonna have to shape our image and start to become more connected to fashion and make our look as strong and as malleable as our musical sensibility that was a huge part of our her philosophy that we’d created together um the fact that we could dance just helped um sort of impact all our ideas because we felt that there was always a performance and a styling that we could continue to to uh weave you know as a result so we we started to develop the music as as much as we was developing the music we was actually developing our image and and our idea of where we felt that we would shine most well if if we skip forward a few years it’s very clear to see that that you nailed that you know you have a very strong a very strong look and a very strong identity but in those early years I’m Keen to find out about the uh the direction you took musically you said you were starting to write uh songs a few years prior what were your um what were your motivations were they love songs were they political songs were they uh you know well I we we kind of split hairs on on uh on points at this point because what we were what I was trying to write was something that was from the heart because I think I learned that from my years of listening to Roots Music I wanted to write something that that was from the heart um with having Carlton as an influence what what was really ingenious about Colton is that he had a real good ear for what he felt was trendy and what was catchy so we found a way of fusion fusing the both so I added more of a raggedy Edge to my understanding of music so I would stay closer to the simple and effective more direct way of of expressing a song or expressing a a point and Carlton would have a very sophisticated way of saying look okay this is what it is let’s develop it so that it becomes this because he was more of a jazz musician and inspired by Jazz so we we managed to find a way of fusing the two you know and that that kind of became the embodiment of of of our our style in musically and our style in literally you know okay so uh tell us about your um so this will take us we’re getting towards the the beginning of the 80s at this point right yeah yeah um so how tell us about some of the early early successes that you would have achieved um and at what point is a band formed and does the band name materialize I did say that you know we are not going to get your life story in this conversation so we are going to be skipping over quite a bit of it um but but at the same time you know the early 80s because I’m sure you will immediately think yeah well this was the turning point this was this was quite important so on and so forth yeah um well I mean yeah the attorney that I think the term we we’d already crossed into the to the 80s at this point and we was very inspired by what was new romantic as well you know because we had a new Romantic Era we had a two-tone error um you know that that was sort of impacting at the same time we was listening to all of this 70s so but like like it was back then what was happening in the 70s Stateside wasn’t really getting to us until the 80s you know there was always this time machine that was involved in this this delay um we was fortunate enough because of Ramana and the likes of Sean Williams and and Dave till who brought that level of music and that caliber of music to us so we always kept a strong ourselves steeped in in in profound good music but when we got into the 80s and we realized that you know the the there was Janet Jackson and there was all these new romantic and all these quite androgynous type of creatures and characters popping up all through the 80s um I know I allowed that to influence me from an image point of view because I realized that I was getting closer to being hungry to want to sell it wasn’t good enough that we was writing some songs we I was I was listening to tennis stream Derby I was actually in that camp for a while um the tennis Trent Derby’s manager was actually friends with my manager at that time and we were all influenced by what was coming through the tube what was coming through you know anything that was following we was on it you know and um I think through the 80s there was we we formed a band called rare move okay and uh and rare move was our first band we with sadly who passed uh Cornelius I don’t know if you remember corn the bass player okay he he was one of birmingham’s finest um he was our first bass player together with a couple of other guys the guy named Mark and a guy named um I can’t remember the other guy’s name right now um but there was a few of us and we managed to color a seller in Westminster Road uh the the con Corn’s father was a guy named named he was known as the hatman he was the hat maker for the area and uh he he was kind enough uh to let us have his seller and where we could just we literally turned back into our first base and that was where we developed uh uh pretty much a band sound and that was pretty much directed by Carlton and myself but from songwriting to music writing to and we spent about five years in that Cellar just developing that era I I can immediately think you mentioned Terence Trent Derby uh you you know everyone will automatically cast their mind back to the huge Levi 501 adverts I’ve got uh as I’m listening to you I’m thinking I’m thinking of uh Sharde I’m thinking of that’s right Glenn Goldsmith all of these albums uh covers are reminiscent of the kind of vibe that was flying around at the time right yeah yeah I mean we see we we had a we were steeped in what we felt was Jazz like we was listening to a lot of the Soul Classics and we was listening to her Bianca experimentalists um we was listening to traditional Jazz and was listening to anything that would teach us about Melody and about composition Heisley Brothers been one of of the biggest Heroes Isley Brothers Between Colton and I was our heroes purely because they just had such a melodic approach to everything whether it was rough or harsh so when we were listening to all this this pop music coming in Johnny Hates Jazz there was there was so many like pop bands that were emulating really good music and but in their own style that um we we was just sucking it all in you know um and I think that that sorry again forgive me for Instagram no no no no good I do want to make this as interactive as I can when people are join us I’ll say hello hi to James uh he’s loving the conversation and uh pogwash says did Cornelius play with Wham question mark do you know no no no not to my knowledge okay you might have though because to be fair there would have been a time when uh uh there was a couple of instances when the bands were coming to play uh uh the NEC or play at a few other places and they would use the the most likely um uh session players at the time and there was a point where corn was one of the the well-known session Blairs of the time so if one for instance came to Birmingham they might have used him so I couldn’t swear to that because you know you know so it happens okay uh so remind me of the name of the that the first outfit that you put together forgive me that was Remo removed okay yeah so uh what was the peak of rare move um we the peak of rare move was we we did our first gig on Mosley it was a place a venue just before you get to Mosley Dance Center okay um it it was it was it was a great show to do that set up a few other shows to follow very local very low-key very kind of you know um handsworth pubs um kind of thing and it was just to give us some sense of grounding and um nothing ever really come from those gigs other than some great experiences and a chance for us to hear what we had to offer we had some beautiful songs um they were still being developed but it was a chance to for us to understand how to take songs from the rehearsal Studio to the stage to a crowd and listen to you know what it sounds like once we’ve turned it out you know it’s a great process and we we loved every bit of that book not enough there wasn’t enough there to sustain because taking that any further you know how were you how were you doing um financially at this point how are you funding everything as Brock as Ross was just pure the original term Brock I remember a friend of mine saying to me um I don’t mind saying it actually is Bruce he said he said when you’re broke you know um you you’ve only got 50 pence but when you’re Brock you owe 50 pence nice so so that’s was quite the epitome of those times we said you know what we we managed to bring things together based upon favors you know it was a real favor time you know um everybody just pitched in fortunately a couple of the members of the band were working so they had a few things covered and they were driving so we could make sure we could put it all together and we could rely on a few things because we did it all for love so we we just pulled it all out of the bag but did you ever have a profession did you ever ever have any skill from when you left school like that um I mean I was a landscape Gardener for a little while um I’ve worked in factories factory work was pretty much my thing it wasn’t difficult to get into factory work I I worked in I had two factory jobs and I had a landscape job the landscape job came When the Children came because I had children young and I knew I knew music was my thing by the time the children come but I also knew that I had to make sure I was making money to bring in for the kids so that’s where this landscape gardening come but during it was during my period of being a landscape Gardener and the mother of my kids when she was working I was looking after the kids and she was working so we was both doing part-time jobs and pulling in what we could to make sure our kids had what they needed um that’s when things got stronger towards the the record deal that would um Inver in consequently you know sort of changed my my life okay so tell it tell us about the outfit how you would have met the third member of the group and uh the name of the group and and how that record deal came about okay well that before I get into mentioning the the name of the band um I started to work on a project called Nikki which was just me as a solo artist and I I don’t I was able by this time uh to afford myself a little home recording kit and I did a demo I took the demo to um a guy named Kevin Edwards who had a label over in Warsaw called big feet he was a Christian organization and they heard the tape and they married us with a crew that was at that time called Hey citizen hey citizen basically heard the demo and said look I can’t do anything for you right now but what I can hear is maybe you if you go and sing with these guys um uh something could come from it so he made an introduction to This Crew named a citizen who were actually rehearsed in a place called Central Studios that was on Dale end in Birmingham opposite where the hummingbird was before that turned into Toys R Us and the whole car parking that was a actually a huge record it was old warehouses that they’d converted into recording studios so we we started to uh we met these guys and when we met these guys um it turned out that they were the ex Hollywood Beyond crew um I don’t know if you remember Mark Rogers and Hollywood Beyond uh they had they had a huge hit with that support yeah yeah okay they had a hit with uh what’s the color of money it was called and uh it turned out that the crew this crew was was uh uh the the band Hollywood Beyond and so they they kind of shared with us their experiences and then they was into making this which was what was quite fashionable then this new new funk Like a Rock Funk sound a cross between soul and the bands like the system uh and um Loose Ends they were used in this type of styling at that point it was a fusion of solid so we got into a thing with them and I think that what happened is um that led to another meeting which was me meeting Paul Beckford who was at that time an ex-member of Hollywood Beyond who’d gone on to now become the bass player for Burning Spear uh he took us down to the original crew that was recording with Mark Rogers that was a guy named cliff White Cliff white was the guy that was originally doing all the recordings with soul to soul so like one introduction led to the next and before I knew it I was starting to record what was my first uh single with Cliff white it was a track called feel the changes I’ve actually got the vinyl now and I have to say a damn a damn good looking man you were about him weren’t you a slick slick good old Mickey romilly it’s nice to always be where no it’s good but thank you very much um your compliments are always warmly embraced the the look you were very um both yourself and Carlton were very striking looks uh very um I don’t know I mean to say you you looked unique uh probably makes it sound like you were a bit freaky but at the same time you were very unique and a little bit freaky as well right you stood out fair to say no I mean I think there’s truth to that and and thank you I mean I do take that as a compliment regardless I think that when you see what was an identity crisis when I was younger because um although me and Carlton come from the same Garden um were very different in the way we perceive ourselves and um Carlton always felt that he was who he was and that was it leave me alone and I was always um I I embraced my Heritage I’m very much my Father’s son um I’m a very stun and still do I’m I’m my Pursuit doesn’t come without a conscious feeling that I need to remember who I am where I come from my identity is very fixed and so back then there was always a double take when it come to can’t know myself um who are these guys what are they you know it was more what are they than who they are you know what I mean obviously because people are constantly you know stripping you down and often I’d get are you actually black I mean what are you you know and especially you know the more we traveled away from our sort of you know um indigenous area the the more it became a question and and that always troubled me when I was younger because it meant it meant a lot to me for my my my people to recognize me or people to recognize who I was in representation representation of what I believe was my people but as I got older I realized that um I turned that to to be something else it was like it would I’m I I learned enough about myself to put that in its rightful place and I realized that um that then became something that was an asset rather than something that I had to you know worry about as an identity check you know it’s like that now now that didn’t matter I got on with being just who I am and following my own course of action and um and that ended up being something that people you know uh what was the question was now a forte and most definitely so let me just say good evening to Anthony uh saying bless up Nick and Andy Mr Anthony Ellis and also Kenny uh Kennedy John Charles says great conversation uh Kennedy and uh Emily is bestowing uh uh compliments upon you saying you’re still looking good thank you Emily so okay let’s Carry On Let’s carry on along the timeline so uh no no problem the the momentum picks up you’re starting to widen well this basically this transition uh was Paul Beckford after you know meeting various people along the way uh uh transpired in London that was my first real trip down to London we worked out of a studio called Addis Ababa at that time where um there was a guy named cliff white obvious as I told you also there was a guy named Mambo who I know that you know well um and um so that was kind that was that was Birmingham boys cornering a joint down in London Town and uh I I’d actually worked down in uh with with cliff and that turned into look we really want you to start working with us so I went back down and I recorded a song with another one of the soul to soul backing vocalists and this was all you have to remember that this this was not anything that was done on paper this was not anything that was done and legitimately this was stuff that was just walking in off the street type of stuff and you end up recording fortunately for me and I didn’t realize at the time is I have an impeccable uh uh time response to songs meaning if you write a song I’m notoriously hearing the song already so like you know you do even if you just tapping like this I’m gonna hear it so that’s kind of what I’d what had evolved with me without me realizing and realized how important that was to have that as an asset because walking into these Studios if you didn’t have anything to give to a recording a strong song a strong hook a melody or you know something that that would leave people a little mesmerized or a little bit hooked um you could easily just fall to the Wayside as it goes I was walking into Studios and I was leaving people shook up enough for them to go it was that guy man we need more we need more you know where am I where am I oh my God whatever I was dropping as you know yourself you know when you record something it the bite is how you feel afterwards you know not just during the session because sometimes you can go back to it and it’s cold you know but I was leaving sessions that were stayed on fire and that was the first sign that um you know what we we got something because we’re we’re actually this this is about recording this isn’t about just performing live or looking good or trying to sell a demo this is about you’re on fire in the studio uh where it counts you know because a lot of the music that started to come from that scene that was acid Harrison that was house music that was you know uh homegrown in in in England was was about whatever they caught fire the feeling they’d left and that started fairly certain Addis Ababa studio is where they recorded um bang the party which is like a really good crack around there okay you’re talking like 87.88 times well this would have been around about this period is because this was 1986-87 would have been the time you know following on from all the years of plugging at it in Birmingham trying to get something together and something happening um it would have been around the mid to late 80s that um I I did this recording called uh it was it was actually a speech of Martin Luther King and uh Clifford said to me uh I hear the hook better um the hook goes like this and because he speaks so low I couldn’t hear The Melodies like feel the changes blowing in the wind and I just about caught it so I naturally I took it up to the new to the neurotic place that I usually am and I I started to emulate this hook and um it ended up being quite a a killer tune well I after we’ve done a few bits wheel felt to the Wayside now I this is quite common in this game is that you you work on something and then you don’t hear nothing for ages and I came back to Birmingham and I was getting a bit frustrated It’s like because I you know it’s not sort of when you’re working on something positive you know it’s when you’re doing the waiting like you know what you know things are going to move and my kids are getting me a little bit older and I’m starting to like look man you know what’s going on and in the end I moved away from that whole thing until I got a call from uh Cliff saying yo Nikki um are you still up in Birmingham I’m like yeah he said look I’ve got a climate here who’s really interested he he wanted to know what happened he’s seeing click I see me at a party and he wanted to know what happened to the guy that sang the field of changes and I says well all I know is up in Birmingham and he says I’m really interested it ended up that this guy was his name was darkest bees now darkest bees um is now responsible for Amy Winehouse um sugar babes are they um all these like huge successes but at that time he was just a a real kind of uh hungry Iron Man from Ireland records so they jumped on a Motorway and this was like eight nine o’clock at night from London up to Birmingham no London people are never in a rush to come to Birmingham at the best of times so I was quite flattered that there was coming up so I knew they meant business basically and they come and did a little bit of a showcase an interview with me at my brother’s place uh up on Gravelly Hill and uh next thing I knew I was back down in what they call the green room um and in The Green Room was where uh you two Grace Jones Marley they’d all recorded all their Island demos because they’re all Island artists and we was me and Colton was in The Green Room recording some [ __ ] this was like Wow [ __ ] man what’s going on and what transpired from that was um a second darkest bees with the last the next thing we heard dark speeds was fired uh from Island records and he wanted to take us to Big life and I don’t know if you know big life but big life is jazz Summers so he takes us to Jazz Summer’s label and Jazz Summers does the interview with us and uh Justin says and he’s quite an eccentric cat this guy is so he’s like oh I like this sir and uh he suggested a few things but darker space because he’s a this is we’ve learned this is why he got fired because he he he’d been warned he’d already come up with a few ideas and one of those ideas to put us with Robert a guy named Robin Smith Robin Smith was working with at that time a guy named Howie and Dobby I don’t know if you remember uh Howie and derby um and that was like what he’d been working with Junior I’d been working with like uh uh all the songs for Pasadena’s uh ride the train actually was his song So darkest come up with this idea that he would be a good person for us to work with against Jazz Summer’s wishes because he says don’t put him with this guy Robin spit because this guy Robin Smith’s a maniac you know I mean and it was one of those situations so I had to make the call and go well am I listening to Jazz Summers or am I listening to darker space so I threw with dark speeds uh we ended up getting with Robin Smith and um pride and politics was born and we wrote we wrote that album in six weeks so the first album came out in 91. that’s one and uh you I do recall that it was um in hindsight it was received well here but you got more attention overseas right well we actually did it in the states and it got it got attention in the states and it was received here but really By The Crate diggers by the DJs by the people who love music by the music lovers but not by an audience that we could say you know we could reach out and sell to it was more of a great industry album I think people in the industry received it well uh magazines received it well um a production divisions received it well and budding musicians highly critically acclaimed yes yes and and and he and it had some great guests on that album as well which back in the day like I said when when you’re talking about having guests on an album uh there was only one guest that didn’t show up that was asked to come on the album and that was um uh [ __ ] I forgot his name but um even though it’s probably be one of the biggest sort of crossover Soul artists at the time but I think um so you know while we’re talking here if anyone wants to go and take a look pride and politics uh [Music] p-o-l-i-t-i-x okay x p x so pride and politics Pol i t i x go and take a look at Google and take a look at some of the images and you’ll see what we’re talking about when uh a very a very um distinct and Polished look slick and you were still you were still Nikki back then as well right yeah Nick Nikki you see the thing is we we um that’s quite a fascinating story because we we kind of got off the number 11 bus at stuck in green and found out we had a record deal so like we had to we we submitted the demo got back from London on the Friday from recording and on the Tuesday we found out that we’ve got a record deal and what it was was the we’d been working with Robin Robin had a writing stint in Australia but he stopped off at New York uh as as on his trip and as he stopped off he had his meeting with a woman named Sylvia Road and uh Sylvia Rhone and Merlin Bob who was um silver rose partner at the time they had a unit in Atlantic called East West and uh they heard the album and wanted to sign it immediately they just was sold and fortunately we we had a bit of a promo video of us performing one of the songs uh two of the songs actually that they had as well to go with it so they had the demo and they had the the band doing a performance we did a performance and um when when we arrived in Los Angeles to start recording um the record company didn’t come out for a couple of weeks and when they did come out they sat down with us and they said our first in impression of new combined with the sound was that you would be the the male Sade that was their whole identity so me mentioning well I I didn’t I didn’t want to say because she was on a roll wow but I mean that was pretty much precisely what um uh silver Iran uh prescribed as what she felt was the marketing point and value and that was big on on her part for her to even say that because she she already had mikhotnell uh and simply read in their camps and underneath her belt and she also had in Vogue under a belt so she she was already quite the crossover uh marketeer that was her power really so we we really believed in her and we believed in what she wanted to do the the and that’s kind of how pride and politics we we we actually rehearsed with um Luther vandross’s band that was our band to perform live and um and we put performed at a place [Music] called us begins with so someone’s going to remind me in Hollywood or somewhere no no no in in New York okay so so where did Los Angeles come and see she went and recorded in Los Angeles we’re recording in Los Angeles we actually recorded the album in Earth Wind and fires on album called The Gardens so we recorded the album in Earth Wind and Fire’s Studio once we’d finished the recording um then we went to New York because we we pretty much moved out to Los Angeles we lived there pretty much for a year we recorded and lived that life and once where the recording was up then we but the joke is is that when we fit we we polished up the album we took the the the the the the the main nuts and bolts of the album and then we recorded some stuff there and then we layered on uh choirs and all this kind of beautiful musicalities that we added and an artist that we featured and then we delivered it to the record company and they said no so we remixed it rebalanced it and remember we we actually mixed it in Ray Parker Junior Studio so like we’d gone from the the Stu Earth Wind Fire Studio I’ve gone to Ray Parker’s Studio even we even had Junior come in on the session and we we like you know we we finished the album took it in and then we remixed it took it in and they refused it refused it and then Robin took off to the Hit Factory in New York where he mixed it again and took it in and they were still saying no so he ended up taking coming back to London we took the original demo and just eq’d it all right delivered it to the record company and I said that’s it crazy so yeah exactly it wasn’t actually about the sand that you were delivering they would just they wanted they wanted what they they feel that we hit the spot as soon as we came in we already had it so sometimes and and again I’m appealing to your own experiences you know is that sometimes we we got to know when we got what we need you know and and uh that’s often a case especially when you’re oven over uh analytical and I’ve learned a lot from that because I am an artist that will come in a studio and uh if if I’m feeling it that’s it because the feeling I I even when I hear certain people like my children they’re a good guide certain songs that they like and in a certain sense that they love and I’ll guarantee you that the songs that they love are the ones that I felt the most and I can tell yeah so that feeling is your that’s your production right there how you feel and um I think this is what this was about it to rub in the the third member it was it was about the the technical textures you know I mean and the and he needed to be insular to do this you know I mean whereas you know Rago says Anthony Anthony Ellis is saying that only comes down to experience it does uh good evening Amy nice to see you back on Facebook uh thanks for joining us so late if any if anybody is enjoying this conversation please do give it a share we would love some more people to come and listen to that knowledge that Colonel red is sharing so we’re 60 minutes into this conversation and uh we’re not sitting here sitting here loving the uh loving the history lesson so 90 into 91 the album hits the streets were you but um elated deflated when it came out when it came out I was yeah I was overwhelmed um we had no reality see because we had a record deal you got to remember that handy but back in those days this was the days of getting record deals was still that like life-changing moment you know because before the golden friends I mean we come from Stockland green and we got our record deal shortly after and why not have got theirs they said look and why not and why not well and why not to be fair we we’d seen them coming up and they was we we admired them because they were three there was uh quite a few years younger than us and they they had quite an angle on their style in um we we wasn’t erdington boys as well all oddington boys yeah yeah yeah urn not not Eve in fact stuck and green to rotted they’re not even urgent because Irvington is earned but then you have stuff but if you come from Stockland green then you’re talking about stuck in green chippy you’re talking about the plaza you’re talking about you know what I mean you’re talking about stuck and going School Marshall school Phantom you know you’re talking about a an even sort of tight knit Hub so them guys we used to see crust and stuff in green but we knew what they was up to and we always admired them because they really knew what they wanted they knew what they was doing there’s good looking guys that they they had their act together they got management they was organized basically and I think that we always admired them especially because they was younger than us and they helped us shape our understanding of of what we needed to do also but we was coming from more of a musical Place whereas I felt that they was coming from more of a styling place you know so so although we understood The Styling we we we we knew that our power is going to be always to stay close to the music um so yeah um I can’t remember what thread who was on there yeah and why nothing and why not yeah I wanted to bring out my memory of the timeline I knew it was all around the same same thing uh so I asked you when the album came out were you so you were on a high how where did that right sorry that so so basically right um we were so preoccupied with the fact that we got a deal and we also got a publishing done we got all these things I didn’t really pay too much attention to thinking about figures about how well we was going to do with in in some ways we we felt that we’d arrived so we didn’t pay too much attention to what our responsibility was from that point um we had it was an American deal we had so when we came back to England we had to we we we started doing meetings with the uh English uh label sister label to East West and they that deflated us because they they said well we’re not really into the album to be honest with you we think it’s okay but we wouldn’t have done it like this we would have done it differently um and they kind of put a hole in in Us by saying that they felt that compelled to work on this album but they’re just not close to it they didn’t understand why we had to go to America to get a deal even though we’d already took this album to the English office in fact we went to America because we couldn’t get an arrest here that was why in fact many bands because we were signed at the same time as the influence were banded and if you remember the influence of course yeah well the influence and almost became label mates was even encouraged to work together uh and I really like the influence and I love what that was coming coming with um but they too ended up in the states getting the deal because they couldn’t get an arrest here so you know the English companies sometimes can be your best friend and some times can be your worst enemy so we had and I was very ambivalent when I came back to England because I realized that we had to know if they made us feel as if we had to start again you know and uh so we we’d already been almost two years out in the states by then so we was not wanting to become Americans so to speak or overly American influenced we wanted our English roots and we wanted to come back to Britain and say look man we’re a British band with a with a with a with a Soulful sound um but it was difficult to sort of get everybody on board here so we faced a few uh obstacles here that we didn’t anticipate because we thought that they would be happy for the fact that well okay the bus assigned us let’s let’s get on board but you’re also you’re also talking about the absolute explosion the changing of the landscape in the UK at that time as well everyone had already long since gone acid has crazy and now they’re a full-blown it was all just about Rave culture right that’s right I mean what encouraged um that our first single hold on was was a uh was was quite a song that everybody embraced um but it was the David Morales remix that made noise for hold on and uh and that was always a thorn in the side of the producer who worked on the album because he kind of he didn’t have this understanding of what the remix given given a remix a life to to your song um he just took offense yeah he just took offense there fiddling with his baby that’s the wrong analogy well not to interfere with your political incorrectness but in all fairness um that’s exactly what it felt like to him you know someone’s trouble in his baby and he didn’t feel that he he I think he had the same after a while we we was in this place of Oblivion where we had a great sound but we needed people to Champion it who understood it and uh we needed to be able to come home and have some support at home because when you don’t have the support at home that has its snuck on effect you know so when we went back to the States um we started to think well okay it’s a big Marketplace out there you know and whatever we can get back here we need because it would help create leverage over there because the Americans are quite fickle in terms of if they can see that there’s there’s benefits and advantages of getting a good British following or getting Britain to pay attention and stand up for your music they’ll they’ll watch how well you do that that will mean something to them because they’ll go okay we’re on the right path but if they can see that your own are turning your back on yourself to speak they think like well why should we have you then I mean it’s like and as much as that sounds pretty fickle it is like that you know and um you have the also what I learned during that is we did a whole radio tour in in the states and the radio tour was going to P1 and P2 stations and the P1 and P2 stations are set up uh to actually Champion music that they believe the black urban stations are championing also so if we would have been an outrageous black sounding Urban band we would have won at the P1 and two stations because they would have been aware that the black urban stations was playing you also but we got into this place where we had an identity crisis because the the urban stations were supplying us because our sound wasn’t black enough so the P1 and two stations wasn’t touching our music because if the urban black stations are not touching you then we’re not touching you because they’re only touching the music because I remember color me bad and seal crazy all those tracks were at coming out at that time and people were troubling them because they stood out with distinction in fact people didn’t even know what color Colony bad was because Colony bad was actually I think there was only one black guy in the band I think there was a predominantly white band or a Latin band there was biracial or something they wasn’t an outrageously black band but because they was given distinction they could become a credible basically it was about credibility yeah you know I mean it wasn’t even about color in the end it just happens to be that you know a black bat a black band with a black sound is gonna win credit more than a band that hasn’t got a clearer identity and I think that we fell between the cracks because of these issues So eventually our music although it looked and sounded great from a a creative perspective and an art perspective uh in terms of really commercially it didn’t really deal well yeah I mean commercial music in the States has to pass certain uh modifications and Corrections before it can then exist in the Stream and uh it wasn’t it wasn’t going to swim and we we kind of become aware of that so the plan was after the first two singles were released was to start working on the second album because the record company didn’t give up on us because they knew the ingredients were there but we just didn’t have the artillery um so where did so where did that leave you uh when you did get back as time progressed tell us about how well I came back to the UK but then I went back to New York and started working pretty much on my own um because it seemed to be that I could work on my own because when I put it to the record company that well what happens if I well no first of all I started to work with uh do you remember Shannon yeah um let the music player well I work with the crew that worked with Shannon so we was experimenting for about six to nine months and that was me in New York working pretty much on my own rubbing it kind of said get in touch with me if there’s anything good because he already had quite an illustrious writing career he went out to work with Margaret ollich who was like the Mariah Carey of Australia and he was like so the band was kind of finding some some degree of separation and the only thing that was keeping it together was me writing uh hardcore with all these different producers so I started to write with um Mars and Ruby was connected to Shannon and we was experimenting we delivered the demo and although they liked it um this is and I said well what are we saying because I’m on my own and they said well what do you think you can deliver that’s different to what pride and politics was because they fell in love with the whole idea so which which is what they were saying was well it was you with pride politics so now it’s you without pride and politics what’s the difference you know I mean so why should we now get excited about what you’re doing really we’re excited about private politics which was I thought was a positive in the end because it made me really clear that you know you’ve got to really be 110 when you’re going into a record company that’s the only way you can be so I came back to um the UK um not disillusioned I I knew what was going on more deflated um because I felt that okay you know what I know what’s happened here uh we’ve been dropped um although the record’s good and we’ve got a lot of positive signal notes from friends but um it’s it’s a difficult one to feel that you’re starting to try and build from the ground up but shrewdly because I am part Hustler everybody everybody from Stockland Green is right we’re coming to about that man you go you go into a shop with no money and come out with the puppets full so like well that actually that’s Tiffin but that’s another subject so basically I’ve um I’d started working with a crew basically there was a crew called um Groove corporation that was uh originally um elect tribe 101 that had a hit with talking with myself but they became group Corporation was their remix name and they leaned more towards their remix name because their singer Billy Ray Martin left and there’d been some noise so that was so for some reason for I don’t know how but my old manager have been in the mix with them and provided them with some singers to do some tracks and it just wasn’t working and uh my manager had said that there’s only really one person he knows that could hack these vocals so it’s like he got in touch with with me and said look can you come down and help yeah basically because I’m not looking good here I said I’d provide to these vocals and they’re coming here singing like choir boys and they really need some street slang you know on these particular he was a he was a track player um a track called Showtime uh by Undisputed Truth and uh it was an old classic I just happened to know the tune of before our cow and I know what to do with this one so naturally I just of course I’ll come along so I’ll win along to the session and uh that session turned into uh the song called rain which I then had a release with on the six times six nil rushton’s label well as you say that I don’t know whether it’s I don’t know if it’s divine intervention or six sense would you believe it Lee Fisher comes in and says I first met you at knobby’s loved loved working on rain which I was just yeah because um he was uh called mother at that time if I remember if what who is it again what’s his Lee Fisher Lee Fisher was working as I’m sure he was working as mother and I’m I’m if I’m remember rightly there was him and a spa of his but it was most that’s right the two of them were actually called mother and there’s a reason that actually there’s a mother remix and a friend of mine who works for Warners who I met along the way as well she walks for Time Warner she always always plays this mother remix she’s relentlessly so um Lee has been a guest a former guest on this program but I have uh always given League the most amount of Praise yes and props so Merry Christmas Lee uh tell him what I want from me it’s been a long time nice one brother you go um he’s here he’s heard you he’s heard you say it uh okay so let’s continue with the the chain of events then so basically rain comma and uh that kind of forged um the although I kind of hit the ground when I came back from the deal from the Warners and Atlantic by working with group corporation that kind of like smoothed out the fall I started to work with them on their album and then with the view of we would work on an album a solo album of mine because I I kind of like because of my experiences I just wanted to get back to doing a solo album again which is where I started prior to doing the pride and politics because the pride and politics album actually came about because we’d been working together and Robin felt that we should become a band and he I think it was his way of of not feeling that he was going to do all this work and be left out which is common and I respected that and I respected it for Carlton as well so I was like okay you know what but um because it didn’t work and originally I had a different idea about myself I wanted to get back to the idea so with the groove Corporation I said look I’ll work with you on URL because I helped collaborate on that cooperation album with the view that I would then get back to my a solo album for me after we finished their album um sadly that didn’t happen and we became more of a unit um but if I if I’m honest I I had trouble um becoming a unit with such a big production um I was far more sensitive far more personal than than that as an artist I needed to do what I needed to do for me so that that particular um relationship um reached its end and uh I that’s when I kind of moved out of that crew and um started to sort of re-invent myself as Colonel red and one of my main reasons for Reinventing myself as Colonel Red is because um I felt that I had um disarmed myself of all the things I needed to keep precious and keep close to myself which was you know keep my Integrity keep my opinions keep my ideas keep my vision keep my shape the condition I’m in the values that I have the things that I write about and write for the reasons I write for uh I had to make that about mine and I couldn’t share them and by sharing them I learned a terrible lesson but a very important lesson that um I can’t be all things to all men and that’s what I’ve become when I was with the group Corporation I’d become almost like a slave to everybody’s desire I felt like I was given so much of myself to make everything else work and I’d left myself out from what I needed to do for me that’s not a crying thing that’s not a complaining team um it’s it’s a self-admittance thing it’s me saying I needed to put myself first and and I ended up in a place where I was so I felt so pushed down and I felt like I pushed what I wanted so far back so far aside that uh I became lost and I realized that my my whole purpose in doing this thing was not just about music it was about my my position in my place in the world that’s what it was really about and that’s what this has always been about for me it’s been about my place in the world hence why I reinvented myself as Colonel red because case so from from some so from some Darkness a reinvention that brought forward um a slightly more um energetic Outlook to your writing a slightly more militant is that yeah yeah yeah absolutely an aggressiveness to to your to your persona [Music] well you see Reinventing myself as Colonel red had to be more back it had to be about Colonel red as you’d like to be abandoned music you know because that’s what was absent before because the reason why I was getting lost in love because to be fair I could turn around and say when I joined the groove Corporation I became lost by trying to serve but I became lost way before then I was lost before I even got into that camp because I was lost when I was with pride and politics but because I was so easy to bribe because you’re so hungry as when you talk about living life on the streets of erdington Birmingham I mean I’m talking about signing on at Bennett’s Hill wrestler you know that that you know even when I say that I had to go back then and go rotted you know and my reality is is that I was always hungry because I really am my Father’s son because our father raised us with some you remember my dad he was severe man he was a very ambitious positive Progressive black man I love him I’m proud of him and he’s with me today and and I do this for him because I do it for his legacy as much as I do for myself do you know what I mean and and I I realized I was in trouble before I even got into pride and politics and and don’t get me wrong I’m not taking away from any of those experiences because they they have helped shape me into being uh some someone I can’t even remember who I was back then I just remember what happened back then but what I can say is is that you know Colonel red being radical being truth-telling um being honest true to himself well regardless of whether people like or don’t like um my thing was the thing that I promised myself Reinventing myself as Colonel red is that um I’m gonna do I’m gonna literally flush the system with music that’s that’s what that’s what this is about for me so it must have been completely completely cathartic for you and you would have felt you would have felt the release you would have felt that there was a time where you’d lay back and you went okay finally yeah yeah but well you see I I didn’t get the chance to collapse as easily as that because one of my enemies was I was very lazy um in terms of production I always felt that computers was I was really slow with computers I was quick with equipment I could play keys I could play guitar bass percussion I always understood the shape and form of a composition and to perform at a certain level that would give me um some sort of accompaniment but um I was really lazy on my Approach towards the tech that was so I always needed someone and that was the first thing I had to address when I set up my studio tribal Rhymes it was because I needed to learn how to be independent I needed to learn how to not rely on other people and it started in the studio first because once I learned started to learn how to develop in the studio um that attitude and approach towards everything started to apply itself to everything else I did it didn’t just stay in the studio then yeah that that became my attitude towards everything you know so I I and I started to get more become more honest because when I did start to do meetings and I was going down to London because long story short because that was 1999 because that would have been when you know you was doing that piece with testify and I was starting to come out as an artist and I was working with Anders with the B15 project and I was doing things with them and helping them right there their album at the same time in in return I was trading basically I’ll write for you you write for me and uh I listened to some of my sketches back then it was just regurgitating like like someone speaking in tongues um but what happened is I started to train and when I started to trade I had a different value for what I was trading because now I’m I I wasn’t joking I wasn’t I wasn’t fooling around anymore I I was in my late 30s and I was like listen you know I mean if if you’re trying to bring some torture to me I’ve been tortured by the best that ain’t gonna happen yeah I’m I’m yeah man I’m I’m too tough for you man you go you’re gonna have to bring help that that serious that’s that’s that was my attitude towards only that was only my attitude towards an adversary that wouldn’t be my attitude towards truly an ally someone who genuinely wants to help yeah because I’m ready to help Andy I’m ready to even now I’m always ready to put down what I’m doing and help someone and give someone love that’s that’s what I call my power but where I’m where I’m not ready to help if I can see that you’re coming with me coming to me with some shagrin I’m the quickest one to to to draw out the Bell take take you back to uh stuckling green so listen we are still continuing to have a great conversation but time is racing on here so what I’m gonna do I’m gonna condense this down and and we’re actually we’re doing very well on the timeline because it brings US Bank up to this point yeah we need to we need to start uh trying to get the Crux of of what I want to discuss now the the London scene um right Define timing the broken beat movements Colonel red arrives in London and uh you found you found a whole new sound cheers my brother um so tell us tell us about that so basically by the first collaboration I was invited down to was Alex satya’s Alex zatias was working on an album called beatless he’d already got to deal with the ubiquity but he had to come up with the music and as I did I walked into the studio started to work the first song the first song worked we worked on the second song that ended up With Me featuring uh and collaborating on six songs which was pretty much half of the album um that was my initiation into what would have been then uh or what was going to be my time in the broke scene um but like many of the broken producers back then Alex that has been one of them is instead of trying to help exploit you to the world what they would do is kind of keep you in their little yeah yeah you know on their dial their secret little dial which from for a minute because I was honoring the introduction by Paul Martin because it was actually an album that he was doing with um Alex um I kind of respected that um but it wasn’t long before I started to work with next door funnily enough to Alex hatties was IG Coulter so uh it was it looks like I’ve worked with a lot of different people but if you’re ever in the Goya building uh in West London you by the time you hit the goyer office and you go to the end of the passageway you’ve just walked past IG culture Alex that yes sweet Abram who bugs in the Attic there’s IQ before you get to the end of the corridor and my my days in London would be yo I’ve just finished recording uh yeah man so when you’re coming that’s what I mean so it’d be like you you’ve left one Studio door and but before you’ve gone to the toilet you’re in the next Studio hey yo okay I join you in our Ritz do you know what I mean and this is this is how it was working now Mitchy boy I don’t know if you know Mitchy boy no you know michiboi Michigan is the artist that did the original am Fiddler artwork the incredible Island okay and Fiddler artwork that we many of us believe that was quite a catalyst in bringing amp Fiddler to such enormity in in on the London scene and so mitibwai um uh did the artwork for blue eye black during that period while he was putting that together they had a magazine oh I can’t remember what the Magazine’s called but it was like a broken magazine he’d had all of Mitch’s artwork in and there was a guy named Simon who was the writer now sadly he’s passed away but he came out to visit me uh while I was in age bastard I was living in Gillette Road and he came to visit me and did an interview with me and in that interview I told him that when I was at school they used to call me Reds because of my complexion uh they actually they actually used to call me Redrum after the horse and uh but then they used to boil it down to Reds because I was the always the reddest one in the room so like that and I was trying to explain that to him when he did the feature he did the feature and he called me Reds in the feature like when I was at school and that’s how Reds was born I went back down to uh to London and I was all calling me Reds out of nowhere and uh and it made sense actually because some people see that as Robert derogatory you see this this is the thing about what people probably don’t get when it comes to Black Culture anyway because um what we call as Terms of Endearment you know might seem derogatory to other people but it’s a way of flipping the script on things you know it’s like when you take someone’s Affliction like it if if someone has got spots all over his face you know it here they’ll probably find a neutral name to call him to be kind in Jamaica they’ll call him spots or sputter I mean so and and I love that because for me I just find it not only honest but it’s healing because it’s a way of actually accentuizing and amplifying rather than trying to push everything in the corner so that was one of the a lot of the London trip was doing it was every single move I made I couldn’t move wrong to the point where some people would say yeah but you’ve spread yourself so thin because you’re working with too many people you’re recording too many stuff but from where I’d been I was such I felt such a prisoner during my time during pride and politics to groove Corporation I spent almost 10 years I’ve only been held at the behest of a handful of songs that I couldn’t even use so my my duty to myself was write record release and be free and let my pen just go wherever it wants to and uh whatever I had a feeling for and that’s what the broken thing did and I ended up working with a lot of incredible people and they helped me fashion a great sense of funky freedom because I could be free I could be funky I could be downbeats it could be down low it could be you know a stark I could be a you know Melancholy and I could be bright and uplifting and I think there was wave after wave after wave of different producers and people that I could work with but my real reason for working with so many people was not just to get music out there was to learn because I was learning from these people these people right was like Alex atias you know agriculture as well they’re recording techniques were recording techniques I’ve never seen before they were doing some stupid [ __ ] in the studio that would go illegal in any other Studio but because they was using these approaches and they was taking Melodies and they was taking expression and allowing a sense of humor to get involved a sense of freedom to get involved they would sit on the Rhythm and allow the Rhythm to be as free as it wants to and how to turn these into hooks we were so much creative freedom I just couldn’t turn it down and I think at that point I I excelled for a good for from from 2001 right through to about 2011 for a good 10 years I just excelled as a as a creative artist and that was my that was that was one big Resurgence for me well that was that was a time where I recall vividly record bumping into you uh in Birmingham and uh we were on the streets and I was asking you what was going on not far from not far from the market exactly how you remember it and you tell it and you were like a million miles an hour and I went away is uh saying yes big up my ends the Westland are massive and then yes he draws reference to a Chapman who we both uh love and remember Mr Asha uh we’re coming up coming up to two years since we lost Phil um it’s crazy man it’s crazy yeah man respect tell him much love man oh well I’m much love so um yeah so you know that was that period uh and again you know we’re doing okay not wanting to to race through it at the same time no the one I want to keep the pace going then you you start to um the albums the writing changes so it there’s a move at some point from the energy the militant the um the aggression again aggression sounds like a negative word but you know where I’m coming from no no no no to then even more more songs start coming out yeah I mean I mean you see what what you’re saying is is aggression probably a different word to put is it became more abrasive I mean in in terms of um the message and the spirit and the meaning was I I had to hear something that meant that I’d rebelled that meant that I’d I’d not conformed that meant that I’d not Stood Still that meant that I’ve not witnessing so much Social and and civil Injustice and not commenting and and so a lot of the driving force behind a lot of that it’s almost volatility that existed in the melody in the music and attitudes of music was really my way of saying I need to come home I need to to come home and stand correct and and that needed to happen I was I’m only too happy and that that I that I had the opportunity and I’ve had the opportunity to be able to share that even if the the listeners were small you know because I’ve sacrificed a lot of listening uh volume you know I haven’t had as many listeners or many people follow the music that I’ve made because I needed to get out of my system what I needed which meant that I had to say no to being what other people wanted which sort of almost blocked my uh the volume of my audience if I’m honest yeah but you wouldn’t you wouldn’t you wouldn’t change that for the world right now you’re fulfilled inside ironically because when I got to you um it was our paths crossed at the keep walking album and uh and at that point I’d reached a point where I think I’d regurgitate it and healed enough for me to say I want to get back to Melodies and talking about you know um things of a more subtle and more everyday nature which was what keep walking was really about keep walking was was it was the probably the odd song in there that that kind of jumped out and said yeah but apart from the other mini the majority of that album was dealing with you know just everyday loving hay and everyday stuff you know nothing that stood out just just just the way it was delivered and that was for me that was my album after pride and politics right if I was to do an album after Prime politics that would be the album that I would have loved to have done only that I hadn’t learned or experienced I hadn’t gone through the fire so I couldn’t have ever produced an album I keep walking after pride and politics but that was me coming full circle to to what pride and politics meant to me melodiously and musically and that’s what keep walking also I I moved out to Montreal so because I’d moved abroad to North America I was exposed to a completely different set of averages I was I didn’t have everything around me that I used to have I couldn’t just call up a man or go on a show or do anything I wasn’t saying yes to certain gigs and I did that deliberately as well um I wanted to move myself into position where um I could stand on my own two feet how did the Tokyo Dawn connection come about well the Tokyo Dawn connection came through uh um my ex manager she made the introduction but prior to that Tokyo Dawn had been huge fans of Colonel red and had wanted to put Colonel red music out for a while I’d done a collaboration with Seoul parlor I don’t know if you know the guys subhala guys really lovely Guys these are I know they invited me out to Germany to to perform I performed in Germany but as it happens to me all the time Andy I got off the the the picked up at the airport oh by the way just before we go to to the gig we just want to take you to the studio just to like check out what we’ve been up to I end up two three four hours in their studio right in two songs it’s not so I’d recorded two songs before I even got to the gig and and this happens to me all the time I’d like to tell you the amount of songs that I’ve wrote like about a few miles away from an airport it’s incredible um that so that Soul parlor ended up becoming a release well well Tokyo Dawn records are based out in Germany and uh so obviously the sole parlor were a German crew so they they had good strong affiliations with uh a tokodon records so they wanted to put what they was doing with me out anyway and because of that they come after me to Mark Wally come after me for uh an album which ended up transpiring us to keep walking album so like that’s how that album’s come about that was literally something they that Tokyo Dawn had wanted to do for a while and um and and they found me through a collaboration that ended up on their label anyway so and we we’ve not stopped releasing since there is there is a world a world of music that’s been released uh I want to start trying to wrap this up now are there any Mage we’re going to talk about your current work and your current projects but are there any major points that you think actually I really want to pick up on this before uh you know you talking about Montreal as the time progressed uh in the in the last few years key moments that you think are are quite important pivotal moments continuing on the journey you know ironically um I started to do film work um film soundtrack work I came way back right and then I started to get into actual film that helped changed my attitude because I realized that I I I actually feature a very small part in a film called the Informer uh with alongside Carmen and um I’m forget your names tonight man this is like crazy it happens yeah sorry about that um but anyway it was um uh these experiences what they’ve actually done is took me away from the studio and made me appreciate um as an individual what it is that I’m actually doing um these pivotal points that you’re talking about are not only measured in studio recordings and releases as much as I’ve had some great moments in the studio and I’m really I’ve released some great music um but I’ve had some great life experiences that have made me now look back and look at my recording career and and helped me to feel so at ease with everything that I’ve done now I’m starting to decide what it is that I want to do instead of just doing it because it’s a great idea or because I’ve been requested to do something great now I’m actually in the studio etching out what I think is a great plan that’s very different for me because I’ve I’m I’m I feel that I’m in the driving seat and all of these different experiences have contributed towards me sitting in what I believe is a creative driving seat now I don’t work on anything unless I really do feel a passion for it not only that um I’m I’m actually responding to the requests or responding to the work I’m doing by saying okay if it’s going to be like this I don’t want it it needs to sound like this it needs to look like this I’ve done three videos for the last three singles that have come out and I’ve managed to sort of almost sort of co-direct everything so I feel like I’m in a different position so that the pivotal points pivotal points to me have become um uh have helped me become more of a director in my career rather than just the music that I’m making but also you know the lifestyle that I’m living you know and because a lot of the people that I’m working with now they’re actually they are colleagues but they’re also friends I have a lot more in common with them than just the music or the projects we’re working on in fact I find that unless I can actually sit down and talk about everything or at least a few things other than the work we’re doing with someone there’s the likelihood of us being in the sand creative space is pretty remote you know that definitely does come down to experience uh and age and the wisdom that kind of you know you could say you old bastard that’s all right so so very uh I keep saying very quickly because I’m conscious you know we’ve been talking for an hour and 45 minutes yeah I didn’t well one I didn’t know I didn’t even know it was Zoom like I taught you earlier the last time I was on Zoom was doing a a speeding fine so so basically you’ve surprised me today anyway because I didn’t know how this is going to work I just knew I was ready for it you know and I I’m drinking a Bailey’s by the way and this is what I drink used to drink with my dad um our Christmas would always be about me and him playing cards because my dad was a crook he was a teething card player but we used to always get out the Baileys and play cards so I’m having a Bailey’s too I’ll raise the water let’s give it give a note let’s give a name check to your mom and dad who who who unfortunately no longer with us I know yeah so my my father is Nicholas romley the fourth I am Nicholas romley the fifth and uh to my mum Gwendolyn Florence Winkles so yeah man that’s on mum nice one Dad I’ll answer you too though because you’re you’re you’re is it your father that passed yeah yeah my dad passed away eight years ago and my brother okay all right so uh yeah crazy sometimes I uh remember I lived on the road adjacent to Nick and as I say grew up with his his younger brother so let’s let’s bring it back up to speed and start to tie this up now your final uh your recent workings with inkswell riding Hyatt right right oh man I got some blue Peters here so this this is the inkswell album this is the uh holders of the sun volume one I don’t know if you can see that or it’s the light shining on it and now we have we’ve just received the remix EP which has remixes by Moody man um uh I’m gonna have to read my mind read it uh Potato Head people and uh mudarama um I haven’t got a favorite but I actually I have got a favorite man surely well actually The Moody man is a slick it’s it’s slick man I mean to be honest I haven’t got a favor because they all do something depending upon when you’re listening to it this is just a great remix CP I mean I’ve got a few so I’m I’m prepared to give a few out to you know the the the the true crate diggers it’s a it’s a great sounding album and it’s a great sounding remix DP and that that’s actually right now it’s killing it right now I mean I’m I’m seeing the the stats are the compost is the label we’re out on and and it’s doing incredibly well and um they they now when when inkswell actually approached me to do this and it was only to do a couple of tracks we ended up with an album he wanted it to call call us holes of the Sun but I wanted to sort of um retain our artist names so we agreed that holders of the sun volume one would give us the room to go volume two volume three and it looks like that’s what it’s going to be a composter completely behind us all the way they’re incredible aim and they’re giving us all the room to be creative and to do what we need and uh the second album is I’m already sort of halfway in writing the songs for so this this is killing it this uh I’m I’m happy I’m not trying to collaborate with too many people anymore Andy to be fair my collaboration days are starting to run thin I don’t believe I’ve got anything else to offer or share anyone else a feature yes a collaboration of this enormity no inks well yeah because we we seem to share the space we have that yeah but not I can’t I can’t put my hand on my heart and say I’m going to continue to collaborate unless it’s very very special and touch something that really touches my heart then you know but um so that’s the album that’s owned now I’ve also got a single that’s coming out I just put on my stories that’s coming out on New Year’s Eve uh who is who with a producer in um uh Rotterdam a guy named Jurgen Barman but uh he’s working under the name of Benz he also goes by the name of acquisition uh this guy is is a is a monster at this man he’s killing it he’s been doing a lot of stuff undefected um I’ve I’ve been sketching and doing some stuff with a lot of people I’ve actually been sketching some stuff with kiddo because kiddo has a great ear for stuff and uh but again my my focus has been anything that’s special and ready to go that’s where you’ll find me that’s right other than that you know yeah well poker Usher shared a link to the band camp page for the holders of the sun remixes ah brilliant so uh let’s swing up on that one uh okay so if people want to find you uh I will I’m not gonna direct them to your seven-year-old website uh no the website’s up today I saw that I saw the new images on there but there is some some of the text needs updating Mr Romney yeah yeah I can’t give me an example the text uh something about coming soon in 2014 I was reading foreign cooking rice and peas all day and you’ve just come fling some chips on the table well what were we saying what were we saying earlier when you said I’ve seen your custom people that’s that’s when you become worthy now you know what you’re absolutely right I mean I I promised myself to visit the um uh website uh and do the work it’s just that over the years I’ve become so alone we’re doing everything myself literally I mean message me I’ll take care of it for you hey man I I’ll I’ll I will be taking you up on that brother no problem I will be more than happy to I don’t know what’s going on here tonight my [ __ ] light keeps going off in the background so it’s falling apart right so Mr rates we have gone from the main bad streets of Stockland green to Los Angeles working with Earth Wind and Fire working with uh Ray Parker Jr also bees that was the place we performed at in New York it’s a it’s a classic notorious sobs it’s just come to me sorry so there back to London and back back up the m6 to Birmingham Nick I have loved uh standing sitting here reminiscing catching up putting all of the the pieces back into the holes um I thank you for your time this evening thank you thank you Andy I’m honored to have been on on the show it’s not the first time right we’ve been we’ve been side by side quite a bit down the years absolutely but I don’t think we’ve ever got face-to-face uh you know carving out the the meeting and the bones and and things it’s it’s been really good I mean I I when I came out to um funny enough to before you go cast off when I came out to do vocal boo weekend I think the reception and the host dinner and the accommodation that you give me was was truly a mark of of recognition and friendship and I will always appreciate that um if I was ever in a position to write that down that’s exactly our writing you know I mean thank you very much for that because it was important that was at a stage in my life where I was yet again coming back I think when you’re in a position that I’m in um you’re always coming back from something because you you as you you will know yourself you you try certain things some things work that you’ve put your whole heart into and some things done and my life is a constant undulation of things that have really worked and uh and things that just haven’t um but but yeah I’ve put the same amount of energy and love into all so um so it’s a you do appreciate when people take the time to recognize you know well thank you thank you for saying I’ve always held you in high esteem I’ve already had nothing but always had nothing but respect for you I’ve admired your hard work ethic uh having a couple of years on me I always looked up to you brother and it’s genuinely thank you uh it’s generally nice to see you in such a good place right now thank you very much okay I’m just gonna say uh goodbye to one or two people who are watching uh before I do go let me say that um Michael Maverick has says Nick it’s been a pleasure to listen to your life oh okay I’m gonna I’m gonna press I’m gonna press this button it’s gonna unceremoniously kick you off the zoom so I’ll be in touch man um one left one okay so Nick has gone just like that uh make sure everything is working for me I’ve been having a few technical issues tonight but uh we seem to be working fine now thank you everybody for watching uh if you’ve made it this far almost two hours into the conversation uh it feels like five minutes I could quite easily sit and talk to him all evening and it would appear that you could have sat and listened as well thank you so much ah Eddie sermon comes in at the end and says good conversation nice to have you with us e double uh Emily also saying she really enjoyed it and Pog wash is uh also here till the very end same respect uh I’m gonna be trying a Ting myself now uh before I was going live on my own profile on Facebook uh multi broadcasting to the official page and to my own profile and over to YouTube I’m gonna try and see a little different approach I’m only gonna go live now on the page and then I will remove the video from the page and load it onto YouTube I’m trying to increase the hours of viewers on YouTube if that proves to be uh inconvenient for people then I’ll go back to the the normal way of course I don’t want to do anything that’s inconvenient the whole purpose of this is to just try and get into as many people’s line of sight as possible so all of your comments all of your shares all of your likes and they are really appreciated I’ll draw your attention to this graphic on the screen coming at the new time on a Monday evening so that’s going to be next Monday the 2nd of January I’m going to be talking to another gentleman that many of us will know Ian dad’s living with attention deficit disorder uh he’s also going to be discussing the fact that he is 17 years clean and sober uh on his journey in coming to terms with living with ADD he is himself on a discovery of self-discovery should I say and he’s got some wise words to share with us all so I’m looking forward to that my passion is to share as many different stories as possible we’ll share music stories we’ll also share interesting life stories if you know anybody you’d like me to interview if you’d like to be interviewed yourself then the floor is yours I will leave it there thank you very much I shall not talk to you again now until into the new year I believe I don’t know I’ve lost all tracker days you take care of yourselves now don’t forget if you’ve enjoyed this video then please do leave a like if you’re not subscribed on YouTube subscribe to the page see you later [Music]


Streaming Gear I use and recommend:


Mac Mini M1 2020 (upgrade to 16GB RAM) =
Elgato Stream Deck =


1 x AOC U2879G6

1 x AOC 24B1W


Sony ZV1 =
Logitech Brio 4k (x2) =


Wave XLR =
DJI Mic2 =

DJ Kit:

Shure 55s Radio Mic =
DJ Controller = Pioneer XDJ-XZ
Technics 1210 Turntables =
Stylus; Ortofon DJ =

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