Solo 45 is one of the members of Tottenham Grime superstar collective Boy Better Know (BBK), alongside grime greats Wiley, Skepta and JME. You might know him from his mega hit ‘Feed Em to The Lions’, a big and bassy dancefloor banger, but if you don’t already, 2017 will be the year Solo is all over the airways with a new single, album and tons of sets on the festival circuit. We caught up with the MC to talk hacking, working out and Dr. Martens (the Adventure Time boots are his favourite, no really). Read on to discover more about Solo…
What’s on the agenda for you this year?
I need to calm down. Basically the last couple of years I’ve been non-stop partying, for two years I was a wreck, and having fun. So, yeah, I need to calm it down a bit.
You seem seem to hit the gym a lot, we’ve seen the photos…
Yeah I was, I was ripped, but partying ruined it. Well, this year I’m getting back on the fitness. That comes with being more focused in everything too. I’m working on an album this year, I get writers block for most of the year, so getting in the studio is an event and I take the time to get it right.
You’re working with Stormzy on your new single, can you tell us about that?
Yeah, it’s called 5ive, I actually was working on that before ‘Feed Em to The Lions’, but it’s coming out now. I respect Stormzy a lot and it’s a good record man.
Do you feel pressure to surpass the success of ‘Feed Em to The Lions’?
Yeah of course, I really felt the pressure because it became bigger than I expected. Every festival I did the crowds were crazy for this song. The reaction was so huge. People were getting the lyrics tattooed on them. So I felt a lot of pressure… then I just thought ‘f*ck it’.
You live in Cyprus, why did you choose to move over there?
I can’t stand this cold rainy weather! I like the beach and the sun, plus it’s quite peaceful over there. I used to live next door to Wiley, and a promoter I knew so it was just like a cool little group of us having fun, an exclusive club.
Now that I’m promoting more music I do have a base in the UK too, in Bristol, because I have to actually be here to perform and promote. But as soon as I’m done I’ll be on the plane back to Cyprus. But yeah, right now I’m in the capital.
You’re from London originally, what do you like to do here when you’re back?
I’m low key, I just Deliveroo! I don’t eat out; I always get a Deliveroo. Actually when I am here I train in Brazilian Ju Jitsu, so I’ll either be in the studio or at BJJ. I’ve been doing it on and off for a couple of years and I’ve entered a couple of competitions. It’s good.
Are you excited for festival season?
Yes, I love being on stage, I’m a performer, I’m a physical person. I prefer performing to recording, that’s when I’m in my element. In the studio I spend a lot of time getting the instrumentals just right, that’s what gets people going, then you take it to the stage and feel the reaction.
If you weren’t a musician what would you be doing?
We did not expect to hear that, like hacking?
Yeah. I’m really interested in it, that’s the only thing I took away from secondary school before I got kicked out ha ha. I used to spend my days creating virtual networks and breaking into them. Creating viruses and anti-viruses. Can I just state for the record I have never illegally hacked anything. It’s just for fun.
Who inspires you musically?
I kinda live in my own bubble because I don’t want to be too influenced by other artists, I think especially in grime people can end up imitating each other. So I don’t pay attention to other artists that much. Except my friends and people I know and respect, like Stormzy, Skepta and Giggs – but they do their own thing, I’m just proud of what they’re doing. I listen to a lot of house in my spare time – maybe that’s living so close to Aiya Napa.
What about fashion, is that important to you?
I only wear brands that I’m really into, that have a cool vibe or heritage. Like Dr. Martens, I must have like twelve pairs. The purple Adventure Time boots are the one.
And finally, what do you stand for?
Less talk, more action. That’s my Twitter handle ‘Acta non verba’, because I’m a doer. I don’t like talk. I just like things done. That’s like in my career, even though I’m signed to a major label now, I still don’t like to leave my career in other people’s hands. I’m the driving force.
Listen to the new single 5ive by Solo BBK and Stormzy here.