Nefew

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Nefew

The Switzerland Rap duo talks about their deal with the Puma sneaker company, linking up with Consequence, and going abroad.

Nefew, an emerging Rap duo out of Switzerland, recently traded in their Nikes for some Pumas, but it’s not shoes these guys really seem to care about – for them, it seems to be all about the music and creatively trying to secure their spot in the global urban scene. While distance may separate them from the hive of musical activity in America and the money may be tight right now this pair has some big dreams.

In what they referred to as their first major American interview ever, Polemikk, one half of Nefew, shares exclusively with DXnext about the latest release, what’s coming up in the first and fourth quarters  and how likely a collaboration with Kanye West is now that they’ve worked with his artist Consequence.

Group Formation: “We actually went to kindergarten together. We’ve known each other almost our whole lives but we’ve been doin’ music starting from about age 10-12 maybe. Nefew is a group that we built back in 1993; one producer and one emcee, which is me. We started trying to go professional about three years ago when we had our first big opportunity and we dropped our first album which was called Off The Cuff, released through Groove Attack, a big distributor in Germany and Traffic Entertainment in the States. For us, that was the first big push into global territory.”

N-E-F-E-W Means Something: “Nefew is an acronym that stands for New – Education – From – Every – Word. I sorta wanted to have a name that stands for something but at the same time I wanted it to be very simple and catchy.”

Multicultural Mix-up:
“We have a multinational background being from the States, from Italy and my partner is from Canada and he’s half Dutch. We decided to do English music so we could reach a larger public.”

The Vibe and the Sound: “You could probably describe the music as very soulful. We try to keep it very musical and include a lot of live instruments in the productions but we do use samples of course. We’ve got our own musicians and we play different instruments. The production is very American but it’s humble in European terms and very cultivated. The first records I really listened to were Pirates and Public Enemy. I kinda grew up with that conscious very political Rap; for me it was always very important to implement messages into my music and be very positive and educational.”

Beat Budget and Foreign Affairs: “We basically do our own stuff - It’s just us and we produce everything. It’s always difficult for up and coming artists to really have the budget ready to afford different producers. Budget wise and the fact that we’re from a remote location based out in Switzerland it makes it very hard to get in touch with people overseas and collaborate because the first questions is always ‘What can I get out of it?’”

Puttin’ on the Pumas:
“We’re the first Hip Hop act to be signed to Puma as artists, they usually have sports people. We were first singed to Puma Switzerland then to Germany and then the entertainment department in the UK took that over. The deal is very simple; we endorse their product and they make sure we get promotion and global marketing, and we can use all their entertainment channels. We’re basically the act that is playing on all the events that they have like fashion shows and parties. It’s sort of a give and take; we endorse their products and we make sure we name them on a regular basis, we take pictures with their clothes and they give us all these promotion and marketing opportunities. We’re free in terms of the music and they don’t have any requirements; we can do whatever we wanna do.”

Hangin’ up the Nikes: “Yes, I do wear [Puma] clothes, but now I have a problem. [Laughs] I don’t know what to do with all my Nike shoes. We have a contract with [Puma], so we have to be very careful.”

Sick of Home:The Homesick EP was released December 1st 2009. The whole project represents the dilemma that we’re in currently: havin’ this international background but bein’ stuck in a country that is far off the map. Just thinkin’ about J.Cole, he had to move to New York from North Carolina to really make it happen and we’re in Switzerland which is even worse. The EP is kind of a way for me to express my feelings about not missing home but wanting to really get out of my home. Homesick means to be sick of the home that you’re livin’ in.”

Single Because of a Girl: “Chanj had a girlfriend in Zurich, and so he was movin’ back and forth between Jersey and Zurich and I met Chanj here. We started talkin’ about a collaboration and this is how we decided to work together but it had to be the right song. For the single, there was a James Brown sample and it said ‘Biko’ all the time so I had the idea of naming the song 'Biko' . I wanted to have another artist on the track and this is where Phat Phillie (Bomb Squad) came into play because he was very tight with Consequence at the time. We got in touch with him and asked him if he wanted to be involved with the project and he said he’d love to be. I knew that I had to have a hook for the song so I called up Chanj ‘cause we we’re talking about the project and he loved the idea. He could totally relate to the concept of unsung heroes – [Steve] Biko is one of my favorite heroes ‘cause Cry of Freedom is one of my favorite movies.”

After Consequence Comes Kanye, Right?:  “I don’t know what to tell you, but maybe! [Laughing] I would really love to do a track with Kanye West but we’re talkin’ about a Grammy winning artist. His whole camp is somethin’ that I could imagine myself pitchin’ for in the future ‘cause I’m a fan of No I.D.’s production, I’m a fan of Kanye West’s production and lyrics, I’m a fan of Jay-Z...I don’t know how it looks in the future but this is definitely somethin’ that I would be interested in aiming at. We’re talkin’ about big money.”
 
Money Talk$: “I’m a fan of the Monterey Jazz Festival here in Switzerland. They’ve got all these artists comin’ down to Monterey; they got Quincy Jones, Roberta Flack and all these great artists. At the end of the festival they have a jam session where they play together and after the jam session all these artists hit the studio to record stuff. This is the mentality that I miss in Hip Hop because before you can really work with an artist you have to talk about money first. It`s not that two artists have a similar idea and they wanna create somethin’ together just for the music; it always has that business aspect to it and I think it’s sad.”

First and Fourth Quarter: “Look out for the mixtape which is droppin’ in March and hopefully if we get the label situation settled we got an album comin’ for you guys this year. I would say fourth quarter, 2010 but it depends because we’re in negotiations with some labels.”

What’s on the Table?: “Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that. I don’t wanna say somethin’ and then it doesn’t happen. UK labels and North American labels.”

Evidence of Growth:  “Off The Cuff was like a quick experiment and in my opinion it was like an average soulful Hip Hop; arrangement wise it’s not very sophisticated, production wise it’s mostly samples, there’s mostly loops, there’s simple lyrics and at the time it was in the vein of Little Brother and Talib Kweli - like pure good soulful Hip Hop. Now with the Homesick EP and also with the mixtape that’s comin’ out in March and with the whole album comin’ out there’s a huge difference in terms of production ‘cause arrangements are different, we didn’t just use samples anymore, we have a lot of live instruments, we used string quartets, we used horn players...it’s just a big step in production.”

Get More: “If you wanna find out more go to our MySpace page at www.myspace.com/nefewmusic and our management webpage www.ofrec.com”

Check "Because I Can" by Nefew and "Admit It" by Nefew and Masta Ace and Wordsworth.

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