Brentford's finest in conversation...
*People Just Do Nothing*. A BBC Three mockumentary about a unique group of wannabe garage music artists trying to run an inner-city pirate radio station. The series first came to our attention in 2010 as ‘Wasteman TV.’ It proved immensely popular on YouTube and was quickly snapped up by the BBC. The August 2012 pilot episode (which was the most shared video on iPlayer for that month) told the story of the illegal station: exclusively broadcasting drum n’ bass and garage music across London, well, possibly as far as a four mile radius around DJ Steves’ flat, (formerly his Nan’s) and brought to life the struggles of the Kurupt FM crew as they progressed from nobodies in the garage scene to becoming celebrities in their home town to…Well, you’ll have to wait and see.
Influenced by Ricky Gervais, Steve Coogan, Sacha Baron Cohen, David Jason and other comedy greats, the men behind this series have cornered their local UK garage scene; winning the 2016/17 BAFTA and Royal Television Society Awards and have been nominated for several more since then. Not ones to rest on their laurels, however, they have continued to bring the Kurupt FM characters to life beyond the small screen in a spate of televised shorts, a podcast series and a film.
We last saw the main characters on-screen in 2018 with series 5. MC Grindah was about to move to Essex with his partner, Miche, and their daughter Angel, regretfully leaving friends and the station behind. Decoy was especially anxious, offering to come and visit several times a week. Chabuddy G had some bad news from his ex-lover- Miche’s sexually adventurous mother, who advised him to get checked out at the clinic. Beats was coping both with his stepson Craig’s move to living in halls at Uni and Grindah’s impending departure. Steves had acquired a new cuckoo flatmate in the form of Chabuddy G and his newest business racket, but on the plus side, he had started a successful weed growing venture.
I was now in a Zoom call with the Kurupt FM crew: MC Grindah, the talent and the brains behind the station: DJ Beats- Grindah’s right hand man, DJ Steves- perhaps the most down to Earth of the group, and Chabuddy G- their entrepreneurial manager, whose last money making idea was the I.T company Tech Heads. Named after what people shout at him in the street.
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As a fan of both the series and the Kurupt crew themselves, I was delighted to be able to get a chance to chat about where they were at and what they had been up to recently. Of course, as usual, Grindah and the team had lots to say.
I wore my bowler hat, a tradition I have kept up through all of my interviews to date, yes, even the telephone conversations, and a simple black t-shirt paired with black jeans. They quickly picked up on this:
*DJ Beats: *Mike, you look like a magician.
*Chabuddy G: *A rock n roll musician.
*MC Grindah:* You look like (So Solid Crew’s) Mega Man.
*Beats: *I really love magic. Can you do any tricks, some sleight of hand?
*No, I’m sorry to say. I wish I came prepared.*
*Beats:* (obviously disappointed) Ok, that’s really unfortunate, but ok. Cool.
*DJ Steves: *Oi, boys. I’ll do a trick. I’ve got a rabbit in my hand. (pretends to struggle with the unseen rabbit) Ahh. It’s gone, look!
*Grindah: *(Shakes his head.) Nah, didn’t like that.
*Chabuddy: *(laughs) That is great. I can do this (pretends to remove his thumb and then reattach it in classic comedy dad style).
*Steves: *First time I saw that trick, I threw up.
*Chabuddy: *Yeah, graphic.
*Beats:* Steves has a very heavy sort of gag reflex.
*Steves:* It’s as soon as I see blood. Obviously, there’s no blood there, but it’s the thought of it.
*Grindah: *You know what, Steves was so sensitive to anything, he even used to have car sickness and stuff like that, so, what we did is just train him up. we used to just sit there and use a remote control to build his gag reflex. Obviously, he’d just throw up the first nine or 10 times, but after a while he got used to it.
*Beats:* It was one of them big Sky remotes as well.
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*You have gone from documentary stars with your own show, grime stars, performing at festivals and gigs, you’ve released an album: The Lost Tapes, you even have a movie coming out as well as your own successful podcast. What has the transition been like between these different media outputs? *
*Grindah: *What it is Mike, I’ll tell you for why, you wanna know for why? Before, yeah, we was doing pirate radio, garage and that, yeah, then we finished that, done about 17 years in the end, done, tick. Most successful pirate radio station in Brentford, tick. Biggest garage act to come out of Brentford, tick. Documentary following us about and that, tick. Movie coming out soon, tick. (He emphasises each tick with a swoosh of his hand.) We were selling thousands… (he pauses) well, we didn’t sell any, because we didn’t want to sell any because we didn’t want to sell out, yeah. My point then was, I’m gonna stop MC-ing, I’m done. But I forgot that I actually quite like MC-ing for myself. So, in a way, I’m not stopping MC-ing, I’m stopping MC-ing for free. So, instead, what can I do... podcast.
*Steves:* It’s sort of like a loophole so that Grindah doesn’t have to give up MC-ing. He is a man that doesn’t like to go back on his word.
*Beats:* (Randomly points out:) He likes to describe himself as a ‘mic man damager.’
*Grindah:* It’s a lyrical loophole, if you will.
*Chabuddy: *These days, you can be anything. Yeah, we did pirate radio, yeah, I was the manager, yeah, we did a TV show, documentary, movie, now we’re doing a podcast. I can be an Only Fans model if I want.
*Grindah:* In fact, we do start an Only Fans in one of the episodes.
*Chabuddy:* I can be anything I want these days: I’m running for Mayor in one of the episodes. The world is our Oyster Card, as they say.
*Grindah: *We even delete racism in one of the episodes.
*Beats: *Yeah, done, deleted.
*Chabuddy:* Give us any subject, any subject, you know, we are kind of vibing. It’s like jazz, mate.
*Beats: *Well, no one likes jazz, it’s like reggae. We riff.
*Chabuddy: *It’s like a 20-minute reggae solo that doesn’t make any sense. It’s pointless.
*Beats: *Like a steel pan solo.
*Steve:* It’s like a jazz-reggae-steel pan solo.
*Grindah: *With a garage MC talking all over it.
*Beats:* Maybe a little soca in there.
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*Having spent the majority of your lives in Brentford and then suddenly shooting to stardom, what is it like having this new-found celebrity status?*
*Steves: *The same really, around the estate a lot of people know that I’m growing weed now, so, that’s sort of useful.
*Beats: *I have people just sort of look at me, it’s almost like they are about to laugh but really, it’s like amazement, you know what I mean.
*Steves:* Some people just point at you and laugh, innit?
*Beats: *Yeah, but they point and laugh because they are like ‘wow, that’s the guy.’
*Grindah:* They come up to me and laugh because they are nervous. I always wink and then walk off.
*Chabuddy:* I’m getting a lot of attention from the ladies, the 45-plus mums. I’ll just be going down the shops and see a 45-plus stunner, leathery, burnt skin, tanned, kinda wonky eyes, there’s loads of them around Hounslow. Some of these chicks are obviously recognising me from the TV documentary and a lot of them are racist. It’s weird, it’s almost like it’s a revenge shag. It’s like they fetishize me, they see the exotic, brown, girthy boy and can’t help themselves. So, in a way, I’ve been benefitting from the celebrity thing by banging a lot of 45-plus, racist mums.
*Beats: *I don’t know what it is about you, but there’s just something disgusting, do you know what I mean?
*Chabuddy: *I know what you mean. If you want a really dirty three minutes, you come to me.
*Last time we saw you, Chabuddy, we heard that you may have caught something from your latest partner and needed to get sorted at the clinic. How did that go, are you OK now? *
*Chabuddy: *I just itched it a lot. I didn’t go clinic, I was scared.
*Grindah: *You went and found aloe vera leaves down at Hounslow Heath, innit?
*Chabuddy: *Yeah, stuffed them down there. Like I said: if you just itch it a lot, it goes away.
*Beats: *Are you still doing the personality test with women to see if they’ve got an infection?
*Chabuddy: *Yeah, that’s a good method, but I also feel you don’t have to worry too much about the VD. Just do it, you get immune sometimes, you build up your sexual immune system. I’ve probably got everything, I’ve been exposed to so much, but I reckon I’m immune now, from VD to crabs, I’m immune… probably.
*Grindah: *I just wanna put out out there for the readers: stay safe, stay strapped.
*With the continuing popularity of British rap music, do you see any other UK artists as competition?*
*Grindah: ‘*Phhhh’ (he loudly exhales as he dismisses the question) write that down. ‘Phhhh.’
*Beats: *There’s quite a lot of good ones out there, you know what I mean.
*Beats: *Er, there’s a lot of new guys that…
*Grindah:* (Interrupting loudly) No, SAY THE NAMES, SAY THE NAMES!
*Beats: *MC Vapour…
*Grindah: *Shit compared to me. NEXT.
*Beats: *Sharky P.
*Grindah: *Na, MC Vapour is good actually. Sharky P is good as well. Go on.
*Grindah: *Yeah, he’s good.
*Beats: *Headie One. Craig listens to him.
*Grindah:* Shit compared to me. Next.
*Steves: *We are not music stars in that respect, we have sort of got our own lane. We are like the lay-by of the music scene.
*Beats: *Or the fast lane.
*Chabuddy:* We're like the Little Chef of the music scene.
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*Grindah: *Let me ask you something, Mike. What garage MC has started his own pirate radio station, is from Brentford and now has a podcast? Tell me that.
*Beats:* Yeah. Who is also doing a double CD reggae album called Heaven and Hell?
*Grindah: *Let him talk!
*Mike: (scratches his head) I can only think of one. *
*Grindah: *Exactly. So, there’s no one in our lane.
*Grindah: *And what other garage MC do you know that has won a BAFTA?
*Mike: Erm. *
*Grindah:* Wrong. Asher D. But he’s still not as good as me.
*Steves:* Grindah has been working on writing his life story too. How many pages is that now?
*Grindah:* I’m up to 6,000.
*Steves:* It’s a five-part trilogy.
*Grindah:* It started as a three-part trilogy, but when I’ve sent Beats voice messages of any idea that has come to my head, and asked him to write every single word down, it’s become a five-part, 6,000 page trilogy, with the middle part of the script being an animation.
*Steves:* There’s also a part that is all in foreign and subtitled. Do you ever listen to American hip-hop?
*Grindah: *(screws his face up) I’m not into anything American.
*Steves:* Beats, we was talking about this the other day. U.S rap is all just like sex stuff.
*Beats: *Yeah, it’s all like ‘sex, sex, sex’ there’s no murder in it anymore, there’s no crime. If you’re in a long-term relationship, you’re not having sex like that. I mean, you’re lucky if you get it three times a year.
*Steves: *I mean, over there, they’re just openly talking about having a lot of sex with prostitutes.
*Beats: *In England, that’s a no-no.
*Steves: *A lot of people keep that secret. Chabsy, is quite open about it, but a lot of people keep it to themselves.
*Chabuddy: *Yeah, I’m very open.
*Grindah: *You know who I do like, he always surprises me lyrically: U-God from the Wu-Tang Clan, he’s one of the greats.
*Beats: *I’m more of a Noreaga man myself, one of the best rappers of all time.
*Grindah: *Growing up, me and Beats were given a cassette tape each. Mine was Wu-Tang Clan, Beats had Capone-N- Noreaga’s album, and that’s the only hip-hop we listened to at the time, before rap went downhill.
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*Chabuddy: *Obviously, because I manage the boys, I’ve been doing a little anal-itics, (he struggles to find the correct pronunciation) and what they do in America, is make songs for women and men. With our music base, we only like to appeal to men aged 32 to 39, a lot of them still living at home and a lot of them with drug problems, addicted to weed or whatever. We do music for the mandem, as they say. We do this to impress other geezers.
*Grindah:* We are not trying to have sex with all these women fans, but if we did, I could probably have sex with more women than anyone.
*Which you wouldn’t do, of course, being in a long-term relationship with Miche. How are the family doing? *
*Grindah: *They are good. For a while, when we was in heavy lockdown, I split the flat into two, just to protect them, do you know what I mean. I made a sort of cling-film shield through the hallway. They were on the other side, so, they had their beautiful bedroom and the en-suite. I took the bullet and just took the living room, bedroom, spare room, balcony, and the kitchen, and the bathroom for myself.
*Steves: *And Angel was the sort of go-between. So, she would wear a motorcycle helmet and go and pass things from Grindah to Miche through a slit in the cling-film.
*Grindah:* I was on my own for three months and if I’m honest, it was a time to just focus on myself completely just for once, because I’m a very giving person. So, I just blazed all day, cooked lasagne three times a day: sometimes turned it into a bolognaise by running a fork through it, and just caught up on A Place in the Sun.
*What happened between the series ending and then suddenly getting Big in Japan?*
*Grindah: *Ooh, you’ll have to watch the film for that, boy. You don’t get that for the price of milk.
*I was hoping for an exclusive. *
*Chabuddy:* (whispers) Cheeky boy.
*Beats: *Chabsy made us sign forms and that. We can’t talk about it.
*Steves: *But let’s just say it’s completely credible.
*Grindah: *Here’s an exclusive: it’s set in Japan! Oh, you knew that. Tokyo, Japan, it could have been anywhere, there you go. It’ll make sense once you watch it.
*Steves: *The names of places are quite confusing, cause they either sound like vehicles or Tekken characters.
*Grindah:* I’ll give you another exclusive: they eat soup and egg out there.
*Beats:* Yeah, culture shock.
*Grindah: *I miss the place to be honest. The way the people treat you, bowing constantly. I deserve that.
*Beats: *That is the sort of respect you deserve.
*Steves: *When we got back to England, Grindah insisted that we carry that on the bowing thing for quite a long time. A deep bow.
*Chabuddy: *I enjoyed the toilets out there, the automatic ones that clean your arse out. I actually made one myself, so, I’ve got a normal toilet and put a super-soaker in there, so, now I’ve got a jet-stream going up my arsehole. I may start selling them: The Anal 3000, or something like that.
*Is social media important to you and your development as a crew? *
*Grindah:* No! We are important to social media. During lockdown, we were the ones making people’s lives better on there.
*Beats: *Social media means nothing. Steves: With social media, obviously, you wanna promote good things and that, but you gotta be aware that social media is the new mind control. It is being controlled by the Illuminati and it is how we are being controlled.
*Chabuddy: *All I can say is, who owns the internet: The Queen. Think about it, what is her name? Elizabeth: Liz - Lizard.
*Steves: *Her name is spelled ‘Lizard-Beth.’
*Grindah: *When Steves first told me that The Queen is a lizard, I said ‘no way, you’re insane’ but then when he explained it, I completely got it.
*Chabuddy: *It makes complete sense.
*Steves: *E-Lizard-Beth. It’s hiding in plain sight.
*Beats:* We are 99 percent sure she’s a reptile.
*What is next for Kurupt FM after lockdown?*
*Grindah: *We have the film coming out next year, we have the Amsterdam Kurupt FM Weekender, as long as lockdown and COVID allows it. We have more coming from the podcast. I’m also working on my stand-up routine. Beats will be the first to tell you that.
*Beats: *Yeah. We’re messaging Netflix three times a day, sending the material.
*Grindah: *If you go on to Netflix, there’s a thing at the bottom that says, ‘contact us’ - so, we are constantly messaging them, that’s how people get shit off the ground: persistence.
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The Kurupt FM Podkast series 2 is available to download from Audible.co.uk now.
Words: *Mike Milenko*
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Brentford's finest in conversation...