Welcome to BURR. Brickcellphone’s Underground Rap Radar.
In this series, Brighton hip-hop DJ, Matt ‘Brickcellphone’ Leppier, is chatting to some of the underground rap talent on his radar. It’s as simple as that. Follow him @brickcellphone and listen to him spin some of these artists on Friday afternoons on Platform B.
Virgil Hawkins is one of the masterminds behind what is perhaps London’s best underground movement, Reservoir/237, and he is 100% someone who you need to listen to. Another perfect artist for my ongoing Underground Rap Radar, basically.
Born in France, raised in London, Virgil has an array of influences that help create his diverse sound. His latest release, Milly Rocking To The Wrong Things can be found via his Soundcloud. It’s sick. DO NOT sleep on this guy.
What is Reservoir and what part do you play within that?
Reservoir is a collective/independent record label founded by Max Turrent and I in 2014.
Initially, I was only concerned with making friends who made music I was genuinely into and naturally, it turned into something bigger. There are around 15 of us involved, not just musicians, with various creative pursuits.
So that’s all of; Twin Crown, Kish! Yxng Jynn, Matavelli, Theodor Black, Gregor The Blue, Sha Rez, Dxvl, Isaac Samuel, Black Thursday and Frosgo.
How has it developed since its inception and where do you see it going?
It wasn’t originally a record label. I definitely always wanted it to become one but being a fan of the culture in rap overseas I think we saw more potential in making it an umbrella of arts rather than just sticking to one thing.
The thing about the UK underground scene is there definitely seems to be a limit on how adventurous people are willing to be. I see similar things being pushed all the time and if we are all being honest with ourselves it never goes that far because there’s a creative ceiling, everything is formulaic…
For me, Reservoir is me proving to myself and people around me that all this can be done independently and that it can be done right. I want to run everything.
Who are some of your biggest influences in and outside of music?
The whole of G.O.O.D music pretty much up until Travis joined as a producer – and Dev Hynes inside and out of music.
I don’t mention T-Pain enough, I probably should… Lil Wayne too. Basically, any black man in music who played a part in kicking down doors and breaking down stereotypes for someone like me, I’m thankful for and inspired by.
Based on my upbringing and schools I’ve gone to I found it hard to relate to a lot of UK Rap and Grime growing up, so I looked elsewhere until I reached Uni.
I also really like Toro y Moi.
What’s the best show you’ve ever played?
Low Heat, Boiler Room. If you know, you know.
What’s your go-to Offie snack?
Twix, but I don’t even like chocolate that much.
If you have anything else to add, then do it now…
For people who are confused about the whole 237/Reservoir situation, Reservoir is a part of 237. Don’t overthink it too much. It’s an underground support system because your current one wasn’t doing it for us. 100% family things. Shoutout Kish!