Boomtown Festival: Arrested Development Interview

by • July 16, 2013 • Blog, Events, Features, Hip Hop, Interviews, Music, Preview


With under a month to go until the legendary Boomtown Fair touches down in Winchester (8th-11th August), we’re slowly getting more and more excited at the prospect of checking out what we’ve been told by many a good source is a festival like no other. Dubbed ‘the uk’s maddest city’, the organizers each year create an audio visual delight spread across twelve stages for a unique experience of the greatest music combined with enough to keep even the most adventurous festival goers entertained. From the unbelievable looking Arcadia stage shooting flames into the skyline, to the election of Mayors for each of the districts festival goers can align themselves to, it’s immediately obvious that Boomtown is about much more than just music. Having said that, the lineup is still nothing short of incredible.

From the reggae and dub of Julian Marley, Lee Scratch Perry and Iration Steppas, through a hefty d&b lineup featuring the likes of Friction, LTJ Bukem and Calyx and Teebee, to a massive hip hop lineup including a High Focus showcase, DJ Vadim, Skitz, LDZ and The Mouse Outfit, all of the genres BC represents are in full attendance. On top of that, legendary US conscious Hip Hop group Arrested Development will be landing on UK shores for it. Speech from Arrested Development has graced us with an interview in which he discusses Boomtown amongst other things. Check that out below and find out more information over at the Boomtown website.


First of all, thanks so much for taking the time out to chat with us today! When you first started out over 20 years ago could you have ever dreamed that you’d have such a long lasting career? What do you think is the secret to this lasting success?
I never would have dreamed this would happen. It literally is a miracle, especially when you look at the odds of those that made it out of Milwaukee (which is where I’m originally from) The secret to lasting in this dream life, is being passionate about your art. People are looking for passion and when they feel it in your art, they are attracted to that.

Was there a particular moment/gig that you see as being the band’s first break through?
Yes, we were in North Carolina on our way to a gig, and there was a line wrapped around the block of fans. I asked my road manager who were we opening up for? She answered it’s just Arrested Development performing! That was a defining moment for us!

Arrested Development have some legendary songs that are complete hip hop classics, how do you feel about songs like Mr. Wendal and Tennessee now? Do they take you back to the beginning or does each time you perform them bring new experiences and fresh memories?
Those songs are so special to me and always will be. Tennessee was written because of the death of my grandmother and then brother all in the same week. Mr. Wendal was really about homeless people that I met. So for many reasons those songs hit me hard every night!

The Arrested Development sound is really unique and perfectly combines sunshine tunes with a strong political message, did you always have an idea of the music you wanted to create or did it just naturally form that way?
It’s partially on purpose and partially natural. I love music a lot! I love melodies, but I also love when the popular culture is introduced to deeper and more meaningful things and transforms the world. So our music we try to make it as timeless as possible. With messages that really are resonating with us in the moment, hoping to enlighten people on an issue that needs some light.

You are headlining the Friday night of BoomTown Fair – a crazy pop-up city that has a wide range of sets, venues and stages, a 15 meter high flaming Spider stage and 300 meter long ski-lift to help festival goers get around the site! – If you could create your own city what would you want it to be like?
I’m all about villages and communes, so it would have to be about community and not individualism.

The UK festival scene is huge, what difference, if any, do you think there is between a festival crowd and a standard indoor gig?
ILOVE outdoors period, and a festive atmosphere is something that always moves me to my core! I grew up around festivals, cos my dad owned a roasted corn booth at a music festival in Milwaukee, so Its part of my DNA.

Arrested Development has been at the forefront of the conscious Hip-hop movement through donating money to Nelson Mandela and the ANC to help put an end to Apartheid, donating $20,000 to UNICEF for relief of women in the Congo and donating half of the proceeds of Mr. Wendal to the National coalition of the homeless. How have you managed to maintain this ethos within the music business and did you make a conscious decision to take a bit of a step back after chart success?
Definitely, big time fame is not for us. It doesn’t match our personalities and hearts. We’re more about the common man and woman. Families, love and integrity. It’s the anti-rockstar sentiment.

The music industry has changed considerably since you first started out, most notably through digital downloads and TV talent shows. How much has this impacted on the band? And what are your opinion of these changes?
I think the music industry is in a bad place comparatively, but seeing that I can’t control it, I’ve learned to embrace the good aspects of what today’s scene brings. I do believe in staying alive in the moment instead of living totally in the past.

Are there any current artists that you’d like to collaborate with and why?  Any of them at BoomTown this year?
We love to collaborate with great artists of all genres, too many to name.

BoomTown Fair’s crowd are known for their high energy levels and absolute love for jumping about and dancing their socks off – what can they expect from your Friday night show?
That crowd should feel TOTALLY AT HOME then with our show! J

 Finally, what other projects have you got in the pipeline for 2013 and beyond?
We’re about to release a very cool new album called Delusions of Adequacy, which we hope your readers will buy and support. And I’ve started a new Radio show called, Musical Safari! /


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