T2 likes Terminator 2, still
Photo by James Pearson-Howes
Below is an interview I did with T2 for the new issue of Vice. I don't have my laptop with me here in New York so I can't put up the full transcribe with questions about him ripping off speed garage and stuff like that. Maybe when I get back I'll upload the rest. He plays down the influence of speed garage etc. on his music, if you were wondering. Anyway, here it is with an intro:
If you're a teenager living in a council estate anywhere north of Grimsby, you won't be spending your weekends at home practicing WCW wrestling moves on your terrified cat, smoking weed, and listening to Ghetto's new mixtape. No, instead the chances are you'll be riding in your 1992 Ford Fiesta down to your local nightclub with your Rockport loafers, fake D&G shirt and enough diamante encrusted jewellery to choke a murder of crows to listen to some banging bassline house. If you didn't know, bassline house (AKA niche after the club in Sheffield where the scene began) is the biggest thing up north since coal. The records all sound like stuff producers such as DJ Narrows, Sirus and Wire were putting out in 2002 but that hasn't stopped everyone going insane for it. The scene is being led by 19-year-old Leeds producer T2. He was homeless until last year, but after topping every garage chart and being the most requested song on Kiss, Choice and 1Xtra his song "Heartbroken" has been signed to a major. It's now being played by Jo Whiley and Edith Bowman on daytime Radio 1, and it looks like it will go top 10. All of this off the back of a scene which sounds like a slightly updated version of speed garage? Honestly, Todd Edwards would be turning in his grave (if he were actually dead).
Prancehall: Where did your name come from?
T2: I was in love with a movie called Terminator 2: Judgement Day, still. I liked the big guns. It was fascinating for a little kid – that big ting that he had. Like when he was fighting all them police, that was sick, bro. There was this enemy – the guy they was running away from when they rescued the yoot – and he could turn to liquid. He could turn into a police officer, he could turn into a woman, he could run fast and he could just turn his hands into metal. That was sick.
Did you ever wish you could time travel like the Terminator?
Nah, it was just sick though, the fact he could do that. I rated him, innit. Man came from the future, boy, and just landed like a beam. Phhhfffwwwooosssshhhhh. The first time I couldn't even watch it, yeah. My mum wouldn't let me, you get me? It was a bit late. I must've seen like 10 minutes into it and I got told to go to bed.
Why do people have such a love/hate relationship with Terminator?
Well, when you think of it now, he's just the dumbest guy, Arnold Schwarzenegger. But when you're a little kid it's fascinating – all the action and that. A lot of people think it's dumb. It's just like cartoons – it worked for kids but it might not work for adults.
Would you say the dichotomy between the two different takes on Terminator is a reflection of some sort of personal inner turmoil? Is that why you called yourself T2?
Nah, I'd rather take love, not hate. I'm not that kind of guy, to be honest. I'm just a good guy. I'm not really a hard person to get along with.
If art is an imitation of life, and life of art, how do you reconcile the problem of unblemished reality in your work? That is to say - in reflecting reality, when you make music are you being T2, or are you doing T2?
It's a bit of both, really. I live music, bro. I live it, I breathe it. My whole life evolves around it.