What happens when you cross Croydon with a love for punk and rap? Apparently you get lele[SPEAKS]. Not content with making all sorts of crazy videos and dropping tons of music, she also has a hand in some of the best t-shirts around. We caught up with her to discuss upcoming projects, nightmares and just what happens to a Lost fan when their favourite show ends.
Photography: Dom Marley
I read that you were a big fan of punk music when you were younger, what sort of bands did you listen to most?
I still listen now, my favorite band in the whole world are The Descendents for me they are so ahead of the rest nothing can touch them.
And you played the guitar too? Did you ever make any punk music yourself, or get a band together to do that?
I played the tiniest bit, I was so into writing poetry and songs I never bothered learning more than 6 chords. I’m very impatient so as soon as I found a friend who played better than me I got her to play so I could focus on writing and vocals. That was as close as I got to creating a band.
But talking of bands I am working in more of a band structure at the moment, I’ve started working with a group of musicians on tracks and it’s so different from working with a producer. Everyone is adding to each song it’s so much fun. I’ve been working with Daniel P Carter (an amazing song writer and member of the band A), the banging guitarists Lags and Steph from Gallows and the sick drummer Gareth Grover from Haunts. These tracks are sounding amazing, I can’t wait for people to hear them!
What made you start making more hip hop style music? Did you just gradually switch or was there one album or track that made you think “Damn, I need to be doing this too”?
When I was 17 I started writing raps. To be honest I became a lot more open minded about a lot of things at this age, it was a real turning point. It wasn’t a particular person or song, it was more to do with me struggling to get everything I wanted to say out in one song. When you’re singing there just ain’t room for too many words! So I started rapping, though at the time I saw it more as speaking that’s when I came up with the name lele[SPEAKS]. I’ve been rapping almost 5 years but I’ve been writing songs for longer, I recorded my first song at 10. I know lyrically I’m killing it on my verses but I don’t battle, I respect it a lot, that stuff takes balls and skills but I am not just a rapper I’m a song writer.
A quick look on YouTube shows that you’ve got a number of videos up for tracks that all seem to be a bit on the weird side – you’ve got Uhh Ohh which is like something from The Shining and Volcano which is Barbie in a homemade volcano – are these ideas you think of yourself and film? Or do you have mates who like to chip in?
Weird side? Really? I thought that was completely normal! The brains behind the ideas is my sister Kelly (from The Sick Kids) and me. Sometimes we try to create the visual we get from the music and sometimes it has nothing to do with it we just go with a theme. Uhh Ohh and Horror are pretty strange and scary that’s our favorite kinda imagery. Volcano takes from a lot of things but mainly the stuff with us in the lab coats with the old film effect is based on the old Dharma tapes in Lost. Not Sober and Back to Bed are more random. Over all my videos are about dark comedy, that’s our style in a nutshell.
Do you think that maybe your Barbie in the volcano was a voodoo doll that caused all the ash earlier this year? Are YOU to blame for all those planes that were grounded?!
Do you have any new releases planned for this year? Bang us all the details!
I’m working on my album with these guys at the moment, I’m so stoked on how sick it’s sounding. I’m not sure when any of this new stuff will be released but when all the tracks are done, you’ll know about it! I have a mixtape coming soon for free download, it’s a duet mixtape with fellow Croydon rapper Micky Worthless. We are recording it now, so it should be released by later this year via our sites. I’ve been meaning to do some more free tracks, so I’m so happy to be working on this mixtape. It’s going to be hammer time!
You also put out the Sick Kids clothing stuff with your sister which ranges from t-shirts to denim jackets to accessories. What made you want to get started with that kind of thing?
Well Kelly is very talented, she was born for this and like the way she helps me with ideas, I help her. We are a great creative team, we have similar tastes and being sisters well you can’t beat that. We love street fashion and just fell into it naturally, I guess from living in London and being a part of the music scene. For us, this is it, we’re living the dream dude! Even though we still live at home in a council house we are doing what we love.
Do you and your sister do all the designs yourself?
Kelly draws everything by hand, you should see her doodles! She loves painting portraits aswell, she just gave me one of 50 Cent! check them out on our blog!
Are you the people behind the now infamous “Wasteman” t-shirts, which appeared all over the place a couple of years ago (Toddla T loves it innit)? Did you think it was going to go as far and wide as it did?
Hell yes that is a Sick Kids Tee, in fact it’s one of our top sellers still today. We recently saw Kele from Bloc Party wearing it at one of his gigs (check it out here). We knew it was a good t-shirt because people reacted to it so well. I love my Wasteman tee!
I had a quick look over your twitter and saw a couple thing I wanted to pick up on. You said that you wish people didn’t make music videos with them singing to their reflection in the mirror – why does that creep you out? Any personal experience thing? Maybe a nightmare as a kid that it would jump out and strangle out?
No man. My kiddie nightmares those involved bears eating my Dad and ET coming to get me. People singing at themselves in the mirror is one of those embarrassing things nobody should see right?! So it creeps me out and makes me cringe when people put it in their music videos.
Big question now, how are you gonna cope now Lost is done?
I was such a huge fan and now it’s gone I feel so lost. Nothing compares to Lost, everything else that’s on is so easy to predict but with lost there is so much going on, so many characters, I’m always surprised. I spent hours trying to figure stuff out, watching reviews and recap videos online. It’s been so fun and it sounds mega cheesy but I don’t care, I loved this show!
I also see that you’re pissed Dr Dre signed The Game back to his label. How come you’re not a fan of Game?
He was OK when 50 was writing his hooks but after that his sound just changed into whoever he was working with. I’m not a fan.
And finally, I see you mentioned on your blog that you’re a big Mario fan. Who are the best Mario characters and why?
I like Toad the best especially for Mario cart because his really fast, but Mario has got to be the best overall on all games. I must mention that the new Mario Bros for Wii game is insane, it’s so sick!