Edinburgh-based veteran MC Profisee talks From All Angles, Yard Emcees and why his name is possibly a curse…
First of all, your accent is rather mixed. Tell us a bit about your background.
Well, I’m from Manchester-way, the North West of England, but I’ve travelled a lot and lived in various places so I’ve picked up a few different accents.
I came to Edinburgh in 1996 and studied Science and Management at Napier, then went on to do my Masters in Dietetics at Queen Margaret. I now work with 13-25 year olds, doing emotional and sexual health work.
You’ve just released your first solo album, why has it taken you so long?
Maybe it’s because I didn’t start off wanting to be a solo artist. I have done lot’s of singles, EPs and releases with other artists but I guess it got to the point where I wanted to be in full control of decisions. For a lot of solo artists that’s not even the case. But I am now in a position to do it myself – I have the resources and avenues to put it out, musically as well as visually and artistically.
I suppose I could have released an album at any point. But I do things with longevity; I wanted to make something I was proud of.
Tell us more about From All Angles.
First of all, it’s very collaborative. I’ve worked with lots of producers as I enjoy the social aspect of making music.
Although there are lots of producers, it does have a certain vibe. Sound-wise it’s rooted in hip hop but reflecting other influences such as drum’n’bass and dubstep.
I didn’t want to do twelve tracks that sounded like ’96 hip hop or grime. I wanted to do something more challenging.
The album vibe is a journey. It’s symbolic and emotionally relevant to where im at. Anyone else going through some sort of transition can also relate to it.
It’s an album in every sense of the word. I would say to give it time, keep listening start to finish, not track by track.
The title, From All Angles, relates to different reference points – what I’ve done, what I like and where I’m going.
The response has been great so far; I’ve got loads of different gigs from it, which is great as I always want to experience new things.
For about fifteen years now. I started off trying to learn to play guitar and piano, but I never stuck at it. When I went to uni, I got into MCing, DJing and producing.
When I was growing up the music around me was naturally influential. My sister is an amazing pianist, at the age of 13 she was Grade 8, so there was classical music in my household alongside my Dad’s eclectic taste, which included the likes of Stevie Wonder and Queen. My mum was into soul. She’s from the Caribbean, so she also played calypso music, but interestingly not reggae. As for me, I listened to hip hop.
Tell us about the early days of the Yard Emcees.
The scene was small so we connected with each other through our similar interests. We would be like ‘lets jam’, and it grew organically. Those were good times, time ago now though.
How have you grown since?
The Yard Emcees was a movement beyond music. We had our own t-shirt range back in 2000, before the likes of BBK. We were going to London with our black and yellow Lion Rampant t-shirts and people were going crazy over them!
We had stickers as well and you can actually still see them dotted around the place now, even though they’re like twelve years old.
But naturally we grew apart and moved on to different things.
I did Great Ezcape’s with Vigilante, which was drum’n’bass and jungle, so a whole new direction. Ironically, when we did it people weren’t really getting it, they said the basslines were too heavy but now that’s the sound.
I think it’s amazing. A lot of people get bitter but I think the fact it’s still around is a testament to those who didn’t think it would last. It’s now popular mainstream music and I’m happy to still be involved.
Do you see a bit of yourself in the younger artists?
It’s funny, I saw flyer recently calling me the ‘Grandaddy of the Scene’ – I’m not that old!
I remember things like being upset if I wasn’t put on or if something wasn’t happening for me but now there’s a lot more expectancy for things to happen quicker. Before you didn’t expect to make an album, you didn’t have the resources, but what people now consider a release is different. You can go on your computer and record ten songs in one week and call it an album. In some ways that’s great but there is a quality control issue.
Do you make music for you or for others?
Of course you make it for other people but I have to be inspired by it and believe in it. The name Profisee is kind of a curse – most of my music has been ahead of its time. For example, with the Yard Emcee’s, we were making dancehall music in 1999. We had finished by the time it peaked around 2003 with the likes of Sean Paul.
With Great Ezcape’s, we did bassline around 2003 just before grime became big.
So I’m happy to be part of the beginning of things and not jump on the bandwagon of what’s popping. By the time you do that, it’s over anyway.
I can look back fondly and say ‘you took a risk, you loved it and were passionate about it’.
What have you got lined up for the summer?
I’m also working on a few collaborations with Capitol 1212 and thinking about my next release, which will definitely be from just one angle, either musically, lyrically, or both.
Nah. Never say never, but everyone’s moved on. We still see each other from time to time, there are no negative vibes, but that’s just not our lives anymore so what’s the point?
Myself, Necarus and Jinx might do track together again, but not album. Unless someone gave us money…(laughs).
From All Angles is available for download from iTunes.