INTERVIEW: Philth Like | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Philth Like has been a known name in the region’s hip-hop scene through feature verses, open mic sets and cypher sessions for years. Despite his long-standing career, 2019 has seen a number of firsts for the Sunderland rapper. In January, Philth performed for the first time in the heart of his home city at Independent, stealing the show with well-produced electro-tinged music from his debut EP World Wide Waster.

The EP is dedicated to the rapper’s Uncle Howie, who tragically committed suicide three years ago and who Philth credits as his biggest musical influence. “My Uncle Howie was an acid house DJ back in the 90s, a resident at the Blue Monkey and Rezerection, and I spent pretty much every spare minute I had around him. He showed me artists like Ice T, Ice Cube, Wu Tang Clan, Cage, but ODB was always my stand-out rapper growing up. Being introduced to things like Depeche Mode, Frankie Knuckles and Goldie amongst others have all shaped my musical journey to what you see today.”

Mental health is a dominant theme throughout World Wide Waster. Lead single Brain Change is exemplary of the EP’s exploration of mental health, and it’s a song which has earned him a fan in BBC 6Music presenter Tom Robinson. “Tom Robinson is an absolute legend in music, so to hear him say he fell in love with Brain Change as soon as it came out of the speakers made me go a bit light headed!”

I’ve burned up a few lives up to now and I like to think that my experience is an advantage that the young men are still to obtain

The EP is produced by Jack Candela who Philth Like met after cutting his hair after moving to Manchester for his day job. Before the pair worked together Candela was working on synth pop music with Reuben Hester, who also features on World Wide Waster, and the influence there helps Philth’s sound stand out from his rap peers. The pair manage a cohesive sound, but also showcase their individual range; Church Music (For Aliens) has a hint of Foster The People’s Pumped Up Kicks, while Lawless is straight from the school of the Beastie Boys.

The track Finding Jack seems to have been the final puzzle piece for Philth Like to feel comfortable in releasing music. “I have recorded verses and full tracks in the past and just not been happy with them. I think the verses on Lawless have been used on about three or four different instrumentals, but for one reason or another they never ever saw the light of day. Now is the right time because I am in the right mind-set, have the right producer and a great support network of professional musicians around me.”

On Lawless, Philth raps “wrong side of 30 to be practicing hip-hop” but it doesn’t feel as though his age has been detrimental in what is often considered a ‘young man’s game’. “I’m still in my 20s in my head! But seriously, it’s been a breeze. Most of the young’uns know me to have a craic and some seek guidance and trust me to not to tell them porky pies. I’ve burned up a few lives up to now and I like to think that my experience is an advantage that the young men are still to obtain.”

Philth Like releases his World Wide Waster EP on 21st October

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