Big Narstie

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Big Narstie has been touring with Craig David, and took time out to chat with James Wijesinghe when the show came to the South West.

Bless my G.

Bournemouth is my hometown and I saw you’ve been performing there the last two nights, how was that?
Bournemouth was fucking good ya know, I’m still hungover.

It’s a big show supporting Craig David. What’s your set like? I saw there’s a massive mascot version of you…
Yeah man I’ve got a mascot. I’ve always wanted a twin brother.

Coming from the grime scene there can be quite an insistence on presenting grit and a ‘hard’ lifestyle, but now with all the comedy and memes that have caused fans to know you as a personality, do you think that’s going to be changing things?
You just gotta let you be you, that’s the same with all things in life. You hear me? I didn’t know who I wanted to be as a kid.

Yeah definitely. You along with plenty others recently have helped to bring grime to a larger audience. Particularly as your album looks to feature Ed Sheeran and Robbie Williams, do you think that older generations are going to be changing their perspectives on the genre?
100%, the young people have been holding on to grime for a while now. If these older people listen and enjoy it then that’s good you know.

I’m sure there are plenty of people who you can thank for exposure, and with what you’re doing with the BDL lot like Izzie Gibbs and Tremz, do you think you play a similar role to them?
Yeah it’s BDL ya get me?

Have you seen the recent Stormzy/NME beef?
What’s that?

NME’s front page pictured Stormzy and told of his battle with depression – without his consent – so Stormzy took to Twitter. What do you think about his personal story being exploited for the magazine’s profits?
Did he give them this story?

Well no, it’s in his music and stuff. Do you think they should give some profits to mental health charities perhaps?
Yeah definitely! You know man it’s the price you pay for being in this life style; you lose your privacy. You get what I mean? Real talk, so it’s a gift and a curse init.

Yeah, private life becomes public life.
Truth.

A lot of your tracks are quite party orientated, but your recent song They Don’t Know is very poignant. What encouraged you to write that story?
Ya know there’s a lot that people don’t see. There’s a mixture of happy and sad. So basically yeah, there are two sides to every coin. You know what I mean? I’m a happy person, but we all have bad times in our life.

Yeah, I guess there are always those times that They Don’t Know!
Ah tell ‘dem my G!

I’ve gotta say, I saw you’ve been smashing guitars on stage…
[Laughs] Yeeeeaah.

You’ve been paying homage to the British icons Oasis in a lot of your mixtapes.
Yeah man!

I was wondering, what encourages you to relate to them when as artists your sounds are so contrasting? Perhaps it’s your Britishness?
Hear what I’m saying yeah, Liam Gallagher is my dad bruv. The man is a fucking G cuz, he’s a fucking G! It’s gas and I’ll smoke to that up to the fullest. I’m proud to be British ya know? It’s like, I can’t go to the world and show them anything else other than where I’m from, and the NHS and all these. You see? Good old fashioned Underground you know what I mean?

So one day do you hope you’ll smoke with the lads?
I hope so! The day I meet Liam Gallagher my life will change.

Yeah you’ll learn to play guitar in a day.
Come on man.

Another deep one. You’re a father, you appreciate the “Base Babes” and women. A lot of festival line-ups and DJ bookings are dominated by men, for example, the only 3 of the 40 acts announced at Wireless (where you’re playing) are women. How do you feel about the poor representation of women in music?
All this stuff, it’s kinda a bit new to me. Ya know basically, to be somewhere you’ve gotta put yourself there. It’s all about pushing forward. If someone likes a rapper, that’s cool let’s push it forward. I don’t even know who’s on there.

You’ve got your BDL tour coming up, what can people expect from that? Are the new demographics you’re reaching going to be going nuts in the crowd?
Yeah, I don’t care! It’s the BDL family. Anyone can like me. It’s all about being natural. I’m just me ya know? I’ve done so well in my thing just being me.