Interview: Mad Brains

From behind the stage name Mad Brains, Cameron Toman has been busy supporting his debut release ‘ZADES’ and adjusting to the tough realities of hanging out with Brazilian skate crews in Barcelona. Without much promotion or advertising attached to his latest mixtape Cameron has enticed curiosity from both media and public and looks set on continuing to diversify as an artist throughout the summer. We sat down with Mad Brains to discuss his relationship with hip hop and what the future holds:

Do you remember your first contact with hip hop?

My first real hip hop experience was through listening to A Tribe Called Quest, whilst 50 Cent and Lil Wayne echoed in the background- I found a new love and left all the shit music behind.

How often do you find yourself experimenting with other styles and sub-genres?

The new mixtape  is pretty straight forward hip hop, there are a range of different styles of beats throughout the tape which alter my style of rapping. There a few old school beats with an old school flow, but I switch it up with the song ‘Blowpane’ for example, it is a much more experimental beat and I adapt my technique to work with the unique sound.

How have you found the response has been to your first mixtape?

Incredible, its so good to have mates around me who constantly support my music. Always at my gigs always vibing to my new stuff, big shout to all the boys in Widnes as well for all the support!

Have you already thought about your next move one the dust has settled from ZADES?

I am living in Barcelona at the moment and I’ve met with a Brazilian hip hop/skate crew called EDG, we have a few plans for gigs and making some music together.

Are you considering including a producer to collaborate with on the next release?

Yea 100%, the whole idea of ZADES was to spread the knowledge of my ability with the intention to work with producers. Since the release I have had a number of producers get in contact with me which I am so hyped about.

The instrumentals you found for the mixtape are pretty obscure when you consider the usual scope of hip hop beats, What drew you to them?

One of my favourite things to do, I think in the world is to sit in my room and spend hours going through instrumental beats and writing new lyrics and freestyling over them. If a beat truly inspires my writing I decide there and then that I will use that beat, that’s pretty much how the mixtape came together.

How have you found performing live, does it come naturally?

Its pretty natural for me to be honest, I began MCing with DJ’s at club events. My first gig was with Waivee in Nottingham, and from there I started performing in Liverpool and London so the whole stage thing doesn’t really get to me. I just get up there and do what I love doing most.

So when can we next see you performing on stage?

Well if you’re in Barcelona you can catch me at an underground weed association on July 4th, if not I’m back in London in September with the intention to gig like crazy again.

You can download ZADES here

Words by Charlie Wood