Shotgun The Aux is the UK’s most popping hip hop and streetwear podcast. Brazenly honest and packed with knowledge, their videos and podcasts became a staple of the scene before their first anniversary. As well as key figures in the game, their platform has provided a space for some of the sickest MCs who deserve the mic.
“That sounded bait… make it look cool.”
We passed through their spare-room studio to get to know the showmen behind the show. We chatted about Boris Johnson holding back Bournemouth’s hip hop scene, and the time Pav from Foreign Beggars crashed in Tom’s flat. Between comic jabs and random facts, learn the podcast’s backstory and some secrets of the future!
If you shotgunned the aux, what would you play?
T: “That’s a crazy question to open with. Top of my head, ‘Twinz (Deep Cover ’98)‘ by Big Pun and Fat Joe because it’s just a banger init and everyone loves that shit.”
A: “I’d put on a very well-known podcast called Shotgun The Aux. Nah, I’d put on whatever I’m feeling. It could be grime, drum and bass, hip hop, reggae, whatever.”
J: “In my car, or with anyone, I’d just go on my songs and press shuffle, so it’s whatever comes on [presses shuffle]. Let’s hope it’s a hip hop track… it’s Giggs ‘Slippin’‘.”
What’s the story behind you guys meeting and setting up the show?
A: “Well, I was surfing in North Korea… nah nah Jake will say it.”
J: “It started on a lesser known podcast called Other Podcasts Are Available and we recorded it on a Dictaphone in our mate Dave’s shed with two other lads. The concept of it was that we liked football but Aidan and Nick didn’t. Anyway, I’ve always wanted to do a hip hop podcast called Podcarst. The concept was we’d drive around in my car listening to hip hop tracks and talking about it, but the logistics wouldn’t have worked. In the meantime, I’ve met Tom via our fiancées and wives who knew each other at work, and over a few cocktails Tom was making me, pitched him the idea. Tom and Aidan didn’t know each other at this point so I’m the middleman here. I told Aidan that I’ve got a new name for the podcast: Shotgun The Aux. Boom. Set up a meeting.”
T: “Going back to me and Jake getting pissed, we’d always be listening to music and I’d be chewing his ear with inane facts about some rapper’s lyrics. Then he was like ‘My mate Aidan makes beats and is well into hip hop.’ We’re at a BBQ, (and Aidan used to dabble in a bit of beatmaking, like he did the intro to the podcast last year), and Jake was like ‘You’d get on well, you both have a deep rooted passion for hip hop’. Then months later they told me about their podcast and said they want to scrap it for a hip hop one. It was a no-brainer, we all live within walking distance from where we record.
A: “There was a WhatsApp group set up and I made an Instagram page to get the ball rolling, ‘cos out of this I’m heavily into marketing and social media shit. We posted loads of stuff and it just grew. The original idea was to have one topic each week, and the first one we did was recorded into an iPad all huddled round one microphone.”
T: “We prepared fuck-all, just introduced ourselves and spitballed. But what are our credentials? We just love hip hop music. Then we realised we had to apply some structure to the episodes.”
A: “You think you can easily just sit and chat shit for an hour with your mates, but I didn’t like Tom so it was hard [laughs], I’m joking. But you’ve gotta be able to speak about relevant topics, so one of us usually throws in curveballs like ‘UK vs US’ or ‘What makes a good music video’. After that, we started to get guests in and change it up.”
T: “Initially, it was always to be talking about hip hop, but then because we know some local heads who make rap music, we thought why not get them involved. We intended it to be a platform for up and coming artists and local artists to get their music out there and have a chat. It’s been fun.”
A: “It’s not about us, it’s for artists. If you look through the podcasts one of our biggest guests was Pav from Foreign Beggars – arguably one of the greatest UK hip hop collectives – then the episode after that is a local head from Bournemouth, it’s two ends of the spectrum.”
T: “We’re nobody, we just like rap music. But because we aren’t artists it’s having that unbiased view where we can dedicate more time to the conversations than the music. We can’t rap–”
J: “Woa speak for yourself boys.”
Do you have individual roles within the podcast?
T: “Jake contributes fuck-all. Nah, he’s got funny quips, tidbits and general wisdom.”
A: “At sixth form I did a bit of music tech so I pretend to know about recording. I know how to use Logic, which isn’t hard, but these guys don’t know how to do it. I’ve learnt how to distribute podcasts, the marketing, Facebook, YouTube, and all that stuff on a business end. It’s all part of my interests so to me it’s fun. I’m shit when it comes to talking to new people so that’s why Tom took on the role of being the person that reaches out to people. I’m in the background keeping it running while Tom is the front guy who’s good at building relationships. Props to him, he does a lot of research into the artists we have on and asks some really good questions. I’ll watch guest’s previous interviews to find out how they’ll react to questions and what they’ve already been asked. We try to make it thought provoking which is what Tom does really well. Jake is a G. He takes an outside approach to it because he’s not from a UK hip hop background.”
T: “Me and Aidan come from hip hop but different directions. I’m a bit older so come from the American side. Aidan is from the UK side, so we both had a learning curve of listening to music you wouldn’t have before. Jake comes from a grime/commercial angle so we approach things from different directions but somehow it all gels together. I feel like I’m learning something every week. Aidan also acts as an everyman. He’s a layman who’s a conduit for the listener who is also thinking ‘I don’t know that.’ People have given feedback saying ‘I like it when Aidan says he doesn’t know what you’re talking about’, because then we have to reiterate so listeners find out what we’re on about. If you assume everyone knows everything about hip hop then everyone’s gunna have a boring time man. The fandom of any subculture is passionate and likes to be validated by hearing people talk about what they know, but on the other hand, they want to learn something new.”
A: “You’re appealing to people who know, and to people who want to know.”
What are your proudest podcast moments so far?
A: “Tom’s is when Pav came round and the place where he was staying fell through, so he had to stay round Tom’s.”
T: “Yeah he crashed here [laughs], but no man, my proudest moment is just the sustainability. This sounds cheesy as fuck, but people messaging us saying ‘We rate what you’re doing, the scene needs something like this.’ Initially we wanted to do this because we love hip hop, but UK hip hop is an underrepresented scene. We felt that it’s good to showcase people who don’t necessarily get that exposure. Some of our guests have come through and from listening to each other on the podcast have networked and made music together. My proudest moment is seeing guests come through who have never met and linking to make rap together – I think that’s sick.”
A: “A lot of our growth has been from messaging people like ‘Check out the podcast’, but what’s pretty cool is when people message back saying they already check it. For someone that’s not a mate and doesn’t listen just because they feel like they have to, to then turn around and say they check what we do is pretty cool, especially as I spend hours putting the podcast together.”
J: “To be fair, right now. To go back a year and to think that in a year’s time we’d be on the other side being interviewed because of what we do. Another thing is when people like yourselves come through and know everything. We have some guests who’ve listened to the odd episode, but some people have listened from the first and it’s like they know us so well. I’ll be walking down Winton high street, or when we went to Eden people were coming up to us like ‘Shotgun The Aux!’. That sounded bait… make it look cool.”
What are your goals and changes for the podcast in 2020?
T: “The look and feel, generally we’re having a few thoughts on that, and merch – stay tuned for that. More guests and more content.”
A: “On the record, there’s gunna be merch and a website. I don’t wanna say stuff that might not happen, but off the record… [redacted]. 2020 is going to be bigger and better.”
You’re a hip hop and streetwear podcast, will streetwear come closer to the front this year?
J: “I’d like to shoehorn that in because we wanted that initially. It’s been in our bio but we’ve never really talked about it.”
A: “On Spotify our actual category is ‘Beauty’ and I still don’t know why.”
T: “Jake’s always been the more fashion conscious one and he’s donning a pair of the new Wu-Tang Wallabees. It comes up with guests but it’s not necessarily the episode’s central focus. Like when M£lvs came on he talked about the history of Nike Cortez. We did an episode of fashion through the eras in hip hop, covering Dapper Dan and all the New York stuff to where it’s at now.”
A: “We originally wanted to go ahead as a hip hop and streetwear podcast. The first few episodes there was a big focus on it but over time it just went more hip hop. We’ve touched on it but not as much as we want to.”
T: “It’s one of those things where you don’t want to spread yourselves too thin. If you dedicate a section of the podcast to streetwear and new drops then it’s more to follow constantly and keep your finger on the pulse. It’s time and resources man, we’d all love to do that.”
J: “I could talk streetwear with any man, woman, child, cat or dog. I think streetwear and fashion will feature a lot more in Shotgun The Aux this year.”
What’s your take on Bournemouth’s hip hop scene?
T: “I really rate it man. I think there’s some proper talent here. Did you see the £asy Life New Years Eve cypher? Those boys fucking killed it. Big up £asy Life, and Inner Method Records as well – they’re the guys behind Move On Up. Also the older guys like the Shoalin Monkeys who’ve been doing their thing for time, please make more music. It’s a fairly disjointed scene, everyone comes together for gigs, but in terms of making music there are pockets of people doing their thing respectively. There’s a lot of talent in Bournemouth and it’s often overlooked. That’s another reason why we did this: to shine a light and it’s got to start at home.”
A: “I think Bournemouth has a really strong hip hop scene and it’s down to the fact that you’ve got Boogaloo, Move On Up, Inner Method Records, £asy Life, Shoalin Monkeys, B-Line Records, grime shit from back in the day, there’s a lot of hip hop going on. Come True Records as well, there’s so much going on. Thanks to Move On Up there’s more artists and big MCs coming down too.”
T: “It’s been about for time. One of our first guests Cosm is an older head from Bournemouth originally. He’s sick man and actually drew a tree diagram depicting the Bournemouth hip hop scene. It shows how deep rooted the scene is, if you excuse the pun. It’s really strong and I hope people continue making dope music and don’t get disenfranchised.”
A: “Bobby from Boogaloo said a really interesting thing. Music here goes in terms of events. Bournemouth has a huge amount of students so you find that events go in line with term time, rather than being all year round. That might have been the case then, but now, all the labels are Bournemouth based so people are making music all year round. But yeah, watch out.”
Does anything hold Bournemouth back from having a well established scene?
A: “Fuckin’ Tories! [laughs]”
T: “Yeah Boris Johnson fucking shit up man. But seriously though, it’s because Bournemouth isn’t seen as a creative hub like Bristol that radiates that culture – you’ve got the graff, skate and hip hop cultures all in one hub – likewise with London and bigger cities. Bournemouth is just ‘seaside town’ so it doesn’t have that perception from people. One guest came through and said that no one is looking for the next big thing from Bournemouth because of that perception.”
A: “Down south the three biggest places are Brighton, Bristol and London, right? They’ve all got their own character and I think for a long time Bournemouth didn’t have a character and there was nothing gritty about it. But now, you go around and there’s lots of record shops and vegan shit popping up, so people are staying here rather than getting to eighteen/twenty and leaving. Also a big thing is Bournemouth University and the Arts University. Give it a few years and you’ll have a generation of artistic students finishing uni and staying in Bournemouth. That will drive more creative events and businesses, so trust, give it a few years and Bournemouth is gunna be a really cool place in terms of events and style.”
Any final shout outs?
T: “Shout out Shotgun The Aux – best hip hop podcast of all time. No no, big up to our listeners because as cliché as it sounds, you need listeners for podcasts to operate. Technically you don’t, but that would be bait with no listeners. Also, to our guests for coming through. People making music, creative types, producers, rappers, journalists and people doing bits for the scene. And shouts to yourself man.”
A: “Big up to my girl Soph, she supports me and shit when I’m doing this. I spend a lot of time editing videos and I’m sure it gets annoying but she’s like ‘It’s sound you enjoy it so go do it.’ She also does our graphic design for free which is cool! Big up to all the Bournemouth heads, Crate 808, everyone who has supported us or chucked us a message, everyone who’s listened or come on the podcast. Big up yourself man for taking the time to do this.”
T: “Yeah I’ve got to shout my wife out for putting up with us recording in this flat every week. Danielle is a saint. That Saturday when CMPND, Rye Shabby, Verb T and Pitch 92 all came through it was scenes and she was just playing Red Dead.”
A: “Also, fuck Tom’s neighbours. We’ll be recording then half way through they give us this stamping.”
J: “Shout out to Emily my fiancée for allowing me to disappear for hours on end to record with these boys. Shout out to these boys. Shout out to all the guests, and that’s not for coming on, that’s for talking to a random bloke over Instagram and just walking into his house willy-nilly – you’re brave people. Not that we’re bad people, but we’ve picked people up at eleven PM and Tom pulls up in his black VW and they just hop in. Are you dizzy blud? Did you not go to Streetwise?”
Interviewed by: James Wijesinghe