Twenty-five year old Spilt Pupil, AKA Marcus Antony Forbes, grew up in Bristol, south-west England. As an early teen he started to become interested in the music industry, and at the tender age of fifteen he joined London-based rap collective Nxus, which included his cousin and two friends. The group started to gain recognition on the underground scene and paved the way for Spilt’s music career. After a natural split a couple of years later, Spilt started his solo project, and in 2008 released his first mixtape Day Is Dark. Since then, he has released the follow up EP Operation Spilt in 2010, and is currently recording his album The Flood due for release in March 2012. He has had over a hundred-thousand collective video views on YouTube and seems determined on making a name for himself.
I caught up with Spilt Pupil today to find out more about him as an artist, what challenges he faces, and to see what he has in store for us this year.
Georgina: You’ve been around for a few years – you had the Day Is Dark mixtape out in 2008 then Operation Spilt in 2010. When did you first decide that you wanted to be an MC and who are your major influences? Do you have any favourite artists?
Spilt Pupil: I didn’t really decide as such, it was more of a natural thing I started doing around the age of fifteen or sixteen, simply because I enjoy music and my love for it just grew. No one really played a major part, although my dad was in the reggae group Talisman so maybe I have an innate love for music anyway. My favourite rapper is Eminem and he has inspired me to get better and to work at my music. I also love Mase, Method Man, Wu Tang Clan and Wyclef Jean.
Georgina: You were in the group Nxus but left. Tell me more about that.
Spilt Pupil: That was around the age of fifteen to about seventeen. Any group is going to be full of different individuals with different ideas and tunes, and if it doesn’t click then it doesn’t click. When you grow up you start knowing what you want and if it differs from others, then you just naturally grow apart. We all just separated really.
Georgina: You released a track with Sway and Supreme last year. How did that collaboration come about?
Spilt Pupil: At the time of the release I wasn’t really putting anything out so to speak, and I was talking to Supreme about a project he was doing. He’s from Bristol too and I’ve known him and had a musical relationship with him for a while. He wanted some input from my side for a mixtape he was making, and we made the track 1 Hater 2 together. From there he managed to get Sway on the track too, and it basically became a three-man track.
Georgina: I Ain’t Saying Nothing has been pretty successful on YouTube and it has been featured on Virgin Media and Channel AKA. Why do you think you’re starting to finally get the recognition you deserve throughout the UK?
Spilt Pupil: I think I’m probably starting to make it now because I’ve started to reach out to a bigger audience. Throughout the years I’ve been working and developing my talent and I wanna expose myself. Right now I’m putting out material that I’m ready to go with and it’s getting a good response. It’s something I’ve worked at and perfected, so to speak, and I’m presenting it and people are liking it.
Georgina: What has been the biggest challenge so far in your career?
Spilt Pupil: Hmm the biggest challenge, I’d say that’s the track selection, so going through songs and trying to know or guess which ones are the best to put out, which one could be the next single, and so on. You always wanna be aware of your next big step before it happens.
Georgina: Okay, so what processes do you go through when you are choosing your next track to put out?
Spilt Pupil: I’m always thinking of progression. I put out I Ain’t Saying Nothing which I would class as a street anthem, so the next thing for me would be slightly different. I want each single to be different, different sounding, so maybe next I’ll put out something more on the commercial side. I’m a story teller, and I want that to come across in my music.
Georgina: You made a mini-movie called The Storm which was released on YouTube in summer 2010 alongside your track of the same name. What was the inspiration behind making a mini-movie? I watched it and it was quite entertaining!
Spilt Pupil: Basically I wanted to do something different. Me and my brother sat down and came up with idea of not just doing a standard music video, but something alternative. It wasn’t really inspired by any films or anything, it was just an idea we had.
Georgina: You’re obviously from Bristol, which is doing a lot for the UK music scene right now. What makes you stand out from the other talent coming from Bristol, and the UK scene in general?
Spilt Pupil: That’s a good question you know. I feel like I have my own way of song-writing and my own method when it comes to music. You can listen to a lot of rappers and be inspired by them and have a favourite rapper as such, but I try to have my own identity and stick to what is real for me. It’s my own personality I’m putting across in songs; I wouldn’t try to speak or sound like my favourite rapper.
Georgina: Finally, what do you have planned for this year?
Spilt Pupil: My album The Flood is out on Sunday 25th March (tbc). This was originally going to be a mixtape, but all the beats are original and it started to sound more like an album. I don’t wanna shoot myself in the foot but I originally wanted to release two albums this year – if I can get the first one out successfully then I’ll make a follow up. It’s all about consistency at the end of the day so I wanna continue to be relevant throughout the whole year and make a big statement. I’d be happy with that.