Brighton rapper/producer Hatter has been performing on stage since a young age and recently shared the stage with the likes of Octavian, Etta Bond, Eyez, The Purist and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man - collaborating with the latter three. His latest track is ‘Check In’ - we caught up with Hatter to find out more.
I reckon I’d make a banger with Anderson .Paak.
First up, tell us a bit about yourself - what first got you into music?
I’ve always been into music it’s a big thing in both sides of my family, some of them used to DJ or play and my great-grandad used to sing in pubs in South London back in the day. As for how I got into it was just what I heard growing up - punk, dub, drum & bass, jazz, hip hop and soul, mostly. I used to try and write songs to sing but they always turned into bars.
When I was around 13 I started going youth club in Brighton with some of my mates, we met other kids from different areas and schools that were into Grime and Hip Hop and it’s been on and off since then really, as far as making music goes.
Were there any particular bands or artists you took inspiration from?
Rap-wise all the greats Jay-Z, Nas, Biggie, Pac, Big L, Pusha T etc. Skinnyman, Giggs, Ghetts, Skepta, Klashnekoff, J Hus, Isaac Hayes, The Clash, Roy Ayres. I could go for time. 90s RnB Jodeci, SWV all of that too. UK music in general. The people I chill with and collab with definitely influence me. Any artist I’ve sampled over the years.
How would you describe your style?
Rap shit for everyone. All tempos, all vibes. I make what I wanna make that day and try not to overthink it. Sometimes that’s ignorant and gassed, sometimes it’s reflective and observational. Always me though.
Why the name ‘Hatter’?
I was in a big crew back in the day, about 10 - 15 people and everyone was throwing round names. One of them was Mad Hatter and it just stuck. I’ve got ADHD and was always kinda erratic behaviour wise, so people just took to calling me it. People shortened it to Hatter and then as I got older I got rid of the ‘Mad’ from my artist name cos it seemed dumb introducing myself as Mad Hatter. It’s been Hatzeen, Hatzino, Hattavelli, Hatter Baby, David Hatternbruh. Bare.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would you choose?
I reckon I’d make a banger with Anderson .Paak.
Tell us about your new single ‘Check In’. What’s it about?
‘Check In’ is just a feelgood vibe. It’s about going on holiday and living with finesse. It’s that ‘ah you know what f!ck it, I’m booking a last minute flight to..’ Just tried to capture that anticipation when your stepping off the plane.
When did you write it, and where did you record it?
I’ve got a studio at place called Bottega Rooms ran by Audio Active in Brighton. Think me and Saffa had been in there all night and what we’d been working on was bare epic and dark and we’d got a rough version down. I remember saying to Saf like ‘Yo let’s make something kinda soulful’. Cos we were meant to be shooting a video in Malta and we hadn’t picked the tune. I’d only decided to go a few days previous so once Saf got those first chords and basic drums in, the tune just wrote itself.
I was faded and tired, think I was propping myself up with my arm in the booth. Just did one take of everything, no adlibs or nothing, but the way it come sounding so lazy fit the tune perfect. Then Saf took the beat and added to it. Recorded some live instrumentation with our guys Leroy Horns and Keenan Bailey, and boom.
How does ‘Check In’ represent your style?
‘Check In’ is like suave rap, if it’s not hype or deep, then i’m hitting the tune suave.
‘Check In’ is from the forthcoming project ‘Beggars In The Palace’ written with Saffa Ghorishi. How did the partnership come about?
Me and Saf met at college, doing music tech. We liked similar music, and both smoked weed so that was that really. Then he started DJing in Brighton in the clubs and me and all our pals would just go to wherever he was playing.
Saffa has been the guy over the years that’s pushed me to keep making music. Then about two years ago I hadn’t finished anything properly in a year or more. We done one tune and it went from that, to an EP, and then to a project.
What can we expect from ‘Beggars In The Palace’?
Lots of different vibes and emotions, held together by a consistent sound. I think it’s that special vibe you get when an artist just works with one producer on a whole project, which doesn’t really happen anymore.
What are you hopes for ‘Check In’?
Obviously I want it do as well as it can. But just for people to be catching flights, or feeling the weather and feeling themself and be like ‘yeah I’ll listen to Check In’.
Finally, if you could wish for one thing to happen for you this year, what would it be?
I wanna get booked for Glastonbury ‘cos I feel too old/prestige to break in anymore when I can’t get a ticket, and had to miss it this year which was DEAD.
Just wanted shout out to all my people and special mention to Hear No Evil Management.
Watch the video for ‘Check In’ on YouTube below. For news and your dates go to Hatter’s Facebook page.