MC Fats, aka Singing Fats is an integral part of D&B and is unique not only for his massive collaborations (check embeds) but for the fact that he is not ‘just an MC’. His voice, his soul and his approach all amounts the fact that he is simply a one-off. He is part of the tune ‘Peace & Dub’ off the ‘Grand Funk Hustle’ ep on Digital Soundboy, alongside Die, Break and Buggsy (see at end of piece). We caught up by phone just before Christmas (and a quick tour of Canada with longtime colleague and friend A Sides) to talk about his approach and about his multilayered past.
Damian Bennett: You’re releasing an album in the new year?
MC Fats: After Christmas, you have to psyche yourself up for what’s coming. I’m lining up an album, my history. That will be interesting.
It’s just my old stuff, stuff from back in the day, some stuff from the ’90s, 2000 onwards, for people that don’t know me and people that do know me.
DB: So for people that don’t: what are some of the names you’ve worked with?
F: Boy (deep breath)… Hype, Randall, A Sides, Potential Bad Boy, Calibre, Lynx, Alix Perez, Dextrous, Patife, Kenny Ken, HLZ Chef, Cleveland Watkiss… you want more? XRS, Break, DJ Die, Richie @ R1 productions, Influx Datum, Crix, Regina Rae, Cool Hand Flex, Basher, Blueskin, Pendulum, DJ Fresh… so many.
DB: It always sounds like an organic thing. In general how do the collabs come about? I mean is it done in person, via online means… how?
F: Some people talk to you on the phone an now a days online , they send me a tune, if I like it I deal with it. I like my personal vibe.
A Sides is not too far from me so I may pop round to him, Potential Badboy’s up the road, Hype’s up the road, you know what I mean. Whichever way it works. But I like to have a tune, to listen to and deal with it my way. Supply producers with bits and see what they can connect with, I like that.
DB: So you do physically go into the studio and lay down some stuff?
F: Yeah of course. The last person I did so was with A Sides, for ‘Temperature’s Rising’ on his new album. The studio vibe’s a different vibe man. It’s a two or more people vibe. I’m not a producer but most of the time there’s always something to work with Whichever way it works, I don’t care.
DB: And how do you feel about stuff being placed online… for example Youtube or Soundcloud?
F: I don’t really do it, I don’t really like that kind of exposure but… It’s a way for people to advertise what they do, some people are in it, I’m not one of them. I once did a thing with someone and after about a day he put a little skit up on Soundcloud, not even finalised and it’s up there with my vocals on it… out and out jackass producer.
Let’s be professional, roll it proper.
DB: So much up online, it does have a way of destroying mystery…
F: Music’s a mystery: you love an artist you’re waiting for them to bring something, and when they do it’s ‘yeah!’. But some people just want to advertise spoil the buzz… there’s a right way to advertise and a wrong way.
DB: You, apart from a singer, are a D&B MC first and foremost? Is that a fair statement?
F: I’m a vocalist first and foremost.
A D&B MC is part of me being a vocalist. The whole vocal thing I love; I love the studio environment, and when it’s right, I love the dancehall environment.
DB: You’re essentialy part of this music and it’s sure not slowing down, it’s as on fire as ever…
F: It’s on fire if people are on fire. Who knows where it can go? It’s ‘tomorrow music’. I don’t like thinking about yesterday, that’s done. It’s all nice, but let’s move on.
DB: This in turn reflects on the people you work with, the people like Lynx, like Calibre, Basher, Die, Break A Sides who you could say are progressive by nature.
F: Well I go by tunes, the tunes they send me.
Take someone like Lynx, he’s got a certain way his tunes sound. And he’s got a different way of dealing with the tempo he uses. It’s a tempo music. These days you have people who have to follow but hey be a trend setter. There’s no boundaries so… what’s the problem? (laughs)
DB: So your style comes in: there’s not many in D&B who do what you do, and you are known as ‘Singing Fats’, so what is your background as a singer?
F: Put it this way: I come from reggae, pop, soul funky lovers rock and dub all that kind of stuff. As I got more mature all kinds just MUSIC. Being a DJ myself in the early days, being on the mic, doing the whole thing: put the record on and toast to it.
I like that whole element to it, be a one-man operation. Also I was on the radio back in the ’80s, same thing: play the music and MC as well.
DB: A radio station?
F: That was a pirate station. I was also doing jingles, I had my own soundsystem and we had a record store. As a DJ, you go through the rigmarole of music, go through every genre of music, go through what’s current and also what older stuff does the business.
DB: And how do you see vocals fitting in, especially as sung as you do, not your typical MC delivery?
F: I think vocals tell a story and in D&B it brings a kind of warmth.
For example to all this ‘liquid’ music: it’s warm. It’s nice. You can dance to girl if you wanna dance with a girl to it. It’s romantic, emotional music.
That’s the core man.
DB: So would you say that’s the main style you’re associated with, liquid funk?
F: I like a liquid set, you’ve got room, you don’t have to talk all the time. Some music you have to take people on a journey, vocally. You get these fast-chatting MCs, they doing what they do. They take it on a different journey, a quick one, they dig in you. They do what they do, and do it good. With me and the music, I like to touch it when it needs to be touched.
DB: Have you got any standouts that come to mind, great sessions you’ve done? What’s something you’re most proud of?
F: Being involved in this music game. That’s what stands out. There’s nothing better. You can only dream, and when the dream becomes reality… I had dreams about this when I was a kid, things like performing in Japan and when it happens, something clicks in your head.
Also meeting Pelé in BRASIL. Yeah. That was one for me, when I met my man Pelé, he’s my idol. Through the music.
DB: That’s big.
F: The way I see it, the scene keeps growing and growing and I can make tune after tune, am recognised to be able to make the big tunes. When I made a tune with Pendulum (‘Plasticworld’) people were asking ‘Why you working with Pendulum for?’ and I answered ‘Because I can.’
You’re challenging yourself: every producer’s different and everyone sees you different. If you have talent, you have to bring it on their tune, and it’s hard to sustain the credibility. I think I’ve done that through the years. Keep the standard, my standard… and the next tune I make I want to be a fucking number one! So nothing changes…
DB: Ha ha, that is wicked.
F: Yeah man, everything you do you want to be big, that’s why you do it. But it’s the public who tell you if you’re big or not they buy your music.
I’ll just keep on being big. Ha ha!
DB: Some thoughts?
F: 2012 hang on from Fats, comin’ for ya. One love stay blessed.