Miss Trouble has been smashing up dances now for over 15 years, and as one of our scenes leading female vocalists and now a staple part of the Viper Recordings team and one of their resident MC’s, she is continuing to grow as an artist.
Growing up in Acton, West London she is no stranger to how our scene has progressed, from hanging out at Blackmarket Records and was a resident for DJ SS at an early age. 2005 she was working with Clipz now better known as Redlight and she’s also no stranger to our Kool London… as she had a long standing show here with DJ Turbulence.
I interviewed her last year – but first met this lady when we played out in Poland together over 10 years ago, and I have watched her develop – and she continually catches my eye. More recently she has been working closely with Inside Info, and the latest track “Revolution” on the mighty Viper Recordings which was released on November 4th, is apparent for showing the Viper artists are continually stepping up their game.
So now, 15 years on from when she first picked up a mic, to playing to crowds of over 12,000 people… I catch up with her to see what’s popping for 2016 into 2017!
First off Natalie big up!! That new track you have done with Inside Info – Revolution which I played on my last Kool show is absolutely firing! You mentioned last year you were going to work with him a bit more and I’m loving it… you must be pleased?
Hey Alina. Thanks so much, nice to chat with you after all these years. Nice one for supporting the tune. We’re really proud of Revolution and feel it was the right step up after Metamorphosis which got such a positive response when we released it 2 years ago. We always knew we were gonna work together again but didnt want to put any pressure on it. We wanted the follow up to find itself organically which it has and Im glad, because that is when the good stuff happens.
Revolution’s also got a really cool video and has those amazing masks from cult designer Alexander Hitek… did you meet Alexander and how long did the video process take?
I’ve known Alex for some time now and he just continues to surprise me with his creativity and innovative designs. He is known as the Godfather of steampunk but he’s gone beyond that with his new goggle mask collections, his signature reversable skull cap and most recently his leather harness, all of which you can see featured in the Revolution video. The video was done in four parts, some of which was done three years ago! We did the studio shoot in Brighton, then I did some filming while I was in Cyprus end of this summer, then I filmed Paul literally the day before he went on his Australian tour and finally got some shots filmed while doing acrobatics in a plane last month! Amazingly the editing only took a few days – we had a deadline of the release date so we had to work to meet that. I did a rough edit of how I wanted it to look and then we got Benn Veasey involved for the actual edit and vfx. We’re all super happy with the way it turned out and a massive respect to everyone who made that dream a reality on some next level.
What inspired the Revolution lyrics and how did it come about?
I generally like to make a skeleton beat myself and write on it, record it in my home studio and then send the vocal to producers. Around this time last year I made a beat sampling The Orb’s Delta MK II which was about the MKUltra project and government mind control techniques used by the CIA to force the truth out of prisoners by weakening their thinking via drugs like LSD. Some people were messed up by this process as expected, but some were actually enlightened by the drug’s psychedelic effects and ‘woke up’, which inspired the lyrics for Revolution. So I sent it over to Paul like, check out this cool thing I did, and basically the vocal stems sat on Paul’s hardrive for a lil while, and then a few months later he sent me a version of Revolution he’d worked on as he liked the concept for his album. I was like, yes, that’s the one! Went to his studio, rerecorded it, adding some extra adlibs etc which I love doing, 10 mins and we were done. Then we ate chicken.
You and Paul Bondy (aka Inside Info) have worked well together since you met. Can you tell us what he is like to work with and why working with people well is so important? Maybe you can tell us more about his chicken habits!
Haha sure! Paul’s a fricking G and a pleasure to work with. No nonsense, just straight down to it. Knows what he likes and how to deliver it. He just says to me do what you want, and that freedom allows me to be the best I can be. I remember the first time I met him, I was mcing for him at Cable club (RIP) and I was getting over a horrid cold and couldn’t give my all, but still represented. He was so grateful and bigged me up so much I was like, wow this dudes proper humble and appreciative, I really liked his energy you know? And thats an instant vibe right there.
We exchanged details and I sent him a sung vocal which he liked but nothing came of it. Then he sent me this insane drum loop which I absolutely loved. It was just a few seconds of drums but the pattern got me mad. And i instantly knew the first words I wanted to say were “work that” Then the next words “ground warm, disarm, clip off…” and it kept flowing until it was written and we now know it as Metamorphosis. What stood out to me was that it was such a quick and clear pathway of words, i don’t think I’ve ever experienced that until that point.
When i sent Paul the bounce he tweeted, texted and called me going nuts! It was a really special moment because we both knew there was a creative synergy that was undeniable and we were both totally hyped about. He then wrote the music around the vocal, and we basically did the whole thing and secured the release date on Viper within about a month from conception! It was v quick.
Cool thing is we both like weird noises and edgy art, which I think gave us our direction before we’ve even begun. We sampled munching breakfast cereal in his kitchen which you can hear in the soundscape of Metamorphosis. We both like food. We talk a lot about food. He always cooks when Im round which is wicked cause thats usually my job and I get to sit there watching his naughty cats misbehave while we eat chicken together.
The Viper team are supporting you hard at the moment and you’re on most if not all of their line ups? Can you give us any exclusive news on things coming up?
Yes thats right. I feel very blessed to be a resident mc for Viper and they have been going from strength to strength, developing and exposing new talent. Brendan Futurebound does the majority of the a&r ing for the label. He’s got a great ear for picking up new artists and he loves discovering them and giving them a platform. I know that there will be 4 albums dropping next year but I cant say who except InsideInfo’s will be the first to drop. We’ve also got a huge night on at Fire on 25 November in London to celebrate 100 releases from Viper with a sick lineup. Most the djs are playing back to back which will be exciting.
You played at the Let It Roll Summer 2016 Viper stage this year with Matrix and Futurebound, Prototypes, InsideInfo, Mob Tactics, Smooth and Trei. Is that a career highlight now?
Oh helll yeah! It was insane. Hands down best show I’ve ever done. I hosted for 6 hours and could have carried on. Seriously did not want to leave. The vibe from the crowd was intense and beautiful and the music was just on point beginning to end. There was heads as far as i could see and then realised they went even further back into the distance and by the time Paul and I played the closing set, the sun started to come up and you could see this incredible sunrise backdrop to the crowd in their thousands. Just amazing. Had to stop to take it all in a couple times. Oh and the visuals! Jeeez I had no idea til I watched the playback how spectacular the visuals behind us were. Massive props to the Let It Roll guys. I’d watched the live stream the previous yr but you really have to be there to get how awesome it is. The footage from the Viper stage will be released over the next few months or so. The set with InsideInfo is now up on the Let It Roll YouTube channel. So dont forget to check that out.
You mentioned last year you were doing some classical singing… how’s that going?
Yeah, so I took part in an Armenian opera which ended up as an invaluable experience. It got me into classical vocal training which I’ve always wanted to do, as well as re-learning how to sight read music and read Armenian as well as scrubbing up my acting skills. It was quite a challenge for me and the first few lessons I was a fish out of water – But I was determined to conquer it. Its incredible how your mind can adapt and remember stuff you’d learnt when you were a kid.
I loved the music which was quite haunting and full of Oriental scales and the melodies were stuck in my head for months as we were rehearsing every Monday night for one and a half years. It was a really big commitment but one to prove very fruitful. In the end we performed two shows at the Royal College of Music which was amazing and terrifying at the same time. Overall it was a great experience and one I’d love to do again in the future. Great to contribute to your community.
So exclusive news… there is a new Viper Podcast which is starting in 2017… and you’re hosting it right?
My you do hear things dont you haha. My focus was on getting the Revolution video out and now that’s done I can start focusing on formatting the podcast. I made some notes on the plane recently. I find plane journeys are great for that because you have the head space. Now I need to sit with the lads and figure out which of the segments we will go ahead with. I’ve been doing voiceovers for sometime now and having done pirate and internet radio Im hoping we can get it sounding really interesting and a bit fun as well. We will see! Any ideas you’d like to input?
So I’ve been lucky enough to get a lot of the Eatbrain promos this year… and a little birdy tells me you have a track with Segment & Concept Vision due for release with them next year??!!
Yep its almost there now, waiting for some additional vocals to be inserted. I know Jade’s already been testing it in his sets. Its a pretty heavy tune – one for the heads. As a lover of hip hop and dnb this is somewhere in the middle. Makes you wanna headbang. Im looking forward to getting that wrapped up.
And… you have a huge tune coming with MC Dynamite and Krafty Kuts – what’s that called and the album features some huge names like Harry Shotta and Rodney P?
Yes! Madd happy about that collab. I’ve been a fan of Dynamite for years so that means a lot to me. Kraftys a legend so to be involved in this project is a true honour. The tunes called Firework, and will be out next year on their collab album called Different Corners. It features several mcs and vocalists like Harry Shotta and Rodney P. For anyone who knows their style its all about the party vibes. Our tune is like a serious bumpy hip/hop vibe with a ragga influence. Shouts to Erb and Dub for the link up on that one.
So, as I mentioned before we first met in Poland about 10 years ago and back then, there were very few ladies working in dnb, in fact I could of counted them on two hands and seeing women on line ups was rare… but the balance is shifting now, can you expand on that for me and how much it means to you?
About time init? Haha yes well we’ve been holding on that dream for a while Alina, quietly getting on with it. Or not so quietly haha. I think there’s been layers of females that have come along and paved the way proving that we have skills worthy of a creative platform. And then it was about proving we can do more than just sing. And now its becoming acceptable to have a female mc. Still rare but there’s many more about now than ever. For the djs there’s even more than that and theyre getting billed more than ever before. Main room sets. You know, for someone like Mollie Collins to be blowing up like she is, it shows how far we’ve come. I think there’s still more work to be done for female mcs tho. But honestly its been a long road and I’m happy to have stuck to my guns and kept going, improving, working on my craft because it’s something i love to do. And if you love something you should just do it. If theres hundreds and thousands of people that love it too, then thats confirmation you’re on the right track. I mean its an honour to be given a platform and to have trust in that the artist will show up and do the damn thing. For myself, I have huge love and respect for the guys and girls who have championed me over the past 15 years of my career – without them I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am now. Beginning with MC Freaky and the Hyper Records crew, to legends like DJ SS, DJ Clipz, Paul Roast, Nookie, Madcap, Keira Essence of Chi, Subterra, Funkatech Records, DJ Turbulence, Elisa Do Brasil and now Futurebound and the whole Viper team. Its a blessing and a testament to holding on to your dreams. So I want to take this opportunity to thank them all for their support and love over the years.
I remember you used to drink honey and water before shows.. are you still doing that?
Haha good memory! I just drink water now. I’ve pretty much stopped smoking so honey only comes out if I’ve been ill. Having said that at Let it Roll, after the fourth hour i had honey, coffee and rum on stand by and that was a big help in getting my energy back up. My only ritual these days is to meditate on the day of the performance. That is what I do to reground and focus my energy.
The DNBA awards are coming up and they have just started a “Critics choice” – what do you think about this concept?
I mean awards are just hard. How do you pick out of countless amounts of talent? There’s no right or wrong in creativity, its just taste and maybe who had the most hype that year. You have a hard task ahead of you, good luck haha
Who are your favourite up and coming MCs right now?
Up and comings a weird one because they might have been around a while but u only just heard them. So Im gonna just say who I’m feeling at the moment. I’m really enjoying hearing grime and hiphop artists – Kano’s really stepped up for me this last album, Skepta is just solid, Lady Leshurr is killing it. In dnb I like what Azza and Grima are doing. Quite a fresh flow and conviction.
Which producer(s) would you love to collab with in the future?
I’ve always been a fan of S.P.Y and would loooove to see that happen. We did a live show on DnBArena a few years back which I really enjoyed. I think our styles would definitely work well together on a track. Obviously I’d love to work with InsideInfo again any time! Would love to tour with him in the future. It would be nice to be part of a live act too, more like a band set up. But yeah I’m quite open to possibilities.
Any female MCs that are breaking through that you rate?
Im just happy theres any female mcs hahaha! I really respect what the GTA girls are doing, linking up with each other is a strong strategy. Big up to all the gal dem!
And who is your favourite MC over all in the dnb scene?
It fluctuates but right now its got to be Evil B – love his style and versatility.
If you could do a track with another MC who would it be and why?
I reckon Coppa and I would do a sick track together. He’s got that neuro thing locked down! Evil B would be a sick look too.
What are your goals for the next 5 years?
My main goal is to be happy and healthy and to keep finding my peace and furthering my creativity. I got married this year so that was a big one. I’d love to be living somewhere hot ideally. Its better for my overall being. I guess an album should be in there. I’m really about taking every day as it comes. In this world you just never know what is round the corner so I’m living for today.
Any shouts and thanks?
Big respect to my Viper family for their continued support and music, my husband Asad Raja who’s been my biggest supporter since I met him, my family, my new family, my family that are yet to be, all the fans that support my music and enjoy what Miss Trouble brings to the table – I love you all, shouts to yourself and the DNB Muzik team and to all the people finding their identity keep doing your thing, and finally to all the authentic good people out there. You’re my kind of people. 1 love
Many thanks for your time and all the best for the future Nat, much love.
Interview by Aliina Atkinson (Missrepresent) November 2016
Audio of this interview can be found below 49 minutes in.