We Are S.M.E


Aged just 21, Yasmin Shahmir posseses incredible talent and is one of Britain’s most promising female artists.

Yasmin was born in Manchester and raised in Glasgow, but it was the city of London which would prove to be the turning point in her life and provide her with the exposure she sought.

Having moved to London at the age of 19 in order to pursue her DJing career, she soon received the recognition she deserved; going on to DJ for the likes of N*E*R*D, Taio Cruz and Eve.

Off the back of her success in DJing, Yasmin decided to pursue a career in singing, and went on to sign a record deal with Levels Entertainment (part of Ministry of Sound). She has since supported Example on his UK tour, featured on the song ‘Runaway’ with East London’s finest MC; Devlin and most recently went on to release her debut single ‘On My Own’ which charted at #39; an impressive achievement for a debut record. Yasmin is also currently working on her debut album with the likes of Jamie XX, Labrinth and Shy FX.

Having seen her tear of the roof dropping endless Hip-Hop bangers during her DJ set at Rock The Belles, we were eager to talk Yasmin and find out if in fact there is anything that this girl can’t do?
Our wish was granted and here’s what we asked the beautiful singer/DJ/model/superwoman. The last one on that list isn’t entirely true; at least as far as we know!


[SME MEETS] Ghostpoet *Exclusive Interview* by wearesme

Born Obaro Ejimiwe, and bred in South London; Ghostpoet is a name you will be hearing a great deal more of in 2011.

Living up to his stage name, Obaro is poetic with his words and hypnotic with his flow. It’s difficult to put his music in a genre as it’s filled with diversity; as can be heard on the upcoming album which you can preview here. People would naturally file it under ‘Hip-Hop’, but there is a lot more to Ghostpoet; “I didn’t want to be seen as a rapper” he told us, regarding his choice of stage name.

After completing his degree in Media Production at Coventry University, Obaro moved back to London to further persue his passion for music. His hard work and talent aligned, when he was approached and signed by Giles Peterson’s label; Brownswood.

A brilliant debut single ‘Cash And Carry Me Home’ soon followed. It was released this week and has been championed by the likes of Zane Lowe at Radio 1.

As big fans of his unique and captivating music, SME were chuffed to be offered the opportunity to sit down with Ghostpoet and talk about the success of his single as well as the release of his album ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Meloncholy Jam’ (7th February 2011). Read on to see what Ghostpoet had to say on everything from his love for grime, to touring with Jamie Woon.


[SME MEETS] Freddie Cowan from The Vaccines *Exclusive Interview* by wearesme

If you haven’t heard about The Vaccines, you must reside under a rock. Coming third in the recently announced BBC Sound Of 2011 Poll, with their single ‘Post Break Up Sex’ released this week and a debut album on the way; The Vaccines are the band on everyone’s lips right now. An incredible achievement from a band who only formed officially in June 2010. Their rise to fame has been a rapid one to say the least.

The London based band was initially formed by Justin Young (vocals) and Freddie Cowan (guitar) with a third member who soon left. They were soon joined by Árni Hjörvar (bass) and Pete Robertson (drums) and named themselves The Vaccines in June 2010.

They released their demo “If You Wanna” in the Summer of 2010 and were immediately championed by Zane Lowe, who awarded it his ‘Hottest Record In The World’ on 18 August 2010.

After playing their first gig in Leicester they embarked on their first UK tour. Their popularity continued to rise and they sold out their first London show, having to turn away 200+ people at the door after reaching capacity at The Flowerpot in October 2010. The likes of Alex Kapranos, Marcus Mumford, and members of White Lies and The Maccabees were all in the audience.

The band then released their debut single “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)” (only one minute and 24 seconds long) on 29 November 2010 which reached number 157 in the UK Singles Chart.

After securing a contract with Columbia Records, they were signed to play on the 2011 NME Awards Tour, joining the likes of Magnetic Man, Crystal Castles and Everything Everything.

The band released their second single “Post Break-Up Sex” this week which was sat at #19 in the mid week chart.

When presented with the opportunity to speak to Freddie Cowan from the band, naturally we jumped at the chance. We couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say about the bands incredible rise from obscurity and everything that has come with their newfound popularity.

Fresh from a week long trip to America where the band caused a massive stir selling out venues in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Toronto, we spoke to a jet lagged Freddie and here’s what he had to say:


[SME MEETS] Dynamo *Exclusive Interview* by wearesme

Dynamo is arguably the best close-up magician around, having performed to some of the biggest stars in the world. He has performed for the likes of Tinie Tempah, Paris Hilton, Example, Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg and of course SME!

Dynamo, born Steve Frayne, grew up on Bradford’s Delph Hill Estate, one of the most violent and deprived estates in the north of England. He first learned magic from his grandfather and developed it during trips to New Orleans.

As word spread about his magic tricks he soon found himself performing on the celebrity circuit for stars like Paris Hilton and Busta Rhymes. He released an independent DVD called ‘Underground Magic’ featuring celebrities such as Coldplay, Gwenyth Paltrow and Snoop Dogg. The DVD generated considerable press in the UK and lead to appearances on shows such as Richard & Judy and a Channel 4 special ‘Dynamo’s Estate Of Mind’.

He followed up ‘Underground Magic’ with the release of the DVD called ‘Concrete Playground’ and his popularity only continues to grow. Most recently Dynamo worked with Panasonic on a promotional campaign for the TA1 Camera, which saw him performing for a host of musicians and DJ’s; all of which he documented using the Panasonic camera.

This week SME were delighted to have the chance to sit down and have a bit of a chat with Dynamo about the year gone by, the year ahead and his taste in music.


SME Meets NME DJ James Theaker by wearesme

James Theaker is one of the hottest young DJs around, working for NME, Skins, and Topman to name a few. We managed to pull him away from his hectic lifestyle and sit him down for a few drinks. Here’s what he has to say:

Mr. Theaker, first and foremost, thank you for your time. It’s been a while!

JT Yeah, it has been, hasn’t it.

SME We first met you when you DJ’d at one of our New Year’s gigs – no one would leave the dance floor (which did wonders for the toilet queue) – you also did another gig for us back in April and it was a similar story, describe the feeling when you see everyone vibing on the dance floor.

JT Thanks! Yeah it was a lot of fun. New Years is always great because there’s so many parties going on, I think I played at three last year and finished off at Vibe Bar with you guys. To be fair you can’t really go wrong at 6am on New Years morning, the people there are obviously the die hards!

SME Yeah, that’s so true! More recently though, in May, you and your colleagues at NME Radio won a Sony Records Academy Gold Award (there are also Silver and Bronze awards awarded in the same category) for your collaboration with Skins Radio and the nationwide tour – how was that for you?

JT Yeah that’s right, it was a real honour to win! Obviously it was an award for the whole team, including all the people at NME and Skins, so it was cool. But I didn’t get invited to the ceremony! What’s with that!! Hopefully I’ll get the chance to go back one day and do it properly. (hint)

SME Perhaps that thought you were too busy and couldn’t make it. Just like we didn’t make it to any of the Skins Tour parties that you DJ’d at, were they as debauched as those we saw on screen?

JT They are great parties definitely. But to be honest because they’re branded gigs there are a lot of TV fans there, and they aren’t necessarily massive party/ music fans as a lot just come to get a photo taken with the cast members. But outside of the groupies they’re generally pretty rocking, last year we did two weeks of gigs with about 2000 people every night.

SME Woah, that’s crazy, we can only begin to imagine the goings-on.What’s your opinion on the disposable nature of our generation’s music listening habits?

JT We’re certainly at a unique juncture in terms of patterns of consumption of popular music. I’m a radio plugger, so I work somewhere in the middle between the major record labels and radio stations like Radio 1, Kiss, & Capital. Do you use Shazam? That’s a really good indicator of what people are listening to and tagging each week and we reference that quite a lot. It keeps me really up to date.

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SME meets Loose Talk Costs Lives by wearesme

L to R: Liam Klimek, James Rapson, Ollie Route, Greg Round

A few months ago we brought you news of the NME Breakthrough Competition, in which the winner would be given the opportunity at one of the summers biggest festivals: Lovebox.

SME are extremely pleased to announce that one of our favourite bands, Loose Talk Costs Lives made the final cut as well as making it to the final 40 of the Futuresounds competition to play both Reading and Leeds festivals. Exciting.

We caught up Liam Klimek and Greg Round from the band and had a good old chin wag…

Hello gents. Firstly, could you describe your style and sound for those who have yet to hear any of your music?

GR NME Breakthrough described us as ‘scrambled Yorkshire afro punk’ but we also try to include pop sensibilities in our music through the hooks and song structures. We aim to fuse tropical and exotic sounds with more mainstream genres.

LK My personal feeling is that we write music for people to react to, most commonly in the form of moving their feet and/or hips depending on how confident they are with their dance capabilities (laughs).  As for a style, I think it’s fair to say we were all quite happy with NME´s remark because it’s a combination of groove and angst. Perfect.

Yeah, we guess it’s a pretty accurate description too.

Its been a pretty manic nine months for you guys, you’ve come a long way since banging on some pots and pans in your uni dorm room. Can you tell us the story of the band; how you formed and when, etc?

LK Well, James (Rapson) and Greg knew each other and played together back in South London before moving up to Leeds. And, then a couple of weeks into my arrival in Leeds I met them in a bar and we started talking about City Of God and how it was all of our favourite film, then I auditioned for what was supposed to be a continuation of what James and Greg had put together in London, then a little bit later Ollie (Route) joined and we had a new band.

GR Yeah, the band started with me, James and Liam playing a few shows to our friends around Leeds. Ollie joined the band in November 2009 completing the band as a four piece. Since then we have been playing more shows and trying to branch out of Leeds.

So far it seems to be going well; you have supported quite a few well known bands recently, including Good Shoes, Chew Lips, Two Door Cinema Club and Japandroids but what would you say has been your best gig to date?

GR Personally playing the Live at Leeds music festival on the main stage alongside Wild Beasts has been my best gig to date (smiles).

LK I agree! Playing on the main stage at Live At Leeds was amazing. I think we felt as though we were justified in taking ourselves a little more seriously after that gig. Everybody reacted, smiling, dancing and blowing kisses. It was very fun.

We attended that gig ourselves and the crowd was awesome, they were really getting into it!

In the past few months it has been announced that you have made it to the final 5 of the NME breakthrough competition to play at Lovebox festival and the final 40 of the futuresound competition to play Reading and Leeds festivals. This is pretty awesome news and we would like to wholeheartedly congratulate you. How do you guys find it?

GR Its pretty crazy, we only joined the NME breakthrough community as it offered another free platform to showcase our music through. We only seriously started promoting ourselves through the page when we realized we were getting some acknowledgement from it. Getting to the final 5 is brilliant and we want to thank everyone who voted for us. In regards to the Futuresound competition we sent off one of our tracks and ended up being picked in the final 40 just from this. These are both amazing opportunities for the band, although we are up against some brilliant artists, so we have our work cut out!

LK Yeah, we ended up coming second in the NME Breakthrough competition, which we are quite proud of and would like to echo Greg’s point of thanking everyone who voted for us. Competing with your music is something that initially sounds exciting. Prizes are always exciting, even shit ones, so to be put into shortlists are great but it does also add an element of competitiveness and tension that I’m not sure is appropriate when displaying something that is supposed to be artistic. I’m undecided on the concept, but to be able to play at Reading and Leeds would naturally be fucking banging.

Fuck yeah! That would be pretty insane. But what type of set would you do? Because, you recently done a live set on BBC Radio Yorkshire, where you stripped back your music and played a complete acoustic set. Can you tell us how that came about because usually your sets are quite upbeat and all about dancing along to?

LK The rearrangements of the songs were initially put together to do an acoustic podcast which never happened, and then a couple of months later we were booked to do the BBC radio thing, so it just seemed fitting to use them. We’ve done one show stripped back since, for some friends, with an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm projected in the background. It was truly enjoyable but I think we’re going to focus on being a party band for the foreseeable.

GR Yea this was just something the other guys were experimenting with and thought it was a nice change to our usual set so I basically left it up to them. I quite enjoyed watching from the audience for once to see how we sound and act on stage. You can actually listen back to the recording on our Facebook page. It’s well worth a listen.

Good work on the Facebook plug! Finally, you recently recorded your first EP. Do you have any idea as to when it will be released? The suspense is killing us!

GR Yea we were thinking of releasing an EP but are now more into the idea of a single to test the water. The tracks are still in the mixing process after recording in Easter but will hopefully be ready for an August/September release. We are hoping to put on a release show for the single on top of this.

Wicked. Be sure to invite us. Anyway chaps, its been an absolute pleasure. Good luck with everything and we are pretty sure we will be seeing/hearing more of you in the near future.

GR Cheers.

LK Nice one, thanks.

So there we have it, the first in the ‘SME Meets’ series and we don’t think we could have started with a more talented, nicer bunch of lads. SME x


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