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Looptroop Rockers - interview

Looptroop Rockers - interview

Autor: Marcin Cholewka

Dowiedz się więcej o: Looptroop.

Today we would like to introduce you Looptroop Rockers - Swedish hip-hop band making music since 1991. They became famous thanks to their original and positive vibes which could be a prominent symbol of Europe. We had a chance to contact Embee, Promoe and Supreme. Enjoy!

The quarter of a century is upcoming since your band came to exist. I suppose that you are preparing an album that will sum up 25 years of your cooperation.

Embee: Ha ha! We actually celebrated 20 years by having a big exhibition with selections of our works of music, art and clothes at a museum in our hometown Västerås. We haven't talked about what to do at 25 yet though.

I was going through your discography. Till '98 you have been realizing cassettes not CD's. It must be very sentimental to go back to those times. Do you still remember first big concerts, the feeling when you were conquering the stages? All the stress, the adrenaline and the satisfaction of performing at the beginning of '90?

Embee: I still recall the exact feeling of being on stage for the very first time as a band. It was at a park jam in central Västerås. It was raining and we were very nervous. A part of that feel is still around every time we get on to perform. The concerts didn't get big until 1998. Like festival big. And that was a feeling hard to match. Our first really big show was at the Roskilde Festival in 1998. We performed with a bunch of rappers we really looked up to and we wanted to be as dope as they were, which gave us an extra edge I guess. We go through the old tapes we recorded early in the 90's every now and then and it always strikes us about how much of the vibe and humor that is exactly the same nowadays. But of course it's sentimental, but in a good way.

How do you see the evolution of hip-hop music since those times? What are your feelings when comparing the present hip-hop to the one from 20 years ago?

Embee: When we started out there wasn't too many acts around in Sweden. The hip hop scene was big thru Graffiti and Break but not as much in music. There were almost no acts rapping in Swedish, so our natural choice of language was English. I guess the biggest difference is that Rap/Hip Hop is the biggest most influential genre in music nowadays. It was quite a small subculture when we started out. Now it's divided into sub genres, micro sub genres and so on. Back then it was more like east coast or west coast rap. In Sweden the big difference is that most acts rap in Swedish now and that the scene is blooming. It's gotten really big!

The oldest '93 piece of yours is "Superstars tape". At the same time in Poland people started to get interested in Cypress Hill or House of Pain. The first radio broadcasts were run by Bogna Świątkowska, the godmother of Polish rap. There was almost nothing besides that. How do you recall the time when hip-hop culture was just developing in Sweden?

Promoe: We're too young to have been active when the first hiphoppers got started in Sweden, but I remember watching the movie Style Wars, and reading Subway Art early on. In 85 graffiti started popping up in our hometown Västerås, and I was studying that - and listening to vinyl with my good friend Christian. He had some of the records from the series 'Street Sounds Hiphop Electro' from the UK, which compiled some of the new stuff from the US, and maybe England too. We didn't know much back then, we were just listening, and loving the vibe. It was hard to get a hold of stuff, but sometimes an older friend went to London - and we got a chance to listen to the new records. And we absorbed it all.
I was listening with a little more understanding from around 89. Mats Nileskär is a famous radio journalist from here, and he had a weekly, one or two hour long, radio show - playing hiphop and soul. I was not really in to the latter, but listened to the hip-hop, and the interviews with extreme focus.
When the first Swedish rap came out, it was in English. Artists like ADL and Timbuktu had a lot of influence on us. It wasn't until in the 00s that rap in Swedish blew up. So in the 90s we were mostly checking out Yo MTV Raps, and working on our own material. It was a fun time. Since we didn't have much knowledge or information on how to do things properly - we really got a chance to create our own thing. Embee really made the most out of the little studio equipment he could afford, and I was constantly writing.
When we got our break through, it was within the graffiti scene in Sweden. It was a movement that we were a part of, and through that we got a chance to practice our stage performance skills - and spread our music beyond that.

What inspires you the most? You make hip-hop, but I can sense the influence of other cultures in your work.

Promoe: The Jamaican music industry has had a big impact on some of us. It's really inspiring that you can make something with small means, from a small place - that can reach over the whole world. I really like some of the modern (as well as old), urban music coming from Nigeria, Angola and other countries on the continent - even though I only hear a small percentage of everything being created naturally. I'm personally not listening to music in the same way as I used to when I was younger, I don't go as deep in to it anymore. I'm too focused on going deep in to my own music and thoughts. So I think a lot of the influence I got from hiphop in the period from 86 until let's say the late 90s - is still what's defining my musical language in many ways.
This is however a question that you would get very different answers from, depending on who in the group would answer it - cause we have very different influences, and listen to music differently.

Hip-hop had reached Poland few years after the demolition of the Berlin Wall. More than decade later you recorded "Fort Europa", where in the title single you mention the next, newly created, European fortress. I would like to ask you, what's your point of view on this subject? Does Fort Europa still exist?

Promoe: Fort Europa is today stronger, and more evil than ever. It's so obvious when you see all the people dying, trying to cross the Mediterranean aka the Sea of Death. Or the policies of the governments all over Europe, when they race towards the bottom of the human rights scale - trying to make their country the least popular country to seek refuge from war in, and basically impossible to reach legally or safe. Right now, the patrolling of the European borders is big business, a big money making industry. And the media, together with the politicians, try to feed us the story that Europe's borders need to be protected from the 'invasion' that they call it - making sure to dehumanize the people that need to come here to be able to survive. With the other hand, our leaders are selling the weapons that are destroying the countries people flee from. It's a moral scandal of epic proportions.

Your vocals, chorus on the beats from Embee constitute the leading European work, when it comes to rap. When did you realize for good that your popularity reaches far beyond Sweden

Supreme: Thanks! Actually, that happened pretty early. Back then we were surprised how our music started spreading, even from cassette tapes. This is before the internet was what it is today. So we stared going to Denmark and Germany early. Maybe '96 or '97.
But the first time it really hit me on a personal level was in 2003 when we released The Struggle Continues. That year we went to Japan and did our first Australian tour. That was such a big thing for me. To do shows on the other side of the planet and having the crowd singing along. That's kind of the way it still is today - we have our people all over the world. Not always that MANY people, but there's always a crowd supporting us! And we are truly thankful for that.

Combining work and passion is one of the greatest things, isn't it? Yes, I mean "Professional dreamers".

Supreme: Yes, for sure. And even more so to work and create with your friends. That's what I'm the most proud about with LTR. That we could stick together all these years and still be friends. Not just working together.

When someone says "Looptroop", a picture of Promoe's beard comes to my mind. Did you come across any funny stories about it?

Supreme: Ha ha ha. I think that is what a lot of people would think of.. And yeah, there's a lot of stories. People can be very rude you know. Ha ha ha. Like just walking up to him to try and touch the beard. Or start screaming at us: "Hey Jesus!" or "Hey Santa Claus!" But most of people are just looking really hard. Ha ha.

What was the best moment in your career? When it comes to you, I recall "Feel so good" with Michael's Jackson's interlude which takes me back to the most carefree and chilled times of my youth.

Supreme: Well, that's hard to say.. Maybe when we finished our first album. But for me it must be some show. With the last album we did a European tour and the Prague show was so crazy. It was a big venue for us, and it was sold out three weeks in advance. The vibe was so magical, I don't think I will ever forget that. So that was probably my highlight!

Thank you for the interview. Best greetings from Poland!

Wywiad w wersji polskiej

Dowiedz się więcej o: Looptroop.

Informacje o artykule
Data dodania:2016-03-29
Dział / Kategoria: fun / wywiad
Średnia ocena:nieoceniany
Oceń artykuł: Aby ocenić artykuł musisz się zalogować
Marcin Cholewka, 24 lata
mężczyzna, Andrychów

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