Ceezlin – Interview + Bars

Ceezlin, also knows as TC Johnston is one of the biggest names in the Brighton hip-hop scene. Part of the Rum Committee supergroup, and with regular appearances on the Don’t Flop battle league Ceezlin never fails to bring those ear pleasing rhymes. We caught up with him over pool and a pint, and were lucky enough to have him lay down some bars for the camera.

Obviously a lot of people around Brighton & Hove know who you are through your music, but for those who don’t, could you give us a little bit of background information?

Yeah sure, my name’s TC Johnson AKA Ceezlin, I’m an up & coming musician from Brighton and I’m 21. When I first started doing music it was just a hobby with friends, back in the days of  TMY and Nang Squad, I’m sure you guys remember that, back when I was really young. After that all stopped we all  grew up a bit and everyone started doing their own thing. I stuck with music and at the moment I’m in the process of… trying to get a record deal basically, chasing the dream as they say. It’s going pretty well and I’ve had quite a few good meetings with good names, like labels and management. At the moment I’m just trying to make as much music as I can, do as many videos as I can and  I’m also trying to push out with all the social utilities like Facebook and Twitter so you’ll see me posting all the time, trying to get as many views as possible.

So at the moment you’re working with the Rum Committee movement – there’s 1 mixtape & 1 album currently available from Rum Com as a unit, how did the whole movement come about?

Well back in the days there was a Brighton based Hip-Hop group called Lab Rats and there was 3 or 4 of them in that, then it sort of split up but half of them wanted to carry on doing it as a unit so they started up Rum Com, there was 4 of them, 2 producers and 2 rappers. They then branched out a bit, got some more heads involved  and now there’s ten of us. We’ve got 4 rappers, a singer who raps aswell, one of the rappers produces, DJ’s and engineers and then the other 5 people are DJ’s and producers aswell.

So, both the album and the mixtape, what are they called?

The album is called Boozetown and the mixtape is the Prelude to Boozetown. You can get the mixtape and the album on iTunes, Rum Committee’s website, Spotify, Bandcamp and all the other usual places.

You’ve also got 2 solo releases that are currently available, whats the situation? [pullquote_right]If I wasn’t in Rum Com then my favourite drink would be gin and tonic![/pullquote_right]

Okay, so you’ve got Ceezlin the Mixtape which has around 20 songs, its made up of various tracks I’ve done over the years with a load of different producers, you can get that on my website and my Bandcamp,  (free download). My album is all produced and engineered by a producer called Scizzahz, we did that last year and I released it at christmas, it took us about 6 months to make – I try to keep to a good work ethic so I always have something to do. Another thing I put out was a demo about a year ago which was four or five tracks with a producer called Empdy that’s on my website and Bandcamp aswell, also a free download. I’ve just finished another EP with him, we’re going to do a video for a track on that EP and put them both out together next month. I also have videos for Bad Trip and The Way You Love Me, the video for The Way You Love Me is done by Concrete Rose and the video for Bad Trip is done by Nathaniel Rodriguez.

At the moment you’re working with loads of different producers, can you name the sort of producers you’re working with?

Yeah sure, I’m working with a producer called Ido (he produced Dr. Syntax’s first album), and we’re doing like an album sort of thing – We have about 18, 19 tracks all together, we’re probably gonna do about 20 – 25 and pick the best ten to make the album and we’ll probably put that out for free as well. I’m also working with a production team called Invigilators, they’re signed to Hype Music which I believe is a subsidiary label to Sony – I finished an EP with them which we put out – check the single called #Blam which is on YouTube. We’ve just wrapped up another EP which hopefully like the first one will get bought by their label.

The producer I’m focusing on at the moment I’d say is Glitch (Double A), he lives up in Streatham now and we have about 8 or 9 tracks at the moment, quite chart-worthy commercial tunes. It’s like, you want to make commercial music but you don’t want to make S Club 7 music if you know what I mean. So you gotta do it with an edge.

How many tracks are you looking to put on the project, is it going to be an album?

We were originally going to put it out as a demo kind of thing and give it out to as many people as we could and see what we got back off it, but now interest is coming in, and a couple of labels have asked to buy a few of the tracks and shit. They’re not even finished, they’re all listenable quality but we need to go back and change a few things, tweak them and shit. We’ll probably aim for about 10 tracks I reckon, and then … I’m not sure what to do once it’s all done to be honest, you’ll just have to wait and see.

A lot of people will know you for your involvement in the Don’t Flop battle league, how did that come about?[pullquote_left]You want to make commercial music, but you gotta do it with an edge.[/pullquote_left]

Basically, I met Rowan Faife (Eurgh – the president of Don’t Flop) and he said to me that a couple of people had told him that I’d be sick if I did a battle, so I just got on with it. I think I’ve got 4 or 5 battles up, and my latest one is with a beatboxer – It was the first time they’d done that sort of battle and that went down really well, I got a lot of really positive feedback off that. Don’t Flop is definitely really good, if you’re a rapper and looking to pick up fans or get followers and shit then it’s a great way to get noticed.

And what do you think Don’t Flop has done for your musical career?

Well it’s definitely picked up a lot of fans and followers for me, and also because it’s rap battles not track battles you’ve really got to hone in your skills and your performance, because if you fuck it up everyone will say you’re shit. I wouldn’t say it’s good practice but it’s good being out there and actually doing it. It’s like performing in front of a crowd, because if you mess up people are gonna walk out or boo or whatever.

Favourite food?

Favourite dish or favourite ethnicity of food? Probably chilli con carne.

Do you have a warm up routine for when you perform?

A lot of last-minute drinking, a lot of arguments, a lot of rushing, but mainly drinking.

Favourite alcoholic drink?

Rum. Rum and lemonade, or a gin and tonic. If I wasn’t in Rum Com then my favourite drink would be gin and tonic! Used to be frosty jacks or vodka, we would get an alcoholic drink like gin and use frosty jacks as our mixer sometimes aswell. It was horrible!

So finally, what  projects do we have to look forward to from yourself?

Apart from the above, me and Rum Committee are going to get another few projects finished, an album and a mixtape. I’m also going to get loads of videos done for new tracks. Lots of gigs are also in the pipeline including a support slot for Lethal Bizzle. There are also a lot of festival bookings coming up, including Boom Bap, Nass, LoveBox, Boom-Town & possibly Bestival!

Anything else you want to say to our readers?
Keep your eye on me!

Check out Ceezlin on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, Soundcloud and on his own website ceezlin.com.

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