Haydn from The Stow has come a long way from being an MC called Esteem, rapping about girls and sex because he didn’t have any ‘thug-life’ experience. Inspired by the popularity of artists such as So Solid Crew and Pay As You Go Cartel, circa the early noughties, he started rapping because he really enjoyed it and even had a track with MOBO award-winning saxophonist Yolanda Brown and yet something wasn’t quite right. “ I’ve never been a thug so I didn’t have stuff to say on my tracks so I used to talk about girls. I remember performing once and the audience was full of girls and I was embarrassed [about his lyrical content].” Having always loved live music, he began putting out ads for members to join a band and The Stow was born.
Drawing from a wide range of musical inspirations from Aston (a classical covers band who got signed off the back of their youtube videos) to Arctic Monkeys, Haydn is a genuine music lover and it comes as no surprise that Jay Z is one of his big influences. “ I’m a big Jay Z fan, his music gives more the more you listen to it, and then the more you listen to it, the more you understand about what he’s saying. That’s what made me rap in the way I do now.” Haydn also wants to emulate Jigga’s success as a businessman. “When I was growing up you didn’t see that, he’s made music, then gone on to become big, respectable and successful. That’s what I want to do, bring it all together to make it all work business and music together. “
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is another inspiration to Haydn, mainly because of his unassuming nature. “He seems to be humble but he’s incredibly focused. They said we wasn’t a natural CEO and that he was just a geek with no business acumen, but look, now he owns one of the biggest companies in the world with such a huge social impact. It goes to show appearances don’t mean much, its how your mind works that matters.”
The rapper, who got a marketing and advertising degree as ‘a backup’ writes most of the lyrics for the band and says the majority of the musical ideas come from his mind (though he does concede, “one of our best songs “Sunshine” had nothing to do with me”) and then develop into something new with the input of the band. The thing about The Stow that sets them apart from everyone else on the UK scene at the moment is their willingness to try new things, according to Haydn, and also “the quality of our music with no support, compared to artists who have lots of help. “
Haydn describes music ‘like a smell’ because of its evocative nature, and says music can definitely change the world. “Its undeniable. Music is used at every occasion and can accompany every emotion. Songs have even inspired people to change their lives, and if you can do that you have changed the world.”
One of his best memories is of the experience of playing Glastonbury last year with The Stow, not so much the actual gig, but the atmosphere at the festival and in particular, the headlining act, who had quite a profound effect on him. “ Watching Stevie Wonder rolling on the floor playing his guitar, hopping on one leg playing his guitar, it was amazing. Probably the best gig I’ve ever seen. He performed about 20 songs, but he could’ve easily done another 40 and he didn’t even perform all the classics you would expect, but the crowd were still happy. That’s the dream to play a 5-hour set and still have hits left to play.”
Let us know what you’ve thought of The Stow series this week. For gig information check out thestowonline.co.uk
Photo courtesy of www.Mariskeva.com