UK Grime star, Lethal Bizzle [LB] has become Indie's new best friend. He's recorded tracks with Kate Nash, Babyshambles and Gallows, who he's also toured with as well as The Enemy and Jack Penate. [R13] caught up with him to talk about things like Simon Amstell, David Cameron, his lyrics, Frank from Gallows and... Jeremy Clarkson?!

R13: I'd just like to start on a light note and talk about your recent appearance on Never Mind The Buzzcocks. Are you a fan of the show yourself?
LB: Yeah man, it was great, I've been a fan of the show for years.
R13: How do you think Simon Amstell compares to Mark Lamarr? Is he as really cutting as he appears?
LB: To be honest I prefer Simon, he's a lot funnier whereas the other guy was sometimes too serious. Plus Simon is a lot funnier looking than Mark Lamar.

R13: On your ...Buzzcocks appearance, Amstell briefly touched over your war of words with David Cameron. What were your initial feelings when you heard his comments about Westwood playing music that encourages violent crime?
LB: I just thought he was a donut for saying it. [The music] is relevant to loads of people around the UK who can relate to what we're talking about and what's going on. So for him to go out and say that, I thought it was just bollocks so I wanted to reply to that, and get my side across. It's freedom of speech. As an artist you need to be able to express yourself how you want to, negative or positive, you've gotta tell your story how you see it. A lot of of those stories are true so I don't see why we shouldn't be telling them.
R13: Do you think David Cameron was being purposefully ignorant of Westwood's awareness of the importance of issues like education, physical fitness and safe sex in favour of generating easy publicity from an easy target?
LB: Yeah man, David Cameron's a politician and politicians want attention and publicity. It came around the time where so many things were happening around the urban community like loads of kids getting stabbed and killed and shit. They were trying to find something to blame it on and that's when the music became involved. To be honest with you, Cameron can't really speak on it because he doesn't know what it is to live on a council estate, he doesn't know how it is to be in certain areas watching your back all the time, he has no knowledge whatsoever. He's just on the outside looking in and making assumptions. He needs to go to the places where all this madness happens and really experience it to really have a full valued judgement of the situation.
R13: What do you personally think politicians need to do to establish trust with young people, and more particularly, people growing up in poorer areas of the UK?
LB: As I said, I think they just need to actually go to the areas where these things are happening you know? And just speak to the kids. Go to the schools and speak to them directly and hear it from the horses mouth, finding out what's the problem. Yeah, I think that would be a really good step. And also, using people like myself and other people who kids may look up to you know? You tell them a story and how they should do it in a different way, there's probably more chance of listening to that person rather than a politician who's in a suit all day.

R13: In your response to Cameron, you said you had signed a large handful of young artists to your label, getting them off the streets. First of all how is that all going?
LB: Yeah it's cool man. That's my crew, Fire Camp. They were just young guys on the street getting up to trouble and trying to make music at the same time so I kinda came in and said 'I'm in a position where I can help.'
R13: Are there any of those artists you'd like to particularly recommend?
LB: Basically just check out my Myspace (, the whole Fire Camp is on there. There's like ten members so just check them out man, they're hot.

R13: In your new album you cover quite a variety of subjects from seeing a girl you like in a shop to being chased by the police How much of your lyrics are based on personal experience?
LB: Um, 98% of the album is personal experience, real true stories, Police on My Back is a true story from a few years ago, from when I was based on the street and um, Selfridge's Girl Not On Myspace, another true story. I was in Selfridge's, I saw this chick and never got to speak to her. So yeah, a lot of the album is about my experiences, what I know.

R13: What was the point when you personally realised “right, it's time to get out of the crime pattern, it's time to shape a future for myself” and what was the process that followed that?
LB: It was around the whole Police On My Back saga, that same kind of time. I just kept getting into trouble you know? It just started getting all pointless man and I thought I might as well quit while I'm ahead and a few moths after that actual incident in Police on My Back, I just thought 'this is not for me, no more.' So yeah around January 2001 was when I just hung it all up and concentrated on music. And that same year, I was in a group called More Fire Crew and we had a track called “Oi!” and that really blew up for us so that was kinda like another reason for me to give the whole street thing up. It was a kind of blessing in disguise

R13: Do you have a few examples of what your success with music has enabled you to do that you wouldn't have otherwise?
LB: Uh, that's a good question. Just everything in general. You get loads of free stuff, clothes, drinks. I don't really buy anything any more. The only I think I buy now is houses and cars. Nearly everything is free. The next thing I wanna try and get is a Lamborghini Gallardo for free. You get to go to cool parties. I think that sums it up: Free. You just get loads of free stuff.

R13: You seem to have become Indie's go-to-guy for urban crossover collaborations. You've toured with Jack Penate, Gallows (as well as recording with them), Babyshambles and Kate Nash to name but a few. Is there actually a defining point when this connection with that particular scene began?
LB: To be honest with you, it was all unintentional. It was not about trying to be a part of the whole Indie scene thing. I just wanted to just do something different. I'm from the grime/hip hop scene, that's where I'm from, that's what I represent. I've been doing it for so long now. I thought in order for me to keep going, prevail and stay fresh, I needed to try something different and that's where the collaboration thing came in, you know? I just wanted to stay inspired to make music and by working with people who I may not necessarily have worked with before. It really kinda helped me you know? It kinda worked both ways. It opened doors opened up for me, a lot more people took to me, cos of the people I was working with and saw that I was a lot more open minded than what I used to do before cos my music was really hard and stuff. I listen to the maddest stuff on my iPod. Indie, pop, hip-hop, jungle, everything! It's really an all rounder and I think at this point now and cos of my past I've been allowed to express that more in my new album.

R13: You were number five in the NME Cool List 2007, congrats, how did you find out and what was your reaction? - If you were on tour, did you gloat a bit to Tom Clarke of The Enemy (Number 15) when you found out?
LB: Oh wow did I beat Tommy? He's a great guy man, a real cool dude. We'd just finished the NME tour and I was actually with the Gallows and we'd just down a TV recording for “Staring At The Rude Bois” and we literally just found out like the day before the magazine came out. And then I was just like “cool” and didn't really take it too crazy, just thought it was a good thing. Then I saw [a report about] Frank [Carter] on ITN as this year's “cool guy” and was like 'what the fuck, is it that big?' Cos it's all new to me you know? This whole NME embrace-ment, they've all supported me and backed me this year really really heavily so I'm certainly realising now how big that Cool List shit is. It's an honour to be in there and to be the only grime/hip hop artist in there, period, is fucking history. So yeah, it's a good look man.

R13: You even beat three of the most talked about stars in rock this year Kate Nash, Beth Ditto and Amy Winehouse, not to mention Keith Richards and Noel Gallagher. How does it feel to be received so well by an audience who maybe wouldn't be so receptive to your style of music?
LB: That is, again, history in the making. I feel like that kinda makes a statement about that scene, accepting what I do you know? Most importantly, I'm fucking good man, I rock crowds, I make hit records and I think the biggest surprise to a lot of people is my live show cos I can rock a crowd as much as any heavy metal band can. I can get the crowd jumping, singing along, crowd surfing as much as anyone else can and I've only got a microphone and two turntables. I think that is one of the biggest fascinations for someone who may not necessarily get what I do and when they see it think 'wow'. It's a great achievement. And again, I think it's a good look for myself and people from the scene I'm from. It shows they [the Indie scene] are accepting what I'm doing and there's a load more people like Dizzee Rascal and a few other people in the underground who are doing what I do, making this real music and it's showing that people want it. So yeah man, I'm chuffed.

R13: Your most recent collaborator and recent tour-mate, Frank Carter topped the list. Do you think it was deserved?
LB: Yeah, most definitely man! Frank is the coolest guy man. Out tour manager loves him. He's a cool guy, you can't knock Frank. He is what he is. He's a real down to earth guy. He's as real as it gets. He's an honest person. I think he definitely deserved it man, I think he's done so much crazy stuff this year I couldn't see anyone else topping it. So, well deserved.

R13: Will we be seeing more collaborations of that nature or are you going to concentrate more on your own music in 2008?
LB: Ah it's definitely all about the Bizzle and my crew Fire Camp. But you never know, there may be a few other people. I think that's what it's about as a musician, trying to reach out and do something creative. There'll definitely be more collaborations in the future. Who? I'm not sure. What scene or what genre or whatever? I don't know but I'm just gonna continue to make music. I'm gonna be here for a long time.

R13: Who's one artist alive or dead you'd love to work with?
LB: Michael Jackson, man and Quincy Jones on production. Just to even sit down and speak to them. Even having a conversation with them would be a collaboration. I think I would learn so much. How they made that album [Thriller] sell 100 million, that's some different kind of achievement. Just to know what was going through their minds at the time. You gotta be feeling a certain way when you make music. I can't just go into a studio, I need to feel a certain way. Just learning little details, what was going through their mind, what was going on in their lives and shit. That would mean more than a collaboration.

R13: Is there anyone less well known or maybe even a classical artist who you like?
LB: Vanessa Mae! I didn't ever think I would like Classical music or ever be into it and it really kind of surprised me when I saw what it was actually about. I went to one of her concerts and it's a live orchestra, loads of violins and basses and stuff. Really interesting to see how it was totally different but I really enjoyed it.

R13: R13: Like Kate Nash, Lily Allen and the Arctic Monkeys, Myspace has been an important factor in spring boarding your music career. In which way do you think it helped most?
LB: Myspace has helped to get to certain people who i may have not necessarily have ever been able to reach out to. It's made music, and the world, a much smaller place. It's helped me in a big way. It's got my music out to a lot of people around the world. With a click of a button, someone in Australia could check out my music. It's really spread the word in a quick space [of time]. And also, the communication with other artists. Kate Nash, I met her through it. That collaboration may never have happened if it weren't for Myspace. Things like that, networking amongst people I may not have been necessarily been able to get hold of. Its helped me in a big way, especially the crossover as well. I'm from a totally different scene and Myspace has made the music business for everyone. It's made it more accessible for someone who may be a Punk or Indie fan to check me out. Just go onto Myspace and I'm there. Where before, they may have had to go to certain venues or certain shops to get my music, and find out, by chance, any info about me.
R13: What kind of future do you see for Myspace with Facebook and Youtube becoming more popular? Will you be adapting to those changes?
LB: I dunno about Facebook, I think for musicians, Myspace is the one. I think Facebook is more personal, checking out an old friend or hooking up with a chick. Myspace does that as well, but with music. It's a lot better. I think Youtube has it's own identity, and will always continue to get bigger. I think it's a good thing. It's really helped me in a way where I could just make videos for Youtube and people around the world can click on to it, so I'm all for that. But I think they all have their own individual identities.

R13: Finally, you fulfilled every young man's dream by TECHNICALLY being on an episode of Top Gear. What was that like? Did you know Jeremy Clarkson was going to pull the plug on your performance?
LB: Yeah it was all planned, all for Comic Relief. It was a laugh man, I got the offer through and they told me the script and we rehearsed it a few times. I got to meet the guys, and they're really cool. It was all rehearsed and a lot of people thought it might not have been. I knew he was gonna pull the plug, it was only a dummy. I got to see the track and stuff. It was a nice experience just walking round the studio, seeing everything, speaking to the guys, having a little drink with them after. They're all really cool. Hopefully I'll be invited back on there doing what is it...?
R13: Star In A Reasonably Priced Car?
LB: Yeah that's the one.
R13: How do you think you'd get on?
LB: I'd win it. I'd come top. I am a getaway driver. I used to nick Puntos. Come on man!

Lethal Bizzle is currently touring the UK and Back to Bizznizz is available now on V2 Records.