Summer Reminiscing with Maxwell Owin

U.K HipHop Artist

While summer draws to a close and winter takes over. We take a look back to the invigorating essence of summer. A big part of that for the versatile artist Maxwell Owin is Brainchild Festival : a get-together amongst his contemporaries and friends at a festival that they have been representing since the dawn of it’s days.

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At this weekend fuelled of artistic endeavours, Maxwell Owin is a common name to be heard, and it is here that he reminisced through his music career. After playing his third set of the weekend, this DJ came and sat on one of the hand-made benches crafted from wooden pallets while he caught his breathe from his DJing performance for SE Dub Collective. This musician has quickly become a backbone in South London’s music scene by creating his own unique sounds within the electronic music genre. A musician who cunningly inserts his stylistic creations collaborating with many contemporary names in the music scene, has a capacity to adapt with different musicians in an astounding manner.

His broad musical knowledge, technical and theoretical can be heard through his production abilities. This extensive musical awareness, developed through growing up, while he managed to grasp an interest within most music genres hands-on while collaborating with a diverse amount of artists. From a young age Maxwell Owin was exposed to a variety of different musical tastes which would then continue to develop through his connections. Growing up in Oxford he was exposed through family, friends and his own curiosity to a lot of classical music, old jazz ,as well rock. This would create the foundation of his interest in music that he would push throughout his education and would be pursued in his music GCSE’s.

He would first put his own mind to creation while using DAW producing software, prominent and profound moment where suddenly the ideas in his head oozed into an effortless flow. This passion would be the beginning of a long progression in his journey of becoming a DJ. Whilst a teenager his music taste evolved during the birth of Dubstep which aroused new musical excitement which would prime his own taste with his adoration of Jazz and rock, to more chilled out electronic vibes.

It was then that he retreated to London where his music ability would flourish while he was immersed in a rich diverse group of individuals who all had the same intentions: pushing the music scene in a new, unique direction. This young and fresh musician would meet the likes of Ragofoot and Jackal Wyfried who would introduce this producer into their talented social sphere and also involve in many creative musical projects. Ragofoot and Jackal Wyfried participated in the first sessions where Steez first began in a Pub South of the river. Here, Maxwell Owin would tie-in by doing sets and meeting many artists. Steez, a South-London collective composed of bands, DJ’s, poets, merging all their creative abilities in this night would encompass many of the musical inspirations that would drive Maxwell Owin in the music scene. This blend of musical tastes would seep through into this musician’s own talent creating his exclusive genre. Steez would be the beginning of many collaborations but also friendships. It would be the origin of his alliance with MC Pinty. Looking back, Maxwell Owin recalls this debut of his music career with a ‘weird nostalgia’. Maxwell Owin’s musical journey has varied, from playing in warehouses with 2-step garage under MC Pinty’s jumpy bars which would proceed to meeting up with different artists encompassing many different genres and sets. These alliances would allow him to tackle his devotion of all his diverse musical tastes. From working with his colleague Izzy Bizu he worked on more chilled-out vibes, to then being part of SE Dub Collective where Dub was able to take a new arousing form of movement conceiving a new name for the genre in London.

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Maxwell Owins role in Steez became more and more prominent as he supported this new musical platform, constantly stimulating new musical talent. While he played in Rotterdam aside Steez at the beginning of his career as well as supporting Brainchild festival from the start, his position as a multi-talented artist ingrained itself as his alliance with Steez solidified. This love for supporting artists not only comes from making music but also his investment in different mediums such as radio shows or his immersion in South London’s music scene by devoting a lot of time working with Yam Records, a record shop in Peckham exposing independant labels.
Since being overtly exposed to South-London’s current artistic scene, his hunger to grasp many different musical atmospheres derives from his inspiration to ‘challenge people’. He explains that by mastering different genres and altering them to create a new taste of music and putting it out to the public, it allows a certain drive in his musical creations. This musical passion can be observed in his performances. While doing his sets he enters a personal trance where each transition into a new track becomes an esthetic game for mind and ear. This derives from his experience of ‘DJing to empty rooms and not looking at the audience’. This attention to creating unique senses by mixing specific tracks comes from his foremost musical inspirations. Burial, being his most favored producer who allowed him to gain his interest in London on a musical and personal level added with his involvement with Steez encouraging him to fuse Jazz into his productions can illustrate his tracks once listened to. His music blends electronic and acoustic on different levels which Owin said rooted from ‘working with love and respect to other people’s craft’. This once again presents Maxwell Owin as a DJ whose work is established through different relationships. He is constantly working with individuals ‘I see them at gigs, house’s I’m always thrust into company especially in Steez’. This cohesive core and friendships that is created through the musical medium allows a certain openness which is identified through his work due to the nature of improvement and improvisation. By ramming different genres in his work he is not one for pigeon-holeing his music, instead he works through ‘phases’. From mixing Jazz, to garage, to his recent collaboration with Jamie Isaac where his work can be seen as futuristic. This multi-talented artist’s work can be densified into his new EP that was out the 8th of September. Here you may see an array of genres and artists that he has compressed into a musical project that describes his London journey.

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© Molly Sisson aka vulgairefinesse
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Cecil B. Digestive

U.K HipHop Artist

Cecil B. Digestive belongs to London’s South-Eastern collective bringing innovation with a fresh new style  to the Hip-Hop scene. In the heart of the South East is where an array of musicians have been thriving off each other, exchanging ideas and working together to create a rich, ingenious musical hub. Cecil B. Digestive is a perfect example of this productive process by how he works with it enabling it to flourish continuously. Down in New Cross, contemplating on his musical and self identity  with the help of a large coffee and rollie Cecil B. Digestive gives us an insight on the exclusive musical environment in which he lives.

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For the last 6 years this individual has been busy creating new material from a cluster of different stylistic traits. His investment to the music scene first started with STEEZ. In 2011, Luke Newman created a monthly event to involve an array of rythmic talents. At first it was a platform for the South Londoners to inter-connect in their South East London venue for an Open MIC. A wide diversity of talents were to thrive from their acoustic performances to rap battles in this unique environment. Being involved throughout it’s time, when Luke left STEEZ a year and a half ago, Cecil B. Digestive along with Slam The Poet and Cozmas The Melodist took over, allowing STEEZ to progress.
These musical genres being a recurrence throughout Cecil’s life as his upbringing withheld a cluster of contrasting styles. His parents tangled in music themselves, his father a drummer and his mother owning a vast taste in music such as punk and rock. This produced from an early age a child who was alert to sound. This helped determine his thirst for participating somehow in music. Freestyling was seen as an apparent beginning due to his fondness in messing around and as he said ‘I’m good at swearing’. His freestyling commenced 6 years ago and since has been a process of recording in different chilled-out habitats, mostly from homemade studios in bedrooms of friends and acquaintances. Cecil B. Digestives favoured way of bringing forth new material is by working with various producers creating different musical mindsets.

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This musician is renowned for collaborating with many different artists, mostly from MVC but even while creating tracks on a solo basis many different experiments have been undertaken. His first songs have been released under ‘Danke’  which then evolved to ‘Cecil B. Digestive’, a name which appealed and corresponded to his personality- not taking yourself too seriously. It is under his most recent name that he is associated with MVC. Mad Vibez Collective can be seen as one of Cecil B’s most renowned musical participations. Along with Wookz, together they created a unified crowd of individuals sharing the same beliefs and attitudes that they would express through their music. It is described as a mentality, holding it’s own persona. This idea started in 2012 where they would perform for their own enjoyment at parties but at the same time use this medium to create their own banner. MVC is described as a scene, not to be mistaken as a label. It features a variety of politically inspired individuals such as Wookz, Slam the Poet, Footshooter and Cozmas the Melodist who express their feelings and experiences of their late teenage years to present of growing up in a dishonest and unethical generation. Mad Vibez Collective along with their collaborators along the way use a very honest and demonstrative image of their morals and aims in their music as it is ‘not fashion but art’, something that has seemed to got lost in recent Hip Hop. These musicians prefer to be performers rather than use social media which is a minor medium for them. Personal interaction through nights out and events have attracted most attention to this collective from performing on radio on Sicknotes FM or performing at festivals such as Brainchild. Events organized by Cecil B. Digestive benefit not only Mad Vibez Collective but also many other artists reviving London’s spoken word scene. These events include the notorious STEEZ and also Feed the Fishes creating vibrant nights where imaginations and talent flow, becoming a platform for abundance.

Cecil B. Digestive’s rapping style varies depending on the collaboration . Between Ecstasy Wank & The Monocle Tramp which incorporates a jazz infused more traditional boom to the bap feel or even while incorporating his resounding and clear bars and melody which you can catch on Footshooter’s latest E.P or on Sofar Sounds where his talent as a freestyler is clear and undeniable.

His talent as a political and artistic MC can be seen with The Audioters, a major part of his latest labour. Along with Ragofoot this collaboration and it’s outcome took them both by surprise. By choosing to attempt a collaboration together while jamming and sharing new ideas they created 4 original tracks with Rago producing the beats and Cecil on the vocals. In this relaxed environment, Cecil B. Digestive on a stage MIC expressed his inner political and social thoughts in a raw, aggressive manner, his lyrics revealing a part of honesty in the echo of punk behaviour. With such a smooth immersion stylistically their 4 tracks that were created soon became 17. The Audioters are an example of this clear mix n’ match of talents between these young musicians of the South. When asked who Cecil B. Digestive’s musical inspirations derived from it was made clear that it was the local geniuses by throwing each other new material constantly in different genres allowing new inspiration and booming of new abilities.

The future holds many new ideas to come at an evolving pace for Cecil B. Digestive and his entourage. He spoke about a potential future label for more control on their music and artists for further liberation. But for the moment more ‘fucking round the bedroom’ for the collective separately and together is to continue. So get yourself down to the next STEEZ in London to gain a real sense of Cecil B. Digestive’s artistic work.

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