Music: Wild days with Hector Bizerk

HIP-hop heroes Hector Bizerk are already one of Scotland's brightest acts.

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Hector Bizerk plat at Stereo on Saturday
Hector Bizerk plat at Stereo on Saturday

Along with Edinburgh group Stanley Odd, the group have helped spotlight Scottish rap, as well as earning support slots with the likes of American heavyweights Jurassic 5.

Now they're hoping new album Nobody Seen Nothing, which they'll launch today at Stereo, will springboard them to even bigger things.

"It'd have been quite easy for us to stay within one zone, and just stay tuned to hip-hop," says their frontman, Louie.

"We want to get into the ears of people who wouldn't normally listen to rap or hip-hop. There was more confidence with us in the studio this time.

"Before Hector I'd been recording sample based music but it was never something I enjoyed, but recording more regularly and in a professional environment at Paul's Halls studio in Cumbernauld helps you become more confident."

The band's first album, Drums. Rap.Yes.was a fiery record built around Louie's fast, furious words and drummer Audrey Tait's rhythms, aided by some added keyboards and bass.

Now the band have expanded to a four-piece for most shows, with Fraser Sneddon on bass and Jen Muir on keyboards.

It's made their songs sound bigger and bolder, and they've already proven a hit at festivals like T In The Park and Wickerman.

Despite the larger sound, the heart of the tunes is still provided by Louie's words, which often cast a critical eye over life in Scotland.

"There's songs about social circumstance and communities, it's inevitable you'll want to write about that," says Louie.

"There's a fine line between being politicized and trying to ram things down people's throats, but I suppose we're just touching on certain things that people know go on, or don't have the audacity to speak out about."

That doesn't mean it's all about the words, though, with the group's gigs known for being wild.

They've gigged over in Ireland and in London as well, and while Louie's raps feature a heavily Scottish accent on the tracks, he doesn't believe it's something that would put non-Scots off.

"When we first played London it was more the groove of just having drums that made me people go 'what's going on here' rather than the accent," he says.

"We did a track with Prides and Callum (Wiseman, guitarist with the Glasgow indie group)was saying that people at Reading and Leeds kept asking them if they'd do 'the song with the Scottish rapper', so that shows the accent can actually draw people in."

A growing amount of Scottish hip-hop is breaking through, in a music scene traditionally ruled by indie bands and singers. Louie reckons there's a better understanding of what the music is about now.

"You're getting MCs getting booked for aftershow parties now and rap battles are doing really well," he says.

"There's a negative stereotype that sometimes surrounds hip-hop culture and something like the Flying Jalapenos dance act really shows what hip-hop's all about - having fun and enjoying the music."

"I think people like that we're honest and not above anything."

n Hector Bizerk, Stereo, Saturday, £5, 7.30pm

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