ONE of the most lamentable and sad days of my blogging career…
was hearing Bi:Lingual had split. The group, led by the hard-headed spits and slick-as-you-like rhymes of Dylan Cartlidge, seemed primed for the big leagues and had a passionate fanbase behind them. The details of their disbanding are shrouded in mystery but the shockwaves are evident. A unique band that mixed Rage Against the Machine and Beastie Boys: a cauldron of Metal aggression and political elements with experimental Hip-Hop tossed in. Now, Cartlidge has stepped into the solo arena as Chaos Jigsaw and is showing huge promise – the singles dropped so far emphasise his songwriting talents and, if anything, the music being made now (by Cartlidge) is his strongest so far. An E.P. is coming about and I was excited to grill Chaos Jigsaw on his new material and his inspirations; what subjects go into his music and his views about Manchester City’s recent good form.
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Hey Dylan. How has your week been? What have you been getting up to?
It’s been good week thank you. My birthday has just gone by so I’m still feeling the after-effect of that but we’re putting the cogs in motion for a short horror movie that we’re going to use as a music video - so that’s really what I’ve been doing this week.
Being a Manchester City fan you must be pretty chuffed right now. Is the new manager the reason for their success or is the squad gelling more effectively?
Yeah pretty much in dreamland though getting bashed 2-0 by Spurs in the last game wasn’t fun. Ten wins a draw and a loss: I think any team would take that, and yes, I think it has to be largely down to Pep Guardiola.
Can you tell us a bit about what you do?
I rap, sing; play bass and keys along with other bits and bobs (to best try and express myself).
Chaos Jigsaw is your musician moniker. Where did that name come from?
It’s back from when I first decided I was going to be a rapper - when I was thirteen (fourteen maybe) and I just trying to come up with names that best described me and my objectives as an artist.
It also became my Xbox gamer tag for the following four, five years or something, aha ha ha! Oh dear.
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Love Spoons is your most-recent single and one I love. What was the inspiration behind the song and was it an easy song to record?
Love Spoons was something that came about when I heard about the Orlando attack and I just couldn’t believe people: like humans beings were being targeted and killed for being themselves.
Being a bit of a self-proclaimed loner back in the day; feeling like an outcast at times because I didn’t feel and look like everybody else for one reason or another. This became my biggest strength when I accepted that I was different and that I was ok with that - so it’s really just about being yourself and not being afraid of what people might think. In any circumstance, whether it be love, friendship; dress sense, personality; hell even how you talk; hell if it’s you…do it. Yeah, once I’d figured out the basis of the song it was easy to record due to my producer Brendan Portues. He’s amazing and makes what I do seem so much easier as we have a great relationship and tend to be on the same page when it comes to recording.
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Strawberry Blonde’s Snip and The World Outside are another couple of tracks you have put into the world. Can you reveal a bit about those tracks and what they represent?
These songs were written quite close together but one was self-produced and the other with Brendan (as it was the first of the E.P. tracks). Strawberry Blonde’s Snip was my first track released after I re-booted Chaos Jigsaw and was really a song about my first sort of feelings around relationship and being close to somebody but not quite knowing what to do. The World Outside was a song (really about) my feelings and experiences towards people I knew growing in the types of environments I grew up in. Knowing how abysmal it can be at the time - especially when maybe outside your house nobody knows what truly goes on inside but you and how it can feel - like literally a whole other world; hence The World Outside. Just really trying to offer a form of hope or encouragement to anybody dealing with anything like that really.
With singles and samples in the ether: is there an E.P. or album in the pipeline?
Yes. I’m releasing the third song on the E.P. (You Make It) in due course and the E.P. (entitled Six Weeks) will follow.
Your music has some rather groovy basslines and fast-flowing raps. Few other artists have that same combination. Was it a conscious decision on your part or is it the best way to deliver your music?
Erm. A bit of both really.
I think I’ve always wanted to play bass as I just love the way the notes sound in that lower register (on a bass) so I did and (just) really everything for me starts with the bass.
The progression or the groove; I always think of how the bass might sound. Then, naturally after that - as first of all a rapper - you know it’s my domain from there. But yes; it’s definitely something I make myself aware of when writing and find works for me.
Many have made comparisons between you and Beastie Boys and other stellar acts. Which musicians did you grow up listening to and which albums are your personal favourites?
It’s a strange one really because I guess I’ve had like two musical births if you like. I grew up listening to (mainly the) chart music at the time you know and Hip-Hop artists like Kid Cudi, Jay-Z; Kanye West, Perfect Disaster and Stomrae. Disregarding anything that remotely resembled Rock and a lot of Indie music really with my mindset at the time as hating this ‘mosher’ music, aha! Then, I moved away from where I was from; everything I knew really. I started over and I joined a band with some really cool Rock ’n’ Roll dudes who totally changed my musical life. Firstly introducing me to The Black Keys, The White Stripes and Cage the Elephant; from there, I just fell in love with so many bands - really too many to name; it was just all so alien to me, aha!
You were the front-man of (sadly departed) Bi:Lingual. Is it sad to no longer be in a band and what have you learn from your days touring with the guys?
Yes. It was sad to bring it to a halt with Bi:Lingual as they were great guys that taught, gave and made me experience so much than I ever would have otherwise.
I have profited greatly from the knowledge gathered over the course of the band days but we still keep in contact - they are all doing very well and are all involved in new projects which is really cool as well.
Is it very different being a solo artist and is it easier or harder getting music together would you say?
Yes, I would say it’s worlds apart really, you know: from the creative control to gigs and rehearsals. They both have their own unique, challenging and exciting feel - and a rewarding musical experience overall.
A lot of musicians write about personal struggles and anxieties. Are these subjects that go into your music and how important do you think it is addressing these topics through music?
I think any music that is personal can always be great music as it presents authenticity, genuine warmth and honesty to your audience and (I) think it’s very important as it’s something that I use as a way to cope with my own issues. I and my younger brother both have P.T.S.D. and my music’s my way (I guess) of showing that it won’t stop us from doing anything.
What have been the highlights of your music career so far – either with Bi:Lingual or your current work?
I think with both Chaos Jigsaw and Bi:Lingual: there’s just nothing like hearing your music on the radio.
Can you tell us what the rest of the year holds for you and what plans you have?
Some exciting things happening with Sunbird Records.
My E.P. will be coming out as well as my first-ever short film/music video (I’ve been involved in like this).
Are there any new musicians or artists you’d recommend we check out?
For any musicians wanting to follow you into music; what advice would you give them?
Teamwork makes the dream work. Don’t be scared to get people you trust onboard even if it’s not musically; set small realistic goals on your treasure map.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can select any song (other than one of yours as I’ll include one) and I’ll play it here…
Mr. AJAD - Living the Dream
Follow Chaos Jigsaw