Interview with The Chef

Black and white photo of The Chef stirring the ingredients to cook up a new tune in his studio kitchen.

Ample Trace: “Alright, Here we go, coming at you live from the Ample Trace underground training facility, live from South London.”

The Chef: “Guan guan blood, guan blood.”

AT: “Seen, seen. Ok, interesting the name The Chef, where’s that from?”

TC: “Well, basically and directly, […] from day one, I went to college, did my time. Get me? Cause at the same time a lot of my music and that, you get me? But, man has to look for a trade, just in case. You get me, cause you, like a dude, you have to work certain ways before you can get to that point. So, I go to work, do my stuff and find myself singing to the food. Then also I take it a little bit deeper, writing more lyrics, getting more […], getting more romantic when no one hears The Singing Chef. But The Singing Chef sounds a bit vague, doesn’t sound quite right. So, you know, it’s just The Chef. And for those who know me, they always call me Chef. You know, plus with my music as well, I’m mixing and […] my flavours up, you know? Lots of seasoning, don’t really need the salt and pepper, it’s all organic seasoning. And it just sums up what I do, cause I just cook it up. I can […].”

AT: “Yeah, that sounds proper. Where’re you from?”

TC: “From London, UK, South London, SW9 at that! You know, born and bred, been there since back in the day, 80’s baby, you know me, still alive, yeah!”

AT: “Good to hear though. Alright then, how long have you been singing or making music?”

TC: “I was taking […] of this from the age of eight. I don’t know. There was a moment in my life where I was standing in the corridor, I just heard the echo, and then, it just took me. The sound of my own voice and I was thinking ‘I can make this, I can make good sounds.’ I don’t know, it was just the whole feeling of it. It just made me, just, I don’t know man, it just turned me like. It’s like holding a volcano that just exploding.”

AT: “Seen, alright. That’s just the way it’s supposed to be. What would you say is like your musical background or like any kind of training and stuff like that?”

TC: “My musical background is the same as everyone, church, TV, radio, and at the same time I have my little keyboard at home and my little drums, but I couldn’t really play. It was a cheap little Fisher Price drum set, it was no big thing, you know. But it gave me enough to have rhythm, and then from the rhythm I found myself making melodies. Even if they weren’t according to how some people may put melodies in brackets and this is how you’re supposed to sing, and telling you what and what. I just carried on what I was doing and it just came together like […]. You know, along the way I have worked with a lot of artists, like, who in my mind are very great, very great, but undermined due to the fact of where they live, but that’s the next issue, […] blood.”

AT: “Yeah, yeah.”

TC: “You know, I have worked with a lot of people in acapella groups, in cabarets. I’ve gone to shows like, places like Dingwalls, and gone up there and blown it up. You know, on and we’re sitting there with lots of people performing, but my friend was upset because everyone else performing wasn’t good. And we’re sitting there eating our patties, he’s like ‘Ah ah ah, come on, let’s do it!’ and we did it and you know, we blew it up.”

AT: “Yeah.”

TC: “And then, you know, I’ve just been doing it, constantly, constantly, doing shows, writing more songs, and … everything inspires me, waking up in the morning inspires me, being able to live another day inspires me.”

Black and white photo of The Chef standing with Grafitti on a wall in the background somewhere in South London

AT: “Seen. That’s, I mean, that almost answers my next question which was like, what does music mean to you?”

TC: “Music means to me, like, you know, what you need, like your antibodies man, you can’t live without it. It’s part and parcel of what makes you who you are. You know, it helps you with your sorrow, it helps you with your happiness. It helps you to grieve, it helps you to enjoy.”

AT: “Yeah, I’m definitely feeling that man. You play instruments at all?”

TC: “At the moment, you know, I’m teaching myself to play the piano and also getting some piano lessons from a very good friend of mine. But, even though I cannot play an instrument per se, I can build a beat.”

AT: “Cool man, what about say, material, you write your own stuff or you have people, like, ghost writing?”

TC: “I most definitely always write my own stuff. That’s the only thing I’m selfish about. I mean, sometimes I may write with my friends because, they understand the direction, where we’re going, and how I’m trying to … what I’m trying to achieve here. So, I don’t mind writing with people. But, most of the time, it’s all about me writing, putting what I’ve got to say out there.”

AT: “Seen, cool. Alright then, say for instance you got, is there any like specific artists or any specific styles of music or whatever, that you get your inspiration from?”

TC: “To be honest, I find it difficult to say to myself… I say, yeah, it’s just one music. Because from the moment you hear one type of music, then you hear another type, you might think to yourself ‘I don’t like that’, but there’s something else within that music genre that you like, you say ‘yeah, that a bashing tune’, you know, so it’s music from all over the world. That’s what makes music so great, it travels.”

AT: “Definitely. Would you consider, in saying that like giving cover versions now?”

TC: “Oh yeah, definitely, definitely. But I wouldn’t do your regular sort of covers that everyone would do, like the same one song. Maybe the same artist, but choose something different and revamp it. Because, that’s what me and covers is about, paying respect to the artist, you know, as an artist, not just because they did one big tune.”

AT: “Yeah, there’s too much of that going on. That alright then, how would you describe like, your style, your style that sets you apart from everyone else out there now?”

TC: “My style that separates me? There’s no one out there. There’s no one out there that’s in the market unlike him, because I would, it’s like people have to pocket you, to […]. Because I’ve listened to so many different types of music, or like they want to say, different genres of music, yeah. I’m lucky, you get me, I can bounce and flex on anything, it’s all about the vibe and passion. How the lyricist, or the writer or singer relates to the music that is being put in front of them. You know, I see it like a canvas, whether it’s a white canvas, a black canvas, a green canvas, a purple canvas, I’ll paint on it the same way.”

Black and white photo of The Chef with dancer in the background on the set of his new upcoming music video.

AT: “Yeah. That sound like you obviously are out there and you […] and stuff. If you can say, you don’t have to, no pressure and that, but, what projects are you working on at the moment?”

TC: “At the moment we’re working on, currently working on the EP and also on an album. […] The Chef, working in the house, you know where we are now in the stables. You know, eating the hay, putting the time in. And at the same time, you know, I’m still writing with some of my other friends who are artists, you know, rappers and singers, you know, doing choruses with them, doing like duets with them, just trying to keep this constantly moving, always on point though.”

AT: “Alright then, when you, do you find yourself, like, you either, do you sing like all the time, like out road, in the shower, at home, when you’re cooking or whatever, or is it just more like you’re just concentrating and just re-plug it in like when you’re on, in the studio or whatever?”

TC: “You know what, it’s all the time, it’s constant. It’s like sometimes, if I’m not listening to the radio at work and there’s a melody or a song playing, I just change the lyrics into my lyrics and then keep the melody. If I’m walking down the road and, I don’t know, the sun is not there, just start, you know, singing some sad melody, I can’t help it. If the sun is shining and I see a […] girl it might bring the lyrics into my mind, I can’t help it. It’s just, it’s like a curse. It’s a curse you hate and a curse you love, cause you, you can’t control it, you’re just a tool for it.”

AR: “Brilliant, brilliant. Alright then, let’s kinda, […] wrap it up and the whole shebang there. What would you say your ambition or goal, like where you need to get to with this whole music thing?”

TC: “My ambitions, my goal, at the moment, it’s to break down this ridiculous divide we have in certain types of music. Music is music. Everyone is using everything. My goal is to come in, do my thing, and be accepted for what it is, not for what you assume it should be, when you don’t really have no idea because you don’t understand the concept, you didn’t really give it a chance. What, what, what? Why? You know, I just wanna try and make this happen. Put the album out there, get it out, not just in Europe, I wanna go global with this, I want everyone to hear this. I want the Chinese man on the farm, who is farming his cows to be listening to this. I want the Indian man who is praying to the cow that’s crossing the street to be listening to this. I want the cabbie in New York, just passing some station or something like that, listening to the tune saying: ‘Yeah, this is some English cat dog, listen to this English cat, he sounds so bad man.’ You understand what I’m saying? I want people, people all the way in Alaska, freezing off their little toes, nodding and saying ‘Yeah, this tune is alright, but it’s still cold […].’ You know, I want everyone to have the opportunity to come through and trying to say ‘Well, listen, make your own mind up.’ Don’t allow someone to say ‘I don’t think this is good, because it doesn’t sound like that.’ It’s because it’s different blood, wake up to it.”

AT: “You know, that is so, so positive to hear, thinking on it on a worldwide […]”

TC: “Take it over!”

AT: “…that can only go places. So, respect for that and good luck in your quest…”

TC: “Bless you. Thank you very much.”

AT: “… you know what I mean, it’s like, Chef, I’ll take it from you.”

TC: “Yeah man, keep up cooking and keep out looking!”