Fest Pest: 90BRO Music Box Q&A

For the third consecutive year, Darlington’s premier DIY music festival returns. Music Box features 35 acts across six stages with headliners including Ceiling Demons, Moodbay and Cape Cub. Legitimate Anarchy’s Endem will be headlining the BeatBox stage at Music Box which also features Shakk, Rex Regis and Leddie MC. 

90BRO will also be performing on the BeatBox stage at Music Box. The Sunderland based hip-hop artist has been working hard on forthcoming release CyberSoul and RuMa² – a collaboration from 90BRO and Max Gavins. Last year, 90 joined Rex Regis and has since been back to Darlington for Legitimate Anarchy Records’ takeover of Soapbox which also featured BeatBox stage peer Shakk. We caught up with 90BRO to talk upcoming music, the need for better promotion and more. 

With CyberSoul on the way and you’ve been working with Max Gavins a load lately, what can we expect from your set?
You can expect the hardest working artist in the region to deliver something totally unique. Something that NON-Rap fans can critically engage with and enjoy. I really found myself musically. It can be imitated but what I’ve got coming nobody else can really do. It’s my story and my vision. I have been testing a lot of new material at open mics, holding back for a long time on CyberSoul but I’m finally feel ready to share it. 

Is Max joining you or are you doing a solo performance?

It has been a difficult transition for me not having the support of New North East but lately I’ve been going back to my roots. I’ve been setback a lot in terms of collaborative releases not coming out I really have to choose who I work with a lot more carefully, and as pretentious as it sounds, work with people who are taking it seriously. I still keep in touch with Tuckage and we have a follow up to MixxdFeelinz pretty much ready. 

Working with Max is so easy, it doesn’t feel like work at all. If he’s available its a given he’ll be down. I give A LOT of ideas away but Max is someone I can float new ideas to. It freed us up to be more experimental. Everyone knows we can rap at this point so we are really setting the bar sonically and songwriting wise with this one. The Hype is Real, The RuMas are True.

Speaking of CyberSoul. We’ve had a tracklist. What’s the latest on when we can expect the release?
The honest answer is that I’m still trying to work out a promotional cycle. Financial and Technical difficulties are still holding me back. This is the hardest thing I’ve had to do on top of how personal it is to me. I don’t really do release dates anymore, certainly not until it’s absolutely ready, visuals and everything. Ideally I’ll organise a screening at the launch party followed by a Q&A and Cypher.

If someone is going to Music Box but has never heard your music, what would you recommend as a good starting point?
Good Question. I put more content out than any other local artist over the last 4 years, mostly on Soundcloud and bandcamp links. Our sceNE is notoriously terrible at promotion. YouTube is probably the best start, What I consider great musically ends up becoming visual and that’s the medium I am moving into. 

I’m in the process of selling out, so expect new content on all streaming services. I still believe in hard copies though, so a compilation is also in the works for me.

Who else is performing on the BeatBox stage that you’re excited to catch?
Shakk. I really feel I should be on before him, not the other way round. He hasn’t been as active in recent years but similar to E-Mence he has comeback with a totally new level of a energy. The timing couldn’t be better.

Are there any acts performing on another stage that you want to see?
Ceiling Demons for sure, they get a shout out on CyberSoul. Anything that breaks the monotony of 2000’s style indie bands that border on parody to be honest. That sounds shady as hell but I’m cautiously optimistic. 

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