Interview: AM Sniper

Having been part of one of the biggest crews in UK urban music history, So Solid Crew, AM Sniper cut his music industry teeth amongst some of the top artists in the business. With his latest single ‘Bus Pass’ featuring grime legend Wiley due for release in early August, Matt Tarr spoke to the Ayia Napa based artist about how the collaboration came about, how he feels the track has been received and how he has built up his considerable fan base.

MT: So your new single ‘Bus Pass’, which is set to be one of the biggest tunes this summer, sees you collaborating with Wiley. How did that collaboration come about?

AM Sniper: I’m not a big collabo artist and I don’t do it strategically; I do it based on the vibe of a record. Obviously I know him from So Solid days cos back then he was in Pay As U Go and I was only about 14 or 15 when I first met him. So we met up again and we were talking and he was like “I’ve seen what you’re doing and stuff, maybe we should do a track together” and it just felt right. We put an idea down and it turned into the current record that people are hearing at the moment and I’m actually very proud of it. A lot of artists stepping from the underground into the mainstream world with a more crossover sound kind of think “ ah this isn’t what I wanna do” but I’m really proud cos I’ve managed to satisfy core fans that wanted to hear rap verses as well as newer fans.

MT: With the track already doing well on the club scene, how do you feel UK radio stations will take to the track?

AM Sniper: The radio stations in the UK are so picky and think “this is too hard or this is too soft” so they just need to make their minds up. At the same time it’s what moulds you into to being a great artist because as British radio is so strict, even if you get a play from Target or [Charlie] Sloth or [Mista]Jam and these kinds of DJ’s it helps mould you into a better artist. I’m proud that I’ve managed to fuse everything from the core fans, the radio’s and at the same time given an up tempo, positive energy vibe that obviously myself and Wiley are 100% behind.

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MT: Would you say that ‘Bus Pass’ is your best and is likely to be your biggest release to date?

AM Sniper: I do think it’s my best record to date. I’m just enjoying every moment as it happens and I’m not even thinking of big things; I’m blessed to be able to put records out to people. I’m just happy to do shows cos that’s all I’m about right now. I got an email the other day saying “You’re number 115 in the video airplay charts” and I think that’s great but I won’t worry about things like charts and stuff cos it’s not part of my world right now so it’s kind of all irrelevant. To me, my world is the ability to go to studio, record a great track, put it out there, perform it and let people have fun with it. Wiley’s my neighbour out in Napa and we used to talk about this ages ago, saying that from the urban scene having a house in Ayia Napa is heaven cos you manage to move out of the crap and stay away from negativity. Obviously we love the UK and it’s where we’re from and being able to have this whole international vibe that we do is great. With Bus Pass I feel that if we just stick to the basics of grime we can never evolve it into more households. With ‘Bus Pass’ what we managed to do is keep an element of it but then diversify it a bit and become more open with our sound so average everyday people that are not necessarily of grime culture can still relate to the record. That’s what evolved rock music, that’s what’s evolved hip hop; it’s the fact that we absorb influences and diversify more. This is just the tip of the iceberg and I’m just excited for the many, many records to come cos I’m gonna be around for the next decade for sure!

MT: I think it’s really important for artists to be happy with the tracks they’re putting out and you really get the sense of that from ‘Bus Pass’. In terms of a follow up to the single, what have you got lined up?

AM Sniper: I’m definitely an album artist. I don’t wanna say too much about what I stand for and what I feel I can become as an artist in the future because people wouldn’t understand it right now. I could say “I’m gonna be the Rolling Stones” but it doesn’t make sense to say that right now. When I go to studio, it’s like a footballer training on the training ground, I’m not at awe in the studio I’m right at home, just like a lot of players aren’t in awe about playing at Wembley, they feel right at home. I have this process where there are two rooms in the studio, one is the live room and the other is the production room and I go from one to the other constantly because if you give me a guitar player, a drummer and a mic I’ll come up with a crazy record and if you give me technology I’ll still come up with a crazy record. I tend to fuse both elements and with ‘Bus Pass’ has an up tempo electronic beat but there is a live guitar playing in the background. At some point people forgot the live element but I feel that fusing both elements is a great achievement. I’m definitely gonna give people an album this year, even if its not officially classed as my debut album, it’s still gonna be an album. It may be classed as a pre album because with the fear of that first ever complete project I might not wanna call it an album but it will be an album as it’s gonna have more than ten records on it! People can’t understand AM Sniper off just one record, they need to hear the album cos there’s so many vast elements to my sound at the moment so an album will create a better picture for everyone.

MT: In terms of the visuals for the track, they have a real professional and polished look even though you are releasing the track through your own channels as an independent artist and not many independent artists have the ability to do that. Are the visuals something you had a major part in as well as the music?

AM Sniper: Definitely. I’ll sit down and spend hours on the cover, the remixes, the visuals and I’ll edit with the editor! Editing your own video is the most frustrating thing ever. I’m Sniper so I spot anything and so if I see a crowd that’s having a good time in my video and there’s one person that looks away, I’ll spot the one person that looks away out of a thousand people and I won’t be happy about it, I will be disappointed about it and wonder why one person out of a thousand didn’t enjoy what I was doing at that moment; that’s how much it hurts and I need to get that 100% accuracy.

MT: You’ve built quite a considerable fan base having only released a handful of previous tracks to ‘Bus Pass’. Do you think that this track will open you up to a new set of fans?

AM Sniper: People that are the AM Sniper supporters and fans, at the moment, have not become fans from any other element outside the music because I don’t do interviews like crazy, I don’t step in peoples videos, I don’t even come to the UK to do something that will give me a presence. I want people to be used to knowing me for the music; nowadays people have to do a million different things to get attention. I still believe that the music is good enough to get the attention itself and I don’t care if it takes ten years instead of one because it’s off the back of the music. A lot of people used to know me from Ayia Napa so what I’ve done is stopped being publicly involved in the bookings because I wanna be known as an artist not an artist/something else. Whether or not I’m from Hip Hop or Rap or Grime or any genre there is only really two genres; good music and bad music and I’ve got a lot of good music, everything’s organic.

With the track set for release on 31st August 2014, you can pre order your copy here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bus-pass-feat.-wiley-ep/id898269102?ign-mpt=uo%3D4

To keep up with all things AM Sniper follow @snipermusic on Twitter.

Matt Tarr
@MattTarrJourno

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Matt Tarr

Matt Tarr

Urban Music Editor
With grime and hip hop being major influences on him growing up in South East London, Matt's passion is urban music but over the years he has gathered a hugely diverse taste, ranging from Wiley to The Smiths by way of Machine Head, that has made him a very open minded individual.
Matt Tarr