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‘The Young Guns’: A Deep Dive with Two of Nottingham’s Brightest Up-and-Comers

For many years, Nottingham has enjoyed renown for its diverse and rich cultural scene. Arts and music have long established traditions in the city, which have both naturally led to a bustling nightlife and an interconnectedness between the disciplines not found in many places across the country. A hallmark of Nottingham’s music scene in particular is its willingness to support and push new talent, with countless fresh faces finding their way onto supporting slots at some of the city’s best underground music nights.

Two such acts have shared a similar path through the scene and have remained close through it all: from more humble beginnings, to shows in front of 2,500 people and setting up their own labels, M75 [Sonu] and Supply [Bailey] have kept it real, and it’s clear even from our virtual meeting together that they share a great deal of enthusiasm for the other’s success.

Battling through schedule alignment and technical difficulties I finally managed to catch up with M75 and Supply in an exclusive double interview, which can be read in full below.

Interview

Jordan: Ey up 3000, I’m joined today by two of my favourite up-and-coming artists in the Midlands for a joint interview; it’s the first of its kind and I couldn’t be more excited! Why don’t you both introduce yourselves and give us a little bit of a bio?

Supply: I’m Supply, I’m a 20 year old multi-genre producer—

M75: Do you want to go first or shall I?

Supply: I’ve just started bro!

[All Laugh]

Supply: I’ll go. I’m Supply, a 20 year old multi-genre producer from Derby and I’ve been producing for around 5 or so years. Sonu?

M75: I’m M75, I’m 23, I’m a DJ and producer, I currently live in Nottingham but I’m from the West Midlands and I came here for university but I stayed here. I’ve been a part of the scene since I was 19, so about 4 years now! I do make music and I’m starting a record label, so I’m going to start self-releasing my projects and my friends’ projects. I’m also a photographer and videographer mainly capturing nightlife and skateboarding.

Jordan: Whereabouts in the West Midlands are you from bro?

M75: I’m from Walsall, which is right next to Birmingham. Fun fact: Jorja Smith is from Walsall!

Jordan: Wow.

M75: That’s like the only thing going for Walsall besides the football team.

Jordan: She’s hot right now too! I’d say she’s a very recognisable figure so you’ve got: Jorja Smith and soon to be M75.

Supply: Yeah!

M75: Yeah, trust me, Walsall’s on the come up right now!

[All laugh]

Jordan: Now I know you both from the scene here in Notts, we’ve bumped into each other a handful of times when we’ve either attended the same events or you’ve been playing—Nottingham’s scene is vibrant, but there’s a tight knit community here, what has that community meant to you as individuals and artists?

Supply: It means a lot, because it’s nice when you go to events and you see the same faces… How do I explain it? Seeing that there’s people coming out and supporting you, and looking at the crowd, seeing faces I recognise but don’t know and I think ‘I’ve seen you here before.’

It means so much, it being tight, because it’s such a supportive community.

M75: I love how tight knit it is; it’s a small community, but like you say it’s really vibrant, so there’s a lot going on in that small community. Because it’s so tight knit when someone new and exciting comes along, everybody’s there to back it. When Darkzy came around he was a local DJ that started up, was something special, made sick music, and everybody caught on to it. I think it’s always been like that. I can’t say from experience, but it seems similar when I’ve talked about it with my friends at Tumble [Audio]—when that came around everybody caught on to it and said: ‘What’s this new exciting thing?’ Same with Krudd and Bubblin’.

Like Bailey was saying, it’s sick because there’s this huge connection between being an artist and a raver, and they almost overlap. I’ll be walking through town on a normal day, even during pandemic times, and I’ll see people; even though we’re not raving or going out I’m still seeing the same people. There’s this community, everyone’s a part of it, everyone supports each other, and I imagine cities like London probably don’t have it—I feel like maybe a Bristol, or a Manchester may have it but I don’t think it would be the same as Nottingham. I’m happy to be corrected though.

Supply: I agree with all of that, it’s such a nice community.

Jordan: I mean I’ve had the privilege of living in a couple of different cities before I moved here and it was friendship, more than anything, that made me come to Nottingham. I feel as though Nottingham’s community is in some way built into the city—it’s not just that people gather around interests, it’s that you’ve got a city, with networks, that all overlap, like you mentioned earlier.

M75: One hundred percent! You can go into an art gallery, see people that are doing work and you’re like ‘Yo, you go to the rave!’

[Jordan laughs]

M75: Or you’ll go to a skatepark and see that all that lot go to the rave—all these little disciplines and sections overlap, and I think that’s beautiful.

Supply: It’s one of the things I like about Nottingham as compared to Derby: there’s not this sense of community and it doesn’t have the same vibrance that Nottingham has. I’ve been able to make a name for myself in Nottingham and feel like I’m part of Nottingham’s scene when I’m not even from Nottingham… I mean, I’m only down the road—

M75: We’re not even from Nottingham but for me, when it comes to representing where I’m from as a musician, I feel like I’m a Nottingham musician. I live here and Nottingham’s so welcoming—the scene’s so welcoming, and has this attached sound to it.

There’s obviously this Nottingham sound which is quite bass-heavy, not even just in terms of bassline—the techno at Wigflex is often quite bass-heavy, Nottingham loves drum and bass, loves Dubstep; Tumble, Krudd—it’s always been on that bass end of the spectrum. It has that Nottingham sound, that greazy Nottingham sound, that’s what it’s like living in the Midlands.

It’s not about really nice, happy techno it’s about greaziness! It’s about people coming from impoverished areas, it’s grimy—it’s heavy shit! That’s represented in the music properly! Even the rock music is greazy; it’s always quite distorted and the musicians in Nottingham really encapsulate what the city’s like.

Jordan: And to your point I’ve always perceived Nottingham as a place that hosts more extreme acts. My entry point for music was rock and metal and that goes all the way up to Death Metal, so I’m definitely a fan of the harder side of Rock too, and Nottingham always seemed to have a home for acts like that: bands like Dillinger Escape Plan which may not get booked everywhere, got booked in Nottingham. To add to that I would say that Nottingham’s one of the most diverse and welcoming places I’ve been to, so it’s funny that the ‘greazy’ sound has come to represent the city.

M75: It’s like that with music as well! If you have an idea, like with Bailey who had a big name and had a massive rebrand and image change, for a lot of people that would be so daunting, but the scene here was really supportive. It was like: ‘Yo, this guy is changing his thing—this is sick!’ Rather than it being like: ‘What is this guy doing?’

Supply: Yeah, definitely.

Jordan: So a couple for Sonu first, then Bailey straight after. Firstly, for those that aren’t in the know, myself included, what made you choose your name, and secondly, I’m hearing that you’ve got a label project in the works, is there anything you could tell us about that? And for you, Bailey, I previously knew you as ‘FOZO’, and you had a really good run under that alias playing big events and putting out some serious releases: what prompted your name-change to ‘Supply’ and the stylistic switch-up that came with that?

M75: So the name origin is quite cringy! When I first moved to Notts in my student halls I lived in Clifton, which is where my campus was, and the halls I lived in were: Block M, flat 75, so I started calling myself ‘M75’. That’s the origin and it kinda stuck.

Jordan: I don’t think that’s cringey bro! I’ve heard some cringey artist names in my time.

Supply: You only think it’s cringey because it’s you bro! Everybody does that.

M75: I mean when I first made it I was like ‘This is sick!’ But then a week later I realised I had to stick with it… But it’s where it all started! I’d DJ’d and produced before, but it was just me on my computer—now I’ve got a name for myself and I let the music do the talking.

With Cold Breedw I know producers like Supply and other friends who have been doing it for years, making this amazing music, and I didn’t see many platforms that give them what they deserve without taking away their artist integrity.

We’ve got the resources, the gear, the knowledge, the links, so why don’t I just start a label and release their music to let them do what they want to do? I don’t have to answer to anyone. For us, instead of waiting and sending promos we thought: ‘why don’t we just do it? So we had a launch event in the works, and at the launch we wanted to do an exhibition and a rave at the same time—room one would be a rave, room two an exhibition, and we had it secure twice but we had to cancel. So we’re going to wait, do it a bit different, and wait for when the government guidelines are clear on that sort of thing. We have a couple of EP’s including my debut, and one from Sergic, which I want to say is all scheduled for early new year.

It’s not just about music, I’m a skateboarder, I’m a videographer, I like art and all my friends like Supply have their own endeavours within art.

Jordan: It’s good you mention it because certainly, with my involvement over at IllNotion, we’ve discussed making it more of a creative agency than a label. Record labels are these big, monolithic entities of the past, that were usually very top-down. As we’ve spoken about, Nottingham is this vibrant, diverse space, why not reflect that diversity with an agency of sorts?

M75: Exactly, and ultimately, Cold Brewed is just the mandem, it’s just me and my mates.

Jordan: Well thank you for that, it was genuinely very insightful!

[M75 & Supply laugh]

Jordan: Nah, I mean that! That sounds sarcy, but my voice just sounds like this.

[All laugh]

Jordan: For you Bailey: I previously knew you as FOZO, and you had a really good run under that alias, playing some big shows, playing to thousands of people with a Crucast release—

Supply: That’s on 35,000+ plays now.

Jordan: 35,000+ plays, that adds to my point! What prompted the name change and the stylistic switch up that came with ‘Supply’?

Supply: I started FOZO when I was maybe, 16? From 16-20 a lot happens, musically and personally. After that stage I’d gotten everything I wanted out of that kind of music, and it got to the point late last year where I was making one song every few months, and subconsciously I’d lost the passion to make bassy, bassline-y style music. I still love bassline to this day, but the passion was kinda lost and I had new ideas. I made my first Supply tune two years ago—it was a 140 dubstep tune I put out in December of 2018, and it wasn’t until earlier this year that I committed to making other stuff.

I started falling in love with everything Jungle, especially the classic stuff; with the ‘Supply’ name change I got inspired, and had an explosion of ideas that I didn’t get with FOZO. So I’ve got the name, the mix series ‘Intent 2 Supply’ and the label ‘Intent Records’ coming out soon, with all my new music coming out on it. I’ve got about 15 million unreleased songs and I maybe release two of them a year, so I really wanna build my own brand with the new direction I’m going in.

Jordan: I really think you have. One of the things I noticed is that your new stuff created such a buzz, especially with stuff like the 100% production mix you put out.

M75: Yeah, that was so sick! I listen to that all the time.

Supply: With lockdown, I’ve never had a burst of creativity that has inspired me to make 20 tunes in 3 months.

Jordan: That’s nuts!

M75: [Laughs] Give me it!

Supply: With FOZO I had a bit of a block, but once I freed my mind up to different paths, I feel like this is the one I’m supposed to be on. I know right now my music right now is the best music I’ve ever made, and people are saying that my new music is better than anything I’ve made before. I just want whatever’s best for me, and right now I love what I’m doing.

Jordan: Do you think other artists could learn to switch up their style a bit more? If I take one of my favourite artists, Champion, and see all the different directions he’s gone in bass music, it leaves me wondering why people restrict themselves, especially when they’ve got the talent.

Supply: It’s definitely one of the things that I found myself doing with FOZO, and that’s chasing what’s popular—and I’ll admit it. I was afraid, I was definitely afraid… You have that fear of things going wrong, but your heart goes a certain way and it’s going better than ever.

Take risks and prosper: trap.

[All laugh]

M75: I think a lot of younger musicians think they’re a Bassline producer, a this producer, a that producer, it’s like: ‘Nah, you’re an artist!’

Supply: It’s why I said I’m a multi-genre producer—I make Jungle, Bassline, Drum and Bass, Trap, Grime…

M75: It’s why I always say genre should be the last thing you think of when making music.

Jordan: One hundred percent!

M75: For me, Ableton is the paper, the equipment and the VST’s are the pens. All genres should mean, is to refer to stuff,  I didn’t go into it thinking: ‘Oh I’m going to make a Garage tune.’ The genre of stuff shouldn’t matter until the end.

Jordan: I think that speaks to the idea that genres should be after the fact. Every time I go into a tune with a specific genre in mind, it usually sounds garbage.

M75: Yeah, like, I’ll make a tune and the only things I’ll have in my head are feelings. The rest will come after, usually with drums, and then I classify it after. If it’s at 140 and it’s skippy, then I guess I made a Grime tune.

Jordan: Yeah, and to that point some of my favourite tunes and artists ever are ones that defy classification.

M75: Just look at Murlo bro!

Jordan: Hold tight Murlo and Sharda.

M75: Murlo is the nuttiest producer, he’ll make a 160 tune and it’ll sound ridiculous, and you’ll be left thinking: ‘Well maybe this is Grime, maybe this is not.’

Jordan: Just on a more personal level, how is it you know each other and how has that friendship come to determine your trajectory as artists?

Supply: I’ll start this one, because I was thinking about it the other day. Basically, I’m tied into the whole Nottingham scene because our mate Josh Wallis put up a post in Lengoland about a brand that was looking for new DJ’s, so I reached out to him, got a slot and that’s how I got in the Nottingham scene. From then, through Lengoland and through that connection with Josh, I found out who Sonu was. I followed him on Twitter, and he tweeted saying: ‘Someone please book me in Wolverhampton.’ So I replied to his tweet saying: ‘Someone please book me.’

M75: [Laughs] I would never tweet that now!

Supply: So that happened, then there was a thing at Trent [Nottingham Trent University] called ‘Trent Bass’ which was a DJ group, but I wasn’t eligible because I wasn’t a student. One day though, the guy who was running it said I could come along so I went and met Sonu, who was wearing a Barcelona t-shirt, and we became friends from there.

If it wasn’t for me sending that tweet and becoming friends with Sonu, I wouldn’t be in the same position I’m in now. With how many back-to-backs we’ve done that have helped push both of us further… we were on so many shows and shit—I mean ‘stuff’, sorry…

Jordan: Bro you don’t have to worry!

[All laugh]

Jordan: Do you have anything to add to that Sonu?

M75: I think everything Bailey said is spot on. I found out we had so many things in common, like skateboarding, and we became inseparable. We’ve played loads of different cities together, we’ve done Nottingham to death together and Bailey’s become one of my best friends. Musically, I can send anything to Bailey, it doesn’t matter what genre—anything! I really value his opinion, because he’s a talented musician.

Jordan: Aw.

Supply: Christ.

M75: Music for me is self-expression, and I think on that journey Bailey will always be with me, even if we started making the total opposite music.

Supply: Yeah, definitely. Aside from all the music, it’s close friendship.

Jordan: 

 

With that in mind, do you think you have the biggest bromance in Nottingham, or the Nottingham scene?

[Supply laughs]

M75: The biggest bromance has got to go to Darkzy and Window Kid.

Jordan: Maybe close seconds?

Supply: We’re definitely the runners up.

Jordan: Well you answered a load of questions at once there, so thank you! Besides each other, is there anybody in Nottingham who you think deserves more recognition, and this could be a promotion, an event, a crew or an individual?

M75: It is one thousand percent Sergic, part of Tumble Audio. He’s just a really greazy guy and shout out to him, Killjoy, Lyka.

Obviously Killjoy doesn’t need much of a shoutout, he’s the godfather of Nottingham bass music in my personal opinion, but I do think he’s underrated, especially his new stuff. Neither get as much credit as they’re due, especially considering all the things they’ve done for the Nottingham scene. Also shout out Expert Death, they explored darker Garage and Grime sounds and I saw Pinch and Trim at Rough Trade thanks to them. Their bookings were always so out there.

Jordan: I had to miss that because I was working.

Supply: Ah man, that was sick. For me there are a lot of names to mention—producer wise too many. Sergic for sure, you’ve also got the Dubstep scene here—Major Oak are sick, and I went to college with Benny from Major Oak, so shout out to him. Vandull and Major Oak went to America on tour too, and that’s mad, because you don’t hear about stuff like that every day. Brands like Tumble, to say it’s so big release-wise and promotion-wise, that’s a brand that deserves more recognition. They’ve done a madting for the scene here.

Jordan: Tumble Audio put on my favourite show so far in Notts, which is really saying something, so hold tight. I entered that club with £30 for drinks and spent all of it on £2 tins, which shows what kind of level I was on.

[All laugh]

Jordan: Okay so, last couple of questions now! What’s your favourite record and a favourite show you’ve played?

M75: Can we pluralise it?

Jordan: I’ll give you two max. Feel privileged because I don’t afford this to anyone.

M75: I think ‘Blue Monday’ by New Order. I don’t think electronic music would exist the way it does without that song. The structure of it is incredible, and has been so influential on so many different genres. In terms of another, Gyalist Riddim by Killjoy captures Nottingham so well, with the lyrics you know: ‘Gyals in Nottingham—’

Jordan and Supply: ‘Sure love it!’

Jordan: For you, Bailey?

Supply: I’d say ‘Cockney Thug’ by Rusko, to start off with, then I’d say ‘Go Deep’ by Tchami. That tune by Tchami was different, every time I hear it, it gives me that same feeling. It’s shaped my sound for sure. Favourite event I’ve ever played at, I’d have to say was at Club Republic in Leicester, this year in February. I played to around 2,500 people and it was the maddest experience I’ve had playing ever: I’ve never experienced anything like that.

Jordan: I got to see that from afar on social media, and I didn’t even know you so well at the time, but I was still proud to see it in a way!

Supply: Thank you bro. To have my sister there and able to witness the scale of it—it cements it even more in my heart as my favourite so far.

M75: Which event was that?

Supply: It was Krudd/Deeprot. I went back to back with Darkzy on that one too which was mad.

M75: I’ve got two for my favourite shows, by the way. First one was Krudd—Bru C’s birthday bash back at Bar 11, which was  the first venue I had the pleasure of DJing at. That was just two and a half hours of drinking Wray & Nephew and clanging to a room full of people. It was sponsored by Wray & Nephew, so everybody was drinking 63% rum, which is always fun. My second is when I DJ’d for D Double E at the Irish Centre, and P money came out with Bru-C on stage. The energy was ridiculous, and that’s my claim to fame. They’re on the same level and both stick in my head as the best ones.

Jordan: Okay, so as a floor opening question, and thanks to both of you for this interview, you’ve been great: If you had to say anything to anyone coming up in the scene right now, and more generally on the future of the scene right now, what would you say?

Supply: Everything’s looking a bit bleak right now, and a bit uncertain, but there’s going to be a light at the end of the tunnel and, if anything, this whole period of going without shows is going to make the future of raving even better than it already was. Always stay true to yourself and don’t be afraid to take risks, because big risks equal big rewards.

Jordan: Fortune favours the brave. Rest in peace Captain Price.

Supply: [Laughs] Exactly. They shouldn’t have done him like that. Infinity ward messed up with that.

M75: Like Bailey said, stay true to yourself. At the end of the day the only person who needs to like your music is yourself. That’s the only person you should ever try to impress. Have fun with it! At the end of the day you’re an artist, music shouldn’t become about making this commercialised product where you try and sound like something. This comes through in the music and you can hear it; when somebody is self recognised and they really know and love what they’re making.

Just keep making music and be happy.

Jordan: Guys, it’s been such a pleasure, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and I hope we can do it again some time. Thank you very much lads!

[Interview Ends]

A massive thank you to the boys for one of the most entertaining and insightful interviews I’ve conducted in a long time. Be sure to keep eyes peeled for a brand new release by Supply ‘Dangerous’, which is dropping on Friday, as well as a busy schedule from M75 and his Cold Brew project.

Links to all socials are below.

Socials
Cold Brewed Instagram (M75 Label)
M75 Instagram
Supply SC
Supply Instagram
Supply Twitter
Supply Facebook