Since stepping into Scotland’s hip-hop scene in 2011, Glasgow’s Hector Bizerk have become revered for their raw, socially conscious rhymes and unique sound. The duo, comprising John ‘Louie’ Louis and Audrey Tait, have supported the likes of MF Doom, Wu-Tang Clan and The Libertines, and have performed in New York to critical acclaim. With their second album, Nobody Seen Nothing, making the shortlist for Scottish Album of the Year, the duo’s lean, stripped-down take on hip-hop is turning heads everywhere. Frontman, Louie gives us an insight into performing abroad and the future of Scottish hip-hop.
How have audiences abroad responded to your music?
When we were in New York earlier this year the reaction was incredible. I feel that England is the only place that has a bit of a negative reaction to Scottish accents. We recently played a festival in Ireland too and the tent was rammed, it absolutely erupted a couple of songs into our set. It’s hands down the best response we’ve had away from Scotland. A girl took her knickers off and threw them at me after three songs. At the end she came up and asked me for them back!
Haha, Grandmaster Flash is a funny story. We played with him in Glasgow and the show wasn’t very busy. He stood and watched us and came into the dressing room afterwards and said he really enjoyed the set. He asked if we had any albums and Audrey handed it (Drums.Rap.Yes) to him and said ‘that’ll be a tenner!’ He laughed and Audrey told him to get his hands in his pocket so he bought our album. When we were in New York we met Immortal Technique and Brother Ali after their show. Understandably we were buzzing to meet two of the best in the world.
Language, accent and life experience are all important to Scottish hip hop. Do you think it has helped confirm a sense of identity that artists and audiences can pride themselves on?
Language, accent and life experience are the main sources of inspiration for hip-hop anywhere in the world. Identity is more prevalent in hip hop than any other genre, so it makes sense that people are proud of where they are from.
Do you think hip hop is going through something of a renaissance in Scotland right now?
I’m not sure if there is a renaissance. Maybe with the current political climate people are more open to hearing hip-hop in their own vernacular. If the general public are more open to the idea of discussing local, regional, and national matters in everyday conversation then hip-hop culture is the perfect fit for them as guys like myself, Loki, Gasp, Mistah Bohze have been discussing these matters for years, through song.
What in your view is the future of Scottish hip-hop?
In terms of emcees, Ciaran Mac, One Tzu & Tek, Erin Friel are inspirational. My favourite young b-boy is Nathan Gray aka NRG of Flying Jalapenos – he is one of the best in the world!