Exclusive Interview: Mez talks Magnum, D Double E & more

Joe Walker

2 years ago

By Joe Walker

Nottingham MC Mez aka Uncle aka Tyrone aka Magical Mezicle is an artist we’ve enjoyed watching progress over the last couple of years, during which we’ve still yet to see anyone in the grime scene match his energy. Such is his standing at this time that, but for a hilarious interjection from Flowdan at the finish line, Mez was granted the space to spray for the entire last minute of Sir Spyro’s all-star farewell Rinse FM show last week.

Perhaps part of the reason Mez is so bright and energetic on the mic is that he is very much a reserved character off it, conserving words unless necessary. This has been mistaken for awkwardness and even ill manners on occasions, but we didn’t get that idea in a recent chat with him on the phone. Mez spoke to us a few weeks ago in promotion of his single ‘Magnum’, an ode to the tonic wine that is second only to his beloved brush in making cameos on his Instagram. Since that call, Mez has made his vinyl debut on Grandmixxer’s SLSA EP, and announced a solo EP is in the works, but read ahead for a reflection on public misconceptions, his close affiliates and of course his precious Maggy.

Was there ever a point you had to convince your close family that music was worth pursuing?
Basically I was in denial, put it that way. I’ve been in denial my whole life. I left school, I worked for a month and I got sacked. I went college, got kicked out of college. I went to another college, got kicked out of that college, then I went to another college and got kicked out of college again. I’ve never actually said to my mum ‘I wanna do music, that’s what I wanna do’. I’ve just ended up doing it, because you can’t just say that. You have to actually do something. You have to prove it first. It was never a thing I really spoke about.

When did you first feel like you were really making progress?
One of the first times I felt like people heard me properly was when I did Rinse with Spyro. After that one people understood what I was trying to do, because I couldn’t really do that anywhere in the Midlands. Before this, the only people I really knew from London were Cadell and Novelist, and that was only through like clashing them. Novelist was the one who said to Spyro ‘yo check this guy’.

You mentioned clashing there. How do you reflect on your Lord Of The Mics appearance? You’d already clashed Trappy a couple of times before, so would you consider returning against someone new?|
It was kind of last minute, the whole LOTM thing, but I wanted to do it. It was good to go on there but I don’t think I’d do it again because I feel like you should only really go on there once. It’s not radio. I don’t know, it’d feel a bit forced.

Would you apply that to clashing generally now?
I just go to radio to do what I do. I’ve kind of stopped worrying about other people and just do my own thing. My energy’s within myself so I don’t really bother anyone else. I’m just Mez, I do what I do, fuck it.

We feel that you’re increasingly seen as yourself too, because at one stage there were some accusations that you were catting D Double E’s style, which felt unfair. That appears to have been shut up with the Bluku Music link-up, but how was that for you before then?
The truth is, man listened to Double. Of course I listened to Double! He’s hard init. Maybe man did catch influence, but you could then say that about many other people.

Whenever I used to see him places, I just used to look at him and he would look at me and that was it. Nobody says nothing to each other. Over time, it was mediators like Jammer and Footsie – people in between that just understood what was really going on – that made things happen. All of that used to bug me but I don’t care anymore.

Where do you feel most comfortable?
You know what’s mad, I feel comfortable when I get to compete, like when there’s someone else to write with in the studio I feel like it makes me better. When there’s someone next to you who’s equally as hard as you think you are. That’s when I’m at my best still. I feel like it’s a good thing that I linked up with PK and Grandmixxer, for example. Those are two people that make me level up when I’m around them. Grandmixxer’s a person… I don’t know what he’s like to other people, but to man? If it’s dead, he’s gonna tell man it’s dead. He makes me not wanna flop. Quick extra 80% even though it’s at 100 already.

It’s easy to say something is good, but it’s harder to say no. That’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s very hard to say no to certain things. Sometimes you don’t want to say no, but you have to. The way we linked up, everything between me and Grandmixxer is natural. It wasn’t like a let me tweet him on the internet, it was different. He’s actually a real person, and you see when I say that… a lot of people aren’t actually real people, if you know what I mean? There’s certain man I’ve never seen in real life but on the internet I know everything about this guy. I know what he looks like and what he ate this morning but I’ve never met this person.

We’ve seen you describe yourself as socially awkward. Is that something you feel generally, or just within music?
When I go to places, I ain’t really got nothing to say to anyone and I think everyone takes it the wrong way. Even when I’ve seen Double & Foots in Notts one time, because I had nothing to say to them I think they thought I was being hostile. The next time I come to London, Jammer was like ‘yo, they wasn’t sure if you were being intense or not’. It’s just over time.

Even when I went to radio the other day, people in there said that ‘everyone thinks you’re rude because you come in and don’t say nothing. You just ask for Rizla and go’. But that’s just me going to work, and then I’m going home. I don’t even get it, I don’t understand what you want me to say. I didn’t come to catch up, I just came to do my thing and quickly get off.

Now, your most recent single is a dedication to Magnum tonic wine. It’s very Mez, so much so in fact that we’re amazed it took this long for you to pen an ode to the drink?
I wrote that two years ago. I recorded it in Nottingham, and I didn’t like it. Then I linked Diamondz through Double. The first time I spoke to Double, he said to come to the studio session with him and Diamondz last year. I worked with Diamondz now, and made a tune called ‘Indi You‘. In the same session I re-recorded ‘Magnum’.

We like to binge drink so those small Magnum bottles ain’t reached for too often…
You can’t drink it like that. You just have to sip that rudeboy. Listen man, humble drink still.

@UncleMez | Magnum is out now