Philip Dorward talks to Dave Watts of uncompromising British rappers Fun-Da-Mental. Is it too late to defuse the ticking time bomb of
‘My anger comes from what I see every day. I hit my head against the wall in frustration. because there are so many times when we are just suckers to the political process. I see Fun-Da-Mental as an information service. an awareness programme. People choose to ignore racism because they believe it will never happen to them. thinking. “I was born here. I'm not a darkie." But. when there are racists like the BNP about. you can’t do that. Maybe they won‘t come looking for you today. but what about tomorrow? Maybe it’ll be you — why should it be someone else? Racism just drags us all down.‘ Welcome to the terrordome. courtesy of Fun—Da- Mental’s DJ professor. Dave Watts. Formed in the summer of l99l. they have emerged as serious trouble funk. Their anarchic stage routines are fast becoming folklore and their bizarre ambient rap-rock cocktail is positively lethal. Their latest album. Seize The Time. is radical listening in an industry dominated by MOR. Fronted by a black man and an Asian. Fun-Da-Mental don’tjust play with fire. they bathe in it. After initial pro-Islamic proclamations.
Fun-Da-Mental hard in this country.
‘Last year. we were in Pakistan.‘ continues Watts. ‘we had Melody Maker with us and the writer was expecting to hear scathing comments about how Britain ripped Pakistan apart at the end of the Second
they 0”leng as dedicated OpponentS 0f the Cflmm‘” World War. But when we went there. it was cool.
Justice Bill. sexism. capitalism. racism and every
People were pleased to see him there and they asked
0th” WPC 0‘ “IOHCY'gmbbm ‘down'lem ‘5'“ mm him questions. There was no animosity. he was
takes a swipe at their collective groins. Seize 'l'lie ’lime opened with a chilling message left on their answering machine by extreme right-wingers Combat 18: "The BNP’s got your card marked. you bastarth . . . You’ll hang from every lamp post in
‘All we are ﬁghting for is the truth.’ Fun-Da-Mental protest. All they want is greater understanding for a world problem. and one which they believe bites
accepted. no problem. If that was here. it would be n'mmu/i! It does my head in. but it‘s interesting to see how other people are treated: there are live billion people on this planet. five billion people who want respect and five billion people who should be given it.‘
Watts claims the problem is one of bewilderment and misunderstanding. Before there can be unity. there needs to be education about other cultures. He
believes we in this country are guilty of being too narrow-minded in our views on colour and religion. ‘lt's part oftlrat divide-and-rule thing. that you‘ve always got to keep someone else down so you can stand up. Racism is a power trip. as is sexism and greed.’
_ It could be argued that Fun-Da-Mental are a band riddled with contradiction. Watts talks of unity and questions why religions breed hate instead of love. but his Asian partner. Aki. seems to make more enemies than friends. In an NMIS interview last May. be dismissed white. educated. middle-class support for the anti-racist movement. claiming that ‘the majority ofthern are just fools . . . most people aren't really prepared to listen. they just want to tell you how much you are suffering and how sympathetic
‘Maybe they won’t come looking for you today, but what about tomorrow?’
they are. They use terms like “multiculturalism” and “our British Asian Brothers" — they’re miles behind.’
It’s always been an easy accusation to throw at Fun— Da-Mental that they don‘t practise the unity they preach. Although the group is a broad church. constantly open to new ideas. they have already exploded once before. This time last year. they were on the verge of full-scale European success with the ‘Countryman‘ single. but philosophical and ethical arguments split the band in two. Rappers Lallaman and Goldfinger broke the anti-drink and drugs hardline. setting themselves up as bastard brothers under the name of Det-Ri-Mental. (To their credit. they have re—emerged with one of the most uncompromising albums of the year and a wealth of credibility. thanks to their support for the anti- Criminal Justice Bill campaign.)
Perhaps their unpredictability is what makes Fun- l)a-Mental so exciting. Prey to their own whims and excesses. they could metamorphose into anything. ‘Aki wants us to become a human rights organisation.’ claims Watts. ‘1 don’t know what we‘ll become. but as long as I’m still breathing there will always be things that anger me and evils to eradicate.’
Fun-IM-A'Ieiim/ play The ll’enue. Ifrlin/mrg/i (m W71 [6 and King Tut's. Glasgow on T/IllI'S l7.
man] All fired up
Slxty this year, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies has already had many honours and accolades paid to him the length and breadth of the UK and beyond. Giving their own special tribute at the Queen’s Hall on Sunday 6 November is ECAT, Edinburgh Contemporary Arts Trust. Known wherever he goes as
Max, the flay-resident composer is one
of the foremost in the world, a position reached through his consistently prolific output of aimost 200 published works, ranging from
music theatre to children’s chorus, for
full orchestra to solo instrumentalist.
I «- 'm , ,. .4' -, J
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
I For their contribution to the Max festivities, ECAT has chosen to feature sun is, renowned for is ‘|mage, the London-based instrumental ensemble Houvelle Images, whose members formed the core of Sir Peter’s internationally acclaimed group, The Fires 0' London, Which ran only group of performers who have
Explaining the background to the new group, keyboard player Stephen Pruslin says, ‘Nouvelles Images only pminn, comes together now and then for special occasions. For example, the Max Festival at the South Bank in London in 1990 and the Albert Schweitzer Festival in Alsace. NOUVBI'GS Images (10950" hat"? a very Mercurius, which has been written regular form in terms of an ongoing flow, but is made of the people who Main) used to be associated with Max’s i chamber music and music theatre.’
One of the works the Fires was, and
Reflection, Shadow’, the composition from which it takes itsnew name.
Although ‘Image, Reflection, Shadow’ is performed, Nouvelles Images is the
done it - to date - unconducted, as the composer intended. ‘lt’s the real blockbuster of the concert,’ says
Aside from this quite spectacular piece, Nouvelles Images also play , Tenebrae super Gesualdo and the l Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral give the 3 world premiere of a new commission, I
specially for the ECAT concert. (Carol
Nouvelles Images play at the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh on Sun 6. J
The List 4—17 November 1994 31