How did you get into hip hop? What attracted you to it?
Basically, what attracted me, was the style of music and rap that was going on with all those groups coming about in the early 1990’s. However, I am not only a rap fan, as a young teenager, I was basically listening to all the different stuff happening around my hood. As I got older, I started searchin my way back in music history more and more. It is the traditional story everyone shares, I guess.
Our first 12″s were released on our own label in a rather limited amount. They were distributed by us “manually” and never reached more than a few dedicated stores in Northern Europe and London. With the album release (CD) in Japan 2004/2005, it was basically our first real official release where all aspects of making the record (except for recording it) were taken care of by another part. As our future releases are concerned, we are currently working with Japanese label Handcuts, which hosts a bunch of dope groups.
Your CD was originally released in Japan. What’s the connection with Sweden and Japan? Promoe is “Big in Japan”. What’s the story?
You tell me! Those people are just too crazy and do not lend themselves to be discerned easily. We just know they are crazy about Swedish craftmanship in general, whether is making small horses out of wood, ecological clothes or dope rap. It is funny, since what is produced in Japan basically stays in Japan – for the bulk of it at least – whereas they’re very open for foreign influences being imported. It is what economists call “cultural trade deficit,” I guess, though a good one.
Is Promoe big in Japan, or is it just clever naming of a track? I wouldn’t be surprised though, since I’m myself a big fan of Looptroop music. I saw Looptroop perform for the first time in 1996 at “Kafé 46” (anarchist hangout in Stockholm), and his beard has grown longer for every year since. With the help of vitamins, I just managed to grow a mustache, but it took me two months. I guess b-boy skills and level of hair growth are not interrelated.
Is it just me or is Sweden becoming a hot place for hip hop? I even read that J-Ro left the Alkaholiks to move there.
Sweden is not really that much hotter than any other place. We’re just good at copying what goes on in the world, whereas other European countries never really could do that as well. At the moment, groups such as Hearin Aid, Up Hygh, Looptroop, etc., are all making a name for themselves, but still it’s not so much of a “scene” as such to talk about.
As far as we know, J-Ro moved to Sweden for the love of a Swedish woman (women?), not Swedish rap!
What the next project for Speech Defect (or solo projects)?
New album for Japan! Our partner there, Handcuts (www.handcuts.com), have made a great job so far and we are very happy with them and their style. But there will probably be some 12″s before that, and if we’re lucky, a tour soon again.