- 05 Mar 20
Having been part of the international Plan B and Maverick Sabre success stories, ADAM JORDAN wants to help take Irish hip hop to the next level. He tells STUART CLARK how he plans to do it.
“One of the big ones was when Plan B supported Eminem at Slane Castle in 2013. Yelawolf, Slaughterhouse, Chance The Rapper and Tyler The Creator were there too, so it was a crazy line-up in a crazy historical venue and just a hell of a lot of people. Eminem keeps himself to himself, but Tyler and all of them were being youthful and doing crazy stuff backstage. It wasn’t without its challenges – the bigger the stage and the further away the crowd is, the more acting you have to do.
“Another good one was me, Maverick Sabre and Joey Bada$$ doing a song together, ‘We Don’t Want To Be’, on Maverick’s second album, Innerstanding.
“My mate, Drew Cox, did the video, which was shot in Shoreditch, East London. It all felt a bit surreal, to be honest.”
Adam Jordan, AKA New Machine, is telling us about some of the highlights of his rap ‘n’ roll career to date. As well as supplying Ben Drew and Mav with some extremely mean guitar, Adam has also clocked up production credits with such major names as Ed Sheeran, Jorja Smith, Kano, Slowthai and Bakar.
A proud son of Wexford, he’s currently splitting his time between his adopted hometown of London and Ireland where, in addition to working with a slew of established hip hop artists, he’s been unearthing new talent at a furious rate. Falling into that latter category is Skripteh, one of our Hot Press Hot For 2020 picks, whose thumping trap beats and hard-hitting lyricism mark him out as a real contender.
“He’s just turned 18, from New Ross near me, and is one of my favourites in the whole of Ireland,” Adam enthuses. “Me and Maverick Sabre have been like big brothers to him for the past year or so. I love his music and he’s a nice, hard-working kid too. We don’t want him making the same mistakes we made at the start of the process. We’re guiding him – but ultimately he’ll make his own decisions.
“Others I’m working with are Slick Bullet, Kojaque, Luka Palm and Dubzeno, who are all Dublin-based; Citrus Fresh from Limerick – which like Cork is really on the come-up; and The Ballyboyz, who are another group from Wexford. I’m still trying to work my way round every nook and cranny of Ireland because this is a nationwide thing.”
With Spotify numbers and gig attendances skyrocketing, Adam reckons it’s only a matter of time before Ireland produces its own Skepta or Stormzy.
“Over 15 or 20 years, I’ve seen what was a very small London scene go from house to drum ‘n’ bass, jungle, garage, grime, dubstep, drill and, well, everything,” he reflects. “It’s now a massive exporter of music worldwide. I want people in Ireland to believe that there’s a market like that for them if they want to create it. They don’t have to go London or America; they can be successful here and then take their music to wherever else. It’s very important for them to create hype in their own areas for a while, even if it seems easier to jump on a plane. I want people to start creating their own styles here, like the big rock and indie bands did in the ‘80s and ‘90s and early 2000s.”
Asked which Irish artists are currently best equipped to make an international breakthrough, Adam shoots back: “Jafaris and Kojaque both have the ability to translate to audiences beyond Ireland. They’re a great introduction to the new independent scene. They’re just really good musicians. Kojaque comes from a jazz background: he’s amazing on piano; and Jafaris has such a pure soul voice. They make it all seem very high-budget with their videos and everything when it’s not. They’ve got their tour stuff on-lock, and their own communities of really talented people they’re working with. To be honest, though, I think all the artists I’m producing have the potential to be successful outside of Ireland.”
He’s also looking forward to renewing studio aquaintances with Hot Press fave Lethal Dialect.
“Lethal’s always been a favourite of mine,” Adam enthuses. “So consistant with his flow, and always rapping with a purpose. Me and him are working on a project at the moment. I’m interested to hear/see where it goes. There’s a New Machine x Lethal Dialect x The Ballyboyz collaboration in the pipeline too.”
Is the deep well of urban talent in Ireland something UK industry heads are aware of?
“No, but we’re going to make them aware,” Adam insists. “I’ve the connection, because I’m half-Irish and spent a lot of my time growing up here. Again, I just want the illusion to come out of people’s heads that they need to go to England to establish themselves. The fanbase is growing here; the culture’s shifting; the way kids consume music is different and powered by people of their own age. They might have grown up with, say, Versatile and are now looking for other types of urban music rather than just accepting whatever the radio feeds them. There are a lot of mechanisms in the music industry that are becoming obsolete, because artists are a having a bit of success without them. They don’t need radio or labels or anything like that starting out. They can do the connecting with their audience themselves.”
Having built up their own massive fanbases, the aforementioned Stormzy and Skepta were able to go to the big labels they’re now working with and say, “These are our terms…”
“Yeah, that’s true,” he nods. “There’s a role in all of this for the Irish majors if they want it, but at the moment they’re missing out on the likes of Dermot Kennedy, who had to go outside of Ireland because no one here scooped him up. If the people in the upper echelons of the industry don’t want to miss out on the next Dermot Kennedy, they need to start taking Irish acts seriously.”
• Adam invites you to hit him up with your tunes on Instagram: @iamnewmachine