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Music Interview

Example interview: 'People want to have a beer with me'

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Example
Having gained his first UK number one single with 'Changed The Way You Kiss Me' back in June, London rapper Example appears to have bucked the trend by managing to successfully follow up his breakthrough LP Won't Go Quietly.

Following a UK-wide tour and festival-filled summer, he's managed to find time to ready his third opus, Playing in the Shadows. Ahead of its release next week, Digital Spy caught up with him to talk about his new record, working with Faithless and his notorious tweeting habits.

The reaction to your new single 'Stay Awake' has been quite positive, hasn't it?
"'Changed The Way You Kiss Me' seemed to be quite instant with people, whereas this single has taken fans three or four listens to get used to - I'm only going by what people have been saying on Twitter and Facebook."

It's produced by Nero; what are they like?
"I went in the studio with Dan first and he just had a small eight bar loop which was just the synth lift. I rapped over that part and then we sort of structured the song and built it up to where it filters and then added the dubstep drop, the beats and the middle eight. Then Joe got involved and finished the track and we ended up having version 22!"

Would you work with them again?
"We did actually have three or four as works-in-progress but the problem was I ended up being ridiculously busy touring and then they had to finish their own album. For the next album, which I'm pretty much going to start work on straight away, I want to get Nero on more tracks. I've worked with ten producers on this new album so for the next one I want to work with three four and get them to do a couple of tracks each."

Working with a lot of producers can often affect the cohesion of an album...
"Basically I've turned this album out in six months, so it's impossible to get Chase & Status or Nero to make you three songs because they're all so busy. So you have to go in to all these top producers and brief them on what you want for the album. I've kind of executive produced my own album, if you like. Although there are so many different producers it all fits because I got the same guy to mix it. I also recorded the vocal on the same microphone for the whole album, which I think is important."

You also worked with dance veterans Faithless on the LP; did they teach you anything?
"The main thing I got from Rollo and Sister Bliss was that they wanted to do something timeless; something that could be played in the clubs now, 15 years ago or in 15 years time. That is one of their biggest strengths. 'Insomnia' is a perfect example as it has been a mainstay of DJ sets for 15 years."

Example


Are you confident about the album's chances?
"I'm not nervous at all. When you finish your album you've just got to put it out there and basically let the public decide. Once you release an album or a piece of music, you don't own it anymore; the public own it. Even though a song may mean something specific to me, the public might decide it means something different to them."

But are you hoping it will be number one?
"I've always maintained that I would like a number one album and a number one single. If this album doesn't go to number one then it's not the end of the world. I just want a record that will keep selling for a year - or even a couple of years. I think it's quite inspiring when you see albums by Mumford & Sons and Plan B that haven't disappeared from the top ten for a year and a half."

You've previously described the record as you dealing with fame and fortune, which is something a lot of people can't really relate to. Has the album has answered any questions for you?
"When you hear the album in its entirety, you will know. It's a story and then the last few songs offer a resolution. It's not as deep as it sounds. I don't really know how to not write about myself. I've only ever written about my personal feelings and my life. Everything I sing isn't gospel; I sometimes get an idea and tweak it to ensure it's relatable to a mass audience. There's no point writing a song that 30,000 people at a festival don't want to sing. I maintain integrity by making sure I'm happy with it and it still means something to me."

Have you considered releasing a concept album?
"No, a concept album wouldn't work for me. It's fine playing a character, but I think the reason people connect to me is because they feel they know me. They hear an Example song and go 'yeah, I've been through that as well'. People tweet me and say 'I want to have a beer with you' or 'I want to have dinner with you' and I think that's the best thing to have as an artist; to have that personal connection through your material or your personality. If I started playing a character like Plan B, I'm not sure how my fans would connect to that."

Will recent success be reflected upon in your next record then?
"Yeah, I've already got some songs ideas for the next album. I don't know what it's exactly going to be about. I always start with a song title and then write the track around that. I've currently have six song titles ready for the next album, which I'm going to try and get out before the end of next year."

Are you writing for other artists?
"I'm keen to write for other people when I have a bit of downtime. It keeps my creative juices flowing. It's like being an athlete; as soon as you stop training, you can't compete at the highest level. One of the best things you can do is constantly write new songs. I prefer to write songs for an act I know rather than just writing a track and shopping it around."

You recently revealed that you have a track in mind for The Wanted; what does it sound like?
"I had a few ideas that I thought would suit them, but I don't know whether it's going to be on their new album."

You've made a fair few enemies on Twitter over the last year...
"If I hear something on the radio and I think it's awful I'll tweet about it. The music industry is always going have good and bad; there will always be songwriters with integrity and there will always be cheesy manufactured pop. You kind of need both sides of the coin. If the chart was full of songwriters it would probably be a bit boring. It's just as fun to have Lady GaGa in the charts as it is to have all of these David Guetta-type songs. It makes people like me realise what not to do. The stuff that I think is great in the charts is by Chase & Status, Nero and Ed Sheeran; stuff that has had a lot of hard work and effort put in for it to get where it is."

Example's new album Playing In The Shadows is out on September 5.

Watch the music video for Example's new single 'Stay Awake' below:

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