Artist Interviews

Q&A: Chiddy Bang

By | Published on Wednesday 13 October 2010

Chiddy Bang

Chiddy Bang – aka MC Chidera ‘Chiddy’ Anamege and producer Noah ‘Xaphoon Jones’ Beresin – met at Drexel University in 2008, and shortly afterwards put together a mixtape together called ‘The Swelly Express’, the plan being to distribute it to fellow students.

But the tape gained over 100,000 downloads in the first month alone. EMI came knocking, signing the band to its Parlophone subsidiary in the UK and releasing their debut single, the MGMT-sampling ‘Opposite Of Adults’, earlier this year to great success.

With their debut album proper still in production, the duo released a mini-album, ‘The Preview’, this week and are currently on tour with label mate Tinie Tempah. They are also due to play In The City tonight, ahead of which we spoke to Chiddy and Xaphoon to find out some more about them.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
Xaphoon: I started out working in local Philly studios with jazz guys as a kid. They used to have me run errands, clean the place, roll them joints – ha! I used to stay late after everyone left and mess around with the equipment and instruments. I decided then that I wanted to make my own music.

Chiddy: As far back as I remember, me and my friends used to hang around rapping. We used to rap to each other over the phone at night, at lunch in school. Anywhere we could we were just rapping. I always knew this is what I wanted to do with my life.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Xaphoon: Well, our latest release, ‘The Preview’, is not really our album. It’s exactly what the title suggests… a preview of some things to come. The past eight months have been such a whirlwind with the successes we’ve had. We never could have imagined things would go so well. It was a double edge sword in a way though, because we have been so busy with non-stop touring all over the world, interviews, promo and everything that we haven’t had a chance to sit down and REALLY dedicate some uninterrupted time to making new music. We had a bunch of ideas that we want to see through for the actual album, so rather than just disappear until things are done we wanted to get a few new tracks out there for people to bop to. After we get off tour with Tinie Tempah we’re going to lock ourselves up in a studio somewhere and get weird.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Chiddy: Noah usually comes up with the beat first and then he’ll play it for me. I know right away if it’s right. When he comes with the fire I can finish a track pretty quick. That’s my barometer. If in the first few seconds of a track I can hear some ideas – I know it’s something I should work on.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Chiddy: Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z, Kanye…

Xaphoon: …Joe Strummer is one of my all time favourites, Kanye of course, J-Dilla. A lot of the old school DJ/producers like Pete Rock, DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Xaphoon: Forget what you think hip hop should sound like, and listen with an open mind. Hopefully we can create something to move people. A lot of our fans are the same age as us, so I think they get what we’re trying to do.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Chiddy: We’d like to just continue to grow and move along the path we’ve started on. Hopefully people like ‘The Preview’, and we want to blow people away with our real next album ‘The Swelly Life’. We’d like to keep making music that people enjoy and hopefully outdo ourselves each time out.

Xaphoon: I see a lot of hectic schedules in our future! Ha!