So let's clear this up for a start; this project is not claiming that Scottish folk can't rap. In fact with YOUR help, this project will be there to do the exact opposite.
"Scottish hip-hop is, for some, a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron (with emphasis on the ‘moron’), a laughing stock, an impossibility, at best a novelty." Dr. Dave Hook
Meet Dave Hook, A.K.A Solareye. Rapper, poet, song-writer and music producer. Winner of Best Hip-Hop at the Scottish Alternatives Music Awards 2018, Dave has toured extensively throughout the UK and around the globe with critically acclaimed alternative hip-hop group Stanley Odd, and as a solo artist. Dave completed a PhD in 2018, with his research focusing on hip-hop, rap lyricism, identity, culture and performance through creative practice.
In his spare time, (yes, we're being sarcastic) Dave works in prisons, schools, and community settings delivering workshops on hip-hop and song writing and it was for these audiences and workshops that he wrote the song “Scottish People Can’t Rap”, to open up discussions on what the preconceptions of hip-hop are and highlighting how limiting stereotypes can be.
"Much of my work attempts to engage with the multi-layered interactions between local and global culture and, as such, the opening lines of my piece, ‘Scottish People Can’t Rap’, serve as a useful introduction to this notion.”
As regular collaborators, Neon8 and Dave have been exploring the idea of bringing this research to life through a series of short films for the last year. These bitesize documentaries will be presented by Dave and alter ego Solareye, with visual representations of rhythm, bars, beats and structures, a smattering of interviews and a healthy dose of music.
In the heady days pre-Covid19, there were talks of trying to find funding for travel to NYC and actual, face to face physical meetings (remember those?) with artists to compare and contrast the global and local cultures.
But we now find ourselves here, talking to you guys, with a VR camera by our side. (This is it - looks a bit like Disney Pixar's WALL-E. We like to call him 'Oor WALL-E'!)
We know that VR has been around on the peripheries of visual arts for some years now. It’s continuing to gain traction within the gaming world and recent worldwide lockdown has propelled VR Fitness into the limelight (would you believe!).
We also know that many folk in the creative arts industries are, not without good reason, cynical about the tech and the user experience. And this is one reason we thought we’d go for it with this project. As we are already taking on one challenge to breakdown preconceptions (of Scottish hip-hop) why not add another in to the mix! To breakdown preconceptions of the world of virtual reality and ALL it has to offer. And we mean ALL!
As a clever person once muttered: “Necessity is the mother of invention”. Well, we believe that necessity will drive VR film content forward. 2020 has been a huge black swan event thanks to Covid-19, and with that people have been taking the time to reflect and think about new normals, like working from home, connecting online and consuming content and entertainment in novel and innovative ways. We hope this is the beginning of a good second wave - that of an interest and understanding of the potential of VR films.
We will be filming this in VR 180, which is a stereoscopic (read: 3D!) format with a 180 degree field of view.
We chose this format because we believe it fits with the subject of marginalised art whilst providing an immersive and awe-inspiring experience for the viewer. With VR 180 our attention is focussed in front of us - the viewer can still look around the environment, but it's essentially a front-facing experience. Viewing films and performances is a passive past-time and viewed sitting down. A 360 degree production is difficult to view and take all in. We believe 180 is the right format for this and many other performance based productions as Neon8 move forward with this.
Your backing of this first film in the Scottish People Can’t Rap series will allow us to take the time required to implement the VR element. You will be helping not only to start the breakdown of those lazy stereotypes around Scottish hip-hop, but also allowing for much needed and oh so valuable R&D time that is a luxury we can’t afford without you. And you will be richly rewarded of course! If you head over to the Rewards part of the page, you can choose how.
Ok. Oh, and Neon8 are..?
Neon8 is a small independent film company based in Edinburgh run by, us, Kelman and Gemma Greig-Kicks. These are our faces!
With nearly 20 years’ experience each in film, multimedia and arts production, we strive to produce films that are people-centric, creative and engaging. We have experience in budgets great and small and a proven track record of delivering. So you can be assured we will deliver what we promise!
And we are all ably supported by our wonderful Production Assistant, James Miller. This is his face too!