When I ask Wiley and fellow Roll Deep members to describe the meaning behind their name and the phrase Deep Roller (for those who don’t know) they colourfully explain that it means being low key, minding your own, not being inna peoples business and following your own trail and that’s exactly what these guys are about. When I question them about the state of the Garage scene at the moment or their views on other collectives they make it quite plain that they don’t get involved in that side of things.
‘We’re just interested in us and what we’re doing.’ declares Wiley (one of the main MC’s featured on Pay As You Go’s latest hit).
‘Yeah we’re here to push our music forward and take it to the next level’ says the energetic Danny Weed.
So with most UKG gigs getting cancelled weekly don’t they find their PA’s and more importantly their pockets being affected?
‘Not really. We’re concentrating on making music in the studio at the moment. We haven’t let it affect us’ says Dizzee Rascal.
Their studio work has been well worth it and has produced tracks such as the dark and bassy ‘Terrible’, ‘I Will Not Lose’, ‘Bounce ‘ and a heavy remix of The Streets ‘Let’s Push Things Forward’
The thirteen strong crew are made up of nine MCs, Bubbles, Wiley, Jet Ree, Scratchy, Pittbull, Breeze, Jamaka-B, Flow Dan and last but by no means least the lyrical Dizzee Rascal. The three DJs are Karnage, Wonder and Danny Weed whose big brother Dom P (Champagne Dance) is the group’s only singer.
All hailing from East London, Roll Deep have been going for over ten years and started off making tracks in their bedrooms with most attending the same school and visiting back in the day raves such as ‘Exposure’ and ‘Lords of the Underground’.
They describe their sound as urban and aren’t keen to pigeon hole or label themselves to one specific genre.
As I speak to them in their South London studio it’s clear to see why RD have remained together so long. They all seem to compliment each other in their own way, catching joke and all nodding together to the vinyl thumping away in the background. They all share the same musical influences Jungle, Hip Hop and Ragga and admire producers like The Neptune’s, Sticky, Platinum 45 and MJ Cole. I’m lucky enough to be caught in the middle of a heated debate when I ask who Roll Deep consider amongst their favourite DJs and MCs. I just manage to catch the names Viper, Slimzee, Target, Nasty Crew and Pay As You Go above the ruckus.
A lot of you will recognise Wiley from ‘Champagne Dance’ but he’s been going for a lot longer than that and is part of the brains behind the Ragga influenced favourite ‘Know We’ and the brilliant club anthem ‘Nicole’s Groove’. For someone with such skill and a great track record he and the rest of Roll Deep manage to stay modest, focused and hard working.
Starting off on one of London’s most popular pirates ‘Rinse FM’ the guys still keep it real playing on the station all through the week as well as fellow pirates Ice 88.4fm (Mon 10-11) and Flashback (Sat 10-12).
So what about the inevitable interest from independent and major record labels? Wiley’s manager Richard is keeping shtum about this one, but lets just say there’s a huge battle going to sign the boys first with various labels in the arena and it’s clear to see why. Their lyrics are conscious, their tunes are fresh and their style is original. And with a remix commissioned for Ludacris’ ‘Roll Out’ the future’s looking very promising for this talented group.