One of the UK grime scene’s leading lights, Professor Green has never been one to shy away from saying what he wants. Even now in his position as brand ambassador for Relentless Energy Drink, he won’t be pulling any punches. We spoke to him at the screening of the advert he starred in for the brand, to ask how it was going.
How has being Relentless Energy Drink Brand Ambassador been going?
Really good, it’s been cool so far. We’ve just shot an advert which on paper looked like it was going to be quite stressful but actually turned out to be a really fun two days, despite the fact that I was on a juice detox. I thought I was going to have no energy and be really snappy, but in the end I was bouncing off the walls, which was good because it was really demanding. Other than that it’s been easy so far which is worrying me, I’m sure there’s going to be some hard work in there somewhere!
Was the advert an interesting and new experience?
It’s the first TV advert I’ve done. I’ve done loads of music videos before so I’m used to the repetition and monotony of it all, but it kept moving because of all the different scenes we were shooting. It wasn’t just about syncing so that kept it entertaining.
How did the lyrics relate to the advert?
What was cool about the lyrics I originally used in the song and having to rewrite them, was that it challenged me, because it’s difficult to write the same song twice. The new ones essentially mean the same thing, but they relate more to the Relentless brand. It’s tough to tamper with a song you feel is as close to finished as you’ll ever get it: songs are never finished, you can work them forever but there comes a point when you have to let them go and I’d got to that point with this song. So when I had to go back in, it was a challenge. But it was cool, I think they relate perfectly.
Can you see yourself doing more adverts like this?
It’s not something I’d ever say no to, but as with anything it would have to fit, and have to be right. Do I prefer music videos? They’re usually two 18 hour days, this was two 10 hour days. I don’t want to say this was easy because they might start making life hard for me, but music videos tend to be more of a chore.
How have you enjoyed the festivals you’ve done this year?
They’ve been wicked. It’s a slightly different crowd because you get your people, then you get the people who like your singles but won’t necessarily have heard your other songs or come to your shows. People are always in good spirits too, and it’s not weather dependent either. What I’ve found is that people are more up for it when it’s been raining because once you’re wet and muddy, you’re wet and muddy! You’re not going to go anywhere with that, so people just get into the spirit.
Was the Hackney Weekend good, being a hometown gig?
It was incredible. We started off the set with ‘Jungle’, and the opening lines to that are “Welcome to Hackney!” So for once it actually made sense, as opposed to being in Manchester and saying “Welcome to Hackney… or not”. It was hard with it being a radio festival and trying to censor yourself, especially if you’re me, is not always that easy! But I managed to do it.
What can we expect from the album you’re currently working on?
I’d love to tell you but I don’t know myself so that’s a really awkward question to answer. I could say more of the same but that’d be a lie: I don’t try to bore myself by trying to make the same song twice let alone the same album. I haven’t had time to get back in the studio to work on it, we done about eight or nine songs over Christmas, I’m only just really starting to get my teeth into this. I’d rather not tell you a lie! I could tell you something and it could completely change. Then I’d have told you a lie and I’d have to commit suicide…
There’s been a number of big name producers linked to this, any more news on that?
There have been loads, some I’ve started working with, others I’ve spoken to on twitter about it and the press have run away with it saying I’m doing a whole album with Pharrell Williams or god knows what. I really want to work with Sid Wilson (Slipknot DJ). That was a huge curveball for me, because he told me he was a big fan and I was like, “what? How do you even know who I am?” But I think that’ll be wicked. He says he wants it to be edgy, dark and grimy, and I’m all for that.
What attracted you to Hip-Hop and Grime music at a young age?
Well I’m 28 now, getting on a bit, so it was definitely Hip-Hop before Grime. I guess it was the beats, the honesty in the lyrics, and the harshness in places. Biggy (Smalls) was the first artist I got into. Weirdly the first two rap songs I got into were either side of the east coast/west coast beef, it was the ‘One More Chance’ remix by Biggy and ‘Pain’ by Tupac which my dad played me. He had the CD single for Juice which was… What was it? I can’t let this go! – (thinks for a bit before someone shouts out) – Warren G and Nate Dogg ‘Regulate’! The b-side for that was ‘Pain’ and that’s the song I latched on to when I was far too young to be listening to and watching rap music. Thank you Dad! I was intrigued too because I didn’t understand what they were talking about sometimes, they had different social references. I just found it interesting. But I was always into beats, before that it was jungle. All the older kids on my estate used to come round in their Mini Metros, mostly stolen, playing their tapes and telling stories about squat parties.
Do you buy into the big rivalries some rappers have?
I don’t really care about rappers and their confrontations. It’s kind of cool and entertaining in the same way WWE was when I was a kid. It’s fun to hear how much of a smartass someone can be, but in the end it has to come back to the music. If you think back to 50 Cent and Rick Ross, Rick prevailed, despite the sex tape of the mother of his kid, because he paid him no attention and made better music. Really I prefer music over rivalry.
You’ve done quite a few collaborations, what’s been your favourite one?
That’s a hard one because I’ve enjoyed them all. I suppose working with Lily (Allen), just because of the friendship we have now and all the touring we’ve done. I’ve never spent that much time with someone I’ve done a record with. She’s got a good personality, never short of a word to say, always someone I’ve looked up to because of the way she carries herself. She doesn’t mince her words, and there’s a lot to be said for that when you’re in an industry that’d full of saccharine bullshit.
As a rap artist that must be a big thing for you.
Definitely, but not just because I am a rap artist. It’s just because I’ve got a bit of a big mouth. Not literally!
Having signed the petition to the Prime Minister to clamp down on illegal downloading, what would you say to a fan who told you he had illegally downloaded your album, but had come to your show and bought merch?
Firstly, I’d ask where he bought the merch. If it was outside the venue, nothing to do with me, it’s illegal merch – he might as well have downloaded the album for free, which he did. I’d ask him if he enjoyed the show… he’d probably say yes… I’d hope he’d say yes. Then I’d go in his pockets and see if he had enough money for an album haha!
The single featured in the advert, Avalon, will be released on September 16th. It features Sierra Kusterbeck from VersaEmerge
Words By: Iain Currie