I’d like to intro­duce you to someone spe­cial. Now you may have seen him host­ing in the club, or on the big stage, at an intim­ate gig, or, at the back of the night bus… I’ve had the pleas­ure of attend­ing two awe­some album visu­al & listen­ing parties at Whirled Cinema, and Cer­eal Killer Café in Brick Lane and a lil intim­ate gig exper­i­ence at White City house.

He is, the hard work­ing, humble & tal­en­ted Fontzer­elli aka BACK­ADAN­ITE­BUS­BOY !

Lets start from the beginning….who are you, and where do you come from?”

Fontz- “I come from, well, as we know, our lin­eage is Afric­an des­cent, my folks are from the Carib­bean- Jamaica, and Guyana, I grew up in South West Lon­don, and come from a really really rich upbring­ing & envir­on­ment- not in mon­et­ary gain form, but in cul­ture and diversity – sounds cliché, but it’s real. My eld­ers & OGs are from sound sys­tem cul­ture, being from Jamaica, which played heav­ily in our house­hold.”

 Sal “What/who are your Influ­ences?”

 Fontz “I’ve always said I’m a young man with a very very old soul- people and things waaaay before me & my time influ­ence me. In terms of music­al influ­ences, its def­in­itely music from the golden clas­sic eras 60s 70s 80s

Mow­town, Stacks Record­ing, Atlantic, Phil­adelphia Inter­na­tion­al, all these incred­ible artists; Ray Charles Aretha Frank­lin, Teddy Pen­d­er­grass, incred­ible, song writers and pro­du­cers Gamble & Huff- those were pro­found influ­ences to me, then push a bit fur­ther ; James Brown, Bobby Blue Bland, Otis Read­ing, Sam Cook.

Then fur­ther…. soul, rare groove, hip hop; De la Soul, Big Daddy Kane who’s my all time favour­ite MC

But one of my big big influ­ences is the golden clas­sic R’n’B group JODECI!

Jodeci and Big Daddy Kane are the reas­on why I do music today”

Sal “Tell us who you have worked with…?”

 Fontz “You know, I’ve embarked on a very very enriched and inter­est­ing  jour­ney, in this thing called music/show busi­ness /creative arts or whatever you wanna call it! I’m humbled and blessed to say that I’ve worked with the legend him­self, Mr Nas Escobar…I haven’t yet worked with my favour­ite Jay Z, but got close doing some­thing spe­cial to me, which was host­ing a DJ set with Young Guru, Jay z’s tour DJ.

I was quite instru­ment­al to the begin­nings of Jessie J’s career in terms of pro­duc­tion. Also Ed Sheer­an, being around him, which was really interesting…Stylo G’s early career; I worked on the pro­duc­tion of his very first hit “My Yout” which was a num­ber 1 song!

I’ve worked with So Sol­id Crew, with the mon­ster chart suc­cess pop star Sigala, and along­side Skrillex, and I hos­ted a DJ set for Vir­gil Ablo.

I think you get why I say enriched exper­i­ence, the list goes on, but I think we’ll leave it there!

Sal “How would you describe the 90s to those who missed out, and why would you say some of us are “stuck there?!” 

Fontz “I would have to describe or explain the 90s using the coined phrase “The Golden Era”…..but it really really was! To explain; it was the era of a genre that once upon a time was writ­ten off and was meant to be a fad, but it grew and developed into a beau­ti­ful cul­ture that birthed such incred­ible music from R’n’B artists, to soul sing­ers to hip hop artists.

The 90s really really embod­ied CUL­TURE, the fash­ion was at an incred­ible high; from high top fades, to Jord­ans, to fluor­es­cent col­ours, to the jew­ellery even, and the music was just so ori­gin­al and fresh, even though it was bor­rowed and sampled heav­ily from so many legends as I men­tioned earli­er.

For example James Brown, him being the most sampled man in hip hop.

Best way to describe is that it encom­passes ori­gin­al­ity.

Why I like it, and am so in love with the 90s is that you had so many acts, groups, artists com­ing out, and no one was really copy cat­ting or car­bon copy­ing the per­son next to them, and that’s prob­ably why us folk are “stuck there” because it’s just a remind­er of such a fant­ast­ic care­free time of great fash­ion, music, cul­ture- just great­ness!

I know I’m using really clichéd words here but, some­times you just have to do what it says on the tin! Put simply: ori­gin­al, fresh, & we’re stuck there through sheer nos­tal­gia.

Oh what a time!!”

 Sal “Back in school, what were your interests, and what arena did you want to work in when you were ‘’all grown up?”… did you ever pic­ture that it might be on stage some­where like the 02 arena!?”

Fontz “So in school, my interests were allll­ways music based, as much as I was labelled advanced/brain box or whatever you want to call it, I did ter­rible because I didn’t focus, I didn’t apply myself because all I wanted to do was music.  All I was fix­ated on I was CDS, read­ing cred­its, learn­ing who the writers were, who the pro­du­cers were, where it was recor­ded, who mastered it.

Even as a young kid I was read­ing that inform­a­tion off the back of vinyl sleeves.

As my interests were straight music, the arena I wanted to work in was the music industry, so it’s no shock now when I get hum­bling mes­sages from people I grew up with say­ing they always knew I was gonna do this, remem­ber­ing that in school I was always the one…it’s a remind­er that I was always really about this.

I remem­ber my auntie ask­ing me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I me say­ing I wanted to be a rap­per, I remem­ber clear as day she replied with “don’t come with no fool­ish­ness, go get a prop­er career or job!” I remem­ber say­ing to myself, I’m gonna show her, watch! and VOILA! Here I am!!”

Did I pic­ture myself at the 02? I wanna be hon­est and say yeh, because when you’re grow­ing up and watch­ing Michael Jack­son at Wemb­ley Arena, or you’re watch­ing Jodeci sell out the Apollo Theatre, or who­ever it is, when your mind is watch­ing and stay­ing with these visu­als, and if you want do that, and fol­low suit, you can’t help but pic­ture your­self doing that same thing.

There have been some oth­er incred­ible artists that I’d nev­er dreamed of work­ing with, like Jocelyn Brown. Maxi Priest, Don Camp­bell, Den­nis Bovel

These artists my mum was play­ing off cas­sette tapes and vinyls, whose names I used to read off the cred­its, I didn’t really pic­ture work­ing with them.

I have most def­in­itely always envis­aged myself per­form­ing on a big stage in front of loads and loads of people, but it is still is a really hum­bling exper­i­ence, and you look at it and think Wow, I’ve really done this, what the hell!! Then you come off stage at the 02 and people like Calv­in Har­ris and Sean Paul come up to you and say “wow, that was an amaz­ing set”, it’s like; can I just pinch myself here please!, so yeh!!”

Sal “Anoth­er string to your bow is Nu Age Иubi­an (NAИ), tell us about your cloth­ing range, where the idea came from, and how is that doing?”

Fontz “So you want to know about my darling little child NAИ!? NAИ is a cul­ture col­lect­ive con­sist­ing of two people, myself and my cre­at­ive part­ner Lucy Baker, and what NAИ rep­res­ents is Music, fash­ion, pho­to­graphy and food- food being about nutri­tion.

It star­ted off as some­thing I kept say­ing to myself whilst on set to the video for my song Hip­ster Chick, it’s all about black empower­ment and the move­ment, it just rang a bell to me.

So I took it to Lucy, we sat down and dis­cussed ideas, where we’re really into clothes and fash­ion, and not really hav­ing a desire to keep run­ning around wear­ing big logos pro­mot­ing oth­er brands that don’t really care about us, I thought I’d much rather make my own thing, just lit­er­ally wear my own thing, so we did some doodles, she put pen to paper, and got the iPad, and did what she does well, and Boom we had a logo! it felt like it encap­su­lated the essence of this move­ment.

We lit­er­ally wanted to make clothes ourselves, for ourselves, and that was it! but the moment we prin­ted up a couple of t‑shirts, jump­ers and jack­ets, we noticed that every time stepped out we were get­ting stops and stares, people asked what was it and where could they get it from….and remem­ber, this wasn’t made for the people, it was just for us ourselves to wear!

So it was some­thing that nat­ur­ally and organ­ic­ally blos­somed into a cloth­ing range, and I think it was a fant­ast­ic thing, because a lot of people set out to provide a ser­vice or a product that they want the pub­lic to buy into, and that’s quite dif­fi­cult, so when there’s a heavy demand and it wasn’t your inten­tion, you think WOAH, we’ve got some­thing here.

As we were kind of drawn into cre­at­ing a cloth­ing range, we haven’t been push­ing it, but…in the New Year you’re going to see a lot more of NAИ!

Ulti­mately, it was birthed out of the inspir­a­tion of black excel­lence, black empower­ment… it’s a new era, new dawn, it’s a new day, we’re tak­ing that energy from the fore­fath­ers, and the people that were doing the great things; people like the Black Pan­thers, people who preached, the Mal­colm Xs, the Mar­tin Luth­er Kings, har­bour­ing all that energy encap­su­lat­ing into one cre­at­ive essence that is NAИ….Music, Fash­ion, pho­to­graphy, food!”

Sal “From one train­er freak to anoth­er! How many pairs of train­ers do you pos­sess?! I love the clas­sic and indi­vidu­al style, how about you?”

Fontz “Oh gosh, we’re going down that road!!! I really don’t know….my shoe fet­ish is bey­ond (excuse the expres­sion) woman­like. I know guys like train­ers, but women tend to have a tonnes of shoes….I recently had to do a boot sale to get rid of a lot, I’ve even got some box fresh that I haven’t worn!

I could not tell you how many pairs!… let’s just say I have a tonne load!!

My favour­ites, well you can’t go wrong with an Air Force 1, I really love a pair of Clarks- that’s the Yardie in me! A pair of Walla­bees or Dessert – or as we call them back home “Bank Rob­ber!” they’re just clas­sic, if it wasn’t Yard man, then it was Ghost­face Kil­lah who was jut beat­ing them crazy and even RZA.

What else…Reebok workouts….even though I have vast array in my col­lec­tion, I like really really down­played clean look­ing foot­wear, dress ’em up, dress ’em down, a clean, tidy shoe!

I might just actu­ally have to take a walk into my bed­room and have a look and reminder!!.…oh! Puma Bas­kets, I enjoy Adi­das Stan Smiths, and Super­stars, again….minimal clean, tidy dope clas­sics- can’t go wrong!!

I agree with you that we attach ourselves to these thing because yes, it’s what we didn’t/couldn’t have when we were young­er. I remem­ber as a child watch­ing the guys play­ing bas­ket­ball, dan­cing, rap­ping in the park out of my coun­cil flat win­dow, and just admir­ing what was on their feet, being besot­ted…. couldn’t dream of reach­ing the fly foot­wear they had. When I came into my own, that’s where I went over­board! but yeh, a big part of hold­ing on to these items, I think is that we couldn’t reach it before.”

Sal “so now we hold them tight!”

Sal “NAИ Vegan Train­ers?!

Fontz “Hail Yeh, com­ing soon!!

Sal “Back to the music, you’re on the brink of releas­ing Back­adan­ite­bus­boy to the whole world! I have been a for­tu­nate guest at your listen­ing and visu­al parties which have all been great con­cepts. Dev X Huie was a visu­al cine­mat­ic exper­i­ence, where you could buy the album on cas­sette and get a free Walk­man! Your music on Dev X Huie, def­in­itely comes with a 90s vibe, inten­tion­al?”

 Fontz “I appre­ci­ate you tak­ing time out to care about my ISH!

So, a lot of my ideas seem to come to me while I’m wash­ing my dishes, or wip­ing my skirt­ing boards, and before you know it, it comes to fruition!

Put­ting the visu­als togeth­er with this par­tic­u­lar sound I have that’s very remin­is­cent of the 90s — and the nought­ies, was most def­in­itely inten­tion­al, it comes from the sheer fact that we are in a visu­al age, and videos etc are para­mount in help­ing push a cer­tain song over the edge & help people over­stand even more.

But because I’m mak­ing music in a mod­ern age which is son­ic­ally throw­back.

I felt the best way for people to really get to grips with, and really get it, was by doing the visu­als that will trans­late my vibe and my sound.

I hon­estly didn’t think people would get it because it’s noth­ing like what is going on Spo­ti­fy, on You­Tube, on radio.

But I was at peace with that because I was mak­ing music for MYself,  cos I got to point where I said to myself; if you’re not happy with the music that’s being made and churned out, then go and make music you wanna her then.

Even if it just sat there with me on my smart­phone, then so be it…then when I leaked it to the world & the feed­back was over­whelm­ing and very encour­aging, (WHOO) that motiv­ated me go make some videos. In the same vein. So when

I’m mak­ing videos that are very Yo! MTV Raps, the people, routines, fash­ion, loc­a­tions & the visu­als fea­tured just pushes the mes­sage, the vibe and the agenda!

So yes, it was def­in­itely def­in­itely inten­tion­al.”

Sal “Big stage vs. intim­ate gigs?”

Fontz “actu­ally both, as they’re so dif­fer­ent, the big stage is like WOW all of these folks are here to listen, you guys are actu­ally here for little old me, to sup­port me, I’m gonna give you all my energy, ad the intim­ate gigs, I can touch, and smell and feel my people, d’you get me, I can be a bit more myself! They both do some­thing for me.”

Sal “After get­ting to know your music over the past 18 months & being treated to Back­adan­ite­bus­boy at your listen­ing party at Cer­eal Killer Café, It feels to me like your music has moved into a dif­fer­ent arena, whilst still hav­ing that old school feel, it touches on the more grimey, bassy sounds, whilst remain­ing deep lyr­ic­ally, it could def­in­itely reach an even wider audi­ence, tell us bout your plans for it’s launch”

Fontz “you are most def­in­itely right, I ven­tured out a bit fur­ther than the com­mon pool that I tend to swim in music­ally, being old school etc.

I was ready to level up and peel more lay­ers off for myself as an artist, and reveal it.

The concept for the album ‘Back­ad­nite­bus­boy’, stems from my humble stamp of- no mat­ter what I do or achieve in life, I always feel that I end up at the back of the night bus. A place where I gath­er my thoughts, think of my lyr­ics, reflect on life, and think about what I’ve just done.

I remem­ber get­ting off stage at the 02 arena, in front of 30,000 people, and get­ting on the night bus back home, I feel com­fort in that place, it reminds me of ground­ing, it’s that humble ground I want to remain on, and any­thing that becomes super­fi­cial, and out of humble world, I shun it.

Back­adan­ite­bus­boy is a very pro­found, poignant state­ment of what rep­res­ents me and who I am. That being said, it being a humble reflec­tion of myself, I believe the songs are dif­fer­ent branches and exten­sions of that humble­ness.

I’m being so trans­par­ent on this album and speak­ing about things that people don’t know about, or some people may find uncom­fort­able, or even “uncool” to talk about; being broke- not know­ing were your next penny’s com­ing from but you’re doing all these fant­ast­ic things and you’re pock­ets ain’t filled. Home life, I’m a fath­er of 3, and it’s a struggle and it’s real!

I found great  com­fort & ther­apy in doc­u­ment­ing and reflect­ing this in my music. When they say ‘music is ther­apy’, boy! That couldn’t ring more truer!

I’m a lot more hon­est in my music, espe­cially on this album, so this was the per­fect blank can­vas where I can express myself, be hon­est an reflect myself in it.

The album will launch early in the new year, start­ing with the first song ‘Blowa’ along with a head­line con­cert to be announced soon, yeh


Sal “Excit­ing stuff, thank you for your time, and for shar­ing what goes on at the back of the night bus!”

Back­adan­ite­bus­boy out soon…… fol­low @fontzerelli @nuage.nubian

Out­door pho­tos: BrandED @palaceskateboards

Fontz’s single ‘Blowa’ debuts on Cap­it­al Xtra this Fri­day 10th Janu­ary on Dj Mike Pan­teli’s show 4–6pm 



The fol­low­ing two tabs change con­tent below.
Sally Mur­row aka Sal­freckles is a Lon­don­er who works in early edu­ca­tion, she has a back­ground in graph­ic design and finds inspir­a­tion for her art from hip hop rhymes and cul­ture.

About Salfreckles

Sally Murrow aka Salfreckles is a Londoner who works in early education, she has a background in graphic design and finds inspiration for her art from hip hop rhymes and culture.