Interview // We get behind the making of Verb T and Pitch 92’s collaborative project

Verb T and Pitch 92 introduced fans to their new material with a launch party at The Lanes

This month saw the release of the long-awaited collaborative album Good Evening from MC Verb T and producer Pitch 92 on High Focus Records. The hip hop duo kicked off their album launch with a party  at Bristol’s very own bowling-meets-live music venue, The Lanes.

Hosted by Bristol Kulture, the album launch party showcased a jam-packed lineup featuring Verbal Highz, Styla B, Robbie Dylan, Dirizion and They Call Me Max. By the time Verb T and Pitch 92 took to the stage, The Lanes was filled with eager fans waiting to hear their new material.

To ease in to their set, Verb T jumped straight in with some of his most-loved solo tracks, including Morning Process, Leave Me Alone and material from his Illinformed collaboration The Man With The Foggy Eyes. By the time the duo began to introduce fans to tracks from Good Evening, the crowd were well and truly hyped as they began their first live show as a pair.

By the time the duo began to introduce fans to tracks from Good Evening, the crowd were well and truly hyped as they began their first live show as a pair

Verb T won the crowd over with his frank, yet animated verses in tracks like I Arrived Late, Lie Low and the curve ball, disco-popping track Sugar. Mancunian producer Pitch 92 held down the decks throughout the set with his captivating production, and even laid down some fresh beats straight from his MPC, giving a nod to all the beat production fanatics in the room.

The night was perfectly segmented into new material from the fresh off the press album, Pitch 92’s instrumental bliss and even some of Verb T’s verses from the Four Owls collective to finish off the night – with the added bonus of a promise of new Four Owls album on the distant horizon.

the sheer volume of energy in the venue confirmed Verb T and Pitch 92’s new release is already, most definitely, a solidified banger

As the first show from their album launch tour drew to a close and the Bristol crowd cheered for more, the sheer volume of energy in the venue confirmed Verb T and Pitch 92’s new release is already, most definitely, a solidified banger.

Nitelife managed to grab a chat with Verb T to learn how the idea behind Good Evening first came about. Although it might be a new edition to fans’ listening collection, the concept behind the project first came about over three years ago when both artists met on tour.

‘I first met Pitch when he was touring with The Mouse Outfit and I was touring with Four Owls. We played a lot at the same venues and when The Mouse Outfit were working on their second album Step Steadier, they asked me to feature on three tracks. I went up to Manchester and recorded the tracks, but after that Pitch just started sending me beats and it went from there. Originally, we were only going to do a few tracks, but we ended up working really well together, so we decided to make a full project.

Originally, we were only going to do a few tracks, but we ended up working really well together, so we decided to make a full project

‘I’d say maybe a year and a half ago we had enough for a full album. We could’ve put it out then, but it just didn’t feel finished. I knew I needed to write some more material and we actually ended up cutting stuff we didn’t feel was as strong. It was only earlier this year that we finally finished the album.’

With Verb T based in London and Pitch 92 up in Manchester, they didn’t get much studio time together during the creation of the project, but Verb T says that working alone can work to his advantage when it comes to writing.

‘Most of the album was created by Pitch sending me over batches of beats and I’d write from there. For me, when I write my solo stuff, it’s something I like to do by myself. I’ve never really had that thing where I wanted to sit in the studio with other people and write. Obviously, if I’m doing a collaborative writing project then I will, but I enjoy being in my own zone and my own space.

I enjoy being in my own zone and my own space

‘Our music making process for this project really worked for me in that respect, because I would receive these ridiculously good beats through email and then just sit there and write. We talked all the time online and on the phone about the project, but apart from that it was quite a separate experience.’

As we started to dissect the new album Good Evening, Verb T talks us through his standout tracks from the release.

‘We’ve just put a new video out for the track Mechanical and that’s definitely one of my favourites. It might not be one you can listen to all the time though, like some of the other tracks. It’s not necessarily fast, but I think the beat is banging and the drums hit hard.

‘It’s tough to choose though, because we have taken a lot of time to make a full project and fit it together as one piece, so it’s kind of hard to pick it apart. We haven’t got a set of tracks that all sound the same, it really switches up across the album. There might even be styles in there that we like and others don’t, but with all the variation in there, I think it all flows together real nice.’

Along with Verb T’s seasoned style and Pitch 92’s exhilarating beats, Good Evening is packed with guest MCs, including members of High Focus crew, Fliptrix, Ocean Wisdom and Kashmere, plus fellow hip hop veteran Jehst and Manchester’s very own drum and bass MC, DRS.

‘There’s a nice mix of MCs from London and from Manchester featuring on this project, as we thought it would be good to represent where we are both from.

‘The decision of who was going to feature was done on a track-by-track basis. The first guest was King Kashmere and most people know him now as the MC from Strange U, but people who have been following my career since Low Life Records will know that me and Kashmere did one of our first projects together. It was good for him to be the first one on there because it was like coming full circle. We’ve done a bit together over the years, but it was important for me to get him on this project. He just fitted the beat perfectly.

‘Sometimes when it comes to deciding, I listen to a beat and I can just hear a certain person on it. For example, for the track we’ve got with Sparkz, I just knew that would be right for him as soon as I heard the beat. I was so impressed with everyone that featured and they clearly contributed some of their best verses.’

I was so impressed with everyone that featured and they clearly contributed some of their best verses

Verb T’s lyrics have always stood out for their quick wit and genuine content, from his early days with Low Life Records over 15 years ago, right through to his more recent projects like Morning Process and Medicated Dreams. As the MC’s honest style continues to shine through in the new collaborative project, we wanted to know why Verb T wears his heart on his sleeve in his verses.

‘It’s not something I consciously decide to do. I’ve always said to myself that if write something and it’s good, then it’s going to go out and I’m not going to second guess it. When I write, it’s quite rare I will think of an idea and go and write a song about one specific thing. It usually takes me a few hours of just sitting there, listening to music to find something I really want to say. Sometimes it will start with just a phrase or something that gets stuck in my head, but when I think of something to say, I don’t hold back, because I feel like what I’m saying has come from somewhere. It’s something I obviously want to get out and put on paper.

when I think of something to say, I don’t hold back, because I feel like what I’m saying has come from somewhere. It’s something I obviously want to get out and put on paper

‘I think in general, it is important for people to speak from the heart and be honest. I get that music is about having fun though and some artists like to play a character, which I think is ok. It really depends on what type of music you are making and what your aim is. But it’s a form of entertainment, so I don’t really mind what people want to do with it. Everything has its place.’

Despite only recently drawing the three-year project to a close, Verb T is already looking forward to some other projects in the works and on the horizon.

‘There’s a few things in the pipelines, but it’s all early stages. I tend to work on more than one project at a time, but it’s then deciding what gets pushed and what doesn’t.

‘I recently produced an entire album for Moreone and a couple of tracks with Rye Shabby, so listen out for that. Both of these artists feature on Good Evening as well, so it was really good working with them across different projects.

‘Me and Pitch are aiming to work on another project in the near future, and I still have my follow up album with Illinformed in the pipelines. There’s also been talks of another Four Owls album too, so watch this space…’

verbt.bandcamp.com
soundcloud.com/highfocusrecords

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