Bonus Episode 27 - British Music Festivals with a TV Presenter

Aug 11 / Charlie Baxter

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What's this episode about?

In this Bonus Episode, Charlie gets a TV presenter on the show to talk about the music scene in the UK and to give you some advice on how to get involved in it all. This guest is not only a TV presenter but is also very knowledgeable about the music scene in the UK. So enjoy a conversation around the music scene and music festivals in the UK with the TV presenter called Aaron Roach Bridgeman.

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Meet today's guest

Aaron Roach Bridgeman

UK Television Presenter

Aaron is a TV presenter, Poet and live event host. His diverse body of work ranges from light entertainment and pop culture to hard hitting documentaries and current affairs.
His career was kick-started in 2012 with a Channel 4 documentary following his journey to become a presenter on SB.TV, the UK's biggest online youth platform with 300 million views.
Other TV channels soon started to take notice and Aaron went on to present Wake Up London on London Live and is now a regular presenter for What’s Up on Sky 1.
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Transcript of Premium Bonus Ep 27 Music Festivals with Aaron.mp3

Charlie:
Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to the British English podcast. In this episode I managed to get a TV presenter on the show to talk about the music scene in the UK and to give you some advice on how to get involved in it all. The idea of this episode came about when a student told me that she went to a music festival and found that so many of the people there were native English speakers. And of course it's where we all gravitate towards. So if you ever feel like you're unable to find a native English speaker when you come to the UK, a top tip might be to get yourself to a music festival. So as I said, we have a guest speaker and this guest is not only a TV presenter who occasionally pops up on my phone in social media interviewing famous artists, but he himself is very knowledgeable about the music scene in the UK. He was also very close with a man called Jamal Edwards, who very sadly passed away recently. But Jamal Edwards, he set up a hugely successful music platform called SB TV in 2006 and was credited with helping to launch a string of UK music acts to stardom, including Ed Sheeran and Jessie J. So our guest today is Aaron Roach Bridgeman, and I know him from a non-profit that we both worked at back in 2014 where we were mentoring some teenagers, but we get into that in the conversation. So without further ado, let's get into a conversation around the music scene and music festivals in the UK with the TV presenter himself, Aaron Roach Bridgeman. Ello. Aaron, how are you doing?

Aaron:
I'm fine, mate. How are you? How's it been going? Yeah.

Charlie:
Oh, good. Oh, good. Yeah. It's been a long old time, hasn't it?

Aaron:
Oh, mate, listen, Pandemic stole two years of our life, and then before that, it's just kind of getting into your thirties and starting to structure and starting to to adult, as they call it. We're adults now, aren't we? We are.

Charlie:
Yeah, well, I think you more than me, because you let slip that you've got a child now.

Aaron:
Yeah. Yeah.

Charlie:
That fast tracks everything, doesn't it?

Aaron:
Yeah. You no longer have a life of your own. Your life becomes dedicated to that little being that looks like you, and. Yeah, and that's literally about it, man. You know, I think a lot of us didn't know what to do during the pandemic, so I found something to do. And what I did was was quite productive, let's put it that way.

Charlie:
I'm a bit worried or a bit concerned how similar she is to you.

Aaron:
Yeah, she is.

Charlie:
Is she just the spitting image of you?

Aaron:
Spitting image and also attitude. Like, I was quite a troublesome young man. I was a little bit... I didn't like authority. I didn't take too well to being told what to do. And my daughter is exactly the same, if not worse.

Charlie:
Hilarious. So your daughter is what, coming up to two or three years old?

Aaron:
Yeah, she is 18. Hold on. Wait. Where are we now? July... February, March, April, May, June, July. She is 17 months, right? 17 months. She's 18 months next month.

Charlie:
When do we let go of the months? Is it at two?

Aaron:
It's hard. I don't know. Do you know what, I used to feel like people that did that are absolute imbeciles. Yeah, but you know what it is? It's so hard to calculate how old your child is. For a while, I was just saying she's a little bit over a year and a half, actually just over a year. But now it's like, well, because there's other people that are parents, they understand where, you know, processes and progress of the child is at a certain time. You have to kind of say the months. Oh, so she's, she's, she's, she's starting to become a bit more picky now. Oh, she's like, yeah, you know, I mean, there's all these expectancies, but I always tell parents, please do not put any expectancies on your child. Every child will be at their own pace. Some child some children will be really slow at the start, but then they might have a mad super fast track and become really advanced really quickly. So I'm going to drop the months. You're right. Yeah. My child is nearly two years old.

Charlie:
No, I totally respect that when... Once you're involved in parenting, every single month is not only important, but it probably goes really fucking slow, right?

Aaron:
Oh, mate!

Charlie:
So you've been productive during lockdown and then so let's go back a little bit. Can you tell the listeners when we met and how we met?

Aaron:
So we met quite a few years ago, actually approximately what maybe it's about seven years ago, six or seven years ago.

Charlie:
I think.

Aaron:
More than that?

Charlie:
2014.

Aaron:
So that is about seven years ago. No, eight years ago.

Charlie:
Eight, yeah.

Aaron:
Eight years ago. Oh, we're getting old Charles, bloody hell. Right, yeah. We met about eight years ago. We were both signing up to one of the craziest summer programmes that has existed in the history of the UK. It's a program where we step into the role of mentors to take 15, but to be honest, 45 or 60 young people on a journey of exploration, maturation and absolute chaos for a... for a summer period. And you do that with a few, actually do it more than 60. You do it over possibly nearly around, maybe even about nearly 200, depending on how many of you do during the summer. Yeah.

Charlie:
We were mentors, weren't we? And we had like.

Aaron:
At that time.

Charlie:
About 12 people to look after exclusively that were ours.

Aaron:
Exclusively. But then you have like a bigger, a bigger group. And Charlie was smart. He did that and left it again. I did it a few more times, but at different levels. I ended up becoming a behaviour specialist. So I became one of the first behaviour specialists in the whole company and the whole country. So my role along with another lady who did it as well, were the pilot roles and what we fed back to the company then became what they created the role out of. So after meeting you I started to specialise in behaviour and I became a behaviour specialist. I specialised in dealing with challenging behaviour in young adults.

Charlie:
Wow, fascinating. I didn't know that. That's really cool. Okay. Okay, so you did that. Is the challenge still running?

Aaron:
The challenge has now lost the contract for the NCS and now the NCS is still running, but it's done by different subcategory companies, so to speak. So it's a lot of football clubs are now running it. So I've done quite a few bits with like Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, but now I don't do any stuff within the company. I now work with another company where I teach the young people how to do public speaking. I teach them how to utilise their voice, I teach them how to present and stuff like that, and where public speaking and presenting can become quite imperative in your life, whether it be to access opportunities through networking or auditions or interviews and stuff like that. Yeah.

Charlie:
Yeah. I can imagine that's quite rewarding for to to see somebody go from potentially a nervous wreck as a teenager to then flourishing in in being able to, you know, deal with the pressure of public speaking. The number one phobia of the world.

Aaron:
Actually is yeah. And I actually go through that with them. I take them through the top ten fears and public speaking is number one just after being broke.

Charlie:
It's funny. Yeah. I mean, it makes sense to be fair. Yeah. How busy are you with that? Because you've got a lot going on from what I can see on socials.

Aaron:
Yeah. I'm not going to lie. At the moment, like from having a year that was really dragging its feet and actually a year that started off pretty badly, if I'm really honest, like I was quite, quite, quite a harsh struggle at the start of the year, July, June ish and July has gone crazy. So at the moment I am running a program that I gained funding from my local borough to do with young black kids from my borough and taking them on a journey of leadership. And I'm actually doing a session today. For the last two days I've been doing some stuff with the company I told you about where we where we do the public speaking. I'm also managing a music artist and a DJ. I've been in three different countries in the last three weeks. Alongside that, I'm filming the TV show for Sky Arts at the moment. I'm also filming at a festival on Friday with BET.

Charlie:
BET?

Aaron:
BET. It's an American media channel, but we've got a a a UK version here as well. And they're owned by Viacom. You know, Viacom who own Nickelodeon, MTV,

Charlie:
Right.

Aaron:
All of those. Yeah. And then tomorrow I'm doing another session somewhere crazily far in the country, and then I'm going to come back home and then really late as well, and then get ready to go again in the morning to the festival. Yeah. So at the moment it's just really, really... And in between that I look after my child as well during the day while her mum is at work. So um..

Charlie:
Goodness me

Aaron:
Yeah!

Charlie:
I get stressed about oh god I've got one more episode to release this week. That's ridiculous. You've got so...

Aaron:
I'm probably doing too much to be honest.

Charlie:
Sounds like it.

Aaron:
Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. And I'm also doing... I work nights, I spend my time consulting with, with a home who look after young people who are no longer- who are not with their families at the moment due to familial issues or even just behaviour or even sometimes legal issues. So I actually just finished doing the night shift as well, so I've just come back from the night shift after I came back from doing the, um, work up north as well. Yeah. So I've literally been going for about three days non-stop.

Charlie:
Mate.

Aaron:
Yeah.

Charlie:
I don't have one. But if I had an MBE to hand out to you. Wow, wow. Hats off to you. And thank you so much for sacrificing some precious time of yours to talk about music festivals. So you just mentioned that you were at a festival. Which one was that?

Aaron:
Well, I was at one in Portugal a few days ago, which is called Afro Afro Nation. But I'm going to be at one this Friday called Wireless, Wireless festival, which has now expanded into three different locations Birmingham, London, Hyde Park. And they've also had a few dates in London, Crystal Palace as a as of a week ago. So yeah, I'll be there on Friday doing a few interviews for you. Vox pops, you know, entertaining the people as we do.

Charlie:
As you do. Yes, as you do. I know that too well. Okay. Feel like I want to go a little bit further back and go to your childhood to talk about the music industry and like the festivals that you experienced as you were growing up, like when you were a child, what was like, Could you describe like the music scene that you experienced that might shape the kind of conversation?

Aaron:
So I think being from London in the UK, I think, well, I grew up around a lot of reggae music, a lot of lovers rock, a lot of soca music, which are all music genres from the Caribbean. And those music genres were also present in the area that I grew up in, in England, in the UK. But I used to spend like whole summers back... I'm from Barbados, so I would spend whole summers back home in Barbados, which is where I would kind of, I guess, grasp on to that music and really take that in and soak it in more than I would have a chance to here. But when I was here, I grew up on garage music, garage music where I started to MC over the music. So I started to rap over the music before it turned to grime, where I really started to rap in MC during that period of time. I also- Oh no, actually, before that I picked up hip hop. The first rapper that I listened to was Mase, and then I found Notorious B.I.G. who I became very infatuated with to the point where I wouldn't listen to Tupac due to the due to the differences that they had and me feeling like I had to choose a side as a ten year old, 11 year old boy. I remember I remember being given an Eminem CD and having my mind blown. I was like, I don't understand how this this little white boy is rapping like this. It's one of the most phenomenal things I've ever heard. And the character.

Charlie:
Is there something in the surprise that he was white?

Aaron:
There was there was some there was something in the surprise that he was white, but also just the level of ability in general, like he was he had mastered the art of characterisation through rap, which isn't something that is common, because rap was very machismo. It was very much an overhyped, masculated genre where... I'm not saying that Eminem wasn't wasn't masculine, but he wasn't afraid to take on the character and utilise the voice, such as an instrument to bring different sounds and different things to life. It was just mind blowing at the time, but if I'm really honest, I spent most of my time with garage, UK garage music, grime music. I was rapping myself so I had to spend a lot of time with it. I had to study the music, I had to know where the beats were.

Charlie:
And then for the listeners to maybe tune in to a few songs, what garage songs would you recommend them googling?

Aaron:
Bloody hell, So if you Google 138 trek, it's I can't remember - See Garage music, it was all on white labels. Sometimes you have to kind of know what you were looking for because there wasn't like going and buying a CD that had a name on it. No, it was a white label, which means it had nothing on it. You play it and you're like, Oh, I like that. You take it home. Sometimes it might tell you the name. I think a lot of the names I actually found out after where you go on YouTube now people are putting their names up. But type in 138 trek. That is an incredible way for you to understand garage music. In terms of grime music, type in Wiley and instrumental. Literally, Wiley was very integral to the growth of brand music and the sound as a producer as well as an artist. People don't realise that. Wiley was a producer, most things that people heard Wiley actually rhyme over was actually his own production, as was Dizzee Rascal. Dizzee Rascal was a very incredible producer as well. As a young 18 year old boy from East London. And so, yeah, we got into that. I think my trips back to back home to Barbados, I ended up getting into getting quite heavily into also the area that I'm from. I got quite heavily into reggae and dancehall music.

Charlie:
So what's the second genre?

Aaron:
Reggae and dancehall music? Dancehall.

Charlie:
Dancehall?

Aaron:
Yeah. I got quite heavily into reggae and dancehall music. They're both reggae forms that originate from Jamaica. Both music genres that originate from Jamaica. I got quite heavily into those. I was surrounded by in the area that I'm from. I just really started to kind of really engage with the music vibes. Kartel I felt was a credible artist, Sizzler, incredible reggae artists, and obviously Bob Marley, who was the father, one of the fathers of the genre as well. And then bro, do you know what? After that I went to University of Birmingham and while I was there, this little genre of music started to appear called like Funky House or UK funky. And then that took me on a really interesting journey where I ended up enjoying the vibes that I created. It was a very positive environment. I grew up in a time where some of the parties I went to, bro unfortunately, they were shootings, like they were shootings. They were like.

Charlie:
In the UK?

Aaron:
In the UK, yeah bro. Like I was in the party and somebody was literally shooting this close to my face into a crowd, bro. Like that's the kind of environment I unfortunately grew up in. So when I've gone to these funky house parties and I'm just noticing that everyone is just really happy, like a guy will step on your foot and rather than it turn into an issue, he'd be like, Hey, I'm sorry. Hey, like smiling. I'm like, This vibe is very different. So I became infatuated with that. And then that took me on a journey.

Charlie:
Was that the music or was that the combination of what that genre of music brought to the drug scene or anything like that?

Aaron:
A combination. It's a combination. I didn't like the drug part of it because I was never really into... Like, I smoked a little bit of marijuana. I say a little bit. I smoked a lot of marijuana. But I I never really indulged so much in the drug side. I just really enjoyed the environment. The environment where everybody was happy, positive, smiling. I just really became intr... in.., I don't even have the word to use. I was... I fell I fell in love with the music.

Charlie:
Entranced?

Aaron:
And then that took me on a deeper journey. So I went from funky house to the UK funk. I used to do a radio show where I used to like host the show, spit a few rhymes over some of the instrumentals. But then I got deeper into Soulful House, I got deeper into Deep House, Deep Tech House, I became a house head, which is very unheard of for someone who is into reggae, Dancehall. Usually you wouldn't find that person also being into house music. But I did. Loved house music, went to Ibiza, went to a lot of house parties. Egg.

Charlie:
Why would people not assume that somebody who's into reggae, etc. would not be into house?

Aaron:
It's because just growing up I think there was a choice. I feel like a lot of people from the genres of music that I also like, they call house dnce-dnce music, dnce-dnce, and they see it as repetitive. You need to understand house music, for the most part, will have an intro that might be about two and a half minutes long. It hasn't even dropped yet. Some people haven't got the patience for that. The music scene that I come from, we call it juggling music. Juggling music is where you mix music, but it's quite fast. You get straight into the track, then you might give about a minute, maybe 45 seconds. Then you get into the next one. Juggle quick, quick pace. House music is a crescendo. You have to give it time to reach its its peak. And then when you get there it's euphoric, which is why so many people do drugs, because when that euphoria comes, you're also in your own euphoria, you know what I mean? So very different phenomenon and feeling. But that is if you're a person who feels it and I think to be honest, if you're a person that feels music like me, I don't see why it would be strange for you to be into them. I've got friends I want to take them to it, but they won't go to a house party or event with me because they can only take it for so long. They want to go to a mixed genre event.

Charlie:
Right.

Aaron:
So yeah. And then so I got really deep into house, bro.

Charlie:
Is there a demographic that you would associate with House as opposed to the other ones that you were saying that don't match House?

Aaron:
I think the deeper you go into the House, you do find that the demographic will tend to be more probably ends up being more majority white the deeper you go into house because you know there is certain house like soulful house, you will find a mix. It might even be more black people. G house will be more black people. Deep tech house, you might find a you might find you might find a nice mix. But the deeper you go into house, like proper house, even deep house or all the other terms, they've got, they've got a lot of subcategories. I think you start to find more of a genre that was more associated with a European audience anyway, from its inception, like I've gone to other countries and even sometimes the House that I listen to comes from Germany, Sweden, comes from France, Holland. They've all got their sounds. And I've been to the countries and seen how they dance. They dance differently to it as well. So it's something that's been within their culture for years where I feel like I think as black people and white people as well - don't get it twisted - white people were always in our... In fact, nearly half half when it came to garage. But I feel like garage was our thing. And House was theirs. Like, we didn't. We didn't. We didn't understand house at that time. We didn't understand it at that time. Maybe because it was a bit softer. We wanted something a bit deeper, darker.

Charlie:
And to give a timeframe that's like the mid nineties or mid like noughties?

Aaron:
Yeah. House and garage I would say was, was like Yeah. Mid to late nineties. And then I think the resurgence with house music within in a more mixed environment I would personally say was from maybe around 2010. I think Funky House and UK Funky as they called it, really opened the door up for urban crowds to enter into understanding and appreciating house music.

Charlie:
Right. Okay. Yeah. Can you remember the first kind of festivals that you experienced going to these kind of genres?

Aaron:
To be honest, my proper festival-going started a lot later and it's and it started off for work. I only really started going to festivals when I was actually there to present at them and to interview at them. If I take you back to my earliest festivals that I've attended as just an attendee, I'll probably only be like Notting Hill Carnival and also the festivals that we have in my country as well, which is called Crop Over which is like, it goes on for a duration of time, but like a month where we have different events, we have two major days that we have like a similar Notting Hill Carnival set up where the whole, the whole capital city is just covered in people walking behind trucks and dancing and playing music from literally the morning until the night. And then we also have events in the stadium where people get crowned the champion of of Crop Over due to a song that they've made being the most popular and stuff like that. But those were my my earliest. Didn't really appreciate them. Even Notting Hill Carnival. Notting Hill Carnival was more of a more of a place for you to try and see if you can meet some girls and just like get on it and just, you know what I mean? If anything, go home and I got... I don't drink anymore. I haven't drunk for over ten years, but I got so smashed in one year in Carnival that there is a whole duration of time on that date that I have no cognisant memory of. In fact, I met one of my exes during that duration of time. I remember her phoning me saying, You don't remember me? And I'm like, Who is this? Like, Why are you playing games? I don't know who you are. And she's I'll send you a picture and even when she sent the picture. I didn't recognise it, but I was like, She's very, very nice. I'll continue this conversation.

Charlie:
So you managed to hit on her twice?

Aaron:
Bro, Crazy. And so those are my earliest memories, like Street Festivals, so to speak. I didn't really go to any structured festivals until I started working with SP TV where they had me, they had me Ibiza Rocks, they had me, they had me in Croatia before Croatia took off as it is now. They had me at Wireless. They had me at- what was the other one? Oh man, I can't even remember now, there's another one.

Charlie:
I'll give your brain some time to think about it. But let's go back a little bit to the Notting Hill Carnival kind of scene. Can you paint a picture for the audience?

Aaron:
Yeah.

Charlie:
What does Notting Hill Carnival mean?

Aaron:
Notting Hill Carnival was a measure that was imposed, I believe, in the sixties or seventies. Don't quote me on the exact time. But with the influx of Caribbean people that came over to the UK and specifically London on Windrush, we came from countries where we celebrated yearly carnivals, so they wanted to start something over here that gave us the opportunity for us to celebrate our Caribbean heritage. And not just for us to celebrate it, but for people to see how we celebrate. Notting Hill Carnival has always been an event that has been accepting and inviting to everybody. Like, we love it when people from other cultures come and get to experience our music, our food. I know they love it as well because you always see lines at the food stalls and stuff. My mum and dad used to do a food stall themselves. They said it used to be crazy. And so ultimately it's a carnival that celebrates our cultures. How we do like we have things in the Caribbean called J'ouvert. It's a party, basically. A lot of us in the Caribbean, we come from French Caribbean islands as well, or broken French and Caribbean islands, hence the word J'ouvert.

Aaron:
And Passé. Like this is what we do, man. We wake up first thing in the morning, they throw paint on each other like. They put on costumes, illustrious costumes that have plumage costumes. And of course, yes, the girls are wearing next to nothing, but it's not so much about the next to nothing, Charlie. It's about the plumage of the costumes. Okay, that's what we focus on. Yes. Steel pan music. That is something that's part of our culture. And you hear a lot of soca music. You also hear dancehall and reggae as well. But Soca was the initial staple music of the festival because that is where we came from. In fact, a lot of the migrants that came over on the Windrush boat, they were playing soca music with steel pans and stuff on the way here on the boat, thinking that they were coming to a country that was going to be their brothers and sisters, that was going to accept them as part of their populace. But unfortunately, when they got here, they got a very, very different treatment from a lot of people, unfortunately.

Charlie:
And on that note, was the Carnival met with like acceptance or resistance at the beginning?

Aaron:
Even to now, they they're always trying to find a way to shut down Carnival. They don't like it. They don't like.

Charlie:
Really?

Aaron:
They don't like. The fact that it's like this, there's too many variables, it's too volatile. And unfortunately, there has been more and more later years, not the beginning of Carnival, which is which is really why a lot of our you know, the older people in our families do get quite upset because in more recent years, there's been a lot of violence, bad things have happened. People have been seriously hurt and even lost their life. But at the same time, when you compare it to festivals as a whole, even like at Glastonbury, it's nothing on their like- There is a lot of loss of life, overdosing, medical, medical, you know, emergencies, much more at these festivals, not to compare trauma or death because there's no comparison of of loss of life. But I'm just saying, I find it very interesting that they try to zone in and and demonise Notting Hill Carnival and events of that ilk because it seems to have more of a majority of a black populace unfortunately. They've tried to stop it and they can't. The only thing that stopped it was the pandemic. And even that we still went down there and tried to make something happen. But, right?

Aaron:
But the police were trying to move us on and stuff like that. And they had people that were yeah, they were trying to... Because they know what... Caribbean people, bro, we love a party anywhere. I used to have parties on the beach. Everyone used to bring a dish each. We all bring a dish each. We have a party on the bloody beach, bro. And then like, you know, you know what I mean? Someone's got a speaker. Someone's got an ice box. That's what we come from. We come from making something out of nothing. And so I believe the carnival and the ethos of the people is, is of that same mentality as well.

Charlie:
Fantastic. So I've been to the Notting Hill Carnival a couple of times, and I was amazed at how how like the local community gets involved with their own sound systems coming out of their windows. You know, you've got the floats with the huge sound system. And then the stages here and there. But you've also got like the neighbours that just somehow have a ridiculously big amp and they're just like, yeah, this is for Notting Hill Carnival. We'll stick it out the window and we'll, you know, join in.

Aaron:
That is that's the culture. Like, bro, you need to understand that a lot of our our parents grandparents were sounds what we call in the Caribbean it sounds like that as well they know how to string up speakers, even to now. String up speakers basically means how to connect the speakers via wiring to create a bigger sound and to create your own sound system. This is something that is intrinsically and inherently part of our our growth and our culture. You'd be hard pressed to meet somebody from the Caribbean who hasn't got some sort of sound man or sound in their family. That's just what we do. My dad had thousands of records. He wasn't even a DJ or a sound man, but that was just part of our our culture. And it's amazing. I still don't know how they do it. These boys, they can boys, men, old men, sometimes, like seventies, eighties. They know how to solder the wires and wire up these speakers to create this massive sound. And yes, they still have them in their houses. You find a 60, 70 year old man with his speaker pointing out his window setting it up because they still know how to do it. I find it so impressive. Sound culture is massive for me as well.

Aaron:
Like sound culture influenced a lot. Sound culture directly influenced garage and grime music. What we did in garage and grime was a UK interpretation of what was being done in sound system culture in the Caribbean. You have two turntables, you have a DJ who is the focus and you have a person on the mic who is supposed to host and keep the audience bubbly. This is a direct reflection of what they did with sound system culture and they still do to now. Then you had sound clashes where this sound system thinks he's better than that sound system. So what they will do is clash to see who can play music better that the crowd or audience wants* more. In grime music we used to have clashes. Two emcees think they're better than each other. So we will clash. And even sometimes crews. Like so solid crew, heartless crew. They had a clash. So Solid Crew, Pay as you go had a clash. Heartless crew and pay as you go had a clash. This this is directly influenced by the Jamaican sound system, the Jamaican and Caribbean sound system culture. It's really, really interesting, even down to how we would be on the mic, very much directly influenced to the point where in Jamaica they don't call the guy on the mic an emcee, they call him a deejay. So even though he's rhyming, they call him a DJ. It's very interesting. It's a deep history to it and it's been directly influential over what we have here in the UK and what we've built. But not many... Some people don't take the time to research it. If you do, it's a very... Even ska music, two tone music, punk music. These music cultures, they were born out of a direct influence of Caribbean culture. Skinheads originally were reggae music listeners. Skinheads weren't originally racist, not that they all are now as well. We still have a skinhead movement now that have festivals that play reggae music. They have skinheads, Dr. Martin's, Leveron, but originally it was a very unifying thing. They enjoyed the music. It was a music that was born out of struggle. Like punk music was a music that was born out of frustration with society. In fact, punk music and grime music are synonymous. They are both music scenes that were born out of a frustration at society and also feeling ostracised by society, feeling that they were a subculture. So they created their own music form to express that. It's very interesting, the history.

Charlie:
It really is, and the way that you're telling it is even more interesting. The thing you touched on there was, you know, expressing yourselves because you're feeling repressed. And that, I heard, was, you know, in the sixties and onwards, why festivals became so big in the West, like in America and in England and Glastonbury and like the Isle of Wight Festival were born. Do you feel like those festivals, the mainstream ones, include the music that you're talking about, or, you know, there are different scene altogether?

Aaron:
I think a lot of those festivals are starting to include them now. So Glastonbury for the last few years has really embraced our music, quite against the preference of some of the performers and actual audience goers, surprisingly, but they have embraced it specifically and they have smaller stages as well, where even one of my friends who's quite a big artist, he was performing at Glastonbury a few days ago, Ghetts, he was on a smaller stage but still a very big bloody stage. And then I think, you know, I think Glastonbury the first time they made that kind of move was when they decided to have Jay-Z headline, which caused quite a stir. But that was quite... That was quite a big move. Kanye West as well, which caused quite a stir, was quite a big... Then, now we've got our own Stormzy who's managed to work his way up to the main stage as well. Those festivals they did. But why finally those festivals is that when they do have other varying music forms, they will tend to put them on a smaller stage or what they tend to do as well is maybe only have one or two or three.

Aaron:
They don't want too many, but it's understandable. I think we've gotten to the stage now where we've got certain festivals where you can go to to see that person or those types of people, that types of music. I think it's even good alone that we're getting to the point where there's been an amalgamation in a sense where other... Tt's being embraced and they are getting booked. I think that one day we'll reach a stage where it's nicely mixed, but maybe, maybe it doesn't need to be. I think some festivals are what they are historically. It's like Notting Hill, Notting Hill Carnival. Even though we do mix Notting Hill Carnival now you can find all types of music at Notting Hill Carnival now. But I mean if you tried to bring in try to over-inundate it with non Caribbean music, it might get a bit confusing and it might be slightly frustrating. So if there are certain festivals like Woodstock, these kind of things, and then you want to start bringing in all these rap artists rather than rock bands. For me, it makes no sense. I don't think we should change the essence of what of what festivals and what things are.

Charlie:
Okay, I see your point. If you were to sit down with a foreigner that would come into the UK and they want to get a glimpse of of culture in the country or the countries that are united, where would you point towards for them to have a good time?

Charlie:
We have come to the end of Part one, so feel free to take a break from your listening practice. But if you're happy to keep going, then we're now moving on to part two of this episode. Thanks so much for being a premium or Academy member and enjoy the rest of the show. If you were to sit down with a foreigner that would come in to the UK and they want to get a glimpse of, of culture in the country or the countries that are united. Where would you point towards for them to have a good time? Do you encourage them to go to Notting Hill Carnival?

Aaron:
100%. I'll say be ready. Watch some videos and do get, do get mentally... It's pretty it's Poof!!!. You know what I mean, it's a lot of people and it's you know what I mean, it's it's very... I could see how it could be overawing for someone who is who is maybe newer to the country or newer to new or to that kind of environment. Because there's a lot of people, bro. But I think what I would say to them is I would probably say... To get a nice introductory understanding to the country, I would say maybe go to... Oh it's a really good, it's a really good question, but go to one of the mainstream radio stations kind of festivals. So maybe go to like a summer, a summer summertime ball or something, do you know what I mean? Where they where they've got like chart, all the chart chart - because I think it's... Charts, The charts now are the most diverse they've ever been. If you've done well in the charts, you will be at the Capital FM Summertime Ball, which is ultimately a massive concert, but ultimately kind of like a festival as well. So I would say that would be a good way for you to come in to understand what's happening here in the UK now, because those festivals are very much based on what has been charting and fortunately we are now in a place. Friends and acquaintances. I've got an acquaintance, got a number one album in this country, you know, I've got a friend who's got a number two album in this country. This was unheard of when I was trying to do a little bit of music, when I was like more kind of like deeply entrenched in the music scene. So I think that would be a good place to start if you want to just kind of understand where we are at the moment in terms of what's popular.

Charlie:
That's that's really good. I like that. Summertime ball. Is that the modern day equivalent of Party in the park?

Aaron:
Oh yeah. Party in the Park.

That was what I...

Aaron:
Where is Party in the Park?

Charlie:
That was in Hyde Park. I don't know if that still goes. I went when I was like..

Aaron:
I think Party in the Park...

Charlie:
...a ten year old boy.

Aaron:
I think Party in the Park has probably more become Wireless now and Wireless, I would say if I'm really honest, it's more of an urban festival, it's urban music, it's rappers, singers, R&B type singers. It's American big artists. Party in the Park, you know, bloody hell. I wasn't even going to festivals those times, bloody hell, that's going back.

Charlie:
So okay so Summertime Ball. That's a good one that you that you think would be good for non-natives.

Aaron:
Yeah, and it's a good introduction and it's not and it's not too crazy as well. So you can there's actually a structure in there that you won't be trampled in there, do you know what I mean? You have a seat for the most part or a nice organised areas of standing.

Charlie:
That's good. And you said that you've got a lot of friends that are you've got acquaintances and friends that are in the charts at the moment. And you said that when you were doing music that was almost impossible, almost unheard of. And obviously it's nothing to do with your talent. But why do you think that shift has happened? Why do you think that this is now possible that there are a wider variety of sounds in the charts?

Aaron:
They didn't have a choice. The Internet has changed the game. So these boys do not need these labels or these radio stations or even these TV stations. So. Well, boys and girls and anything in between, they can now utilise the Internet to go straight to their to their audience. So what's happened now is that people are using the Internet and becoming so undeniably popular that you cannot ignore them anymore. And so what's happened is if the people want to hear it or the people are liking it, you have to give it a platform. When I first came into this industry, R.I.P., Jamal Edwards, one, one of our phrases was, If they're not going to let us in through the front door, we've got to go through the backdoor. We've got to try and get through the backdoor. And that's literally happened now, naturally and organically with the assistance of the Internet.

Charlie:
Brilliant.

Aaron:
And that's why it's changed.

Charlie:
That's quite a simple but realistic reason. Yeah, yeah. Give the people what they want. They've been able to hear it easily.

Aaron:
Like before, you had to release... You had to... Before, you had to release music with a music label. Now we have streaming. You do your artwork yourself. Like the artists that I work with are independent. We do our artwork ourself, we mix and master our music ourself, we submit it to the processing to be put through to streaming and then we put it out.

Charlie:
So you even own the rights to it.

Aaron:
You own it as well. If millions of people listen to it, that money comes back to us. If millions people listen to it, that popularity has become - has come off of our own back organically, which is why a lot of these young artists now, they don't want to sign deals because they don't need to. Why should I sign a deal? Yeah, to give you a piece of what I'm making and ownership over what I'm doing when I... when I'm doing it myself. It's costing me more money. But what I make back is mine.

Charlie:
You touched on SP TV and Jamal Edwards, could you tell the listeners all about that and how you you knew Jamal Edwards?

Aaron:
SP TV was the leading music and media platform for young people in the UK for many years. Jamal Edwards was a young man who picked up a camera when he was around 15 years old. He kind of realised that people around him in his local area weren't getting a chance to be seen and show their talent on TV. So he was like, let me make a platform for them and do it myself. Put it on this new thing called YouTube. SPTV ended up going viral, becoming the biggest platform, and then in 2011, slash 2010, 2011, I'll say, they were they were so big they were they were given their own Channel four TV show. Channel four was one of our main five channels in the in the UK. Channel 4 gave them their own show because they were so impressed by what these young kids had been had done and changed the face of media and the landscape of media. During the show called Inside SP TV From Bedroom to Boardroom, they decided that, look, we've got a female presenter. We want to try and find a male presenter, somebody that I hosted a show for, an Irish lady. She had an open mic show that she used to organise. She was so faithful in my ability that she did an application on my behalf for this opportunity. I ended up getting called in for this opportunity to audition. I get an email. I'm like, What the hell is this about? I don't know what this is, like? But ended up being through the submission that she had made. And then I went to the audition. The first person to be auditioned on the day had to wait the whole bloody day because they were going to make a decision. Then it got through to the last five. They couldn't make a decision. Then it got down to the last three. They couldn't make a decision. And then in the end you have to do some activity. And I ended up winning the whole competition a few days later, and it was on Channel four and it went viral. And then I'm... Not just that, I ended up interviewing Kelly Rowland.

Charlie:
We have come to the end of part two now. So again, feel free to pause the episode to take a break from your listening practice and come back to the last part when you're ready. All right. So moving on to part three now. Enjoy.

Aaron:
Not just that. I ended up interviewing Kelly Rowland, who is like one.

Charlie:
I've seen that.

Aaron:
Yeah, one of Destiny's Child. And that interview went viral internationally before we even had virality. And so that set me off on a path where everyone was like, Who is this guy? What's he going to do next? And Jamal Edwards used to work very closely with me, mentoring me, speaking with me. I used to do the same thing with him because I was a little bit older than him. I would help him with things that he had shortcomings. So I was quite good at writing things. I was good with words, but I would do a lot of producing. Some of his statements and some of the speeches that he used to do, I used to write. And people don't know that. Rest in peace, Jamal. I miss you, man. And yeah, we built a friendship. And then unfortunately, a few months ago, he tragically passed away at the age of 31, I believe, left a very sour taste and a very lot of broken hearts in this country and in our industry. Jamal Edwards was actually also responsible for finding Ed Sheeran. Ed Sheeran was someone who we gave a platform to first, and we all know who Ed Sheeran is now. And Jamal was that person with a lot of people's favourite artists and favourite bands and even favourite personalities on TV. Jamal was a was a connector. He was constantly plugging people in and connecting people and tragic loss.

Charlie:
Absolutely tragic. Yeah. I was incredibly shocked to hear when when he passed and yeah, I, I'm very, very sorry for that, for that loss at such a young age. So you two go back many years don't you? [Yeah]. You go back to the beginning. 2000 and...?

Aaron:
Yeah. End of 2010, beginning of 2011.

Charlie:
Wow. Yes. You went onto Channel four and then you took it from there to then, you know, be doing all of the things that you're doing now. And I don't know what else it will lead to, but I actually feel like I need to leave it there because I've just realised the time and you're needed elsewhere in the world.

Aaron:
Yeah. God bless you, bro.

Charlie:
Thank you so much for taking the time for me, Aaron. Really, really appreciate it. And yeah, all the best for everything. And. And your daughter. [Yes]. Amazing.

Aaron:
She's great.She was crying a minute ago...

Charlie:
who's nearly 2.

but I think she's soothed herself back to sleep, I hope.

Charlie:
What are you cooking at the moment?

Aaron:
Actually making some fried chicken, you know, I've got an air fryer, so it's a bit more safe and it's a bit more healthy, healthier way of doing it. Yeah.

Charlie:
Yeah. We've gotten into air fryers recently. They're good. They're really good.

Aaron:
Gotta do it, man. So it's a phenomenal invention. It's like when George Foreman made the grill, I was like, Oh, my God, this grill was like.... And now we've got air fryers.

Charlie:
It's impressed... impressing that no one has gotten on the bandwagon of, like, promoting it as their own label.

Aaron:
True. Well, no Ninja. Over here, we've a company called Ninja are the main suppliers, I would say, of air fryers. Yeah.

Charlie:
Is it. Is it a brand or is it like a person?

Aaron:
It's a brand. It's a brand. Yeah, it's a brand. Oh, you mean a person?

Charlie:
Yeah, like a George Foreman? Kind of. Who do you reckon would do it?

Aaron:
Charlie backs air fryers. What do you think?

Charlie:
I don't know if it's got any, you know, bounce to it or...

Aaron:
I don't know. Charlie backs....

Charlie:
...poetry.

Aaron:
Charlie, a chair fryer? A char fryer.

Charlie:
Char Fryer. That could work. Or maybe...

Aaron:
Let's think about it. Let's get let's get back to it. Let's let's let's reconvene with some ideas. Let's brainstorm something. Ideation has got to take place. Let's do it.

Charlie:
Exactly. But yeah. Thank you so much, Aaron.

Aaron:
No problem.

Charlie:
It was really nice to catch up with you. It's been so long, but I'll be back in the UK at the end of this year so maybe we can catch up then.

Aaron:
Yeah, definitely. Let me know, man. Let me know. It'd be good to see you.

Charlie:
Amazing. Thank you guys for listening. Speak to you soon. Bye bye. There we go. The end of part three, meaning the end of the episode. Well done for getting through the entirety of it. Make sure you use all of the resources available to you in your membership. Thanks once again for supporting the show and I look forward to seeing you next time on the British English podcast.

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Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

Character: Mike:
Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

Character: Chris:
Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

Character: Mike:
Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

Character: Chris:
Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

Character: Chris:
I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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