It’s hard for independent and unsigned artists to get by and make their big break. Many artists have to have their fingers in many pies to spread their music, get their names out and support themselves. My friends Syxx and Zush from The Locksmiths who also go by The Brick Titans are two rappers from White City, West London who do more than just rap. They produce beats as well as host events around London as well as Portugal under the name Team Sa’real. I caught up with them a few weeks ago to see how they are doing and see what advice they have for aspiring artists.
Syxx and Zush
First off can you introduce yourselves?
Syxx: We go by the name of The Locksmiths, AKA Brick Titans AKA Team Sa'real and we’re just two dudes that love hip hop.
Zush: Individually I'm Zush AKA John Boy.
Syxx: And I'm Syxx AKA Luke Cage.
How long have you guys been rapping?
Zush: We been rapping for the best part of 15years.
Syxx: Yeah, without sounding like some old guys I’d probably round it off to that. Put it this way, we've been writing bars ever since we remember and making music since year 7 so you do the maths!
Do you produce your own beats or work with other producers?
Syxx: Zush makes quite a few of our beats but we’ve also got a few producers we work regularly with such as No One Special, DWM and Imperial No Drama but we’re always looking for new passionate producers to work with.
Zush: Yeah I gets busy with a few beats, just copped an MPC so Arab Muzik look out son, haha!
What inspires your lyrics?
Syxx: My life first and foremost. When it comes to writing songs, I personally find it harder to write music if there isn't too much going on in my life at that time to feed off, so sometimes I have to fall back til I experience something that makes me relate to the song topic. But when I'm blacking out just barring, what inspires me is healthy competition with other artists and wanting to be the best, to be able to come out with something that makes another artist think 'I wish I said that!'.
Zush: Day to day things in life for real. I guess that's all you truly know things I've gone through and places I wanna go. All of that in one inspires me to write what I write, I'm a thinker so writing is definitely a way to get things off my mind. Don't get me wrong we love telling stories so sometime we'll just rap about a scenario that might not have a specific meaning but even that will stem from something we’ve been inspired by or witnessed in life.
How do you promote your music and get it heard?
Syxx: We use social networks a lot i.e. Bandcamp, Twitter etc and of course good old fashion hustling hard copy CD's on road.
Zush: Yeah man, word of mouth and any outlets and platforms we can get on or into to promote ourselves and brand in the right way.
This week you have been on a few radio shows, what is the best way for artists to get on the radio?
Zush: Make sure you got some good material & network with the DJ's. Send them music but not spam, try and interact with them, be it over social media or in person and just build a light relationship with them so you can then approach them and ask to be a guest on the show etc. Sometimes it's easier if the DJ is familiar with your music but if your working from the ground up, networking & building relationships is a good start.
The Locksmiths on Bang Radio
Do you have any advice for up and coming rappers?
Syxx: Don't just do shit for the sake of it, make sure you're passionate about what you’re doing, there's substance to it and make your music a honest reflection of who you are.
Zush: Keep at it if you truly believe in it because it can be a long old road and more time you gotta have the patience & stomach for it. Stay relevant & on point because it's easy to get complacent and fall off.
As well as the Locksmiths, you also go by the name Team Sa’real and put on events. How is that going?
Zush: Yeah the Team Sa'real business is going great, we got a lot of events & adventures coming up & we're looking forward to providing that Sa'real entertainment. We now hire our S Games service out to clubs which is picking up nicely so between that and music we definitely stay busy.
Syxx: Yeah Team Sa'real is going great (www.teamsareal.com) sorry, had to plug real quick haha.
You host a week long trip to Portugal called All Play, No Work. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Syxx: It’s a crazy week that we and our other business partner T puts on. We take 20 plus people away to a villa in Portugal and we plan their daily activities which range from 21 themed parties. We basically promote as much controlled fun you can handle for 7 days at a very affordable cost.
Zush: The Portugal Villa party is definitely our headline adventure at the moment and rightfully so. 7 days in the beautiful sunny Algarve in a three storey villa and nothing but controlled fun from day to night. It's amazing and we advise everyone to come along at least once and just let go as we keep you entertained.
All Play, No Work!
Do you have any advice for anyone putting on events?
Syxx: Nope! We keeping them secrets for ourselves haha.
Zush: Haha, I'll just say Plan, plan, plan. Just know what you’re doing, how much you’re spending and plan to make, who you’re targeting etc before you start.
Last Monday you released your latest mixtape Out of Sight. Can you tell us about that?
Zush: Yea we dropped our mixtape "Out Of Sight" last week which is getting a really good response. Right now we're just putting in that promo work, getting videos & freestyles done & just masking sure the mixtape gets heard. You can stream or download it for free via our Bandcamp, so make sure you check it out.
Syxx: I'd say its our best product to date, for anyone hearing us for the first time its a great introduction for them, its hosted by DJ Laura Legend and has 22 tracks of original, remixed and freestyle tracks, go check it out!
What are your plans for the future?
Zush: The same plan it is everyday Pinky, to take over the world haha. Nah just to firmly place our feet in the ground with both music and events.
Syxx: Yeah, we got a lot in the pipe line from a new EP at the top of the year which a lot of new visuals will come from that, to new innovative, out the box events from Team Sa'real, stay tuned we’re working hard I promise you that.
Thanks for your time.
Check out their latest mixtape here